• Price: 1199 . 599

  • Pros: Groundbreaking real-time 3D motion graphics environment. Excellent effects and 3D object and text controls. High-quality output.

  • Cons: Expensive. Requires a very powerful computer. Needs more presets and effect controls.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

No-one likes waiting. Working in real-time is what all creative applications aspire to deliver, and motion graphics and compositing applications are one of the last areas to gain real-time functions.

This is hardly surprising considering the number of layers and effects in the average project. But, following on from the first real-time 2D motion graphics application, Apple Motion, Boris FX has released the first truly-professional real-time 3D compositor, Boris Blue.

Applications such as After Effects, Combustion, and Boris FX’s own Boris Red use the host computer’s RAM to preview effects, but this doesn’t run in real-time. Boris Blue uses the graphics card, utilizing all of the hardcore technology developed for throwing realistic-looking soldiers and aliens around in computer games. This enables you to mix video, audio, 3D models, extruded text, particles, and effects in 3D space without having to wait.

To do this, Boris Blue requires some serious graphics hardware. Blue’s real-time graphics engine works only with NVidia’s Quadro FX 4000 and 4500 workstation-class boards, or GeForce 6800 or 7800 series boards. While the FX 4000 and 4500 are excellent high-end 3D boards, we’d recommend 7800 boards – as for the cost of an FX board you can buy two 7800s and the SLI motherboard necessary to use them together, and get a huge boost in performance.

The minimum processor and RAM specifications are pretty hardcore, too. We tested Boris Blue on a Dell XPS desktop, kindly lent to us by the company. This machine is driven by a 3GHz Pentium D 930 processor with 2GB RAM, and two GeForce FX 7800GTX graphics cards.

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While most compositing applications, including Boris Red, offer tools for both motion graphics and visual effects creation, Boris Blue is focused on motion graphics. It offers few visual effects tools. There are very few effects filters, for example. You can install a wide range of AE-compatible plug-ins, but they won’t run in real-time. What Blue does offer, though, is groundbreaking.
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At its core, Boris Blue has a real-time preview engine that will be familiar to users of Final Cut Pro or Premiere Pro. The quality of the preview drops as more elements are added – though you have the option of a non-real-time frame-by-frame preview for quality checking. 
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You have a choice of High or Draft Quality for previews, though most of the time you’ll be working in Draft mode as even on our ultra-powerful test machine, quite simple compositions jerked along in High Quality mode. There’s a RAM preview if you really are pushing it. 
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