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jin choung
03-13-2003, 12:41 AM
howdy fellows,

so i'm gearing up my video software... i'm working in computer gaming and so haven't had any opportunity to do video stuff.

but i graduated college in film, did a LOT of 2d animation compositing and editing on a previous job and that stuff's still a big passion of mine. i really do miss doing video projects, editing and such.

anyhoo,

scouring ebay, i recently got after effect 5.0, premiere 6.5 upgrade and aura 2.0 - all legit and now registered to me - for pretty dang cheap!

yep, i'm a proud aura user now! woo hoo.

and going through the docs and playing around and getting familiar, i gotta say that i think that newtek is making a BIG MISTAKE by not advertising aura a bit more as a compositing tool!

and probably the thing that's kept me away from aura for so long is this fact that the company deliberately UNDERSELLS this aspect of aura. and companies NEVER UNDERSELL! so if they're underselling this, there's gotta be some terribly compelling reason NOT to use it for compositing.

anyhoo, it seems that aura 2.5 provides many features that only the AE PRODUCTION BUNDLE sports! i was shocked to find out that you cannot GRAB CORNERS of a clip and DEFORM in AE standard! holy cow! i did this nearly every day to create shadows for cartoon characters in my last job and was surprised that this was considered an advanced feature!

i haven't received the aura pkg through the mail yet but i'm reading the docs and i don't see any reason why if you're in a pinch for cash, aura can't be a completely valid substitute for AFTER EFFECTS!

that's how it seems to me. am i missing something? as i've freely admitted before, when it comes to aura, i am an ignorant boob, so please educate me!

it seems to me that a big advantage of AE is the degree of options that it gives you in dealing with the video footage. also, the fact that aura puts framerate at 30 instead of 29.97 gives you the feeling that there's ignorance behind the ui (i think that's not true but especially for those who are not familiar with aura, it is unnerving). also, the documentation in the manual, online help, and AE books talk a lot more about the finicky details of dealing with video. it SEEMS that aura can deal with video properly too but there's less emphasis and explanation of the finer points.

also, i've noticed that many PRODUCTION BUNDLE ONLY features are sported in PREMIERE 6.5!!! DEFFERENCE KEYING (use camcorder, shoot bg or bluescreen, shoot bg or bluescreen and your subject doing his thing in front of it, software will keyout pixels that are the same from both footage) and a cool lightning bolt effect are examples. and there are different screen layouts and one of the layouts is to ease the editing of EFFECTS!

i wonder if adobe is planning on phasing out the non production bundle version of AE and just include that into premiere.

anyway, because of all that, it does seem that premiere + aura is a pretty capable vid production setup.
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so, beginning my education:

what pray tell is an anim brush? in adobe or non aura specific terms if possible. how is it different than just moving around a keyed out clip? what about it is a brush? i skimmed over the manual and upon first blush does not sink in.

thanks much

jin

SBowie
03-13-2003, 05:59 AM
Originally posted by jin choung
howdy fellows,and probably the thing that's kept me away from aura for so long is this fact that the company deliberately UNDERSELLS this aspect of aura. and companies NEVER UNDERSELL! so if they're underselling this, there's gotta be some terribly compelling reason NOT to use it for compositing. There are two limiting factors that prevent a direct comaprison between Aura and AE (or similar apps) as far as compositing goes.

First:

AE and kin basically work by you designating and tweaking a set of nested effects while working with previews, only ultimately committing to a render when satisfied. The project file in these kind of apps consists of pointers to the original media, and filter parameters.

Aura (in current versions at least) does not work this way. It's 'render as you go.' The project file, if saved, consists of the entire stack of *rendered* layers.

While Aura's approach has an immediacy that many like, and which has some advantages, some would argue that it lacks the flexibility needed in some production settings when it comes to effects and compositing. Many need to be able to re-load the project, make a few tweaks, and re-render. This is (mostly) simpler with the AE style approach.

Second:

The AE-style approach, working with previews as it does, allows the app to basically deal with 1 frame at a time when rendering. It loads and processes the stack needed for that one frame and appends the output to it's predecessor. Aura doesn't do that. It's interactive speed is partly due to the fact that the entire body of media are (normally) pre-loaded into RAM (when sufficient is available). Run out of RAM, and it bogs down.

Hence, long sequences tax Aura painfully, though some workarounds exist. Even on powerhouse machines, anything over a half minute or so would have to be considered long. So, most agree that the other approach is better (if not mandatory) for longer stuff, while Aura can whip through more complex stuff readily if not too long.

Overall, Aura is a CG paint/creation tool will some compositing and Image processing, while AE is a compositor and image processor.



Originally posted by jin choung

it seems to me that a big advantage of AE is the degree of options that it gives you in dealing with the video footage. also, the fact that aura puts framerate at 30 instead of 29.97 gives you the feeling that there's ignorance behind the ui (i think that's not true but especially for those who are not familiar with aura, it is unnerving). also, the documentation in the manual, online help, and AE books talk a lot more about the finicky details of dealing with video. it SEEMS that aura can deal with video properly too but there's less emphasis and explanation of the finer points.Oops...

a) Aura works just fine at 29.97, and there are D1 presets that uses it.

b) I don't find Aura finicky about dealing with video, but maybe that's just me. What do you need to do that you find awkward?



Originally posted by jin choung

so, beginning my education:

what pray tell is an anim brush?
jin An anim brush is, you guessed it - an animated brush. Anim brushes may be video or animation sequences, or something else. They can be painted down manually as long as the mouse button is held down, or be keyframed over a motion paths moving, rotating, scaling, fading, etc.

You can use them to create moving PIPs, lay down travelling mattes, or many other things - for example, if you had a short sequence with a succession of alpha-channelled plants, you could create a garden (or forest) in seconds by dragging the mouse around a bit.

Hope this helps a bit, Jin :)

UnCommonGrafx
03-13-2003, 01:32 PM
Welcome home, Jin. :D

Yup, Aura is a bundle of fun and you will enjoy it more everyday as you use it.

For animbrushes, think corner bug: scifi channels dune thing coming up this week comes to mind immediately.

Have a ball and come back with what you've learned.

jin choung
03-14-2003, 12:55 AM
howdy fellows,

steve. thanks much for the info! aha, i think i finally got a handle on what the difference is. but geez, if you've got ANY pull with the newtek folks, PLEASE get them to put what you just wrote as an FAQ on what the difference between AURA and AE is!

i'm sure that most of us not familiar with quantel, henry, chyron stuff is looking at aura as a compositor and we're puzzled and suspicious as hell why it's not being pushed for that purpose.

in general though, for most "money shot" fx, 30 seconds is considered SUPER LONG anyhoo. and so for such shots, and particularly for what most lw users would end up using aura for, it should be fine.

if i have a 5 minute dialog scene taking place in front of a bluescreen, that might be a different story but in the shot where the trex decapitates me as i sit at the desk, aura should be just fine!

and even for the bluescreen shot, it looks like i can just use premiere now! hell, they have DIFFERENCE MATTES! that's a pro bundle feature!

generally, i find working with interlaced video footage to be finicky in general! not even specific to how aura works with it.

that fact that you got interlaced frames really stumped me on how to composite and paint on such frames!

but it does seem that aura by default separates the fields for you so that you get double the amount of video frames (at half res) so that you can paint on noninterlaced frames.

but it also means that i gotta render anims at 60fps and then composite on deinterlaced half res footage, then interlace everything back to 30fps interlaced. and hope that i don't make a mistake at somepoint so that i don't get double speed video, half speed video or jittery video....

and then the fact that ntsc runs 1 % slower so that it's not 30fps but 29.97 and so you gotta use dropframe timecode to get accurate running times on long programs and all that....

CRAP!

that's a heckuva a lot of jumping through hoops. heck, working in film is EASIER! but i guess that 60fps anims do come out looking extra smooth but dang, render times do skyrocket.

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but the using interpolated splines for things like mattes and region color correction is pretty sweet in AE.

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and guys, ok, i get that an anim brush is an animated brush...

but i don't get why i would PAINT with it! so that i'm laying down an animated clip a hundred times as i drag my mouse over a half inch area?

i get why i would STAMP that clip down a number of discrete times (to create a forest or heck, maybe even a crowd (?) (is that the idea?) but i can't imagine why i would just start 'drawing' with an anim brush like i would use a regular brush.

also, am i right in thinking that once i "stamp" an anim brush, that image animates through time? and it's not simply that the image that gets painted alternates as i drag? as in the new photoshop 7 natural media tools?
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hey guys, and any reason why aura isn't touted as a PHOTOSHOP KILLER? ok, so there are some limitations in using it for certain comp situations. what are the limits in just painting?

cuz it does seem that if they're honest about the limitations, they could promote it as a good sub for photoshop and after effects on the cheap!

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anyhoo, thanks again and it's nice to be on board. i'm sure you'll hear my bewildered cries frequently enough. :)

jin

paulfierlinger
03-14-2003, 03:34 AM
Jin,
As a strictly 2D animator I use anim brushes quite frequently. Example: the simplest way to create a walk cycle is to make the character walk, meaning he moves forward with each frame. But I need him to walk on the spot, like on a treadmill, which is a more difficult way to figure out the proper extensions of the legs, bouncing of the body etc. So I just go ahead and make him walk, then collect the frames as an anim brush and stamp him down on the treadmill.

Another example. I'm looking at a row of trees which are passing buy me as when you look at the road from the window of a moving car. But the trees go into a curve, which makes them become smaller and tighter spaced. Now for that you could use just one tree and not an anim of trees, but I like things to look organic, not CG-like. I like to draw the trees over and over again -- to a degree -- cycles still come in handy. So I draw the tree standing still, but each time smaller, further away. Then I pick them up as an anim and stamp them down the road, into the curve and over the horizon, into the woods.

A butterfly flitting across the screen in an eratic way, a woman on a bicycle following the contour of a hilly road -- there are lots of examples.

Aura should be advertised as a paperless, 2D animator's software package, which is all that Aura is for me. When you go to the NewTek Aura page from here, the first thing it says, is that Aura is a 3D program, which it is not. The page says nothing about Aura being a unique 2D painter, separating it from other paint softwares like a man among boys. This is what I don't understand about NewTek.

Paul Fierlinger

paulfierlinger
03-14-2003, 04:16 PM
I uploaded a pencil test of the tree lined road here:
http://paulfierlinger.com/ARoomNearby/
It's called Lynn-PT-01
The last stretch of the car is an anim brush as well.
If you want to know what this scene leads into, you can down load Lynn-animatic-03, which is just an animatic of the 4 minute segment about Lynn.

Danner
03-15-2003, 06:30 PM
In a way Aura is a photoshop killer.. I mean I donīt use photoshop hardly at all anymore.. BUT Aura is a different beast altoguether, Aura is fast, it's multy frame ready, it's geared and configured to be very eficient with video files and formats, it's easy to use... But it has limited image manipulation tools, it is not geared towards retouching photographs, it can't use some photoshop filters.

It's not an afterFX killer either because it works differently.. you render things like moves as you apply them, not when you finish your composition. You don't render out your aura composition, it's already rendered. When you load a sequence in aura you load it all in memory, not a proxy, not a frame at a time.. the whole enchilada is there to be played or saved out as a new composition. (except the bottom layer wich can be loaded in proxy mode) Think of Aura as a Photoshop with stripped down image manipulation whith multiple frames (and layers of course) and video specific filters like keys and motion specific filters.

mrjaialai
03-16-2003, 01:28 PM
I can do pretty much everything I can do in AE in Aura. Some of the tools are tougher to use and require a bit more time, but they are there. Throw in some Lightwave with Aura and you can do anything you can do in AE, and then some.

And for most things Aura is just much quicker because I can create and composite in the same program.

Where Aura and T2 in general lack is in the audio dept. It would be real nice to be able to place multiple audio clips on tracks where you want them, and some audio filters would be real nice.

SBowie
03-17-2003, 05:47 AM
Originally posted by jin choung

i'm sure that most of us not familiar with quantel, henry, chyron stuff is looking at aura as a compositor and we're puzzled and suspicious as hell why it's not being pushed for that purpose.jin Well, you've got a point. It's not impossible to teach an old dog a new trick, but people do sadly tend to disdain anything that's a departure from what they're used to. Some of the more adventurous may even try it briefly, but lacking a sense of how it works they may prematurely come to the conclusion that it is unintuitive. Not to say Aura's workflow can't continue to be improved and enhanced, but they may not realize their "intuition" has been patterned by the programs they've been using for years.


Originally posted by jin choung

in general though, for most "money shot" fx, 30 seconds is considered SUPER LONG anyhoo. and so for such shots, and particularly for what most lw users would end up using aura for, it should be fine. Yep.


Originally posted by jin choung

and even for the bluescreen shot, it looks like i can just use premiere now! hell, they have DIFFERENCE MATTES! that's a pro bundle feature! Indeed, I wish Aura had it - guess it may be a licensing issue, dunno. I can mimic it in Aura, but only to a point -- still working on that.


Originally posted by jin choung

but it does seem that aura by default separates the fields for you so that you get double the amount of video frames (at half res) so that you can paint on noninterlaced frames. Yes.


Originally posted by jin choung

but it also means that i gotta render anims at 60fps and then composite on deinterlaced half res footage, then interlace everything back to 30fps interlaced.Well, not exactly...

There's no need to render (as from LW, for example) at 60fps. When you have your LW camera properties set to a fielded mode it is already rendering 60 discreet images per second, then lacing them to 30fps, right? So there's no real need to change what you're rendering. Aura can deal with pretty much any frame/field combination you care to provide.


Originally posted by jin choung
...
also, am i right in thinking that once i "stamp" an anim brush, that image animates through time? It can be that way, or not. To accomplish that, either use the keyframer to lay the animbrush down, or stamp it down once (to establish the location), undo and reset the animbrush to (it's) frame one if necessary, select as many frames as you want on the timeline, and hit Enter.[/B][/QUOTE]


Originally posted by jin choung

...hey guys, and any reason why aura isn't touted as a PHOTOSHOP KILLER? ok, so there are some limitations in using it for certain comp situations. You can paint in Photoshop now? That must be something they added in the latest version, right? ;-p

SBowie
03-17-2003, 05:52 AM
Originally posted by Danner

... the whole enchilada is there to be played or saved out as a new composition. (except the bottom layer wich can be loaded in proxy mode)
You using Aura 1.x or DV, Danner? From Aura 2.0 on, you can have any number of 'red layers,' not just the bottom one.


Originally posted by Danner
[B]
Think of Aura as a Photoshop with stripped down image manipulation whith multiple frames (and layers of course) and video specific filters like keys and motion specific filters.

I always think of it as a 32bit Deluxe Paint crossed with a 1000 track timeline and a bit of ImageFX ... shows my roots, I guess :)

Danner
03-18-2003, 02:33 AM
doh! Learn something new every day.. didnīt know we could have more than one "red layer" now!!! hmm..
I get exactly what you are saying about it being a 32 bit Dpaint with some ImageFX.. I just didn't think many people would understand it as we do =)

SBowie
03-18-2003, 05:46 AM
No, only those who know that Fat Agnus wasn't that dimly remembered poor girl from Grade 10 math class, the one with stubble...

SBowie
03-18-2003, 05:47 AM
p.s. - you can have a surprising amount of fun with multiple red layers ... huge timesaver. I wrote a long piece about this in the first issue of NewTekPro.

Original1
07-31-2003, 03:34 AM
Hey Jin,

If you really want to rock your world take a look at a plug-in for Aura called K-FramED

DFX type flows in Aura

http://www.io-labs.com for the demo

dwburman
08-28-2003, 09:31 AM
the thing I miss most in aura is transfer modes on the layers. I know I can merge the layers with transfer modes (screen, additive, multiply, etc) but I can't see it before hand.