REVIEW: Nukex 11
Foundry has released Nukex 11 after several months of availability in public beta
Paul Champion tells us his verdict on performance enhancements and more with Foundry’s update
Nukex 11 sees the continuation of Foundry’s focus on performance, stability and open standards. If you’re just starting out with Nuke, the updated Tool Sets is worth a look for seeing recommended techniques. It includes ready-made 2D and 3D example scripts for common compositing tasks, such as multi-pass rendering from popular third-party renderers, keying, particle systems and rig removal. However, this is of little benefit if you’re experienced and like to work efficiently because you’ll already have your own Node templates or scripts saved.
In terms of performance improvements for day-to-day working, Nukex 11 includes the newly introduced Livegroup Node. This node serves as a container that provides a new collaborative workflow system by enabling artists working on elements of a comp to directly share parts of their script with one another at any time as a Livegroup. The workflow is very quick. All it takes is a couple of clicks to create and publish nodes to disk that another artist can then import into their script via another Livegroup Node.
This retires the older and much slower workflow of passing work-in-progress rendered sequences around. Livegroups can also combine existing workflows achieved using Precomps, Groups and Gizmos. However, while this is a certainly useful feature, it isn’t really an essential reason to upgrade.
For faster rendering, Frame Server has been ported from Nuke Studio. It essentially works as a background rendering system by sharing work over the number of render processes specified in the preferences. In addition, you can also use external machines as render slaves. The versatile and useful Smart Vector tools have been updated with renderfarm or Frame Server vector rendering support, via the Output to Write setting in the Smartvector Node. Also, the Vectordistort Node has a Blur size parameter that noticeably reduced distortion during testing.
The Lensdistortion and Denoise nodes have also been spruced up with improved functionality. Notably, Lensdistortion gains support for spherical and anamorphic lenses and a number of presets and distortion models, while Denoise adds a temporal processing option that now averages noise reduction over several frames.
Under-the-hood technical changes to Nukex include VFX Platform 2017 compliance, updating Nukex’s core libraries and several third-party libraries to create a common target platform for software building, plus new library versions for ARRIRAW 5.3 and R3D 6.2.2. New AFF format support enables non-linear retimes imported from Avid Media Composer and also greater AMD GPU compatibility with Nuke’s through expanded Opencl support in both Windows and Linux.
While there are some useful improvements, overall this release is lacklustre and gives little incentive to upgrade.
TOP The revamped Denoise Node lets you get better results when removing noise or grain from your footage by averaging noise reduction over several frames
BELOW The Cg_beauty Tool Set demonstrates splitting out and merging back layers from multi-channel EXRS using common third-party renderers