Just want to take a second and thank everyone who came out to our first meet-up the other night. Feedback has been good and this is DEFINITELY something we’ll do up again.
What an incredible, jaw dropping presentation from Fred Ruff @ Bent Image Lab.
Wow. I mean WOW. I’ve seen a lot of breakdowns and demos in my day, but the depth and scope of what Fred showed us still has my head spinning. The creature work on Grimm is nothing short of incredible, especially when you take into account the limited resources and tight turnaround they’re on with that show. I know we don’t have a baseball team anymore, but if you ask me, Fred hit a walk off homer straight outta PGE Park. Bravo!
Also a big hand for Deke Kincaid from the Foundry for some cool new software demos, keeping us up to date. Hiero (pronounced “Hee-row”) looks like a very powerful tool to bridge the gap between editorial and vfx. In a nutshell, it imports the cut and proceeds to divvy things up for us VFX’ers like no tool I’ve ever seen before. It creates the entire VFX folder structure from a predefined template and masters each shot from the cut into it’s place on the tree, complete with an editable Nuke script for the conversion. It can also use those same timeline and pipeline capabilities to run Dailies. Hiero clearly automates and mops up what could otherwise be a complete and total mess when you’re bringing a new project online or reviewing shots. This type of magic is usually reserved for the big studios with custom coded pipelines and a staff of programmers, but with Hiero it looks like the rest of us can get a taste of the “organized life” and make things a little less cowboy. Like many of you, I’d not had a chance to check it out yet and the in-person demo was gold.
We probably didn’t give it the amount of time it deserved because things ran long, but the upcoming version of Nuke looks like it’s packing some long sought after tools. Yee haw, the viewer can finally be used to reliably flipbook shots, thanks to an improved RAM caching mechanism that clearly shows what frames are locked in memory and cached. This is big, and has the potential to replace Framecycler in the standard comp workflow. There’s a new node for doing tastier Lens Defocus (with super easy custom shape support, no more having to make custom convolves!) and Z Defocus – looked to me like they are starting to tie the GPU in for certain ops like the Z Defocus, too! Updates to the modeler and point cloud system look tasty… those are tools that everyone definitely wants to see take the next steps. After seeing Fred demo some really hardcore warping and morphing for Grimm, it was nice to hear the that Splinewarp node is getting an overhaul and is targeted for independent source + destination spline support. Also on the radar, they quietly have rewritten and streamlined the RotoPaint node – although there’s not much evidence of it on the surface – but it should result in smaller project sizes and less chance for a script to go corrupt. And the last one worth a mention (but definitely not least) is vastly improved Photoshop psd support: the Photoshop merge node + layer breakout scripts are going to make dealing with matte paintings and the like a whole lot smoother. That’s just a taste of what Deke laid on us, and in record time!
Worth mentioning that we were a little overly ambitious thinking that we could get to so much during the meeting and we weren’t able to show off any of Katana. With any luck we can get Deke back for a future meeting and we’ll pick up where we left off.
I’ve already had requests about if the presentation was recorded or will be posted online anywhere – sorry to say that there are generally not going to be any recordings of our user meetings, since the material is almost always sensitive. You know, the usual behind the scenes, copywritten, beta software, bleeding edge type stuff. Even more reason to make the effort to come out and catch it live next time!
Speaking of next time, we’ll get it going again in a few months. Have a nice summer and I’ll see you all then! Make sure you sign up for the email list to be notified of the next round up, and watch for the website to continue to develop as I get time.