FxTextStyles Development UI

The first column in the FxTextStyles project lists groups and styles, and lets you add/remove new items as needed:

For most products, a single group will be sufficient. New text styles can be imported via the “+” button. Click the “-” button to remove existing text styles.

IMPORTANT: 3D text styles that contain references to graphic files in their “Media” section should NOT be removed from a shipping product. If you wish to retire a particular text style so that it no longer appears in the 3D text styles popup menu, mark it as obsolete instead. The option for doing so is discussed later in this document.

Product upgrades should be smooth: users who apply one of your 3D text styles in their projects expect it to continue to render correctly even as the product receives upgrades. When a text styles is marked obsolete - rather than removed - FxFactory continues to install any assets it references while hiding the text style from the 3D text style popup menu.

Style-specific Options

When a text style is selected in the first column, the following options are displayed:

The Thumbnail and Menu Image options let you select an image file to be used by the host application for previewing the style without actually loading it from disk, a potentially time-consuming operation.

The Menu Image option is particularly important: this is the image displayed by Final Cut Pro and Motion in the popup menu:

Failure to provide this image for one or more text styles can severely damage the user experience when users first use your product, since Final Cut Pro and Motion will have to generate the Menu Image themselves (again, a costly operation). To prevent this from happening, FxFactory will automatically import both files as they are generated by Motion when the style is saved.

Both Thumbnail and Menu Image reference image files added to the product’s Assets. You can update the appearance of the preview image simply by updating the corresponding asset. There are a number of situations where this might be desirable: you might want to provide a better preview image than the one created by Motion; you might want to preview the style using the product name (or the name of your company); you might want to add a small badge to create brand recognition, etc.

The Title text field is used to identify the text style on disk. Neither Final Cut Pro nor Motion currently displaythe title in their respective UI, choosing instead to advertise the style through the Menu Image discussed above.

The UUID is a unique identifier used by FxFactory to keep track of this text style. FxFactory uses UUIDs pervasively, for many entities it manages. There should be no need to assign a new UUID to your text styles, unless instructed to do so by tech support.

The Description text field allows you to enter a human-readable description for the text style. Currently this description appears as a tooltip when users are browsing the product in the FxFactory application.

The Version text field is used for internal bookkeeping. If your product goes over many iterations of the same style, you can assign different versions to keep track of your changes. Remember that old versions of a text styles should not be deleted from the product. Mark the text style obsolete instead, through the next option titled This version is obsolete.

The This version is obsolete is rather important, and it begs to be explained again. The general rule is that any text styles that reference external assets should never be removed from a product. Doing could give users who had applied the text style in their project serious headaches, as the files referenced by the style go missing. Instead, when you enable the This version is obsolete option, FxFactory continues to install those assets even as the text style itself is no longer advertised to the user. This is a win-win situation: no headaches for users, and a clean, predictable way for developers to update their products.

The Help and Tutorial sections allow you to link each text style to a help and tutorial. The Help option can link to an asset embedded in the product (for example: a guide to using your product, stored as a PDF document) or a URL to a page on the FxFactory website, itself linking to the product’s manual. It is important to know that the URL cannot link to any website. For various reasons, the URL is implied to begin with FxFactory’s website. For a product named “Textissimo”, the help URL would likely be …/help/textissimo 1) The Tutorial associated with a text style can also reference a YouTube video, in addition to the same options available for Help.

The next few options, Font, Size, Tracking and 3D Text Depth are merely shortcuts to common features of the 3D text style that the developer may want to tweak in preparation for release. These shortcuts can save the developer significant time, since it will not be necessary to create/save a new text style and import it in FxFactory 2).

3D Text Style Media

The Media section warrants a longer discussion because it holds the key to the licensing/watermarking scheme employed by all 3D Text Styles products in FxFactory.

Motion allows users to add material properties to text styles that reference external files. One way to do so is to add a Generic Substance set to use an Image:

When a text style that references external files is imported by FxFactory, a corresponding entry for each external files can be found in the Media section:

A few important things happen with this process:

  1. The original filename is displayed for future reference only. Knowing the original filename makes it easier for the developer to identify what the corresponding assets is used for.
  2. FxFactory has imported the external file, and added it to the Assets section of the product. The name of the referenced asset can be changed at will, under the Assets section of the product, without worrying about breaking the text style 3)
  3. FxFactory allows you to optionally reference a second asset for the same entry, under the Watermarked Asset column.

The Watermarked Asset is key to understanding how FxFactory enables watermarking of 3D Text Styles products. You can provide an alternative version of the same asset that is used when the product has not been licensed by the user (a.k.a. the trial version). One example is to alter the appearance of the asset to make it clear to the user that the trial version is being used.

In the example above, the developer might create a second version of the “Wood Grain.jpg” graphic with a red cross to distinguish the trial version of the style from the full version:

Next, the developer adds the watermarked version of the graphic to the product’s Assets:

…and lastly, the newly imported asset is selected under the Watermarked Asset column:

The side effect of providing two versions of the same graphic should be obvious: when using the trial version of your product, the text style will use the watermarked asset. When the product is unlocked, the regular version of the asset is used instead.

Assets and Product Options

The last column in the project UI lets you access all Assets embedded by the product, and edit Product options meaningful for the distribution of the product to end-users.

The Assets section works in the same manner across all product types supported by FxFactory:

It is possible to add, remove, rename and delete assets. FxFactory will not let you remove an asset that is currently in use by the product. You can create new folders and group assets under any criteria that suits you the most. All links to the assets will be updated automatically when assets are moved or renamed.

The bulldozer button in the bottom-right corner is of particular interest. It prompts FxFactory to analyze all assets used by the product and consolidate media. This means that any duplicate assets are removed, preserving a single copy of the file that is referenced in multiple places by the product. This process lets you reduce the overall size of the product, it will reduce installation time, etc.

The Product section should be filled out according to the information that is appropriate for the product:

The Version number should change every time a new release of the product is ready. Vendor ID and Product ID should be set to the values assigned to you by our staff. The UUID should never be changed unless instructed to do so by our staff. The product’s Description should be provided, since it appears in the FxFactory UI to describe the product to the user.

Et cetera.

More interesting is the Bundled with option, because it advertises a fundamental feature of 3D Text Styles products. Developers can bundle a FxTextStyles product with a FxTemplates product. The desired effect of such a bundle is to provide users with two ways to access the 3D text styles:

  • Under the 3D text style popup menu
  • Inside the effects browser, where your 3D Text Styles may be showcased by a Title, Effect, Generator or Transition.

Following the above strategy improves visibility and accessibility of your product. Sometimes, some users, may prefer to start off with one of the Motion Templates you provide. Other times, it may make more sense for users to apply your text style to an existing title in their timeline. A product thus packaged can satisfy both scenarios. Win-win!

Please contact us for further clarifications and assistance.
Behind the scenes, these options manipulate the values stored by Motion in the XML specification for the text style
It is also possible for multiple text styles to reference the same asset, a concept referred to as media consolidation and discussed later.