Review: Crumplepop ShrinkRay X Final Cut Pro X plug-in

Crumplepop’s ShrinkRay X is a plug-in that allows you to blur specific areas of your footage and bring others in focus. The result can be a lot like those puppeteer movies you sometimes see when people shoot stop motion series.

ShrinkRay X does a couple of things:

  • By default it blurs the centre of your movies
  • It saturates the area around the centre
  • It increases contrast around the centre.

The control panel that becomes available when you drag the filter to the timeline clip offers the ability to move the centre by numbers, to control all aspects of the ShrinkRay effect, and to add additional “patches”, which allow you to either further blur other areas or to focus these.

The controls that are available let you make the effect more or less dramatic, increase or decrease the size of it all, and to tune saturation and contrast settings — all by moving sliders or entering numbers.

The effect and its controls

As with other Crumplepop plug-ins for Final Cut Pro X, the effects can be animated along the timeline, by adding keyframes where the effect starts, stops, and changes in-between. I tried all of these setting of ShrinkRay X and what is interesting about them is that they all allow for very simple control over how the resulting footage looks. Even if you don’t know what exactly you’re doing, you can still achieve brilliant effects.

What I like most about ShrinkRay is the quality of the effect. For example, the blurring not only creates a blurred area, but will also create nice blurry streaks or ‘stars’ on highlights. Perhaps this is just due to the way blurring works in Final Cut Pro X, but I doubt that. Of course you can achieve the puppetry effect with ShrinkRay X, but in my opinion, to use it solely for that purpose would be far too limited.

In fact, if you apply the effects with some restraint, you can easily create moods that differ from anything else you may have seen before. As with other Crumplepop plug-ins, this one won’t break the bank.

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