Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 059


This week's newsletter covers a variety of topics -- I hope you discover something useful to improve your workflow. 


MJ Tang's fancy new tool helps you to scatter one instance of geometry many times across another piece of geometry. There are so many real-world applications for this tool, including creating fields of foliage, scattering buildings in the distance, or even randomly placing cards for atmospheric elements in your scene!

MJ's demo video shows off a few of the useful features, such as auto-orientation based off geometry normals, however, the most useful feature has come in the v1.2 update, being density map support.
Click here to download mScatterGeo from Nukepedia.


Seasoned DP's tend to like using lenses with imperfect characteristics to add more texture and interest to the scene they're capturing. Unfortunately, this makes life as a Compositor more difficult, as we have to mimic said imperfections in our work. One such artefact I'm seeing more frequently is Cats Eye Bokeh, which we talked about in Issue 039 of Ben's Comp Newsletter.

Simplistically, this phenomenon of bokeh shapes distorting towards the edge of frame happens when some light rays aiming to enter the outer edges of a lens get blocked by the barrel of said lens.

Earlier this year, Chris Fryer put together what I consider to be the best implementation of defocusing your image with Cats Eye Bokeh in Nuke -- a gizmo he calls cfCatsEyeDefocus. Check out the demo video here!

Additionally, this is a great resource to learn more about bokeh!
Click here to download cfCatsEyeDefocus from Chris' website.

Comp math basics & some neat history behind it.

Conrad Olson has put together two videos explaining the theory & math behind premultiplication and the over operation. I appreciate the way he explains these concepts using examples from the optical compositing days, which provide great context for why we do what we do.

Conrad also touches on a few links to check out, which cover the history and birth of VFX. Always worth revisiting for both a refresher, and some entertainment: These videos are a must-watch for students, and are a great resource for more experienced Compositors who would like to help explain these concepts to their less-experienced colleagues.

The future of Netflix VFX (NetFX), and Machine Learning.

"If you haven't heard, Netflix is developing a VFX platform called Netfx. The Netfx platform aims to connect globally distributed VFX artists to their new in house studio, a cloud based VFX facility, where artists work directly on their productions."

Dexter Davey has authored an opinion piece on how Netflix, with their experience in collecting and using massive datasets, could start leading the charge to a machine-learning-based VFX future. Fascinating read -- one that will get you thinking!
Click here to read Dexter Davey's article, "Netflix AI will eat VFX".
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Thanks to my Patreon Supporters.

This issue of Ben's Comp Newsletter is sponsored by Keegen Douglas.
Aaron Bradford
Adam Kelway
Adrian Winter
Aman Arora
Anton Moss
Antonio GabarrĂ³n
Attila Gasparetz
Ben Cecioni
Brent Veal
Christian Morin
Ciaran O Neachtain
Dan McCarthy
David Ventura
Eduardo Cardoso
Ed Englander
Gary Kelly
Hugo's Desk
Ian Failes
Ivan Sorgente
Jan Stripek
Julien Laperdrix
Kris Janssens
Lee Watson
Micheal Liuyu
Michael Loithaler
Santosh Seshabhattar
Seth Weber
Shih Yi Peng
Stu Maschwitz
Suresh Pandi
Tiscar Coig
Vincent Desgrippes
William Towle
+ 2 Anonymous others...

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Thanks for reading!
This newsletter exists to encourage open communication and knowledge-sharing between the global Compositing community. 

My goal is to share the best gizmos, python scripts, workflow tips, and in-depth knowledge on compositing techniques, to help keep your toolset & skillset at the forefront of the VFX industry. I hope this newsletter keeps you prepared technically, creatively & mentally for any shot that passes through your hands.
- Ben McEwan