If you want to make videoclips with a lot of action and you can’t find topics to shoot that have enough motion to your liking, you can always add animations to your footage. Final Cut Pro X makes this incredibly easy and simple with keyframes. But no matter how easy it is, animating clips will always be a time-eating monster. Unless you use an animation plug-in that doesn’t use keyframes at all. That’s what ANIMO by SugarFX is all about.
ANIMO is the latest FxFactory addition. It’s a Titling effect plug-in that has two Masters and three different template sets — Motion Blur, Reveal and Animate. Each of the templates has two variations: an Ease-in/ease-out animation that holds its speed no matter how much you stretch the effect in time, and one that stretches the I/O animation with it. The Masters let you control literally every parameter ANIMO knows about.
I tried ANIMO with Final Cut Pro X and was impressed with its abilities, but did also find some of the explanations in the user guides downright confusing. For example, the manual says a Reveal effect will expose elements underneath the animation, but if you take that to mean the clip beneath the one that holds the title will be revealed, you’re wrong. Instead, you get a black background, which you can fill with elements from within the effect.
Another criticism I have, is that SugarFX who developed the plug-in, seems to think that nobody wants to print their user guides anymore these days. Consequently, the PDFs they provide — and which do explain the plug-in’s inner workings relatively well — are actually images wrapped in a PDF document. There’s no way Adobe Acrobat on any other PDF reader will be able to remove the black background, invert the text colours and allow you to print the manuals without depleting a year’s worth of black ink.
Of course, these grudges are mine and minor.
What can you do with ANIMO?
Throughout my experiments with ANIMO, I discovered you can actually use this plug-in as a light version of PiPinator (the picture-in-picture plug-in, also available in the FxFactory store), but using it that way is limiting yourself to only a small part of its huge creative potential. You can use ANIMO to quickly animate — with or without high-quality motion blur — anything you want, including text with or without background and videoclips.
I found the concept behind ANIMO more or less the same as that behind Rampant Design’s. The effects are title clips, which you drag from the Final Cut Pro X Inspector on top of the timeline, after which you’ll set up your parameters as you want them. That’s it, you’re all set. That seems very simple, but that’s only because I’m always only experimenting for a review. You don’t have to stop there. You can add ANIMO effects one on top of the other.
The stapling of ANIMO titles doesn’t even slow down your system too much — unless you’re insisting on using a large number of the highest quality motion blur effects. Stapling ANIMO’s titles allows you to create very clever results with plenty of action going on. The word ‘rollercoaster’ comes to mind.
Of course, ANIMO isn’t perfect. For example, while you can add a video in the effect’s video slot, an image won’t work well. I tried it with a logo and the image would look cut-off, no matter what I tried. An animated logo, saved to a clip itself would of course work brilliantly. You can even scale the video you’re revealing or animating and change its X/Y position.
Finally, ANIMO lets you save settings you like to presets. Those save everything, except loaded videoclips. Creating presets yourself lets you save even more time and still have unique effects.
For all of these reasons, ANIMO is on my list of preferred plug-ins for creative video editing.