Monsters GT V6 review
Monsters GT is a set of post-production plug-ins for After Effects (AE) that add glows, light rays, lens flares, lightning, film damage, fire and fluid effects to your footage. Monsters has been optimised in this release to take advantage of the 64-bit support in Intel Macs and AE CS5, as well as CUDA-based Nvidia GPUs. The company claims this enables real-time interactivity at HD resolutions, faster render speeds, and very high image quality and dynamic range. Monsters GT also supports full floating point for all internal processing, improving quality for many effects.
There are 54 effects available, grouped into Adjust, Blur+Sharpen, Distort, Lighting, Render, Stylize and Time categories. Effects are adjusted via a control panel, but each has an array of different, dedicated parameters.
Some effects are driven by the luminance values of the underlying footage, while others provide the data to drive further effects. Notable in this category is AudioExtract, which analyses the audio associated with each frame of a clip and sorts it into frequency bands.
Monsters allows you to stack effects and set keyframes to control parameters, such as with AudioExtract, which can control the degree of blur in a blur effect by the beat of a particular drum in the audio track, for example.
Other standout effects include Luna, which adds a new moon to your scene, but lets you set the phase and appearance according to a specific date, and Rain, which will apply a realistic shower. This is not simply animated water drops, but particles of rain that will evolve over every frame to create the effect. You can even set the rain to bounce off certain objects.
Post-production effect plug-ins don’t tend to come cheap and Monsters GT will stretch many people’s budgets. However, this has to be weighed up against the time saved in applying such high-quality effects, rather than creating them in the host application from scratch.