by: Howard Carson, send
by: Ulead Systems, go
to the web site
166MMX recommended, DirectX 5.0 or higher, 16MB RAM (32 recommended),
800x600xHi-Color minimum resolution, Windows 95, 98 or NT4
(US$44.995 for download)
COOL 3D is used to create animated titles, logos,
and special effects to add impact to Web pages, home
videos, and business presentations. Ulead COOL 3D
supports Web standard GIF, GIF animations, JPEG,
and AVI files with all quality, compression, transparency,
and blending options. .
tested Cool 3D on two machines: a PII/350MHz running
Windows 98 with 128MB RAM and an ATI All-in-Wonder
video card; a Pentium 233MMX machine running Windows
95 with 64MB RAM and a Matrox G200 video card.
Both installations were flawless.
We put together three small video projects: a short intro
clip for an existing digital video of Formula One racing
footage from last year's Montreal Grand Prix; a short intro
to a business presentation (a flashy opening for a product
advertising pitch); the production of an animated logo (in
GIF format) for a corporate Web site.
interface is easy to use. The drag & drop Easy
Palette selections for each effect and movement category
are stuffed with canned effects, moves, color overlays and
texture maps. Text handling is also easy, with full access
to the Windows font directory, and a character table display
for selecting all the extended and special ANSI characters
in any typeface. We couldn't determine if Cool 3D has support
for Unicode character encoding.
We created a small storyboard for each project (literally,
a blow-by-blow list which helps to visualize each project
before you start). After launching Cool 3D and opening a
text window, we selected a font, chose a size, typed our
text and moved into the main interface. We adjusted the length
of the animation by adding frames - all you have to do is
increase the number in the frames list box. We also adjusted
the frame rate (the number of frames per second).
creating text, selections were made from the Easy Palette.
3D provides 5 different kinds of movement:
texture animation (the animation is confined to the surfaces
of the text), 3D animation (the text moves in place in 3
virtual dimensions, revealing different faces), light & color
shifts, screen animation (the text moves in and out of view,
or along a preset path), and view animation (where the camera
angle appears to shift smoothly across the text). You can
combine any number of different types of movement, dragging & dropping
anything you like into the active window.
According to our rough count, there are 447 individual
selections in the Ulead Easy Palette, distributed among 26
distinct texture, motion, and effects categories. The software
therefore provides literally thousands of distinct, combinations
of effects. That's a lot of combinations, and the creative
possibilities are fantastic. Ulead Cool 3D works extremely
well, and even provides finer, manual adjustments of your
creations put together with Easy Palette.
After creating about 3 dozen AVIs with Cool 3D, we launched
Ulead's VideoStudio and loaded the individual AVIs as clips.
After that, we got a little bit lost for several hours, cranking
out video after video, using the Cool 3D clips as titles,
intros, transition elements, and extros. We had an absolute
blast. But the most amazing thing about the whole process
was that after showing the results to several video production
people, they all asked when we'd started testing Adobe Premier(tm)!
It took some time to convince them that the finished AVIs
had been produced with Cool 3D and VideoStudio. We also used
a number of animated GIFs created with Cool 3D in a test
area on our Intranet. We had a lot of fun with the software.
Cons: Both test machines had plenty of horsepower, but
combining several effects tended to slow on-screen rendering
quite a bit. The interface needs better icons - without tooltips
you'd never figure them out just by looking at them.
Final output quality is excellent. Ulead's choices for
are great and we hope they add more. The
combinations of Cool 3D & Ulead VideoStudio, or Cool
3D & MGI VideoWave II are unbeatable. Adding Cool 3D
titles and effects to clips grabbed from your camcorder,
digital video camera, or VCR (using VideoStudio or VideoWave
II) is a terrific way to create great videos and Web GIF
animations. Ulead Cool 3D is definitely cool, useful, and
a lot of fun. We recommend it.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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