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Continuum Cartoon Look


  • BCC Cartoon Look: This filter attempts to simulate the look of rotoscoped animation. The original colors are preserved and the edges thickened.
  • BCC Pencil Sketch: The filter does a reasonable job of emulating the look of a hand-drawn, pencil-sketched image. Edges are enhanced, but most color is reduced or removed.
  • BCC Charcoal Sketch: This filter quickly simulates the thick strokes of a charcoal sketch. The resulting animation is drawn with thick black-and-white lines.
  • BCC Watercolor: Watercolor paint-style animation is created with this filter. These are typified by soft edges and intensified color.

For our testing, the effects were run under After Effects CS4. So the question is simple: Is it worth it? The answer is it truly depends.

First off, you’ll either love or hate the cartoon filter look as a whole. The look is very trendy and your clients may be asking for it. On the other hand, none of the filters on the market match the quality of hand-drawn animation.
The filter offers precise controls with numerous options. What’s nice is the ability to blend the stylized image with the original, as well as control the thickness of lines.

While the effects offer presets, they don’t load with the standard Adobe preset picker. The quality of presets also varies.

The filter does render relatively quickly on modern computers. It also does a nice job of preserving edge details so the “drawn” lines don’t jitter or suddenly disappear.

After Effects CS4 already includes a very versatile Cartoon filter. While its controls don’t match the Boris filter, the price to upgrade to CS4 is only a little more and offers many more advantages.

ToonIt from Red Giant Software seems to offer solid results and is worth a head-to-head comparison for the serious buyer. Be sure to download the trials for each package and see which you find more intuitive and eye-pleasing.—Richard Harrington

Company: Boris FX
Price: $199
Web:
www.borisfx.com
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)

Hot: Popular look with easy-to-use controls
Not: Results don’t match quality of competing products

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© 2010 Richard Harrington LLC