Ben's Comp Newsletter: Issue 068


This week's newsletter includes a great interview with one of our comp community's well-known names, and some tools & knowledge to improve your work in Nuke. Enjoy!

Interview: Josh Parks // Senior Compositor.

Josh Parks is a Senior Compositor at Important Looking Pirates. He’s worked in Film, TV and Advertising. Since starting in the industry, alongside compositing, Josh has been privately coaching students to VFX supervisors, as well as lecturing at universities.
Click here to read my interview with Josh Parks.


Nuke's vanilla sharpen node leaves a lot to be desired -- using it always results in nasty super-black edges and fringing highlights around already-contrasty parts of your image.

Sharpening in a logarithmic colourspace is a solution for this, and LabSharpen can give you nice results too, however both of these options tend to break when you need to be heavy-handed with a soft plate.

Thankfully, Xavier Martín is here to help! He has created a gizmo, X_Sharpen, which "preserves colours, avoids negative lobes and creates minimal ringing and banding on edges". Sounds too good to be true, but it really works! Additionally, he created X_Soften, which uses the same algorithm to soften your image, and you can download both in one package.

Click here to download X_Sharpen & X_Soften from Nukepedia.

Back to Basics: Pre-comp more efficiently.

Daisy-chaining pre-comps is never a good idea -- it's not an effective way for you or your computer to process the pixels in your image, and relying on a render farm to handle long chains of dependencies is always tedious. I put together this basic article on best practices when pre-comping, for those who want to work as efficiently as possible.

P.S. if you're not already using it, fxT_precompController from Tor Andreassen is incredibly useful for managing pre-comps in large Nuke scripts. You can watch a demo video of the tool here.
Click here to read my blog post on pre-comping more efficiently.

Lightroom 4 Nuke.

I often like to reserve the final item in each newsletter for something not specifically related to Nuke, but still on-topic with Computer Graphics in general. However, Han Cao recently developed a tool that allows photography enthusiasts to edit their images as they're used to doing in Lightroom, but directly inside Nuke -- it's too good not to share! Check out the comparison demo video here.

I gave up my Photoshop subscription years ago as I found completing simple tasks much faster in Nuke (as I'm much more used to it, from using it every day). I suspect Lightroom 4 Nuke might be that more-convenient, subscription-saving tool for some Compositors now too.
Click here to download Lightroom 4 Nuke from Han's website.
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If you have any feedback on how this newsletter could provide more value to you or others, or just want to share your creations, please reply to this email -- I'd love to hear it all!
Click here to view previous issues.

Thanks to my Patreon Supporters.

This issue of Ben's Comp Newsletter is sponsored by Keegen Douglas.
Aaron Bradford
Adam Kelway
Adrian Winter
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Aman Arora
Andras Pflum
Anton Moss
Antonio Gabarrón
Attila Gasparetz
Ben Cecioni
Brent Veal
Brett Harding
Brian Thompson
Christian Bechmann
Christian Morin
Ciaran O Neachtain
Conrad Olson
Daniel Cuevas
Danny Lee
Dan McCarthy
David Ventura
David Wahlberg
Denys Holovyanko
Eduardo Cardoso
Ed Englander
Ewoud Heidanus
Fredrik Larsson
Gael Lendoiro
Geoffroy Givry
Guillaume Charron
Hugo's Desk
Ian Failes
Igor Gama
Igor Majdandzic
Ivan Sorgente
Jan Stripek
Joel Delle-Vergin
Joshua Gluck
Julien Laperdrix
Kris Janssens
Lee Watson
Markus Gratl
Matthias Bäuerle
Micheal Liuyu
Michael Loithaler
Mikhail Shilin
Philip Edward Alexy
Rafael Perez
Romain Brachet
Seth Weber
Shane Dooley
Shih Yi Peng
Suresh Pandi
Tiscar Coig
Tz-Chun Chang
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William Towle
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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