Four New Effects, Plus New Utilities and Enhancements to the Builder

GenArts released Sapphire 9, the latest version of its VFX plugin suite, with substantial improvements to the Effect Builder, including multiple transition nodes and animation curves for customizing effects.

"Builder is much more of a comprehensive tool in Sapphire 9, with workflow enhancements that guide you to advanced levels once you've mastered the basics," said Gen Arts Product Manager and Creative Director Brian Fox in a prepared statement. "We've added new compositing tools to better facilitate the creation of complex effects, including easier ways to blend images, work with alphas, and offset elements over time. We've also added animation graphs to all parameters in S_Effect, to take care of basic keyframing needs. And in S_Transition, you can now combine multiple transitions for more creative results."

Sapphire 9 also packs four new effects: BokehLights, for animating patterns of defocused lights; NightSky, for rendering an astronomically accurate starfield; Aurora, which mimics the Aurora Borealis; and InfiniteZoom, which creates a continuous-spiral effect. New tools include CutToDissolve, which allows a straight cut to be replaced with a dissolve, using optical-flow technology to generate frames when necessary, and RepairFrames, which automatically cleans up drop-outs, random noise, and other picture flaws.

GenArts says Sapphire 9 is the quickest release in Sapphire's history — v8 was released in December 2014. The new version is available free of charge to Upgrade and Support customers and current subscribers. 

Sapphire pricing depends on the host software. A permanent license for use with all "Group 1" hosts (DaVinci Resolve, The Foundry Nuke, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Maxon Cinema 4D. Other OFX, Autodesk Flare, and Autodesk Smoke) is $1,699, including one free year of Upgrade and Support, which is an additional $450/year thereafter. (Permanent licenses will continue to work after an Upgrade and Support plan expires, but are not eligible for free upgrades.) Adding Avid to the mix raises the price to $2,800 per license, but adding Autodesk Flame requires you to contact GenArts for a price quote. Subscriptions are available for a limited range of hosts: Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro, OpenFX (including Resolve and Nuke), and Autodesk Smoke for Mac. They cost $149 for three months and $499 for one year.