Nodes 2 (Software Review)

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Software Review
Nodes 2

Nodes 2 CoverPublisher: FxFactory
Platforms:  Mac only, After Effects, Premier Pro, Final Cut Pro, Motion x32/x64
Description:  Special particle effects for outrageous titling and complex visuals
MSRP:  $299
Expected Release: Available Now
Official Website: Yanobox
Samples: Click Here
Demo: Click Here
Special Discount: N/A
Review Issue:  Is. 101 (08/14)
Review By: Mark Bremmer
Final Score: 10.0

Nodes 2 by Yanobox (distributed by FxFactory) is an astounding plugin for Mac folks. It is a difficult plugin to describe because its visual results almost defy description. Essentially, Nodes 2 is a plugin that creates imagery and animation in 3D space yet doesn’t require a 3D application. This imagery is created by adding typography and linear elements to CG geometry nodes (vertexes is the CG term) or nodes created from visual imagery and then controlling the visual results in 3D space for complexity, animation, color and position.

Award of SuperioritySo, how is Nodes used? Chances are, you’ve already seen Nodes in action if you’ve viewed Ender’s Game (see FX video), The Avengers or Planet of the Apes (see FX video). The mere fact that Nodes is embraced by major studios is a testimony to its gravitas. Look for Science-y, futuristic computer graphic representation of data in the linked FX reel examples. The first Nodes was no slouch and Nodes 2 is a complete rewrite of the plugin which now boasts even more control and greater speed.

Nodes can create these wonderful sci-fi, faux data presentations but it can also create visually complex titles as well by attaching text to the animatable nodes and then visually connecting content to algorithms for display. What makes Nodes incredible to use is that these rich effects and titling abilities are easy to craft and control. If you are a micro filmmaker that has need of a future-cool look, Nodes 2 can make it appear you have a dedicated visual FX department at your beck and call.

Ease of Use

Yanobox has virtually guaranteed that new users can quickly start using Nodes 2 by including a huge amount of sophisticated presets. These presets are actually just the tip of the iceberg regarding what Nodes can do.

By using the presets, users get an excellent peek into the wizard’s chest that will definitely get your wheels turning. Nodes can do-its-thing from its own presets, imported 3D geometry and your own footage or stills. Combine this tremendous variety with the ease that is now standard in the FxFactory plugin presentation and you’ll never feel overwhelmed, just delighted. That’s the hallmark of a good technical offering.

Depth of Options

“Smart”is the best way to describe the deeply relational and 3D nature of Node’s controls. Individual controls are progressively arranged in order of need as you descend the ‘stack’of controls. There are no made-up names for functions or controls and preset schemes, and things like turning connecting lines into tubes, prevent an unnecessary avalanche of over-control. This thoughtfulness applies to micro adjustments as well as macro things like camera controls.

Sounds nice but what am I really talking about? One of the presets is called Fiber Optic Map. This preset is a transparent spinning globe on black where the continents are made up of illuminated points with optic fibers projecting into space. The first option you are presented with is controlling visibility for the nodes (which look like points of light), connecting lines and text elements. Enabling or disabling these options reveals or hides additional options to modify the chosen effects. The options appear as expandable drop-menus with their own control sets. If the user changes any of these sub-options, then further items are revealed or hidden within these groups.

Essentially, you only are presented with what you need to see, for the options selected. Brilliant.

Nodes 2 Fiber Optic Globe Preset. Everything is adjustable.

Nodes 2 Fiber Optic Globe Preset. Everything is adjustable.


While special effects such as spinning 3D geometry that seems to have it’s own organic life or faux-data in complex, arcing displays is how Nodes is being used in Hollywood, creating titles and state-of-the-art, text-based info-graphics is also made much easier with this plugin. Nodes now has accelerated fonts which allows for using thousands of font layers connected to dynamic geometry with very little real-time slow down. For example, the accelerated fonts would allow users to label thousands of cities around a globe, fly around the globe passing by hundreds of other city names and resolve on a specific city. But, this is an effect that users could scrub the timeline on in the editor instead of needing to render the effect. There are also substantial performance gains that match the additional features due to being totally re written from the ground up.

Nodes 2 Text Handling and Titling

Nodes 2 Text Handling and Titling


If you desire beautifully choreographed type with elegant, animated elements or need ‘tekkie’, quasi geometrically animated particles and lines, then Nodes is a must-have. The complexity of results that are easily achieved in minutes means this plugin pays for itself in the first use on any particle-generated or random-title effects project. The richness and contemporary quality you can bring to any such production is immediate and will engage most audiences, guaranteed.

If, instead, you are a casual hobbyist this is a bit spendy of a plugin to play with indeed. But, Nodes isn’t really ‘aimed’at the hobby market to begin with.

Final Comments

Very few image manipulation or one-trick-pony plugins are actually fun to work with. Sure, we enjoy the results we get with other plugins, but Nodes is unique in that it makes you want to investigate and play–which is, of course, a double edge sword if you are easily distracted! Playfulness at the production level of filmmaking is often lacking. As filmmakers, we enjoy the story telling, the story planning and many other elements of the final product. But a tool that encourages playfulness while you use it in the post production process usually means you will get results that surprise even you.

Ease of Use
Depth of Options
Value vs. Cost

Overall Score



Mark Bremmer has operated his own commercial studio for over 18 years. He’s been fortunate enough to work for clients like Caterpillar, Colgate, Amana, Hormel Foods, Universal Studios Florida, and The History Channel producing stills, digital mattes and animations. Mark contracts regularly as an art mercenary with production houses that shall remain nameless by written agreements. If you've seen shows like The Voice, The Grammy or the ESPY Awards, then you've also seen some of Mark's day-job work.

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *