FxFactory 2 may be the future of Adobe After Effects plug-ins. The concept will be familiar to anyone who has tried the Apple iTunes Store. First, you can download FxFactory for free. It’s a plug-in store that, like iTunes, has some free products and ones for purchase. You can try any of the hundreds of plug-ins right in After Effects. This is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that after installing FxFactory, many plug-ins you don’t own wind up polluting your Effects menu. The blessing is that you’ve many new toys to play with without spending a dime.

You can apply any of these effects whether you own them or not. If you don’t own the effects, you’ll be able to use them in a limited way (e.g., with a watermark). To purchase (or get full access, if it’s a free effect), just click the Register button in the Effect Controls panel. This will launch a desktop app that allows you to register and purchase plug-ins.

FxFactory also works in Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Final Cut Express. Once you register a plug-in, you can use it in those programs too, without having to reregister (or repurchase) anything.

FxFactory Pro 2, the big brother of FxFactory, isn’t free; it’s $399, but ships with 150 plug-ins. (Note: These plug-ins were not tested for this review.) This version also allows you to create your own plug-ins using Quartz Composer, a visual programming editor developed by Apple.

Note the word “Apple” at the end of the last paragraph. The FxFactory products are only available for the Mac. But if iTunes-like plug-in stores really are the wave of the future, we’ll soon be seeing FxFactory—or something like it—on all platforms.—Marcus Geduld

Company: Noise Industries, LLC
Price: Free (FxFactory Pro 2: $399)
Rating: 4
Hot: Convenient way to test plug-ins without buying them
Not: Mac only; clutters up your Effects menu