FxFactory Fold folds your footage

Fold is a FXFactory plug-in that folds your footage while animating it. It’s a great effect to use on titles, as a transition or on its own. You do need a bit of patience when rendering the effect on a slower machine like mine, but it’s worth it.

FxFactory’s Fold by Zoetrope lets you animate folding footage much like when you crumple a piece of paper. The plug-in is available for Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro X and Motion. I tested with Final Cut Pro X. The plug-in has a large number of parameters to set, of which many deal with the folding process itself.

You start by deciding whether you want to enable a background. Not setting one is useful if your folded footage or image is not on the timeline but above. The lack of background will keep the timeline footage partly visible while the folded effect runs through its parameters.

If you do enable a background, the parts of the frame that stay uncovered by the clip can be given a colour of your liking. The next choice you need to make is the folded clip’s raster mode. The clip can be directly mapped (which shows the footage as is, but wrapped around “creases”), streaked (blurring the folded clip), or striped (which creates 1px/line stripes of the folded image). My personal favourite is the Direct Map setting as this shows your clip in a more or less recognisable state.

The next configuration parameters are somewhat less important in that the default settings are suited for most purposes. They ensure a spectacular result. Resolution controls the creases. I found that decreasing the resolution results in a more recognisable rendition of the folded clip than with higher settings. That makes sense as more creases scatter the image more. Setting growth at a fairly high value ensures the folded clip will cover almost the entire frame at the end of the animation.

Some parameters mess with the scale of the folded imagery. Pull, for example, can be set to a negative or a positive value. A negative value makes your animation start with a small, quite twisted fold that becomes larger and less twisted as the animation reaches its end.

Of course, you can rotate and translate the whole thing along the three axes. The animation itself can be set to run automatically or using keyframes you locate yourself.

When left to auto-animate, the animation can have different speeds and oscillation modes (LFOs or Low-Frequency Oscillation) — sinusoidal, cosine, triangle, square, etc. — on the three axes. Finally, there’s also the possibility of anti-aliasing the animation and adding motion blur.

Fold is one of those plug-ins that I count to be in the same league as Yanobox’s Mosaic and Nodes. It’s not as stunning but it can be used in more projects — even as a transition effect, simply by having a Fold animation applied onto a clip that sits above the timeline.

It’s inexpensive as well. For a limited time, you’ll only pay $29 (normal price is $49).

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