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          REVIEW: BRILLIANCE: REAL TIME SOLUTIONS TUTORIAL TAPES
               By:  Jason Compton  and  Katherine Nelson 
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Back in 1993, Horizon West Productions came up with a 3-hour video tape
series dedicated to Brilliance-specifically, demonstrating its ease of use
and power in specific, real-world areas such as logo creation and
animation.  Each tape is roughly one hour in length, designed and presented
by Larry Shultz.

Aside from a short introductory and concluding segment where Shultz
addresses the viewer, the screen constantly displays Brilliance as it is
being used, uninterrupted except for a few instances when the film is
edited ahead to avoid such annoyances as the rendering of 150 frames of
animation.

The tapes are not beginner-level material and presume a certain familiarity
and comfort level with Brilliance.  The issues being addressed are supposed
to be those of the video professional, trying to design and create projects
using Brilliance.

Tape 1
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The first video focuses on two-dimensional static logo creation.  Shultz,
in real time (hence the name of the series) designs two logos-one, a
fictional corporate logo for "Scarab", consisting of a cleverly
color-filled flying beetle and appropriately nifty font and a fictional TV
news segment, "Health Beat" intro screen.  While it's clear that some
forethought has gone into each project (such as color selection for the
gradient fills), the end results clearly demonstrate that, with a steady
hand and some planning, very nice logos can be created in about 30 minutes.

Tape 2
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The second tape revolves around animation-specifically, re-creating the
roughly 5-6 seconds of introductory animation shown at the beginning of
each tape, an effect involving a paintbrush that paints out the
"Brilliance" logo.

This tape, more than the first one, presumes some experience with computer
and Amiga animation.  Terms largely go unexplained and while the method is
clear, the individual mouseclicks go unexplained (for example, if you don't
know what "tweening" is and why he clicks "reset" before doing anything
else, too bad.)

The project is an excellent walkthrough to basic animation technique and
illusion with Brilliance, as the issue of synchronization and rotation are
discussed.

Tape 3
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The final tape focuses on logo creation using nice fonts and Brilliance
effects ranging from the ridiculously simple (such as outlining a font in
a pink scale of increasing intensity to generate a neon effect) to rather
clever and complicated (such as using an arc-animation to generate a
reflective ripple effect without the aid of an image processing package.)

Most of the generated logos picked up some animation, creating a marriage
of sorts between the techniques learned in the first and second tapes.  The
explanation of the morph effect used on one logo was rather poor, but the
stencil effect and aforementioned ripple animation were well documented.

In Summary
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As a whole, the package definitely does the job of showing Brilliance in a
real-time problem-solving environment, with overall confident presentation
from Shultz.

Any artist confident with basic design and color techniques can probably
skip the first tape without missing much.  The second tape is an excellent
presentation, but unfortunately consists of a single project and really
needs the more applied uses in tape 3 to fully cover the animation angles.  
Tape 3 is the best of the bunch, getting right to the point and showing a
number of clever effects without delay.  Some are quite simple, but look
excellent on video.

Obviously, more work went into the projects shown on the tape than the 30
minutes they take on average to recreate for the viewer.  As an educational
tool on the package, however, the Real Time Solutions series does the job
quite well.  It does not present Brilliance as a cure-all graphical design
system, but does show you how to create a number of effective images
without leaving its confines.

For US$20 per tape (NTSC only), you'll have to make your own decision.
Tape 1 is an excellent introduction to basic design techniques, but not
everyone needs that.  For a complete primer on animation, 2+3 will do fine.
For a design and animation course, 1+3 will do the job.

Horizon West Productions
P.O. Box 2729
Corrales, NM  87048
(505) 891-1689
horizonw@rt66.com