what this button does?
That's an exposure control for the viewer. If you need to see a subtle difference in shadow detail, you can crank up the exposure to better evaluate. You can quickly reset exposure by clicking the aperture icon. Any exposure adjustments here affect the viewer panel only; they will not render.
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
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cool, but in which circumstances you use it?
Re-read Walter's comment, but slowly this time. He tells you the exact circumstance under which you would use this.
We use it a lot to check black levels and white levels - or more accurately "near" black levels and "near" white levels.
The eye is terrible at seeing differences in the shoulder and toe of a luminance curve so "almost" black can look like true black - depending on your monitor, the lighting conditions, the color space you are working etc. It used to be. back in optical effects days, the compositing work might look fine in the theater, but once it got to TV the garbage mattes and compositing in the shadows stood out like... well, bad mattes!
Its still true today but for different reasons. Everyone it seems has their monitors and their TVs tuned up to something different. Even theatre projectors are often "goosed" just to get a bit more brightness out of a cheaper projector. ('cause as every knows a brighter image is a better image right? No!) Then there's the ever present compression on things. Any of these can bring slight differences between levels into glaring focus. If you have ever seen an FX shot and gone, "I just don't know whats wrong with it but it just doesn't look right", it's usually poorly matched black levels within the composited elements.
That button is also great for seeing possible banding. It might look fine in your 16bit comp but compress it a few times and it will look like the growth rings of a tree.
When working with raw footage you can also use that button to see just how much head room you have left before crushing the shot to get that Game of Thrones blue or Matrix green effect.
thank you for the long answer Steve.
If you have reading material or tutorials you know about this it will also help.
I'm trying to get more into compositing, but now days people seem not to care about the craft.
they learn the tools but they don't know what they are doing.
I don't have any quick fix tutorials at my finger tips (others might). I've been doing this so long I've learned the hard way - embarrassment!
But you could do worse than subscribe to CineFx magazine. The current volumes are fun and, in a way, informative but these days the articles are mostly about the special plug-in the number crunchers custom programmed for this-or-that particle effect, or describing software that you can neither afford, nor get your hands on even if you had the money... and the budgets.... good lord, the budgets!. So fun, for sure, but helpful?....not so much.
BUT, with a subscription you get access to all the back issues (except one if memory serves). Seeing how we used to make movies can inform in ways you can't imagine. (and at a time when the articles showed the full monty, warts and all). The work was hard and we were proud that it was hard so even the mistakes were cause for celebration and photo-ops. And seeing all of us struggle at the beginnings of the digital crossover will give you insights into what we wanted the tools to do and what problems they finally solved (that we couldn't back then).
The best analogy I can give is: watch someone trying to put a lawn mower together from a array of parts. Watch them fail repeatedly and then succeed. Now that you've seen that, when the lawn mower won't start you'll have a better idea what to do. You don't have to be the engineer who designed it, but it gives you a glimpse under the hood, an appreciation of what makes it go and how the parts mesh together. Software today is all under the hood, under lock and key. But it wasn't back then.
The best lessons are the mistakes others have made, (and yours of course). Bad shots in spite of good efforts also inform in immeasurable ways. Watch the movies the article is about, then read the article, then watch the movie again with new insight.
Physics hasn't changed (except that crazy dark-matter thing) so the concepts we used back in the film/miniature/optical-printer days are the same concepts we use now. The only difference is the tools can sit on your desk now and you get to see results instantly. Back when, you had to know much more about composition, lenses, colorimitry and physics because you couldn't see the results as you made things, and budgets wouldn't let you try too many times to get it right. It had to be right the first or second time. These skills are still needed but can be fudged due to the trial and error aspect of instant feedback. (and the FX supervisor over your shoulder saying "no the gravity point is over there" - he'll hire you more often if he doesn't have to do that all the time - I'm... er... he's a busy guy!)
Other than that, it depends on what interests you.
Animation? Study nature and classic animators. Look at things frame by frame. Take an acting class; as an animator you are the actor. And even if you are a digital animator, draw draw draw. For all things, use a pencil before computer. The computer will constrain your creativity. Get as close to the end product as you can.
Compositor: Get a camera and shoot shoot shoot. Then get your hands dirty. Seeing what makes a good green screen requires you to work with a few bad ones (that you thought were ok). Give yourself really hard stuff to do - water, smoke, blondes on greenscreen, fast moving blurry stuff - you don't have to solve these perfectly, but you will invent all sorts of tricks to get around the problems: arrows in your quiver that will probably create a great composite when you are handed half decent footage. They'll think you a wizard!
FX artist? Play! Every one is following tutorials these days so when a new "effect" comes out, it shows up everywhere. We call it "plug-in-itus". ("Can we have the Matrix falling green rain effect?" "Sure, get in that long line over there with everyone else who wants it.")
Design first and then collect the tools (or invent them) that you need to see your vision through - otherwise it's just copying. The guy who gets to work on the big box or Inferno or Saber is the guy who every one stands around watching and murmuring to themselves, "Jeez I would never have thought of that" or " how is he making that look... OMG that's so simple but look at it!" He's probably not any better than you, but I'll bet he's played more.
Finally, and after dragging you through what really should be the basics these days - but never is - here are a few shortcuts. I think the guys at Grayscale Gorilla and Andrew Kramer over at VideoCopilot go above and beyond in their videos - not only what button to push, but why. How the science behind the button and the world works.
Its never never never about the buttons you push. Its about art, and science and the world and the emotion in the shot.
I'll stop now, my soapbox has collapsed due to bad workmanship.
I'll check about cineFX
but what do you think about FXGUIDE that is from FXPHD?
Many tutorials show you how sharp the chisel is, where to put the chisel, even what angle to put the chisel on. But they don't show you what the wood is made of and why the chisel has to be put on that angle or how to use the chisel to cut against the grain. Or that you don't need that particular chisel or what if it's not wood you're trying to cut.
The fact that there is a big red button that does something doesn't tell you much about the result or how that button plays with others. Or more importantly when not to use the button.
Every shot is different. Get to know the science and you can apply that to every shot regardless whether you have a red button or a blue one.
Learn to drive and you can pretty much drive any car. All cars have the same buttons just in different places.
There's a reason the Masters got their students to mix paints and prepare canvases for years before they were allowed to hold a brush. The brush is just the tool. The paint's what its all about. Whether you use a brush or your fingers or a feather or newtons first law.
And yes that was a comment on your FXGuide question. Have I mixed enough metaphors yet?