Effects from the Drawer

Yupp, everybody loves me for my quickfire mouth and so inevitably I do clash a lot with people. The latest incident revolves around César‘s polygon unwrap/ peel/ curl plug-in which I perhaps a pit too quickly declared as getting tiring after using it for two projects. Of course, as someone said in that discussion on CGTalk there could and will be any number of uses beyond the shown motion graphics-y examples, but, and ultimately that is my point, will it happen?

The issue I see with these types of plug-ins is that people seem to fall in love with these “canned looks” and then overuse them without giving much thought to how these tools could be used more creatively. A prominent victim of this is in fact for instance Plexus. Ever since it came out you see those wobbly meshes on every fake UI in movies. Just two weeks ago I saw Skyfall for the first time (never bothered to get it on DVD) and lo and behold, there it was to depict some weird fictional encryption.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using such effects, if only they wouldn’t settle for making it cheesy and unsophisticated using default settings. Makes me wonder if the designers working on this stuff actually even bother to get into the finer points of a plug-in or just slap it on. I understand that there is only so many ways to skin a cat, but can you please try to not be a preset monster?

Am I the only one that thinks it’s weird that we have all these tools with all their versatility at hand, yet you can always tell which plug-ins have been used on a piece? I can recognize many of my flare presets I created for Sapphire and Optical Flares from miles away, somehow the swirly presets in Particular still seem en vogue and one can just see when certain Magic Bullet Looks presets have been dumped onto some footage. *sigh*

Back to the matter at hand – while the unwrap plug-in is no doubt a feat of engineering (figuring out indices and pick paths based on proximity/ adjacency can be quite tricky), I don’t see it lasting forever. There is only so many times you can see text being spliced apart before it gets old. That’s how it is with motion graphics – everything is a trend, a fad that lasts for half a year and by the time everyone rehashes tutorials it is already beginning to fade into oblivion. Nobody cares for kinetic type anymore or flat shaded polygons already.

This will be no different and if you need an example right in front of your eyes just look at the MoSpline in Cinema 4D. Created at the height of “swirlies” it has those built-in spiral extensions to facilitate such stuff, but have you actually ever used them? I haven’t a single time, which in a way, I guess, illustrates my point…

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