Quick Pick: FxFactory Pro
From Blurs and Glows to Keying and Color, More Than 170 Effects Help Shooters Complete the Picture
The shooter-craftsman is the master of his or her domain. Since the impact of TV, cinema, web, and other programming is built primarily on the strength of the visual content, the ability of a shooter to serve up one compelling image after the other, in whatever way possible, cannot be overstated.
It used to be that image-capture began and ended with the camera itself. Today, of course, that is no longer the case, and so we look to tools like FxFactory Pro to augment our capabilities and contribute significantly to the quality and character of our work.
FxFactory, with its many looks and features, seriously augments my capabilities as a shooter and makes me look good.
The latest FxFactory Pro v4 is a potent set of over 170 software filters, generators, and transitions. Not all effects are supported in all host applications — they are increasingly for Final Cut Pro X, and less for Final Cut Pro 7 these days, so laggards beware! The purchase of a plug-in allows use of that plug-in in every supported host, potentially including Motion, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut. Version 4 includes an amazing and ever-expanding inventory of blurs, streaks, and assorted razzle-dazzle. From the Lucas Lo-Fi look and range of glow effects to keying and color-correction, you get plenty of possibilities, to say the least, in the latest release.
Ripple Training's Callouts is indispensable for training-type videos (top) and other programs requiring animated maps (above).
Most notable among the new offerings is Ripple Training’s Callouts, a Final Cut Pro X plug-in that allows the integration into live video of arrows, a magnifying glass, map animation, and even speech and thought bubbles. Another outstanding plug-in, Yanobox Nodes, is a tour de force animation tool that loads multiple images and lets them fly across the screen. The effect is particularly effective for creating compelling animated titles.
The Yanobox Nodes plug-in is great for flying circles and arrows and a bevy of images around the screen. The FxFactory suite of tools is simple to manage and use; the settings interface in Yanobox Nodes is straightforward, especially given the power of the software.
Any of the looks created inside FxFactory may be saved and applied later as a custom plug-in, which is a great advantage of the platform. Another is the vast number of presets offered for each effect. This facilitates development of sophisticated effects by offering a useful starting reference for further exploration.
Some plug-ins in FxFactory are designed by Noise Industries, but some are engineered by other developers (like Ripple Training). How easily the plug-in is accessed and applied inside the host application is a major issue. If the acquisition, use, licensing, and/or upgrading is too convoluted or opaque, folks will quickly forego the platform. That is certainly not a problem here.
FxFactory, for all its power and immense capabilities, is a joy to use.