motionVFX mHUD effects for Final Cut Pro X

motionVFX is a Polish team of developers who create effects for Final Cut Pro X. One of their latest creations is mHUD, a set of effect that reminded me of Yanobox’s Nodes 2. In reality, mHUD comes as a set of adjustable Final Cut Pro X Titles as well as QuickTime 1080p movies. I took my magnifying glass out and gave both Titles and movies a good look.

The mHUD effects set consists of six categories with each a number of actual effects. There are circular effects, loaders, linear and complex effects. They all have one thing in common: they move, they can be adjusted and in some the text can be edited — all using the Final Cut Pro X Inspector. I tried a couple of the effects and found the customisation capabilities to be really good. You can change colours, glow effects, 3D position and when there’s text, like in the below screenshot, you can edit that as well. The way mHUD is presented makes it an excellent choice for anything from commercials to sci-fi movies. A circular effect, for example, is great to give a dull view of a wristwatch a Sci-Fi look and feel.

mHUD

I tried a linear effect with a clip of an industrial printer and the printer immediately looked a lot more exciting. One of the most important appeals of mHUD, however, is time savings. If you want to achieve the same effect with Nodes 2, you’ll end up spending half a day customising one of the Nodes until they match the simple effect I tested mHUD with. Nodes 2 is better when you want to create something truly complex, or when mHUD cannot be customised to what you want to end up with. That may not be so clear-cut as you’d think, as you can stack mHUD effects so they appear one on top of the other. So while it may not look that way on the surface, you can create pretty complex animations.

However, Nodes 2 would be my preferred effects generator for one reason: if you want to create a highly complex composition, Nodes 2 will give you a built-in camera that can be moved in 3D — and all of its adjustment parameters work in Motion 5 as well as After Effects. With mHUD you’ll need to use the provided QuickTime movies if you want to go outside FCPX to create stuff, e.g. in After Effects. The mHUD movie clips are much less customisable than a complete parameter-based effect in the dedicated compositing apps.

Initially, I thought it would be better to also use Nodes when you want to move your effect around with a moving object. For example, if I want to track a wristwatch while the person wearing it moves his hand, the mHUD effect stays foot until I start keyframing the effect so it follows the motion. That’s not entirely true, though. If you’re happy with the mHUD movie clips as they are, you can put them to good use even in FCPX.

mHUD

If you have TrackX by Coremelt, you can track the wristwatch and “place” the mHUD inside the tracked shape. This makes you lose the adjustment capabilities of the effects, but it makes following a shape that moves across the screen much easier. In fact, if you want to change the defaults of an mHUD effect, e.g. the colours of the inner rim and outer rim, glow, etc., you can use the effect on an empty timeline, change the parameters, export to a ProRes 4444 clip, re-import that clip and drop the clip into the TrackX image well where it will follow your moving object with no effort at all.

The bottom line is that you get a nice set of sci-fi effects that you can use within minutes, that you can adjust to your liking and animate in two ways — either using keyframes or by following the TrackX route. There’s one thing that I would liked to have seen different: mHUD is not available in 4K resolution, only 1080p. With an increasing number of projects edited in 4K, the 1080p limitation seems a bit odd, but then again, for a mere €40.00 (49USD) you can’t go wrong.

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