Nuke 101 – 2nd Edition is Out

Nuke101_2nd_Cover

I released Nuke 101 in April 2011. It’s been exactly two years and I heard mostly good things about it (and thanks for the kind words everyone who cared to share them with me).
I wrote Nuke 101 with Nuke 6.2v3, far as memory recalls. Nuke has come a long way. The update to Nuke 6.3 alone saw the introduction of Dope Sheet, Particles, Deep Compositing, Tool Sets, and Presets (I hope I’m not missing something).

Nuke is now at version 8.0v3. It has a ton more features and older tools changed completely (the Tracker to name but a few). Using the book became difficult. And so I decided to update the book. Peachpit, who publish, were pretty happy about it as well. It was really just supposed to be an update that will make sure the exercises work with Nuke 8, but I couldn’t resist and I changed about half the exercises all together, and added as much new content as possible. The chapter headings are all the same, but the inside is very different.
You can find the book in the usual channels, including Peachpit’s website and Amazon.

Hope people like the 2nd edition as much as they generally liked the 1st.

Good luck to all who are learning Nuke.

Great Compositing Reel

I came across the showreel of one Rich Bobo, who is a regular contributor on the Nuke user list.

I found his showreel so refreshing. The work is great – but that’s just a bonus. The way he built the reel really just explains everything you want to know about how things came about and what work was done exactly on every shot.

The Point Of Reels

Whenever I have to hire people, I look at a reel and I think – what was actually done here and by who? And what part was really contributed by the compositor? Rich’s showreel just illustrates everything so well. It’s fantastic.

With his permission, here is the showreel. Enjoy.

Before / After

Video Copilot Announce Optical Flare for Nuke Release soon

Video Copilot, the After Effects kings of tutorials and some dashing effects to boot, have announced the imminent release of their much anticipated lens flare plugin for Nuke called Optical Flares.

The plugin which does a very good job at making very realistic lens flares has been the main plugin of choice in the After Effects world since its release a few years ago. I’ve been hoping for a port to Nuke since then, and about a year ago I heard through the grapevine they were indeed working on a port.

Indeed it’s been ported, beta tested, and is supported in Windows, OSX, and even Linux. The release is planned for some time next month and is priced at $199.95 a license.

Here are a few good things to know:

  • The plugin is exactly like the After Effects plugin, as in, it opens another mini-software where you actually do the work.
  • All your presets from After Effects will be able to open in Nuke.
  • Optical Flares will work with Nuke’s 3D system to translate points in space to 2D location for flares.

Demo

You can see Optical Flares capabilities here:

Announcement

You can read what Andrew Kramer has to say about this here.

Nuke Flares

I love the Flare node that comes with Nuke. I think it’s great. It’s amazingly versatile and by using several of them in a row it is pretty easy to build something that’s very much in the Optical Flares style. I used it many times including here. The only trouble with it is that it’s a little slow. Hopefully The Foundry will find this important enough to take care of and will move this node to the GPU with their Blink technology. Once they do, it’s only a matter of Presets to get everyone using the built in stuff. Up till then, I’m very excited to get my hands on some snappy Optical Flares.

Finally

If you’re not sure what Optical Flares does, I suggest you watch any J. J. Abrams film. This can be a good start:

Breakout / Arkanoid for Nuke

I just love this.

Breakout / Arkanoid for Nuke

It’s not useful – unless you need to do something while waiting for production to tell you what your next task is – but it’s sublime.

Chris Folea wrote this while at school as an exercise of controlling nodes in the Node Graph. Probably most people would just show they can move and align nodes, but Chris took it to a whole other level.

Chris can’t release the code at the moment, but as far as I understand he plans to.

The breakdown for this is supposed to be here, but the link isn’t working at the moment.

There’s a Pong game as well!

Have a look at the video here:

 

Shotgun Pricing

shotgun

For those who work with Shotgun or that always wanted to work with Shotgun, there’s some great news out there.

Shotgun announced a severe pricing change. Here’s what Don Parker had to say:

 Beginning next Monday the 18th, we’ll be combining Shotgun, Revolver (Review & Approval) and Tank (Asset Management & Pipeline Toolkit) into an integrated package with our API for only $49/user/month.

For me this is a big deal as the recent productions I worked on who used Shotgun couldn’t afford the whole whiz bang wallop feature set. I never had API access and Revolver was also out of reach. Now I’ll be able to automate a hell of a lot more stuff and get reviews done much quicker.

So Shotgun will no longer be just a web app I can use to look at what my next task is and what’s the length of my shots, it will also be my review tool and my version tracking system, and asset manager, and probably a lot more.

The remarkable thing about the people behind Shotgun is this change came from actually listening to customers! I guess that’s why I prefer using products from smaller companies, rather than the four big As (Adobe, Apple, Avid, Autodesk). Again from Don:

 After some soul searching and debating and spreadsheet rocking, we decided that following our clients’ lead was the best thing to do. We don’t want to nickel-and-dime you by selling add-ons and separate pieces of what really feels like one product. And we hate the idea of some of our clients not being able to use everything we’re building.

So thanks Shotgun guys!

You can read the whole announcement here.

Plugin Manager

Jared Glass, a TD with Triggerfish Animation Studios in South Africa (the studio behind Zambezia), has released into the wild a plugin manager for Nuke called, well, Plugin Manager.

For those who use Nukepedia and other sites to download Gizmos and Plugins only to find out that there’s little for them to do with the stuff if they don’t know code, this is the tool for them.

How It Works

Jared’s Plugin Manager automatically adds tools into Nuke without having to edit the menu.py file. You choose a folder where you hold all your gizmos and plugins, as well as python scripts and presets and choose where to place them in the interface. It’s that easy.

But it’s not only for the python-illiterate, the advanced version of the Plugin Manager opens up the code to endless customization.

It works on mac, linux and windows and has been tested on nuke 6.1 and 6.3 and is coded completely in python.

Download

Plugin Manager Basic: http://codingfornuke.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/plugin-manager/

Plugin Manager Advanced: http://codingfornuke.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/plugin-manager-advanced/

Aya – Crane Shot Breakdown

Aya is a wonderful short film I worked on here in Tel Aviv.

It’s a little drama of two strangers who accidentally find themselves in the same car for a forty minute drive.

Surprisingly this 40 minute film has some 250 effect shots. The driving scenes were shot in a studio so that the directors will have control over the changing time of day (the ride starts late afternoon and ends after sundown) and the acting.

One of the shots starts with a close up of the heroin, Aya, played by Sarah Adler, and as the camera moves back and around the car, the whole road is revealed. This shot happens to be the emotional pinnacle of the movie, as it takes the little enclosed world the two share and places it in reality – on a busy road.

The Breakdown

This shot was filmed in the studio as well, and I had the pleasure to composite it. There were quite a few challenges. There was very little to track with in the beginning of the shot. There was no green screen so roto was needed (this I farmed out to the good people at Malditochroma). And mainly, the lighting was completely wrong on the car. It was lit from the front, where there shouldn’t have been any light there at all.

This clip is a quick breakdown of the shot in question. Hopefully at some point I’ll have time to do a proper breakdown.

My colleague Eran Feller composited the rest of the 250 shots.

Credits

Aya (2012)

Directed by
Oded Binnun
Mihal Brezis

Writing credits
Oded Binnun ….writer
Mihal Brezis ….writer
Tom Shoval ….writer

Produced by
Yaël Abecassis …. producer
Pablo Mehler …. producer
Hilel Rozman …. producer

Casting by
Anders Nygaard

Sound Department
Dey Alon …. boom operator
Oleg Kaiserman …. sound mixer

P. S.

Though the film is only 40 minutes and was only intended for a few screenings in the local rep cinemas, it was a huge success, and after filling all screenings in the cinematheque, it received a wide release. Well done Mihal and Oded.