By Neil Bennett | on August 14, 2008
Price When Reviewed: 219 . 66
Pros: High-grade warping, correction and technical tools; excellent motion filters.
Cons: Few FxPlug versions; workflow can be tricky and time-consuming; poor manuals.
This review is taken from our group test of visual effects plug-ins collections.
FxFactory Pro is an unusual set of plug-ins. Firstly, it’s available for Final Cut Pro and Motion, but not After Effects (though an AE version is due ‘soon’). On top of its 134 filters, the set allows you to modify them and create your own. You can also download extra free plug-ins from the company’s Web site – and buy others.
The FxFactory application is a Mac-only tool for installing and managing your plug-ins. It’s an efficient tool and much less hassle than the multiple installers used by the likes of RE:Vision Effects's Effections. It allows you to read up on any effect, open it up and change its parameters. If you want to edit what an effect does, or create a new one, you then open up Apple’s Quartz Composer, in which effects are constructed using Core Image filters.
Constructing filters from scratch is not for the faint-hearted – though the flow-chart design method is much easier than programming. With practice, though, modifying filters is within the capabilities of most users.
The filters sit within Final Cut and Motion alongside the rest of your effects in nine folders: Blur, Colour Correction, Distort, Glow, Halftones, Sharpen, Stylize, Tiling and Video. By tapping Apple’s RT engine, each filter runs in or near-real-time (depending on your Mac’s specs – we saw usable performance on our 8-core Mac Pro with 4GB RAM even with HD footage).
However, filters lack the high level of fine-tuning controls found in BCC or Sapphire, as each tool has a limited number of adjustable parameers.
The extra functions offered by its rivals are also missing, such as BCC’s Pixel Chooser and Motion Tracker, or Sapphire’s on-screen handles.
FxFactory is much less expensive than the competition, though.
Supported hosts: Final Cut Pro 5.1/6, Motion 2/3, After Effects CS3 (which was released after this review was written).