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big back comics
07-31-2003, 08:52 AM
Hello everyone:

I am pondering the upgrade special which I know is an unbelievable deal, but as a newbie to compositing I have a few questions I hope the community can answer.

1) Reading the specs, DFX is an 8 bit color app. How does that impact video? I am a new media developer and 8 bit to 24 bit colour when relating to web imagery (photos vs. logos) in terms of quality impacts images greatly. If I were to save a photo image in the .gif format (8 bit color) I would see a difference in quality. (as oposed to a .jpg image which handles 24 bit color).
In theory the same would hold true for video?

2) It seems to me, that digial fusion is a tad bit pricy for the independant producer/hobisit (deal not withstanding). The full version that supports higher colour specs runs $4000. Even the 8 bit version runs $1600 with all the modules in place. Comparitivtly After Effects and Combustion run $995 to $2000 with full support for higher grade colour support.

Please keep in mind I a not trying to start a flame war. I am just trying to understand the difference in quality between 8 bit video and higher. And if it is worth investigating other compositing apps that support higher colour.

I downloaded and checked out Lee's DFX videos and I love the nodal approach over the timeline-based approach so I know DFX's workflow and I would get alone great.

Anyway thanks in advance for your help.

TyVole
07-31-2003, 09:04 AM
It's not 8-bit color, but 8-bit per channel color (8 bits for each of the RGBA channels) for a total of 32-bits. Higher bit-per-channel resolution is for HDR images and film.

In terms of composition apps, I'm a newbie as well. From what I read, DF is much better than AE for 3d compositing (as opposed to compositing live action with 3d), and that Combustion is very slow.

Like you, I am also pondering the deal, but I still don't quite understand how DFX will help create images that are better than what I can get out of LW alone, or how DFX will improve my workflow. To confuse the issue even further, many NLEs offer features the same or similar to the ones in compositing packages.

Any input from experienced compositors would be greatly appreciated.

policarpo
07-31-2003, 09:09 AM
you guys should download the DF demo at the eyeon site and see how it works with you.

http://www.eyeonline.com

if you decide it's not for you, just wait until the upgrade offer expires, and then just get LW8 upgrade by itself. the price should be the same.:D

big back comics
07-31-2003, 09:38 AM
Hi Guys:

Thanks for the replies.

Policarpo I watched the lee DFX videos and have played with DFX at a friends studio (he has a NLE system that came bundled with DFX but the name escapes me at the moment.) I like the workflow, I just didn't understand the color restrictions as they relate to image quality. I still don't, but thanks to TyVole I have some info to research.

TyVole thanks for clearing that up. I don't know what it means exactly but I am going to do some research and find out.

Thanks,

Andy_D
07-31-2003, 09:43 AM
Or even better, how about Newtek communicate with its Intl resellers about the LW8 DFX+ extension - and make them keep the price on par with its USA customers. I really can`t understand why I can`t purchase the upgrade deal directly from Newtek USA instead of getting the run around by misinformed middle men.

By the time I get a straight answer about the availability (or existance) of the upgrade offer from said reseller, the offer would have expired.

BTW, I`m talking about South Pacific customers - NZ and Aus.

Lee, can you help me out :( .

Andy

Limbus
07-31-2003, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by big back comics

TyVole thanks for clearing that up. I don't know what it means exactly but I am going to do some research and find out.

Thanks,

I try to explain:
DFX+ is capable of handling images with up to 32bit. Thats 8 bit per color and 8 bit for the alpha channel. The big Digitla Fusion version can handel up to 16bit per channel. This is mostly important if you plan on editing film which has a higher dynamic range than video. For video DFX+ should be everything you need.

Florian

CoryC
07-31-2003, 10:57 AM
If you use Photoshop, DFX+ is similar to setting your image to 8 bit/channel (Image>Mode). This is Photoshop's default setting.

Earl
07-31-2003, 11:54 AM
DFX+ handles all the colors you'll need unless you work with films. 8-bit per channel is capable of all the colors your monitor can display, and all the colors Photoshop can display. 8-bit images (such as GIFs) are limited to a maximum of 256 different colors. That is NOT the case with 8-bits per channel. 8-bits per channel means you can have 256 shades of red, 256 shades of green, and 256 shades of blue: and when you mix them you get over 16 million possible colors per pixel (as opposed to 256 possible colors per pixel with 8-bit images).

(I know some of this is redundant and has been said above, but this might make it easier to understand).

Original1
07-31-2003, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by CoryC
If you use Photoshop, DFX+ is similar to setting your image to 8 bit/channel (Image>Mode). This is Photoshop's default setting.

8 bit per channel is the default for video work, 0-255 RGB + Alpha.

HD and HDRI images use a floating point format using a 16 bit floating point number simular to the internal floatiing images used in Lightwaves FP viewer

The DFX+ upgrade is well worth it and you can still import floatingpoint images through the loaders though they will be converted to 8 bit.

big back comics
07-31-2003, 12:40 PM
Hi Guys:

--8-bit images (such as GIFs) are limited to a maximum of 256 different colors. That is NOT the case with 8-bits per channel. 8-bits per channel means you can have 256 shades of red, 256 shades of green, and 256 shades of blue: and when you mix them you get over 16 million possible colors per pixel (as opposed to 256 possible colors per pixel with 8-bit images). --

O.K. Now I get it. Thank you all for clearing this up for me. So knowing this I am less concerned about $ and quality. Now all I have to do is find the $ to pay for the upgrade. :)

Thanks again,

wacom
07-31-2003, 02:12 PM
Originally posted by TyVole
It's not 8-bit color, but 8-bit per channel color (8 bits for each of the RGBA channels) for a total of 32-bits. Higher bit-per-channel resolution is for HDR images and film.

In terms of composition apps, I'm a newbie as well. From what I read, DF is much better than AE for 3d compositing (as opposed to compositing live action with 3d), and that Combustion is very slow.

Like you, I am also pondering the deal, but I still don't quite understand how DFX will help create images that are better than what I can get out of LW alone, or how DFX will improve my workflow. To confuse the issue even further, many NLEs offer features the same or similar to the ones in compositing packages.

Any input from experienced compositors would be greatly appreciated.

For me it all comes together in DF when I use files that have buffers in them (like a RLA file that has depth and Texture buffers etc). DF reads this info and interacts with it REAL fast. You can do depth of field blurs super fast, change lighting, add fog etc. You can then pass all of these setting on to other channels etc. Another great one is adding a bit of texture, from some video footage to your 3D object- such as a reflection etc. You could do a lot of this in a 3D package...but it would be harder and slower.
It's hard to describe 'till you see it and use it.

I'm an ex-AE user and I can say that the only thing I miss is how intergrated AE is with other adobe apps...but it's not the biggest thing in the end when DF does so much more and better.

Original1
07-31-2003, 04:10 PM
By the way,

Did you know that DFX+ will use AE plugins

The flow type interface is a different workflow but there a whole heap of power in expressions and the ability to lock the output of one node to an expression wihich controls the value of anothe rone

TyVole
07-31-2003, 04:39 PM
wacom,

Thank you for answering my question.

I guess it's like swimming in the ocean -- you'll never know cold it is until you jump in. I'll never know how useful a compositor can be until I have one.

Tell me, do you always render to .rla files?

Are there certain layers (such as shadows) that you always render seperately?

Thanks in advance.

pixelranger
08-01-2003, 01:25 AM
I want to buy my upgrade today, preferably with the dfx+ bundle.... Is the offer still valid?
I heard Lee had told someone not to worry 'bout the "deadline" that was yesterday, but I'd just like to check.
And if it's still valid, do the resellers know that?

And thank you for doing an incredible show at Siggraph! Deuce and William did a great job!!

js33
08-01-2003, 01:42 AM
Yes get it! :D

I got mine and I can see the value but have hardly got into it yet. You can't go wrong getting a $1600 app for free basically. I have been using AE and DF is a whole different beast.
It also uses AE plug-ins. It is a more 3D friendly app than AE.
It is very similiar to Shake which is a $10,000 app on the PC now that Apple owns it.:mad:

Also it is an 8-bit app which means 8 bit/channel. 24 bit RGB plus 8 bit alpha just like AE. It is basically the same app as the full DF except for the color limit. The full DF is for film work and supports 16 and 32 bit per channel.

Of course like others have said you can spend $495 and get 7.5, DFX and LW8 or wait until the deal expires again and just get 8 for $495. :D

Cheers,
JS

Original1
08-01-2003, 01:49 AM
for a none software specific book on Digital Compositing try

The Art and Science of Digital Compositing -- Ron Brinkman

or

Digital Compositing for Film and Video (Focal Visual Effects and Animation Series)

Steve Wright

Plus you can get a demo download from eyeonline

marc
08-01-2003, 02:00 AM
Yes, the DF4 demo makes waiting for the parcel to arrive less painful. It's very good for practising and experimenting, since its only limitation seems to be watermarks or a logo on the final renders. You can even save your flows.

It looks very powerful. But when playing with the demo you have to keep in mind, that not everything in the demo will be possible with the DFX+ that comes with the LW8 deal because you will only get modules 1 and 4. So no particles, no videopainting, no advanced keying, no scripting.

Can't wait to get my DFX+!

Marc

pixelranger
08-01-2003, 02:07 AM
But is the $495 offer still valid??

marc
08-01-2003, 02:13 AM
Originally posted by pixelranger
But is the $495 offer still valid??
Looks like it:
http://www.newtek-europe.com/uk/dfxoffer/dfx_eu.html

Marc

js33
08-01-2003, 02:26 AM
Yes Lee said it will be extended but I don't know for how long.

Cheers,
JS

pixelranger
08-01-2003, 02:53 AM
Thanks.

Upgrading now. I'm just wondering... The dongle that I have is from lw 5.5 (parallell dongle), so I wondered if I should/must upgrade to a USB dongle.
Is it so that DFX+ requires a USB dongle?
What other benefits are there with a USB dongle? I see that it only costs ? 55, so I might as well upgrade the dongle as well...

js33
08-01-2003, 03:03 AM
I don't know if a USB is required to run DFX but now DFX is tied to your dongle. I got one of the early batchs that had a seperate dongle for DFX. I have a USB dongle and it lets you run on a Mac or PC with the same dongle. You can hotswap it but not a parallel port dongle.

Cheers,
JS

CoryC
08-01-2003, 06:37 AM
My copy of DFX+ came with a parallel dongle so I imagine it can work with either of LW's dongles.

Earl
08-01-2003, 10:27 AM
Originally posted by pixelranger
I'm just wondering... The dongle that I have is from lw 5.5 (parallell dongle), so I wondered if I should/must upgrade to a USB dongle.
Is it so that DFX+ requires a USB dongle?

I asked the same question. I too use a parallel dongle from 5.0. While no one from NewTek answered, it was suggested that DFX+ would run fine with a parallel dongle. My copy will arrive Monday, so I'll know then. :cool:

agrippa
08-01-2003, 02:47 PM
Hey gang-

Just spoke to NT customer service. They said that the LW8 + DFX bundle is good through the end of next week (8/08...get it!). Also, for those upgrading from a previous version, you can trade in your parallel dongle for a usb version when LW8 ships. Otherwise it will cost you 29.99 to swap dongles.

Earl
08-01-2003, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by agrippa
Also, for those upgrading from a previous version, you can trade in your parallel dongle for a usb version when LW8 ships. Otherwise it will cost you 29.99 to swap dongles.

Are you saying that you can trade in your parallel dongle for a USB dongle at no charge when [8] ships?

agrippa
08-01-2003, 03:39 PM
Yup...that's what they told me. They even put me on hold and asked around the office to make sure.

Sweet, eh?

LW8+DFX+USB...come on, they are just making it too easy!

wacom
08-01-2003, 05:17 PM
Originally posted by TyVole
wacom,

Thank you for answering my question.

I guess it's like swimming in the ocean -- you'll never know cold it is until you jump in. I'll never know how useful a compositor can be until I have one.

Tell me, do you always render to .rla files?

Are there certain layers (such as shadows) that you always render seperately?

Thanks in advance.

It really depends on what I'm doing. If it's an animation I might seperate the diffrent elements- if it's a still I'm going to add I'll often just use an RLA. DF can be flexable, so it kind of depends. Sometimes Bit depth is important when editing these files.

Basicly I'd say that if you ever put CG over video or film- or the other way around- a compositor makes your life a million times simpler. Hitting F9 all the time can suck. Plus if you can correct the item and in real or little time in DF you can get your work done faster...and still charge your client the same amount!

You should download a demo and go through the tutorials/coarseware as much as you can. If you get the DFX+ demo and it doesn't come with the courseware PDF I might be able to get it to you...then you'll have a better idea...

TyVole
08-01-2003, 06:50 PM
Thanks, wacom. I have the demo. Gonna give it a run this weekend.

DesiredFX
08-01-2003, 11:17 PM
At the time I ordered my 6.5 to 7.5 upgrade, there didn't seem to be this DFX+ deal going on (either that, or I need to learn how to read).

It was a really sweet deal to find that I not only received the product I ordered, that I WILL receive the upgrade to LightWave, but I got what looks to be a very nice, broad, digital effects package in the bargain.

I haven't used it yet, but if I can get even one useful trick out of the package, it will be worth it, because it was an unexpected bonus for me.

Thanks NewTek and eyeon!

As for the dongle swap, did that need to be put in place at the time of the order, or can I call and arrange it anytime before 8 ships?

js33
08-02-2003, 12:10 AM
You can exchange your dongle at any time. There is a charge but its not very much.

My parallel port dongle died over a year ago and I was able to trade it in for a free DUO dongle. I just had to pay shipping of $10.

Cheers,
JS

pixelmonk
08-02-2003, 07:21 AM
Originally posted by Original1
By the way,

Did you know that DFX+ will use AE plugins

The flow type interface is a different workflow but there a whole heap of power in expressions and the ability to lock the output of one node to an expression wihich controls the value of anothe rone


careful.. it won't use ALL AE plugins. Don't be upset if some of your favorite ones don't work.

Original1
08-02-2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by CoryC
My copy of DFX+ came with a parallel dongle so I imagine it can work with either of LW's dongles.

Those where the early copies, the current deal is keyed to your USB Dongle

Original1
08-02-2003, 10:11 AM
Originally posted by pixelmonk
careful.. it won't use ALL AE plugins. Don't be upset if some of your favorite ones don't work.

Being able to use AE plugins is a bonus if they dont all work, it is like High school dating some will some won't so what;)

adrian
08-02-2003, 12:56 PM
Okay this might be a dippy question but being new to compositing some advice would be appreciated.

I currently use AE4.1 Pro Bundle for compositing stuff, although I haven't even begun to explore everything this package can do.

So what can this DFX+ package do that AE can't? Or rather, is it worth me upgrading as I already have AE? I've been to their site and to be honest most of what they talk about goes over my head...

So in layman's terms, is DFX better than AE and if so, could you give some examples?

I will upgrade to LW8 regardless but I was going to wait until it was released as money is tight right now - however if DFX is so good it might be worth my while stretching my wallet...:-)

Thanks,

Adrian.