Invisible Chainsaw has released Variable Diffusion, a new plug-in for Adobe After Effects on Mac OS X.


Powered by a new, proprietary algorithm that emulates the look of in-camera light scattering, the plug-in is able to perform several valuable functions for filmmakers, visual effects artists, and animators, including beautifying skin, visually integrating layers in a visual effects compositing shot, applying expressive colorful looks to footage, and closely recreating the look of real glass diffusion filters used by Hollywood cinematographers. Variable Diffusion comes bundled with over 500 presets and is available for purchase and as a free demo download at

Variable Diffusion plugin for After Effects from Invisible Chainsaw on Vimeo.

At the heart of Variable Diffusion is its massive library of presets, which are categorized based on function: Stylized Looks, Skin Enhancers, Real Filter Emulations, Grading Utilities, and Light Wrapture. Beyond the presets, the plug-in’s controls allow for simple, intuitive adjustment for users who enjoy using presets as a starting point for their own experimentation.

Extensive testing went into developing Variable Diffusion’s controls, with usability issues being paramount. The results are a series of sliders labeled in plain, descriptive language with values ranging from a minimum of zero or one, to a maximum of ten. This feature alone does a great service to the user, in that they can see in one glance how many controls are set to their maximum, without having to memorize several different value ranges. Variable Diffusion’s interface avoids using overly technical-oriented controls in order to foster a more intuitive relationship with users, resulting in a faster learning
curve, particularly for video editors who are less accustomed to extensive controls compared to visual effects artists and animators.

Variable Diffusion

Further improving the user experience is the bundled Presets Peeker, an innovative tool for finding the right preset as quickly and easily
as possible—simply drop your footage or edit into a comp, then click “Render” to produce a clearly labeled sampler of presets in just a few minutes.

As an extension of Invisible Chainsaw’s focus on usability, supplemental online resources are available to quickly get users up and running with Variable Diffusion. More tutorial videos sharing advanced techniques will be released over the next few weeks, and to help users familiarize themselves with Variable Diffusion’s vast presets library, hundreds of categorized sample frames from real-world projects are available to peruse via the Variable Diffusion Sample
Depot at, showing exactly how specific presets look applied to a wide variety of shots.

Above all, Variable Diffusion’s greatest strength is its ability to instantly add perceived production value to a project. Filmmakers can give footage the subtle finesse of a big production using a Real Filter Emulations preset, compensate for the lack of a make-up artist, achieve the look of a fogged set, or remove the greenish cast of an inexpensive LED light from an actor’s face.

“In the short time I’ve used Variable Diffusion, I’ve been very pleased with the results. It’s been useful in emulating the effects of many popular lens filters, such as those used to add diffusion, haze, blooming highlights, and softening skin. A great addition to my toolkit!” said Jason Bowdach, a Los Angeles based colorist and online editor with Cinetic Studios.

Animators can quickly create multiple client options using the Stylized Looks presets, and give 3D renders a more organic look. Motion design studio Today is Tomorrow’s Timothy Palmer, a San Francisco based animation director, remarked about his months-long period as a beta tester of the plugin, “Variable Diffusion and its free presets allow me to quickly and easily audition and tweak color pass options that sweeten and bring a level of realism to my 3D composites within After Effects that would otherwise be very costly and inflexible coming directly out of my 3D package. It’s a simple answer for a complicated problem.”

Key Features:
• 500+ presets total.
• 92 Skin Enhancers presets, optimized for different specific cosmetic issues and tailored to different skin tones, categorized as Mahogany, Cocoa, Bronze, Olive, Fair, and Pale. Fix wrinkles and blemishes, remedy uneven skin color, reduce shininess, remove reflected skylight or mixed color temperatures, make skin look tanner, or even apply a zombie, ghastly, or cartoon-colored appearance.
• 20 Light Wrapture presets to blend composited elements together with more photorealistic results than “light wrap” plug-ins.
• 298 Stylized Looks presets for new, unique, colorful, drag & drop looks completely unlike any offered by other “look” plug-ins.
• 404 Real Filter Emulation presets for recreating the look of industry standard glass diffusion filters used by top tier cinematographers.
• Simple, intuitive controls allows users to create their own custom looks, and even animate specific qualities.
• Hundreds of sample frames from real-world projects available for view at
• Includes free Presets Peeker, an innovative tool for finding the right preset with minimal time and fuss.
• Compatible with Adobe After Effects on Mac OS X, versions CS5, CS5.5, CS6, CC, and CC 2014.

Price and Availability:
Variable Diffusion is available now exclusively from the aescripts + aeplugins web site at for an introductory price of $69 through February 20, 2015, which is 47% off the regular price of $129.

A free demo is also available at

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