|Review - FxFactory 1.0.1 Final Cut Studio/Motion
FxFactory 1.0.1 Final Cut Studio/Motion
Noise Industries, LLC
FxFactory Motion Pack, $99.00 (34 plug-ins)
FxFactory Editing Pack. $99.00 (33 plug-ins)
FxFactory Pro Pack. $399.00 (46 additional; customizable)
Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later
Final Cut Studio 5.1 Universal
Supported graphics card.
Noise Industries has released
FxFactory for Final Cut Studio, a collection of real time visual
effects packages available for Final Cut Pro and Motion. More
than thirty transitions, generations, and filters are available
as a compositing package for Motion and an editing package for
Final Cut Pro. The company's FxFactory Pro adds forty-six plug-ins
to these two collections, and the ability to create, customize
and share visual effects with other users -- all without writing
any code. The company maintains an Effects Market at its web
site to share or sell plug-ins developed by third parties.
FXPlug architecture. These Noise Industries and third party products
are based on Apple's FxPlug architecture, which leverages the
OpenGL capabilities of your video card and the image processing
capabilities of Apple's OS X Core Image and Quartz Composer technologies.
Visual effects can be authored in the node-based environment
of Quartz Composer as a transition, generator, or filter. These
quartz compositions are converted into FxPlugs for use in Motion
and/or Final Cut Pro using FxFactory Pro. The process is straightforward
and requires no code writing capabilities. The company provides
several resources to aid in this task, including tutorials. More
resources are available on the web.
Simple filters are fairly simple to create, as noted below.
However, more complex creations require a deeper view of how
Quartz Composer works.
Apart from the unique authoring capabilities of FxFactory Pro,
the composition and editing packages provide some interesting
visual effects. The plug-ins are installed into the Generators
and Filters categories of your Motion application and to the
corresponding places in Final Cut Pro.
The Filters are as interesting and diverse
as they are intuitive to use. They also include a number of modifiable
parameters that can be adjusted to produce a variety of visual
looks. Apply the Pencil Sketch filter to a DVCProHD 720 video
clip, and you are provided parameters for direction, length,
contrast, contours, and saturation -- all of which can be tweaked:
The Perspective Reflection filter also
provides unique treatment of the same footage, and the capability
to modify it with eleven parameters. Note the arrows that permit
the reflection to be adjusted.
Ten categories of filters install in
Motion, each delineated by the "NI" moniker: Blur,
Color Correction, Distort, Glow, Halftones, Image Behaviors and
Processing, Masking, Sharpen and Stylize. Each category contains
multiple filters, including twenty-nine in the Stylize section,
eight in the Glow section, and several unique looks in the other
categories. Some are truly unique, such as 3D Grid, Lit Sphere/Map/Ventilator
Shaft. Others are variations on themes, such as Edge Work, Night
Vision, and Witness Protection.
Noteworthy in the Generators category
are 3D Text Grid, Barcode, RSS World News, and Star Shine. The
filters, generators, and transitions are detailed at the company's
website. A trial version is also available.
The effects played exceedingly well in
both Motion and Final Cut Pro, which attributable to their FxPlug
framework. I tested each filter, transition, and generator in
both apps with various DVCProHD clips, and experienced no crashes
or hangs in either app. This was a first for me when using third
party plug-ins, particularly with Motion.
The FxFactory filters and transitions
installed and were accessed uneventfully in Final Cut Pro 5.1.2.
Generators are located in the drop down
menu in the viewer. Note that not all Generators are available
in both Motion and Final Cut Pro.
FxPlug Authoring in Quartz Composer.
Noise Industries provides a tutorial
on authoring FxPlug filters for use in Final Cut Pro and Motion.
The tutorial requires Apple free authoring application, Quartz
Composer, which can be installed from your OS X discs bundled
with your Macintosh.
Quartz Composer is a node-based authoring
environment that uses a similar interface to Shake, Apple compositing
The tutorial is accessed from the Help
menu of FxFactory. Other video tutorials are available at the
company's web site.
The filter I created provided two modifiable
colors to a video clip as well as sliders to modify three other
Save the quartz composition, open FxFactory
Pro, and install the new filter into whatever folder you have
established for your custom visual effects. The visual effect
is then available to both Motion and Final Cut Pro.
When applied to a video clip in Motion,
the custom filter produced the following effect. Five parameters
or controls were available to tweak the effect. I could have
"published" more parameters for further control in
A good example of third party filter
is Volumetrix from iDustrial
lafcpug review) This volumetric light spill plug-in is a
commercial offering that was produced using the workflow similar
to that delineated above. The company's web site has some dramatic
samples of the effect it produces.
Whether you purchase one or more of editing and compositing packages
or opt for the full authoring package, you are in for a rewarding
experience with this unique application. Apart from providing
over one hundred OpenGL and Core Image accelerated filters for
two pro apps, the FxFactory Pro environment provides a framework
for creating your own.
The filters are rock solid, produce interesting
results and can be tweaked to fit your projects, and shared or
sold at the company web site. As such, this app is emblematic
of where Apple is moving with its FxPlugin GU-accelerated pro
Copyright ©2006 David
David A. Saraceno is a motion graphics artist located in Spokane,
Washington. He has written for DV Magazine, AV Video, MacHome
Journal, and several state and national legal technology magazines.
David also moderates several forums on 2-pop.com.