Media

Roxio brings 3D photo and movie creation to the masses with Creator 2011

Roxio Creator 2011Jumping on the 3D bandwagon, Roxio today announced the release of Creator 2011 — the latest entry in its flagship media creation suite, and the first widely available consumer software that lets users create 3D photos and videos.

Indeed, the company appears to be betting big on 3D. According to Roxio, it was the most requested feature among its customers in a recent survey. Roxio representatives demonstrated to me how easily Creator 2011 can turn existing 2D media into 3D by converting a variety of photos and video.

Individual digital photos converted to 3D appeared to have slightly more depth, but the software really shined when it had two separate photos (a left-eye, and right-eye version) that could be joined into a single 3D image. Roxio includes instructions in its software to advise users on how to properly take left-eye and right-eye photos. 3D images built from two photos had considerably more depth but also require users to change the way they normally take photos. The software also supports emerging 3D cameras like the Fuji Real 3D W1 — which offer the ability to instantly snap 3D photos.

When it comes to converting video to 3D, Creator 2011 was understandably less successful. Since it has only a single image to convert for every video frame, video conversion quality was about on-par with the software’s single-photo conversion. Conversion occurred at real-time speeds — so a 15 minute clip should take about 15 minutes to convert to 3D.

The biggest problem with Roxio’s 3D plan is its reliance on anaglyph 3D glasses, better known as the traditional red and blue 3D glasses that have been around for decades. Viewing images and video through the glasses significantly affects your perception of color, and it’s also impossible to wear the glasses for more than a few minutes without getting a headache. Roxio includes a pair inside the box, and its reps told me that they had worked hard to find high-quality glasses.

Creator 2011 does support active shutter 3D glasses that are becoming popularized with the home theater move to 3D, but those glasses are expensive at around $150 a pair, and only work on computers with 3D-capable video cards. If you’re one of the lucky few with a 3D-capable computer, you’ll be able to see the highest level of quality from the software’s 3D conversion.

The software will let you export 3D media files in a variety of formats, including 3D DVDs and Blurays. Most intriguing is the ability to create RealD files — the same format used in RealD digital projectors for theaters. Consumers will potentially be able to convert a home video and have it play in RealD 3D at a rented out theater.

Creator 2011 also includes Roxio’s traditional disc burning and media editing software — so users will be able to edit video, audio, and pictures, and create DVDs. In my brief testing, it didn’t appear that much had changed from Creator 2010.

The last new feature introduced in Creator 2011 is Roxio Streamer, which lets you turn your computer into a server to stream media to devices on your home network and via a web browser. It supports the UPNP and DLNA standards, so it’s accessible from the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and a variety of other devices.

Creator 2011 is available today at Roxio.com for $99.99, and will hit retail stores in September. To burn Bluray discs, you’ll have to purchase the $19.99 Blu-ray plugin, and to play retail Bluray discs, you’ll have to buy the $49.99 Bluray playback plugin. There’s also the Pro version of Creator 2011 for $129.99, which includes the Blu-ray authoring plugin, as well as other Roxio software.

Roxio may not have been entirely successful with its 3D push for Creator 2011, but its work here will surely pay off in the coming years when 3D becomes more commonplace in the home. By the time glasses-free 3D is available in our living rooms (which I personally think is necessary for widespread 3D adoption), Roxio will likely be sitting pretty with the most mature 3D creation software on the market.