Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 049


I want to start by wishing a happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. Because you're a subscriber of Ben's Comp Newsletter & it's Cyber Monday, I'd like to offer you 20% off Python for Nuke 101 when you use code: turkeycode19 at checkout! Hurry, offer is only valid until midnight December 3rd (PST).

This issue of Ben's Comp Newsletter includes a couple of tools I created this year, a brand new industry interview, and a look at some future technologies. Enjoy!


Ben Kent // Lead Research Engineer at Foundry.

Hi, I’m Ben Kent and I’m a Lead Research Engineer at Foundry, as well as a screenwriter, producer and director. I first joined Foundry in 2001 to work on the original Furnace suite of plug-ins, and I was one of the recipients of the 2007 Academy Award for Science and Engineering...
Click here to read the interview with Ben Kent.

Making shot breakdowns easy.

We're coming up on the end of the year, which can coincide with being tasked to create breakdowns for past shows. Most of the time you don't need to go full-beans, and just need some simple wipes to demonstrate a shot's creative process. Although in Nuke, figuring out the right timing with Retimes and TimeOffsets is always slow and painful process.

There are plenty of gizmos out there that aim to automate this process, but in my experience they get quite convoluted and often aim to achieve too much. I wanted to make my own tool that provides as much functionality as possible, with only a few simple controls that need to be tweaked.

I recently made Breakdownerizationer -- you simply choose the type of breakdown, then set a frame to run the wipes on and your ideal timing speeds, select all your layers (I recommend precomping your layers for speed) and the tool runs a Python script that does the rest!

Click here to download Breakdownerizationer from GitHub.

Node Sandwich.

Something I find myself doing all the time is converting a handful of nodes in a Nuke script to log space, to deal with highlights in a smoother fashion. The process of converting to/from log space is simple, but as I mention a lot in this newsletter, improving the small things you do multiple times a day adds up to big improvements long-term.

Rather than creating and positioning these nodes manually, Node Sandwich allows you to select a group of nodes and hit a simple CTRL+SHIFT+L shortcut to convert a section of your script to log space. Using the same code, I can use CTRL+SHIFT+P to wrap a selection of nodes in Unpremult / Premult -- something else we do a lot as Compositors.

To install, simply download the Python file to your .nuke directory, and add this line of code:  to your

If you would prefer a different set of nodes as the bread in your sandwich, the code at the bottom of the file is fairly easy to read and modify (click the image below to view it full-sized).
The code highlighted in green reads:
("Node Class to create for the top piece of bread", "Node Class to create for the bottom piece of bread")

And the code highlighted in blue is the keyboard shortcut.
Click here to download Node Sandwich from GitHub.

A look into the future with Autodesk & Adobe's R&D projects.

Something we frequently talk about in Ben's Comp Newsletter is how our industry is evolving, and where we might see Compositing & VFX heading into the future. Two events recently took place, one hosted by Autodesk and the other by Adobe, where speakers highlighted innovative new tools in their early stages. There are a handful of things that excited me here, so I will share them all!

Artificial Intelligence at Autodesk for 3D and VFX Content Creation talks about some inefficiencies in the current VFX pipeline, and how Autodesk is using AI / Machine Learning to solve them. This talk is mostly geared towards some interesting 3D-specific solutions, although skip to 6:05 to check out a demo of Flame automatically generating normals for a human face, and creating a zDepth pass for a shot. Crazy!

The Adobe Max conference was held a few weeks ago. If you put the painful presentation and unnecessary cheering aside, these features have a whole lot of potential...
  • #ImageTango combines the shape of one image with the textural quality of one or more other images to synthesize a brand new image.
  • #GoFigureSneak offers a new solution for tracking the motion of a human without a mocap suit, and enables an artist to easily apply that data to a 2D character.
  • #LightRightSneak allows the user to relight photos with semi-accurate shadow fidelity, by creating a 3D representation of a photo, based off witness cameras (or stock photos of the same subject) under the hood.
  • #ProjectAboutFace can identify if an image has been modified or not, and attempts to undo any modification.

Lots of exciting potential here!

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.

Support on Patreon

Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 049 is sponsored by Keegen Douglas.

If you get value from reading Ben's Comp Newsletter every other week, please consider contributing via Patreon to help keep it running!
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