Jimco Software Reviews - SpiceMASTER 2.5 Pro (continued)
The Basics of SpiceMASTER
To add SpiceMASTER to your video in Vegas, simply drag and drop it from the Video FX palette or the Transitions palette. By default, you will see the dialog shown in figure 1.
Figure 1 - Inserting a SpiceMASTER Plug-in
By clicking the Saved Settings button, you can load in a previously saved plug-in as shown in figure 2. Notice that SpiceMASTER makes the process easy by allowing you to preview the settings in the dialog.
Figure 2 - The Open Settings Dialog
Not to flood you with screen shots right out of the gate, but we may as well get it out the way now. Clicking the Open button shown in figure 1 will display the main SpiceMASTER interface shown in figure 3. In the upper-right corner is the preview window. The VCR-type controls below allow you to preview the effect. Immediately to the right of the preview is a configurable view of the spice file. From here, you can change the position of the effect. Clicking the large Choose Spice File button is all that's required to change to a different spice.
Figure 3 - The Main Interface
At the bottom-left of the interface is the keyframe control. You can keyframe every setting in SpiceMASTER. (Really! Every setting!) By clicking the small radio button next to a setting, you can add keyframes for that effect. These radio buttons change color to indicate their state. A gray button indicates no keyframing is in effect for that setting. A green radio button indicates that keyframing is in effect for that setting. A blue radio button means that the current frame has a keyframe on it. This implementation makes it easy to tell the keyframing status of each setting at a glance. Pretty cool!
There are two top-level types of effects that you can apply in SpiceMASTER; Organics and Spices. Spices are a bit like a variation of the traditional wipes and fades, but they are much nicer to use because of the fact that you can configure every conceivable property. SpiceMASTER provides many familiar shapes as spices, shapes such as hearts, stars, starbursts, etc. However, it also has options for cracks and other cool effects that will set your video apart.
Where SpiceMASTER really shines is in organics. (The effect you see in figure 3 is an organic effect.) These effects are unlike any I've seen elsewhere and have a significant "oooh!" factor. In fact, when I demonstrated one of these effects to my wife, that's exactly what she said, and I have to tell you that she usually couldn't care less about seeing such things. Organics are so cool that you can quite literally lose yourself for hours as you tweak them. It's hard to actually settle upon one because every change brings about another "That's so cool!" reaction.
Pixelan offers many examples of what you can do with SpiceMASTER on their Web site. I encourage you to have a look.
Figuring It All Out
You may be looking at figure 3 and thinking that you can't possibly keep track of what all of those settings do. That would probably be true except that the documentation in SpiceMASTER is comprehensive and easily accessible. Simply click the question mark button in the upper-right corner and click on any setting for documentation on that setting, including screen shots and examples.
The SpiceMASTER interface is designed for experimentation. Every option has a slider that allows you to see both extremes for the option. As you're doing this, you can be looping the effect in Vegas's preview window so that you can see how your changes are affecting your video in realtime as you can with other effects in Vegas.