Last fall I became an avid supporter of Final Cut Pro X (“avid” as in a strong supporter, not Avid as in an Avid editor that switched to FCPX. Just want to make that clear. ;) Anyhoo, it’s an awesome non-linear editing program made even more awesome by the plethora of plugins that make it more powerful. Perhaps one of the most popular and effective methods of installing new plugins into FCPX is the “gateway” FxFactory.
It’s Not Exactly “Stargate,” But Almost as Cool
FxFactory by Noise Industries is a distribution platform for dozens and dozens of visual effects for Final Cut Pro X, Motion, After Effects, and Premiere Pro. (As far as I can tell, it’s only available on the Mac). It’s a free download that allows you to easily access both free as well as trial versions of myriad effects plugins, then buy and unlock them right from within your host program. The list of developers that provides effects is long, including Ripple Training, CrumplePop, Industrial Revolution, Nattress, Boinx Software and many more. There are plugins for color grading, titling, split screens, keying, transitions, film effects, backgrounds, credits, and much more. Here are the key features and what I love about this product:
- Easy Access. From right within your host program you can easily access and try out new effects. If you haven’t purchased an effect, a watermark will appear.
- Try then Buy. You can drop un-purchased effects onto your clips to try them out before buying. If you like what you see, click the “Register” button and a pop-up window will give you the option to enter a registration code, or buy the plugin. Once purchased, FxFactory will register the product and you’ll be good to go.
- Mobility and Centralized Management. FxFactory manages your purchased licenses, so wherever you install it, the effects for the plugins you’ve purchased will work on that machine (please be sure to read and respect the licensing terms regarding use.) Forget your registration codes? No problem. Click the “register” button for any plugin, then click the “Forgot registration code?” button. All the codes for your registered programs will be emailed to you.
- Quick Tutorials. As far as I can tell, every effect in FxFactory comes with a video tutorial you can link to from within the program.
If you use FCPX, After Effects, Motion or Premiere, FxFactory is a no-brainer addition to your repertoire. You’ll need Mac OS 10.7 or later to install the latest version of FxFactory. As of this blog posting, if you’re still running Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6.3), you’ll need to install FxFactory 3.0.4. Depending on when you’re reading this, it may no longer be available for download. This version also supports Final Cut 6,7 and Express.
Also, if you have the latest version of FxFactory (4.0.6 as of this writing) all your licenses are simply connected to your account. When you move to a new machine and log in to FxFactory, the app will automatically download and license all the plugins that you have previously purchased. Works very much like the App Store now.
Don’t Go Crazy
I feel compelled to tell you that despite the encouragement of the pop-singer formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” do NOT go crazy applying effects to your project. As cool as it is to have access to so much “eye candy,” effects are meant to enhance your “story.” There ideally should be a purpose to the effects you apply. So be purposeful in your application of them.
But don’t just take my word for it…
Here’s a short demo: