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Tuesday, 03 September 2013 20:39

GenArts Sapphire 7

Written by  David Hurd
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Sapphire-7 Sm-2When I tested the GenArts Sapphire 7 VFX plug-in in Adobe Creative Suite 6 (using After Effects and Premiere Pro), I found it to be pretty amazing. In Sapphire 7, GenArts has amassed more than 250 effects with more than 2,500 presets, FX Central and LensFlare designer. The company also sped up its existing plug-ins by up to 20 percent while adding many new plug-ins, with Beauty, EdgeAwareBlur and Advanced Sharpen as the stand-outs. 

Beauty uses the new EdgeAware technology to beautify talking heads by softening and color correcting skin tones. It’s good for smoothing out bad makeup jobs and skin blemishes in your NLE, or taking years off of your talent’s face without softening the whole image. I tried it on a Skype interview clip that I recorded in 720p using VodBurner software. The woman being interviewed had a poor-quality camera and bad lighting, so her face was pretty blotchy. I tried several presets and settled on one that smoothed out her skin and color, which made a huge improvement. EdgeAwareBlur is another new effect that also uses the new EdgeAware technology to blur while preserving detail. It’s handy for noise reduction or smoothing in small doses to fix up DSLR footage. In large amounts it creates a “painted” effect. The third new tool I loved is Advanced Sharpen, which has been updated to sharpen features of different amounts and sizes for increased flexibility and control.

Saphire7LensFlare is now enhanced with faster rendering, animation options, atmospheric noise and presets to duplicate popular real-world lenses. It has over 120 LensFlare presets to get you started, and many are designed for your type of camera. Also included is an advanced editor called Sapphire Flare Designer. You can use this app to build your own unique flares right inside your NLE, giving you a lot of choices and tons of control. Zap is a cool effect for creating Tesla-like electric arcs. Making this type of effect look realistic depends on being able to control the arcs. Zap has been nicely updated to include 3D rotation and the option to follow a path, letting you control the shape it takes. And speaking of looking good, MotionBlur has been added to many effects to lend a more realistic look as well. There are also two new transitions with multiple controls: FilmRoll is a very realistic “film shake” transition, while CardFlip is a 3D DVE effect on steroids. 

The FX Preset browser lets you customize an effect and save it in FX Central to use at any time or share across host platforms (with a subscription), which is cool. The FX Preset browser easy to use and I like being able to see previews of most effects before adding them. In Adobe Premiere Pro, just add the preset and click on the load button for the FX Preset browser to pop up. You can choose the look that you want from the presets or modify and save a custom look. And when you exit the FX Preset browser, the look is applied to your clip or adjustment layer.

Sapphire Version 7 is a great package with a history of being used by industry professionals. It works with Adobe After Effects and Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas, Assimilate Scratch, The Foundry’s NUKE and Eyeon Digital Fusion. With more than 250 effects that offer a huge amount of control over your work, Sapphire V7 is clearly a great choice for professional results.

MSRP: Varies with NLE and purchase/rental options. A free demo download is available. A new single-machine license for AFX, Premiere Pro or Apple FCP is $1,699. An upgrade from Sapphire Version 6 costs $499. GenArts also has Version 7 rentals starting at $169.90 per month. CC users will want to talk to GenArts as to which plan is best. A new floating Sapphire V7 AE license will run $2,499, with an upgrade from Version 6 for $499. For Media Composer/Symphony editors and Smoke for Mac users, a new license is $2,800 (the upgrade from Version 6 costs $849; rentals start at $280 per month). To learn more, contact:


The review system consisted of a Savage IO DataBrick NLE PC with NVIDIA Quadro 4000 and Tesla cards and output viewed on a Borland 32-inch monitor via a Blackmagic Design card, Avid Artist MC Color panel, Wacom tablet, Mackie mixer and Genelec speakers. 

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