Full Flares ahead! (Updated)

Update: There seems to be an issue with font embedding in the docs, so they don’t look exactly what I intended. I’m looking into the matter and will try to rectify it. The font issue is now fixed. Download again for an updated version. Also there have been questions regarding printing. Rest assured that there will be printable versions, it just doesn’t make sense the way it is now – unless you do have access to a A2 large format printer. It would require a different formatting and pagination to make it usable (and retain readability) on standard A4 size printers. Also I’m waiting for any potential errors to be reported, so I can fix them. Original text below.

At long last I finished my lens flare plug-in comparison chart for After Effects that I had been working on and off for the last 3 months. It was quite a bit of work and had quite a few challenges. One of those was getting a better handle on my Excel skills after being somewhat let down by InDesign as already reported. Another was to come up with a good rating and scoring system to "objectify" things. Of course that in itself is a slight paradox and can never work 100%. We all have a certain opinion on such matters based on our workflow experiences and needs and no matter what, any such chart is going to be biased one way or the other, but I hope I have succeeded at least somewhat. At least I can say that having used all the tools over the years and some of them quite extensively I feel like I have something to say about the matter and the continued popularity of the lens flare presets on my download site seems to speak in my favor. Regardless, some things should be taken with a grain of salt and not dead serious – plug-ins can be great even without my tender care providing presets. ;-) A last challenge is keeping it all straight. In a way it’s funny – you use those tools regularly, but when you actually need to describe them, you end up mumbling your way through like "I know there’s a button for this…." and then you end up firing up After Effects and applying the plug-in just so you can verify how an option is actually labeled and where it’s situated.

And now for the good part. So which of those tools is the best? Pretty obviously Optical Flares firmly sits on the throne to rule them all, but…. There’s always a "but", is there not? Things are not that easy because, you know, the runner-ups are actually pretty close and only need to get a few things right to come up to par or overtake. Of course the one thing that unites them all is the editor and to say that Video CoPilot‘s product hasn’t inspired the others as well would be completely untrue. On the other hand the other tools have been around much longer, so in a way this becomes a story of missed opportunities and missed chances for greatness on some level. Well, you can find all that out and much more by just having a peek at the full thing. And since I wanted to provide an as broad as possible perspective, I’ve actually even added an appendix to share some of my secrets and dirty little tricks of years doing lens flares.

Lens Flare Plug-Ins Factsheet
Lens Flare Plug-Ins Factsheet Appendix

Important: The files are designed to print formats, but cannot actually be printed or placed, so save yourself the headache and don’t even try.

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