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noiseboy
05-14-2003, 02:54 AM
What are my options in terms of Comping software for Mac OS X, I know I cant justify Shake, but how well does Combustion integrate with LW, what file format would be used? I guess I'll still need Final Cut for output or can I use FCP for comping as well? As you can guess my knowledge on this subject is pretty poor (I havent got a clue). My output needs are likely to just be video. Perhaps someone can point me in the right direction if there is one.

Red_Oddity
05-14-2003, 03:41 AM
Combustion 2 will work very nicely with LW...
It supports almost all important file formats (RLA RPF SGI) and best of all, it has 8,16 and FP work areas...good tracker stabaliser...decent enough color correctors...etc...

I can advise this above AFX anyday(as this is your only other option...)

noiseboy
05-14-2003, 03:47 AM
Thanks, I will look at Combustion later on today, what file format works best coming out of LW into Combustion.

eblu
05-14-2003, 07:54 AM
i gotta put in my vote for after effects. For mid-range compositing software, it offers the most flexibility.

combustion seems ok, but we have Flame, and we dont find any advantage to Flame over AfterEffects in most cases... so combustion (being flame's little brother) never really had a chance. There are a few functions where flame shines tho, edge rays, tracking, speeding up footage, and importing footage.

but AE aint the Only solution besides combustion... theres also Commotion, which even though it has been getting little in the way of updates, still offers some of the best tools for matting, and tracking.

Adobe also makes Premiere. heh heh heh. not one of my favs.

FCP is ok at most of the stuff you might need, and it has some industrial strength color correctors (something that everything else is lacking... out of the box), so if you use that already, you might not need anything else.

Beamtracer
05-14-2003, 03:55 PM
I've got After Effects and don't recommend it for professional use. This is due to Lightwave's and AE's lack of common 16bpc image file formats you can use.

You've got Lightwave, with its 32bpc renderer, you've got FCP with its 32bpc renderer, you don't need After Effects in between with only a 16bpc renderer.

*Refer to the other ongoing thread about HDRI:
http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4418

For amateur work AE would be fine.

js33
05-14-2003, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
I've got After Effects and don't recommend it for professional use. This is due to Lightwave's and AE's lack of common 16bpc image file formats you can use.

You've got Lightwave, with its 32bpc renderer, you've got FCP with its 32bpc renderer, you don't need After Effects in between with only a 16bpc renderer.

*Refer to the other ongoing thread about HDRI:
http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4418

For amateur work AE would be fine.

How do explain AE being used in ALOT of movies for compositing then? AE is fine for professional work if you know how to use it.

Cheers,
JS

noiseboy
05-14-2003, 04:40 PM
One thing which moves me away from using AE is that somewhere I read that AE 5.5 would be the last for Mac OS, Combustion at the moment appears to be the better deal financially although I'm not too sure of the differences between the Standard version and the Production Version of AE. On the other hand there seems to be more tools to get multi-pass renders in to AE than Combustion. Obviously Combustion is tied closely to 3ds max, but does this make it more difficult to use with LW files? I'm a complete newbie when it comes to comping so all advice is most welcome.

munky
05-14-2003, 04:44 PM
I use combustion for my comping. AFX does actaully do more but the combustion interface is much better (for me that is as I come from a quantel background) If you want math motions and expressions then get AFX if you want to comp 3d then Combustion is great. It might be me but I think it sticks stuff together much better.
On another note the Saffire plugins will be available for AFX and combustion in the autumn (these are the ones you find in inferno and fire)
Use what you feel makes you most comfortable and creative.


regards

paul

tallscot
05-14-2003, 06:01 PM
AE 6 is coming soon and I would be really upset if it wasn't coming for the Mac. Encore DVD isn't coming for the Mac, but that's because Apple's DVD Studio Pro 2 competes. A $5,000 Shake does not compete with an After Effects, so I'd be surprised if Adobe pulled it. But then again, Adobe did have that "PC Preferred" Web page.

Well, when the PowerMac 970s come out, Adobe will be back. :)

Piolla
05-14-2003, 09:17 PM
I use both. Combustion and AE.

I prefer Combustion in almost every aspect, but AE has a decent sound and Combustion doesn't.

If you have FCP 3, it'll do, if you know how to get the best of it.

If FCP 4 is so good as I've heared, then maybe Adobe won't post AE 6 for Mac, and we'll not miss it.

Lets wait and see...

Beamtracer
05-14-2003, 09:37 PM
I think that After Effects will continue to exist on the Mac. The Mac is its mainstay, and Adobe continues to get strong sales of AE on the Mac.

People may be getting it confused with Premiere. Premiere sales are being slaughtered on the Mac, ever since Apple released Final Cut Pro. I think that Premiere development stopped on the Mac some months ago, but AE will continue.

Shake would be the way to go, if it didn't cost so much. Don't forget that Shake comes with Primatte, the chroma keying software. If you added the extra price of Primatte to After Effects, it would start to approach the Shake price range.

What really makes Shake unattainable is the annual service fee, which I believe is compulsory. So, even after the huge initial cost of Shake comes this big yearly fee. Apple could take over the compositing world if it reduced the price of Shake. They would sell more units, and get more profits. I'd be suprised if Apple doesn't do it at some stage.

js33... I've got no idea why After Effects gets used on many movies. To me, you should be working in a higher dynamic range file format than the one you're outputting to. This gives you some headroom to color grade without introducing artifacts. After Effects doesn't cut it in this regard.

js33
05-14-2003, 11:41 PM
Hi Beam,

I understand the dynamic range especially for film work. But AE does get used alot in movies. I don't think it has anything to do with price but I guess the fact that alot of people know how to use it and it's flexible output capabilities.

Cheers,
JS

Ade
05-15-2003, 01:20 AM
If it matters to anyone I have After Effects 6 on the mac....
I use it in OSX..Ive had it for 3 weeks now.
I dont know how to use it good, so if you want to know somthing direct me how. I thik the last AE wasnt SMP aware and thats why G4 looks crap in tests against SP pentiums.

Beamtracer
05-15-2003, 01:26 AM
Hi Ade. Can AE6 read motion files from Lightwave?

Red_Oddity
05-15-2003, 03:08 AM
Offcourse AFX is used for a lot of movies...but i think more for a front end to import images for a collection of plugins...

AFX considered for professional compositing has some really pisspoor and a lot missing features that are essential...

No colorcorrectors
No decent matting tools
No decent 16bpp workenvironment
Very confined workspace (just try to grab something that is 12000 pixels away when your workspace is 640x480....care to zoom out to 2.5% everytime to grab that mask point?)
No decent support for RPF and channels
Downright crap 3d system...
etc

Sure Combustion isn't the end to all means....but out of the box it offers so much more that is really practicall in a porfessional workenvironment...

Commotion....ermmm...does it still exist?...A bit slow on the updates really...

Just my 2 cents

(If you don't need the above, than offcourse nothing stands in your way of buying it, if you happen to do motion design next to it (lot of Illusrator work and Photoshop) than it certainly might not hurt to get AFX anyway...))

brownie
05-15-2003, 05:59 AM
A compositing software for Mac in 3 steps:

1- Wait for the Jashaka release for OSX
2- Forget the awful After Effects
3- Pray for a light version of Shake

So, Mr Newtek, if you plan to release a "combustion killer app", well I'm your man.;)

Ade
05-15-2003, 06:30 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
Hi Ade. Can AE6 read motion files from Lightwave?

Beam as i said I am just starting to learn this app so you will need to be more specific if u want me to test it.
Im like ultra newbie in AE.

mlinde
05-15-2003, 10:40 AM
AE is used a lot in film for titling effects and credits, not for actual full-blown compositing. Most of the bits I've read in the last couple of years about AE use have been revolving around TV Titling, Commercial editing, and Intro credits for movies. The biggest recent movie I recall using AE for titling was one of the Mummy movies -- but it also used Cinema for the 3D FX in the titling sequences. It probably depends on the studio.

As far as features, I think you all need to step back and look at cost and features. The production bundle of AE costs $1500. In that price point (under 2k) show me a compositing application with a better feature set. Even the standard version of AE (around $600) offers a LOT of features for the money, and can use the same plug-ins that the production bundle uses, so advanced features are available to any AE artist. Things like the 3D camera system have only been around for 5.0 and 5.5 versions -- how advanced was Lightwave 1.0 and 1.5? Features take time to mature, and to complain because a 1.0 or 1.5 version of a feature isn't as robust as you'd like is like saying OS X isn't worth looking at because 10.0 wasn't a usable OS.

Beam/Ade:
AE 5.5 production bundle does NOT read LW motion files. There was someone writing a plug-in to do this, but I don't remember if it was for LW and AE -or- if it was Mac or PC. Whether this feature will exist in 6.0 is anybody's guess, but I'd guess not, unless a lot of Mac LW users have written Adobe asking for it.

As an independent artist, I'm most concerned with the bottom line and the production value. I'm not ZOIC or Weta Digital, so I can't afford tools that start at $5000 for a single seat in production. Sure, AE has drawbacks, but so does any other software package. I've always been satisfied with what AE can do for me, and I've been using it for about 7 years.

js33
05-15-2003, 11:25 PM
Hi mlinde,

I remember reading about the movie "Driven" because it used LW for the car crash sequences and it was composited with AE.

Also I went to the Dallas Motion Graphics user group tonight and they had a guy from Apple (formerly with Nothing Real) demoing Shake and it seems very powerful from what little I saw of it.
But that kind of power is only needed or affordable for doing movie/greenscreen compositing and definatetly not for the casual compositing user especially when you consider it costs $5k for the Apple version and $10k for the IRIX/Linux version and no Win version anymore.
I was going to ask him if they planned on releasing a Shake Lite version to compete with AE in price but I didn't get the chance.

Cheers,
JS

Beamtracer
05-16-2003, 01:14 AM
I wouldn't want a "lite" version of Shake. I want the full version for half the cost. Apple would more than double its unit sales, thus increasing profit.


Originally posted by mlinde
The production bundle of AE costs $1500. In that price point (under 2k) show me a compositing application with a better feature set.
I like the feature set in AE. I even like the user interface (I know some people prefer a "procedual tree" compositor). My main complaint is what I said before... low bit rate images WILL cause artifacting. It doesn't matter how good everything else is if your work gets rejected because of technical faults.

Then again, most people couldn't tell whether the video they're watching is coming off a broadcast videotape machine or VHS.

If you're not giving your animations to a broadcaster in the near future, then go with After Effects. There's a lot of training material (books, videos etc) for After Effects. You'll see it at any big book shop.


Originally posted by mlinde
Beam/Ade:
AE 5.5 production bundle does NOT read LW motion files.

It's AE6 I'm wondering about. I was hoping that AE6 would take LW motion files.

After Effects 5 can take Maya motion files. Maxon, not wanting to be left out, wrote a plugin so to enable After Effects take Cinema4D motion files. Lightwave is a bit left out here. If Adobe doesn't do it then Newtek should take the initiative and write their own plugin to do it.

js33
05-16-2003, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
I wouldn't want a "lite" version of Shake. I want the full version for half the cost. Apple would more than double its unit sales, thus increasing profit.

Well that would be nice. But they could lose the annual maintenance of fee $1485 for starters.

Actually if they want more than the movie effects houses to use it they should lower it to $999. Same price as FCP4.

That would be sweet.

Cheers,
JS

Red_Oddity
05-16-2003, 02:29 AM
I think buying Nothing Real cost enough money...i wonder if cutting the price even more will be really worth it for Apple (i don't think cutting the price by half will double sales, that's a completely rediculous statement (unless you plan to buy 4000 seats in one go that is))
Not mention, for some bizarre reason they kicked out a pretty big market share by dumping the Wintel version, especially the way it is priced now...

js33
05-16-2003, 03:02 AM
Well Shake is no doubt a high end tool with a high end price.
Unless Apple lowers the price it will never be used by more than a handful of high end users.

How many people here own Shake?
How many own AE?

Cheers,
JS

Ade
05-16-2003, 03:49 AM
Beam explain wat i have to do and i can test it.
AE6 is fully carbon, i have a dp1.25 mdd mac so i cant test os9.

noiseboy
05-16-2003, 01:37 PM
Its been very interesting to read everyone's comments on the pro's and con's of both these products. I've been looking at other forum's including a very interesting thread at cgtalk started by policarpo.
http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=62633&perpage=15&pagenumber=1

I'll be picking up a box of combustion later next week.

Beamtracer
05-16-2003, 09:03 PM
Originally posted by Red_Oddity
I think buying Nothing Real cost enough money...i wonder if cutting the price even more will be really worth it for Apple (i don't think cutting the price by half will double sales, that's a completely rediculous statement (unless you plan to buy 4000 seats in one go that is))

I was against the price drops in the 3D market, as the extra unit sales wouldn't compensate for the smaller price of each unit.

In the case of Shake I think Apple could benefit from reducing the price. This is because Shake is priced so much higher than most other compositing software. People want to use Shake, but can't afford it.

Actually, I think Apple will bring the price down. Apple wants to increase Mac hardware sales, and Shake's market is currently too much of a niche to have any significant impact on hardware.

ADE: I was curious if After Effects 6 can take LW motion files. If you have an animation in Layout that has a moving camera, select that camera, go to the file menu and "save motion file". LW motion files have a suffix .mot

Alternately you can create a spline curve in modeler and select the 'path to motion' plugin and it'll save a motion file.

Then see if it loads up in AE6. I can't give you instructions on how to do this in AE. You should be able to make the AE camera move in the same way as the LW camera. Chances are it probably won't work anyway!

munky
05-17-2003, 08:50 AM
Noiseboy Before you part with your cash Take some layered photoshop files to your discreet reseller and see if they work; as I have combustion and If the photoshop files are more than two layers combustion says it has insufficient memory to import the file/s and just flattens them.

I've had this problem with C2 and OS 10.1.5 and it still exists with C2.1.1 and OS 10.2.6 It's the same for pshop 6 and 7 and for layered lightwave psd files.
I'm using a g4 quicksilver DP1000 with 1.5gb of ram and a nvidia gforce 4 ti card

perhaps I'm doing something wrong or have a setting wrong but you should check it out.

regards

paul

noiseboy
05-17-2003, 09:46 AM
Thanks for that info Munky. Since my options are limited to either AE or combustion and the PSD sequence thing doesn't work in AE then I'm actually no worse off with either app. The only thing that AE offers to me that combustion doesn't have Flash export, but I can live without that.

munky
05-17-2003, 10:12 AM
I wouldn't put you off combustion as I really like it above AFX as it has an integrated paint system, luvley particles and a better interface. But it's always best to raise questions as you might get the answers that will help or stop you from banging your head against the why doesn't it do it wall cause you know it's not you it's the software.

regards

paul

noiseboy
05-17-2003, 11:10 AM
Munky, If the PSD import path does not work what do you recommend as the best import root into combustion from LW.

munky
05-17-2003, 11:21 AM
funny you should say that, but (and I'm a saddo for this as I should have gone kitesurfing, but it's raining and miserable) I've installed the os 9 version of combustion2 on my mac and It imports lightwave layered psd sequences with no problems. So the trick is to open the os9 c2 do the import save the file and then open it up in the osx version and taddddaaaa! there it all is. ( I wouldn't recommed that you use the os9 version of c2 as it is very unstable and prone to crashing for anything but this workaround)


regards

paul:)

dennis
05-17-2003, 03:37 PM
You've probably heard of the "Rebel Mac" unit at ILM... What do you think they have been compositing with? Some of the people who worked in that group started "The Orphanage"

check out

http://www.theorphanage.com/

I'm using AFX on a film project right now... Those who say AFX can't be used as a professional level - film compositing tool are obviously not doing it.

Every pkg has pros/cons/limitations/and buzzwords...

Shake sucks for almost anything other than pure compositing tasks, no audio support, sucky timeline, no video out capability,etc, etc.. If you're even considering motion graphic design or doing 2d animation, it's not even worth considering, let alone paying for.

archiea
05-18-2003, 11:19 AM
You can use AE for film projects, its just that you have to know how to use and work with logrithmic files, or you will clip data. Looks and "Dungeons and Dragons" and you can see how bad AE comps can look when you don't properly work with film files. Highlights get clipped and lose detal.

Also, as far as I recall, its difficult to work (colorcorrect, key, etc) in log space as its not as intuitive as linear. You don't get the response that you expect since you are correcting along a curve that never becomes true black or true white.

Beamtracer
05-18-2003, 07:14 PM
As I said, you should work in a higher dynamic range color space than what you're final output will be. If you load a 10-bit Cineon file into After Effects, then color grade it and render it out to a 10-bit Cineon file, you'll introduce some artifacts. Maybe small, but they'll be there.

It's even worse if you go from one format to another, such as 8-bit RGB to Cineon, or from 8-bit RGB to 8-bit Y-UV (video). People say "but I did it on a $100,000 Avid, isn't it lossless?"

I find it a bit amusing to watch television and spot the artifacts. Sometimes you'll see it in really big budget things like TV advertisements. I even remember a station ID that was created by a high priced effects house but had soft gradients behind the station logo that were full of color banding.

archiea
05-18-2003, 07:34 PM
How about the opening of "gladiator" with the smoke banding all over the place. I heard that was done on an Inferno.....

Beamtracer
05-19-2003, 12:02 AM
That's funny. Banding in ancient Rome. Maybe we should start a list of all the badly composited films around!

eblu
05-19-2003, 11:09 AM
if we did that beam,
then this thread would get a little out of hand, and we would probably pi$$ off alot of nice people ;)