Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 045


This week's newsletter includes a fascinating interview, a quick tutorial on a technique to help you integrate CG into live-action plates, an awesome Python script that could speed up the way you work inside Nuke, and a really cool website that intelligently blends characteristics from multiple images together to create a new one. Enjoy!


Freddy Chávez Olmos // VFX Supervisor.

This week, I'm excited to share an interview with Freddy Chávez Olmos, a friend who has achieved great things in both his life & his career. I hope this interview is as inspiring for you as it is for me!

Here is Freddy's bio:
“My name is Freddy Chávez Olmos. I’m a Visual Effects Supervisor currently working at Barnstorm VFX in Vancouver. I also write and direct short films mostly in the horror and sci-fi genre.”

Click here to read my interview with Freddy Chávez Olmos.

Create your own Ambient Occlusion using RayRender.

When integrating CG characters into a plate and something seems not-quite-right, the first solution I look towards is adding more occlusion shadows, often referred to as "Ambient Occlusion". Occlusion shadows help ground our CG characters and connect them with the environment & live-action characters around them.

Most physically-based render engines are capable of rendering occlusion shadow AOVs, which are quite accurate when given photometric lights, but sometimes mathematically real and visually real isn't the same thing...

Thankfully, we can create our own AO passes in Nuke! I wrote a quick tutorial to show you how.

Click here to read the tutorial on how to create AO in Nuke.

Stamps: a new way of working inside Nuke.

Stamps, created by Adrian Pueyo and Alexey Kuchinski, aims to change the way we work inside of Nuke. Instead of duplicating multiple copies of renders, cameras, etc. around your Nuke script, Stamps intelligently "links" to the original node in your script using a custom node with a hidden input.

Working this way certainly isn't an original idea -- I have made my own light-weight version, and have shared Falk Hofmann's Node Linker in a past issue of this newsletter, but I truly believe Stamps solves all the issues that become apparent when working with hidden inputs.

This is important to bring up, as I've met a handful of decent Compositors who despise hidden inputs. For example, they can be a challenge when picking up an unfamiliar Nuke script from another artist. Although, by clearly labelling the original source & individual connections, providing solutions for automatically reconnecting accidentally-broken links, and most importantly being able to easily access any asset from a panel with a single shortcut, Stamps offers speedy flexibility and transparency to any Compositor in any Nuke script. 

If you would like to see Stamps in action, Adrian has created 6 short videos that demonstrate its potential:

Part 1: Introduction to Stamps
Part 2: Basic workflow with Stamps
Part 3: Production workflows
Part 4: Advanced reconnections
Part 5: Creating smart templates
Part 6: Pipeline customization

There is also a comprehensive user guide to help you get the most out of this tool.

Click here to download Stamps from Nukepedia.

Cross-breed images with Artbreeder.

Have you ever wondered what a Baboon and a Pineapple would look like if they had a baby? Yep, it keeps me up at night too...

Artbreeder allows you to "mix genes" of certain animals and objects (once you've signed up for a free account), or mix images of different people to artificially create brand new images! Depending on what you're trying to mix, the results can be far from perfect, but equally hilarious.

The Portraits mode is incredibly powerful, allowing you to manipulate specific expressions and characteristics on a face! Although, don't push it too far or you'll end up with terrifying results, like this...

In its current iteration, this tool could already be utilized as a starting point for rapidly prototyping visual ideas. It will be fascinating to pay attention to the future development of Artbreeder, to see if the developers will be able to get higher fidelity in their uniquely-generated imagery.
Click here to check out Artbreeder.

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 reply to this email, and I will do my best to include it in a future issue of this newsletter.
Click here to view previous issues.

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