I was wondering if there is any consideration for an upgradable standalone version? This could be somewhat limited compared to a full plugin version but allow for the loading of background images or videos. This could be cheaper than the plugin but allow people without deep pockets or a suitable host program to get into Particle Illusion. Just a thought.
I assume that sooner or later they may add it to the free version. After all, the trick to get reference pictures (and actually even sequences) into the standalone version was published in Ben Brownlee’s video tutorial.
Tracking and masking with the help of Mocha will remain the dividing factor of the paid version.
Actually, the easiest no-cost trick to get a reference frame (or video for that matter) into Particle Illusion is to do your set up using the plug-in version, then save out the project and use the standalone version to render the result.
In addition to the mocha masking and tracking, there are many other features that make the plug-in version a much more powerful tool than the standalone version, such as an integrated Glow which can be set to operate on only the particles or on the particles and the filtered source clip; or the Beat Reactor, which can be used to automatically animate the particles to react to the sound waves of an audio source; or the compositing options that provide bending modes and color correction that help integrate the particles into the scene.
I just purchased the plugin version. The integrated Mocha tracker along with the capabilities of “glow” make it a much more capable tool. Thanks!
In the free standalone version …
For a background image you can create an emitter that emits a single static particle with infiinite lifetime and apply an image (or a series of still images) to it using the sprite editor.
I made a thread about it: