ProDAD Adorage Magic test and review

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ProDAD Adorage Magic

Adorage Magic PC started off as a clever variant of the gradient wipe. But over the years, it has developed into a huge seven-volume suite of effects. Possibilities range from specialised dissolves to particles, split screens and picture-in-picture effects. All of these work as transitions, and all via the same applet, which has evolved since the original Classic version but still operates in essentially the same way.
As the product has developed, host application support has increased. The plug-in now works within Adobe Premiere, Adobe Premiere Pro, Ulead Media Studio and Video Studio, Canopus Edit and Edius, Pinnacle Edition and Studio, MoviePack and DVSuite, Fast 601, MainConcept MainActor, Data Becker Professional Video Producer, and Sony Vegas Video (the latter via a DirectShow plug-in that could work with other editing apps not named here).

The long install
With seven volumes, across eight CDs, Adorage in its entirety is a huge install. Even when using the lower-resolution graphics option, the whole set comes to a massive 1.8GByte, and it took us the best part of an hour to set up the lot. The version we received for review was in individual CD form. Each CD installed an updated version of the standalone app plus plug-ins for any editing apps detected.
Each CD contains a different amount of graphics data, ranging from a few MByte to nearly 600MByte. There is an option to run the volumes directly from CD, but we found that choosing this confused the installation routine and prevented the app or plug-ins from detecting that any effects volumes were installed at all. The only way to recover was to uninstall Adorage completely and start again, working from the first CD onwards, so that the standalone app wasn't overwritten with an older version. As each new volume is installed, the app will detect a new addition and trigger a splash screen on first loading. After this has cleared, the new effects will be available in the applet. We were advised to register each volume separately before installing the next.
ProDAD now sells the plug-ins and app separately from the graphics data, so it should no longer be necessary to install in the correct sequence. Only the very latest version of the plug-ins includes software that works with Premiere Pro 1.5 - the previous Premiere plug-in causes Premiere Pro to present an error message as it loads, and Adorage won't be available to use once the software has started. We performed most of our testing with Premiere Pro 1.5, but we also found that the plug-in worked in the same way with Ulead Video Studio 8 and Canopus Edius 2.0.

It's questionable whether any editor needs all of the transitions on offer with the entire Adorage Magic collection. However, quite a few are very eye-catching, and many are appropriately focused on important areas such as wedding videography. Although some of the options are cheesy, particularly the ones using objects, this may be just what is required for certain kinds of commercial or home videomaking.
We found the Adorage applet and plug-in very responsive to work with, because it uses single-frame placeholders instead of the full video for previews. It was also gratifying to see that all of the effects we tried were previewed with a reasonable frame-rate within Premiere Pro, and there was no need to render to get a good enough idea of how they looked. Our Matrox RT.X100 editing hardware output the effects to a TV monitor, too.
What Adorage is doing is actually quite simple - it's really just an extension of alpha gradient wipes. Although some of the effects look sophisticated, they're all essentially based on pre-defined graphics sequences. This is what is contained on the seven volumes available for purchase. Still, they look a lot more elaborate than straight alpha-gradient wipes, such as Pixelan's SpiceRack gradients.
The big question is whether so many 2D transition options are really required. Anyone who answers yes to this question should give Adorage Magic PC a try, starting with the Classic or Particles and Light volumes. Event videographers could find the Universal Tricks volume's themed transitions useful. The whole seven volumes may be overkill, but a few volumes of Adorage transitions would make a useful addition to any editing toolkit. And, the collections and the plug-ins aren't overly expensive, so are certainly worth consideration since ProDAD is offering CV readers a 50 per cent reduction on these and all other products in its range, including the Heroglyph titler (review, p74) and Mediabooster media collection.

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Reviewed in this issue:

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5
Adobe Encore DVD 1.5

Adobe After Effects 6.5

Canon Bubble Jet i865
ProDAD Heroglyph
ProDAD Adorage Magic

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