REVIEW: Nukex 11

Foundry has re­leased Nukex 11 after sev­eral months of avail­abil­ity in pub­lic beta

3D Artist - - CONTENTS - Paul Cham­pion

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

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