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Boris FX makes Particle Illusion available for free

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 | Posted by Jim Thacker

 
Boris FX has released a free standalone version of Particle Illusion, the GPU-accelerated 2D particle generator that forms part of its Continuum suite of effects plugins.

The standalone edition, which can be used with any compositing application, including After Effects, Fusion and Nuke, lacks Mocha planar tracking, but is otherwise a pretty fully featured product.

In addition, Boris FX has made the commercial edition – previously only available as part of Continuum or its Particles unit – available as a dedicated $295 Continuum premium filter.

Generate 2D particle systems and render them with motion blur at resolutions up to 8K
One of the first After Effects particle plugins for motion graphics or VFX work, Particle Illusion was later bought by GenArts, itself then acquired by Boris FX in 2016.

In 2018, Boris FX announced that it was ‘rebooting’ the product under the leadership of orignal developer Alan Lorence, with the new GPU-accelerated version being released as part of Continuum 2019.

The new standalone edition makes that toolset available free to users of any compositing application.

It includes most of the key features of the paid version, supporting unlimited particles and particle emitters, the layer system, forces and deflectors, and integrated particle motion blur.

The software is capable of rendering particles at resolutions up to 8K.

So what can’t you do in the free edition?
Unlike the commercial version, it isn’t possible to import a background video layer into the standalone edition of Particle Illusion in order to develop and composite a particle system in context.

Instead, users will need to render particles in a format like ProRes 4444 with an alpha channel, in order to combine them with the source footage in their compositing software.

In addition, the standalone edition lacks the integrated tracking capabilities provided in the commercial version by Boris FX’s Mocha planar tracking technology.

However, Boris FX hints that both limitations may be removed in future: Mocha integration is not “yet” supported, while the lack of integrated compositing “may change in future as we develop Particle Illusion”.

Other than that, the free version lacks integrated particle glow, and doesn’t come with active product support, but it looks to be a pretty powerful application in its own right.

Pricing and system requirements
Particle Illusion 2020.5 is available free for Windows 7+ and macOS 10.12+.

The commercial edition is available a $295 Continuum premium filter for After Effects, DaVinci Resolve and Fusion, Media Composer, Nuke, Premiere Pro and Vegas Pro.

It is also available as part of Continuum itself, which costs from $695 to $1,995 according to the host applications, or as part of the $399 Continuum Particles unit.

 
Download GPU-accelerated 2D particle generator Particle Illusion for free from Boris FX’s website

See a feature comparison table for the free and commercial editions of Particle Illusion

Read Boris FX’s online FAQs for the free edition of Particle Illusion

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