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Gentlemen, start your Houdinis!

Or was it engines? Or even Houdini Engines? ;-) Yepp, as per this it’s coming to a Cinema 4D near you. Kinda interesting but weird at the same time – given how SideFX have reduced their pricing in recent years it would almost make more sense to get the real thing. Too bad that the market is down for second hand Cinema licenses. Otherwise I’d probably jump the chance and get Houdini

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Egg Head

One of those questions that I see regularly on forums is how to make splines inside MoGraph Cloners respond to deformers. In the setup provided below you can find one possible solution. The added benefit is that this setup is fully dynamic and can respond even to animation. Enjoy!

Wire Nest

Wire Nest Setup

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The Grid is here!

As I’ve been writing in my comparison article, I’ve been getting somewhat into modo‘s particles and while I’m still far from being a master, at least I now have an understanding how it ticks and now know how to structure my work. As a challenge to myself I tried to re-create this ever popular setup.

YouTube version here.

For now this is the simple version without fancy matrix stuff to rotate the entire system or create variable branching angles, but there’s always the chance that that might happen one day. A few parameters can be set via the Controller item’s custom channels, the others directly on the respective particle items, which actually is much more intuitive than having to set up tons of user data in Cinema 4D just to link it to the internal XPresso/ Thinking Particles stuff. The only downside is that modo doesn’t have a tracer yet to create more persistent paths and you have to use another awful lot of particles for that. Play around a bit for different looks and don’t forget to let it cache before you render. On a side note, you can also create this easily with X-ParticlesDirection modifier set to Network mode…

Perpendicular Grid for modo 701

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I see Nodes (lots of them)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know about my obsession about data graphics such as my custom relationship diagram using Plexus as well as my interest in fake UI stuff in movies and what could be better when both go together? The new version of Yanobox Nodes looks pretty rad. Too bad it’s only running on Mac or else I sure would love to spend some time with this. Well, I guess I should start dusting off my old Plexus projects and implement some of that…

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The better NAB News

When last I speculated on what The Foundry might be up to anything could have happened and here we are sort of expectedly unexpected. While the introduction of Nuke Studio may count as valid news, it didn’t really come as that much of a surprise if you connected the dots between Hiero and Nuke. That is to say that a unified/ integrated product either partially or fully based on the technology has long been in everyone’s mind one way or the other. For now we have little more to go on than the FXGuide article, but this could change quite a few things in the compositing world. The only real problem will be that they need to find a way to actually make it affordable for a larger crowd. Speaking of which… Autodesk are trying that now by making all their products subscription-based and radically dropping some prices as well. I’d say the race is on…

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Really random NAB stuff

Yepp, NAB is one of those times of the year abuzz with all sorts of random news, so let’s have a look.

First, we have HitFilm turning the effects inside their program of same name into a collection of plug-ins for After Effects. The funny thing is one would have to say “again” ‘cos when they still called themselves FXHome they already tried that with some stuff, but somehow then they probably misjudged the marked for muzzle flashes and it never seemed to have taken off like they wished. ;-) Anyway, while personally I don’t find much in their collection that I couldn’t already do with the tools I have at hand it’s a good place to start to get your feet moist if you do not have the Trapcode plug-ins or a specific more expensive suite like Sapphire or BCC. At something like 500 bucks with further special discounts and promos to be expected it’s easy enough to add to your arsenal.

Elsewhere Maxon are taking over the world by expanding Cineware into VizRT. Now I’m only waiting for it to show up in Nuke and the world is coming to an end. Could that be the big announcement The Foundry have promised for next Monday? I guess we’ll have to see. Speaking of Nuke, Mr. mocha “Mamoworld” Mathias Möhl (my, that’s a lot of Ms in there!) has re-created his import tools for that program. Finally, which is only tangentially related, The Foundry also have updated Mari to version 2.6 and people already get a bit crazy over the new BRDF shader for more realism…

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It is 2014…

…and here I am, trying to muster up even the tiniest bit of enthusiasm over the latest After Effects version that soon will hit a Creative Cloud near you. Yepp, it’s once more one of those…. As I wrote a few days ago it’s full of those things that would have gotten people excited 10 years ago, but these days it just feels kinda “So what?”. So what’s the damage?

First, of course, and Adobe are selling this as the big thing, is direct access to text in After Effects projects from Premiere Pro and at the same time being able to share mask data between the programs. The irony here is that the “After Effects is the best title generator for Premiere.” joke is now more true than ever.

The next feature is the per-effect masking. While I’m not denying that this will be useful in avoiding tons of pre-comps just to isolate areas to be processed with different effects, it feels like they added it as a “shut up” feature to please and appease certain crowds that generally don’t bother that much with structuring their work too much and want to do everything with one layer and a mask. Typical “editor porn”, so to speak, which kinda fits the theme.

The spill suppressor and key cleanup effects also somehow fall into that category, but the good thing is that between Rotobrush and all those auxiliaries the basic matte generating tool set is pretty complete and perhaps now they can finally find the time to actually get to work on truly trackable masks and a new paint system to go with it.

Anything else? Yeah, they also once more worked on the EXR loaders and finally the performance reaches a level of being bearably usable, but I feel there is still plenty of room left performance-wise.

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