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August 2014

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Page 45 of 51 44 POST AUGUST 2014 oise Industries, the developer of the VFX plug-in management and shopping system FxFactory, is now offer- ing an upgrade to the popular Yanobox Nodes with Nodes 2. The new version, which now works with Final Cut Pro X, After Effects, Motion and Premiere Pro, will completely blow users away. The original Nodes started life out as a plug-in that allowed users to create lower thirds, titles and animated info- graphics, but this new Version 2 is much more powerful and enables the creation of exciting sci-fi effects. In fact, Nodes 2 will give industry professionals the most complete user experience in After Ef- fects, followed by Motion and the NLEs. Nodes 2 is a complete rewrite using low-level coding to provide a rendering engine capable of 50,000 particles and a unique font acceleration feature. Point clouds are now created from primitives, footage and 3D models, dramatically increasing the creative possibilities. A number of animation modules that can be keyframed have been added, as well, resulting in baffling results. Other details include Node imag- es that are generated to a resolution of 4,096 pixels, so users can zoom in to a high level of detail. There's also a Connection mode, allowing users to rely on distances between points to create organic-looking shapes, as well as the new Triangulation mode, which renders wireframes with hidden lines on import- ed 3D models. Finally, from Yanobox's Website you can download 50 3D primi- tives to play with. In After Effects, Nodes 2 will integrate seamlessly with the 3D camera of Ado- be's compositing software. A Nodes 2 project starts with select- ing a distribution in space in the Form group, then moves on to the deformation task, using the Oscillator or the Effects group to morph the object. Next is to customize the aspect with parameters from the Nodes, Connections and Lines groups, then animate the lot with the Camera module (which changes the viewer's position) and/or the Animation group. Fine-tune the composition with elements from the Render group. One of my own "best practices" was to start changing one parameter from each group at a time and first see how it renders, then add a next parameter, etc. I also experimented a lot by setting parameters to their extreme so that I had a good idea of what the parameter's influence was. On a fast machine and using Motion, I could keep the loop/play feature active while experimenting to see effects of parameter changes in realtime. CREATING WITH NODES 2 With Nodes 2, you can use a video clip as the foundation of a Nodes 2 form. I tested this and while it worked like a charm, it wasn't that easy to find a clip that worked well from a creative point of view. Nodes can be all sorts of shapes, 3D spheres and images. The basic Form image or footage is different from the Image List option in the Nodes group. The latter will load multiple images from your disk in a list dialog box and render them as nodes. One of the common ef- fects that you see on Websites revolving around digital photo management is a rotating globe with loads of random im- ages stuck to its surface. You can achieve that in seconds with Nodes 2. A combination of footage-as-form and image nodes does slow down ren- dering a bit, depending on the resolu- tion of the images used for the nodes. However, if you only use images that are not too big for the nodes, the list can be quite densely populated before it will slow down your rendering. The combination of having footage or images as your basic form and image lists as nodes opens up endless creative possibilities. On FxFactory's Nodes 2 page, you will find a couple of videos showing off how compositing artists used the product to create sci-fi objects in Ender's Game and The Avengers. Even if you're pottering with Nodes 2, you can add visual interest to existing footage or enhance the story you're telling. With some groups, you can decide to have luma and depth influence the rendering. In the Form group, luma can affect nodes sizes, while in the Nodes group you can test for depth. In the Connections and Lines group you can have depth (or distance, which seems to do the same) decide whether con- nections are drawn. This is interesting if you want to make it appear that parts of an animated form are relative to their spatial whereabouts. You can also create a foggy/misty appearance based on this type of parameter A dramatic improvement over version 1 is the availability of so-called "accelerat- ed fonts." These render much faster than the traditional fonts we know. The list of included accelerated fonts is generous, but if it still isn't enough, you can use ordinary fonts as well. Text itself can be animated using the "Text Index Offset." When you keyframe that parameter, changing it over time, numbers seem to count up or down, which gives a very nice sci-fi effect! TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY? I believe the $299 price of Nodes 2 is right, and that you won't be disappoint- ed with the creative possibilities it offers. While not the cheapest plug-in you can buy, it is one of the most versatile. FXFACTORY YANOBOX NODES 2 BY ERIK VLIETINCK ERIK@IT-ENQUIRER.COM SKYPE: ERIKVLIE HTTP://UK.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/ ITENQUIRER A POWERFUL NEW VERSION THAT ENABLES THE CREATION OF EXCITING SCI-FI EFFECTS VITAL STATS MANUFACTURER: FxFactory PRODUCT: Yanobox Nodes 2 PRICE: $299.00 WEBSITE: N REVIEW

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