The Orphanage, whose recent vfx efforts include HELLBOY and the upcoming THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, will release a key piece of its visual effects technology to the public. Called eLin, the software consists of a suite of plug-ins and scripts for Adobe After Effects 6.5 that allow compositors to work in the expanded photographic color space of film. eLin will be free of charge for non-commercial use.
"We created eLin to work more organically with film and other High Dynamic Range material," said Stu Maschwitz, Orphanage cto, "but we now use it on every project, from A-list movies to commercials."
eLin allows After Effects users to composite film, video and 3D elements together in a unified High Dynamic Range (HDR) color space that mimics the physical properties of light. As a result, even simple compositing operations look better and more photographic. eLin includes support for industry-standard Cineon film scans as well as Industrial Light & Magic's open source EXR file format.
By preserving highlight information beyond the visible range, all of After Effects' built-in effects become capable of HDR performance. Highlights blur and reveal in a realistic way, and even basic A over B comps are lent a cinematic feel.
"eLin completely changes everything in After Effects and the way I will look at compositing in it forever," commented Joe Pavlo, visual effects supervisor for HBO's ROME. "I thought I would only be getting this from Shake for a long time to come."
"One of the principal challenges in using After Effects for high-end work is its lack of floating-point color support," elaborated Maschwitz. "eLin cheats floating-point performance out of After Effects' 16 bits-per-channel mode, effectively promoting every basic After Effects function to HDR. Even third-party plug-ins gain a color performance advantage with eLin."
eLin supports Adobe After Effects, version 6.5, and will be available for download by June 2004 at www.redgiantsoftware.com/elin.html. The free software (for non-commercial use only) will be fully-functional, with no watermarking or restrictions.
eLin will also be available for commercial use for $499 through Red Giant Software, www.redgiantsoftware.com. Multiple and site license discounts can be requested.
Founded by former Industrial Light & Magic visual effects artists Jonathan Rothbart, Stuart Maschwitz and Scott Stewart, The Orphanage Inc. (www.theorphange.com) is focused on high-end vfx services and animation for features and broadcast, original motion picture and television production and digital filmmaking technology development and licensing.
The Orphanage is well-known for its Magic Bullet family of digital cinema products, including Magic Bullet Suite and Magic Bullet Editors, sold through Red Giant Software. eLin marks the first time that The Orphanage has released proprietary visual effects technology to the public.