In this week's episode, Nick looks at Nodes 2, a third-party app that allows for incredible particle graphics right inside of FCPX. This can change the game when it comes to creating motion graphics.
- [Nick] Welcome to Final Cut Pro 10 Weekly, I'm Nick, Jeff is not here. But we're gonna talk about Nodes 2, incredible motion graphics right inside of Final Cut Pro 10. This is a plugin but it's awesome, and I couldn't help but give it it's own weekly episode. So key concepts, we're gonna talk about the power of Nodes 2, using generators right inside of Final Cut. How we can use the connections inside of Nodes, and how we can actually even build our own nodes. So if you're curious about what Nodes is, of course you can find out more information online, the resource that sells it right now is FxFactory, the company is called Yanobox and they made Nodes 2, it works in several different applications, Final Cut and Motion in the apple-sphere of things, and you can download a free trial from their website.
Without further adieu let's just take a look at a couple of the things that Nodes has to offer. So, I'm gonna go into Final Cut, I have a timeline already prepared, and I just wanna playback a few of the animations that come with Nodes 2. So you can see here a series of circles, some lines, and some text, all in a animated pattern, and this actually happens to be one of hundreds of templates, this is the second of hundreds of templates available to you, when you purchase Nodes 2. But Nodes it basically a connection game, it connects lines, it connects what they call nodes, which in fact are the circles in this case, and it connects text in somewhat of an organic pattern, and you can use these patterns as overlays over your video footage.
So first thing I would do before going to the inspector is when you drag any nodes to generate into the timeline, so this is all gonna be available under the titles and generator sidebar, once you download it, and under the generator section, you wanna head to Yanobox Nodes. Here you can actually see all of the various different presets that are available to you, and most of them are actually even animated with crazy cool animations.
Hundreds of different uses of this, you can basically give your project production value without a lot of hard work. So the first thing you should do is, when you select a node in the timeline just pay attention to its on-screen controls, if you go here to Depth Sorting and activate it, it actually gives you the option to basically rotate your nodes and its creation in a kind of 3D space atmosphere. See, you get x, y, and z rotation features.
Now in a lot of these nodes you might be tempted to want to scale this up using Final Cut's built transform settings, however you're gonna really want to do that inside the inspector in your generators tab. So here in the generators tab, every note contains a series of transformed properties. These transformed properties contain a z position, which is how close the whole entire object is to you, or how far away.
You'll see that also this control here moves around and actually rotates the nodes, you'll see it actually reflects to our rotation values that you also see here, will do the exact same thing. So, in taking a closer look at this particular node, we can say that its made of lines, these shapes, and text, and if we go to the top this is how your node is setup. So you've got nodes, that's your circles, your lines, and now your text, which is the final element.
You'll see this default text here in place, well especially with the Baja California, and the cool thing is by editing this custom text, you can create a new list and actually enter your own text here, and that will take on a new order. So if I came in here and typed in California instead of Baja, you'll see there that it updates right away, California is listed right there. So, this gets you up and running with making a couple changes.
Now let me just move over here to this next thing which is this Nodes Fiber Optic Map, if I press the question key I can play it from in to out, and this is made of lines. You can of course add text to it, it's gonna create quite a different look. But those are the three things that you get when you start playing with Nodes 2 or any of these generators. So I'll stick with the defaults, the rendered nodes and lines. And this next thing, which is called the oscillator, is sort of what's creating this random movement, and the cool thing is you can kind of increase something like the amplitude, which is gonna increase the way that some of this movement is happening.
As I mention that all of these are in fact, key frame-able, every single one of these parameters, and on top of the oscillator you have your animation and right now you see that your globe is spinning, that happens to be on a rotation y. For any reason I can of course speed that rotation up by simply dragging on this parameter, and in fact, I could actually do additional things such as add another parameter. So in this particular case, I'm gonna come up here and actually add a value called Master Completion.
We're gonna set the speed to be six, and you'll see now if I start at the beginning, over time it actually reveals my node, just by simply adding a master parameter completion value, no need to actually do key framing, and I can switch that at any time, I can actually instead do nodes completion. Instead of this animating on it's just the nodes that are gonna be animating, and I can now also separate up here, things such as the node size, that's gonna create a very different look and feel for my animation, and a different random parameter.
So hop into these animation parameters to really get a sense for what you can do, with animation and not even having to key frame. But again, you can combine this with also key framing values from the oscillator and mix that with animation parameters. So, things that we can do on top of this are, again, under the transform settings, you can of course reposition your nodes to get that in place. Even playing around with simple movement parameters such as your rotation y and x, we can get a custom look of how we're viewing our nodes.
If you are a motion graphics fictionado, you can also look at your camera settings and control how the nodes within a camera, and even choose from different types of cameras to setup how this is going to appear. One of my favorite uses of Nodes 2 happens to be as overlays on top of footage such as this city of Toronto, sunrise shot that we have here. In fact I've just reversed the animation. Now what I'm gonna do is under my Yanobox Nodes generators category and were just gonna do a search here for flag, there happens to be a Nodes Test Flag which is quite cool.
I'm gonna select my clip here in the timeline press x to mark it, then select the generator and press q to add it as a connected clip, matching the length of my actual shot. We'll see here, we got some of this cool, waving flag node. Of course if you go inside and look at all of the parameters here, and see how this was animated. In fact if I go to animation I can see it was an oscillator called evolution, that was involved here and of course I can pick up the speed quite a bit, in fact I'm gonna double the speed to 30, moving it a lot faster.
As we see in other movies we can edit this text, it doesn't have to be this default text setup, in fact I'm gonna go here to edit custom text, when it says have this text it has nothing to do with Toronto, I'm gonna import a file. This file happens to be a simple text document, I actually saved this through pages but made sure it was a simple text document, that's what Nodes 2 will see, and see all these different words associated with Toronto, I'll press import, see that it's populated here in my list. Little spelling mistake there for City, we'll change that to City Hall, and now just choose okay to apply it.
And If I play it you can see here that all that text has been replaced. I'm really only covering the surface of this incredible plugin, but I will say for all of those presets that you have out of the gate if you wanna just add a little bit of motion graphic flair directly in Final Cut and have even additional ability if you the companion application Motion, Nodes 2 is a great option. Thanks for tuning in to Final Cut Pro 10 Weekly, I'm Nick, see ya soon.
- Maximizing your color board
- Mastering speed effects
- Working with Compressor
- Learning helpful keyboard shortcuts
- Uploading videos to the web
- Setting up workspaces
Skill Level Intermediate
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