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The difference between all of these compositing and VFX programs?

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Richard Cali
The difference between all of these compositing and VFX programs?
on Jul 28, 2012 at 7:22:27 pm

I'm an amateur editor using FCP X and after effects but I'm interested in learning more about vfx/compositing/motion graphics.

Can someone explain the differences between after effects, smoke, flame, nuke, any other program I missed, their intended market(film/tv/games), and the advantages or disadvantages of each one?


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Walter Soyka
Re: The difference between all of these compositing and VFX programs?
on Jul 30, 2012 at 2:08:29 pm

Richard, this is a very big question. If you can focus it a bit more, you can get a more focused answer.

Briefly, AE is a layer-based compositing, visual effects, and motion graphics application. It's a desktop tool with broad appeal. It is very capable across a broad spectrum of tasks, but aside from the new ray-tracing renderer, it has no true 3D environment for compositing. AE also has no real-time features.

Smoke is a creative finishing tool -- an NLE with effects modules built-in. It is designed to allow the operator to stay entirely within Smoke for editing, color correction, paint, and effects work. It is traditionally used as the last step in post production, often "finishing" work started on FCP or Avid. Smoke 2013 for Mac is currently in a free public pre-release beta (through the end of the year).

Flame is Autodesk's high-end nodal compositor and effects system, again geared toward finishing. It's often the "hero box" on TVCs (television commercials) and broadcast design jobs due to its enormous power and focus on real-time effects and fast workflows, but it's very, very expensive compared with these others(over $100,000). Flame Premium includes Smoke and Lustre (color grading). It's sold as a turnkey system.

Nuke is a shot-based, nodal compositor. It's very commonly used in film and television pipelines. It's much more focused on compositing than AE is, and has a weaker toolset for motion graphics, but stronger toolsets for 3D and stereo compositing.

One that's absent from the list is Fusion, which is a nodal compositor very similar to Nuke. There are also other finishing systems like DS, Pablo, Mistika, and Piranha.

The advantages and disadvantages of each are really relative to the needs of the project you're working on.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ramandeep Singh Basuta
Re: The difference between all of these compositing and VFX programs?
on Aug 8, 2015 at 7:56:03 am

Sir can u tell me if i am high professional compositor. How much salary i can get for annually. Sir please watch my show reel and tell me where my mind is gonig . Is this is good fr me and my future. Sir plz tell what will be good for me in my future.this is my show reel link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ncf0nKooMk)

ALSO i am sending you what i want to make in my dream job this the link in the starting blue screen all work i want to make and i want to do this type of things in my future carrer and also (https://vimeo.com/118518691) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJYuTfJ_QfY) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYzGhNkNBWs) Sir please tell me what course i should choose in my future and which software will be good for my dream job plz reply me as soon as possible.


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Paul Esteves
Re: The difference between all of these compositing and VFX programs?
on Aug 8, 2015 at 11:14:07 am

A showreel can't be 10 minutes, I watched 1 minute and got too frustrated and closed it. I don't need to see you putting all the elements on an off.. Just the final shots.


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Ramandeep Singh Basuta
Re: The difference between all of these compositing and VFX programs?
on Aug 8, 2015 at 3:51:36 pm

I am sorry sir . You got frustrated by me . But sir i will upload my final view of one minute as soon as possible. I will again request you.

THANKYOU SO MUCH,

Ramandeep Singh Basuta


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