• Price: 50

  • Company: DigiEffects

  • Pros: Low-cost; great lighting tools for motion-graphics artists; innovative preset and randomize system.

  • Cons: Subtle effects difficult to achieve; usable mainly with high-contrast footage.

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

Lighting is one of the hardest real-world phenomena to replicate with VFX. The intricate play of photons across surfaces is something five-frames-an-hour 3D rendering engines have trouble with, so few compositing suites or their plug-ins can do it properly.

The most popular plug-in for lighting is part of GenArts Sapphire (which was reviewed here as part of our group test of visual effects plug-ins collections), which costs between £305 and £860 depending on how many other of the top-notch plug-ins you want – so DigiEffects’ launch of a lighting-specific set will be welcome news to creative pros
on smaller budgets.

Simulate: Illuma includes five filters: Halo, Lightracer, Luminus, Photogust and Radiance. Halo simulates lens diffraction caused by light sources that are directly in shot, Lightracer mimics phosphorescent lighting, and Luminus is a traditional glow effect. Photogust is an expanded version of a light rays effects, while Radiance is a glow effect with
per-colour channel controls.

Each filter includes a fairly large number of parameters – between 10 and 20 – plus some innovative preset tools. All have six buttons at the top of the Effect Controls/Filters palette: four numbered buttons, Record and Randomize. The numbered buttons allow access to some standard presets for the effect. Record allows you to save your current settings to a file, which can be manually renamed to replace these presets – which is fiddly but makes it almost impossible to accidentally delete your presets. This somewhat replicates After Effects’ Animation Presets, but is quicker on a day-to-day basis.