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Is Shake still a Rock Star?

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Christopher Meurer
Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 3, 2010 at 8:00:01 am

Hi guys,

I posted this to the Shake Forum and never received a response so I'm moving it here. Let me first say that I am new to advanced compositing. I understand blend modes, and 2d compositing, but advanced green screen (breaking apart channels and combining multiple mattes) and 3d/multi-pass compositing is not my expertise.

My question:

Is Shake still a good choice for an affordable compositing app? I know it has no longer been available from Apple for a while now, but I'm still feeling (based on my poking around) that it is still in the game especially for how inexpensive it is. I'm full service, I shoot and edit HD and I currently use Final Cut Studio 2, DV Garage's Conduit Plug-in for Motion/FCP and Zaxwerks Pro Animator FX Plug in for Motion/FCP. I'm currently involved in a rather large Green Screen project where I really need to take advantage of a Nodal Compositor's ability to "build from scratch". I am confident that Conduit can easily do what I need to do which is to simply create and combine Core/Edge mattes however training for Conduit seems to be non existent besides the basic green screen tutorials that they have on the DV Garage website. It seems that Shake would be a logical stepping stone and the literature seems to be much more accessible. Should I head toward Shake? Even if I only get a year out of it, I'm thinking it will be worth it for the learning experience.

Thanks guys and so sorry for the length of this post!

Chris

...in the words of Matthew McConaughey...j.k. livin!


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Rafael Amador
Re: Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 3, 2010 at 3:51:25 pm

SHAKE rocks as the first day.
Is a solid application with some of the best filters ever designed.
As you point the possibilities that working with nodes offers are endless.
There are many free plugins available and if you decide to purchase it, don't miss this:

http://www.phyxware.com/Shake_01a.html

rafael


http://www.nagavideo.com


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Robb Harriss
Re: Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 3, 2010 at 3:53:29 pm

It's probably overkill for a lot of what you're doing, but it's a great tool. What's happened is that so many elements in the other modules have caught up in capability, so you'd go to something like Shake only if you needed it. But if you can get your hands on a copy for cheap, get it. That's what I did when we upgraded to FCS2. We hardly ever open it, though.

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 3, 2010 at 5:19:25 pm

Shake is a Rock Star in the way that someone like Eric Burdon is still a rock star. You find that he's playing at your local dingy club, you go on a lark, and you have one of the best musical experiences of your life.

Shake still works, Shake is still used in top of the line VFX shops on "A" pictures (although it is being displaced by Nuke and the like). And if you spend a few minutes googling "Apple Shake", you can probably find a "factory new" shrink wrapped copy of Shake for around $400.

Look up Andrew Shanks' keying tutorials in the Shake forum here on the Cow. It's a great start for understanding how to build a key.

And you can find some good free plugins for Shake here: http://www.creativecrash.com/shake/home

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Christopher Meurer
Re: Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:56:15 pm

Thanks for the thoughts guys, I appreciate it! I am definitely going to pick up a copy of Shake since it's so cheap. (plus everyday I'm constantly pushing myself further and further outside of my niche, more skills=more work=more opportunity to be creative) Last question about this topic and then I'm letting it rest.
How do you guys feel about Conduit from DV Garage? That's what I've been using for a few years and it's been great. I feel like it really has some build from scratch capabilities. It's great... until you run into a special case scenario and have no resources to help you find out how to accomplish the task you need to accomplish. Let's use, as an example, the job I'm on now. Talent was shot head to toe in front of green screen, professionally lit on a large studio cyc. Talent is wearing crazy copper colored costumes all shiny and reflective, they have crazy 80's hair swirling everywhere and are wearing red boots that come off to the camera as super saturated and reflective. On top of it all they are dancing so now we are adding a lot of motion to the mix. I have a lot of experience shooting green screen and this raises nearly every red flag but unfortunately after many attempts all of these costume nightmares are not up for negotiation, so after a few, nay, many curses in my head towards the man in charge aka client, we shoot and I go get busy in the edit bay. To make a long story short, after a trip through Color adding multiple secondaries including one for these ridiculous red boots, I'm off to Motion where I use the Conduit plugin to successfully key everything (even the crazy hair) everything.... except those damn red boots. The boots have a Halo around them and I don't want to sacrifice my whole key to get these things perfect. So based on my research and limited knowledge I come up with the idea to combine my matte with another matte limited to just the boots and choke the matte only on that portion of the image. My biggest issue is that I can't find any in depth tutorials on advanced compositing using Conduit (hence my interest in Shake) Are there any books out there that really go into detail about Channel Separation and Edge Blur and Combining a dozen Mattes or do I need to find the guy in the back alley with the secret handshake? Even a book on compositing theory would be great. Fyi the client is more than happy with the results I've come up with for this project but I'm one of those guys that wants my work to always shine if nothing more than to know how to get past this if it ever comes up again.

Thank Again!




...in the words of Matthew McConaughey...j.k. livin!


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:52:27 pm

[Christopher Meurer] "or do I need to find the guy in the back alley with the secret handshake?"

I think you need to be the guy in the back alley with the secret handshake.

For the record, I like Conduit, but it's not Shake. One of the most powerful features in software like Shake or Nuke is that you can plug a mask into any node to limit it's effect to the area inside or outside of the mask. Conduit does not have this type of feature, IMO it's a big setback.

There's also no simple way to choke a matte in Conduit. You need to do something like blur the matte and use a Gamma node to choke it out or in.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Rafael Amador
Re: Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 4, 2010 at 3:31:58 am

[Christopher Meurer] " To make a long story short, after a trip through Color adding multiple secondaries including one for these ridiculous red boots, I'm off to Motion where I use the Conduit plugin to successfully key everything"
Christopher,
You don't pull a key after making the Color Correction.
That complicates the things.
Pull the key from the raw footage.
Keep the Alpha channel and apply it to the Color Corrected stuff.
rafael



http://www.nagavideo.com


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Christopher Meurer
Re: Is Shake still a Rock Star?
on Apr 4, 2010 at 3:56:08 am

I agree. This was a special case where I had sooo many difficult edges on my talent that I needed to make sure my green background was flawless and I find that for me anyway, Color is quick and easy and offers more control to select specific colors. Also Color will spit out 10 bit ProRes where as my source was 8 bit DVCPRO HD. Normally, I do follow the conventional workflow of pulling the key from the raw footage.

...in the words of Matthew McConaughey...j.k. livin!


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