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March 2013

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review The Foundry's Nuke 7.0 V.2 T By NATHAN OVERSTROM 2D Supervisor Look Effects New York There are some huge leaps — speed, power and revamping of important nodes. 46 he Foundry's Nuke allows artists to work in a fast and responsive full 32-bit floating-point linear environment, meeting the challenges of film, television and commercial work. It remains highly customizable through Python, and is able to fit into almost any pipeline workflow. They recently released Nuke 7.0 V.2. Let's take a look. conditions that a tracking pattern might go through during a shot.There are a ton of other options added as well. You can view a colorcoded tracking path to visualize the health of a track, stabilize the image around a particular tracker to see the accuracy of the track, and also export CornerPin and Transform nodes straight from the tracking panel. mance increases and support for FBX 2012. While we are still talking about 3D, the TimeOffset and FrameHold nodes can now be applied to 3D nodes such as lights, cameras and geometry. The PointCloudGenerator has seen a pretty big overhaul. Tracking and filtering have been separated, which makes the node much faster and easier to use. Turn- DIGGING IN Creating a successful shot involves interactivity and iterations. With that in mind, I think the most important update to Nuke is the move to bring GPU acceleration to some of its slowest nodes. In the past, I would caution artists away from the Furnace Core effects and figure out workarounds, because using just a few of them could bring a shot to its knees. GPU acceleration applied to nodes like Kronos, MotionBlur (formerly F_MotionBlur), and Denoise brings them back into play. Even doing basic tests with Kronos on a pretty moderate Geforce video card yielded results 2-5x faster than normal. One thing is important to note, however: GPU acceleration only works with a NukeX license, not vanilla Nuke. The Foundry is finally bringing RAM caching to Nuke 7. Simply pressing "play" will start the RAM cache, signified by a thin green bar in your timeline in the viewer window. Being able to see your work at a consistent, desired frame rate, within the compositing application is something that has been a long time coming in Nuke. Lots of changes have been made to the 2D Tracker node. All of the command buttons have been moved from the Properties panel to a viewer toolbar, much like the Roto/RotoPaint tools are in Nuke 6.3. This makes it much easier to operate and control the trackers. The Properties panel has also seen a new makeover. The main Tracker panel now features a layer-based scheme, and is no longer limited to four individual trackers. You can add as many trackers as you like. Right-click contextual menus operate the same way as any normal field, and there is still an Animation menu button on the right hand side, so you can shift-drag (or ctrl-drag) the raw track data to other dual-input fields (such as the translate field on a transform node). You can also drag the raw track data to individual knots of a spline in a roto node or spline warp node. Users of Mocha and Boujou will recognize the next biggest feature: keyframe-based tracking. This allows an artist to "guide" a tracker through the many shapes and lighting ALEMBIC, MORE Nuke now includes the ability to read and write Alembic (.abc) files. These Alembic files can contain animated meshes, transforms, point clouds and cameras. This is definitely an upgrade from trying to send data back and forth to your 3D package through .obj, .fbx and .chan files. So far, the Alembic meshes seem to respond much faster than FBX, and you have the ability to load and unload objects within the ReadGeo node. Being able to turn off unnecessary geometry speeds things up and makes it much more convenient by not having to have files re-exported. FBX compatibility has seen an upgrade too, with perfor- ing on the Vertex Selection Mode in the Viewer (top right button in the viewer panel) allows you to select individual points and create groups. These groups can either be baked out into their own nodes, or meshed out to individual geometry nodes. While extremely useful, I wished that I had more controls while creating the actual mesh. The big advantage over PoissonMesh is that the resulting mesh does not try to enclose itself. I also wished the resulting geometry was not quite so averaged out and contoured to fit the point clouds more accurately. Geometry created by either PoissonMesh or PointCloudGenerator has neither Post • March 2013 Post0313_046-47-Review NukeRAV3finalread.indd 46 2/28/13 3:44 PM

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