Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 017


As you're reading this, I'm sitting on a plane making my way back to Vancouver after a solid 4 weeks travelling around Europe. I hope you've managed to take some time away from VFX this year too!

Although with the end of any vacation comes a time to re-focus and set sights on new goals in both work & life -- I have some exciting plans this year which I hope to share with this community soon!

In the meantime, let's get on with this week's newsletter.

I wanted to take a moment to recognize a few readers who have written to me over the past month to suggest improvements to my work & the newsletters' content that I share with everyone. I find this feedback extremely valuable, as it not only helps me improve my own skills, but also helps me to share the best information with you, the humble reader.

First, Falk Hofmann re-wrote my operationSwitcher Python script to be far cleaner & more efficient! If you're unfamiliar, it sets a hotkey to toggle a Merge node's operation to the opposite value (over to under, from to plus, etc.) Rather than using multiple if/else statements, Falk has optimized the code to run using a dictionary to look up & use the relevant values.

Check out the new and improved here.


Secondly, a number of readers wrote to give feedback on my previous article about, When to Utilize a Different Colourspace. Specifically to mention that I'd forgotten to add converting to log space for any type of image filtering (reformats, transforms, etc.) to preserve image quality. This wasn't originally included as I felt it's fairly widely known & already implemented into many studio's pipelines, although given the recent feedback, I have updated my article to include it!

Once again, thankyou to those who have replied to a previous issue of my newsletter, or have contacted me via my website to share some knowledge & help make our community's collective knowledge grow bigger and better!

If you have something to share with the community, please reply to this email and let me know!

One of the coolest tools to hit the internet in the past little while, Comma by Adrian Pueyo is a utility that allows you to instance certain nodes with the help of a Dot node & some extra information that gets displayed.

Why would you want to use it? I'll give you two examples.

1) As I previously wrote about in this article, Read nodes aren't particularly smart. Nuke processes each Read node in your script individually, even if they are pointing at the same filepath. For example, if you're copy/pasting & using the same pre-rendered matte multiple times in your script, Nuke is going to be unnecessarily processing that same data multiple times, and that slowness weighs down your script exponentially.

2) Having the same camera in multiple locations around your script makes them hard to update. You never anticipate having to update your comp to use a new camera, but it happens more often than you could predict! If you have 10 instances of that camera, it's a time sink to have to find and update every single one, and you're open to missing one or two of them, causing a re-render & even more tedious lost time.

In both examples, you can see it's far more efficient in terms of both Nuke's processing speed & your time spent updating individual nodes to just have one copy of each Read or Camera node in your script, and use Comma to instance them around your script wherever they're needed!

Click here to download Comma on Nukepedia, or Click Here to watch Adrian's tutorial on Vimeo.

Let's face it, the Contact Sheet node in Nuke is kind of like a resident in a retirement home; they mean well, but need a lot of help to function the way nature intended. I've been pondering what a good Contact Sheet needs for quite some time, and have finally bitten the bullet and created a better system.

So, what does it do?
  • Automatically lays out your images to maximize screen coverage, with no gaps
  • Automatically labels what each input is
  • Automatically sets it's own resolution, based off your Project Settings' format
  • Adds a User knob for easy resolution scaling in case you want more detail, or more speed

Click here to read the quick tutorial & download the Python script!

Note: This tool is essentially an untested Beta at this point. Please reply to this email and let me know of any bugs or inefficiencies you find!

Intel recently celebrated their "50th anniversary of innovation". To mark the milestone, they put on a light show made up of 2000 drones, choreographed & "performed" by only one computer. Pretty incredible!

Intel made a video talking about it, but hasn't released a video of the event online yet. Luckily, some other guy with his own drone uploaded his own edit for us to watch!

Click here to watch Intel's video, or Click here to watch the drone light show in action!


If you've created a gizmo or python script to solve a common problem or speed up your workflow, please reply to this email and let me know about it's existence! I'd love to help spread the word, to help us all be better compositors together!

Click Here to view previous issues.