Red Giant today released Magic Bullet Suite 11, which includes a major update to Magic Bullet Looks, and a new effect called Cosmo for doing cosmetic retouches.
When I first designed Magic Bullet Looks, it was with the fundamental idea that a powerful tool can be fun to use. What the many creative users of Looks have taught me over the years is that a fun tool can be incredibly powerful. The new Looks is simpler and more elegant than the original, but also more capable. We’ve added support for popular video output boards, new scopes to help you dial in colors, and new creative tools such as Lens Distortion and Haze/Flare. We’ve also completely revamped the interface.
Cosmo is a simple effect that does only one thing, and does it really well. It makes people look great. If you’ve used the tools in Mojo or Colorista II for tuning skin tones and reducing blemishes, you’ll be right at home with Cosmo. We broke it out into its own effect because sometimes that’s all you need, but there’s also a Cosmo Tool in Looks.
“Looks 2,” as we’ve been calling it internally, posed an interesting challenge. We’ve had enough time watching people use Looks (four years!) to learn what they like and don’t like. It basically boils down to power and simplicity. Looks users wield easy, fun control of a powerful set of creative tools. That’s something you don’t want to mess with. We considered a number of enhancements, but ultimately rejected several as adding too much complexity to the Looks experience. However, we did rebuild Looks on a solid foundation that will allow more frequent updates in the future, so please keep those feature requests coming.
In the meantime, here’s what I consider to be the standout features of Looks 2. First is the new UI. Designed by Mark Coleran, it’s the same Magic Bullet Looks full-screen UI, but cleaned up, modernized, and simplified.
The scopes are now in a scrolling column on the left. You can show or hide them all together, or twirl open just the ones you want. You can even reorder them.
The Hue/Saturation scope works like a format-agnostic vectorscope, complete with flesh tone line. But as much as video pros love to use that line to guide their corrections, I couldn’t help but feel that there should be easier ways. So Looks 2 features the skin overlay from Mojo and Colorista II, but in a much better implementation, since you can just leave it on all the time if you like — you’ll never accidentally render it.
But maybe even cooler than the overlay is the new Memory Colors scope. As I wrote a while back, an image will appear well-balanced when the colors of certain objects appear to match our memory of what they should be. Examples include blue skies, green foliage and people. Wherever your image is hitting the memory color targets, the Memory Colors scope will light up.
Looks now features some powerful tools from Colorista II, such as the three-way color corrector and the Ranged HSL Tool, which allows you to adjust individual colors with ease. There’s also a fun new Lens Distortion Tool that allows you to remove or introduce barrel and pincushion distortion, and a Haze/Flare tool that simulates light bouncing around chaotically inside a funky, uncoated lens.
We’ve also improved some of the classic Looks Tools. For example, you can now control the aspect ratio of a vignette. Of course you can continue to use all of your original Looks presets, including any Guru Packs you might have.
Maybe the most subtle improvement of the suite is that it’s now much easier to install. One installer manages all the plug-ins.
Director Seth Worley created a hilarious and awesome short film called Plot Device that shows off the new suite and celebrates a filmmaking spirit that anyone reading this site can appreciate. We showed the film at the simultanious tweet-ups in New York, Portland, and San Francisco last night to a huge response. And I don’t think it was just because of the free drinks.
Magic Bullet Looks is the flagship of the Magic Bullet Suite, and I’m thrilled to give it the update it has long deserved. I hope you have a blast with it.
You might be curious about support for Final Cut Pro X. As I mentioned last week, Red Giant was not given any advanced access to FCP X, so our investigation of its third-party support began last week when the world got their hands on Apple’s controversial new offering. Jokes aside, we’re excited about the potential of FCP X, and we’re working hard to support it. There are some speed bumps and roadblocks to that process though. It’s been an interesting week for Final Cut Pro users. Some are lovingly embracing the sleek innovations of FCP X, and some are rapidly moving to other platforms. Either way, our sense is that you’re probably still doing your important editing on something other than FCP X — so like Red Giant President Andrew Little said in his Red Room blog post, “Red Giant will be ready for FCP X when FCP X is ready for you.”