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Anti-Distinctly
01-19-2008, 12:29 PM
I'm pretty sure there was another thread called 'compositing software', so, as is the way with sequels these days, I've added 'requiem' to the end. Ahem.

Anyway, I'm in the position where soon I need to purchase a compositor. I'm used to using digital fusion at this point which I really like, but money will be an issue and the pricing of fusion is quite severe.

Adobe After Effects seems like it'll do a lot of what is required, but the price for it if you happen to live in the uk I find very insulting, but I guess that's besides the point. (but what's the deal with getting a US version shipped over by some means - will I be treated like scum by Adobe?)

I looked at Combustion, but found it rather archaic and it really felt awkward, plus it crashed on several systems I tried it on. This is layer based too if I'm not mistaken and I prefer the versatility of nodes. Also, I get the feeling its development is stagnant.

Nuke's initial price seemed alluring, but then add on the render license cost, yearly support cost (which you have to purchase in the first year, nice), render license cost and any other random fees you end up with a massive price increase.

I was planning on getting a brand new quad core PC, having decided against a mac for gaming issues (I know this shouldn't really come into it, but I must be honest, it does), but at this point Shake looks good and I've not heard a bad thing about it and the price is great.

Does anyone have any recommendations or suggestions or should I just bend over and take it from Adobe?

SplineGod
01-19-2008, 01:05 PM
Blender has a nice built in compositor. Its node based as well. Since its free it never hurts to take a look at it.

http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-242/blender-composite-nodes/

JeffrySG
01-19-2008, 01:14 PM
Someone else here mentioned http://jahshaka.org/ another opensource compositing package. I haven't used it but it might be worth a look if it's free too.

Anti-Distinctly
01-19-2008, 01:54 PM
Thanks for the responses guys. I've got Blender & I've tried it's node compositor, however, I feel I need a more comprehensive package, I'm willing to pay for it - I didn't mean for it to sound like I wasn't earlier - but money is limited.
JeffrySG, give Jahshaka a go by all means :) I've looked at it several times over the past few years, but it is just the most obscure, slowly updated, unstable & undocumented piece of software I've ever come across. It certainly wont cut it for production purposes.

danielkaiser
01-19-2008, 02:16 PM
Combustion 2008 is now available, I've used 3 and 4 and have found it to be very easy to learn.

Anti-Distinctly
01-19-2008, 02:50 PM
What advantages would you say that Combustion has over AE? (as the price is very similar)

Yog
01-19-2008, 03:00 PM
Adobe After Effects seems like it'll do a lot of what is required, but the price for it if you happen to live in the uk I find very insulting, but I guess that's besides the point. (but what's the deal with getting a US version shipped over by some means - will I be treated like scum by Adobe?)

One route I took last year was to purchase an older version of After Effects from e-bay, and just buy the upgrade from Adobe. You need to make sure you are buying a pucka version from e-bay, but if all works out you can get the latest version for a fraction of the price.

Red_Oddity
01-19-2008, 03:20 PM
We switched to Fusion a while back, and i got to say, am i glad we did. It's a very good stable (especially since 5.1 and up) compositing program with all the bells and whistles and it keeps getting better and better with every update (5.21 just rocks.)

After Effects is just a terrible terrible compositing program, better yet, it isn't really a compositing program, it is still the glorified title editor with outdated and bloated code and ****** float support it always was (sure it is a lot better than it was, but it still doesn't cut it when you do some serious heavy comp work.)

Nuke is right up there with Fusion and it has become a lot cheaper than Fusion aswell (not to mention that since The Foundry (yes, they are the masterminds of the best plugin suite ever, Furnace) has taken over development , the whole program development has been put into high gear.

Shake is still a brilliant compositing program (yes even version 2.x for the PC is still a much better choise to do compositing in that AFX, believe it or not), but since Apple killed it off, it isn't going anywhere anymore, unless you can afford the $50.000 SDK license.

Combustion is probably going the way of the dodo aswell, since Autodesk seems adamant on pushing the still lackluster Toxic suite.

Toxic is a nice addition, but it still lacks too many features that Autodesk keeps promosing to add with updates, and knowing Autodesk you'll probably end up paying a 1000 dollars per updated or feature (see Mac and Maya pricing schemes). Good thing though is, that it doesn't rely on the overpriced server anymore.

Jashaka is as dead as a doornail.

Flame and Inferno rock, but you'll probably need to win the lotery to purchace a license (and win the lotery again for the updates)

Some 3d programs offer some form of compositing (XSI, Houdini, Blender, etc), but nothing beats a program that is optimised to just do what it was made for in the first place.


Just my 2 cents based on my 8+ years of compositing and grading.

Anti-Distinctly
01-19-2008, 03:59 PM
Red_Oddity, I'd love to be able to afford Fusion, but alas, it's out of my price range for now. In the meantime I've been looking at Combustion again -mainly due to the fact that it's around 800 if I recall correctly - and it has an integrated particle system, which I'd love at the moment.
So, even though it's probably going to die in the long run, would you still say that Combustion is an unwise purchase? Is it severely lacking in certain features? Should I steer well clear?

danielkaiser
01-19-2008, 04:11 PM
What advantages would you say that Combustion has over AE? (as the price is very similar)

I like the interface, light on the freaky little icons, it recognizes multiple monitors automatically, ram preview playback is smooth I have a blackmagic Intensity and HD output is real time, I've tried AE and Fusion and have had problems with previews on both, large range of keying, color timing and DOF options and includes wondertouch's particle illusion. Combustion also has a schematic view. as far as development goes its a sibling to Flint, Flame and Inferno so there is some crossover, my only complaint AutoDesk.

cresshead
01-19-2008, 04:29 PM
i have combustion ..still on 2.1 mind you but it has all i need for now..is combustion 2008 64bit? [i think not]
i have the demo of Combustion 2008 at work and it still only see's 1.7gig ram.

...nothing to moan about with combustion
on the whole except for the upgrade price for me to 2008 isn't worth the cost
seeing as it won't offer me more ram than 2.1

i do like how combustion works.

danielkaiser
01-19-2008, 05:38 PM
i have combustion ..still on 2.1 mind you but it has all i need for now..is combustion 2008 64bit? [i think not]
i have the demo of Combustion 2008 at work and it still only see's 1.7gig ram.

...nothing to moan about with combustion
on the whole except for the upgrade price for me to 2008 isn't worth the cost
seeing as it won't offer me more ram than 2.1

i do like how combustion works.

I have XP x64 with 4 Gigs of ram and Combustion 4 shows 3.23 Gig available, the rest being used by the system.

AbnRanger
01-19-2008, 05:50 PM
When you compare Combustion's development to Toxic, yes...Autodesk admits that it's a slower pace, but unlike Shake, they haven't cut the cord. It is STILL the best compositor on the market under $1500 USD. The upgrade prices are cheap too. And like Shake, it too used to cost thousands of $$$. Autodesk pigeon-holed themselves into the lower price bracket when they went after the AE market.
Toxic may have been what Combustion was intended to morph into...but nevertheless they have two products that compete in each price segment.
I bought Combustion 4 when it first came out, and am not real happy about the lengthy time it took for them to introduce a new version, but since AD underwent a major development restructuring, I think that had more to do with it than a lackluster attitude.
Having said that, it is still one powerful piece of software for the money...and THAT is why the development pace for it has slowed.
It is the only one that is both NODE (termed Schematic View) and LAYER based...so you can choose to work in either mode, or both (how I use it). It has THE cleanest interface in the group. I would think someone who likes the LW interface would be most at home in Combustion. Especially if you change the color scheme in LW to match it. Having LW on one monitor and C* on the other would look very natural together.

Unless you run a major studio, with resources to buy a Flame, Combustion will serve you well and do just about anything you ask it to, and has a LOT of high-end features (2008 came with the Flame's infamous Color Warper, which makes it worth the cash just by itself). It has 2 different keyers to choose from. Plus Re:Vision plugins built in (AE RE:Flex Morph , Flex Motion Morph, and Flex Warp
http://www.revisionfx.com/products/reflex/). It also can use most any AE plugin.
The main reason I bought it was for it's integration features with 3ds Max, but you can get alot of that functionality by outputing your LW renders to RPF.
Check out the videos here:
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=5574967
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=5665905
Plus you have the G-Buffer Builder, which will allow you to ad 3D post effects to file formats other than RPF.
It has very powerful rotoscoping and paint tools...one of the most robust particle systems (with a massive library).

IMO, on the whole, it outclasses After Effects on many fronts...especially now that it has the new Color Warper...and should be priced 2 or 3 times higher when you consider all that you get (essentially the desktop brother of the Flame). Eden FX uses it. So does Zoic...2 of the top LW houses right there. If it were some child's toy, they wouldn't bother using it, and instead convert to using Fusion exclusively...or use high-end Flames (dedicated hardware system).
You can check out Jarrod Davis' 3D FX and Set Extensions DVD's that have a LW+Combustion workflow.
http://www.desktopimages.com/VFX.shtml#Davis

cresshead
01-19-2008, 06:24 PM
I have XP x64 with 4 Gigs of ram and Combustion 4 shows 3.23 Gig available, the rest being used by the system.

now that's interesting...
combustion2.1 can only see 1.7gig even though i have 8 gig
and combustion 2008 demo at the works pc which has 4 gig can only see 1.7 as well...

is there a 64bit version or is the demo crippled??
i'll re check on monday on the works pc...jujst to make sure i'm remembering correctly.

AbnRanger
01-19-2008, 06:32 PM
I also forgot to mention that Combustion's tracker and stabilazation tools work great and are also inherited from the Flame. One nice thing I like about it's Node/Schematic view is that you can take you cursor and scrub over a node to see it's thumbnail play back interactively. Same thing when opening footage...before you hit "ok" you can scrub the thumbnail to watch it playback as well...cool stuff indeed.
Here is one source I used to get up to speed with Combustion (for $30/mo...suspend and or resume anytime).
http://www.vtc.com/products/Autodesk-Combustion-4-tutorials.htm
You have access to training for Shake 4 as well, among others...including LW 9 and advanced LW modeling.

Here are some free videos that show some of the improvements in Combustions 2008:
http://www.thestreetproductions.com/tips.html

BTW...I have XP x64...and it lets me use over 3GB's too. You can go into "Preferences" and change how much RAM it uses

AbnRanger
01-19-2008, 06:35 PM
If you are using regular 32bit XP, try setting up a "3GB Switch." This will allow any actively-running program to access up to 3GB.
Autodesk will probably wait til Apple releases a 64bit Quicktime version, and also after AE releases a 64bit version since it can use most AE plugins. That's the one thing I like about Fusion 5...it's the only 64bit compositor at the moment.

Anti-Distinctly
01-20-2008, 07:32 AM
Thank you AbnRanger...The titanic struggle between AE and Combustion is currently being won by Combustion. They're effectively the same price and also, though this may sound weird if quoted out of context, I'd rather give my money to Autodesk at this point.

I'll take a look at those training videos and use the demo...

Titus
01-20-2008, 08:01 AM
Someone else here mentioned http://jahshaka.org/ another opensource compositing package. I haven't used it but it might be worth a look if it's free too.

At least on Windows is the most unstable piece of software Ive tried.

Titus
01-20-2008, 08:18 AM
now that's interesting...
combustion2.1 can only see 1.7gig even though i have 8 gig
and combustion 2008 demo at the works pc which has 4 gig can only see 1.7 as well...

is there a 64bit version or is the demo crippled??
i'll re check on monday on the works pc...jujst to make sure i'm remembering correctly.

I think it's smarter for a program to cache using a fast disk instead of RAM. With Aura I can use all my SCSI RAID while Combustion only takes 1.7 GB of the RAM, this means I can only use the RAM player a few seconds at a time.

Combustion is dying, every update takes ages and is minimal what it improves (one or two key features). Combustion could be excellent but it's damn slow, and long projects can make it crawl, even if I use proxies. Actually it's dangerous to work with proxies in Combustion at rendering time. I use it in a daily basis with my Toaster card since version 2.0, and I'm serious considering moving to Fusion.

Carm3D
01-20-2008, 08:31 AM
Have you looked at Eyeon's "Vision" ? It's like Fusion before it went 3D, and it is only 10-bit colour I think. But it's $750 or around there.

Vision by Eyeon (http://www.eyeonline.com/Web/EyeonWeb/Products/vision/vision.aspx)

It's got all of the same modules (Paint, particles, etc.)

Red_Oddity
01-20-2008, 09:03 AM
Don't get me wrong, Combustion offers a lot of very good features, i'm wondering though whether or not Autodesk is willing to continue support for a while longer (sure they push out an 'update' for every program in their line-up, but those are usually very very lack luster 'bug fix' releases rather than actual point releases)

The best thing about Combustion though is the ability to take your combustion project and finish it on a Flame or Inferno, and offcourse it offers a lot of very good coloring tools, the 3D system is a breeze to work in, it has some good arithmatic operators, it doesn't struggle as much as AFX with higher bit depths, it allows to copy paste values from any operator to another (a big plus in my opinion), etc etc.

I'd say either go for Combustion or try to find a cheap second hand license sale for Fusion or Nuke (don't forget that license transfers add up considerable to the cost though)

Anti-Distinctly
01-20-2008, 09:30 AM
I'd say either go for Combustion or try to find a cheap second hand license sale for Fusion or Nuke (don't forget that license transfers add up considerable to the cost though)

I've been hunting for a second hand license of Fusion particularly, or Nuke, but I've yet to find anything - do you know of somewhere to purchase licences? I'd much prefer one of these tools, but they just cost too much at the moment. I'll probably move onto them, but I need a good bang for buck solution now. If development is slowing or not, I need something with a decent toolset that doesn't totally suck. If it doesn't have a proper nodal workflow, then I'll just have to deal with it - even though I prefer to work nodally. It seems my choice is quite limited.

Anti-Distinctly
01-20-2008, 09:32 AM
Have you looked at Eyeon's "Vision" ? It's like Fusion before it went 3D, and it is only 10-bit colour I think. But it's $750 or around there.

Vision by Eyeon (http://www.eyeonline.com/Web/EyeonWeb/Products/vision/vision.aspx)

It's got all of the same modules (Paint, particles, etc.)

16-bit. Does this mean that it just wont cut it in today's floating point world?
In my reasearch it seems to be that if something costs only $750 (aka 750 :\), then it probably blows. I'd love to be proved wrong...

Red_Oddity
01-20-2008, 01:00 PM
Not nesesarily, but float offers the big advantage of a (near) lossless workflow.

It does take getting used to though (negative values for example will sharpen instead of blur with a blur tool, when values go below 0 or above 1 you could also run into things that might throw you of as too why your image looks, well, odd), but being able to work in float gets rid of so many limitations and degradations it is well worth it.

As for 2nd hand licenses, try the pigsfly forum or the Laffey Fusion-L mailing list, do a search on one of those or post a request.
Mind you though that transfering a Fusion license costs somewhere around a 1000 us dollars (a very very steep transfer cost in my opinion, but hey, sometimes a 2nd hand license can still be 2000 us dollars (and that includes the transfer) cheaper than a brand spanking shiny new one.)

Red_Oddity
01-20-2008, 01:05 PM
Also, when you can find a Nuke license, that would be very cool, as Nuke is the only scanline ROI/DOD of the whole list at the moment (atleast of the somewhat affordable ones that are still being actively developed), which means that should you ever have to composite at 2,4 or even 8K resolutions it easily chugs through it without the need of a hardware update.

Lightwolf
01-20-2008, 01:52 PM
Mind you though that transfering a Fusion license costs somewhere around a 1000 us dollars.
Last time it can up it was in the range of 200US$. They've also switched to a subscription based system for updates/upgrades recently. Around 400US$ per year gets you all releases (on all platforms).

Cheers,
Mike

Speedmonk42
01-20-2008, 06:04 PM
I really don't know much about compositing software so this thread is great.

I am suprised by the negative attidude towards AE though.

I was going to buy it, the educational price is pretty good. Comes in a suite.

cresshead
01-20-2008, 06:11 PM
AE is okay.it's been used on band of brothers for comping..so it's upto tv standards even back then...i'd suggest you try the demo of each compositor if you can, so you can get a feel for them.

AbnRanger
01-20-2008, 07:27 PM
...Combustion is dying, every update takes ages and is minimal what it improves (one or two key features). Combustion could be excellent but it's damn slow, and long projects can make it crawl, even if I use proxies. Actually it's dangerous to work with proxies in Combustion at rendering time. I use it in a daily basis with my Toaster card since version 2.0, and I'm serious considering moving to Fusion.I doubt that Autodesk will abandon the AE market segment, and will continue to leave Combustion right where it is. The real problem with Combustion is that it was a high dollar compositor (before they introduced Toxic), just like Fusion is today, only 4 or 5 years ago...and it kicks buttocks...so much so, that if they were to make drastic improvements it would eat into their High-End Systems (Flame, Flint, and Inferno). Autodesk knows that, and has to intentionally pull in the reigns to some degree. Cause once it goes to 64bit, that will most certainly cost them a good number of Flames. A 64 bit Combustion with 8+CPU's, 8-16GB of RAM, dual graphics cards for dual monitors, using a solid state HD for the pagefile would make it a different creature.

Toxic has newer code and it is what AD is trying to lure Combustion users into, so that is why you don't see massive numbers of features added. There would be no reason to buy a seat of Toxic. There just aren't that many benefits to upgrading to warrant the extra $4K.
For most compositing tasks, Combustion simply rocks :rock: . The more I use it, the more I love it.

Titus
01-20-2008, 10:28 PM
AE is okay.it's been used on band of brothers for comping..so it's upto tv standards even back then

At the past VES, ILM presented how AE and Shake were used in Pirates of the Caribbean. So AE is good for movies also.

AbnRanger
01-21-2008, 12:01 AM
I think it's smarter for a program to cache using a fast disk instead of RAM. With Aura I can use all my SCSI RAID while Combustion only takes 1.7 GB of the RAM, this means I can only use the RAM player a few seconds at a time.First of all Titus...set up a 3GB Switch (assuming you have 4GB's) for 32bit XP...so you will have double that amount to access. Secondly, Combustion CAN and DOES use your HD to cache to...with a fast HD dedicated exclusively for your systems pagefile, it will cache what can't fit in RAM onto your pagefile. The faster that is, the faster and more fluid your playback. Thirdly, USE COMMIT TO DISK! Don't complain about sluggishness when you don't use the features which directly address that.
Let's say I add some Color Correction, 3D blur, and DOF operators to a particular layer...instead of it having to re-calculate those effects each time I hit 'Play,' you're supposed to use the commit-to-disk feature (which has a switch node so you can go back and forth between the working layer and the rendered layer at any time), so you can thereafter scrub through that footage in realtime.


Combustion is dying, every update takes ages and is minimal what it improves (one or two key features). Combustion could be excellent but it's damn slow, and long projects can make it crawl, even if I use proxies. Actually it's dangerous to work with proxies in Combustion at rendering time. I use it in a daily basis with my Toaster card since version 2.0, and I'm serious considering moving to Fusion.I don't know how Combustion compares speed-wise with Fusion, but with hardware that's available today, there's no reason to make that statement above. Just as HARDWARE is dedicated to accelerate high-end compositors, you can also steal a page from their playbook for use with desktop compositors. Have your programs on one Raptor HD, your pagefile on another Raptor HD (the smallest one they have, since you don't need much space), and then your footage on yet another (this one will need to have some storage space)...perhaps even using 2 Raptors in a RAID 0 config.
This way, you have each of these HD's working simultaneously and independantly of each other. If you have all of these on just one disk, then there is your bottleneck. The little spindle that traverses back and forth can only read one set of instructions at a time. If it has simultaneous calls for your program directory, video footage directory, and has to dump data to and from your memory...that's alot to ask of one little spindle...poor guy :D
Your CPU can easily handle that kind of load, but not a single HD by itself. So, by separating these key components and directories into their own HD's, you break up that bottleneck.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136012

Titus
01-21-2008, 12:40 AM
AbnRanger: Thank you for the kind suggestions, I know all of them already (I have a few years teaching compositing here). But if you read my comment I was comparing Combustion to Aura. With Aura I don't have to comming effects or turn on a /3GB switch to double the workload limit, wow, try to create a 30 minute video with that switch! in a few words: Combustion makes me to work more.

Red_Oddity
01-21-2008, 02:37 AM
Last time it can up it was in the range of 200US$. They've also switched to a subscription based system for updates/upgrades recently. Around 400US$ per year gets you all releases (on all platforms).

Cheers,
Mike
Nope, that's a license transfer within a company or holding ($199), to actually transfer from user to another outside of the company it was originally licensed to sets you back $999.

And the subscription deal sounds pretty good($395 per year) and there have been a lot of updates since it was introdced.

Anti-Distinctly
01-21-2008, 11:09 AM
Titus, I know Combustion may not be perfect, but I'm getting the impression that its the best bang for the buck. Would you say otherwise? If so, why.

AbnRanger
01-21-2008, 11:49 AM
AbnRanger: Thank you for the kind suggestions, I know all of them already (I have a few years teaching compositing here). But if you read my comment I was comparing Combustion to Aura. With Aura I don't have to comming effects or turn on a /3GB switch to double the workload limit, wow, try to create a 30 minute video with that switch! in a few words: Combustion makes me to work more.Sorry about that, Titus. Couldn't tell...when you said you were only getting 1.7GB and that Combustion was slow, I had to presume you didn't know about the 3GB switch, and don't use the 'Commit To Disk' feature. With today's hardware and utilizing the speed-up features provided, it's not a fair statement, IMO, to say it's slow.
If Aura uses RAID arrays to cache to, then that's similar to a Flame setup. It's more of a "System" than a Desktop program. Nevertheless, when you regularly utilize Commit to Disk...it's rendering to your HD, and is thereafter cached to your pagefile. If you setup your desktop in a similar fashion as mentioned above, you should find it working with a lot more zip to it.
That's pretty much how I have mine setup, and it works well for me.

siproductions
01-21-2008, 01:18 PM
I don't care if they've cut the cord or not If you're mac based you should give shake a try. Still an amazing compositor. And at only $500 a seat its a steal. That said I've worked with Nuke, fusion, AE, and Combustion, and I would rank them from best to worst as:
Nuke
Fusion
Combustion
AE

Anti-Distinctly
01-21-2008, 03:58 PM
Compositing seems expensive work, I may have to reevaluate what I'm going to charge in order to afford one of the higher end compositors...one thing at a time though. Are there any situations where something just cannot be done in AE or Combustion but can in Nuke or Fusion?

Titus
01-21-2008, 04:11 PM
I think you will find impossible tasks with all the programs. Shake and (I think) Fusion have Primatte so you have a more powerful keyer than those tools found in Combustion.

When doing tracking and matchmoving there are situations you need to test more than one program, you could try app any on your list and maybe will end working with Monet.

AbnRanger
01-21-2008, 05:38 PM
I think you will find impossible tasks with all the programs. Shake and (I think) Fusion have Primatte so you have a more powerful keyer than those tools found in Combustion.

When doing tracking and matchmoving there are situations you need to test more than one program, you could try app any on your list and maybe will end working with Monet.Titus, what version of Combustion do you have? In version 4, it inherited the Diamond Keyer from Flame, and now in Combustion 2008 it inherited Flame's Color Warper, so it's Keying and Color Correction tools are actually 2 of it's strengths.

Titus
01-21-2008, 06:04 PM
Titus, what version of Combustion do you have? In version 4, it inherited the Diamond Keyer from Flame, and now in Combustion 2008 it inherited Flame's Color Warper, so it's Keying and Color Correction tools are actually 2 of it's strengths.

I've Combustion 4, and for some reason forgot the diamond keyer, even I prefer Primmate, though.

More about keying. When you think you have the best keyer in town a client comes with DV footage and then your software cant handle it, I've discovered DVMatte is excellent for this task:

http://dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=dvmatteae

Carm3D
01-21-2008, 09:29 PM
16-bit. Does this mean that it just wont cut it in today's floating point world?
In my reasearch it seems to be that if something costs only $750 (aka 750 :\), then it probably blows. I'd love to be proved wrong...

It means it won't cut it for film work. But it's more than enough for broadcast video, and that is how they are marketing it.

I have yet to use a high end compositor. I was introduced to compositing when I got DFX+ with the LW8 upgrade. This is like DFX+ with all of the modules, and more colour depth.

I think the main differences between Vision and Fusion is the floating point colour and the 3D compositing environment. The guys at Eyeon told me the 3D aspect was cool because particles can interact with your 3D objects. But they can't be animated (by using a .MDD file for example) so what's the use of it for an animator? -Of course this may have changed since I discussed this with them...

So my point is, no Fusion does not blow. And if the original poster is looking for a good comper at a low price, he could do well to look closely at Vision. I'm enjoying mine. :)

Anti-Distinctly
01-22-2008, 11:55 AM
Regarding combustion, is it's 'schematic view' a nodal compositor, or is that just for show? for example, can I use a matte that I've pulled as a mask for something further down the node flow?

Titus
01-22-2008, 01:49 PM
Yes, schematic is a functional nodal system.

calilifestyle
01-22-2008, 01:50 PM
How much is Vision

tonybliss
01-22-2008, 04:37 PM
Vision = $1,495.00
http://www.eyeonline.com/Web/EyeonWeb/Buying/PriceList.aspx

I am now getting into fusion ... intend to pruchase it by year end .... as i grow in my skillset ....
So far I think its really fantastic a program .. i really like the workflow and the nodal system is pretty new to me but easy to learn .....
PS I have used AE 4 up to 7 and Combustion 4 a good bit and after a program like fusion i don't wanna go back to the layer system for MOST cases ...
Cheers

JBT27
01-23-2008, 02:39 AM
Vision = $1,495.00
http://www.eyeonline.com/Web/EyeonWeb/Buying/PriceList.aspx

I am now getting into fusion ... intend to pruchase it by year end .... as i grow in my skillset ....
So far I think its really fantastic a program .. i really like the workflow and the nodal system is pretty new to me but easy to learn .....
PS I have used AE 4 up to 7 and Combustion 4 a good bit and after a program like fusion i don't wanna go back to the layer system for MOST cases ...
Cheers

Yeah - anyone who has got into LW's nodal system should see straight away how much better that is for comp as well - we'll be looking at Fusion sometime this year, but for right now, and several years back, AE has proved a real-workhorse.....of course, the heaviest stuff we do is 'only' for TV so I guess that doesn't count :tongue:

But much as I like what Fusion does, one thing I still have to resolve is that I threw a very basic project into the Fusion demo, or maybe the PLE, and it very quickly ground to a halt.....darn near unusable. I gave up in the end - just a couple of 500 frames clips and I think a handful of nodes to process a greenscreen but it slowed to a point where I could not have used it. Which kind of told me we'd need to buy dedicated hardware to run it. That and the price of Fusion knocked us out of the market for awhile.

On the same machine though, AE works flawlessly. The point is, the further I go with AE and still get the job done, the less inclined I am to throw money at Fusion or the like.....but there you go, as ever, depends what you are going to do with it :)

Julian.

Red_Oddity
01-23-2008, 03:27 AM
Configuring Fusion is an art onto itself, configure memory and threading wrong and it will ground to a halt during rendering or it will simply hang on multi branching/threading.

Once you have got the right configuration though it will plough through a lot without too much problems.

Also, the guys at Eyeon are really good towards their customers, need a script to automate something? post it on the mailing list and often you get a script the same or next day...Really nice folks over there.

Anti-Distinctly
01-23-2008, 04:39 AM
When I've used Fusion in the past I've not really had any speed problems (on a dual core Zeon) - my experience is limited, but I've produed some horrific looking node trees.

Been using the demo of Combustion...nice feature list. But I'm finding it oddly awkward to use. I'm used to the nodal system and I'm actually finding working with layers really...well awkward.
I'm having a few workflow issues:
If you're a combustion user, please comment if I'm talking out of my arse...(or you agree)
1. Masking; I had a particle effect (created in LW) I was trying to comp itto some footage. It needed to go behind someone's head so I just thought I'd mask the persons head and invert the mask. But I couln't apply the mask to my particle layer, yet still see the footage layer. So I couldn't position the mask properly. Urgh.

2. Control toolbox; Lots of the time the controls for a particular tool do not show in the contol toolbox. It required much seemingly randomly clicking to get the controls to show up.

3. Alpha channels; The particle effect I had rendered out in png format with an alpha. Imported into Combustion and put the layer over my footage. But the alpha wasn't working so I had a huge black rectangle over everything. Again, I had to randomly click on layers and options and ended up getting it to work (not by actually changing any settings, they were all toggled on and then back off).

4. Tracking; The way tracking works I find quite odd. The tracker just dissapears as soon as you click off the layer. So to apply this motion to something else I imagine that you'd just have to link it's motion to an object that is already tracked?

So yeah, nice feature list, but it feels very awkward to me. Is there just a learning curve and once I get over it everything will be great? Or is it actually this annoying?

Maybe I should just get Shake and use the 500 I'd save on Combustion to get a Mac...Just concerned that Shake is EOL.

tonybliss
01-23-2008, 06:49 AM
The thing with shake is even tho' it may be EOL, it WILL get the job done, give you a couple months or years and most importantly ..... the income to invest in the newer tools such as Apples proposed new comp app, fusion, or Nuke.
Cgswami say, Small investments used wisely make way for big investments, and maybe a fast car too ;) :b

Sarford
01-23-2008, 08:03 AM
Shake may be killed off by Apple but it still is a great compositor and very capable to do the job.
Shake doesn't have integrated particles and the 3D part of the program is a bit skimpy but it is so easy and fast to work with shake. I also realy like the interface, very clean and simple and no aditional pop-up windows and such (just for rendering out).
Apple prommised a new product to replace shake, chances are that by owning shake you only have to pay for an upgrade to the new program, which goes above and beyond shake (we hope) and has a brand new code base.

My compositing experience is still limited so I might not now all Shakes weak points

Red_Oddity
01-23-2008, 08:47 AM
Shake is a brilliant package (as far as i remeber from interviews they still used it at ILM to comp Transformers...so, EOL or not, still a brilliant piece of software)

AbnRanger
01-23-2008, 10:37 PM
Is there just a learning curve and once I get over it everything will be great? Or is it actually this annoying?It's the learning curve that you find with any software. Honestly, I'd suggest giving the VTC.com links I gave earlier a go ($30/mo...one month at a time...and you can quit anytime), and that way you can utilize the comprehensive training videos they offer 24/7...including titles for Shake, AE, Combustion, LW, Max, Maya, etc. (30 covers it all).
If you decide to go with Combustion (honestly, it is the best for the price range you're looking for), then Ken LaRue's Combustion 2008 training series would be best to cover the more advanced areas of the program:
http://www.thestreetproductions.com/training.htm

In the mean time, download these free videos, and make sure to check out the Color Warper (especially #5 I think...covering using it to color match one footage clip with another very quickly) and the one covering the "Compare" feature...he shows how to set up your masks with another layer showing beneath or even the same layer (instead of seeing only black in the masked out area)
http://www.thestreetproductions.com/tips.html

Anti-Distinctly
01-26-2008, 03:45 PM
I'm sold I think...For the price bracket (with Shake not an option) I don't think Conbustion can be beaten. I'll spend the $30 and get myself up to speed as I'm already feeling more confortable with Combustion's abilities - there are just a few more things I'd like to get my head around first before I ask any more dumb questions on here. Thank you all for your help, it's been invaluable - if anyone has any more comments, please let them be known.

Anti-Distinctly
01-26-2008, 04:25 PM
...You can check out Jarrod Davis' 3D FX and Set Extensions DVD's that have a LW+Combustion workflow.
http://www.desktopimages.com/VFX.shtml#Davis

Does anyone know how advanced are these tutorials are? (The 'Set Extensions' and the '3D Effects Compositing' I've never tried this stuff, but I have a fair idea
of how to get it done. Matching camera angles shouldn't be too hard as I have Syntheyes, I'm mainly interested in the integration of live action and CG elements - and, oddly enough, currently working on a project that requires a space craft to be composited in, much the same as the '3D Effects Compositing' seems to show.

Red_Oddity
01-26-2008, 06:30 PM
Those tutorials are pretty old, but the techniques haven't changed that much, can't comment on the quality though.

There's also http://www.cmivfx.com/ and http://www.fxphd.com from http://www.fxguide.com (which has some nice tutorials aswell, see : http://www.fxguide.com/modules.php?name=fxtips&rop=fxtip_list&catid=8)

Anti-Distinctly
01-27-2008, 06:19 AM
Thank Red_Oddity, I'll take a look at those.
Did I hear somewhere that AE plugins can be used in Combustion also or did I just dream that?

Titus
01-27-2008, 06:25 AM
Thank Red_Oddity, I'll take a look at those.
Did I hear somewhere that AE plugins can be used in Combustion also or did I just dream that?

Yep, and also most Photoshop plugins.

ngrava
01-29-2008, 09:37 PM
Wow, I haven't posted here in ages! :)

Yeah, I would say Vision which is basically just a cut down version of Fusion would be great for what it sounds like you need. First of all, If you're going to be doing film work latter, just upgrade to the Fusion when that happens. Chances are that by then you wont bat an eye at the cost. Plus, you already know how to use Fusion. I haven't used Vision but if the only differences are 10bit and no 3D environment, I can't see where that would really make a difference. All the 3D comping I do is done in an actual 3D program and not in some half A$$ed 3D comping environment. ;) By the way, all the film work I have done, I had to do in AE (the directors choice) and while I didn't like it, We really had no need for floating point color because ultimately, it was going to be color corrected in the transfer anyway. Keep in mind that people have been working in 8 bit color space on films for ages and it hasn't seemed to make that much of a difference. :)

Lastly, I keep reading that Apple has Killed Shake. This really isn't fare to say. Apple would never just buy a program in order to end it's life. What they where doing was being kind to us by lowering the price and admitting up front that they are working on the next-gen compositing software based o shake. what most software companies would have done would be to continue selling the thing at a premium till the day before the announcement of the new product. Another thing is that Apple didn't just buy the program, kill it, and fire the programers. Theses guys are still at Apple and at the helm of the new-soon to be announced product (probably by Siggraph).

AbnRanger
01-29-2008, 10:49 PM
Wow, I haven't posted here in ages! :)

Yeah, I would say Vision which is basically just a cut down version of Fusion would be great for what it sounds like you need. First of all, If you're going to be doing film work latter, just upgrade to the Fusion when that happens. Chances are that by then you wont bat an eye at the cost. Plus, you already know how to use Fusion. I haven't used Vision but if the only differences are 10bit and no 3D environment, I can't see where that would really make a difference. All the 3D comping I do is done in an actual 3D program and not in some half A$$ed 3D comping environment. ;) By the way, all the film work I have done, I had to do in AE (the directors choice) and while I didn't like it, We really had no need for floating point color because ultimately, it was going to be color corrected in the transfer anyway. Keep in mind that people have been working in 8 bit color space on films for ages and it hasn't seemed to make that much of a difference. :)

Lastly, I keep reading that Apple has Killed Shake. This really isn't fare to say. Apple would never just buy a program in order to end it's life. What they where doing was being kind to us by lowering the price and admitting up front that they are working on the next-gen compositing software based o shake. what most software companies would have done would be to continue selling the thing at a premium till the day before the announcement of the new product. Another thing is that Apple didn't just buy the program, kill it, and fire the programers. Theses guys are still at Apple and at the helm of the new-soon to be announced product (probably by Siggraph).You have a similar situation with Combustion, except the "Next-Generation" software is already available...it's called Toxic; which competes directly with Fusion at the price point Combustion used to occupy.
Unlike Shake, however, Combustion is still being developed, and with much of its core toolset taken directly from the Flame, Flint, and Inferno systems, it has one prestigious pedigree.

Take a good hard look at it's RPF capabilities (GBuffer Extract, 3D motion Blur, 3D DOF, 3D Fog, 3D Glow, etc.) and you'll find Combustion's workflow hard to do without:
http://www2.autodesk.com/streaming/playback.php?sid=1043

Titus
01-30-2008, 10:06 AM
But I understand Toxic is intended for collaborative work. having just one seat won't give you much of it. I never used Toxic, though.

AbnRanger
01-30-2008, 04:14 PM
But I understand Toxic is intended for collaborative work. having just one seat won't give you much of it. I never used Toxic, though.
That's one of it's selling points...it seems intended to be in a pipeline consisting of other Toxic workstations and Flame, Flint, or Inferno systems.
Even if you have only one seat, you still have network rendering in the background. It doesn't appear to have a mature feature set quite yet, though, IMHO, because there are still things you can do in Combustion that you can't in Toxic (particles is one of them).

Anti-Distinctly
01-31-2008, 03:43 PM
...If you're going to be doing film work latter, just upgrade to the Fusion when that happens. Chances are that by then you wont bat an eye at the cost...
Is there an option to upgrade from Vision to Fusion? I couldn't seem to find one if there is. I'd image I'd just have to shell out again for Fusion.
Not batter an eyelid at 2.5k? I'd like that :D

Lightwolf
01-31-2008, 04:12 PM
Is there an option to upgrade from Vision to Fusion?
Mail them and ask. There should be, and knowing Eyeon it is probably close enough to the price difference.

Cheers,
Mike

tonybliss
01-31-2008, 04:44 PM
Yeah you should write them on the vision 2 Fusion 5 upgrade.

Also, the desktop images Combustion/LW dvds are FANTASTIC. Jarrod Davis delivers ;)

Anti-Distinctly
02-01-2008, 09:16 AM
The reply stated that I could upgrade to Fusion at any time...no price yet thogh.

I'm now however, seriously considering getting a mac mini and a copy of Shake - as the combined cost is less than that of a Combustion license.

AbnRanger
02-01-2008, 12:26 PM
The reply stated that I could upgrade to Fusion at any time...no price yet thogh.

I'm now however, seriously considering getting a mac mini and a copy of Shake - as the combined cost is less than that of a Combustion license.So, what about Shake compels you rule out Combustion, other than the $450 difference...if may I ask?

If you are already a big MAC user, and regularly use FinalCut, I could see the lure there, somewhat. But I don't see the lure for a PC user (Combustion has a MAC version, and 2008 works great on Leopard or Vista). Combustion out-muscles Shake in feature set alone. It's RPF workflow distinguishes itself from the rest (save Fusion), and once you've made use of it a time or two, you find it irreplacable. It's so efficient that many times, depending on what you want to do, you don't need to deal with render passes/elements. Alot of the same information is embedded within the rendered files.
That RPF workflow demonstration video I linked to in one of my recent posts shows how quickly you can accomplish otherwise mundane tasks (like having to mask out an object in Shake...and then animate that mask over time, as opposed to simply adding a GBuffer Extract operator to an element in your shot that you want to remove at some point). I'm hooked on it, and that's why I can't see the benefit in using something else that doesn't offer that workflow/capability. Try it on a test scene with Combustion, and then try to replicate that on a demo of Shake. Test a scene using Combustion's particles, and then test Shake's particles....oh, that's right...they don't have particles. I have yet to find what you can do in Shake that you can't easily do in Combustion (except it's integration with FinalCut), but I can't say the same in reverse.

Red_Oddity
02-01-2008, 01:28 PM
Just noticed Jashaka has been raised from the dead.
Development on v3 is going underway.

Steamthrower
02-01-2008, 01:37 PM
Just noticed Jashaka has been raised from the dead.
Development on v3 is going underway.

I don't have any qualms in saying that Jahshaka is the biggest piece of crap I've ever seen. I'm not looking forward to "version 3" because it will act more like "version 0.23 alpha".

Lightwolf
02-01-2008, 01:41 PM
I have yet to find what you can do in Shake that you can't easily do in Combustion...
Try a region of interest in Combustion :D

Cheers,
Mike

Anti-Distinctly
02-01-2008, 01:41 PM
I haven't ruled out Combustion just yet :) (or anything else for that matter)
It is cheaper, so there's the simple moneytary incentive and let me be clear, I've yet to try Shake (I'm arranging this as I speak), so I may hate it - I'll have to see.
I must say though at this point I'm not finding the nodal compositing of Combustion as extensible as I thought, which is probably due to it's layered nature behind the scenes.
Concerning the RPF workflow you mentioned, is this different from taking buffers from an EXR file? The G-Buffer builder, while nice at first glance, appears to be a workaround for the lack of a non-true nodal workflow. (i.e. you can grab channels or values from one point in the flow and apply them somewhere else)
Again, please correct me if I'm talking out of my arse.

AbnRanger
02-01-2008, 01:59 PM
I haven't ruled out Combustion just yet :) (or anything else for that matter)
It is cheaper, so there's the simple moneytary incentive and let me be clear, I've yet to try Shake (I'm arranging this as I speak), so I may hate it - I'll have to see.
I must say though at this point I'm not finding the nodal compositing of Combustion as extensible as I thought, which is probably due to it's layered nature behind the scenes.
Concerning the RPF workflow you mentioned, is this different from taking buffers from an EXR file? The G-Buffer builder, while nice at first glance, appears to be a workaround for the lack of a non-true nodal workflow. (i.e. you can grab channels or values from one point in the flow and apply them somewhere else)
Again, please correct me if I'm talking out of my arse.
You have more channels to select in RPF, including transparency and Non-Clamped color. So, Shake has an "Extract" feature that removes and object, based on the EXR's object ID channel?

Anti-Distinctly
02-01-2008, 02:06 PM
The impression I get seems to be that Shake is so versatile that an operation such as that (remove one of the objects from an operation via its objectID - if i understand you correctly) would be relatively simple to either set up or script.

Oh, by the way, concerning Eyeon Vision, the answer I got seemed to be saying that the cost to upgrade to Fusion from Vision is a bit less than the difference between Fision & Vision They obviously don't let you just buy Vision, then upgrade, but it's still a better deal than I thought they'd offer :)

AbnRanger
02-01-2008, 02:15 PM
Try a region of interest in Combustion :D

Cheers,
MikeI just stated one...Particles. That's enough on it's own.
The ability to edit your clips within the program (Edit Operator), instead of HAVING to step out of it just to do some basic editing.
The RPF (format created by Discreet) tools/workflow in Combustion, as I mentioned (more robust than EXR).

The G-Buffer builder that lets you take a much smaller file format, like PNG for instance, and apply many of these channels to it. It's not a work around, it's a bonus.

The ability to use most any After Effects plugin.

Very tight 3ds Max integration...such as being able to select all your render elements and save them straight to a Combustion Workspace, already sorted out for you. The ability to use it's live link with Max to paint your textures/graphics on your models inside of Max, using Combustions Paint tools...similar to Body Paint functionality

Do I need to keep going? :D

Lightwolf
02-01-2008, 02:23 PM
Do I need to keep going? :D
Slow.
By Autodesk (that alone should put anybody off ;) ).

Mind you, great for the price, no doubt. I'd probably get Shake though if I had the choice. So far my experiences with Combustion (only up to V2.0 - but starting with that was paint and effect back then) were less than stellar.

Cheers,
Mike

Anti-Distinctly
02-01-2008, 02:28 PM
Slow.
By Autodesk (that alone should put anybody off ;) ).

Mind you, great for the price, no doubt. I'd probably get Shake though if I had the choice. So far my experiences with Combustion (only up to V2.0 - but starting with that was paint and effect back then) were less than stellar.

Cheers,
Mike

Mike, could you elaborate on what you find better about Shake? - Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse here, but it's a difficult decision to make without having major experiences in any of these applications.

AbnRanger
02-01-2008, 02:29 PM
I guess the one thing I must admit that might be a big plus with Shake 4, is that when Apple does release it's next generation compositor, they will probably show some love to current Shake users by way of a reduced upgrade price.
Considering how well they've done with FinalCut, I'm anxious to see what pops out of the oven with this next compositor.

Lightwolf
02-01-2008, 02:40 PM
Mike, could you elaborate on what you find better about Shake? - Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse here, but it's a difficult decision to make without having major experiences in any of these applications.
I haven't used it that much - since I've had Fusion for years now.
One of the major advantages seem to be speed and memory usage.
On the other hand, some of the tools seem very "primitive", which means you'll do a lot of combining of lower level building blocks. In the end that'll probably teach you a lot about compositing though.

You do miss out on timeline based compositing.

Cheers,
Mike

AbnRanger
02-01-2008, 03:09 PM
Here's a little post from a regular over at CreativeCow.com
(Combustion forum), who is a contractor of Autodesk's.

Name: warren BONES (bones)
Date: Jan 17, 2008 at 8:48:45 pm
Subject: Re: Combustion 2008 support for 32 bit files?


To answer the second part of the question, as Eric covered the first bit, whilst Autodesk pay me to be a Toxik expert, all the work I do on the side still gets done in Combustion. Combustion does everything I need to do in the most elegant way possible. There are some things I really, really like about Toxik but Combustion is still my first choice, partly because I'm a Max user and the inter-op is so good but also because Combustion is still the best tool out there for the work I like to do. If I was working for a post-house on film VFX, Toxik would be a no-brainer, but for the breadth and depth of tasks I undertake, Toxik [and Nuke] are too focussed. Fusion is both too expensive and I do not like it's workflow or UI at all. Multi-channel OpenEXR workflow offers nothing over either RPF or multi-pass rendering combined with the G-Buffer Builder. In fact, these Combustion tools offer a significantly more powerful workflow than anything else out there. My preference is for multi-pass PNG renders, plugged into a G_Buffer Builder, but your mileage may vary.

As for your cheap-shot about the upgrade, the Colour Warper alone is worth the $200, or even worth getting a full license for, everything else is just window-dressing.

I'm a contractor for Autodesk at the moment but, unless otherwise stated, all opinions expressed here are my own.

theo
02-04-2008, 01:30 PM
An 'Autodesk' Toxik expert preferring Combustion over Fusion? Why am I not surprised?

Fusion offers a very deep set of tools right out of the box, including an excellent 3D particles system and 3D space.

AbnRanger
02-04-2008, 01:46 PM
An 'Autodesk' Toxik expert preferring Combustion over Fusion? Why am I not surprised?

Fusion offers a very deep set of tools right out of the box, including an excellent 3D particles system and 3D space.When you use a software tool for a long time...you tend to "prefer" it to another...largely due to familiarity. I agree, though...the 3D particles and 3D geometry handling capability in Fusion does set it apart...as well as being the only 64bit desktop compositor.
It's just that for 1/5 the price Combustion compares favorably in areas other than those, and the fact that Fusion supposedly handles very large files better.
Does it have background rendering, anyone know?

Anti-Distinctly
02-05-2008, 01:36 PM
Fusion? Yes.
I must admit that Combustion's feature set is quite splendid for the price, but I've just found it a bit difficult to use is all. I'll use Shake and report back here.
I'm also still waiting to hear back from Mike at eyeon concerning an evaluation version of Vision. I also can't find it for sale in the UK from any reseller...

tonybliss
02-05-2008, 05:12 PM
Anyone here use Nuke

D/L the trial today from the Foundry .....

Red_Oddity
02-06-2008, 02:10 AM
Nuke is...somewhat complicated, but one very serious powerhouse when you do nothing but pure shot by shot compositing (the ROI scanline renderer alone is brilliant enough when doing 4K comps), and since the Foundry do development now, you have the best support for Furnace (seriously, try a demo of this and you'll want it, shame the price is so steep, but you can always rent it on per job)

Waiting to see what they do for v5 (besides a complete UI overhaul)

tonybliss
02-06-2008, 03:21 AM
Oh OK, thanks ....
will stick with Fusion I guess .. may experiment when time permits with Nuke

Red_Oddity
02-25-2008, 03:00 AM
Just a heads up to everyone, Nuke 5 has just been released

http://www.thefoundry.co.uk

Anti-Distinctly
02-27-2008, 02:44 AM
I went with Shake in the end. It was a combination of the quality of the product and the fact that you can get (and I have got) Final Cut Studio on the mac. It's a force to be reckoned with considering the price. So I bought an iMac and all that stuff.
Also I have to say I was having a miserable time with Combustion. It may just have been me, but I just found it very awkward and cumbersome to use and ended up very frustrated. It also crashed a great deal. Furthermore, rather than 'take the plunge' with a mac...I thought I'd just dip my big toe in instead (I have a new quad core pc en route too). With any luck I'll remain objective...

Red_Oddity
02-27-2008, 02:50 AM
Shake, good choise, maybe you'll get a cheaper upgrade price to whatever Apple is going to replace Shake with for this aswell.

Captain Obvious
02-27-2008, 04:27 AM
Shake is a good choice. Yes, it's been EOLed, but being priced as it is, I fail to see the significance. The last ever version of Shake will still be a very compeditive compositing application for several years, and whatever Apple release to replace it is bound to be at least half decent. And you can always switch to a different app in a few years, when Shake has fallen behind.

rdolishny
02-27-2008, 11:11 AM
I love using Combustion and wish dearly for one feature that isn't in any 3D app that I'm aware of .. you can have two windows open, one constantly on loop and the other keyframeable. Changes in the keyframe or node screen update almost instantly in looped window.

I go completely apeshit when I'm using AE and building crummy RAM previews that take forever only to reveal that I missed a cue or a key isn't resolving properly.

I wish Lighwave or any 3D app had that functionality. One window as it is now, the other window can go into cached RAM playback (wireframe, points, bounding box, or full OpenGL). But it's gotta update dynamically ... as it does so well with Combustion!

Serling
02-28-2008, 12:42 AM
Well, I've used both AE and (currently) use Combustion.

I like (actually prefer) AE for motion graphics on 2D images: the "Ken Burns" effect on digital and scanned stills. Keep in mind, I've been an Avid editor for the past 12 years and so AE's timeline-based interface feels somewhat right at home to me.

But when I want to do green-screen work, tracking, rotoscoping, or any of a handful of other compositing FX, Combustion 4 is what I use. At first, the ability to work completely without looking at a timeline was a bit daunting for me, but the more I use it, the more I like it.

I keep reading people talking about how "program x" is dying, but my feeling is once you have "program x" and you find out how well it suits your purposes, what difference does it make? As a TV guy I know the viewer doesn't care whether I produced a piece of video on Avid, FCP, Premiere or Windows Movie Maker. Ultimately, it's the output that counts not what you use to produce it.

joseburgos
02-28-2008, 04:58 AM
Late on this thread but thought I would weigh in anyway.

I received DFX4+ with all but the render module in 2005 with my purchase of VT3.
One month later, I un-installed AE and never missed it.
Since then I have upgraded to Fusion5 and it's 3D capability is great.
Used with LW in all kind of ways (composite of layers, import of camera paths, objects w/UV using FBX, etc.) is awsome.
I have also started using OpenEXR for render passes with EXRTrader from Mike (Lightwolf) and I feel like Superman when working in Fusion.

Switching fom layer based AE at first felt crazy and extreemly hard because it's hard to teach this old dog new tricks.
But following the courseware everyday for one month and I learned node based workflow.
One side benefit of knowing Fusions node based workflow was grasping LW's nodes right away :)

My .02 cents worth,

Captain Obvious
02-28-2008, 12:17 PM
Nodes are AWESOME.

Anti-Distinctly
02-28-2008, 02:47 PM
I keep reading people talking about how "program x" is dying, but my feeling is once you have "program x" and you find out how well it suits your purposes, what difference does it make? As a TV guy I know the viewer doesn't care whether I produced a piece of video on Avid, FCP, Premiere or Windows Movie Maker. Ultimately, it's the output that counts not what you use to produce it.

Well, I just purchased a product which is officially dead. But I just had to go with the product that felt best to me & I felt that I could be comfortable using.
You're completely correct - the client couldn't care less about the process, as long as they are pleased with the output.

Steamthrower
02-28-2008, 02:52 PM
Final Cut Studio is simply amazing. I don't own Shake but I'm becoming convinced that I really need to buy it, after trying out Motion.

Motion 3 is a very capable program, folks - I've seen it do some amazing comp stuff before and that's not even what it's meant to do.

Anti-Distinctly
02-29-2008, 02:22 AM
Can you expand on that inigo? As I've just purchased it and I've really got no idea of its capabilities...

kopperdrake
03-10-2008, 05:41 PM
Thought I'd revive this thread to ask you how you're getting on with Shake Anti? I need a comping package, mainly for my own use, platform's not too important, though I'd quite like to try Shake out on my Mac. The price of Shake, together with what I've heard about it, seems pretty attractive...about a third the cost of either Combustion or AE.

Anti-Distinctly
03-11-2008, 03:09 AM
Before I reply I want to say that I tried as many packages as I could get my hands on. I'd used AE many times before and jus never really liked it. Combustion I thought was the way to go, but that was before I tried to use it in any serious fashion. It just crashed constantly and besides that I found the interface clumsy and tempremental. Many other people in this thread feel differently, but hey.
But anyhew, with Shake I kind of felt at home instantly, though I must point out that I did have a friend who showed it to me and lots of its nice features - but Shake has plenty of tutorial videos out there.
One thing that I really like about it is that it's like lego (bear with me). I have a key of some sort but, oh no! There's no blur matte option! Well, I'll just attach a blur node then. But I want to contact the matte..I'll attach a expand contract node too. And so on.

I'll boot up the mac and continue from there actually...

Anti-Distinctly
03-11-2008, 03:30 AM
Ok, here's an example of what I love about shake. I've attached some pics to demonstrate. What these pictures show is a difference matte. Shake doesn't actually come with a difference matte built in, a weakness some may think, but it demonstrates the power of it as in you can build your own tools because its that flexible.
Lots of nodes grouped together and given their own interface (similar to the capsules thing for combustion actually). That interface then drives parameters which link into the maths that the nodes are performing.

And here is something that NT should take note of: Everything can have an expression applied to anything else - including your own parameters that you constructed. None of this 'if it doesn't have an E next to it then no deal' malarkey. Any numeric field, just type in an expression and there you have it. It's really the way it should be.

dsol
03-11-2008, 04:02 AM
Can you expand on that inigo? As I've just purchased it and I've really got no idea of its capabilities...

I've got Shake, AE8 and Motion3. Shake is a great toolbox, but I just can't make myself like it enough to use as my main compositing app. I think I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to interface design, and Shake's feels a bit dated (it doesn't even support the mouse scrollwheel in load/save dialogs). Incredibly powerful app though. I can't wait to see the Shake team's replacement app, built from the ground up with the latest Apple tech (GPU acceleration ahoy!)

Motion is... interesting. There's some brilliant ideas in there. I love the concept of behaviour-based animation. However, even with this latest (major) update it still has too many limitations for me to use it for any more than a tiny fraction of my projects. For example, it doesn't seem to support nested projects/comps which severely limits the complexity of the work you can do with it. You can create "clone groups", however last time I tried to do this it didn't work (I couldn't apply any effects to the cloned group). It's still pretty buggy and also if you don't have a very high-end mac - forget it. It was too slow to use on my G5 Quad w/ 6GB ram (probably didn't like the stock Nvidia 6600 graphics card on there). I haven't tried it on my new MacPro yet, so my opinion may yet be swayed.

And finally, After Effects. It's only layer based (though you can now get Conduit for AE), has some irritating limitations (you can't define bits-per-pixel per composition), yet it's my main compositing app. Why? Hmmm... well it's fast for starters. You get excellent real-time feedback when working with it on most effects - Shake seems pretty poor in that respect. It's very solid - it rarely seems to crash and if it does it almost always manages to save a copy of your project so you don't lose any work. It's also very well supported by 3rd party plugins - though quite a few of my favourite ones have been ported to Shake now too (thank you Red Giant Software!). Oh, and the new Adobe interface with it's sliding tabbed panel design is simply the best I've used on any application IMHO. I think it's those three basic things that really swing it for me - Interface, Speed (responsiveness) and Stability.

But hey, there's demo versions of all these apps available, so suck 'em an see! :)

joseburgos
03-11-2008, 07:16 AM
But Fusion does so much more and is LW friendly.
You can import your scene as stand-in objects with the camera motion and all and do even more levels of compositing.
Similar or better node system than Shake and 3D built in.

OK so for now, no Mac but this is a serious compositor and should be looked at if your considering a pipeline.

Take care,

Anti-Distinctly
03-11-2008, 07:44 AM
It also costs 2500 or thereabouts. Shake + new iMac + Final Cut Studio ~ 2000.
Shake is 3D also. I used Fusiosn quite a bit and it is lovely. If you've got to stick to PC then it's not bad choice. I've not had time to fiddle with Nuke yet. Furthermore, expressions in Fusion are quite awkward I found.

Anti-Distinctly
03-11-2008, 07:49 AM
I've got Shake, AE8 and Motion3. Shake is a great toolbox, but I just can't make myself like it enough to use as my main compositing app. I think I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to interface design, and Shake's feels a bit dated (it doesn't even support the mouse scrollwheel in load/save dialogs). Incredibly powerful app though. I can't wait to see the Shake team's replacement app, built from the ground up with the latest Apple tech (GPU acceleration ahoy!)

Motion is... interesting. There's some brilliant ideas in there. I love the concept of behaviour-based animation. However, even with this latest (major) update it still has too many limitations for me to use it for any more than a tiny fraction of my projects. For example, it doesn't seem to support nested projects/comps which severely limits the complexity of the work you can do with it. You can create "clone groups", however last time I tried to do this it didn't work (I couldn't apply any effects to the cloned group). It's still pretty buggy and also if you don't have a very high-end mac - forget it. It was too slow to use on my G5 Quad w/ 6GB ram (probably didn't like the stock Nvidia 6600 graphics card on there). I haven't tried it on my new MacPro yet, so my opinion may yet be swayed.

And finally, After Effects. It's only layer based (though you can now get Conduit for AE), has some irritating limitations (you can't define bits-per-pixel per composition), yet it's my main compositing app. Why? Hmmm... well it's fast for starters. You get excellent real-time feedback when working with it on most effects - Shake seems pretty poor in that respect. It's very solid - it rarely seems to crash and if it does it almost always manages to save a copy of your project so you don't lose any work. It's also very well supported by 3rd party plugins - though quite a few of my favourite ones have been ported to Shake now too (thank you Red Giant Software!). Oh, and the new Adobe interface with it's sliding tabbed panel design is simply the best I've used on any application IMHO. I think it's those three basic things that really swing it for me - Interface, Speed (responsiveness) and Stability.

But hey, there's demo versions of all these apps available, so suck 'em an see! :)

Hey dan,
My reason for not getting AE was two fold really. One, I can't really work well in layers. I just get confused and can't see the logical flow. So many layers squashed together into a mass of unidentifiable strata.
But also, I had to buy photoshop because..well, what choice did I have? (please, nobody mention the gimp) and I just didn't want to give adobe any of my money. Because I hate them. Them and their pricing policy.

joseburgos
03-11-2008, 06:48 PM
It also costs 2500 or thereabouts. Shake + new iMac + Final Cut Studio ~ 2000.
Shake is 3D also. I used Fusiosn quite a bit and it is lovely. If you've got to stick to PC then it's not bad choice. I've not had time to fiddle with Nuke yet. Furthermore, expressions in Fusion are quite awkward I found.

Shake plus new iMac yeah but FCP is more than that, no?
But yeah, that is a hell of a big difference in price no doubt.

Shake is 3D but not like Fusion :)

Good luck,

tyrot
03-11-2008, 08:12 PM
dear compowavers

thanks for this thread. I am looking for an app switching from after effects and make some cool 3D comp...And all your points here really making a polygon in my head...

(because i am an xp guy) probably Fusion is the way.. (but you know some old AE layered habits wont go away that much easily...)

thanks again

BEST

joseburgos
03-11-2008, 08:30 PM
You will be surprised at how fast you will forget about AE and the layering method.
If you did not know this already, I will say it anyway, you can export your models as obj and your scene as a lws 6.0 scene file.
You load these into Fusion and re-create your scene inside Fusion and this is what I meant about 3D in Fusion.
This helps do so much for a composition.
Forget about using a depth map as you will have the geometry in Fusion to give a real depth channel.
Also many of the AE plug-In's work in Fusion.

Like I said a few post back, once you start to use it, you will uninstall AE :)

Take care,

jin choung
03-11-2008, 10:19 PM
i just got my upgrade to after effects cs3 today and a HUGE reason why i decided to upgrade (from version 5!)....

NO MORE STANDARD/PRO VERSIONS! it's all pro now and all at one price. and for me to upgrade from version 5 standard (which i got for a song on ebay a few years back) was the same as upgrade price from version 6 or 7 pro versions... $299.

and have, do and always will hate products that have lite/standard/pro/ultra versions... there should not be software stratification that rivals the holding power of styling gel. and finally, they stopped their nonsense. how could i say no.

anyhoo, yah, no real nodes and such but for me compositing is just about getting the thing done. and after effects does that for me. but also am really keen on getting into blender nodes.

no real time scrubbing and some other limitations but if you look at peach (open source movie), they're doing REAL work with it. and it's node implementation is pretty awesome.

you can collapse all the nodes into a group and that group is now an object oriented style BLACK BOX. it takes an input, lays out and output and you don't have to worry about the fiddly bits inside if you don't want to.

p.s. also check out: http://www.blendernation.com/2008/03/11/creature-factory-dvd-teaser-posted/ to see some blender comping action... errr... in action. i'm not tremendously impressed with the final product but the making of stuff really shows the software's rising potential.

AbnRanger
03-12-2008, 01:54 AM
You will be surprised at how fast you will forget about AE and the layering method.
If you did not know this already, I will say it anyway, you can export your models as obj and your scene as a lws 6.0 scene file.
You load these into Fusion and re-create your scene inside Fusion and this is what I meant about 3D in Fusion.
This helps do so much for a composition.
Forget about using a depth map as you will have the geometry in Fusion to give a real depth channel.
Also many of the AE plug-In's work in Fusion.

Like I said a few post back, once you start to use it, you will uninstall AE :)

Take care,I think most here agree Fusion is top dog, if for no other reason than the TRUE 3d capabilities that are exclusive to it (all others only work with flat 2d planes in 3d space, not geometry)...including the the 3d particles. Also, add to that the fact that it is the only compositor out there with a 64bit version....meaning you're no longer limited to just 3-4GB of RAM.

Nevertheless, when you don't have deep pockets enough for it, Combustion and Shake are really nice alternatives. Shake has too narrow a focus (but I sure would like to see what Apple has planned for it's replacement) for me. Comparitively, Combustion is more of an all-in-one package than Shake, and it's built in particle system (Particle Illusion) just rocks (don't believe Shake has particles)...not as hard as Fusion, but still...

Anti, when I first bought Combustion, I went through all the tut's (I linked to) at vtc.com for it, and never felt confused about how it works, once I saw it done. I'm so used to Photoshop and Illustrator layers, that I actually feel at home using the layer workspace 75% of the time...but it's super nice to be able to work in both layers and nodes when you want to, or one instead of the other. No other package outside of Toxic does that.
It's exceptional at Color Correcting, Keying, Painting, Particles, tracking, roto-scoping...all of its tools in these areas come straight from it's high-end brother, Flame. I really don't know what more one can expect from software that's even cheaper than After Effects.
As far as it crashing alot...not sure why some people have problems like this, while others such as myself who do not. I push it hard almost every day, even with particles that have numerous emitters and such, and it's about as stable as any other CG software I've ever used, except Photoshop (which I have yet to have a crash with). It's quite rare for Combustion to crash on me. But if it's crashing on you, after you've updated your video card drivers and such, I can't say I blame you if Shake doesn't give you the same problems, and has a workflow you are more accustomed to. Plus, I can certainly understand why a Final Cut user would be attracted to Shake.

Sometime in the near future I'd like to get a seat of Fusion, but for now Combustion does just about whatever I want it to and is a joy to use actually...especially considering its tight integration with 3ds Max. One thing I do is use it's paint tools to do alot of decals or crisp graphics (since it's paint tools are vector-based) for my models in Max...watching the live updates in Max's viewport on the other monitor (if you have XSI Essentials or advanced, you can use its compositor paint tools in similar fashion). It would be like having a live, real-time update from Illustrator to Max. Super-freakin-handy! Can also use Combustion to paint live displacements in Max, live textures,etc...very similar to Body Paint 3D. The RPF format workflow is the Bee's knees and has more embedded channels to work with than EXR.

Just thought I'd chime in again on behalf of Combustion, which like LW, doesn't seem to get the respect it deserves.

Anti-Distinctly
03-12-2008, 03:46 AM
Yeah, just seems I had a bad time in Combustion unfortunately, but hey - that's what demo's are for I guess :)
Also, AbdRanger I was really concerned with the lack of a particle system in Shake and that was a really strong point for Combustion. Particularly if you're into motion graphics, etc, the particle system is exceptionally useful.
So imagine my supprise when i opened up Motion to find that it had nigh on exactly the same particle system in it. I swear, if it's not particle illusion then it's a complete rip off of it. But it makes me a happy bunny :)

Anti-Distinctly
03-12-2008, 03:50 AM
(because i am an xp guy) probably Fusion is the way.. (but you know some old AE layered habits wont go away that much easily...)


To hell with layers. Everything should be nodal. Everything.
Anyway, if you can afford Fusion then be sure to check out Nuke as it's in the same price bracket and has just had a new release I think.

jeremyhardin
03-12-2008, 04:37 AM
Shake plus new iMac yeah but FCP is more than that, no?
But yeah, that is a hell of a big difference in price no doubt.

Shake is 3D but not like Fusion :)

Good luck,

Joseburgos,

No, it's not more than that. 2.4GHz iMac + FCP Studio 2 + Shake is 2,127.00 after VAT here in the UK.

If you've got any means to get an educational discount (as most do), the prices drops to 1,599.19 after VAT.

So for around or less than the price of one (IMHO clunky) compositor in Combustion, you get a machine, a top of the line editor, an incredible motion grpahics package (including particles), a professional audio loop utility, an innovative colour grading tool, an advanced compression/delivery application, and an industry established DVD authoring program.

Oh yeah, and the compositing application most used in the film industry.

Not bad bang for the buck I'd say.

Also, Shake does have 3d. Not only GPU accelerated 3d multiplane, but also OBJ support for visualizing depths and scenes, as well as a 3d camera importer (using the maya ascii format).

Add to that the fact that it's so extensible, you can add 3d lighting support pretty simply. Here's a quote from a recent FXGuide article on 10,000BC... (http://www.fxguide.com/article469.html)

There are also some special normals passes which are used to manipulate a pseudo-3D environment MPC has inside Shake. Even though Shake is 2D, the special 3D normal passes allow last minute adjustments in 2D that actually almost appear 3D.

One could argue that proprietary pipelines are not valid arguments, but I wanted my own 2.5d lighting tool, so I wrote a simple expression in shake (which is dead-easy, btw) using published math papers on lighting and created my own distant light that sits right in shake! I even have Lscript exporters so I can set up (animated) distant lights in LW and export them as shake nodes. (Mel scripts to do the same from maya). If I need to add some diffuse lighting or a spec hit to some text or an object, I don't have to re-render from LW, which is nice when it was all Radiosity lit with long rendertimes. I can just send my lights to shake and tweak, then add in the result of the shake lighting.

joseburgos
03-12-2008, 07:57 AM
Jezza,
No argument that nothing can touch that price for all you get for it.
The fact that you can make scripts so easy for it are great assets.
But "compositing application most used in the film industry" is more Apple promotion than truth.
Truth is, all FX shots for movies these days are broken out to a few shops and whatever the shop uses, is what is used.
Many movies will have more than one 3D app and compositor used.
Like your pipe line with the scripts you have written seem very elegant and produce a very productive pipe line for your work.

Again hard to argue price with what you get in the Apple OSX deal but pseudo 3D is not 3D :)

Take care and thank you very much for sharing your pipe line.
I read in HDRI mag that a FX house made similar scripts for Fusion to do a lot of the things you mentioned.
Also Taron has a couple of AE plug-ins that work in Fusion that do some good stuff.

I need to look into scripts as you have brought some interesting subjects, mainly lights, for compositing.

Take care and thank you all, this is a damn good thread,

joseburgos
03-12-2008, 08:02 AM
Jin,
How can you love the Blender nodes and still use AE :)

jeremyhardin
03-12-2008, 08:36 AM
But "compositing application most used in the film industry" is more Apple promotion than truth.
Truth is, all FX shots for movies these days are broken out to a few shops and whatever the shop uses, is what is used.
Many movies will have more than one 3D app and compositor used.

I'm not quoting marketing. I'm speaking from experience and from those that sit around me (from ILM, animal logic, MPC, rising sun, etc. I could go on).

...but pseudo 3D is not 3D :)

did you miss my point? I think so. I said shake has obj support, GPU multiplane support, 3d camera support before I even got to the pseudo-3d.


Also Taron has a couple of AE plug-ins that work in Fusion that do some good stuff.,

True, but zborn toy is a plugin. I just had to type the math into the text box in shake.

Have you ever used shake? I've used fusion, afx, and combustion in productions. It doesn't get any better than shake for my money. Will have to try nuke though, as its still going strong.

joseburgos
03-12-2008, 09:26 AM
No sorry have not only AE and Combustion so guess I should not assume anything :)

jeremyhardin
03-12-2008, 09:35 AM
to each their own. :thumbsup:

Just letting you know I'm not reciting marketing blurbs. :)

joseburgos
03-12-2008, 11:04 AM
If anything, your scripts have got my attention.
Would not be the first time I use two different programs to do different things.
Although I have become a Fusion man since 2005, all I can get for a less money is something to think about.

Did I say I love this thread :)

dwburman
03-12-2008, 12:17 PM
I have DFX+ and liked the way it works. I've been using Shake for over a year since then and can get a lot done with it. It seemed a bit too stripped down for my taste at first and things don't alway behave the way I expect them to... but you really can't argue with the price at this point. Now that I've been using Shake for a while I might be too used to it to get back into the flow of fusion. (yeah, the pun was intentional... I'm that evil.)
Fusion's timeline view is much better than Shake's and AE's curve editor is pretty poor compared to Shake and Fusion. I haven't played with Combustion.

I like AE better for graphics works... at least for timing things.

http://www.dvgarage.com/ has a program called Conduit that brings nodal compositing into Motion, FCP, AE and PS but I haven't used it at all. The even have a version for the mac that operates on live video.

keleb78
03-12-2008, 12:52 PM
I wanted to add my 2c.
I use AE CS3 and I'm quite happy with it. Of course there's a small factor of great integration with other Adobe tools. And it's quite cheap now in packages offered by Adobe.
What I'd suggest, is: visit www.videocopilot.net and www.creativecow.net and check what those guys can do with AE. Both sites have huge libraries of FREE tutorials, so You can check, whether AE can be up Your alley...

Cheers

tyrot
03-12-2008, 12:59 PM
Did I say I love this thread :)

dear jose

this thread cost me a night at Fusion website. It looks pretty intiutive and indeed Fusion Composers are really like you know ..."connected" with Fusion.

Especially Blur's front man Tim's interview was amazing...and for mature audience..

" we bring renders from .... and **** with Fusion endlessly.."

I personally like this user attitude...

BEST

Sarford
03-12-2008, 05:45 PM
I'm doing the 'compositing with shake' workshop over at CG society right now and I'm realy amazed at how powerfull this program is.

Bookman
03-12-2008, 06:19 PM
We switched to Fusion a while back, and i got to say, am i glad we did. It's a very good stable (especially since 5.1 and up) compositing program with all the bells and whistles and it keeps getting better and better with every update (5.21 just rocks.)

After Effects is just a terrible terrible compositing program, better yet, it isn't really a compositing program, it is still the glorified title editor with outdated and bloated code and ****** float support it always was (sure it is a lot better than it was, but it still doesn't cut it when you do some serious heavy comp work.)



I dissagree, I use both AE and fusion, and Fusion has way more stabillity issues over AE. and when AE does happen to crash it gives you a chance to save your work. Fusion just breaks reapeativly, nodes stop working for no reason, and you have to stand on your head to get anything to render out of it. And it's not just me, just about everyone at work has the same issues.

AE is highly stable (not quite as stable as it used to be, but more than I find Fusion) It's floating point presision is better than it used to be for sure, and using AE I can still out comp most of the people I know using fusion even comping 100's of layers. I also Find AE is better for organizing comps, and for updating/replacing files for repetitive shots that all use the same settings.

That being said Fusion still has it's upsides over AE, but rarly does it become nessisary for me to use Fusion instead. I used to use it for Color keying untill AE started shipping Keylight with AE.

jin choung
03-12-2008, 10:50 PM
also, in case it gets missed:

AE and most adobe products are SUPER AFFORDABLE via BACKDOOR!

personally, i think adobe products are EGREGIOUSLY overpriced! photoshop... $600... in this day and age... are you fing kidding me?!

i would villify them no end... if it were not for their EXTREMELY GENEROUS UPGRADE POLICY.

you can upgrade to CURRENT version as if you were upgrading only one version up... everybody pays the same to get current whether you're at version 7 going to 8 or 5 going to 8.

there are limits... when i upgraded to photoshop 7, i think they let me do it with photoshop 3 floppy disks i bought on ebay! and currently, you can go to aecs3 PRO from version 5 standard.

EBAY + UPGRADE = really good deal.

if you need adobe stuff, i highly highly recommend it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

oh, and ANOTHER reason i can't villify them - you CAN use adobe academic products to do COMMERCIAL WORK. AND you can use that academic version to upgrade to the next commercial version when it comes up.

another great way to go if you or a friend or family member is in school.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

so the company has a big price footprint apparently for industry catalog buyers who don't care that much about buy in price.

but they're super generous with a wide backdoor for the little guys. and so adobe is DEFINITELY on my good guys list.

jin

RedBull
03-12-2008, 11:03 PM
I dissagree, I use both AE and fusion, and Fusion has way more stabillity issues over AE. and when AE does happen to crash it gives you a chance to save your work. Fusion just breaks reapeativly, nodes stop working for no reason, and you have to stand on your head to get anything to render out of it. And it's not just me, just about everyone at work has the same issues.

Have you reported any of these issues to Eyeon? Those guys have had fixes to me within hours of me reporting problems, personal emails from developers who would work with me on the issues, recompile and send me a new version of Fusion within hours.

Sorry Adobe will never be able to compete on this level, and there are still bugs in AFX that have been there since version 5.0. Only SESI has offered me as good as support as Eyeon, since being in this industry.


AE is highly stable (not quite as stable as it used to be, but more than I find Fusion) It's floating point presision is better than it used to be for sure, and using AE I can still out comp most of the people I know using fusion even comping 100's of layers. I also Find AE is better for organizing comps, and for updating/replacing files for repetitive shots that all use the same settings.

Adobe version have never been less impressive to me as of CS3, they are slow, buggy and the GUI is less functional than all previous versions of AFX and PS, and they continue the Adobe Bloat so well.

If i want things done fast i do use AFX the layer approach is easier and less time is spent to setup and get the results quickly.

But in terms of large projects performance and function and options, DF when used and setup, is the gift that keeps on giving, re-using assets in multiple projects eventually save me much time in the long run, compared to AFX.

They both have advantages, but given the choice I'd take DF over AFX, despite my opinion that AFX is the default standard, and is suited to 90% of the people who need comping program. But for people who prefer scripting and support, and good 3D and particles , more advanced flexibility, DF is the leader of the pack. The power is substantially better in a Node DF, but it does come at the cost of speed and ease of use.

Phil
03-13-2008, 01:23 AM
As of today, Shake is priced at 499 Euros (i.e. ~770 US dollars). That's 170 Euros overpriced, or ~270 US dollars.

UK folk actually get it for a decent price : 239 GBP (480 dollars). You save 10 quid (20 dollars) based on the exchange rate.

For once, the UK isn't a complete rip-off.

jeremyhardin
03-13-2008, 04:26 AM
Also, Shake's educational discount is simply a discount. It's not an educational version of the software. It's the full commercially useable software.

theo
03-13-2008, 06:30 AM
Have you reported any of these issues to Eyeon? Those guys have had fixes to me within hours of me reporting problems, personal emails from developers who would work with me on the issues, recompile and send me a new version of Fusion within hours.

I don't know of another software company that contains support people like Eyeon. Their responsive agility is quite remarkable. There may be exceptions but none I've experienced.

Steamthrower
03-13-2008, 07:13 AM
I've noticed through this thread that nobody (as far as I can remember) has mentioned the Motion + Color marriage that you get when buying Final Cut Studio 2.

Of course you're still limited to 2.5D compositing in Motion, but Color is completely nodal and simply the most powerful color grading and correction software I have ever seen.

I'd like to push up a hand for Motion here in regards to it's compositing abilities. It's not a Shake beater but if you have it: it can do some amazing stuff. The rotoscoping and motion tracking abilities are amazing. Literally, I can create an automatic tracker in five clicks.

The particles are also great. They can accept Particle Illusion presets; I have a feeling that Apple licensed the technology for it. But I've always been impressed with PI work, so that's fine with me.

Anti-Distinctly
03-13-2008, 07:33 AM
The particles are also great. They can accept Particle Illusion presets; I have a feeling that Apple licensed the technology for it. But I've always been impressed with PI work, so that's fine with me.

As I said, I thought I was taking a capability hit because I wouldn't have Combustion's particles. Seems Motions are the same, if not improved.

Red_Oddity
03-13-2008, 08:28 AM
personally, i think adobe products are EGREGIOUSLY overpriced! photoshop... $600... in this day and age... are you fing kidding me?!

$600? where do you buy that? Overhere Photoshop costs 1600 euros (so that's $2450 U.S.)
Just wondering (not that we need more licenses, we already have blown up over a years pay just to get 4 extra suites of the design bundles)

jeremyhardin
03-13-2008, 09:08 AM
inigo07, I did mention that, yeah. Though as an addition to shake, not a replacement. Though I know of several people (mostly outside of film) that use Motion with Conduit to composite.

And just to show what I was saying about 2.5D lighting in shake with publicly available maths, here's an example movie using the Bigbot (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/lwtrial/content.php) example download...

http://mirror.lwidof.net/Big_Bot_reLight_h264.mov

dwburman
03-13-2008, 09:09 PM
CDW has PS CS3for $671 USD (http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.aspx?EDC=1153102)

wow, that's a lot of abbreviations. :D

Jezza,
That's pretty darn cool. :)

Dana

Anti-Distinctly
03-14-2008, 02:56 AM
But the point is the pricing policy in other countries stinks. Charging over double the US cost for changing the word 'color' to 'colour' in the manual. I'd have way more respect for them if they at least just came out and said
'The reason for the price differences in european countries is due to the fact that we're a business and we found that we can charge people massively inflated prices and thus, increase our profits'.

And yeah, relighting in shake. Kick arse.

Lightwolf
03-14-2008, 03:14 AM
And just to show what I was saying about 2.5D lighting in shake with publicly available maths...
Nice. In Fusion you'd write a Fuse (http://www.vfxpedia.com/index.php?title=Eyeon:Script/Reference/Applications/Fuse) to get that effect, which is basically a scripted Tool (with the disadvantage of being slow due to the scripted nature).

Cheers,
Mike

Red_Oddity
03-14-2008, 03:54 AM
But the point is the pricing policy in other countries stinks. Charging over double the US cost for changing the word 'color' to 'colour' in the manual. I'd have way more respect for them if they at least just came out and said
'The reason for the price differences in european countries is due to the fact that we're a business and we found that we can charge people massively inflated prices and thus, increase our profits'.

Yup, and it wouldn't be so bad if i could jsut buy a US version and activate it overhere in Holland, unfortunatly, Adobe doesn't allow it and won't active your US version here when you are a dutch company.
Other wise i could just buy a ticket to New York, stay 2 days in a 4 star hotel and buy Photoshop over there in a normal retail store and still spend less money than just buying it overhere.

But, the whole Adobe money scam has been discussed to death, and unless some global trading council makes note, nothing will ever happen.

Anti-Distinctly
03-14-2008, 04:33 AM
But, the whole Adobe money scam has been discussed to death, and unless some global trading council makes note, nothing will ever happen.

True true...I just can't resist the topic when it comes up :)
Righty, back on topic: Shake rocks my world.

jeremyhardin
03-14-2008, 06:51 AM
talking about the price point though...

I mentioned this when people were complaining about NT's pricing for LW...

I would agree with the complaints if the company only existed in the US and marked up the price for international markets "just because".

However, how are Apple or NT supposed to pay people in europe if they don't charge according to markets and currencies? Are the Apple employees here supposed to be payed in dollars, and the same as in cupertino? No. They need to pay them in here, so if they're charging the same as in the US but expending more on staffing and store costs, etc., they're instantly losing money.

Add to this that there are other costs of operation for a large international business. For example, lawyers. Apple has to make sure it's operating legally in the UK, so they need UK law experts on hand, whom they have to pay. Already they've got more expenditures. And add to it that these guys aren't getting paid in dollars either (I suspect), and the cost goes up further.

And let's not forget, as a business, the goal is not only not to lose money, but to actually make a bit here and there.

So really, if a business is operating in both countries, it's entirely justified to change the $ to the and leave the number the same or even mark the number up too if expenditures warrant it.

IMHO, of course.

dsol
03-14-2008, 06:56 AM
Yup, and it wouldn't be so bad if i could jsut buy a US version and activate it overhere in Holland, unfortunatly, Adobe doesn't allow it and won't active your US version here when you are a dutch company.

Well, I unknowingly bought a US version of CS2 from an Amazon reseller (bought it cheaply so I could get the free upgrade to CS3). Obviously, I didn't realise it was a US copy beforehand, until I tried to upgrade it and then they kicked up a stink.

But a couple of phone calls to adobe US and adobe UK sorted it. Don't let them feed you any crap about region-specific software. That's illegal (under anti-competitive trade legistlation) in the EU anyway AFAIK.

Of course, Adobe *are* quite within their rights not to allow US versions to offer European language support. Not a problem for us Britishers, but could be a pain for our Euro-cousins

Steamthrower
03-14-2008, 07:01 AM
'The reason for the price differences in european countries is due to the fact that we're a business and we found that we can charge people massively inflated prices and thus, increase our profits'.

It's what I would do. I'm not selling essential medical supplies or food to starving people. I'm selling a product that only middle- to upper-class people can afford, anyway.

That's the way business works. The company doesn't owe anybody a certain price. That's why I get so fed up with people protesting "price gouging". Well...that's ridiculous.

Nobody will pay more than the software's worth to them.

If Newtek decides to charge $15,000 per LW seat, then that would be perfectly acceptable. If nobody bought it, it would be because spending that much money wouldn't bring back a profit to them of more than $15,000. In other words, LW wouldn't be worth that much.

The exchange rate is the same matter. Newtek should sell it at any price they want to in Europe; and that ideal price would be whatever Europeans are more comfortable in spending.

dsol
03-14-2008, 07:09 AM
The exchange rate is the same matter. Newtek should sell it at any price they want to in Europe; and that ideal price would be whatever Europeans are more comfortable in spending.

True, but it's equally true that you should be able to buy your software anywhere and use it anywhere. I don't have a problem charging more for localisation and any other unavoidable taxes/charges. But as a native english speaker (who's quite happy to put up with American English spellings in my apps) I don't have a problem using the US version of the app or even dealing with US support instead of UK support (thank you SkypeOut!).

Region locking is an anti-trade practice, and as I said - is of dubious legality in the EU. Region-free dvd players are freely sold over here.

Lightwolf
03-14-2008, 07:12 AM
The exchange rate is the same matter. Newtek should sell it at any price they want to in Europe; and that ideal price would be whatever Europeans are more comfortable in spending.
That's a different issue compared to the beginning of your post though... After all, we're talking about software (which can be downloaded only) in a global economy.
Of course the developers can charge whomever buys whatever they want to charge.
On the other hand, arguing for different prices is getting harder. If you don't get/want a translated product, know that support will be through a web forum anyhow (unlikely to be in your native tongue if you want to get die hard support) and don't care how the sales staff is being paid because, frankly, you bought on-line anyhow...

After all, it is Adobe's choice to have an office here... presumably to increase sales. If that makes the product more expensive and looses them sales as well... then they better know what they're doing.

Allthough I suspect that any developer who develops in the US at the moment while selling in the EU is doing quite well at the momen ;) (For us in the EU selling to the US the situation is a bit different... we've even stopped publishing a fixed US$ price due to the currency fluctuations).

Cheers,
Mike

Steamthrower
03-14-2008, 07:30 AM
On the other hand, arguing for different prices is getting harder. If you don't get/want a translated product, know that support will be through a web forum anyhow (unlikely to be in your native tongue if you want to get die hard support) and don't care how the sales staff is being paid because, frankly, you bought on-line anyhow...

True, the downloadable aspect of it puts a whole new spin on things. With the economy the way it is, if you don't constantly keep an updated price (literally impossible to do) then you'll end up charging some people more than others for the same product accessible in the same way...

Red_Oddity
03-14-2008, 12:44 PM
True, the downloadable aspect of it puts a whole new spin on things. With the economy the way it is, if you don't constantly keep an updated price (literally impossible to do) then you'll end up charging some people more than others for the same product accessible in the same way...

Problem is, Adobe has split up the internet in regions aswell, and the downloadble version are more expensive than the big box that comes with 10 KG of books.

As for localisations as an excuse, in Adobe's case that's complete horse manure, as the US in not a homogenous language market (the US version comes in Englsih, Spanish and French), whereas the Australian version, which is a true homogenous language market comes with just one language (English), but is still priced at 200% of the US price.

Besides, Dutch versions of any software confuse me more than the English version, often because the translations seem to be done by folks who never have spoken the language in the past 20 years (ever tried to wade through the literal translations of a dutch Windows XP?)

Sarford
03-14-2008, 07:32 PM
Yeah, Adobe sucks... but it doesn't matter. Quark Xpress also thought they were untouchable... and you know what? They were right, nobody wants to touch Quark Xpress anymore :D

joseburgos
03-14-2008, 08:09 PM
Nice. In Fusion you'd write a Fuse (http://www.vfxpedia.com/index.php?title=Eyeon:Script/Reference/Applications/Fuse) to get that effect, which is basically a scripted Tool (with the disadvantage of being slow due to the scripted nature).

Cheers,
Mike

Yes very nice Jezza and thanks for letting me see what you where talking about.
Impressive :)

Mike,
Why not write some for Fusion and sell them?
I'd buy it.

Take care,

faulknermano
03-15-2008, 06:27 AM
inigo07, I did mention that, yeah. Though as an addition to shake, not a replacement. Though I know of several people (mostly outside of film) that use Motion with Conduit to composite.

And just to show what I was saying about 2.5D lighting in shake with publicly available maths, here's an example movie using the Bigbot (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/lwtrial/content.php) example download...

http://mirror.lwidof.net/Big_Bot_reLight_h264.mov

in a past thread i demoed something like this using a generic keyer (ie Combustion Keyer) in RGB colorspace. by keying out RGB values from the normals pass and switching your output view to the generated matte you can control both diffuse or spec (based on tolerance of the key and blending mode its eventually going to be comped in).

but is this relighting any different in effect?


btw: combustion, while a good program, imo, is pretty closed. i like it, despite it being an autodesk product ;), but it's script-ability is so pathetic (almost nonexistent) that is makes AFX look good in that respect. it's desirable, especially as both a 3d and 2d artist to be able to communicate between apps, and combustion is not a very good platform to do so.

Lightwolf
03-15-2008, 09:04 AM
Mike,
Why not write some for Fusion and sell them?
I'd buy it.

Hehe... because currently I still see more deficiencies in LW than in Fusion ;)

I did write a few small tools for Fusion though... but that was a few years ago.

Cheers,
Mike

jeremyhardin
03-15-2008, 06:38 PM
in a past thread i demoed something like this using a generic keyer (ie Combustion Keyer) in RGB colorspace. by keying out RGB values from the normals pass and switching your output view to the generated matte you can control both diffuse or spec (based on tolerance of the key and blending mode its eventually going to be comped in).

but is this relighting any different in effect?

Similar, but your approach seems more visual, where my relight not only has keyable rotation controls for the light in shake (which can be translated from LW/Maya or animated in Shake), but also uses vector math to calculate 'correct' results. So in theory, a distant light in LW will light the model the same way in shake. Except with faster render times in shake. I say 'in theory' because I fudged the specular math a bit. :o

Anyone with Shake on hand is free to pm me and I'll pass it along.

AbnRanger
03-16-2008, 05:45 AM
:rolleyes:
Yeah, Adobe sucks... but it doesn't matter. Quark Xpress also thought they were untouchable... and you know what? They were right, nobody wants to touch Quark Xpress anymore :DI agree with you to some extent...I remember when I was taking some classes using Quark...it was still THE standard (InDesign was very new at the time). They were charging over $600 just for the Academic version...which is ludicrous for a student to spend that kind of money just to learn YOUR software. InDesign was getting rave reviews and by the next semester, the academic price of Quark dropped to about $200.
Nevertheless, it's not really so much that Indesign is better, it's just that Adobe is doing a good job of leveraging its packaging paradigm (Creative Suite)...and that's what's hurting the competition. Quark doesn't have other industry standard products to to bundle together.
It's the same with Combustion and AE. After Effects gets beat black and blue by Combustion feature-wise, but AE holds the lead in market share simply because it's offered as a package with Photoshop and Premier Pro. On it's own merit, After Effects would be at the bottom of the barrel.
I remember watching a tutorial on 3ds Max where the instructor commented about AE being the best compositor on the planet...yeah...right. :rolleyes:

It's been very tempting to fall into the same trap and buy it as part of the Creative suite, and since it's used so widely, but I did a good bit of homework and went with the best compositor in my price range based on merit, not a package deal nor based on market saturation. Really glad I did.

Sarford
03-16-2008, 02:04 PM
Well, here in Holland at least it was also because of the very 'customer friendly' aproach of Quark Xpress. Basicly it came down to 'you have a problem? That is too bad for you, now buzz off'. And don't forget they were charging something like 4000 for the package, per seat. I freelanced at many different advertising agencies during that period and all were dying to get rid of Quark Xpress because of the costs and the 'great' service. The package deal of Adobe did its share, but what helped Quark the most to get pushed out of the marked was Quark themselves. Though I know that in London quite a few agencies are still working with it.

Lightwolf
03-16-2008, 02:57 PM
... but what helped Quark the most to get pushed out of the marked was Quark themselves.
Plus the cursing of many printing services about the PS output Quark used to produce... still ringing in my ears ;)

Cheers,
Mike

AbnRanger
03-16-2008, 07:34 PM
inigo07, I did mention that, yeah. Though as an addition to shake, not a replacement. Though I know of several people (mostly outside of film) that use Motion with Conduit to composite.

And just to show what I was saying about 2.5D lighting in shake with publicly available maths, here's an example movie using the Bigbot (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/lwtrial/content.php) example download...

http://mirror.lwidof.net/Big_Bot_reLight_h264.movHey Jeremy, have you not been able to do similar lighting in Combustion?
http://download.autodesk.com/media/MNE/qt/G_Buffer_Builder_01.mov
This clip demonstrates the GBuffer Builder but it essentially is showing how to get much of the RPF channel information out of just standard footage/non RPF formats...and shows how to use the zbuffer for re-lighting or having other layers interact with a given layer as if it were in real 3D space....even curved objects like a ball has shadows cast across it properly, as it would in 3d space...with curvature and perspective, using the Normals and Zbuffer channels)
http://www2.autodesk.com/streaming/playback.php?sid=1139
http://www2.autodesk.com/streaming/playback.php?sid=1139
Seems very similar to what you were referring to...

I guess the scripting ability of Shake does appear to be one of its strong suits. Combustion uses custom Java Scripts for expressions, but that is about the extent of it AFAIK:
http://www2.autodesk.com/streaming/playertable.php?id=212

faulknermano
03-16-2008, 11:40 PM
abnranger: (i use combustion primarily) the GBuffer builder vid you posted is not the same as the technique jezza demoed, nor the keying 'trick' i used. however, i did recall researching for quite a while on the GBuffer methods to relight a footage with an applied Zbuffer and normals GBuffer. i had stumbled on an old tutorial site, but it only promised to tackle the subject, but never did.

at any rate, i tried fooling around with Z-buffer + normals buffer + 3d camers and lights in combustion, but never managed to get anything usable, hence formulating the "key-out-normals" technique, which is i think is better than all that combustion acrobatics because it can be applied to other apps like after effects, which we also use here.

Grace
03-30-2008, 07:43 PM
what a great thread! I am trying to decide between AfterFX and Combustion. I need about 105 animated titles so I need something that has good titling/text capabilites and particle effects. It's for cartoon work and doesn't have to be too sophisticated. Ease of use is also important (I'm inpressed with the videos mentioned for Combustion especially the workflow between LW and Combustion)

I have DFX4 but never could wrap my head around it:o so I don't think upgrading to Fusion would be the wisest move.

Anyways, thanks for any suggestions and hope this doesn't hi-jack the thread. P.S. I run on Windows (I accept all expressions of sympathy:) ) so Shake is not an option.

Grace
03-30-2008, 08:16 PM
ooops...I should have mentioned that the particles I am interested in are rain (rain storm) and flames (mostly candle flames) My understanding is that this is easier/faster to do in compositing software than LW...is that true?

Does Combustion have an upgrade policy like After Effects...i.e. After Effects lets you buy an older copy and upgrade to the latest version for a reasonable upgrade fee.

Thanks again for all your help...sorry for all the questions!!

Titus
03-30-2008, 10:28 PM
Does Combustion have an upgrade policy like After Effects...i.e. After Effects lets you buy an older copy and upgrade to the latest version for a reasonable upgrade fee.


Combustion is not really expensive and the upgrading fee varies according on how many versions you have skipped (upgrading Combustion 3 to 2008 costs something like $500), so basically you pay all the versions even if you don't use them.

jin choung
03-31-2008, 02:28 AM
d'oh. yeah, with afterfx, it's $300 whether you're going up from CS2 or version 5 (which is what i did!). so for me, afx is really the sweet spot in terms of total cost of ownership.

yeah but afx doesn't really have a quick and fast particle option.... i believe combustion comes with a lite version of particle illusion.

it's MUCH easier to just attach particles in comp but you have less power in creating the look. illusion is all just sprites. you can get really good looking stuff but if you need something like fluid dynamics on the flames, you'd be out of luck.

jin

Anti-Distinctly
03-31-2008, 03:47 AM
There's always the option of Apple motion and Shake. Motion has a quite complete particle system including many many presets. Seems to be the same as particle illusion.

AbnRanger
03-31-2008, 09:34 AM
d'oh. yeah, with afterfx, it's $300 whether you're going up from CS2 or version 5 (which is what i did!). so for me, afx is really the sweet spot in terms of total cost of ownership.

yeah but afx doesn't really have a quick and fast particle option.... i believe combustion comes with a lite version of particle illusion.
jinOn Autodesk's online shop it costs $350 period...regardless of what version
http://store.autodesk.com/store/adsk/ContentTheme/pbPage.UpgradeCenter

Combustion's built in version of Particle Illusion is NOT a Lite version...nothing "lite" about it. That's like saying Maya's Hair and Fur module is the LITE version of Joe Alter's Shave and a Haircut. Not true at all. Plus, just about any After Effects plugin will work with Combustion.
I compared the two programs thoroughly back when AE was at 6.5 and Combustion 4 had just been released. Combustion won hands down, feature for feature, and the interface was so much sweeter to work in. Since that time AE overhauled the UI so it's much nicer now, but I still like Combustion's clean, context oriented interface, plus you have nodes to work with as well as the layer system. There always is a lure to use AE since the market is more saturated with it...but again, that's not because it's better...it's because of the Creative Suite bundle that Adobe leverages so well.

I've always viewed AE more as a toy compared to the others in the market, but I'm sure plenty of AE users will take issue with that...that's fine. I bought the one that fit the criteria I was looking for. AE just wasn't it. It may be for you, though.
Nevertheless, you can crank out some impressive stuff with any of the compositors.

BTW, Anti-man, he already pointed out that Mac-based software wasn't an option, since he's on a PC.

Grace
03-31-2008, 12:23 PM
thanks to all of you for your helpful replies.

Jin, I appreciate your honesty in describing the particle capabilites of After Effects. That's the type of feedback I needed to make my decision.

AbnRanger, your knowledge of Combustion is extensive and your previous links to tutorials really swayed me to a product I had hardly heard of before now (I really don't know compositing very well and will need a LOT of help). Just one other quick question, how are Combustion's text handling capabilities (I need to make quite a few animated titles) I know I can use LW, but maybe this is easier in 2D than 3d? It's also good to know the upgrade policy...

does anyone have an older copy of Combustion they're willing to sell :D LOL

I don't have a Mac, so the Mac products are out I'm afraid.

jin choung
03-31-2008, 12:32 PM
Combustion's built in version of Particle Illusion is NOT a Lite version...nothing "lite" about it. That's like saying Maya's Hair and Fur module is the LITE version of Joe Alter's Shave and a Haircut. Not true at all.

scroll down till you see "combustion".

http://www.wondertouch.com/faq.asp

pillusion se = lite

jin

Steamthrower
03-31-2008, 01:04 PM
Combustion uses a version of the particleIllusion engine that is essentially particleIllusion 2.0

...and Particle Illusion is now at v3...so Combustion's sounds rather outdated to me.

jin choung
03-31-2008, 02:00 PM
right, and particle illusion 2 engine is used in the SE (lite) product.

jin

Grace
03-31-2008, 07:02 PM
Jin, how are after effects particles in comparison? Do they come with presets. And how hard was after effects to learn...are there lots of tutorials out there?

Thanks!

jin choung
03-31-2008, 07:28 PM
hey grace,

after effects has a few dinky particle plugins but they're pretty obscure and don't come with all the presets as in particle illusion or combustion. it's possible to get good results but anything that you generate with AE particles will be from the sweat of your brow and gnashing of your teeth. generally, people DON'T use ae particles.

on projects where i had to generate particles for use in after effects (usually for tv interstitials) i either did them in lw, maya or used particle illusion (which you can get separately and use it in conjunction with AE or other comper/editer, pretty cheap and if you get the SE version, it is the equivalent of having combustion's version - just not integrated into your compositing app - http://www.wondertouch.com/ ).

ease of use wise, if you're familiar at all with adobe's other products, you'll melt into after effects with the greatest of ease. i don't know about you but i fell into using photoshop accidentally - i just needed to process images and i opened ps and just tried to do what i needed to do - and it did it. without needless hoopla. in terms of basic functionality, "there's not a lot to it". and AE is like that and that's what i like about it.

tons of tutorials. just do a google search. and you can go ahead and download the AE CS3 now and try it out for yourself. for 30days, it is the same as the full version and if you do decide to buy it, no need to download it again, just type in your code into the demo and it becomes the full version.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

oh, another thing, AE used to come in STANDARD and PRO versions. i HATED that... the pro version was not affordable at all... even the upgrade pricing was prohibitive.

THEY GOT RID OF THAT.

only one version now. and it's pro. and you upgrade to AE CS3 PRO from ANY PREVIOUS VERSION OF AFTER EFFECTS... PRO OR STANDARD! (i say ANY but it's from version 5.0 so make sure you get 5.0 or later). so get a cheap version on ebay and you're good to go into CS3 for $300.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

another thing that might make AE easier to learn is the proliferation of good books you can find at your local borders or barnes and noble. tons of good stuff. for a beginner, i would recommend the QUICKSTART guides (two tone cover with a silhouette of a zipping rabbit).

super easy and clear. (you can get it cheaper on amazon).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

finally, there is virtually nothing that can be done in another compositing app that can't be done in ae. and ae is pretty ubiquitous in the industry. so it's not like you're hitching your wagon to a dying horse.

so check out the other options (fusion, combustion) check prices.... but it may be that upgrading into aecs3 and buying particleillusionse may do it for ya.

jin

Grace
03-31-2008, 07:54 PM
Once again thanks for your comprehensive and honest answer (LOL...sweat of brow and teeth gnashing is not my favorite pastime :)) I will follow people's sugestions and try the demo versions. The reason I am waffling is because I tried to get an older version of Combustion and then upgrade and I am having trouble finding such a beastie. On the other hand, there seems to be more opportunity to do that on eBay with After Effects. It makes quite a price difference (about $500 is not petty cash in my hobby world)!!!

Grace
03-31-2008, 08:01 PM
O.K. I just had a look at Particle Illusion...I'm in love...:dance:

jin choung
03-31-2008, 08:02 PM
yeah... you might have trouble scoring combustion on ebay.... oooo, actually, you should check if they even allow license transfers. autodesk will NOT let people sell 3ds max... under any circumstances! no license transfer... which is stupid as heck but it may apply to combustion too (which would explain why you can't find it on ebay....)

also, autodesk seems pretty focused on the "money is no object" crowd so... yeah, they're not my favorite company.

anyway good luck and have fun. buy-in price can be a bit pricey but it is indeed a fun hobby to pursue.

jin

jin choung
03-31-2008, 08:05 PM
O.K. I just had a look at Particle Illusion...I'm in love...:dance:

oh good... also check out the feature differences between SE version ($99) and the pro version ($400).

it may well be that the SE is all you need. it may also be that you don't even need a compositing program and an editing program and PI will do ya.

OH! and check out www.blender.org --- it's a 3d program but it comes with an editing program AND a compositing program (true nodes like fusion even - which is more than AE or combustion can claim!).

oh...

...and it's FREE.

jin

Grace
03-31-2008, 08:07 PM
Ah...VERY good point!! The Autodesk upgrade page states the following:

Before You Upgrade: You must have a legal, installed version of the selected Autodesk product with the original serial number which has not been upgraded before.

I think I'd have to be very careful. I'd have to make sure I was buying a 'non-upgraded' product. Hard to guarantee on eBay.

And like you said, I'd have to check on License transfer.

jin choung
03-31-2008, 08:09 PM
http://peach.blender.org/index.php/noodles-and-more/#more-324

this is from the short movie they're making in blender. they're doing all the compositing in blender too and this is an article about the kind of stuff they're doing with the compositor.

geez, i should have mentioned blender before... especially for hobby stuff. it's really really really hard to argue with FREE!

: )

jin

jin choung
03-31-2008, 08:10 PM
with the original serial number which has not been upgraded before.


???? !!!! ?!?!?!?!

what the... so you can only upgrade ONCE?! yeck...

as i said, not my favorite company.

jin

Grace
03-31-2008, 08:17 PM
I'll certainly check out Blender also...thanks..do they have any help on the software? I'm having trouble dragging myself away from the Particle Illusion page $400 Pro PI + Blender (free) = very doable :D

frantbk
03-31-2008, 08:50 PM
...and Particle Illusion is now at v3...so Combustion's sounds rather outdated to me.

I read the Facts sheet and I came away with a different take. My take was that Autodesk uses v2, but Autodesk has modified it within combustion. The fact sheet said it uses the Particle Illusion engine used in SE. It didn't say anything about a 1:1 ratio of capability.

jin choung
03-31-2008, 10:45 PM
I'll certainly check out Blender also...thanks..do they have any help on the software? I'm having trouble dragging myself away from the Particle Illusion page $400 Pro PI + Blender (free) = very doable :D

yeah, documentation and tutorials are not as widely available as AE but a quick tour through google shows plenty... a few:

http://www.blender.org/education-help/
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Compositing
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9831


and 'the essential blender' is a pretty good intro book to blender in general (it has a chapter on compositing... mostly it's about the 3d part)

but as i said, compositing is compositing - there's not a lot to it. you can do all kinds of stuff but the basic mechanics are pretty easy to grasp. you shouldn't have any trouble.

jin

Grace
03-31-2008, 10:47 PM
Guess What!!! Particle Illusion 3.0 is on sale at Safe Harbor

On Sale (Save $194 through 04/30/2008): $194.50

I am so buying this!!! :D :heart: :dance:

and thanks for the Blender links jin (I really should have looked myself but am glad for the info!!)

jin choung
03-31-2008, 10:49 PM
WOW! cool, what a deal!

congrats and enjoy. it's a neat program and lets you do a lot of very impressive looking stuff very quick.

jin

p.s. actually, i think i have to consider a purchase! that's a really good deal! thanks for the 411!

dsol
04-01-2008, 04:44 AM
hey grace,

after effects has a few dinky particle plugins but they're pretty obscure and don't come with all the presets as in particle illusion or combustion. it's possible to get good results but anything that you generate with AE particles will be from the sweat of your brow and gnashing of your teeth. generally, people DON'T use ae particles.

If you want particles in AE - then trapcode's Particular is the muther-frickkin daddy of plugins. Works in 3D camera space too - unlike particle illusion. Best plugin I've ever bought!

http://www.trapcode.com/products_particular.html

Titus
04-01-2008, 09:59 AM
Just one other quick question, how are Combustion's text handling capabilities (I need to make quite a few animated titles).

It's a nightmare to do motion graphics with Combustion, believe me. You better want to use Motion for this kind of work.

dsol
04-01-2008, 10:16 AM
It's a nightmare to do motion graphics with Combustion, believe me. You better want to use Motion for this kind of work.

Yep, Motion and After Effects are both excellent motion graphics tools - and both have excellent text handling/animating capabilities (AE uses Adobe's optical kerning which is a small, but nice feature). The only other one I can think of that may come close is Boris Red, though I've never used it personally.

If you already have a mac, then FCP studio is a bit of a steal - given that it costs less than the price of a single copy of AE CS3. AE does come with a LOT of nice plugins as standard though (though Motion's selection isn't too shabby either).

I own FCP Studio and AE though (and Shake too, for what it's worth), so not particularly biased towards either. I tend to use AE more overall for title design though as it's a lot more reliable on complex projects.

dsol
04-01-2008, 10:20 AM
Also worth mentioning - the particle engine in Motion is almost identical to the one in Combustion. I don't think it's actually using the Particle Illusion engine as such, but it is compatible with their particle libraries - hence this:

http://www.wondertouch.com/emittersMtn.asp

Grace
04-01-2008, 12:45 PM
I am overwhelmed with the helpful advice. You guys rock!

jin - glad I was able to help (small payback indeed)
titus and dsol - thanks!

I am going to buy Particle Illusion at the sale price (this is too good to pass up!) and the package looks AWESOME!!. It will more than meet my particle needs. I will have a look at Blender for compositing because free is nice, but if it turns out that I can't figure it out based on the docs and links jin provided, After Effects will be the tool of choice based on price and now that you have confirmed that the text handling is good my mind is made up (no small feat for a born waffler) :thumbsup:

AbnRanger
04-01-2008, 01:13 PM
It's a nightmare to do motion graphics with Combustion, believe me. You better want to use Motion for this kind of work.In what way, may I ask? The advanced setting in the text tool allows you to quickly randomize behaviors on a global or local level, then you have expressions, to which you can write your own. One thing I like about its text tool is the font browser that allows you to type your text and see it previewed through the WHOLE freakin font library as you scroll down the browser, making super quick font selection decisions. I always thought Illustrator's font browsing pretty nice, but this is even better than that.

I've not used Combustion for everyday Motion Graphics work, mostly manipulating 3D renders in RPF format and particles. But I've found it's Paint and Text Operators to be pretty robust. Not sure what I'm missing here.

Jin, we maybe splitting hairs, but LW's Discovery mode is "Lite"...SasLite is indeed "Lite"...but just because the SE version is using the previous version's engine doesn't constitute it being "LITE." That would mean that Shake 4 will be called LITE when Apple finally releases it's successor! LITE means that it has purposefully received a feature reduction. There is a big difference.
From what I understand from some Combustion forums, AD had some particular trouble including the new engine.
Technically, Combustion's successor is already on the market...it's called Toxic. But it's not as well rounded as Combustion, and has more of a focus on film work, as opposed to motion graphics, tv, and or film (it doesn't have particles for one thing). That's why Combustion is still being sold. So that means that Combustion is nowToxic LITE?

jin choung
04-01-2008, 01:26 PM
Jin, we maybe splitting hairs, but LW's Discovery mode is "Lite"...SasLite is indeed "Lite"...but just because the SE version is using the previous version's engine doesn't constitute it being "LITE." That would mean that Shake 4 will be called LITE when Apple finally releases it's successor! LITE means that it has purposefully received a feature reduction. There is a big difference.
From what I understand from some Combustion forums, AD had some particular trouble including the new engine.
Technically, Combustion's successor is already on the market...it's called Toxic. But it's not as well rounded as Combustion, and has more of a focus on film work, as opposed to motion graphics, tv, and or film (it doesn't have particles for one thing). That's why Combustion is still being sold. So that means that Combustion is nowToxic LITE?

go talk to wondertouch. they're the ones that are selling it as LITE.

SE and combustion uses the pi2 engine.

PI3 sells for $400. PISE sells for $99. that says something dontcha think?.

and aside from the resolution restrictions that i assume don't exist in the combustion implementation, they have a whole slew of stuff they point out as the differences on the website.

THEY say its lite.

when lw upgrades to version 9, they don't then sell version 8 as lite. but wondertouch does. so combustion has pi lite.

jin

Steamthrower
04-01-2008, 01:51 PM
Seriously, I don't see how it's so hard to see how Combustion's particle effects are...lite. I mean, as Wondertouch specifically states, Combustion uses a version of Particle Illusion SE. This version of software is in many ways inferior to the new, pro version. Which is a reason that it is sold for a quarter the price.

Combustion is good for what it does...compositing. It's not built for particle effects and motion graphics. That's what AE and Motion are for. And both of them, from what I've done in the full version of Motion 3 and the demo of AE, are pretty good at it.

Talk about some sensitivities...sheesh.

AbnRanger
04-01-2008, 02:03 PM
go talk to wondertouch. they're the ones that are selling it as LITE.

SE and combustion uses the pi2 engine.

PI3 sells for $400. PISE sells for $99. that says something dontcha think?.

and aside from the resolution restrictions that i assume don't exist in the combustion implementation, they have a whole slew of stuff they point out as the differences on the website.

THEY say its lite.

when lw upgrades to version 9, they don't then sell version 8 as lite. but wondertouch does. so combustion has pi lite.

jinThey call it SE...you are the one calling it Lite. I don't see on their website where they called it LITE. Sure, PI 3 has a few more features and a bigger library than SE, but when you call something LITE it's always construed as having being relatively crippled. That's not the case here. When they eventually release PI4, will that make PI3 LITE? The only reason I bring this up, is that I have known for some time that PI 3 was a newer version than what comes with Combustion, but I never thought of it as LITE version, just what it is in reality, an older FULL version...not a crippled version.
Have you noticed that PI 3 is a stand alone program only and doesn't offer a plugin FOR ANY PACKAGE? Could that be the reason why it's not updated in Combustion? Sorry if it seems I'm mincing words here, but it just sounded very misleading to me to state that a particular program comes with a cripple version, when in fact it has the latest PLUGIN version available.

I'm still waiting on the edge of my seat to find out why Combustion is such a horrible Motion Graphics tool...and inferior to Motion and AE.

AbnRanger
04-01-2008, 02:14 PM
Seriously, I don't see how it's so hard to see how Combustion's particle effects are...lite. I mean, as Wondertouch specifically states, Combustion uses a version of Particle Illusion SE. This version of software is in many ways inferior to the new, pro version. Which is a reason that it is sold for a quarter the price.

Combustion is good for what it does...compositing. It's not built for particle effects and motion graphics. That's what AE and Motion are for. And both of them, from what I've done in the full version of Motion 3 and the demo of AE, are pretty good at it.

Talk about some sensitivities...sheesh.When there is a full version of PI 3 available as a PLUGIN, I'll buy your argument. There are deflectors for particles in Combustion, and you can have layer after layer, after layer of particles inside the program, so that implementation nullifies much of the shininess of PI 3 standalone features. OK...it has a larger library...cool. I still find that the particles which COME WITH Combustion rock...and the libray has new additions every month...so it's still massive. Motion's particle are LITE too if you insist on giving it that tag...and until Wondertouch makes PI 3 a plugin, it's going to stay LITE. Fair enough?

Steamthrower
04-01-2008, 02:22 PM
I wasn't dissin' your program, AbnRanger.

I just wouldn't use it for motion graphics or particle effects. Like I wouldn't use Lightwave's text tool to write up my emails in 3D.

jin choung
04-01-2008, 03:13 PM
They call it SE...you are the one calling it Lite. I don't see on their website where they called it LITE.

oh come on. you are mincing words.

ok, it's "SE"... in the context of any other app where there's a "pro version" that sells for $400 and a "NON pro version" that sells for $99, you're telling me you don't construe that as lite?

SE=NONPRO=LITE=JR

a rose by whatever name you decide on....

jin

Steamthrower
04-01-2008, 03:33 PM
Particle Illusion JR - let imagination soar!

Particle Illusion JR brings the destructive forces of Hollywood to small children everywhere! Let kids (ages 3 to 12) wreak havoc on the world with the included Meteor™ plugin, the LightningStrike™ plugin, and the awesome Nukes-R-Us™ plugin! Pull your kids away form the TV and let them engage in wholesome educational fun by incinerating the people in their birthday videos with sheets of flame!*

*Not available for use in Combustion or other Autodesk products.

AbnRanger
04-01-2008, 03:43 PM
Particle Illusion JR - let imagination soar!

Particle Illusion JR brings the destructive forces of Hollywood to small children everywhere! Let kids (ages 3 to 12) wreak havoc on the world with the included Meteor? plugin, the LightningStrike? plugin, and the awesome Nukes-R-Us? plugin! Pull your kids away form the TV and let them engage in wholesome educational fun by incinerating the people in their birthday videos with sheets of flame!*

*Not available for use in Combustion or other Autodesk products.Jin, not that many software companies sell older versions of their software...correct?
Actually, when you start playing with the particles operator for the first time, you feel a bit like a kid getting their hands on a cool new toy...making explosion noises and all...just hoping nobody walks in on you:D

Titus
04-01-2008, 10:44 PM
I've not used Combustion for everyday Motion Graphics work
[/QUOTE]

I'm not gonna say more, just try to do a motion graphics project within a deadline and you'll know what I'm talking about.

dsol
04-02-2008, 12:12 PM
Combustion is good for what it does...compositing. It's not built for particle effects and motion graphics. That's what AE and Motion are for. And both of them, from what I've done in the full version of Motion 3 and the demo of AE, are pretty good at it

Ah.. I think that statement's not really fair. The particle system in combustion is WAY better than the ones that come bundled with AE (though not as cool as AE combined with Particular). Motion's particles are pretty good - possibly better than combustion as they support 3D camera space, though I don't know if they support as much customisation as Particle Illusion (SE or otherwise).

Anti-Distinctly
04-04-2008, 09:13 AM
From my, albeit so far limited, use, Motion's particles are exceptionally versatile. More so than Combustion's, but I cannot vouch for the latest edition of Particle Illusion.

NAS
04-27-2008, 04:54 AM
Theres a lot of people stating here that AE can not do nodal editing but there is a way
http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=conduit2

The Conduit suite works in AE/PS/FCP/Motion and is a very cool looking system

Just thought i would add that in

Also PI SE is nowhere near as advanced as PI 3 Pro simple as that
I am a very very long time user long before it was Wondertouch and believe me the difference between 2 and 3 is phenominal

NAS

joseburgos
04-27-2008, 08:36 AM
Now that is something.
Conduit, although not perfect (need to add slders for animation) is awsome.
Thanks for sharring NAS.

PI 3 Pro is a the best at 2D particles.
It's lib of particles are so vast that nothing comes close.

Take care,

cresshead
04-27-2008, 09:33 AM
never been a bif fan of 2d particles...had them in combustion 2 and are based on the particle illusion engine and library and they seem to always be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and wrong angle!

i prefer 3d particles at lest you can dial them down to 'points' in the viewport etc...

2d particles are okay for a few shots but don't replace 3d particles on the whole.

re compositor i prefer combustion currently but i'm keeping an eye on the final cut suite and where that goes next with motion etc plus what happens to the replacement to shake which may show it's face this year.

combustions last update just confirms that autodesk has stopped developing combustion and would rather you go and buy toxic instead...but at 5000 i don''t think so!

Jim_C
04-27-2008, 09:40 AM
http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=conduit2&sub=features


looks pretty cool if it's stable and functional...
Bring the nodes to AE.

Pavlov
04-27-2008, 01:17 PM
What would you suggest as video editing tool for archviz purposes ?
I've not big needings, i just need to process my rendered movies with plain compositing, good layering, good alpha/color/curve management and so on. I'm not much into VFX area so i dont need dedicated VFX tools, at worst i need titles.
By now i use Premiere Elements which is by far underpowered, it has horrible layering management and so little control over everything.. it's definitely a toy.
Again, i want a single tool, i'd hate to jump between premiere and AE to do relatively simple things like the ones i do. The best would be a good hybrid between compositing and editing capabilities like Final Cut on Mac, but i am on PC. What about SpeedEdit ? Other suggestions ?

thanks,
Paolo

NAS
04-28-2008, 01:43 AM
Personally pavlov if you dont need to much i would go for either
Speededit
Vegas

Vegas has always been great but it isn't the most advanced in the compositing department ;)

NAS

Pavlov
04-28-2008, 01:46 AM
thanks... i'd love to use SpeedEdit because it's Newtek but i absolutely need a demo soon, otherwise i'll be forced to go elsewhere.
Vegas has been adviced from other friends too, i downloaded the demo. What is lacking exactly on comp department ?

Paolo

NAS
04-28-2008, 01:54 AM
In real terms not much but i would like to see an openexr loader for Vegas
That would be a great bonus
I like Vegas and in my book the only downer it has is that it is now owned Sony

NAS

dsol
04-28-2008, 05:20 AM
Premier Pro is pretty good (I haven't used Elements), but a bit damn pricey. For most animated sequences (so long as they don't use MTV-style high speed cutting), you could even "edit" stuff together in After Effects - which has a nice timeline for layered animation and of course very powerful color correction tools and other post capabilities to jazz up your visuals, create titles.

Larry_g1s
09-01-2008, 04:59 PM
Arugghhhh....I've been following these threads for a composting app, and now having to really look in to them because I'm going to purchases something soon. There is a lot of great info. I think I've narrowed it down to 3 options in the realm of bang for buck:

Pros
After Effects = because of it's integration with PS and hopefully quick learning curve do to being a PS user for years.
Combustion = AbnRanger seems to have done a good job selling it, and some of the vids linked make it look powerful for the $
Mac Mini + Shake = Seems pretty unanimous that people like Shake

Cons
After Effects = Seems like a decent amount don't like AE.
Combustion = Seems the learning curve is high and cumbersome.
Mac Mini + Shake = I'm a PC user, and for the price of a mac mini I can get so much more in a PC (come on Apple, make it easier to start using a mac.)

I'm going to download the demos of AE & Combustion and test them out.


http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=conduit2&sub=features


looks pretty cool if it's stable and functional...
Bring the nodes to AE.I like this ability to bring nodes to AE.

praa
09-01-2008, 08:40 PM
vegas has a much more logical interface than the adobe products and i have no problem editing on my laptop (with a fast external drive ...)

joseburgos
09-02-2008, 06:12 AM
Vegas is not a compositor.

Titus
09-02-2008, 10:03 AM
After Effects = Seems like a decent amount don't like AE.


What you are talking about? :). AE is a tool liked by many people doing motion graphics.

Larry_g1s
09-02-2008, 10:11 AM
What you are talking about? :). AE is a tool liked by many people doing motion graphics.I was referring to this thread. It seems like people where either anti-Adobe, or just didn't care for AE.

I downloaded it last night, and to be fair I really only played with it for about 10 minutes, but I can see where the lack of node type interface would be discouraging. Which is why I like that plug-in from dvgarage, that would be a must I think if I went with AE.