some notes from the Toronto Nuke User Group

The Nuke User Group was held on Tuesday.  It took a bit to plan out, but it came together nicely.  There were three presenters.  From The Foundry, Deke Kincaid showed off the new features of Nuke 8.  

I've been using Nuke 8 for about a month now, and it feels like an evolutionary release, not a revolutionary one.  I guess I've been spoiled by the last few years, it feels like every release since The Foundry took over development has been massive.  Versions 6.3 and 7 were especially strong, containing tools that I use on a daily basis.

With version 8, it felt a bit like they were taking a breath and fixing things that had been overlooked for years.  A much improved help system, improvements to the dope sheet, a text node that wasn't embarrassing are all worthwhile developments.  One of the biggest things for me is the fact that Quicktimes now render without shifting the colour and gamma (at least in my tests), which is a huge deal.  There was no tool that blew my mind like seeing the improved Point Cloud Generator in version 7, or the Deep Compositing in 6.3.  Maybe the closest thing is the Blink Script, which seems very impressive with it's flexibility.  I don't know the first thing about coding, so putting in the time investment to start learning the basics seems pretty daunting.

Once Deke was done, Alex Branton from Mr.X showed a very cool Python tool he made.  They had several shots that required fire to be placed on cards.  There was so much fire that just placing the cards in the correct 3D space was taking a lot of time.  The lighters would create Locaters for where the fires should be placed in Maya.  Then when Alex would import the geometry in Nuke, his tool would read the position of the locators and position everything correctly, placing the fire footage on the cards.  It's much more impressive than what I'm typing here, it was pretty spectacular to see in action.  The basics of the shot were roughed in very quickly, and there was lots of built in flexibility to edit things.

When Alex finished up, Adrian Sutherland from Spin came up and showed four shots from the series The Borgias.  He broke down the shots in a lot of detail, describing how Spin outputted their 3D passes, how they put together their matte paintings, and how they leveraged Nuke's particle system for crowd duplication.  

All and all, I think it was a really good night and I think everyone came away with some new knowledge, or some new tips or tricks they could use.  I was very pleased to see how all the different companies came together to help with the presentations and hosting.