Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 053


I would like to extend a huge congrats to all the nominees & winners at this year's VES awards. We saw so much exceptional talent and innovation in VFX in 2019, on films like The Lion King, The Irishman, Missing Link, Alita: Battle Angel, Avengers: Endgame, to name a small handful. But more impressive to me is how film-quality VFX is becoming affordable enough to creep its way into high-end TV & Streaming projects, such as The Mandalorian, Lost in Space and Game of Thrones.

Naturally, as boundaries are pushed across all disciplines, we should be keeping ahead of the curve in Compositing. I hope this week's newsletter provides some tools, knowledge & inspiration to help you do that!


Demystifying STMaps.

In this blog post, I outline what STMaps are, and how you can embrace them to create better comps, faster. We'll cover a couple of interesting topics such as differences between ST and UV Maps, how to (theoretically) invert an ST Map, and how to use them to project images onto geometry.

As a taste of what's possible, Han Cao has put together this video tutorial demonstrating one of the most inventive ways I've seen anyone utilizing ST Maps -- he has figured out how you can automate a 2D fire element's wobble based off a user-animated direction of travel. It's incredibly creative!

Click here to read my article, "Demystifying ST Maps".


When we want to place 2D elements into our shot, we usually project them onto 3D cards which are then manually placed in 3D-space. This process can be quite tedious when using dense LIDAR/environment geometry to assist lining everything up. Thankfully, Falk Hofmann recently came up with a super fast & intuitive way to speed up this process!

First, use a RotoPaint node to paint dots onto your image wherever you would like cards in your scene. Then nuke_card_machine takes your CG render's world position pass, finds the 3D position of your painted dots, and automatically creates cards at those positions.

For live-action plates, you can create a simple 3D scene with LIDAR geometry & a tracked camera, then output "surface points" from a ScanlineRender node to get a usable position pass.

Click here to check out a demo video of nuke_card_machine in action.

Click here to download nuke_card_machine from Falk's GitLab.


As hard as we try, sometimes NaN & inf pixels show up in our renders. Every studio has its own way of dealing with these, but this gizmo from Franklin Toussaint is my favourite. It provides options to replace your erroneous pixels with either a flat colour, the nearest pixel's colour, or the same pixel's value from another frame.
Click here to get NaN_Remove from Franklin's GitHub.

The Art of the Command Line.

Something I'm passively working towards is gaining more competence in executing tasks via the command line in Linux. Watching wizard-level users at past companies has been fascinating -- they're always sure to mention, "it looks more impressive than it actually is".

In an effort to find out what they mean, I went hunting and found this great, beginner-level resource online!

Click here to read "The Art of the Command Line" on GitHub.

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 053 is sponsored by Keegen Douglas.
Thankyou to the following supporters
Adam Kelway
Adrian Winter
Anton Moss
Brent Veal
David Ventura
Gary Kelly
Hugo's Desk
Jan Stripek
Julien Laperdrix
Kris Janssens
Lee Watson
Micheal Liuyu
Michael Loithaler
Shih Yi Peng
Tiscar Coig
Vincent Desgrippes
William Towle
+ 2 others...

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