Tag Archives: Motion

Review: Yanobox Nodes 3 — plugins for Premiere, AE, FCPX, Motion

By Brady Betzel

Did you ever see a plugin preview and immediately think, “I need to have that?” Well, Nodes 3 by Yanobox is that plugin for me. Imagine if Video CoPilot’s Element 3D and Red Giant’s Trapcode and Form had a baby — you would probably end up with something like Nodes 3.

Nodes 3 is a MacOS-only plugin for Adobe’s After Effects and Premiere Pro and Apple’s Final Cut Pro X and Motion. I know what you are thinking: Why isn’t this made for Windows? Good question, but I don’t think it will ever be ported over.

Final Cut Pro

What is it? Nodes 3 is a particle, text, .obj and point cloud replicator, as well as overall mind-blower. With just one click in their preset library you can create stunning fantasy user interfaces (FUIs), such as HUDs or the like. From Transformer-like HUDs to visual data representations interconnected with text and bar graphs, Nodes 3 needs to be seen to be believed. Ok, enough gloating and fluff, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.

A Closer Look
Nodes 3 features a new replicator, animation module and preset browser. The replicator allows you to not only create your HUD or data representation, but also replicates it onto other 2D and 3D primitive shapes (like circles or rectangles) and animates those replications individually or as a group. One thing I really love is the ability to randomize node and/or line values — Yanobox labels this “Probabilities.” You can immediately throw multiple variations of your work together with a few mouse-clicks instead of lines of scripting.

As I mentioned earlier, Nodes 3 is essentially a mix of Element 3D and Trapcode — it’s part replicator/part particle generator and it works easily with After Effect’s 3D cameras (obviously if you are working inside of After Effects) to affect rotations, scale and orientation. The result is a particle replication that feels organic and fresh instead of static and stale. The Auto-Animations offering allows you to quickly animate up to four parts of a structure you’ve built, with 40 parameter choices under each of the four slots. You can animate the clockwise rotation of an ellipse with a point on it, while also rotating the entire structure in toward the z-axis.

Replicator

The newly updated preset browser allows you to save a composition as a preset and open it from within any other compatible host. This allows you to make something with Nodes 3 inside of After Effects and then work with it inside of Final Cut Pro X. That can be super handy and help streamline VFX work. From importing an .obj file to real video, you can generate point clouds from unlimited objects and literally explode them into hundreds of interconnecting points and lines, all animated randomly. It’s amazing.

If you are seeing this and thinking about using Nodes for data representation, that is one of the more beautiful functions of this plugin. First, check out how to turn seemingly boring bar graphs into mesmerizing creations.

For me Nodes really began to click when they described how each node is defined by an index number. Meaning, each node has even and odd numbers assigned to them, allowing for some computer-science geeky-ness, like skipping even or odd rows and adding animated oscillations for some really engrossing graph work.

When I reviewed Nodes 2 back in 2014, what really gave me a “wow” moment was when they showed a map of the United States along with text for each state and its capital. From there you could animate an After Effect’s 3D camera to reproduce a fly-over but with this futuristic HUD/FUI.

Adobe Premiere

On a motion graphics primal level, this really changed and evolved my way of thinking. Not only did United States graphics not have to be plain maps with animated dotted lines, they could be reimagined with sine-wave-based animations or even gently oscillating data points. Nodes 3 really can turn boring into mesmerizing quickly. The only limiting factor is your mind and some motion graphic design creativity.

To get a relatively quick look into the new replicator options inside of Nodes 3, go to FxFactory Plugins’ YouTube page for great tutorials and demos.

If you get even a tiny bit excited when seeing work from HUD masters like Jayse Hansen or plugins like Element 3D, run over to fxfactory.com and download their plugin app to use Yanobox Nodes 3. You can even get a fully working trial to just test out some of their amazing presets. And if you like what you see, you should definitely hand them $299 for the Nodes 3 plugin.

One slight negative for me — I’m not a huge fan of the FxFactory installer. Not because it messes anything up, but because I have to download a plugin loader for the plugin — double download and potential bloating. Not that I see any slowdown on my system, but it would be nice if I could just download Nodes 3 and nothing else. That is small potatoes though; Nodes 3 is really an interesting and unbridled way to visualize 2D and 3D data quickly.

Oh, and if you are curious, Yanobox has been used on big-name projects from The Avengers to Rise of the Planet of the Apes — HUDs, FUIs and GUIs have been created using Yanobox Nodes.


Brady Betzel is an Emmy-nominated online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff.

Apple upgrades Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor

Apple has just announced Motion version 5.2, Final Cut Pro X version 10.2 and Compressor version 4.2. 

Both Motion and Final Cut Pro X now include 3D title capabilities. Users can create animated, customizable 3D text via cinematic templates with built-in backgrounds and animations. There is a large collection of text styles, and it’s possible to customize titles with hundreds of combinations of materials, lighting and edges for advanced 3D looks. Both Motion 5.2 and Final Cut Pro X 10.2 have additional controls to adjust environment, shadows and more, and both instantly convert 2D titles to 3D.

Among Motion 5.2’s many other new 3D title capabilities are flexible surface shading with options for texture maps, diffuse and specular reflection and bump mapping; real-world attributes such as paints, finishes and distress; and more than 90 built-in materials including metals, woods and plastics. Users can combine layers of materials to create unique looks, customize any material and save it as a new preset, and save any 3D title and access it instantly in Final Cut Pro X. (Similarly, Final Cut Pro X version 10.2 users can open any 3D title in Motion to add multiple lights, cameras and tracking.)

Motion version 5.2 supports Panasonic AVC-Ultra, Sony XAVC S and JVC H.264 Long GOP camera formats, and has 12 new generators, including Manga Lines, Sunburst and Spiral Graphics. Apple has made many other enhancements to improve performance and increase control, and to address issues with the prior version. For example, choosing a smooth option on an already smooth point no longer changes the curve, and double-clicking to add a new keyframe in the curve editor no longer changes interpolation of subsequent keyframes.

Motion-Materials_Display27-PF-PRINTBesides its new 3D title capabilities, Final Cut Pro X version 10.2 is capable of many new advanced effects, such as the ability to display up to four video scopes simultaneously; to apply super ellipse shape mask to any clip; and to apply draw mask to any clip, with options for linear, Bézier or B-spline smoothing. There are new shape and color mask controls for every effect, and Version 10.2 instantly displays the alpha channel for any effect mask. Apple has merged the color board into a new “color correction” effect, and it is possible to rearrange the processing order of the color correction effect. Users can save custom effects as presets for quick access.

Final Cut Pro X version 10.2 supports Panasonic AVC-Ultra, Sony XAVC S, and JVC H.264 Long GOP camera formats, with the ability to import Sony XAVC and XDCAM formats without a separate plug-in. Version 10.2 also has GPU-accelerated RED RAW processing with support for dual GPUs and for RED RAW anamorphic formats.

Additional features include “smart collections” at the event and library level, an import window that consolidates all options into a single sidebar, and GPU rendering when using “send to Compressor” (with support for dual GPUs). Final Cut Pro version 10.2 also improves upon the prior version with faster drawing of audio waveforms, which betters performance especially when editing over a network. Among a long list of other improvements: transform controls work correctly with photos in a secondary storyline, freeze frames copy media across multiple libraries, slow-motion video clips from iPhone appear in the browser with a badge, and MXF-wrapped AVC-Intra and uncompressed files export faster.

Finally, Compressor version 4.2 introduces new features that let users create an iTunes Store package for iTunes Store submission; add movie, trailer, closed captions and subtitles to an iTunes Store package; preview closed captions and subtitles right in the viewer; zoom in within the viewer to watch content with true pixel accuracy; and display and assign channels to QuickTime audio tracks prior to processing. Like the new version of Final Cut Pro X, Compressor version 4.2 offers GPU rendering when using “send to Compressor,” with support for dual GPUs. It also offers hardware-accelerated, multipass H.264 encoding on compatible systems, automatic bit-rate calculation to MPEG-4 and H.264 QuickTime movies, optional matrix stereo downmix when processing surround sound for QuickTime output, and CABAC entropy mode for multipass encoding. To address prior issues, Apple improved stability when using Apple AES3 audio format with ProRes 422 HQ. Also jobs submitted via Droplet now appear in the “active” and “completed” tabs.