Burning Question: What in the heck is OFX? #OFX #openfx

What the heck is OFX

What is OFX?

OpenFX, or OFX, is a standardized software interface between the host and plug-ins for visual effects, editing, compositing, and finishing. It is now widely used for visual effects and video processing and is supported by numerous hosts such as Assimilate, Blackmagic Design, Digital Anarchy, FXHOME, NewBlueFX, RE:Vision Effects, and more.

Where did OFX come from and why?

The OFX API was established because each developer had its own proprietary interface, so developers at different companies couldn’t work together share code very easily. Developers had to create their own method of porting their plug-ins into each host, which, as you can imagine, can be expensive and time-consuming.

Bruno Nicoletti of The Foundry got things going in 2004. Some of the founding members were from Assimilate, Autodesk, Digieffects, FilmLight, The Foundry, GenArts, and RE:Vision Effects. OFX was transferred to The Open Effects Association (OFX) in 2009.

The OFX are proponents for open standards between developers of visual effects tools for supporting a broad range of platform-neutral hosts. The focus of the group is:

  • to improve image processing
  • lessen development costs
  • shorten development time
  • reduce product support that comes along with supporting multiple compositing tools and NLE’s

If you’re a developer, join the Association and get access to early releases and help shape future versions of the standard. OpenFX members collaborate with their peers to the developer and extend the OFX API, a BSD open source license.

The Open Effects Association OFX 1.4 Documentation

Hosts that Support OFX Standard

If you use any of the hosts below, plug-ins that you use may support the OFX standard.

Let me first stress the point that if a plug-in is OFX, it does NOT mean that it supports all the hosts listed below. It just means that the following hosts support the OFX standard.

OFX is a standardized software interface for developing plug-ins that support multiple hosts. OFX is NOT a host or host platform.

Open Source hosts that support OFX

  • Kaliscope
  • Natron
  • ShuttleOFX
  • TuttleOFX

OFX Plug-ins

Below, a list of some of the plug-ins that already support the OFX standard. Undoubtedly, I expect this list to grow over the next year or two.

For more, see OpenFX (OFX) Compatibility

DeveloperPlugins and Information
ABSoft Neat Video Pro for OFXNeat Video – Best Noise Reduction for Digital Video – Neat Video is a digital filter designed to reduce visible noise and grain found in footage from digital video cameras, DSLRs, TV-tuners and even digitized film or VHS. Neat Video is available as a plug-in for many popular video editing applications such as Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro.

ABSoft Neat Video Pro for OFX
Boris FX ProductsThe current line up of Continuum, Mocha, Sapphire and Boris RED all support OFX.

CrumplePopCrumplePop has a few audio plugins that are OFX compatible with DaVinci Resolve.

Digital Anarchy
Drastic TechnologiesDrastic Technologies MediaReactor
ilumy Design
ISPRobuskey for Video
Kognat RotobotMore information
LightSpace CMSMore information
Motiva RealPerception OFX
NewBlueAll NewBlue plugihs are OFX compatible. See the full roster here.
PowerProduction SoftwarePowerProduction Software Martini
PhotronPrimatte for OFX
Red Giant (Maxon)
RE:Vision Effects
timeinpixelstimeinpixels False Color

Please note

There is another OpenFX and OFX for 3D, which is very confusing and completely unrelated.  Although the other one is also open source, it’s an unrelated Windows API for 3D and modeling.

OFX News Resources

News: Boris FX’s Sapphire VFX Plug-ins Add OFX Support for Flame, April 8, 2019

How to use OFX in Assimilate Scratch

Updates to this article:

16 December 2020 – Updated with new plugins and hosts.

21 March 2019 – Major overhaul, adding dozens of plugins and updating content

17 November 2014 – New OFX plug-ins from Tiffen. Last week, we updated with newer OFX plug-ins from Boris FX, Digital Film Tools, and FilmConvert.

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Posted by Michele Yamazaki