The Foundry's Nuke 10: A Review
Staff Writer By: Sergio Rosa (nemirc)
Recently, The Foundry released Nuke 10, the latest version of their visual effects and node-based compositing application. Nuke is aimed to those working in visual effects for any medium, so maybe it would be overkill for those working on just video editing.
The workflow in Nuke is pretty simple after you get used to it. Basically you import your media, and then you add different nodes representing different effects. The software then calculates each node and then moves on to the next. You can also use nodes to combine different layers, and create new effects. One thing to keep in mind if you come from a layer-based compositing system is that node-based compositors can be confusing to begin with, but you can get used to them pretty quickly.
Nuke has tools that can be used to combine live action footage and computer generated elements. You can key out live action elements based on color, and you can also generate depth layers that will be used for depth compositing. Different compositing methods can be useful when you're working since they allow you for more freedom when working. Besides, some compositing methods will be more useful than others in certain scenarios.
You can also import 3d models in your Nuke projects. This can be useful for different scenarios. For example, there's a chance you may actually want to use your 3d model to compose it directly onto your project, or maybe you need to use it as a reference for your scene.
What's cool about 3d compositing is that you can create complete scenes using just Nuke. Besides setting up models, the software allows you to create lights to lit the scene. On top of this, you can combine any 2d footage you may have imported, to create a final composite. When you think about it, this is an amazing way to combine 3d elements and live footage, since you can mix and match elements directly inside the application. Of course this doesn't mean this workflow is "better" than any other workflow. They are simply different kinds of workflows to get the same results.
For some reason, 3D is still a big thing in cinema, so compositing applications incorporated 3D workflow some time ago. I have to admit I was a big enthusiast of 3D during the first year (by the time Avatar was released), so if 3D is one of your interests, Nuke can help you with that.
Another interesting happening the last years is GPU processing. During the last years, compositing and VFX applications have moved to the GPU, since they are faster to perform certain tasks (although some tasks are can't be handled by the GPU due to specific limitations. Nuke will take advantage of your GPU when you work. I wouldn't be the one to ask about performance on this area, since I moved away from workstation-class graphic cards, and now I am using a gaming card due to my work.
As you may know, The Foundry has already developed a few plugins for Nuke. However, the developers have made Nuke very open, so you can create your own tools and plugins for it. This level of customization is not exclusive to Nuke (a couple of competing compositing apps offer this too), but it's always good to see developers understand their users should not only be limited to what the base program offers.
Nuke is one of the leading compositing applications for visual effects, so if that's your line of work, be it for movies, TV or even web (because, as you now, this is an amazing time to be an independent creator for an open platform such as web), I'd recommend you try Nuke out to see if it fits your needs.
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