Sapphire Plug-ins v1 for After Effects,
General User Info
The following are new since version 1.0.
New in 1.01:
- On Digital Fusion, an issue with network rendering has been
- On After Effects 6.0 or greater, duplicate copies of angle
parameters in the timeline have been removed.
- A problem on workstations with no ethernet ID has been fixed.
- Some performance improvements on Mac.
New in 1.02:
- A problem on Windows for users without admin privileges
has been fixed.
- A problem with saving workspaces from combustion's
Render Queue has been fixed.
- On Mac, an issue with disabled ethernets and a problem
with the install-ae-custom utility have been fixed.
New in 1.03:
- The render speed of RackDefocus is improved.
- For AE on Windows, a problem with hyper-threading is fixed that
was related to drag-and-drop failures.
- Network rendering between Mac and Windows machines should now work.
- An issue with alternate layer inputs with different dimensions
has been fixed.
- On Premiere Pro 1.5, support for field based media is improved.
- Support for Apple Motion is improved.
New in 1.04:
- Free network rendering is improved, including a workaround for
- An issue with temporal effects combined with certain other
effects is fixed.
- On Windows with Hyper-Threading, rendering speed is improved for
New in 1.05:
- An issue with Expand Borders and Soft Borders parameters is
New in 1.06:
- Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) is supported.
- On Windows, an issue with licensing and wifi devices is resolved.
- 32 bit host applications on Windows64 are now supported.
- On Mac, serial number installation is simplified when using an http proxy server.
- In 1.061, an issue with licensing and multiple Ethernet devices is fixed.
- In 1.062 on Mac, an issue with Point params in Motion 2 is worked around.
New in 1.07:
- Network rendering on Combustion 4 is supported.
- The Windows installer finds eyeon Fusion 5.
- In 1.071, a problem with all-zero machine IDs is fixed.
New in 1.08:
- Final Cut Pro 5.1 and Combustion 4 on Intel Macs are supported.
The Mac installer now includes both CFM plug-ins for older host
products, and Universal plug-ins for newer host products on PPC and all
universal hosts on Intel Macs.
- An issue with FCP quitting on certain quad G5s is fixed.
- AutoPaint is improved when used with tall aspect ratio images.
- The Windows installer finds eyeon Fusion 5 render nodes.
- In 1.082, out-of-memory handling is improved and an issue with
quad core machines is fixed.
- In 1.083 an installation issue with Final Cut Pro HD (versions
4.5 and earlier) is corrected, and Pie FX for Chyron is supported.
- In 1.09 on Windows, Pie Fx support is improved, support for
Windows systems with multiple Ethernets is improved, and a problem is
corrected when using Sapphire as a different user than the one who
installed the software.
- In 1.10, a problem with network rendering in 1.09 is fixed, an
issue with S_FilmEffect with 3:2 stutter after another plug-in is
fixed, and the Windows installer finds Eyeon Fusion 5.1.
Once Sapphire Plug-ins have been installed and the host application
has been restarted, the new plug-ins should appear in the host
application's effects menu just like any other effects.
To load a plug-in in Adobe After Effects, go to the Effects menu and
open one of the Sapphire folders. You can double click on an effect
to insert it into your current layer's effects, or drag it onto the
desired location in your current layer.
To load a plug-in in Final Cut Pro, go to the Effects tab in
the browser, open the Video Filters folder, open one of the
Sapphire folders, and drag the plug-in onto one of your clips.
Then to view and adjust the plug-in parameters, double-click on the
clip, and select the Filters tab in the viewer.
To load a plug-in in Combustion, select the layer in your Workspace
that you want to apply the effect to, open the Operators menu,
and select a plug-in from one of the Sapphire folders.
In Adobe products, you can reset all of a plug-in's parameters to their
default values by clicking on the Reset button just to the
right of the plug-in name in your layer editor. Individual parameters
can also be reset to their default values from the Effect
Controls editor by right-clicking on the parameter and then
In Final Cut Pro, reset is performed by the red "X" button.
In Combustion, the Reset button is to the right of the
parameters under the small feedback image.
In Adobe After Effects, all Sapphire Plug-ins include an About
button to the right of the plug-in name. Push this button to bring up
a window showing the current version of Sapphire Plug-ins, your
license status, some documentation about the current plug-in, and
links to more detailed HTML documention.
In Final Cut Pro, the About button is just above the parameter
In Combustion, the About button is to the right of the
parameters under the thumbnail image.
Online documentation is normally installed along with your software
and can also be accessed directly.
On Windows go to Start -> All Programs -> GenArts Sapphire AE ->
Online Help (HTML) or (PDF). On Mac, go to the
Applications/GenArtsSapphireAE folder and double click on Online
Help.html or .pdf.
Many Sapphire Plug-ins accept an optional Matte input clip.
Typically, this input can be used to provide more detailed control for
where the effect should be applied and where it should not be applied.
for example, take the main Source
input and also an optional Matte input. For these, the source input
is multiplied by the matte before generating the glints (or
glows, glares), so where the matte is black no glints are generated,
and where it is white they are generated as usual. This method
prevents the glints or glows themselves from being partially cropped
by the matte. In addition these effects use the RGB colors of the
Matte input to selectively colorize the resulting glows, glints, or
glares. The red areas of the matte will produce red glows, glints, or
glares, and so on.
In Blur effects, the areas which are matted out
are never blurred, so they do not blur into the matted-in regions. If
a matte were instead applied afterward, the pixels behind the matte
would be blurred over the edge of the matte and into the final image.
As an example, say you have a clip with white text over a black
background. If you put that clip into both the Source and Matte
inputs of Blur, the black background will not be blurred into
the text, since the black pixels are all matted out.
For a few compositing effects,
and RackDfComp, the Matte input instead
indicates the opacity of the foreground clip. This can be used to
give the plug-in different opacity values than the usual alpha channel
of the main foreground input.
All Sapphire Plug-ins can handle RGBA inputs, and the Alpha of RGBA
inputs is handled in one of three ways, depending on the effect:
- Alpha is processed as just another input channel like R, G, and
B. Effects in this category include: AutoPaint, Mosaic, Blur,
BlurMotion, RackDefocus, all Wipes, all Dissolves, Distort, DistortBlur,
DistortChroma, all Kaleidoscopes, all Warps, Shake, and MathOps.
- Alpha is copied from the first input to the output. In this
case the effect doesn't use the Alpha channel, but it is passed
through unchanged from the first input to the output. Effects in this
category include: BandPass, BlurChroma, ClampChroma, DuoTone,
EdgeDetect, Embosses, Etching, HalfTones, Hotspots, DistortRGB,
Monochrome, Pseudo_Color, Psykos, Sharpen, Sketch, Sparkles, Streaks,
Threshold, and Zebrafy.
- Some other effects pass the input Alpha channel through, and
also add some opacity where the effects are applied. An Affect Alpha
parameter is included in these effects which allows adjusting the
amount that the alpha channel is affected. The effects in this
category are: LensFlare, all Glows, all Glints, Glare, EdgeRays, Rays,
and all Zaps.
Most Sapphire Plug-ins include a Opacity parameter that also affects
how alpha is processed. Normal Opacity indicates that the input
images are "non-premultipled" or straight format which is typical for
If the Opacity parameter is set to All Opaque, the input alpha is
ignored (it's treated as if it were fully opaque), and the output
alpha is set to 1. This option is slightly faster, and is appropriate
if your images should be fully opaque.
The Opacity parameter can also be set to AsPremult to indicate the
input clips are in "premultiplied" format. In this case the RGB
values of input images are assumed to be already scaled by their Alpha
(opacity) values, and the output images are also generated in this
format. This option is less commonly useful, but may be appropriate
if the transfer mode of your layer is set to Luminescent Premult.
A few plug-ins such as the Clouds and Texture generators include both
an Input Opacity and an Output Opacity parameter. The Input Opacity
gives the Normal, All Opaque or AsPremult options as described above,
and the Output Opacity allows selecting between copying the opacity
directly from the input, or setting the output to all opaque.
Many Sapphire Plug-ins include parameters that adjust angles. These
parameters are in degrees, so 180 is half a revolution and 90 is a
quarter, etc. On AE, Premiere, FCP, and Combustion, a positive change
in the parameter value corresponds to a clockwise rotation. In
Digital Fusion, however, a positive change is a counter-clockwise
rotation. This makes the behavior of the plug-in angles consistent
with typical angles in each host application. The values, including
the default values, are negative on Digital Fusion relative to the
other host applications.
In AE, Premiere, and FCP, there is an option to use dials rather than
sliders for angle parameters. This allows you to turn the parameter
value around in the user interface in a way that corresponds to the
actual rotation. In Digital Fusion, there is an option to use
treadmills for angle parameters, with on-screen user interface widgets
which can be dragged to rotate them in the image display area.
Some users prefer these rotating dial options, while others prefer the
usual parameter sliders. Variables are provided in the Sapphire
Plug-ins s_config.text file that allow each user to set their own
preferences. You can independently indicate if you want dials on FCP,
Digital Fusion, and/or AE and other applications that might support
them. By default, Digital Fusion uses the dials option, and other
host applications use sliders. See the section below on Customizing Plug-ins for
information on how to edit this config file and change these options.
For a new dial preference to take effect on FCP, you also need to
delete the "Final Cut Pro POA Cache" in Library/Preferences/Final
Cut Pro User Data in your home directory.
For some image formats, the digital form of the image is scaled
non-uniformly to produce the final viewed picture. For example NTSC
resolution is normally 720x486 with an aspect ratio of 1.481.
However, the final NTSC picture has an aspect ratio of 1.333. Thus
the original digital image is scaled in the horizontal direction by a
factor of 0.9 and shapes rendered as circles can end up squashed
slightly into ovals. The original pixels are effectively rectangular
shaped instead of squares, and have an aspect ratio of 1.481/1.333 =
1.111. (Or 1.333/1.481 = 0.9 if the inverse ratio is used.)
After Effects allows you to adjust the pixel aspect ratio in the
Composition Settings menu, and Sapphire Plug-ins read this value to
give the appropriately scaled results.
If necessary, you can override the pixel aspect ratio for all
Sapphire Plug-ins by changing the value of force_pixel_aspect_ratio in
the s_config.text file.
The pixel aspect ratio makes no difference for basic pixel processing
effects such as color processing or compositing.
A number of parameters are available that can be adjusted to customize
the behavior of all Sapphire plug-ins. You can disable
multi-processing, choose to use dials for angle parameters, force the
pixel aspect ratio, or specify lookup tables for more accurate
processing of log format images. A facility is also included with
Sapphire Plug-ins that allows users with some programming experience
to define and customize new plug-ins. For additional information on
these, or to modify a parameter, see the s_config.text file.
On Mac the config file is located at
On Windows the config file is located at
Custom Lens Flare types can also be made by editing the
s_lensflares.text file, in the same directory as the config
file above. New flare types will automatically appear in the menu of
the S_LensFlare plug-in.
- Alternate "layer" (or "well") parameters allow plug-ins to
access other unprocessed layers, but can not get the layer as
processed by other effects. This appears to be true on both AE 6.5 and
FCP 4. A PreComp is needed to achieve this.
- The Feedback and Trails effects sometimes do not render
correctly unless the cache is cleared first. These effects must also
render frames in sequential order.
- On FCP, alternate "well" input clips are often not accessed
at the correct time. Their positions on the timeline are ignored, and
they are also sometimes accessed at half speed. Hopefully this will
be fixed in a future version of FCP.
- On FCP, push buttons do not work, such as the Set Hold Level
button in the Flicker Remove effect. They do not appear at all in
FCP, and you need to adjust the Hold Level manually instead.
- On FCP, parameter value ranges are often more limited than
the min/max values shown in the documentation. This is because FCP
ignores the absolute limits specified by the plug-in. It does not
allow type-in values to exceed the default slider limits, and does not
provide a way for the user to adjust the slider limits, as AE does.
- On After Effects 6, adjusting parameter values by directly
dragging on the number with small ranges is often too sensitive. This
is because AE 6 sets the sensitivity automatically using the valid
range of the parameter, and does not adapt to small slider ranges
correctly. This is much improved in AE 6.5.
- On After Effects, temporal effects that require frames from
other times should be applied directly to a clip, and not over another
effect. A plug-in can't access alternate frames from the output of
another effect. Workarounds are to either apply the temporal effect
first, or use a precomp and apply the temporal effect to that.
- On Premiere Pro 1.0, most parameter values measured in screen
pixels that are not xy points are incorrect in Draft Quality, and
temporarily incorrect while dragging in Automatic Quality. However,
they should be correct in the final full resolution render. Hopefully
this will be fixed in a future version of Premiere Pro.
To Sapphire Plug-ins Introduction
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