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Cobalt
01-22-2004, 09:40 PM
I haven't taken the time to see the Stranahan videos on DFX or researched the forums on how good this product id or isn't. Bottom line is that I am very comfortable with After Effects. It has worked well for the type of work I do.

What will DFX do that I could not do in After Effects?

Steve McRae
01-22-2004, 09:59 PM
. . . I am in the same boat - I really like AE but have not had the time to look into my copy of DFX - I have seen the videos though - the one thing that it has going against it for me is that it can not handle 16bits.

. . . the node based system looks intriging however . . .

js33
01-22-2004, 10:48 PM
You have to upgrade to the Full Digital Fusion for 16 bit and it also does floating point or 32 bit. It is about the same as Shake and about the same price to. DFX has much of the same tools as the Full DF but is designed for DV and television work rather than film.

Cheers,
JS

deepbite
01-22-2004, 11:07 PM
Well, I guess the major difference between the two is its application - meaning where it is used mostly. After effects is a superior tool when it comes to doing motion graphics. Although it can be a VERY GOOD compositing tool, tools such as DF or Shake tend to work better on any levels of compositing work.

That's my 2 cents

ikaruz
01-23-2004, 01:12 AM
DFX+ is the same as Digital Fusion, only thing is it won't handle 16bit, which unless your doing Film work isn't that big of a deal. It's also broken down into modules, to make it more affordable to the average person.

Having have used AE before I can say that DFX+'s workflow is great compared to AE. To me the best thing about it is the workflow. For example, you can see your animation splines full screen, zoon in/zoon out, compress them, strech them, offset them, make them linear, use all kinds of tools on them. Unlike AE which only shows them on the layer themselves and are kinda of limiting. The node base compositing was daunting at first, but now it's like second nature to me.

DFX+/Digital Fusion/Shake are aimed more on the high-end compositing part of the film industry. As apposed to AE/Combustion which are aimed more towards the broadcast and motion graphics industry. Although there are some things that AE can do that DFX+/Digital Fusion can't do like real layers in 3D space the workflow and nodebase composting more than makes up for it. And there are also a ton of things that DFX+ can do that AE can't. Not to mention that just about every parameter that you can think of can be animated in DFX+

I still continue to use AE, but the more and more I learn DFX+ the more I'm shifting toward the dark side...:D

ghopper
01-23-2004, 03:36 AM
RE: motiongraphics

So is DFX+ as good as AE for motion graphics.

Or is it still better to use AE for this and mainly DFX+ for FX and compositing ?

If DFX+ is being used in motion graphics, do you have some links to commercial examples ?

thx

Mylenium
01-23-2004, 04:36 AM
For motion graphics I'd still go down the AE road. There are just too many reasons:

a) The text tool in AE - even though it's still a bit buggy no other programm can rival its flexibility.

b) near to perfect integration with other Adobe tools (especiall PS and IL)

c) Vector output for SWF (not perfect, combustion* may be better there)

d) tons of plugins for text effects, backdrop patterns etc.

e) JavaScript for automation (important in broadcast) and expressions (combustion* is still rather weak and clumsy there)

f) fastest rendering I know for that kind of job (especially with multile nested comps)

Mylenium

eacide
01-23-2004, 05:34 AM
Agreed with Mylenium in general

Originally posted by Mylenium
[...]
d) tons of plugins for text effects, backdrop patterns etc.

[...]
You can use the AE plugins/effects in DFX+... This works usually fine. The thing is that AE is shipped with much more plugins than DFX+ 1-4. There are things you can do with native AE while impossible with DFX+ ( e.g. >> policarpo's interesting post-fx technique << (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=100270) ).

dwburman
01-23-2004, 01:02 PM
You must be using AE 6, eh? DFX+'s text tool blows away AE 5.5's. Everything is animatable. If you want the text to type on, you just animate the slider. You can import a text file for the. This text file can include time indicators so certains lines show up at certain times.

DFX+ has expressions capabilities but as far as I can tell they aren't accessible as AE's. In other words, I haven't figured DFX's system out yet :) However, it is fairly easy to link properties together in DFX. It's a bit like lightwave in some senses.

One of the things I like about DFX over AE is the Spline editor. It's soooo much easier to edit timing in DFX than AE that it's sick.

The way you can mask effects in DFX is also superior. To do the same thing in AE I'd make an adjustment layer, put a filter on it and add a mask to the layer. In DFX I drop in the effect/filter and make a mask.

Unfortunately the way masks are handled confuses me. I want to combine a bunch of layers (think precomposing) and change the shape of the composition with a mask. I'm having trouble figuring it out for some reason. I found a couple of ways around it but they don't seem as simple as it should be. :/




Originally posted by Mylenium

a) The text tool in AE - even though it's still a bit buggy no other programm can rival its flexibility.

/snip/

e) JavaScript for automation (important in broadcast) and expressions (combustion* is still rather weak and clumsy there)

Mylenium

Cobalt
01-23-2004, 01:31 PM
Thanks for your thoughts. Sounds like its worth taking a closer look at DFX.

But in all fairness, I'm just plain too comfortable with After Effects. Same with Lightwave. I have both Lightwave and Maya at work and I just do not have the time or motivation to learn something different when I have great joy in producing quality work efficiently and effectively in Lightwave.

Too many tools. Not enough time to learn them all.

KillMe
01-23-2004, 01:33 PM
has anyone here got digital fusion or the particles module for dfx+ jsut wondering about its capabilities etc as i couldn't find much info about it at the eyeon site =/

marc
01-23-2004, 03:39 PM
Originally posted by KillMe
has anyone here got digital fusion or the particles module for dfx+ jsut wondering about its capabilities etc as i couldn't find much info about it at the eyeon site =/
I bought the remaining modules (2,3,6,7), mainly to get the color corrector, scripting capabilities and the particles. I'm in the middle of a project though, so I haven't had the chance to play around with them, yet. If you want to know something specific I might find it out.
I reckon with the particle system it's like with so many things in DFX+ (like the Text+ tool): very capable but coming with very few examples to prove it. Sounds a bit like Motion Designer...
People say it's about on par with Particle Illusion, the latter having a few more features (and tons of presets) in its latest version. On the other hand the particles in DF are fully integrated.
I suggest you try both the DF demo and PI3 as well.

Marc

Cman
01-23-2004, 05:18 PM
Don't forget Combustion 3. A very nice program that I feel fits between AE and DFX+. It has + and - like anything, but is very good imho. Has a fun particle engine and AWESOME CC. :)

I still use AE only because I"m so used to it, but more and more I try to do stuff in Combustion.

The main reason I don't use the DFX+ mods I got with LW upgrade is the lack of real CC. I can't justify the additional modules when AE6 and C3 have all I need.

The next compositing prog I will likely get, if when I buy somethign, is Shake.

papou
01-23-2004, 09:05 PM
my 2 cents:
Im a combustion user from start (effect*). It's a really good soft too with a lot a possibily.
I'm playing with dfx actually, it's impressive. Really really fast.
I was afraid about the node Ui but i think it's a more powerful way to do compositing. (but..huh...i have trouble with the Mask too..any idea someone?)
Don't forget the Module 5, with netrender and clusters. It can boost the power more and more.
hmm, don't like Adobe product. (they are maybe too serious...don't know...)

Beamtracer
01-23-2004, 10:11 PM
Never buy a compositing app that doesn't work in 16-bits-per-channel or higher.

Despite what others have said above, 8bpc compositing apps like DFX+ are completely unsuitable for broadcast video work.

You'd get your work rejected submitting 8bpc videos to most broadcast networks.

It must be 16bpc or higher. 16bpc is the standard for broadcast and film.

slow67
01-23-2004, 10:49 PM
beamtracer is this a new fad, using 16bpc for tv work? I have not read one article yet about using 16bpc for broadcast, actually its been the opposite 8bpc for ntsc and pal. Maybe for hdtv things are starting to go 16bpc? I am not in the industry so I realy do not have 1st hand Knowledge.

dwburman
01-23-2004, 10:58 PM
But feel free to pre-order an upgrade that comes with a $1500 compositing App for free. :)

Not everyone has to deliver stuff to major networks and if they do, they don't have to deliver in a data file. Sometimes you can get away with 8-bit stuff.

I agree with Beamtracer in that if you're doing serious compositing you want (need) 16-bit. If you're doing keying, color correcting and subtle gradients etc.

I may need to upgrade to full Digital Fusion in the next year or two (depending on what projects come up)

For the motion graphics stuff I'm doing right now, I'm fairly happy with DFX+. Yes it sucks being stuck in 8-bit but I don't have the cash or the need to get something else right now. I do have access to AE if I need it.

As for particle effects, check out Particle Illusion (www.wondertouch.com). It's the particle engine used in Combustion. pIllusion was upgraded since it was put in Combustion2 and I don't know if the new features made it into Combustion3 or not.

cheers! :D

Steve McRae
01-23-2004, 11:00 PM
one of the advantages of 16bit is that it allows you to push 16bit content alot further than 8bit. For instance, if you wanted to adjust the levels or curves on a specific layer, banding will not occur quick as quickly with a 16 bit image . . .

wacom
01-23-2004, 11:06 PM
Now let's be clear on one thing- DFX+ will WORK in higher bit ranges it just won't out-put to them. There is a big difference from not being able to use them and not being able to out put to them. Need proof? Look at the image I posted. Doesn't it look familar?

I used AE for some time- and will still use it for motion graphics- it's just faster and easier to use for motion graphics than anything else I've used. But for everything else it's hard to go wrong with something like DF or DFX+. Simple things like "glow" and "highlight" work so much better in them than other programs- you can get believable results quickly. You often get a way more "natural" look than you would in AE.

There is another thing that I've just started to use in DF that isn't so easy to use and do in AE: use material ID and object ID channels for EVERYTHING. Forget layers! You don't need no stink'n layers when you've got those channels up front for use with almost every channel in DF! Open up a tool, click the material ID tab and drag the eyedropper over to the object or surface you want! Ba-da-bing!

The Z-buffer for things like fog and depth of field are kick ***** as well and as with everything in DF HIGHLY tweakable. When was the last time you got a 3D rolling ground fog in AE in just 20 sec?

Another thing I'd like to point out is that DF and DFX+ are really deep programs- and aren't as easy to learn. Even after the great tutorials, and being subscribed to pigsfly you'll keep being amazed at what you can pull off in DF once you think it over. Simple tools like "channel boolean" can become real powerful when you're up against a deadline. The Texture and Shader tools can work wonders as well...

Oh and the Text tool in DF and DFX+ is light years ahead of AE! You should hear the people on pigsfly talk about it!
That was one big Adobe marketing stunt pulled in the last AE. I beg for someone to name a feature of the text in AE that DF doesn't have.

If you're REALLY worried about being a bit depth snob and plan on doing something in film soon you can always upgrade from DFX+ to DF for much cheaper than buying it off the street. My suggestion- use AE for motion graphics and DF for the rest.

OK...so I can't say enough about this program- so I'll stop for now.

slow67
01-23-2004, 11:18 PM
thanks guys, I have had dfx+ for quite abit now and I am just starting to play with it, I realy do like its workflow, and I have been thinking about getting the rest of the modules, but with all this mumbo jumbo about 16bpc, I was wndering if I should just save a little bit and upgrade to DF. DF doesn't have modules does it? Its got all but the extra rendering node's from what I can tell from eyeons site.

wacom
01-23-2004, 11:51 PM
If you're going to go to DF from DFX+ make sure and call eyeon to see if there is special pricing. A lot of people have received great deals by make'n the call. DF is DFX+ with all the mods + higher bit depth. If I'm not mistaken DF will go beyond 16bit believe it or not and will do floating bit ranges (such as 24bit and higher HDRI images etc.)

This is straight of the Eyeon site:

"Floating Point Processing
Floating point processing of color depth increases the accuracy of color correction and processing well beyond even 16 bit per channel - perfect for processing film.

Out of range color values are preserved through color adjustments.
All tools support floating point mode natively, never worry about clipping highlights."

Take that you bit depth snoba roonies!

Also- I think they've made the render node free with the 4.03b download...but I could be wrong.

Let's not forget that AE has some of the worst tracking and that DF has great tracking. This is good to use with things like LW partical effects and more and you can output tracking data to a LW motion path and bring the render back into DF.

Anyway...

Are you sure you want DF? Still- you know your work flow, but if I had to do motion graphics for a living I wouldn't use fusion!

ghopper
01-24-2004, 01:03 AM
Originally posted by wacom
Are you sure you want DF? Still- you know your work flow, but if I had to do motion graphics for a living I wouldn't use fusion!

Can you give some details ?
Why wouldn't you use DF or DFX+ for motion graphics ? It was mentioned before, that it has a better text tool ( text+ ), masking, everything is animateable in DF/DFX+ and scripting is available as well ( with DF only I think or a DFX+ module )

Or is a layer based system just more suitable for motion graphics in general ?

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm fairly new to all this ( compositing, motion graphics, etc ) - that's why these questions.

thx

Steve McRae
01-24-2004, 07:37 AM
hey wacom - thanks for that - I did not know that DFX would work in 16bit; just would not output to them. I will definitely take a harder look at it now . . .

as for being a 'bit snob' :) , it has nothing to do with that for me. Coming from a photographic perspective, there is so much more you can do with images that are 16bit rather than 8 bit - there is just SO much more information contained in the images. The results are really amazing and once you start using 16 bit it is hard to go back . . .

I guess it does not matter that much though if you don't push your various passes that much . . . really nice to know that dfx can do this.

cheers,

js33
01-24-2004, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
Never buy a compositing app that doesn't work in 16-bits-per-channel or higher.

Despite what others have said above, 8bpc compositing apps like DFX+ are completely unsuitable for broadcast video work.

You'd get your work rejected submitting 8bpc videos to most broadcast networks.

It must be 16bpc or higher. 16bpc is the standard for broadcast and film.

While I agree 16 bit is necessary for film but I've never had my 8 bit video projects rejected because they were 8 bit.
If you need more than 8 bit output you can always upgrade to the full Digital Fusion.
Beam's just mad because he's stuck on a Mac and can't use DFX of DF. :D

Cheers,
JS

Elmar Moelzer
01-24-2004, 10:30 AM
Hey!
I always render to 32bit TGAs here, never had anything rejected anywhere...
I really love Digital Fusion. IMHO it is very powerfull and actually quite easy to use. If I hadnt a full DF here, I would use DFX, thats for sure. The particle- module for FX is great and it is also available for the full DF (it is called Dot- s plugin). It is pretty fast too. For 3d- layers and such make sure you ahve a good look at Gaia3d for DF...
More info at: http://www.fusioneers.net/
CU
Elmar

wacom
01-24-2004, 10:59 AM
Originally posted by ghopper
Can you give some details ?
Why wouldn't you use DF or DFX+ for motion graphics ? It was mentioned before, that it has a better text tool ( text+ ), masking, everything is animateable in DF/DFX+ and scripting is available as well ( with DF only I think or a DFX+ module )

Or is a layer based system just more suitable for motion graphics in general ?

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm fairly new to all this ( compositing, motion graphics, etc ) - that's why these questions.

thx

Well for lack of a better explination I'd say that DF isn't good at quickly dealing with high res multi layered stills. Don't get me wrong- you can do EVERYTHING in DF that you can in AE...it's just not as easy in this case. AE supports multi layerd PhotoShop files better for motion graphics use. Why (besides that it is an Adobe format)? Well in fusion you have to ad the FX tool to do rotation and such to each layer of the photoshop file. It's kind of a pain in the *****, and the real sticker is that it just dosen't handle stills as effiecently as AE. If you need to time you're motion graphics to music and such this "slow down" can kind of be a pain- though there are work arounds. I'm sure there are ways to automate this though and make it run more smoothly. I'm no DF expert.

The upside to DF is that it handles video and effects way better (IMHO). For my workflow AE is faster...but DF looks better.

(Oh- and when I talk about large photoshop files with multi layers I'm using things that are roughly 3200x1600 with up to 12 or more layers that often need to be animated in a paralax fasion with effects applied.)

Beamtracer
01-24-2004, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by js33
I've never had my 8 bit video projects rejected because they were 8 bit...

Beam's just mad because he's stuck on a Mac
If you're making home video or home DVDs it doesn't matter what equipment you use. If you got DFX+ because it was "free", well that's fine. You can't say something that's free is bad value.

However, 16bpc is necessary for broadcast work. Feel free to ignore the advice at your peril.

I'm talking about broadcast networks that have quality control checks for content that is delivered to them. They don't tolerate low quality. They don't tolerate any visual artifacts.

Elmar, you haven't had your 3D work rejected, because you're rendering to 32bpc. 32bpc is even better if you can afford it, but 16bpc RGB is pretty well standard these days (and the minimum requirement) for broadcast video and film compositing.

DFX+ is stuck in 8bpc land. Translate its 8bpc RGB output into Y-UV and you'll get artifacting every time. Every time. That's just a fact.

I think it's a pretty hefty upgrade path if you want to go to DF to gain higher dynamic range.

Other compositing apps are:
After Effects pro version 16bpc
Combustion 16bpc/FP
Shake 32bpc FP (if you can afford it!)

Don't forget Lightwave's renderer can output 32bpc. Shake would be really nice, but you don't have to go that far into "high-end" gear to get good results.

js33
01-25-2004, 02:32 AM
Beam,

I think Elmar meant 32 bit Tgas as in 24 bit w/8 bit alha channel.

How many here actually use 16 bpc or higher for video output?

Video is not 16pbc anyway.

Your still mad that you can't use DFX on your Mac. Well you'll get over it one of these days.

Cheers,
JS

Original1
01-25-2004, 04:21 AM
Try looking through this list of whos using Digital Fusion

http://www.eyeonline.com/specialindex/gallerylink.html

there are tons resources that will help you reach a decision
For a Freebie DFX+ is a no brainer buy it.

As to wether you buy the upgrade to the top of the line DF4.

A days work will pay for the upgrade

TyVole
01-25-2004, 05:50 AM
Dreamworks Television uses DFX+, so it's not true that the package is unacceptable for broadcast television.

"I first worked with DFX+ 4 at DreamWorks Television for the recent Sci-Fi Channel mini-series, Taken. DFX+ 4 was brought on because of the great toolset, overall stability, network rendering, intuitive workflow, price point, production pipeline integration, and beautiful composites. Basically, we used it all the way through our pipeline and I would definitely use DFX+ on future projects."


-John Lima
Digital Effects Supervisor DreamWorks Television
Steven Spielberg's Taken

http://www.eyeonline.com/products/teasers/dfxlw_landing/dfxlw_landing.html

Beamtracer
01-25-2004, 05:54 AM
Originally posted by js33
Video is not 16pbc anyway.

Your still madYou shouldn't spread misinformation.

Pro video is never mastered in 8bpc RGB, even if you do yours that way with DFX+.

Modern professional video capture cards always work in either 10bpc Y-UV or 16bpc RGB. Only home video is mastered in 8bpc RGB.

If you wish to produce low quality output, go right ahead.

Mylenium
01-25-2004, 05:57 AM
Well, I agree with Beamtracer and then I don't. Let me explain.

a) Anybody who disregards the necessity for 16 bit is a fool. Sure a Gaussian Blur looks the same in 8 and 16 bit mode, but what about color correction? If it goes beyond a simple brightness adjustment, it's really necessary. This is not so critical with synthetic imagery but surely is noticeable on realworld footage. It clearly helps to avoid the dreaded banding and other artifacts. I think that's what Beam was getting at.

b) Quality control - tell me about it. Either you guys work for stations that don't care about quality or you were extremely lucky to not have been rejected. This issue is not directly to the 8 vs 16 bit debate, but you should give some thought to it. However. I don't think 16 bit helps too much once you go YUV. YUV is more or less the same like 8 bit RGB (from the color dynamics). It's much more important to have a editing/ online suite with proper calibration.

As for anything else - I think upgrading DXF+ to full DF is too expensive a game. Come to think of it - both After Effects and combustion* offer about 90% of the functionality you have if you buy DF with all modules but for a ffth of the price. Personally I find it for instance a bit ridiculous to pay money just to get network rendering (AE and c* have it built in for free). You also shouldn't forget that we all have LW, so why bother to buy Particles for DF? Even a primitive particle system in a 3D app is more sophisticated and efficient than doing it in a comping app.

Mylenium

js33
01-25-2004, 06:30 AM
Still mad?

Well I don't even do video. I do only animation graphics. Since an 8 bit graphic is uncompressed as oppossed to any video that is already compressed going onto the tape I imagine you need as much quality as possible to keep the image from degrading further. Then the loss in going from RGB to YUV futher erodes the quality.

I can output everything at 32bpc from Lightwave but it's not necessary for most things. Also the full version of DF can do 32 bit so if I need that quality level it's there. I also use After effects for alot of editing because I'm more used to it.

Cheers,
JS

Beamtracer
01-25-2004, 07:07 AM
Originally posted by Mylenium
Sure a Gaussian Blur looks the same in 8 and 16 bit mode Not so. Get an image and blur it a lot with gaussian blur, then transfer it to Y-UV video and you'll see a difference between 8bpc and 16bpc.


Originally posted by js33
Since an 8 bit graphic is uncompressed as oppossed to any video that is already compressed going onto the tapeMany broadcasters demand in contract that the video be edited on an uncompressed editing system.

If you got DFX+ free and just want to play around that's fine.

However, this thread was started by someone wanting to purchase a compositing application, and I believe the issue of whether it does 8bpc or 16bpc or higher is highly relevant for professional work.

js33
01-25-2004, 08:04 AM
Well I wouldn't try to stop someone that needs 16 bit output from getting it. But that doesn't mean that DFX is useless as you always like to say.

Also I agree you need the highest quality possible when working with video because when you transfer even an 8bit RGB (24 bit image) 16.7 million color image into YUV space you will be lucky to have even 3.5 million colors.

Also you can say your NLE is uncompressed but the image that came from your DigiBeta camera or any camera is not uncompressed. So you are already starting out with subtle artifacts.

Cheers,
JS

Cobalt
01-25-2004, 11:09 AM
I should have clarified my work invironment before posing such a question.

I produce infographics, motion graphics and animations that articulate future warfighting concepts. Most of the content is created in Lightwave. I use After Effects to add motion graphics on top of rendered still frames or animations.

I was just asking if DFX is a significantlly better app in this reagrd than After Effects. I will upgrade to LW 8 without question. It's just a question of when I can best afford to do so.

Thanks!

cresshead
01-25-2004, 11:12 AM
you people need to look backward a bit to really see what's what in this "bit" thing....

effect and paint are not 16 bit but were used in feature films such as hollow man....

combustion 1 was 8 bit but could use cineon 10 bit and was used in film and television...

after fx was 8 bit for ages..and only became 16 bit quite recently...5.5 i think...

adobe photoshop has only recently become 16 bit and that isn't fully supported across all levels of what photoshop can do...


so...well that's my take on this...yes 16 bit is better..pretty obvious really..but to say that digital fusion+ is unusable in televeision work...well i do not fully agree with that...oh yeah and yes i do have digital fusion+ [not installed it yet] but i also have paint and effect from discreet and combustion 1 and combustion 2...

later

i think this thread will go on and on and on!

js33
01-25-2004, 05:51 PM
Well I do think 16 bit RGB and 10 bit YUV are more important for video than for graphics because video loses quality at every step of the way and needs to start higher to retain the best quality when it finally reaches it's 8bit output device (TV or DVD).

Also video will benefit from a higher bit depth to keep hightlights from blowing out so easy which is common problem with the limited dynamic range of video compared to film.

Of course if you really want the best quality (Beam) then throw away your video camera and go back to shooting everything on film. :D Lot's of headroom there. Can be scanned in as 32bit and stay that way until it reaches your 8bit output device. (Video card, TV, DVD, VCR, etc...)

Cheers,
JS

Beamtracer
01-26-2004, 04:07 AM
Originally posted by cresshead
effect and paint are not 16 bit but were used in feature films such as hollow man....

[...]

adobe photoshop has only recently become 16 bit and that isn't fully supported across all levels of what photoshop can do...
I'm not familiar with what was used in Hollow Man. It's true that in the early days people would use 8 bit RGB. The editing systems all used heavily compressed motion JPEG to save their files.

You can't get by using this gear any more.

Photoshop has been late to gain 16bpc support. That's probably why so many productions relied on FilmGimp/CinePaint running on Linux to get that 16bpc support.

The Digital Betacam tape format is a 10bpc format, so 8bpc RGB source material looks pretty bad when transferred to digi Beta. Believe me!

Lightwolf
01-26-2004, 04:33 AM
Jumping in for the fun in it :)

Originally posted by js33
How many here actually use 16 bpc or higher for video output?
Hardly ever, unless I do some really heavy blurring (i.e. 200 pixels gaussian). Anything else doesn't make a difference.

Video is not 16pbc anyway.
Yup, it's not 16 bit per channel, but actually only 16 bit per pixel (if you use YUV 422), 20 bits per pixel if you have luxurious 10bit YUV, and only 12 bits per channel if you work with (already compressed) DV footage.
So, 24bit per pixel in an RGB environment really only hurt if you have the luxury of going the 10bit uncompressed YUV route to Digibeta or D1.
Cheers,
Mike

petermark
01-26-2004, 10:54 AM
My vote is for AE. I don't even have version 6, but I find its workflow more reasonable for real-world compositing tasks. I think I made a genuine effort at learning DFX and made some pretty complex composites, but I spent about five-times the amount of time and effort as was required for doing the same composites in AE.

I'm sure that I could get somewhat faster if I worked with it more, and with more money I could buy more packs to get more features (like GOOD deinterlacing). Or I could just stick with AE... so that's what I'm doing.

cresshead
01-26-2004, 12:14 PM
all the options are capable of good results be it after effects, combustion, digital fusion or shake or even nuke

the best thing is to try out the demo versions and see whicch you feel most comforable in..that's what i did ages ago and bought combustion 1 over after effects, commotion and whatevr ese i tried out in 1999/2000...i personally found after effects to be a messy program with floating dialog boxes all over the place and it just felt ike a teenagers bedroom in that regard which i didn't like at all as i prefered the 3dsmax, corel draw context sensitive userinterface with dockable pallets and combustion works like that and so does fusion.

so for everone out there trying to decide..go get the demo's and take them for a drive before spending money soley based on reviews and star ratings etc.

steve g

wacom
01-26-2004, 07:56 PM
"As for anything else - I think upgrading DXF+ to full DF is too expensive a game. Come to think of it - both After Effects and combustion* offer about 90% of the functionality you have if you buy DF with all modules but for a ffth of the price. Personally I find it for instance a bit ridiculous to pay money just to get network rendering (AE and c* have it built in for free). You also shouldn't forget that we all have LW, so why bother to buy Particles for DF? Even a primitive particle system in a 3D app is more sophisticated and efficient than doing it in a comping app."

First of all: If I'm not mistaken the 4.03b download gives you NetRender for free.

Second: If you've ever used tracking info for particals it DOES make sense NOT to have to do it in a 3D app if you can do it in a composit package. There are many other speed reasons too. This ain't your average partical plug-in (http://www.fusioneers.de/). Their 3D model import is good too...

Call for a price to upgrade from DFX+ to DF- combustion isn't anything like DF internally. Just because combustion LOOKS like the big boys it's realated too doesn't mean it is. That program chokes on my work...
I found combustion EVEN WORSE for motion graphics than DF. AE Pro is the the cheapest way to get over the 8bit herdle and get a great motion graphics package though.

Plus you really have to consider some things. We all know from using LW and looking at other 3D packages that just because something SAYS it does it on the box doesn't mean it does it well, or that it's well implemented.

Again the tracking in DF and DFX+ is light years ahead of AE and a little better than combustion- but AE and Combustion do have it. Case in point No.2: "video paint". AE Pro has some of the crappiest painting for video EVER. Aura, DF, Combustion etc have real video paint abilites. Case in point No. 3: PhotoShop file suppot- well it is crap in Aura and Combustion, just "OK" in DF, and (to no supprise) excellent in AE. But each one puts PSD files support on the box so it's gotta be good right? LW 7.5 has UV mapping but... I could go on and on...but these things only raise their ugly head when you use them a lot.

The 8-bit and 16-bit thing is like this too. If you need to do "real" work wouldn't you want a program that will do what ever range you want...hmm sounds like the snobs need DF or Shake! (I only say snob because I want these programs but can't justify it right now!)

What Beam is saying is true about color depth though- and if you do color keying and such this combined with ZERO compression can make a big diffrence.

Oh and while it is OK to compare DFX+ with programs like Combustion and AE "PRO", DF is a little out of their range in price and capabilites IMHO.

As a side question: How many people here who have posted have used the programs they've listed to some degree? I must admit that I've only explored Combustion, and Aura. I found that these programs did many of the same things as the ones I like- but how they went about it made the diffrence for me. That's why I use AE and DFX+ since there isn't a jake of all trades comp program.

cresshead
01-26-2004, 08:03 PM
to answer your question i use combustion in my personal work and freelance work and teach introduction course on it as well at a local college.

also just to note if your a mac user using combustion 3 & are
using quicktime files on a mac, it will limit you to 8 bit internaly in combustion..go have a look at the threads on creative cow for more info....they don't tel ya that on the side of the box eh?

..still..i'm on pc with combustion so it doesn't effect me till i go n get a mac!

wacom
01-26-2004, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by cresshead
to answer your question i use combustion in my personal work and freelance work and teach introduction course on it as well at a local college.

also just to note if your a mac user using combustion 3 & are
using quicktime files on a mac, it will limit you to 8 bit internaly in combustion..go have a look at the threads on creative cow for more info....they don't tel ya that on the side of the box eh?

..still..i'm on pc with combustion so it doesn't effect me till i go n get a mac!

Do you use Combustion mainly because of its excellent Max intergration? Just wanted to know the things you like about it (besides the color depth).

cresshead
01-26-2004, 09:02 PM
well at the time i was a max user so it made sense to me to get combustion 1 [i also got paint* and effect* for free] then i upgraded to C2 when that came out..i went for combustion after seeing what it could do at digital media world in london and liked the flow and interface better than after fx also i like the idea of having some of inferno and flames tools in a desktop pc product.

and yes the rla and rpf files work fine in combustion from 3ds max which is more than can be said about lighwave last time i tried it out..[rpf] aslo you can write a combustion wks form a max render which is nice..the paint tools for creating textures in realtime via max and combustion are gimiky rather than really useful but the general workflow and results i get from cvombustion are very pleasing..i still run combustion 1 as well 'cause i can run it on my laptop...not really runnig paint n effect anymore but they'r nice to have as reminders of what came before combustion!

i really must install digital fusion+ sometime soon...maybe when i need to do my next comping session.

best tings about combustion?

ease of use.
interface
colour corrector
discreet keyer
the tracker [best 2d tracker i've used so far]
g masks [ooooh!]
rpf files from max
render to elements
doesn't crash...ever [combustion 1 or 2]
can run on upto 4 monitors...i use it on 1 or 2 monitors and it's okay.
the 3d space in combustion is nice..so is the lighting.

not uppped to version three yet..see how digital fusion+ takes me first...i've read great things about fusion so i'll give it a go for sure.

ikaruz
01-26-2004, 10:21 PM
For anyone who uses DFX+/Digital Fusion now or might want to see some videos of the workflow Eyeonline just posted their "Courseware Edition 2" online. Alot of material to go along with their orignal courseware that came with DFX+/LW 8 updgrade.

Courseware Edition 2 (http://www.eyeonline.com/techniques/courseware/courseware_ed2/cware2_link.html)

Freak
01-27-2004, 08:03 PM
Correct me if i'm wrong (it happens daily)

Digital Fusion totally craps on all other compositing software (even Shake) In my opinion....

After FX is great because it's layer based, it's so easy to work with
and get things done quickly.....

Fusion is so much better being Node based, however it usually takes me more time to work with a nodal workflow..
But offers much greater freedom and flexibility.

Adobe After Effects is also only 8Bit?
Adobe After Effects Production Bundle - is 16Bit

DFX+ = 8Bit
Digital Fusion = 16Bit + FP

So unless you are running the much more expensive production bundle, are are still using 8Bit......

Also be aware that much of plugins for Adobe AFX, are still only 8Bit.....

You should always work in the highest depth available,
until final output.......

8Bit does get used in broadcast, be it much less often than
it used to..... And there are always tips and tricks to make 8 Bit work in some situations..... But there are also plenty of times when it won't.....

I think AFX production bundle is well overpriced.....

Beamtracer
01-27-2004, 11:30 PM
Originally posted by Freak
Also be aware that much of plugins for Adobe AFX, are still only 8Bit. I think most of the After Effects plug-ins are now 16bpc.

After Effects plug-ins are the industry standard, and also used as the plug-in format for many rival compositors and editing applications.

Even Final Cut Pro uses After Effects plug-ins.

I don't think there's much 8bpc RGB used in broadcast compositing any more, unless you mean some remote smalltown TV channel.

In the old days you'd have to change your content drastically to avoid 8bpc artifacts! At least with 16bpc you can be free to do your artwork as you please, without worrying about such problems.

Mylenium
01-28-2004, 12:02 AM
Well, a big *LOL* to Freak. Why is AE overpriced? The production bundle costs about 1000,- dollars whereas a full DF costs about 5000,- bucks. I don't call that an alternative. Even the update from the special Newtek OEM DXF+ to a full DXF+ is already 995,- bucks and for that you are still in 8 bit land. For that money you could get quite a lot plugins to play around with in AE already. And yes, most AE plugins are 16 bit these days.

Mylenium

Freak
01-28-2004, 01:52 AM
A lot of 3rd Party plugins only process 8Bpc....
And with 5.5 even some of the included Adobe plugins still only did 8Bpc....

Not only this but a lot of them will make you by the Pro version of the plugins to get 16Bpc support...... Reelsmart plugins for one.

Mylenium wrote:
"Why is AE overpriced?"

I did not say it was....................
I said the AFXPB is overpriced.......
Almost twice the price for 16Bpc.......... No floating point....

Combustion offers 16bpc, at a much more competitive price....
However i disagree with Cresshead, about it being stable
we had to go back to After FX Pro, because C2 and C2.1 were hardly useable in a production environment..... But being a Discreet product we were not surprised by this.

I have been using DF for many years, and it's important in my toolset as LW is...... Any extra money i pay for DF is well worth it... Because Eyeon make me feel loved.... :)

I can't tell you how many times i have found a problem, only to have Eyeon fix it!!! like almost instantly.
I also know quite a few of the staff on a personal level....
And have done for many, many years.....
(Like me, they also like Beer) (Being Native Aussies)
So i have a natural bias towards DF....
although I have never used DFX+

AfterFX also offers almost no realtime interaction.
And i really dislike trying to talk to ignorant, arrogant giant faceless corporate losers like Adobe...... (who do they think they are...... Me?)

If Newtek would offer me the same kind of service, as Eyeon have for years, i'd pay Double for LW...... (Quadruple even)

Lightwolf
01-28-2004, 03:44 AM
Let me just add my 2 cents here (...and I'm not going into the 8vs16vs32 bit debate again :) ).

My first approach would be to get the demos of all three apps and check them out. Try a real world case of stuff you'd want to accomplish.

I'm a die hard DF fan, it has saved my butt numerous times, and I've run circles around AE in a couple of occasions. What I like about DF is the style of working, the speed, the beautiful network rendering (including rendering previews across a farm), background rendering etc... IMHO DF is really built for speed if you do loads of grunt work.

I'm not a big fan of combustion, allthough the keyer and tracker are really nice. I find the UI to be a bit messy with complicated projects, this has gotten better with 2.x though. It is a tad slow rendering though.

AE I didn't use for a long time, I'm not a fan of their timeline concept, which imho gets messy as well if you start to nest. My partner is a big fan of it though, but that's only because he doesn't understand DF yet ;)

As I said, get the demos, try out real world stuff to compare tem (or try to do the same tut in all three), and make your choice.

Cheers,
Mike

Freak
01-28-2004, 05:42 PM
Good advice LightWolf!

My point (which managed to get lost)
was that both After Effects and DFX+ are only 8Bit.

Most people automatically assume that AFX is 16bit.

So if it's a case of Buying AFX or getting DFX+ from the Newtek deal, than the DFX+ deal is not a bad one....

cresshead
01-28-2004, 08:54 PM
personally i've never had combustion 1 or 2 or paint & effect ever crash..maybe i'm not pushing them hard enough or maybe the hardware i use is helping out [dell pc, sgi pc and a sony laptop] in keeping combustion up n running..one thing i really do not like about combustion is their owner's ethos..i didn't like paying 750 up upgrading to version 2 with a limited time offer to then find a few months later that version 2 full price was 750!....down from 4000... that works out okay for version3 as the upgrade is only 150..but at the time i felt stiffed by discreet...that's when i decided to try n pull away from them and add a few eggs into another basket...newtek's...and now also with digital fusion+
i can't cvomment on fusion as yet as i've not used it but alot of studios do great things with it...personal preference will rule the day...all are great software in their users eyes!

other than the newtek deal combustion offer the best bang per buck for capabilities and spec

i'll get back to you all on my opinion of fusion once i've used it i production.

eon5
03-28-2004, 05:46 AM
Originally posted by ikaruz
there are some things that AE can do that DFX+/Digital Fusion can't do like real layers in 3D space

DF can: just use GAIA 3DF plugin to do it.

ACLOBO
03-28-2004, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by TyVole
Dreamworks Television uses DFX+, so it's not true that the package is unacceptable for broadcast television.

"I first worked with DFX+ 4 at DreamWorks Television for the recent Sci-Fi Channel mini-series, Taken. DFX+ 4 was brought on because of the great toolset, overall stability, network rendering, intuitive workflow, price point, production pipeline integration, and beautiful composites. Basically, we used it all the way through our pipeline and I would definitely use DFX+ on future projects."


-John Lima
Digital Effects Supervisor DreamWorks Television
Steven Spielberg's Taken

http://www.eyeonline.com/products/teasers/dfxlw_landing/dfxlw_landing.html

Beamtracer...... I find it intersting that during all this discussion and arguing; you have ignored this post... Here is a prime example of DFX+'s use in the industry. Did you miss this? What is your take on it now?

-Adrian

Lightwolf
03-28-2004, 08:09 AM
I'm sure Beam is sulking, since it doesn't run on a Mac :p

BTW, the network rendering really rocks, and even works for previews or interactive background renders.... yowza!

Cheers,
Mike - sorry Beam ;) <- note!

kithng
03-28-2004, 10:48 AM
I heard the Computer Cafe use Digital Fusion for film too.

Lightwolf
03-28-2004, 10:51 AM
Actually, to be wuite honest, while I'm a huge DF fan, I would never just rely on one tool for the job (Well, I do as far as 3D is concerned, but I guess this is because it takes month to master another package, in compositing it seems to be easier to switch every now and then).
I've just had to do some rotoscoping work, and this is one area where combustion really shines. Those G-Masks are just great.
Other than that though, I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, so they say ;)
Cheers,
Mike

Miles
03-28-2004, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by Lightwolf
the network rendering really rocks, and even works for previews or interactive background renders.... yowza!I've yet to find time to even start in on DFX+, but did DL the Render Node.exe and am curious before I get into it all. Does this separate Node app run independent of the USB dongle on the network render node? I'm sure it would have to, but would like to hear from those like yourself who have used it.

Also, will it network render work via ? # of nodes or is this tied is a limited (1) node type set up? IF not, any one hear if DF might have another node app in the works for the Mac as well? It would be nice to use the Macs as # crunchers too, even if DFX+ itself is not a Mac app.

One last general Q? LWSN is a PITA to set up for network rendering. Is the DF version just as much of one?

I guess I'll find this all out myself in time just thought I'd ask while here...

Thanks ;)

Lightwolf
03-28-2004, 01:22 PM
Hi Miles...
unfortunately DF render nodes need to be licensed, allthough they have a decent per node price if you buy a bunch of them. And you never (well, so far) have to pay for upgrades, it is a kind of one shot entrance fee.

The setup is a breeze, as long as you make sure that your flows, as well as your footage are accessible from all machines in the network using the same path names (I only use UNC and work server oriented, so I don't have that problem).

There is a standalone render controller app that you can run on an idle machine (recommendet, since it's not taken down is the renderer hangs), or you can assign one of the nodes or DF copies as master.
Flows are sent to the master, which in turn scans for free nodes, and assigns the flows which are rendered frame by frame. This is very transparent to the user.
Network previews work once you've set up a shared directory where all nodes can dump their renders, you do this on the DF copy you work on, and you only do it once.
Advanced features include node grouping, letting nodes pre-render frames around your timeline (i.e. filling up your cache), and letting nodes render tools that you want cached to disk.

Oh, and you can also remotely update nodes to new software version (from the render controller).
DF also includes a nice batch renderer, which is basically a local, 1 node render controller.

This is DF btw, I'm not sure what the differences to DFX+ are in this respect, you might ask on the pigsfly forum ( http://www.pigsfly.com/forums/index.php?showforum=12 ), or check eyeon for that. I think DFX+ has a couple of limitations in this respect.

On a side note: We did shell out a lot of money for DF a couple of years ago, but I found it to be one of our most valuable investents, in terms of time saved, support and low cost upgrades. And the guys from eyeon are a joy to work with.

Cheers,
Mike

petermark
03-28-2004, 02:23 PM
I prefer AE to the version of DFX (with the two packs included) that Newtek offered. I did a couple of pretty complex composites and it took me far too long. It seemed that I had to do all sorts of work arounds to get what I wanted. Then it started crashing and I said "screw it" and switched back to AE where I got the composite done in a far shorter amount of time.

I should add, though, that more expansion packs, the latestest updates, and more practice may fix the issues I was having... but I'll stick with AE in the mean time.

Original1
03-29-2004, 03:08 PM
For an interesting slant on why you use Digital Fusion instead of After effects go to the bookshop and read Tim Albees book

'Kaze Ghost Warrior' theres a couple of chapters about Digatal fusion and its workflow in his production which sets out why hes uses it much more better that I ever could.

Oh and its a cool book by the way.

theo
03-29-2004, 03:20 PM
I find DFX+ to be a an excellent tool. I do HATE the painting module which is why I am using Mirage alongside DFX+. I have no idea why they designed such a clunky paint module. For basic utility type work it is fine but when it comes to heavy duty creative painting with masks and such forget it. I am extremely happy with the particle effects mod- very powerful and if you do invest in this mod don't think twice about WonderTouch. All in all if you're an expert AE user I can't imagine why you would want to change but for guys, like myself, who do not have an initial preference I find DFX+ to be quite fantastic and am using it extensively.

Lightwolf
03-30-2004, 02:29 AM
theo: You pretty much nailed it with the painting module. And that is exactly what it is for, basic, animateable (and undoeable, vector based) work.
A completely different can of worms so to speak :)
I do like Aura/Mirage as well, but I'd never think of using it for compositing, it has its strengths in other areas.
I believe in the right tool for the job, swiss pocket knives only exists in our, erm, well, pockets ;)
Cheers,
Mike