CoreMelt PaintX review

PaintX is a powerful Final Cut Pro X plug-in that lets you paint with tools like a brush on part of a frame and either on a few frames only or — by tracking motion — on all of your footage.

There are several actions you can take with PaintX, including paint and change colour, blur, smear, sharpen, warp, shrink and expand, clone, add noise, heal and erase. The interface takes a bit of learning, not because it’s so complicated but because the tool you select gets an inspector that applies to the tool before you start using it and one that applies to the tool after you’ve worked with it.

The advantage of this approach is that you can change what you’ve done, e.g. the thickness of a brush stroke or the saturation of a colour, but it may confuse users who also dabble around in Photoshop a bit at the beginning.

PaintX itself is presented in a full-scale window with playhead and, of course, full tracking controls. I tested the plug-in by painting a large surface in a darker colour than the original. The rendering on my low-end iMac Retina 5K (27-inch, 2017) took a while but not much longer than it does without painting in Final Cut Pro X.

Still, I think you’ll get the best results if you apply PaintX effects on smaller surfaces and not on a third of the frame as I did. Having said that, I found the controls to be very intuitive and in support of very fast working. For example, when I wanted to resize the brush effect to a smaller area, I could quickly do that by just turning down the brush size and feathering. And immediately, the paint-on effect was smaller.

The whole plug-in has been programmed to give results that quickly without sacrificing quality. For example, the warp effect didn’t take longer than any of the others to render — warp effects usually do because of their complexity.

One thing that I would recommend when using PaintX is that you’d use a graphics tablet like a Wacom Intuos Pro. Painting with a mouse is never a joy, but it’s even less of a joy when you realise you could be painting with more controlled strokes if only you used a tablet.

If you’re good at it, you can use PaintX for anything from painting graffiti on walls in scenes to putting logos on products. It’s likely that you’ll going to use PaintX the most often to fix something in a scene — blurring out a logo, for example, or removing areas that you don’t want your audience to see. For those tasks that usually don’t require you to paint over the whole footage, PaintX is the tool that offers the most detailed and fastest possible way of doing that. You just select the frames that need editing, do your thing and you’re done.

PaintX fits in well with CoreMelt’s other tools as it too lets you enhance your footage quickly and efficiently in a user-friendly environment. PaintX can be downloaded immediately from the CoreMelt site and retails at $99.