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milkman
12-02-2003, 05:52 PM
I can't afford to get DFX anymore (as I was thinking of doing,)...

So I was wondering. By the time I have enough money, the DFX deal will be done probably... so I'll have to look for another solution.

I tried the demo of DFX and it was reallllllly sweet. Is Combustion similar to DFX in function? How about After Effects?

Thanks

WizCraker
12-02-2003, 06:22 PM
Combustion and AFX uses layers and are not Node based like DFX+ is. The functionality are about the same you will find workflow issues different in both from DFX+.

Beamtracer
12-02-2003, 06:46 PM
Adobe After Effects is the most popular compositing application on the planet.

I'm not claiming it's the best (I wish I had Shake (http://www.apple.com/shake/), the compositing app used for Lord Of The Rings) but After Effects offers good value for money.

milkman
12-02-2003, 08:17 PM
What is the difference between AE and Combustion?

WizCraker
12-02-2003, 11:46 PM
Not much one is made by Adobe and the other Discreet. Some will say Combustion's workflow is a little faster than AE.

milkman
12-02-2003, 11:50 PM
Do DFX and Combustion perform the same functions or do they serve different purposes?

WizCraker
12-02-2003, 11:53 PM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
(I wish I had Shake (http://www.apple.com/shake/), the compositing app used for Lord Of The Rings) but After Effects offers good value for money.

I went from Shake to DFX+ and like it much better. I don't do anything for film so the loss of 16, 32bit is no biggie. DFX+ with all modules is very powerful and if I do move [or do] film work the upgrade price to Digital Fusion would still be cheaper than Shake.

I like the node based approach to the workflow [surfacing, modeling [Houdini], compositing] over the way that AE or Combustion do with layers. Just my opinion as I find working with AE in paticular more difficult.

badllarma
12-03-2003, 12:01 AM
Originally posted by milkman
What is the difference between AE and Combustion?

One is made by Adobe and the other by Discreet :D
Seriously though there are some differences between them Combustion takes it's lead from Discreets high end products is a very capable packages and even comes with a great 2D particle generator AKA Illusion
After Effects looks a little more dated but does the job well it can be a little confusing to a new user as objects on the time line have drop downs (little triangle icon) that lead to more drop downs that lead to more drop downs! From a work flow point of veiw can get a little bit of a nightmare with limited screen space.
The main thing with AE and Combustion is it's an all in one package paint, particles etc etc where as DFX you have to spend more to get each of the features.
On saying that my fav (and I've used them all) is DFX, nodes just rock! Saving a flows as a new tools is just great, and a real time saver.

So in my opion would be this
1) Digital Fusion (I wish)
2) DFX (used)
3) Combustion (used)
4) After Effects (used)

WizCraker
12-03-2003, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by milkman
Do DFX and Combustion perform the same functions or do they serve different purposes?

Pretty much they do, but the workflow is different. DFX+ being node based which gives you a little more control and is more built as to be able to work in studio where multiple artists can work on the elements. Combustion though used in studio enviroments is more streamlined to be used by an individual artist and gives you less control over certain aspects of the compositing process.

For instance a shot that is being put together in Combustion is built differently in DFX+ as you have to build each effect with each Node, Combustion does more behind the scenes so you can complete the shot and move on. The artist looses a bit of control per say, however when you build with Nodes you have complete control over every aspect of the shots final look.

WizCraker
12-03-2003, 12:13 AM
Originally posted by badllarma
So in my opinion would be this
1) Digital Fusion (I wish)
2) DFX (used)
3) Combustion (used)
4) After Effects (used)

The nice thing about DFX+ is that you buy only what you need since it is modularized, though there is a killer module deal until the end of the year for only $995.

My list would be

Digital Fusion
DFX+ [This is before Shake because well because I don't like Shake anymore]
Shake
Nuke [Havent used as you have to drop a large amounts of cash to use it. Or work for Digital Domain]
Combustion
After Effects

badllarma
12-03-2003, 01:21 AM
Just out of intrest any one used Discreets Lustre (colour correction tool) was once (5D Colosus see LOTR disc 4 for what this baby can do :D )

If so how does it/ would it compair to colour correction modual in DFX or Digital Fusion?

I suppose this is like compairing AE with Shake but I would be intrested to know :)

Beamtracer
12-03-2003, 03:26 AM
Originally posted by WizCraker
I don't do anything for film so the loss of 16, 32bit is no biggie. DFX+ with all modules is very powerful

DXF+ will always just be a hobbyist's tool. It should never be used for professional work.

It's only use is if you want to use it to upgrade to something else later. Despite what others have said, its 8 bit per channel color space results in degraded pictures, color banding and artifacts.

Most of the other compositing apps are at least 16 bits per channel, which is now the standard for producing both professional film and video.

What it basically means is that the higher the bit rate, the more levels of brightness to darkness there are in your picture.

DXF+ is limited to 8bpc, which means each color channel can only have a maximum of 256 levels of brightness.

If you don't touch your pictures, this may be OK. But has soon as you start color grading and adding effects you'll get horrible image degradation.

What is a compositing app supposed to do if it's not used for color grading and effects?

They should change the name of it to:
'DXF+banding+artifacts'

eacide
12-03-2003, 04:28 AM
I am not a compositing pro.

I have played for a while with evaluation versions of AE and Combustion. I now own DFX+.

DFX+ node-based approach is very nice. I like it. THe only thing I miss from AE is the large collection of plugins shipped with it. I miss the image processing plugins AE has.

badllarma
12-03-2003, 05:05 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
DXF+ will always just be a hobbyist's tool. It should never be used for professional work.


Totally disagree with you on this one I've used it alot for DV work (paid) and had no problems at all.
Sure if your working at 2 - 4 K for film output far enough, and if your on those budgets you should be using Digital Fusion the full monty anyway. Also used it for my 3D animation work and had this projected onto 60 foot screens (paid) with also no problems.

Sounds a bit of elitest crap to me.

TyVole
12-03-2003, 05:37 AM
I agree that 8-bit depth is a limitation for more than just film work, but DFX+ is used by major studios, including Dreamworks Television, so it isn't just a hobbyist tool.

Beamtracer
12-03-2003, 05:37 AM
Originally posted by badllarma
Totally disagree with you on this one I've used it [DXF+] alot for DV work (paid) and had no problems at all.

Sounds a bit of elitest crap to me.
Well, I'm happy if everyone else goes out and buys 8-bit compositing applications. Let the band(ing) begin!

js33
12-03-2003, 10:31 AM
Beams just mad because he uses a Mac only and can't use DFX+.:D

Cheers,
JS

WizCraker
12-03-2003, 10:58 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
DXF+ will always just be a hobbyist's tool. It should never be used for professional work.

Steven Spielberg's Taken that was on SciFi channel used DFX+, I guess Steven Spielberg is not profressional enough to consider something like Digital Fusion, Shake which is overkill for the situation.

Lightwolf
12-03-2003, 11:13 AM
Originally ranted by Beamtracer
DXF+ will always just be a hobbyist's tool. It should never be used for professional work.
...
It's only use is if you want to use it to upgrade to something else later. Despite what others have said, its 8 bit per channel color space results in degraded pictures, color banding and artifacts.
...
If you don't touch your pictures, this may be OK. But has soon as you start color grading and adding effects you'll get horrible image degradation.
For colour grading I agree, for most other apps 8 bit per channel is highly sufficient. Heck, I even posted 2K film with 8 bit only apps, heavy effects, loads of layers, and no banding whatsoever...
The most important colour conversion for Video work is not the original colour depth of the comp, but the quality of the RGB<->YUV consersion process, and I've seen 16bit comps that resultet in awful banding, just as I've seen absolutely clean 8 bit comps that looked beautiful on video.
Cheers,
Mike

mindseye
12-03-2003, 11:49 AM
howdy.

We have DFX+ and Combustion2 here... and Combustion is node based as well as using layers. Just my opinion...but Combustion has alot more for the money. (excluding the super mondo deal from Newtek). I prefer the interface of Combustion as well. Anyway... here is a link to our demo reel that we just finished. The
compositing shots and the interface shots are all Combustion...and, Lightwave for 3d.

[URL=http://www.mindseyemm.com/port/demoreelm9.wmv]

it should stream... you'll have to hit play. it's 32mgs

Earl
12-03-2003, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by js33
Beams just mad because he uses a Mac only and can't use DFX+.:D

Cheers,
JS

:D

badllarma
12-03-2003, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
Well, I'm happy if everyone else goes out and buys 8-bit compositing applications. Let the band(ing) begin!

:D :D :D :D
I got it free with the Lightwave 8 upgrade so it didn't cost a bean.

takkun
12-03-2003, 01:58 PM
DXF+ will always just be a hobbyist's tool. It should never be used for professional work.

It's only use is if you want to use it to upgrade to something else later. Despite what others have said, its 8 bit per channel color space results in degraded pictures, color banding and artifacts. LOL, I guess that makes photoshop a hobbyist only tool, too. :rolleyes:

And tell me, how can I import DV in 16-bit or floating point color space?

Really, why are you spouting flamebait?

Elmar Moelzer
12-03-2003, 02:33 PM
Hmm, I think many users are still rendering to 32 bit TGAs if there is no need for extremely heavy post.
I think that for about 90% of all compositing/post- jobs that come along DFX+ is more than sufficient.
Heck at the prices customers usually pay here in Europe, they should be happy to get any post at all ;-)
Just my humble oppinion.
CU
Elmar

Beamtracer
12-03-2003, 05:39 PM
Originally posted by TyVole
DFX+ is used by major studios, including Dreamworks Television, so it isn't just a hobbyist tool.
Well, Dreamworks are fools then, if they produce television work with an 8bpc RGB compositor like DXF+. It's hard to believe that DXF+ would be their main compositing application.


Originally posted by Lightwolf
I've seen absolutely clean 8 bit comps that looked beautiful on video. That's possible. If you have a detailed image it can hide the artifacts. As soon as you hit a smooth color gradient the artifacts will become apparent.


Originally posted by takkun
LOL, I guess that makes photoshop a hobbyist only tool, too.
Photoshop CS (which should have been called Photoshop 8) has 16bpc support. This is because Pro photographers have been howling at Adobe to include it.

Most professional stills photographers using high-end digital cameras are switching to 16bpc (they call them "raw") files. The differences are enormous.


Originally posted by takkun
And tell me, how can I import DV in 16-bit or floating point color space?
Very nicely, takkun. DV will transfer much better in 16bpc than 8bpc. The reason is because you are also translating between different color spaces.

As I said, if you want to do your compositing in an 8-bit app, go right ahead. I'm just offering advice here which you can ignore if you want.

As for cross platform support:
Shake... runs on an x86 box if you install Linux, or runs on Mac OSX
Combustion... Mac OSX or Windows
After Effects... Mac OSX or Windows
DXF+.... Windows only

takkun
12-03-2003, 06:00 PM
Very nicely, takkun. DV will transfer much better in 16bpc than 8bpc. Care to elaborate? Transfering DV video onto a computer is just a straight digital copy process, like copying a file from one hard drive to another.

And it's DFX+ not DXF+.


Look, I've actually done tests with DFX+. There is no visual banding with color correction unless you apply multiple passes of color correction (which is silly in a node based program) or if you apply extreme amount of color correction (which also creates banding when editing in 16 bpc, and is unnessecary since you could just layer a solid color image in front of it to acheive the same effect.)

EDIT: Just want to say that I'm not saying that 8bpc is perfect, I'm just saying that it's not as bad as you make it out to be and that it's very useable for professional work, especially if you work in broadcast or work with DV as I do at my job.

cholo
12-03-2003, 06:03 PM
8 bpc is really good enough, the only problem is most app developers are too lazy to incorporate dithering routines, because with some foyd-steinberg thrown in 8bpc shows no banding at all.

milkman
12-03-2003, 06:05 PM
Mindseye: WMP says the server isn't responding.

mindseye
12-03-2003, 06:36 PM
hmmmm.... it's working at my end. Please try again and let me know if it still doesn't work for you. I may just post it in another format.

milkman
12-03-2003, 06:58 PM
It's still not working :)

I have Windows Media 9.

takkun
12-03-2003, 07:03 PM
It's still not working

I have Windows Media 9.

try right clicking and choose, save as...

http://www.mindseyemm.com/port/demoreelm9.wmv

EDIT: Impressive demo reel!

milkman
12-03-2003, 07:56 PM
very cool reel.

milkman
12-03-2003, 09:10 PM
ugh. i just played around a bit with the combustion 3 demo.

i must say... i took to dfx IMMEDIATELY. so far combustion3 doesnt seem half as intuitive.

i'm gonna keep trying though.

anieves
12-03-2003, 09:38 PM
I wanna add my 2 cents here.

I think if you are new to compositing After Effects is the best solution for you, why? several reasons:

1- AFX is used in every freaking fx house in the planet.
2- easier to find work since every freaking fx house in the planet has it.
3- easier to use and learn if you already know any other adobe app. Chances are you have PS which also every freaking fx house in the planet has it.
4- If you learn AFX inside and out it'll be easier to migrate to any other comp app if you are requierd to do so by your employer.
5- AFX has a PLETHORA of Plug ins (commercial and free) no other comp app has as many plugins as AFX, why? because every freaking fx house in the planet has it!!!!! :D

just a few things to consider if you are a newbie compositor.

milkman
12-03-2003, 10:22 PM
Welp, I've never owned Photoshop, and I don't now, so that isn't much of an incentive for me.

Also, DFX imports MOST AFX plugins.

milkman
12-03-2003, 10:25 PM
i'd definately prefer DFX but theres no way i can get it now.

I've been playing with combustion for a few hours and it is SOOOO convoluted... at least to me.

The first time I opened DFX it made perfect sense, even though I'd never messed with a compositing/post processing app before. Combustion is crazy.

but I am gonna download the After Effects trial and see how I like it. Thanks for all the responses, folks. I appreciate it

Whelkn
12-03-2003, 10:41 PM
I would just like to point out to anyone that is confused that DFX+ and Digital Fusion are two different programs. DFX+ is a cut down version of Digital Fusion. Digital Fusion doeas support Floating point and is 16-bit. Just THought I would make that a little clearer if anyone was getting confused. all that said I love my copy of Digital Fusion :)

Jeremy

Cman
12-03-2003, 11:29 PM
I will pipe in that the Combustion work flow is so well done that even people that have no idea what they're looking at like it better! (interns, etc.)

AE is a great tool used in all levels of compositing.
Combustion is a great tool used...
DFX+ is a great tool...

They will all get you where you want to go.
You just have to decide what your parameters are for making your decision:

Value for money, go with AE.
For great design/work flow, go with Combustion.
For greater control, go with DFX.

Beamtracer
12-04-2003, 02:11 AM
Originally posted by takkun
8bpc is perfect, I'm just saying that it's not as bad as you make it out to be and that it's very useable for professional work, especially if you work in broadcast If that's what you want to do...

I like to sit at home and watch the visual faults going to air on television. You can see it all the time if you know what to look for.

petermark
12-04-2003, 03:37 AM
I have used AE for a couple of years, and so my opinion is bound to be biased, but here goes - DFX is a pain!

I bought the Lightwave/DFX deal and happily started pounding away at learning DFX. I'm usually fast at learning programs, and I think I did learn how to use it fairly well. Here is an example of work that I did using it:

http://www.tranquilstorm.com/lightoflife/special3_rain/index.html

But I my flow chart for that composite got to be a mess and it was taking days (a few hours a day) to finish just one shot. I was trying to use a track to drive the motion of the clouds and rain, but eventually realized that the motion wasn't lining up right. So I stabilized that shot instead and that worked ok... until I wanted to destabilize the shot at the end of the composite. It totally screwed up the motion. Eventually figured out that track motion was being passed around as percentages (of the frame size) instead of pixels. What the mess? What possible advantage does that have. Eventually I rigged up a thing whereby I merged the final composite with a blank layer so that the composite took on the size of the blank layer without losing the part that was cropped, and then applied the destabilization... it was a mess!

The kicker arose when I was doing a shot with less camera movement. The tracker simply wouldn't take a good track. The image vibrated to no end. It was obviously an interlace problem because it jumped up and down every-other frame. I checked the deinterlace, no help there. I applied blur. I used multiple trackers. No help. I finally decided that another pack was required to be able to deinterlace properly. No way I'm paying $300 for something so basic!

So I switched back to AE. In one day I completed 2 effects shots! In my opinion, AE Pro is just flat more complete and more practical than DFX.

One note on the 8bit issue - I have noticed banding in some of my footage when I really stretched the levels on it. I don't mind so much, but would like to get rid of it if possible. Does AE 5.5 support 16bit? Would it even matter, seeing as I'm starting with DV footage?

Lightwolf
12-04-2003, 05:01 AM
O.k. here's my take:
I've used AE for a couple of projects, and I have competed with others using AE loads of times.
I've used combustion 1 and 2 as well as the predecessors.
I mostly use DF.

1) 8bit vs. anyhting else: Most of my DF flows are completely 8 bit, and I have yet to see any banding in them on our class 1 monitor (or on a shoddy TV for that matter). The only banding I've seen recently was from a crappy DDR at 4:1 compression, but that's another story. If you know your tools, you'll have to push your comp very hard to notice banding.

2) AE vs. Combustion vs. DF, here's my take and experience:
I've found combustion to be extremely un-intuitive and convoluted, with too much nesting and stuff which really makes building complex comps a pain. At least combustion 3 is supposed to support scripting. I found the flow view to be a bit awkward as well. Combustion 2 (the last V I've worked with) is also an extremely slow renderer.
AE is for me pretty much the same, those nested comps drive me crazy.
I find DF to be much more intuitive and flexible when it comes to complicated (semi-) automated comps. If run a great many circles around experienced AE users trying to recreate my DF output.
Aother thing I love: Rendering previews across a network...

Oh, one very positive issue with DF(X+), the support from eyeon is alone worth the price of admission. This is something you will neither get from Adobe nor discreet (like, developers answering within 2 hours confirming bugs, and may be offering fixes). Very, very good if you're in crunch.

Just my humble, opinionated 2 cents...
Cheers,
Mike

takkun
12-04-2003, 12:19 PM
Beamtracer, why did you misquote me? I didn't say that 8pbc was perfect, I said the opposite, but you snipped the beginning of the paragraph so it looks like I did say that. Very professional. :rolleyes:

And you didn't answer my question about DV. How can you capture DV at 16bpc when 1)transferring DV is just a file transfer, no transcoding takes place and 2) DV is natively 8bpc.

Lightwolf
12-05-2003, 02:28 AM
takkun:
Beam is right to a certain extent.
DV is only 8 bit per component, and actually, uncompressed, 12 bit / pixel (due to the poor chroma sampling).
But, like all (...most) video formats, it is in YUV colourpsace, which can't be losslessly transformed into 8 bit RGB (this is true the other way around too). You tend to loose around one to half a bit of precision in the process ( depending on the quality of the transformation).
Then again, following Beams logic (Sorry Beam ;) ), you shouldn't use DV for pro work either...

Cheers,
Mike

takkun
12-05-2003, 11:07 AM
But, like all (...most) video formats, it is in YUV colourpsace, which can't be losslessly transformed into 8 bit RGB (this is true the other way around too). You tend to loose around one to half a bit of precision in the process ( depending on the quality of the transformation). I think that DFX+ gives you the option of keeping everything in the YUV colorspace. I'll check when I get home.
Then again, following Beams logic (Sorry Beam ), you shouldn't use DV for pro work either... Well, then I guess Apple lied to us then. ;) But the fact is that I use it professionally, and so does hollywood, there's been a lot of great movies made on DV (my favorite being, 28 days later, I love zombie flicks).

Lightwolf
12-05-2003, 11:16 AM
Takkun:
are zombie flicks professional? ;)

DF uses RGB internally, as does any (major) compositing tool I know of. DF _can_ change the colourspace, but that basically converts the RGB to YUV (or whatever) and then generates an image that has YUV data in the RGB channels (so you can process it differently), and then you change back the colourspace from YUV to RGB to properly output the image. This allows for some wicked processing btw.
Until recently, even most video editing tools processed in RGB (what a waste of ressources), but this has changed.
But, again, I never had any banding issues in DF so far, the only time I really needed to change my bit depth was when performing a full frame 200 pixel gaussian blur.

Cheers,
Mike

Cman
12-05-2003, 02:30 PM
Originally posted by Lightwolf
Takkun:
are zombie flicks professional? ;)

...
Mike

Peter Jackson's (Lord of the Rings) first movie was a "zombie" flick - so yeah I'd say they are as professional as any other movie.
One could make an amateurish zombie movie or fantasy movie - it's the execution that matters.

btw, I liked "28 days later", too! :p

takkun
12-05-2003, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by Cman
Peter Jackson's (Lord of the Rings) first movie was a "zombie" flick - so yeah I'd say they are as professional as any other movie.
One could make an amateurish zombie movie or fantasy movie - it's the execution that matters.

btw, I liked "28 days later", too! :p YES!!! Dead Alive (aka Brain Dead) is the BEST zombie movie ever made, dare I say, the best horror movie ever! Because: 1. It's really funny 2. It's really really bloody 3. It has a kung fu priest 4. Peter Jackson is a genius! (he also has a cameo in the film, he plays a mortician)

and 28 days later is really good too, but for different reasons. hmm, I need to find a zombie lovers forum somewhere so I can rant some more. :)

Lightwolf
12-06-2003, 05:39 AM
Originally posted by Cman
Peter Jackson's (Lord of the Rings) first movie was a "zombie" flick - so yeah I'd say they are as professional as any other movie.

I saw that one coming ;) I hope you noted the -> ;) <- though.

Btw, only because a pro does something, that doesn't neccessarily mean the topic, or the result is "professional", whatever that means. (And no, this is not a comment on Peter Jackson).
And yes, I do like "zombie" flicks as well, to an extent.
Cheers,
Mike