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Question about After Effects, best 3D program to use, and Node based compositors.

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John Frank
Question about After Effects, best 3D program to use, and Node based compositors.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:09:10 am

Hey, I've been using Premier,Sony Vegas & After Effects,Mocha for a while now, but I would like to learn some new tools.

I was searching the web for the best 3D program to use for AE and came across Node based compositors and people saying they are better.

Could anyone tell me why Nuke / Fusion is better then After Effects? I looked up some info and they seem interesting I want to try and learn one if they can offer something After Effects can't.

As for the 3D program, I am searching for one I can use easily with AE and I don't need to take too long to learn.

I like to use the easy to learn tools, I don't need industry standard stuff like Avid (god the demo of that was a nightmare) So I don't want to try and learn any super complicated 3D programs lol and is Nuke or Fusion hard to learn compared to After Effects? Such as comparing Avid to Sony Vegas or so


Thanks.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Question about After Effects, best 3D program to use, and Node based compositors.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 1:17:55 pm

[John Frank] "Hey, I've been using Premier,Sony Vegas & After Effects,Mocha for a while now, but I would like to learn some new tools."

John, please let me turn your question back around on you. You've said you want to learn some new tools, but what sort of work do you want to do? If you want to drive nails, I would recommend a hammer over a screwdriver.


[John Frank] "I was searching the web for the best 3D program to use for AE and came across Node based compositors and people saying they are better. Could anyone tell me why Nuke / Fusion is better then After Effects? I looked up some info and they seem interesting I want to try and learn one if they can offer something After Effects can't."

After Effects and Nuke are both compositors, but After Effects is layer- and timeline-based, while Nuke is node-based. In AE, you drive the composite by positioning layers vertically over a horizontal timeline. In Nuke, you connect nodes together in a graph, with each node performing an operation and the way in which you connect them determining the signal flow.

As a massive overgeneralization, AE is "better" for combining multiple elements over time, and Nuke offers more control over combining many elements within the same shot. AE makes motion graphics work very easy, but it makes complicated composites relatively hard because layers are less flexible than nodes. Nuke has a true 3D system (unlike AE's 2.5D system), and is the industry standard in advanced film and television compositing. I don't really see them as competitive products; I see them as complementary.



[John Frank] "As for the 3D program, I am searching for one I can use easily with AE and I don't need to take too long to learn."

In my opinion, Maxon Cinema 4D has the best After Effects integration and a relatively shallow learning curve, but 3D itself can be challenging to learn with any application. You will need to invest time learning 3D principles regardless of which application you choose.

If you're not sure if you want to commit to 3D yet, pick a copy of Blender, an open-source, free 3D application. It's quite good, and everything you learn about 3D with Blender will translate to another application if you choose something else later.

You could also do some 3D work within After Effects with tools like Mettle ShapeShifter AE and Zaxwerks Invigorator.


[John Frank] "I like to use the easy to learn tools, I don't need industry standard stuff like Avid (god the demo of that was a nightmare) So I don't want to try and learn any super complicated 3D programs lol and is Nuke or Fusion hard to learn compared to After Effects? Such as comparing Avid to Sony Vegas or so"

I wouldn't say that a 3D app is hard to learn, or that Nuke or Fusion is hard to learn; I'd say that 3D modeling, texturing, and lighting is hard to learn, and compositing is hard to learn. The apps you're asking about are very flexible and very powerful, but in order to take advantage of that flexibility and power, the operator needs to understand the concepts that the tools rely on.

You can do amazing work with any of the tools we've mentioned -- including the ones you already have -- but you will have to put in some time to learn what they do and how to use them. There are no shortcuts.

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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Michael Szalapski
Re: Question about After Effects, best 3D program to use, and Node based compositors.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 3:02:38 pm

Everything Walter said +1

Node based is great for compositing, but not so much for motion graphics. A lot of what you can do in Nuke, you can do in AE. Some things much faster, some things will take a bit longer.

As far as 3d programs go, I picked up Cinema 4D for work and, while there is a learning curve, it was relatively painless. The integration with After Effects is absolutely amazing. If you want to do motion graphics, C4D has a ton of great options and tools specifically for it.
But it's still going to be complicated. 3d is. No getting around it. Cinema 4d is just a bit easier than the others.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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