Yanobox Nodes 2: Connecting the Dots

Connect the dots, tra-la-la-la.

After Effects is an incredible tool, with native effects and plug-ins capable of taking budding motion graphic designers a long way toward visual greatness. While incredible, there are always things that can be added to the mix that take this tool to new heights and allow designers the ability to create new and brilliant works.

One such addition to After Effects is Yanobox Nodes 2, part of the FxFactory family of plug-ins.

And, actually, it doesn’t just work in After Effects. It also works in Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro CC, and Motion. There are reasons we like it best in AE, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

So what is Nodes 2? Well, Nodes 2 is a generative motion graphics plug-in. Generative in that it is designed to create and animate complex 3D designs and shapes inspired by data visualizations and networks.

The key with nodes is in the term itself: node. A node is a connection or redistribution point in a network, and this plug-in thrives on nodes. The nodes can be connected into networks, built into forms to be animated, spread out like a universe of stars, and even extracted from existing footage. Some of the possibilities must be seen to be believed. Check out the Nodes 2 page at FxFactory to view demos and tutorials.

Nodes 2 is a completely different beast from the original Nodes plug-in, having been rebuilt from scratch.

Thanks to some creative low-level coding to facilitate a rendering engine that can support 50,000 particles and something cool called font acceleration, which we’ll get to shortly.

According to Yanobox: “Point clouds are now created from primitives, footage, and 3D models, allowing for infinite possibilities.

A couple of animation modules let you quickly animate a choice of destination parameters, mixing them with keyframes if needed. The new orientation system for nodes and text adapts the angle of the elements with Fixed, Look at Camera, Look at Center options, and maps nicely around spheres as well. The shapes (node images) are now procedurally generated up to a resolution of 4096 pixels, and include new glowing shapes dedicated to particle creations.”

One cool reason to use Nodes 2 with After Effects is the plug-in’s native support for the After Effects Camera. This means seamless integration with other plugins, and it means that your creations can be built taking full advantage of the 3D environment AE offers. Using multiple instances of Nodes, one can quickly create complex compositions in AE’s 3D space.

There are amazing options for creating compositions as unique as your imagination. Some examples include new accelerated fonts, which is a feature that allows users to work fluidly with 5,000 real time layers of text. Creating complex compositions with fascinating animated text is a great way to step up technical graphics, or for creating things like heads up displays, or 3D displays for a futuristic boardroom.

The possibilities are limitless.

Other features such as coordinates projection - where different modes let you progressively blend the position of nodes from cartesian to polar, cylindrical or spherical coordinates and create amazing structures - to a carrousel effect with an auto-highlight function - just set a few parameters for the roll-out, hit play and you get an instant carrousel effect that cycles through your text or images - make Nodes 2 a powerful and exciting plug-in.

While Nodes 2 is quick and easy to get started with, the possibilities as far as what can be created with the plug-in are vast, and the results can be stunning.

Stunning enough for the plug-in to be used in feature films Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Avengers. The work on both of those films was done by Jayse Hansen. If you’re not familiar with his work, we suggest you look him up.

Other films where Nodes is features are Transformers: Age of Extinction, Ender’s Game and Earth to Echo.

What will you create with Nodes 2? There’s only one way to know. Pick it up and see where it takes your curiosity.

Nodes 2 is available online from FxFactory.com for $299 USD.