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raw-m
07-25-2010, 11:29 AM
Whats the benefits of the exrTrader plugin over LWs psd Exporter? They both appear to export to same buffers/layers to a single file. I've been searching for some tuts/examples but none seem to hit the spot.

I need to do some basic multipass rendering, comping in After Effects CS5. Nothing to strenuous, just the basics - spec, reflections, trans, etc. ExrTrader is at a great price and if speeds up my workflow somehow then ace!! It's also Mac-happy, which is great for me!!

Lightwolf
07-25-2010, 01:08 PM
Hiya...

The PSD Exporter can export some buffer that exrTrader doesn't have access to (this is a limit in the LW SDK).
On the other hand, afaik the PSD exporter also doesn't export 32-bit float (HDR) images, exrTrader does.
exrTrader also includes a lot of functionality to make working with buffers a little easier in general - the comfort level is a lot higher (presets, previewing buffers in VIPER, optionally saving buffers in another image format, etc).

I hope that helps a bit, I'm sure others will chime in as well.

Cheers,
Mike

Cageman
07-25-2010, 01:24 PM
PSD Exporter doesn't support Refraction R, G, B+A buffer, but that may not be something you need. You should really test them both. exrTrader is avaliable as a LITE-version (free) but I can't remember what the limitations are compared to the full version.

Honestly though, I seldom see PSD format used the same way exrs are used in production and I have to assume that the reason for that is related to bitdepth (exrs can hold 32 bit floating point). exrTrader also supports a bunch of lossless compressors as well as lossy compressors (lossy meaning they do destroy the image somewhat) and this will generate far more managable files compared to PSD in terms of space (and therefore also the speed which the composition app can stream through the images). If you want, you can also create presets for your favourite setups and also tell exrTrader to output each buffer into its own imagefile, instead of multichannel, or layered, image.

Above all, what I can say is that if you ever work for a client that will do the compositing (especially in VFX or Commercials work), they will probably expect you to deliver exr-files.

39€ for one of the best off the shelf implementations for multichannel exr saving (partly thanks to LWs renderengine and the buffers it can output), I'm confused you are even thinking about wether or not to get hold of exrTrader.

:)

archijam
07-25-2010, 01:59 PM
.. plus there is a siggraph deal going on for all db + w plugins ...

So don't hesitate. :thumbsup:

Lightwolf
07-25-2010, 02:38 PM
exrTrader is avaliable as a LITE-version (free) but I can't remember what the limitations are compared to the full version.
The free version basically allows you to use the basic openEXR image loader and saver, but not the Layered saver that's accessible via the image filters.
That goes way back in time before NT had implemented their own exr i/o, as there was only one exr plugin available in Windows 32-bit only.
The normal image saver still has the advantage of coming with a companion master handler to control the compression used when saving.

Cheers,
Mike

raw-m
07-25-2010, 02:52 PM
Many thank, guys. After a bit more searching I found this (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/aftereffects/cs/using/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103a9d3c597-7bd8a.html) in the Adobe help section. The pdf it points to (link (http://www.fnordware.com/ProEXR/ProEXR_Manual.pdf)) also links to a downloadable AE project. Really interesting example and I'm instantly seeing the benefit. Plugins seem to be native to AE CS5 as well, although "OrphExtract" is missing - is it important, everything looks OK?

The setup looks quite complex in this case (for my needs at any rate!) and all from a seemingly one layered file, much more efficient than a massive psd. Thanks again!!

Cageman
07-25-2010, 03:28 PM
Many thank, guys. After a bit more searching I found this (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/aftereffects/cs/using/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103a9d3c597-7bd8a.html) in the Adobe help section. The pdf it points to (link (http://www.fnordware.com/ProEXR/ProEXR_Manual.pdf)) also links to a downloadable AE project. Really interesting example and I'm instantly seeing the benefit. Plugins seem to be native to AE CS5 as well, although "OrphExtract" is missing - is it important, everything looks OK?

The setup looks quite complex in this case (for my needs at any rate!) and all from a seemingly one layered file, much more efficient than a massive psd. Thanks again!!

Don't get us wrong here, exrTrader when used in Layer mode and the PSD Exporter do, technically speaking, the same thing as far as holding different buffers in a single file. However, since you mention After Effects, I'm not sure how well it actually supports multichannel exr-files.

Tell you what... give me an hour or two (kind of busy right now) and I'll post a multichannel exr containing all buffers so you can have a try at how this will work within AE.

Nevertheless, exrTrader should be in every LW-users toolkit!

:)

raw-m
07-25-2010, 03:33 PM
Many thanks Cageman, that would be really useful. No pressure though, I'm purely researching at the moment so only when you can :)

Cageman
07-25-2010, 11:05 PM
Many thanks Cageman, that would be really useful. No pressure though, I'm purely researching at the moment so only when you can :)

Hi there!

Sorry for the delay, those 1-2 hours became years (at least that's how it felt for me). :D

Anyho...

Go here: http://hangar18.gotdns.org/~cageman/raw-m/

This exr-file have been compressed within exrTrader using ZIP compression, and as you can see it is still quite a large file. However, it contains ALL buffers that exrTrader supports. Now, the important part isn't wether or not these buffers contains actual data (I know some of them do not), but that you can actually locate them and "see" them (even if some of them actually will only show black) in AE.

Keep me posted about how it goes.

Cheers, and again, I appologise for not being on time. :)

hydroclops
07-27-2010, 09:06 AM
Thanks for posting this.

But I'm having trouble with it. I loaded it into AE and it's described in the project panel as: Floating point+ (premultiplied) Zip16 compressed, 40 channels: A,B, Backdrop.b, etc.

I tried adding the effects 3D Channel Extract, EXtractoR, and IDentifier, and I wasn't able to see or access the channels. What does the alpha channel look like?

I also tried setting the project to 16 and 32 bits.

Zip? does it need to be unzipped? How?

Sorry, I only barely know enough to be confused.

raw-m
07-27-2010, 09:24 AM
Yes, many thanks Cageman, just got round to looking at it. Everything loaded fine for me using CS5 (see attached).

This is turning out to be a bit of an eye-opener, really like the approach. I still need to do a bit of research in what order to stack layers and getting the correct layer mode etc, but this is a great start.

Does anyone know (and I know I'm being lazy!) if there is a script that will detect what buffers are present and setup an AE project with correct plugin/layer mode settings without me manually having to apply the EXtractoR plugin numerous times? :)

raw-m
07-28-2010, 09:23 AM
Just a quicky before I start up another thread, any idea if I can get an "ID Matte" out of this?

Got a few separate mattes to render out and if I can use a Material ID or Object ID rather than rendering out loads of passes the that would be great.

hydroclops
07-28-2010, 11:12 AM
OK, I've done some reading here and there and I think I sort of get it. A workflow to use EXR files from LW to AE requires the exrTrader plugin in LW and the ProEXR plugin from fnord in AE.

AE cs4 has some of the plugins you need, included, but buying the ProEXR plugin really adds some functionality: 1) it allows you to read the channels as created by using a text file. 2) it has a plugin to automatically turn a multichannel EXR into a composition of layers in AE.

Theoretically you can do this with the included free plugins in AE, but I still don't get it. Using ExtractoR, I guess you can reasign the 4 main channels, RGBA, to any of the other channels in the EXR. So to get all the channels you want as layers, do you need to have multiple instances of the same EXR in their own layers???

http://www.fnordware.com/

http://www.db-w.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=81

monovich
07-28-2010, 11:18 AM
without answering any technical questions, I gotta pitch in my vote for EXR Trader. PSD export is primitive in comparison. PSD/16bit is the past. EXR/32bit is the future.

-sf

monovich
07-28-2010, 11:21 AM
it has a plugin to automatically turn a multichannel EXR into a composition of layers in AE.


the free version has the plugin that breaks the EXR up into layers. It basically runs some sort of script and assigns ExtractoR to each layer and does all the precomping. Its one-click-easy. Just click, boom, fully setup comp.

hydroclops
07-28-2010, 11:31 AM
the free version has the plugin that breaks the EXR up into layers. It basically runs some sort of script and assigns ExtractoR to each layer and does all the precomping. Its one-click-easy. Just click, boom, fully setup comp.

I think you have to pay to get this...

http://www.fnordware.com/ProEXR/ProEXR_Manual.pdf

page 25

Lightwolf
07-28-2010, 11:36 AM
Just a quicky before I start up another thread, any idea if I can get an "ID Matte" out of this?

Got a few separate mattes to render out and if I can use a Material ID or Object ID rather than rendering out loads of passes the that would be great.
LightWave 10 will have an object ID as well as a surface ID buffer (and exrTrader suports those already) - however at this point in time they don't work as expected (which reminds me, that's another topic to discuss with the dev team here at Siggraph).

However... I don't think either of them are as useful as many might think they are, there's a couple of issues (mainly AA at the edges, especially where more than one item/surface contribute to a pixel in the final image).
One way around it would be using a global shading solution (such as - plug - shaderMeister or Denis's nodal pixel filter) in conjunction with the Sequence node from the free db&w Tools to produce a separate ID pass that respects AA to a degree (and needs to be used in conjunction with a colour key in compositing).

An example (and some history) of that is here:
http://forums.db-w.com/index.php/topic,414.0.html
http://www.db-w.com/content/view/136/174/
(Yes, we wrote the node due to a feature request and got an interview in return. Win - win :D ).

Cheers,
Mike

raw-m
07-28-2010, 01:39 PM
Thanks Lightwolf. I'll hold off on the object ID thing for the moment, see how it pans out.

I'm very pleased to say that I downloaded the dmg at the bottom of Fnordware's site: http://www.fnordware.com/ProEXR/
and dropped the "ProEXR Comp Creator" plugin into AE's plugins folder and it worked - it created all the layer comps for me - saving a ton of time!! Got to manually change the layer modes though.

Thanks all for your input.

hydroclops
07-28-2010, 03:00 PM
raw-m,

how do you do it without the comp creator plugin? with just EXtractoR? When I use EXtractoR I just get the dialogue in the first screen capture. After I click OK, I get the result in the second screen capture.

So I now have raw RGB as a layer. How do I add other channels from the EXR as new layers?

raw-m
07-28-2010, 03:10 PM
You're nearly there. to use the "ProEXR Comp Creator" script just hilight the exr file in the project window, goto File/Create ProEXR Layer Comps and it should just do it's thing (though not particularly quickly).

To do it manually, do as you have done and select the buffer you're after in the drop-down boxes r/g/b/a. To get everything to stack, duplicate the layer, open up the EXtactoR effect, select another buffer. Hope that makes sense :)

hydroclops
07-28-2010, 03:31 PM
Got it. Thanks raw-m

archijam
07-28-2010, 03:40 PM
I like the name of this thread.

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! .. :thumbsup:

hydroclops
07-28-2010, 03:46 PM
no fighting here, we're ignoring PSD exporter...

Lightwolf
07-28-2010, 10:33 PM
no fighting here, we're ignoring PSD exporter...
:D O.k., so how about...

exrTrader vs. notepad

FIGHT!

Cheers,
Mike

raw-m
07-30-2010, 06:01 AM
Plugin: bought :jam:

Lightwolf
07-30-2010, 07:37 PM
Plugin: bought :jam:
db&w: thanks you very much
dinner: saved ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Cageman
07-31-2010, 12:26 AM
Yes...

In LW10, exrTrader allready supports the new buffers, such as Radiosity, Occlusion and 3 different types of Normal.

jeric_synergy
03-22-2011, 12:40 PM
Hiya...

The PSD Exporter can export some buffer that exrTrader doesn't have access to (this is a limit in the LW SDK).

Cheers,
Mike
Hey Mike,
I was unable to dl the exrTrader Manual using this link:

http://www.db-w.com/products/exrtrader/download/viewdownload/22/114

All that happened was a new tab opened up in my browser, then nada.

Thought you'd want to know.

Lightwolf
03-22-2011, 12:46 PM
All that happened was a new tab opened up in my browser, then nada.

Odd, it works here on all browsers that I've tested the new site on (FF, IE, Opera, Safari, Chrome).
You can also download it directly using the top of the right hand column (recent software) - which shows the currently released software. The PDF icon points directly to the most recent docs.

Cheers,
Mike

Julez4001
07-15-2011, 11:08 PM
So how does Object ID get extracted in AE using extrader plugin?