Product Review: Page (1) of 2 - 02/20/08 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Noise Industries FXFactory Pro 2.0.2

A great variety of effects that will not only make your clients very happy, but speed up your workflow By Kevin McAuliffe

The plug-in market has become a big business in the post production world, and with companies fighting to get our hard earned dollars, we as independent producers/directors/editors, have to make difficult decisions when it comes to picking the right package that will suit our clients needs. 

A while back, I took a look at Noise Industries FXFactory Pro 1.0, and was very impressed with what I saw.  Well, Noise Industries is back with version 2.0.2 of this plug-in pack with a few changes that surprised me a little bit.  Let's see if this package still holds it's own against the competition.

Much like all other plug-in packages, installation is quick and easy with FX Factory Pro (FXFP), and more importantly for those who want to see what they are getting for their money, Noise Industries (NI) offers a fifteen day trial version of FXFP that you can try before you buy.  One thing I also want to point out in this section is that FXFP doesn't work quite the same as other plug-in packages do.  Once installed, you will notice a new application in your "Applications" folder called FXFactory.

This application is where you manage not only FXFP2, but any other NI or CoreMelt plug-in you might have.  You can turn packages on and off from here so when you launch Final Cut or Motion, the plug-ins will either load or not load, which take my word for it, when you are working with a lot of plug-ins, it's nice to be able to turn the ones you are not using off quick and easy.  NI has also put a preview window into the FXFactory application so you can take a look at all your effects before you even launch Final Cut Pro.

They have also added a search feature, so you can type in "Glow" and only the "Glow" effects will display.  NI has also added the ability to easily uninstall FXFactory from this application by simply going to ACTIONS>UNINSTALL FXFACTORY.  Last, and certainly not least, this application is where you also register and enter your serial number for all your NI plug-ins, and you can even download new plug-ins from here as well.  NI has taken time to make sure that this application is the core of not only FXFP2, but all of their plug-ins.  Other effects makers could learn alot from what they have done here.

Here is where people might be a little surprised.  When I wrote my last review of FXFactory Pro (version 1), I stated that there were 136+ effects that were bundled with the package.  Now, FXFP2 ships with 130 filters, generators and transitions as part of the package.  People might wonder why this number has changed.  Here's what's happened.  FXFP used to be bundled with CoreMelt's Motion and Editing packs which is what pushed the number of effects up to 150 (70 Pro effects, 40 Editing effects, 40 Motion effects).  NI has now decided to sell those two packages as seperate add-ons for an additional cost, but in the process of removing those two bundles, NI has added a staggering sixty effects to FXFP2 to bring the plug-in count up to 130.  The real great news for all you version 1.0 users that have your licenses to the Motion and Editing packages, is that when you upgrade to FXFP2, your license for those packages is still valid.  That gives upgrade users access to over 200 effects, transitions and generators.  Like I had said previously, FXFP2 is at version 2.0.2, and it has come a long way from version 1.0.  To get a really good idea, let's take a look at each point version and some of the major additions.

With the release of version 2.0, not only is FXFP2 Universal Binary, but it is also completely Leopard Compatible, and compatible with not only Final Cut Studio 2 but Final Cut Express ver. 4.0 and later.  NI has also added masking capabilities to alot of the effects.  Most people might not find that to be that big of a deal, because most masking controls within effects are not very good anyways, so NI took things one step further by adding the ability to use your own custom masks as well.

NI has also improved a few of the effects in the package making them much easier to use, of which Videoconference was one of them, and since there may have been alot of people out there using the effect, they have left the old version of the effect (now called Videoconference 1.0) in the package, for compatibility purposes.  Finally, version 2.0 also brings support for new features like field-based rendering and context-sensitive parameter interfaces.  All in all, a big step up from version 1.0.

Most people would think that all a point update would do is fix a few bugs, but NI has taken the ball and run a little farther with it.  Not only did version 2.0.1 iron out a major bug of the "Log and Transfer" tool not working, but NI also added three new plug-ins to FXFP2 which are "Three Color Gradient" (a generator), "Funhouse Mirror", and "Clone Pro", a newer version of the old plug-in that adds field-based rendering for better quality.  One thing that might surprise people is that "Funhouse Mirror" and "Three Color Gradient" require Leopard to run.  A very surprising and bold move on NI's part.  Finally with version 2.0.1, NI added the ability to double click on an effect in the FXFactory application, and see the effect's help screen right away.

Finally, version 2.0.2 has added five new effects which include "Cell Phone Browser" (transition), which simulates an iPhone effect, "Color Accent", "Color Fill", "Mask From Color" and "Replace Range".  They have also added a high-precision output clamping option to certain effects.

They have also updated the Motion and Editing Packs to version 1.1, and they also added the "Uninstall" feature that I mentioned in the "Installation" section.

Wow, that's alot of improvements!  But let's get down to the "meat and potatoes" of the package which are the plug-ins.  Right away, here's what's going to jump out at you!

  • Glow (one of the best you'll get)
  • Random Noise (Generator)
  • Heat
  • Stars
  • Perspective Reflection
  • Neon Edges
  • Light Streaks
    Water Color
  • Light Rays Text
  • Slide Show (Generator)
  • Sun (Generator)

NI has also put in a whole bunch of good transitions, and in my opinion, these ones jumped out right away:

  • Copy Machine
  • Cell Phone Browser
  • Glow Dissolve
  • Videoconference
  • Paint Wipe
  • Flash
  • Bars Wipe

I'm really glad to see that NI didn't go the way of every other effects company and just throw in a bunch of bad wipes that no one is ever going to use.  NI has really done the work between version one and two, and let me tell you that their hard work has definitely paid off. 

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Related Keywords:special effects plugins, video effects, motion graphics plugins


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