Optical Flares A Game Changer for Knoll Light Fact

Looking at the few sneak peaks we have seen of Video Copilot’s new lens flare plug-in, Optical Flares, it is already looking like it could be massive competition for the leading Lens Flare generator, Knoll Light Factory. Yeah, KLF has been around for ages, but time is showing, and although it is very popular among its users, its got a steep price and an ancient looking interface.

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interesting…nice…guess I’ll stick with Kramer’s plugin :wink:

Yeah i am really looking forward to this plugin!

Can’t wait.

Was never much of a fan of Knoll. I rather like making custom lens flares actually.

There’s not many lens flares that look much like the lens flares that real lenses create.

If Mr. Kramer’s comes close, I’ll be buying it. $139 seems pretty reasonable too.


I’m sure they will look very realistic. I’m pretty sure a big part of Optical Flares came after Kramer’s work on the new Star Trek, which if you saw it you’ll know, there was a lens flare every 4 minutes.

4 minutes… try every 4 seconds. haha

Personally I think that this is going to knock Knoll outta the park. Sad to say, I love Red Giant, but if they don’t pull a huge update soon on Knoll, they are in big trouble.

True. I love that someone finally wrote 3D into the plugin. the knoll Lens flares are way to flat.

Here is a more detailed peak at the plug in and its interface. Just jump about halfway through this video past AK’s ramblings to see the part about the Optical Flares plug in.


I'm sure they will look very realistic. I'm pretty sure a big part of Optical Flares came after Kramer's work on the new Star Trek, which if you saw it you'll know, there was a lens flare every 4 minutes.

Really? every 4 seconds? sorry haven’t seen the movie yet, rent it tomorrow, lol :slight_smile:

Felt: don’t you think it takes a long time to create a lens flare instead of using the plugin? well, guess depends on the project and budget :wink:

Wow, incredible work by Kramer by only $139?? Red Giant is in big trouble as you said Topher. Question: Why is Kramer willing to sell something cheaper worth a bunch of more dollars?

He will get tons of sales just by the fact is a cheap plugin. In my opinion, people will buy the Kramers lens flare withouth actually using them later just because its “made in Videocopilot” People often think of better get something cheap and achieve some great results that getting an expensive plugin that in the end they don’t use a lot. The other day I was looking at the Genarts sapphire plugin, which are amazing, but really expensive. Of course plugins are for different markets but the fact of getting an product by $139 instead of using the knoll, make me bite the bullet. Guess Red Giant is aware of Kramer’s hit.

Will love to get the Genarts, though :slight_smile:

He prices below the competition. smart move. Also he has a super freakish cult following. (kinda scary actually)

haha it really is scary…

Andrew is smart… its the same reason why Action Essential 3 is so cheap for what you get… if you price things at what they SHOULD be, some will buy… if its below that… all will buy.

haha it really is scary...

Andrew is smart… its the same reason why Action Essential 3 is so cheap for what you get… if you price things at what they SHOULD be, some will buy… if its below that… all will buy.


I realy cant wait for this anymore,did you guys see the interface of this mad plugin.I love KLF but wow OF is levels above.

how about that… mister AK has even more surprises in store for us :slight_smile: The VC Preset Network …
good news or what?

drewling on his keyboard

I am with felt_tips.
I’ve always created and will continue to create my flares custom.
It doesn’t take that long. But for a entry level compositor I can see where it would come in handy.
My only concern is that I see the Andrew Kramer look flooding the mograph world.
About 60% of all the demo reels I see anymore are just modified tutorials off of his site.
Not to mention Digital Juices stock footage toolkits are cheaper and generally more robust then Kramers.
The Proscores loops he has out are awesome. I hope soon he will release something a bit more toned down though because the majority of commercial & industrial work can’t feature tipani’s & elaborate string sections. lol

I’d agree with Kyle there… 5-10 mins to create a custom flare, based on observations of real lens flares and how they actually look and move.

Most experienced motion graphics folks can spot a lens flare preset from about a million miles away. And some of the ways that lens flares are used is nothing short of criminal! :wink:

I find them useful when used subtly and sparingly. They’re brilliant for binding additive light elements together and blowing out exposure. But generally in motion graphics circles, heavy handed use of flares is considered pretty cheap and tacky.

There is a burgeoning training community for motion graphics on the web. As sites like Video Copilot bring the technical skills to an ever increasing audience, we’ll find ever more files that are Kramer clones. Increasingly, day rates for After Effects ‘ops’ will plummet - as they have done in real terms for the last decade or so.

But on the positive side as the tool becomes ubiquitous and the hardware increasingly available, then the medium will be forced to become about invention and creativity again. Those who are being hired for their creative ability will command rates massively above those who are applying ‘techniques’ that they’ve picked up from Copilot or elsewhere. In other words, it will break down into the art and the craft.

The problem is that if you only look at work that’s exactly in the field you work in, you will always end up imitating. Kneeling before the temple of Kramer is not the path to visual enlightenment. Motion graphics artists should be looking at photography, animation, film-making, painting, the world. I mean look at some of the motion graphics that were created years before computers even existed. Personally, my biggest motion graphics training has been far away from a computer, behind a camera. Thinking how you conceptualise and plan a scene in real life brings so much insight into how to break down and conceptualise motion graphics… from the ‘lens’ you use to the camera choreography, action, editing and so on.


One other thing… Lens flares aren’t supposed to be 3D are they? They exist in the lens - an artefact of internally reflected light - not in the world.


so yeah … it is coming and loving it even more http://www.videocopilot.net/products/opticalflares/ the features are crazy !

Yeah I’ll definitely be getting Kramer’s Optical Flares. It looks like a hugely useful plug-in.

felt_tips is right; you really should avoid using lens flares presets if you want to be taken seriously. The same goes for any preset, though. Your demo reel should show that you can solve problems and come up with something great yourself, so an obvious tutorial or preset is very damaging to your reel.

I definitely agree with you, Kyle, about his look flooding the market. The thing I’m concerned about is that lens flares are going to be completely driven into the ground; even the more subtle uses. It’s demo reel suicide to have anything Andrew Kramer-ish in your demo reel (I hate to say it because his tutorials are great). I thought growing vine elements were fantastic when I learned it in school, but once his preset came out, it was all over. The same with the Twitch effect and more.

Whiiiile we’re on the subject, it came as quite a shock to me when I figured out how little you can be paid doing motion graphics these days. The recession combined with the overabundance of new animators has really driven rates down. You’re right felt-tips, being a designer will command much higher rates than an After Effects animator now. I think it’s interesting to think about what a massive influence Kramer has had on the After Effects world. He’s made it harder in some ways, but I think quality and creativity is going to be much more important now, and really rise to the top.

Much as I don’t want to like it, it does look rather good. I still don’t get what’s 3D about a lens flare though.

I’ve got a project coming up straight after the release date that might make good use of a lens flare or two, perhaps I’ll dive in and check it out.


Much as I don't want to like it, it does look rather good. I still don't get what's 3D about a lens flare though.

Isn’t the 3D saying that the lens flares will be 3D layers in AE now, so you can move them back in Z-space and they can follow 3D layers around and such? I’m asking because I don’t even know, but that’s what I always assumed. That was always an annoying problem with Knoll.