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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #58

FxPlug Support By Stephen Schleicher

One of the new additions to Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 is the support for FxPlug, an image-processing plug-in architecture developed by Apple.  Even if you dont know what an FxPlug is, thats okay; what it means is you have a whole new world of effects that you can access natively in Final Cut Pro.

FxPlug makes it possible for any company who has developed hardware-based or processor-based effects to load automatically in the Effects menu of Final Cut Pro.  These could be OpenGL, CoreGraphics, or CoreImage.  Unfortunately, the plug-ins need to be Universal Binary, which means at this point Adobe After Effects plug-ins will not work. 

When you launch Final Cut Pro 5.1.2, it scours the plug-in directories looking for FxPlug effects and folders.  Most third party applications will install an FxPlug directory automatically, as does Motion.  Yes, this means you can use Apple Motion effects natively, and often in real time in Final Cut Pro.

But unless you turn on the feature on, you wont know they are there.

From the Effects menu, select Effects Availability>All Effects

Now check the Effects menu.  You should notice new effects, some of which are duplicates.

Thats very cool! 

The easy way to tell which plug-ins are the FxPlugs (new), and which are FxScripts (old) is to look in the Effects tab.  There you will find columns that list the Effect Class.  Those effects that are FxPlug will be listed as such.  Those that are FxScript have no listing. 

Some of these effects, like the Gaussian Blur effect from Motion, will not translate well in Final Cut Pro especially if you are using DV footage.  Final Cut Pro also gives you the option of selecting which effects you would like to display in the drop down menu, by placing a check in the Preferred Column.

You can use the Preferred Column to keep handy a shorter list of most often used effects. But dont confuse Preferred effects with Favorites, they are quite different.  Still this is a handy way of organizing those effects you use more often (Color Corrector 3-way), and those you dont use that much (Pond Ripple)

There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • If you move the project to another system, you need to install the plug-ins there too
  • If you send a sequence to Motion, effects are not preserved
  • Upgrading to a better graphics card will improve performance
  • Only FxPlug filters and generators are the only type supported, not FxPlug transitions

Even with these and other limitations, having the ability to use a whole new batch of filters and effects is a great addition to Final Cut Pro.

For a complete list of my Final Cut Pro Quick Tips, visit www.stephenschleicher.com

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Stephen Schleicher is a well known writer, visual effects artist and media guru! You can see more of Stephen at
www.majorspoilers.com and www.stephenschleicher.com
Related Keywords:fxplug, fxscript, final cut pro, apple, editing, effects

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