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rampant smOK, I admit it. I am a plug-in freak. I have the advantage of having a really fast Mac Pro 12-core and a DataBrick NLE (which is twice as fast as the Mac) to render out the plug-ins, but I still really enjoy using the “drag, drop and go” video effects from Rampant Design Tools. The cool thing about Rampant Design Tools is that plug-ins aren’t required, so you can get great-looking VFX on just about any editing computer. The company’s products come in groups, so that you can just buy what you need, and there are samplers available with clips from more than one group.

The main difference between Rampant Design Tools and plug-in sets is that Rampant provides clips that you can drop in over your footage, rather than using a plug-in that alters your footage within the program. You’ll have less control over the effect but the process can be faster, and Rampant has some very cool-looking effects. You can also adjust opacity or add a color filter to further modify the clips. Rampant Design Tools has After Effects templates, stock footage, textures, photos, sound effects and music that are created by VFX artists for VFX artists. The elements have been used on high-profile TV shows on major networks, so you have probably seen what they can do.

The Rampant products that I tested include FlareFX, which consists of 200 drag-and-drop, flashy “lens flare” type of transitions that can add a lot of “pop” to your basic video — and since they don’t have to render, the results are instantaneous. You just shorten the clip to change the transition length, or side it to add more to one side of the transition. FlashFX has 150 film-flash transitions, from light leaks and lens-flare clips to multiple colored-light moving images that can be used as a background or go over a clip to add a lighting effect.

GunFX has 160 3K-resolution muzzle flashes that were shot on a RED camera. They include mattes, so all you have to do is drag, drop and track if the gun is moving in the shot. GunFX look real because they are real. Style Mattes offers 90 hi-definition mattes with alpha channels. These mattes add production value to normal footage by giving you windows to view your images while blocking other parts of the frame. Some windows are square while others are angled, but they’re all cool. LightFX has 80+ HD clips of all kinds of cool lights. These include lens flares, colored unfocused types of light, and clips that add that specular type of light that shines through a window. 

The SmokeFX Quicktime files are 3K resolution, which gives full-raster 2K, 2.5K (like the Blackmagic Cinema camera), or bit of room to play with if you use them in standard 1080HD compositions. The resolution is so awesome that you can use them to add atmosphere to a music video or film. These also work great with exploding fonts; to simulate someone smoking; or to add smoke to a clip of something on fire. Rampant Xfilm Soft Light Overlays are 200 royalty-free 1080P HD Quicktime movies of soft-light elements that add beautiful looks to your images. Now it’s easy to give your project a slick and modern look and effortlessly take your video to the next level.

Rampant Design Tools site offers demos of all of the company’s products. There’s also a series of training videos that show how to use these products, and a free sampler pack to download so you can “try before you buy.” Rampant’s products are all Mac and PC compatible and will work in most NLEs, like Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro 7, FCPX, Apple Motion, Sony Vegas, Foundry NUKE and Media 100. 

MSRP: Depends on the bundle, but they are reasonably priced Contact: 

The review system consisted of a Mac Pro 12-core and DataBrick NLE PC from Savage IO; NVIDIA Quadro 4000 and Tesla cards with output viewed on a Borland 32-inch monitor via a Blackmagic Design card; Avid MC Color panel, Wacom tablet, Mackie mixer, and Genelec speakers. I used Adobe CS6 on the PC, and FCPX on the Mac.