Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 042


I've got some great stuff to share with you this week, from recreating old-school film techniques in Nuke, to taking your first steps using Blinkscript.

Although, before you start reading, I need your help! Putting this newsletter together alongside working fulltime with a fair share of OT requires a few tools to keep me creating efficiently. With the rapid growth in both scope & readership of Ben's Comp Newsletter, these tools are becoming more costly, and increasingly necessary to deliver the newsletter you enjoy receiving every other week.

The best way to support the project is by contributing as little as $1 a month to my Patreon or by signing up for my Python for Nuke 101 course. Thanks for your consideration -- I hope you enjoy this week's newsletter!


Slit Scan in Nuke

The VFX industry today is filled with amazingly powerful tools that allow us to create anything we can imagine with a reasonably-high level of realism, relatively painlessly. Back in the early days of VFX, however, artists & filmmakers were frequently preoccupied inventing new techniques & technologies just to be able to successfully finish a shot. I have a huge amount of admiration for these problem solvers, and often find inspiration hearing stories of, "we wouldn't have finished the movie if it weren't for X invention".

Jack Hughes reached out recently to share this really cool article he put together about recreating 2001: A Space Odyssey's revolutionary Slit Scan effect in Nuke -- an optical effect originally pioneered by Douglas Trumbull.

Jack shares a brief but insightful look at the history & theory behind the practical effect, and also shares his Nuke script so you have the opportunity to create the imagery as seen above for yourself! This technique can also be applied to live action plates for some trippy results!
Click here to read Jack's article on Slit Scan in Nuke.

Solving creative challenges in Nuke (with Blinkscript!)

If you've been reading this newsletter for a while, you've likely already read my interview with Mads Hagbarth Damsbo, creator of the Blinkscript-powered Point Renderer. One question I asked was, "Blinkscript is a relatively new addition to Nuke, and you’re one of the few people who are utilizing it at present. What possibilities do you foresee Blinkscript bringing to Nuke in the near future, and what are the best resources to help people learn how to create their first GPU-based tool in Nuke?"

Blinkscript is a seemingly dense topic and there is little public knowledge available at present, making it quite intimidating to dive in and get started. Although, if you've been waiting for an opportunity to be spoonfed the first steps, today is your lucky day. Mads gave a talk at Siggraph this year, which Foundry has generously released online, showcasing what a few basic lines of Blinkscript code can achieve.

Click here to watch Mads' talk from Siggaph 2019.

Intel's Open Image Denoise.

Quoting straight from the source:

"The purpose of Open Image Denoise is to provide an open, high-quality, efficient, and easy-to-use denoising library that allows one to significantly reduce rendering times in ray tracing based rendering applications. It filters out the Monte Carlo noise inherent to stochastic ray tracing methods like path tracing, reducing the amount of necessary samples per pixel by even multiple orders of magnitude (depending on the desired closeness to the ground truth). A simple but flexible C/C++ API ensures that the library can be easily integrated into most existing or new rendering solutions."

The results in their gallery are already producing some incredible results! Thanks to Miles Lauridsen for the tip.
Click here to check out Open Image Denoise.

A comprehensive guide to the state-of-art in how AI is transforming the visual effects industry.

I share a lot about machine learning and the implications & development in VFX in this newsletter, because I firmly believe we'll be working in unforeseen ways within the next five to ten years. Ross Dawson compiled an extensive article about where these technological advancements are today, and where they're heading tomorrow.

It's a lengthy, but worthwhile read when you get a chance.

Click here to read Ross' article.

Did you find this newsletter informative?

Have you created, or do you know of any outstanding Gizmos, Python Scripts or Tutorials that you would like to share with the global Compositing community? Please send me an email, and I will do my best to include it in a future issue of this newsletter.

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