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Issue: September 1, 2012

Review: NewBlueFX's Titler Pro

By: Jonathan Moser
PRODUCT: NewBlueFX’s Titler Pro

WEBSITE: www.newbluefx.com

PRICE: $299.95

- Powerful 2D/3D titling program with animation
- Intuitive, flexible, friendly
- Works within Avid environment

One of the perennial complaints you’ll hear from Avid users concerns the Title Tool in Media Composer. While great for basic slating and lower thirds, as well as crawls and scrolls, it’s basically unchanged since its introduction and has few bells and whistles. 

Several years back, Avid introduced Marquee within the title environment — it remains a powerful tool, capable of a tremendous amount of flexibility, animation and graphics work, and it is almost entirely ignored and unused by many Avid editors. 

There are other titling apps for Media Composer, but none as dynamic and robust as this new entry by NewBlueFX out of San Diego, a small company with a roster of useful cross-platform products for the most used editing systems.

The app is available for Avid Media Composer/Symphony, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 & 6, Final Cut Pro 7 & X, Grass Valley Edius 6, and Sony Vegas Pro 10 & 11 as well.

A CLOSER LOOK

Titler Pro is what Avid’s Title Tool should have been: it’s powerful, flexible, intuitive and fun. It is capable of a wide range of easy-to-implement customizations and effects. In fact, Titler Pro’s metaphor is closer to an After Effects-style interface than Avid’s title tool, encompassing add-on keyframes, layers, add-on effects and almost infinitely variable control over all elements on screen. 



It’s safe to say that if a user is familiar with Marquee, Motion, After Effects or Livetype, they’ll be up to speed in minutes. The timeline at the bottom behaves the same as the previously named packages allowing you to see what effects are being applied, what layer they’re on and allowing you to manipulate timing and other parameters.

Titler Pro’s installation is straightforward, and the effect comes up in the effects palette. The Titler effect icon is dropped right onto your video or on a track above it. When you click on the effect icon, you open up a screen-sized window, which is the Titler Pro UI, and you are met with a fairly familiar interface, but you don’t really leave Media Composer (no round-tripping here). 

When you first open up Titler Pro, a handy text placeholder pops up in the center of the screen. NewBlue calls each new item a Paragraph, and you can have as many as you like. Not only are the font characteristics (such as color, texture, font style, opacity, position, rotation and much more) changeable, but each element can be changed individually... letter by letter. The possibilities are limitless.



Controls are clearly and easily labeled, they all have sliders, numerical input and the rotation and position can be grabbed and manipulated from handles on the screen. Typically, you’d start by using the text placeholder and changing any and all attributes. Under the effects menu, you’ll find a large selection of animations and effects, and when you click on any, you see an automatic display of how that will affect your title — like Fall Back, Letter Jump, Word Jump — in addition to being able to access a wide range of transition effects to bring on titles. 

Motion interpolation is customizable to allow you to change the way your items come on or off and how they move through the frame.

What’s really cool is that as you go through this wide array of selections, you don’t have to click on them to see how your Paragraph will look. You just hover, and the selection’s effect will temporarily display on your Paragraph. 

There is also a whole directory of shapes that you can use in addition to fonts to enhance your pages... these can all be moved, sized, rotated via mousing — and they are manipulatable in 3D space, as are all the fonts. Creating and saving styles is simplified also... no need to reinvent the wheel when you have a look you like. 

In addition to Titler Pro effects that are built in, Titler Pro can use all the filters from NewBlue’s other AVX effects packages — glows, blurs, transitions, paint effects, a huge library to choose from. Since each effect can be applied without limit to each paragraph, you’ll never run out of looks. 

In addition to fonts, you can also import other visual files into Titler, so photos and other types of artwork can be used (much like After Effects or Motion), and these can be treated the same way with filters and transitions from various NewBlue packages.

3D implementation is fairly robust with certain limitations; and it is pretty much true 3D. You can manipulate all 3D axis on-screen, including Z-depth, and see smooth 3D translations even while manipulating with the mouse. Again, a large assortment of 3D treatments are readily available, making getting up to speed simple. 

If I have any real complaints it’s here in the 3D department. I would have liked to see more texture, reflection and depth mapping — the ability to have interactive surfaces and light sourcing effects. Right now many of the 3D styles are a bit too cartoony for 2012 work. I have to add that in discussions with NewBlue about these concerns, I was told these and other features will be in the next iteration of NewBlue Titler.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I can’t emphasize enough the uniqueness of some of these looks, transitions and effects. Editors are constantly searching for new looks to give shows signature styles — we’ve seen the same glows, blurs and lighting effects a million times. NewBlue brings some fresh new looks, simply implemented and tremendously customizable — at really reasonable prices. Add to that this major re-imagining of a powerful and usable titler for Media Composer and you have a major production tool we have been too long without.