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Plugin Talk: Going Native

There is a lot of talk going on recently in the After Effects world about plugins. While there are many new exciting plugins that are coming out this year, there are quite a few plugins that won’t be compatible when the next version of After Effects comes out. Amidst all of this, I have a little announcement to make. Both of my plugins Separate RGB and Bad TV will be going native pretty soon. That means, they will no longer be Pixel Bender plugins, but instead they will be Native Compiled plugins utilizing the AE SDK. Now compared to all the big-wigs in the plugin market, my plugins are not a big deal. But I just want to explain my interesting journey from using AE to developing native plugins. Back in the day, I was addicted to the Radio Waves plugin, but I desperately needed 3D Camera support and a faster rendering capability. So after googling for a while, I found out some easy ways of making plugins for AE. But none of them are production ready and universally compatible. Then I came across Pixel Bender Toolkit, which an amazing language to create filters for photoshop, shaders for Flash and Effects for After Effects. Even though, Pixel Bender is a great for creating Image Distortion effects, there is no native support for AE timeline and Camera functions. This might change in the future, but it is always advantageous to develop plugins utilizing the native SDK. Not only, prior versions of AE can be supported but various things specific to AE like Camera, Masks etc., can be implemented.

You might ask, “But, developing native plugins in C/C++ is very complicated. How can you do it?” In terms of syntax, it might be a little bit complicated. But from my experience, the principles of programming always stay the same irrespective of the language or syntax. The same question popped up when I was developing in Pixel Bender. But, in reality the syntax is easier than AE scripting, but the concepts of Image processing matter. In conclusion, thanks to the help of kind developers at the SDK forum, I don’t think it will be a problem.

Beta Testers:
If you are interested to beta test the plugins please signup to the following group. You’ll need a Google account to Signup.
I will periodically update them with new builds and your input will be very helpful.

Note: All existing customers for Bad TV Pixel Bender will get a free update when the native plugin is released. So you need not wait until the native plugin is released ;)