Roxio Creator 2011 Review
I have not used Roxio for a few years. I remember it being a good program, but nothing to really set it apart. However, this year’s release, Roxio Creator 2011, has really outdone itself! Not only does it include a very full set of editing software, but it gives you the ability to produce 3D images AND 3D video! I was skeptical at first, but ended up being pleasantly surprised at the results that came out of this new software suite
Let’s jump right into the coolest new feature of Roxio Creator 2011 – and that is the ability to create 3D images. The ability to view 3D images through red/blue(cyan) glasses is basically the same as it has been for decades. But now Roxio Creator 2011 makes it super simple to produce and print your own 3D pictures. I couldn’t help but be impressed with the realism of the images we printed. But even more so, your kids will love to have their picture transformed into a 3D image. One set of basic 3D paper glasses is provided, but you’ll definitely want to order some more. The 3D media produced with Roxio Creator can also be used with just about any pair of 3D glassess, including the active shutter glasses that come with the new 3D TVs. These actually do the 3D images and movies created with Creator, a lot more justice than the included blue/red pair.
The process for creating 3D pictures in Roxio is laid out very simply. First you select one 2D image or two 2D images, then simply press “Next” and “voila!” you have a 3D picture. If the software does not line it up just right, the controls are right there to move things around on your own until it looks good. There is not much of a learning curve involved. After just 10-15 minutes of playing with the controls and trying out a few different pictures, I was able to produce some good results.
I must say though, using a single 2D picture to produce a 3D image, did not always achieve a satisfying 3D picture. And that is not the fault of the software. Pictures with vertical objects, clearly separated by size and/or distance seem to work better. Group shots of people produced pleasing results too. You’ll have to experiment a bit to find what will work the best, but the good news is that it takes only a few seconds to convert. So you can go through a number of images in a short time.
However, if you import two 2D pictures, the result is amazing. All you need to do is take one picture and then move the camera slightly, maybe 3 to 6 inches to one side or the other and take the second. Believe me, it’s not that hard. Even if your camera tilted slightly, you can fix the rotation in the program. And if you your subject did not move, you will get a great 3D picture. Best of all, you don’t need to have a special 3D camera to take these pictures – any digital camera will do the job.
Roxio creator 2011 also gives you the option to convert standard 2D videos into a 3D movie. With 3D video, the results were not as dramatic. The concept is good, but you are not going to end up with “Avatar-like” 3D movies – That is if you are using a standard video camera. This software does however support many 3D formats, including RealD, but those formats require a specialized camera and/or a specialized monitor to view. Either way, if you are considering moving to the ‘next level’ of video editing (i.e. 3D movies) Roxio Creator 2011 is definitely for you and it’s actually the first consumer oriented software of its kind to allow users to create and edit 3D footage.
But now back to using your standard 2D video footage. As with the images, the 3D conversion process is simple. And actual conversion is fairly quick considering what it is doing. If you are making home movies, especially of your kids, you’ll enjoy the novelty. That said, the results are cool, but not outstanding. I experimented with different qualities of source videos, but it did not seem to make much difference. I was disappointed that there are no options to make adjustments as there are with the 3D images.
But again, like with the images, to get stunning results you will need to choose your subjects carefully. Roxio has the following recommendations:
- Any effect that blurs edges in a video, like blurring or film grain, or otherwise distorts the content, like ripple or relief, may lessen the perception of depth in the 3D video.
- Color adjustments on video to be distributed in anaglyph format may interfere with the Red/Cyan coloring used to produce this output.
- When outputting in Red/Cyan anaglyph format, VideoWave will convert some reddish colors to black, which is a technology limitation of the Red/Cyan anaglyph format.
- In general, be conservative in your first few 3D projects until you learn how to maximize your 3D videos. Then start spreading your creative wings.
Watch 2D commercial DVDs in 3D
Although the conversion of my personal videos to 3D was not great, the software did an amazing job of converting a commercial film to 3D. And it did this as I watched, in real-time! I was thoroughly impressed with this. The movie did have a good 3D feel to it (it was a 2D version of Avatar). Playback was a bit choppy, but I attribute this more to my tired PC than to the software.
Seeing that the 3D worked much better with the commercial DVD, I tried to using a 30 second clip of the movie and converting it the way I had done my personal videos. I thought that perhaps a higher quality video would produce better results. But, unfortunately, the results were not great. This leads me to believe that the 3D conversion that is done in the video player is different than that of the video editor. Whether that is the case or not, the results are definitely different.
I’ll touch on a few that jumped out at me. First, just the sheer amount of features and utilities in Roxio Creator 2011 impressed me. I have never been a big fan of all-in-one video-editing suites. Usually because they only had 50-75% of the utilities that I needed. Or they were there, but some were sub-par. Not so with Creator. Here is a sample:
Data – Copy:
Creator 2011 offers burning of not just movie DVDs, but also a full featured Data Backup and Data DVD burning to single and double layer DVDs, CDs and (with a plug-in) Blu-ray discs. It also provides you with a fully editable label designer for your discs. And there is a widget that resides on the desktop for adding files to be burned. It works well, is simple to use, and produces a quick stable burn. At first I was not impressed, but after a few uses, I am done with my previous burning program.
Video – Movies:
The list of video formats that can be imported and exported is large! Especially when it comes to exporting video compatible with your iPhone or iPad.
The included video editor is good. I especially liked the Pan/Zoom editor.I did however experience a little trouble correctly identifying .MOD files recorded on a Panasonic camcorder. They were 16:9, but Creator saw them as 4:3. This however was fixed within 2-3 days after talking with tech support. They prepared a small patch and all was well.
Creator’s DVD player software itself is able to play many formats, including several 3D formats provided you have the equipment. It did fail to recognize a few menu buttons on at least one DVD. But, overall it is very nice. There is also a major plus to this player that I almost missed! It will convert your standard 2D video (from a DVD or on your computer) into 3D … in real-time, as you are watching the movie! (see above)
Music – Audio:
Aside from ripping music from CDs, Creator works well with iTunes, so no need to worry that there will be conflicts. But even more impressive is the included audio editing abilities.
Creator 2011 offers lots of fun things to do with your photos aside from the 3D stuff, like making calendars, cards, slideshows. It includes a panorama maker, yet it is unfortunately not the best.
And of course, Roxio Creator 2011 gives you the ability to easily upload your creations to YouTube or Facebook.
The suite’s help system is very nice. Not only are there pdfs available for download, but also video tutorials. I was disappointed that most of this was only available online, but in this Web 2.0 world we are always online, aren’t we.
If you are looking for a new video/audio editing suite, Roxio Creator 2011 is a great option that is packed with tons of value. And as a bonus you get 3D! Whether you are just starting to dabble with your new video camera or you have been doing it for years, Roxio Creator 2011 is for you. Overall, the suite simple to use, yet it has the power to do advanced projects. This is definitely the suite you’ll want to use for the next few years as 3D begins to get more popular. Roxio Creator 2011 retails for $99, and the Pro edition of Roxio Creator 3 is available for $129.
Good: Awesome 3D pictures! Brings 3D image and video creation to the masses, without the need for any special equipment. Excellent real-time conversion of Commercial DVDs to 3D. Provides a suite of good video editing tools. Includes many help/tutorial options. Lots and lots of features.
Bad: Conversion of my personal 2D video to 3D video was less than spectacular. Does not create the best panoramas.