|PRODUCT: Noise Industries FxFactory Pro
PRICE: $399 for the Pro Package
· GPU enhanced speed, speed and more speed
· Options to customize, manage and create your own plug-ins
· Growing list of brilliant plug-in developers
Finally, a product to bring structure to the chaos that is innate to plug-in management. Noise Industries FxFactory is a game-changing visual effects package for Apple’s Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Express, and now, Adobe After Effects. Powering over 300 hardware-accelerated plug-ins and counting, FxFactory uses the graphics card in your system to provide hardware-accelerated, lightning fast previews and rendering.
FxFactory Pro takes advantage of Mac OS technologies, such as Core Image and Quartz Composer, and allows these effects to be rendered on the graphics processing unit, or GPU, resulting in a huge leap in rendering performance inside a nonlinear editing system. Rendering visual effects on the GPU is not only a lot faster, but using the graphics card for image processing operations frees up your CPU for other tasks — like updating your status on FaceBook every five minutes: Tor is s’posed to be writing a review, don’t tell my editor I’m procrastinating on FaceBook.
Noise Industries is your one-stop shop for a vast collection of plug-ins. Some totally free. Others are available in trial mode and may be purchased as needed. To get you started, FxFactory Pro includes 140 effects capable of high-precision rendering. FxFactory Pro is the first software that lets you create and modify your own visual effects plug-ins for Final Cut Pro, Motion, Final Cut Express and After Effects, without writing a line of code. That’s especially good news for us “creative types” who don’t do code.
Or you can have someone else write the code for you! Several prominent broadcast designers have dove deep into FxFactory, developing and releasing several killer partner FxPacks that streamline many complex workflows. One of my favorites, which I can no longer live without, comes from the brilliant folks at Yanobox, lead by Monsieur Jean Marc Noel, and it’s a plug-in called Motype. That’s right MoFo... Motype is a text animation plug-in that works in all the above applications and is optimized for speed and quality by tapping into the FxFactory plug-in engine.
I cannot say enough about this plug-in. Thus far, I’ve primarily been using it in Final Cut Pro for titles, lower thirds and rolls… FCP is a bit “weak” in the titling department. Yes, adding Boris Title FX helped a bit, maybe two bits, but didn’t go far enough. Motype picks up where Boris left off and takes several giant leaps forward — and they’re only on version 1.0 mind you. Other plug-in developers for FxFactory that have become a permanent part of my workflow are CoreMelt, SugarFx, and Idustrial Revolution. Each of these perfectly complement each other and fill in potential creative gaps you might have in your comp.
The other key factor I need to emphasize is the organizational structure that FxFactory provides. The latest 2.0.5 version of FxFactory sports a new plug-in management interface, which lets you browse installed plug-ins and see thumbnail previews of all the visual effects on your system. The new effect browser displays relevant status information and lets you search for all transitions available in a given plug-in package. A quick look at the effect categories can help you determine where each plug-in is found inside the host app. For someone who tends to have issues with clutter — ahhh, that would be me, this is truly a plug-in panacea.
Go ahead and see for yourself, once you download and install the free FxFactory app — which comes pre-loaded with the FxFactory Pro Pack, CoreMelt Editing Pack, CoreMelt Motion pack and Idustrial Revolution’s Volumetrix — you have a 15-day full access free trial, so get to it! Your trial periods, license purchases and the organization of packs are all handled by the FxFactory application. Even when your trial period expires you can still browse the pack contents and help information for future reference. FxFactory Pro is probably the most organized thing on my computer…cause I had nothing to do with it!
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The cool thing is, this is a living, breathing, collection that is constantly growing and evolving…during my review period, there have already been several major updates to the core factory app, and just about all of the plug-ins, too. This month alone, Noise announced support for After Effects CS4 and five additional free plug-ins. There’s a new Pan and Zoom plug-in FxPack, released as part of the special Noise Industries Free FxPack Collection.
I found FxFactory Pro to be an indispensable part of my workflow for any edit or motion graphics project. The options in the pro package, reasonably priced at $399, are totally worth it — and then some. The third-party FxPacks are add-ons that bring even more value to the “factory.” They are so well designed and streamline so much of the tedious aspects of post for me; I will gladly gobble up any FX package they make available now or in the future. Seriously, the amount of time I have saved in just one project with FxFactory plug-ins has already been a positive return on investment.
Tor Johansen is a Director/Producer based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.