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

ABSoft Neat Video Pro for OFX

Neat 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

To download a trial version, click on the product page.

Boris FX Products

The current line up of Continuum, Mocha, Sapphire and Boris RED all support OFX.

Cinnafilm Dark Energy

Drastic Technologies



IMAGICA Primatte for OFX


Kognat Rotobot

LightSpace CMS

Motiva RealPerception OFX – Full Pack


PowerProduction Software

Primatte for OFX

There is a list of OFX compatible plug-ins here. Again, just because it is OFX compatible doesn’t mean that all hosts are supported, just that the OFX standard is supported.

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:

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.

Posted by Michele Yamazaki