Review – Diopter for After Effects Adds Blurs, Coloration, and Lens Distortion to Your Footage
Diopter is a plugin for Adobe After Effects which allows fast and easy optical effects to footage and comps. If you’ve ever used Lensbaby products on your camera setup you can get similar effects now within AE in addition to a bunch of extra digital alterations.
I decided to review the general features of the plugin before I was going to purchase so excuse the watermarked “X” in my examples. If you can’t overlook the watermark maybe have a look at becoming a salesman because you lack ability to visualize in your mind’s eye.
The main interface, pictured above, allows for many adjustable options from types of blurs to the degrees of rotation of the iris. Everything is laid out cleanly and is self explanatory. If any of it looks overwhelming to you, Diopter ships with 30 presets you can build off of and learn what each option changes. Most of the times the best way to learn.
I found the plugin to be easy to work with and relatively responsive. What about render times? I lack a method to be able to test apples-to-apples, so I suppose the easiest way to gauge is to just encode raw video frames (CinemaDNG) to a Quicktime and compare the time with and without the plugin active. I selected the preset Glitch for this.
Encoding Times (CinemaDNG to Quicktime H.264)
- Plugin Inactive – 30s
- Plugin Active – 2m
So if that is the only plugin/effect you will be applying you can expect a render time increase along the lines of that. I think it is pretty quick when you see the quality and complexity of the result. Especially compounded if you factor in the time you would encounter duplicating this effect manually with duplication, masking, and blend nodes.
Right now I think it is a must-have in the toolbox. Up until August 18, Diopter is discounted from $39.99 to $19.99 and at that sub $20 price I think well worth it. If you find yourself doing a lot of social media video work this kind of dramatic filtration is usable on an almost daily basis. Regardless of the genre $19.99 is hard to pass up. At the full retail $39.99 point, I think the value is dependent on what other plugins you have, coupled with the time you would take to recreate the more unique effects manually.
Check out Diopter on aescripts.com
- 30 HD presets
- Presets Gallery
- 17 Video footages
- 19 Still footages
- User Guide