Another great product from the team at Luca Visual FX has been released for Final Cut Pro X through the FxFactory platform known as XLayers. This team continues to be one of the leading plugin developers for FCPX with this latest entry. This impressive collection of 12 effects and 7 generators allow editors to create a variety of effects not limited to: magnification, logo reveal, image fragments, mask splits and much more.
I recently had a chance to try this new plugin out and test its possibilities. I’m going to highlight few effects and generators that caught my eye and expand on possible questions you may have.
Mask Split 2
Mask Spilt 2 gives the user an effective way to change up their video with rich yet simple masking effect which allows you to composite the image/video source with any other video they choose. The reason this effect is called Mask Split 2 is because is a new version from Mask Split from XOverlays pack which is a sibling pack to XLayers.
Within the parameters of Mask Split 2, I can change the style from Random to Waves, Fast Random, Mirrored and much more. One thing to note is that you need a custom image in order for this effect to work. Once I have that set up, I can modify the image scale as well as the mask scale. I also have the option to blurring the background and manipulate the overall appearance.
In the video above, I used Mask Split to showcase its capabilities. For the first example, I used a Film Leader generator from Luca Visual FX and Alternate style animation to get the look you see. For the second example, I used the Beat style animation, modified the bar width, exposure and overall color settings. Personally, I found the Beat Style to have the best overall animation. For the third example, I went beyond the Mask Split 2 and combine the effect with the Funky Linear effect from XOverlays. Combining these two effects definitely showed the XLayers can work well with other plugins when you experiment with it. Let’s take a look at Key Overlayer.
Key Overlayer is probably one of my favorite effects out of this collection. It’s an effect that allows the user to combine a custom image or video clip with a selected clip on the timeline and automatically key out the luma or black to create an interesting composite.
It comes with a default colorful animated pattern but the user can replace it with whatever media desired. When Preserved RGB is checked, you can play with the Mix to create some interesting looks that are astounding. Within the Key Overlayer parameters, I can scale up a background that I’m using in the drop zone or the default pattern. I can fill holes or shrink/expand the amount of key. I can also soften or erode the key as well. Overall, I believe this effect is the ultimate blending composite plugin I have ever worked with.
In the video above, I created 3 examples which showcase the abilities of this effect. The first example has me using a clip from the Backgrounds & Overlays collection and modifying the parameters to mix it with my stock footage. For the next example, I used 2 instances of Key Overlayer to mix a B&O and a Luca Visual FX Light Leak generator to complement the slow motion footage. The final example was quite the marriage between compositing and keying. I keyed out my stock footage which had a blue sky withe FCPX keyer. Then, I applied Key Overlayer with BGO015, inverted it and modified the settings to taste. I added Sound Ripples from the XOverlays collection and combine it with a glow. I placed a second instanced of my keyed stock footage and used the Core Glow filter from Coremelt along with the Twinkle filter from SugarFX. Using the Linear Dodge blend mode and scale percent of 180, I was able to create this cool composite. I’ve highlighted two of my favorite effects from this collection, let’s take a look at the generators.
Square is a generator which allows to place up 3 images in separate drop zones and customize their parameters. Users can affect the position, opacity, scale, exposure and more by manipulating the available parameters. One thing to take into account when using this generator is that you want to make sure your clip length matches the generator’s length. If you choose to keyframe the X and Y position of each drop zone, you can create an interesting effect.
In the video above, I created 2 examples where one highlights the basic use of the generator and another highlights how far you can push the parameters. In the first example, I place a clip of a dancing woman in Drop Zone 1 and 2 to get the fragmentation effect. I placed a custom background clip in the Background Drop Zone to help illuminate it further. Overall, that is the generator in its basic form. In the second example, I used keyframes to animate the position of each drop zone so that I could push the limits of what it was capable of. Overall, I found this look to be more pleasing to the eye and it showed that these generators possess the capability to be more creative than presented. Let’s look at the Concentric Images generator next.
Concentric Images is a generator similar to Square except that you can use 6 images instead of 3. One major difference in this generator is that all the images come in circles as oppose to the other generators that offer a different looks like squares and shape fragments. One way to use this creatively is to place the same clip at different time intervals and animate various properties to create a unique effect.
In the video above, I put the time technique to the test. In the first example, I used all 6 dropzone to illustrate how it would look with a video background and the same video clip at different time intervals. It was almost a good look with the exception of the six drop zone in the front. I could scale it to alter its appearance but I left it as is. The second example yielded a cooler look where I animated the opacity of each drop zone with the same clip at different time intervals. Overall, I’m a fan of this generator and what it offers the use in terms of usability and parameters. One thing that would be cool to add is the ability to rotate the drop zone mask so it creates a vertigo effect on the footage.
Can I combine these effects with other effects?
Of course you can. In fact, it is encouraged. XLayers was created to be combined with the effects and generators in its collection as well as other plugins you wish to combine. In the video examples above, I clearly showcased how combining XLayers with other plugins can create unique and interesting looks.
Overall, XLayers is a sophisticated set of plugins which can be used to tackle any creative project. I highly recommend that you try creating you own unique looks and styles with the effects and generators as well as mixing them with other Luca Visual FX products. The possibilities are endless. Readers of this article can get a 30% discount offer to those who afte reading/seeing your tut/review email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim one.