I can only guess how much explosive glee AutoDesk Motion FX — a new free app from AutoDesk, the developer behind AutoCAD and the SketchBook line of apps — would have engendered in me as a little kid, because I fostered a deep yearning to run around with a flaming hand or fire leaping from the top my head like some Ghost Rider clone. Good thing my parents kept me well away from matches and gasoline. The Motion FX method is probably much less painful — all you need do is capture video through your Mac’s iSight camera and the app will let you apply effects like smoke, fire and other fluid effects using technology borrowed from Maya, AutoDesk’s renowned animation software. Check out the video above and you’ll get an idea of what the app is capable of. Best of all, it’s free. The catch? Motion FX only runs on Lion, because it employs facial-tracking technology embedded in the OS.  

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