Tech Re­views

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

The visual-ef­fects in­dus­try has been us­ing EXR as its go-to im­age file for­mat since for­ever. And by for­ever, I mean the last 15 years at least. One of the key ben­e­fits of EXR files is that 3D ren­ders can em­bed mul­ti­ple chan­nels of data into the same file — those chan­nels usu­ally add up to cre­ate your fi­nal RGB color im­age that ev­ery­one gets to en­joy. So, what’s so good about that? Well, it means that in com­posit­ing soft­ware like Nuke or Fu­sion, you can ad­just the look of the im­age with­out re-ren­der­ing in 3D. Too re­flec­tive? Just re­duce the re­flec­tiv­ity chan­nel. I’m sim­pli­fy­ing it some, but you get the idea. Any­way, wouldn’t it be fan­tas­tic if Photoshop would rec­og­nize the ad­di­tional chan­nels hid­den in the deep re­cesses of the EXR file? And in turn, you could con­trol them? It’d be a boon for con­cept artists. You know, those guys who cre­ate amaz­ing art­work, but may not spend a ton of time in com­posit­ing soft­ware. Those guys who just want your 3D ren­der to start paint­ing it up. They don’t want to spend time ex­tract­ing out the chan­nels in some other pro­gram.

So, the good peo­ple at 3d-io, have created EXR-io to help out with this.

Exr-IO is a Photoshop plugin that just rec­og­nizes when you are open­ing an EXR file and brings up a di­a­logue to ask what you want to do with it. And then it pulls out all of the chan­nel data and puts it into in­di­vid­ual lay­ers for you to com­bine (with lin­ear dodge trans­fer mode) and then ma­nip­u­late. You can mask out se­lected ar­eas of spec­u­lar, for ex­am­ple. Or, even cooler, you can get un­der passes to paint on the global il­lu­mi­na­tion or light­ing passes, which changes the qual­ity of the base color with­out af­fect­ing your high­lights.

Af­ter a con­cept paint-up is signed off, the PSD can be sent to Nuke as a guide­line for the com­pos­i­tor, or even back to 3D, so more fun­da­men­tal changes can be made to the tex­tures and shaders. Or even as your fi­nal, amaz­ing im­age to post to De­viantArt.

And it’s free from

Warn­ing: Keep in mind that the color and math in­side Photoshop is a bit dif­fer­ent than the lin­ear color work­flows in Nuke and Fu­sion. So pay at­ten­tion if you are work­ing with other soft­ware. Exr-IO has some train­ing on the site for such things. But, if you are a Photoshop artist who just wants to make cool art­work!? Have at it!

mon gra­di­ent-type pro­cesses, but ad­di­tion­ally, roto masks will seam­lessly blend be­tween one an­other while cre­at­ing depth maps of highly com­plex scenes.

And re­mem­ber, all th­ese Sil­hou­ette-cen­tric tasks, are just the strong foun­da­tion which lives within a full-fledged com­pos­i­tor. It prices out at about $2,000, which may seem spendy in a world of monthly sub­scrip­tion soft­ware, but it places it­self firmly be­tween Fu­sion (free) and NukeX ($8,000).

Con­tinue on page 48

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