Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ProEXR 1.9 beta

There have been some significant changes in the world of OpenEXR this year, so it's time to incorporate some of them into ProEXR. The changes are big enough that I felt it best to release 1.9 in beta form and leave ample time for testing and feedback. Download links and more details after the jump.

Monday, December 16, 2013

WebM and Theora plug-ins for Premiere (beta)

When people think about video in HTML5, they usually think H.264. But many browsers also support Theora (.ogv) and WebM, two video formats that have the advantage of being truly open, with no patent licensing fees required for the privilege of using them.

Theora and WebM actually share a common heritage in the VPX codecs created by On2 Technologies. On2 gave their VP3 codec to the Xiph.Org Foundation in 2001, while Google got VP8 when it acquired On2 in 2010. Now both codecs, once proprietary, are open source and freely available, attempting to unseat H.264 as the preferred web video format.

The only problem is that my favorite video editor, Adobe Premiere Pro, has no way of reading or writing these formats…until now. I've taken the open source encoders and built Premiere plug-ins around them (they also work in Adobe Media Encoder). The plug-ins themselves are open source as well, currently in a beta release. Find download links in the ReadMe on their respective GitHub pages:

The Theora repository also has a plug-in for using Ogg/Vorbis, Opus, and FLAC audio files in Premiere. Vorbis is a similarly free alternative to MP3 (Both Theora and WebM use it for audio compression), Opus is a new high-quality codec, and FLAC is the Free Lossless Audio Codec.

WebM is actively being developed by Google. There is talk of supporting alpha channels and lossless compression in the future. If they follow through, WebM could become a reasonable movie format for use in production.

Please download, experiment, and send feedback. And enjoy!

Update: the WebM plug-in is now released!

WebP plug-in for Photoshop (beta)

A side project of the Google's WebM open source video format is WebP, a still image format based on the VP8 codec. WebP supports both lossless and lossy compression and claims to do each better than PNG (lossless) and JPEG (lossy). WebP also supports an alpha channel.

I was naturally curious about this new format, so I've made a Photoshop plug-in to use it. Like WebP itself, the plug-in is open source and currently in beta release. Download links can be found by visiting my WebM project on GitHub.

There is an entirely seperate open source WebP plug-in available from Telegraphics if you want to try that too.

Update: In 2019 Google posted their own Photoshop plug-in, which includes a preview. Download it from the GitHub page.