Nodes 2 Completely Overhauled Compositing Powerhouse

Nodes 2 is a video plug-in that works with Apple's Final Cut Pro X and Motion, and Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. Using Nodes 2, you can create lower thirds, titles, and infographics, and if you run it inside After Effects or Motion, you can also create images and image sequences. The resulting footage or image has an alpha channel.

Nodes 2 has a rendering engine capable of 50,000 particles, and a unique font-acceleration feature that produces smooth animations. Point clouds are created from primitives, footage, and 3D models. Node images are generated to a resolution of 4,096 pixels, so you can zoom in to a high detail. In the Connection mode, you can use distances between points to create organic-looking shapes, and the new Triangulation mode renders wireframes with hidden lines on imported 3D models. In After Effects, Nodes 2 integrates seamlessly with the 3D camera.

Using Motion on a fast machine, I could keep the loop/play feature active to see effects of parameter changes in real time. The Image List option in the Nodes group will load multiple images as nodes—great for creating an earth globe surface made of photos, for example. A combination of footage and image nodes does slow rendering a bit. Oddly enough, you can add as many images to the list as you want, and this won't slow down Nodes 2.

With depth and distance testing in the Connections and Lines group, you can make it appear as if parts of an animated form are fully drawn, relative to their spatial whereabouts. You can also create a foggy or misty appearance based on this parameter.

Although Nodes 2 is aimed at video effects, it's great to create otherworldly stills as well.

Company: Yanobox
Price: $299
Rating: 5
Hot: 3D capabilities; number of combinations