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ehoch
01-18-2006, 02:51 PM
Last night I attended a demo for Combustion 4 and was very impressed. So impressed, in fact that I am considering switching from After Effects. It's time to make a new purchase anyhow.

We do a lot of compositing of CGI layers (from Maya) and motion graphics, but relatively little of compositing CGI onto practical plates (all on OSX). Which program will give better workflow and performance? What do the AE users think?

I sat through 2 hours of hype for Combustion, so I am turning to AE enthusiasts for some counter-hype.

ps- is anybody in the position to make a direct comparison between the two? Some benchmarking would be very helpful.

Vympel
01-18-2006, 03:25 PM
You use the MAC the Shake is a good option for Compositing. The Combustion have a good tools for compositing and 3D post effects. More apparently the MACOSX is not the best environment to use the Combustion

Mylenium
01-18-2006, 05:44 PM
Last night I attended a demo for Combustion 4 and was very impressed. So impressed, in fact that I am considering switching from After Effects. It's time to make a new purchase anyhow.

We do a lot of compositing of CGI layers (from Maya) and motion graphics, but relatively little of compositing CGI onto practical plates (all on OSX). Which program will give better workflow and performance? What do the AE users think?

I sat through 2 hours of hype for Combustion, so I am turning to AE enthusiasts for some counter-hype.

ps- is anybody in the position to make a direct comparison between the two? Some benchmarking would be very helpful.

I'm sure you're gonna miss AE if you're motion graphics stuff in combustion*. From my toying around with the demo versions I found it limited compared to AE for that type of work. The text tools are nowhere near as intuitive as in AE, nesting and sub-comps are quirky to use IMO, what they call expressions is rather underpowered and there are severe integration issues (using Illustrator files is extremely prone to crashing).

Funily when looking at combustion* I see a tool that is more meant for combining real plates with CG - it has great keyers, wonderful color correction tools, masking and painting is much easier and more powerful and on top of that you get the cool particles (but it could be argued that one can always get such functionality as a plugin or the standalone particleIllusion). So maybe you are really looking in the wrong direction and have the marketing talk let go to your head....

Anyway, just my opinion and I'm definitely biased towards AE.

Mylenium

evanfotis
01-18-2006, 07:49 PM
Unless you want tight intergration with 3dsmax, which obviously is not on Mac platform, I would stick with AE, or as mentioned go with Shake for a node app.

Also have heard that Combustion suffers on the Mac, but have no first hand experience on that.

beenyweenies
01-20-2006, 07:38 AM
Last night I attended a demo for Combustion 4 and was very impressed. So impressed, in fact that I am considering switching from After Effects. It's time to make a new purchase anyhow.

We do a lot of compositing of CGI layers (from Maya) and motion graphics, but relatively little of compositing CGI onto practical plates (all on OSX). Which program will give better workflow and performance? What do the AE users think?

I sat through 2 hours of hype for Combustion, so I am turning to AE enthusiasts for some counter-hype.

ps- is anybody in the position to make a direct comparison between the two? Some benchmarking would be very helpful.

As was mentioned, Combustion is cool if you are using Max due to the direct integration, but short of that I WAY prefer AE. I've used both pretty extensively and from a workflow/intuitive tools perspective AE definitely wins. I liked certain elements of Combustion, but some are not too practical. For example, the integrated partical illusion is nice but people are gonna start getting REAL sick of seeing P.I. "shwings" on its default settings.
Just doing basic tasks in combustion seem more complex to me, but maybe that's my longer history with apps like AE talking. Setting up effects and keyframing are far less intuitive, at times downright annoying for anything more complex than start/end keyframing. Combustion seems like it wants to be as complex as it's older brother Inferno, but without the actual features such apps give you for all that added learning curve.
Finally, the node-based environment of combustion (which I do like) is a definite change in workflow that one cannot just adopt overnight. It will change how you work, like it or not, so give yourself some lead time to adapt before leaping feat first into serious productions.

Vympel
01-20-2006, 12:41 PM
The Combustion is a layer based like the After Effects, the schematic View of Combustion is a "bonus". You can work using the workspace tab equal in AE (timeline). The toolset of Combustion have tools that facilitate some tasks like color correction, mask/paint and others tasks available in AE only for plugins that no always they are integrated with interface of software like the Color Finesse

ehoch
01-20-2006, 02:25 PM
I appreciate everyone who has responded.

My plan right now is to work through one sequence on the demo versions of both, once the AE7 demo comes out. In the meantime, everyone's opinion is important to me, so please keep them coming.

my thoughts so far: I think I will enjoy the workflow of Combustion more because my weapon of choice is Shake, and they are more similar. But I am concerned about what has been mentioned about Combustion "suffering on the Mac". More to follow...

dragon_little
01-20-2006, 04:25 PM
as I heard, Discreet did a lot of improvements to speed up combustion on a mac. version 3 was so slow on my powerbook ... oh god, but 4 should be as fast as AE on a mac. But as anybody said before, try out Shake, itīs a top and easy comp software

imageworkdesign
01-20-2006, 08:30 PM
I have just ordered AE7 and have just installed an upgrade for Combustion 4.... on OSX.4

I love the Combustion interface and speed in 4 is a little bit better on the whole...

However AE is still faster overall and can import Maya camera data once the camera move is baked in Maya.

I just wish AE had a process tree of Combustions calibre and the ability to work in that node kind of way that us Maya guys love.... but hey the lack of tree in AE maybe what makes it faster?

I think the best answer is to use both... it's fairly easy to switch between the two... it's horses for courses really!

Regards Garry

:applause:

imageworkdesign
01-20-2006, 09:53 PM
Oh yes... the other thing that can give AE a speed advantage is that you can make layers 3D or 2D layers independently of each other....

In combustion the whole workspace/composition has to be 3D in order to animate layers in that way.... this slows it down considerably.... working in a 2D workspace is much faster.

Garry :cry:

micrypt
01-20-2006, 10:04 PM
Fusion 5 anyone?

mlmiller1983
01-21-2006, 01:36 AM
Fusion 5 anyone?

I have heard many good things about Fusion 5, never used it but I want to.

ehoch
01-21-2006, 02:30 PM
Let's please limit our discussion to After Effects 7 and Combustion 4 (or anything at the $1,000 US price point). Although I would love the consider Shake and Digital Fusion, price is of the essence, and I need to biggest bang for a lower-tier price.

evanfotis
01-21-2006, 04:51 PM
ehoch,
are you familiar with Photoshop's interface?

Well that alone is one of the most important reasons AE has such a broad user group.

When I got into mograph, I wanted a Photoshop in action.
Well that is After Effects.

As for Combustion:
Although I've been using 3dsmax for years and feel at home with its interface(3dsmax one), and although when I first saw screenshots of Combustion with that dark-gray minimal uncluttered interface I went WOW! this is serious stuff...
You know, I cannot work in there... dunno why.. it seems to me, unesessery hidden items, that make it difficult for me to be productive.

If I had known Combustion before AE and had got acustomed to it... maybe I would hate AE window/palette clutter- which now in v7 is a non issue, 'cause the fixed it.

Bottom line:
Download the demos of both.
Try them.
Buy whichever suits you...

vand
01-21-2006, 05:07 PM
i work on AE best ever compositing system for PC
more users beginners learn it easily
less complication for creating amazing stuff
Adobe shortcuts rule everywhere
no plugin compatibity issues
realtime sound preview and sound fx/editing integrated
almost every file gets imported and exported
best for mograph

I agree with AFX

beenyweenies
01-22-2006, 01:10 AM
ehoch,
are you familiar with Photoshop's interface?

Well that alone is one of the most important reasons AE has such a broad user group.

When I got into mograph, I wanted a Photoshop in action.
Well that is After Effects.

As for Combustion:
Although I've been using 3dsmax for years and feel at home with its interface(3dsmax one), and although when I first saw screenshots of Combustion with that dark-gray minimal uncluttered interface I went WOW! this is serious stuff...
You know, I cannot work in there... dunno why.. it seems to me, unesessery hidden items, that make it difficult for me to be productive.

If I had known Combustion before AE and had got acustomed to it... maybe I would hate AE window/palette clutter- which now in v7 is a non issue, 'cause the fixed it.

Bottom line:
Download the demos of both.
Try them.
Buy whichever suits you...

My feelings exactly. Things seem unnecessarily rough to find or do. As I said before, it's almost as if Combustion inherited the workspace of it's elder brother Inferno, but without all the high end features that require such a burly, multi-layered interface.

Oh, and it was the color/layout of Combustion's interface that got my attention as well. Thing is, you can change AE's interface to look like that pretty easily.

Aneks
01-22-2006, 03:43 AM
On a macintosh paltform you will most likely find AE 7 faster for gui interactivity and handling of large files. Ie lots of layers. Especially if you are pre-composing properly and working smart in AE. I have used the demo of Combustion v4 recently and while it is faster than v3 on a mac I was disappointede overall.

In my personal experience, AE's support for layered photoshop files, vector paths and general quality of speed and filters make it a much more pleasent motion graphics tool. If combining 3d and graphic elements is your primary business I think After Effects will be much better suited to your needs. Especially since you are using Maya as your 3d app .rpf in your comp app will offer no real benefit.

As for the 'node' based ability of combustion, it is really not worth mentioning. Having become acustomed to node based compositing before I did any serious work in it, I found it terrible and limiting to work in the schmatic view. A number of things are simply not accessable.

I would also strongly discourage you looking at Shake as a motion graphics tool. I use it as my primary compositor when doing VFX work but I have a licence of AE 6.5 on my machine as well specifically for any motion graphics jobs that coem across my desk !

tfortier
01-24-2006, 02:08 AM
Im a old flame/inferno user who did a lot of combustion... it suck! (well... for me!) they put out all the good features from other discreet softwares except the base and its not enough!

After effects is a clear winner except for tracking... even the easy Keylight keyer give excellent result on multi-layers key.

you can do in one hour in AE what you can do in 5 hour in combustion (for motion design)...

maybe Toxic better!

pixelmonk
01-25-2006, 04:40 PM
i work on AE best ever compositing system for PC
more users beginners learn it easily
less complication for creating amazing stuff
Adobe shortcuts rule everywhere
no plugin compatibity issues
realtime sound preview and sound fx/editing integrated
almost every file gets imported and exported
best for mograph

I agree with AFX

I disagree with "realtime sound preview" it's still pretty crappy. best for mograph, yes, best ever compositing system for the PC? no.

evanfotis
01-25-2006, 04:50 PM
BTW, how's AE7 support for mp3 files?
Up to now(AE.6.5) I usually convert the audio file to .aif or .wav if I don't want any crash trouble. And always keep the audio layer quality switch to low....

Aneks
01-26-2006, 10:10 PM
I hace used .mp3 a bunch of times in AE 6.5 without any real problems. Admittedly I wasn't doing to much with them but never really had any crash dilemas.

Quantium
02-02-2006, 01:43 AM
I've used both programs, and actually have both programs at the moment. While I just recently picked up AE7, thus giving more time to C4, I find that for total VFX/Compositing work, I really enjoy C4 better. Yes, AE7's interface has been re-designed to look almost exactly like C4's (you AE people know I'm right), but AE still has some catching up to do in terms of the "total package". For one, AE really has no built-in particle effects to speak of, while C4 has all the high quality emitters from PI. This sometimes isn't an issue for people, but I like that fact, saves time jumping between programs. Also, as said before, C4 has way better keyers, and CC. HOWEVER, I still prefer to do titles and anything with text layouts in AE because that's a little easier to do there. Again, I really haven't had a whole lot of time to play around with AE7 yet, but unless you can, I also enjoy C4's main layout, specifically, that you have the whole top half of the screen to see what your working on, while AE's layout has you loose atleast 50% of the workspace because of other sub-menu's and whatnot, that should be locked to the bottom portion. Another thing, I think C4 also has more in the way of support for different formats. Is there any format that C4 doesn't take? I don't think you can use .RPF data in AE can you? I just find that C4, IMO, seems to be just a SLIGHTLY tad more professional in it's presentation and output then AE. Just my opinion, it's up to you in the end.

P.S. I've also experimented with Fusion 5 a little bit, and I find it's interface like trying to decipher Sanskrit. Anybody know some good tutorials just for understanding DF5's interface?:sad:

Vympel
02-02-2006, 02:06 AM
The AE have the best keyers of both softwares, the Keylight its much more fast to obtain good mattes. But for compositing the Combustion have better tools compared with AE (Color corrector, masks, paint, flexible tracker ). The new AE7 have a improved interface, more she continues full of menus, but is possible to control this menus using the presets of workspace. Combustion have a advantage for work with high bit depths over AE, in C4 is possible to control the bit depth using the bit depth converter.

In the eyeonline.comhave a good video tutorials to Fusion5/ Digital Fusion

Mylenium
02-02-2006, 05:11 AM
I've used both programs, and actually have both programs at the moment. While I just recently picked up AE7, thus giving more time to C4, I find that for total VFX/Compositing work, I really enjoy C4 better. Yes, AE7's interface has been re-designed to look almost exactly like C4's (you AE people know I'm right), but AE still has some catching up to do in terms of the "total package".

Agreed


For one, AE really has no built-in particle effects to speak of, while C4 has all the high quality emitters from PI. This sometimes isn't an issue for people, but I like that fact, saves time jumping between programs.

Well, that depends. In comparison to the standalone particleIllusion, Implementation in combustion* is clunky and slow. You can struggle forever just placing emitters right. Also in AE land situation isn't as bad as it may look. Anybody wanting Particle effects can get Particular and several other third party tools. combustion*'s particles are the weakest argument to prefer it over AE.


Also, as said before, C4 has way better keyers, and CC.

That can be argued. Color Finesse is an excellent CC tool and comes with AE Professional. It's just not integrated in the main interface. Keylight is also excellent and it's always been possible to buy Primatte and other tools for AE as well. Even the "old" keyers can produce good results when used cleverly in combination with other tools. combustion* has not necessarily better keyers, but a much more straightforward workflow for this.


HOWEVER, I still prefer to do titles and anything with text layouts in AE because that's a little easier to do there. Again, I really haven't had a whole lot of time to play around with AE7 yet, but unless you can, I also enjoy C4's main layout, specifically, that you have the whole top half of the screen to see what your working on, while AE's layout has you loose atleast 50% of the workspace because of other sub-menu's and whatnot, that should be locked to the bottom portion.

Not really. combustion* can become just as clunky when working on more complex projects, be it just for enlarging the lower are to give more room to the scene tree or better work on the graph editor.

Another thing, I think C4 also has more in the way of support for different formats. Is there any format that C4 doesn't take?

Whoa, got you there. combustion* is completely crap at using more complex Illustrator files. It will load them, but immediately crash if your files contain more than a simple outline and a fill. Even if it can use Illustrator files succesfully, renders will slow to a crawl. AE7 supports blend modes and a lot more and is hell of a lot faster with this sort of stuff.


I don't think you can use .RPF data in AE can you?

You can. Channel Extract and RPF camera import. Needless to say that RPF is a closed source, bastardized Autodesk format, so anybody outside is struggling with using its potential. That easily explains why combustion* is better at using it.


P.S. I've also experimented with Fusion 5 a little bit, and I find it's interface like trying to decipher Sanskrit. Anybody know some good tutorials just for understanding DF5's interface?:sad:

Huh? It's that dead simple. Try and watch some of the demo videos and you will easily get to grips with it. Haven't got Fusion myself, but when I played with it just for a few hours at a friendly company, I felt at home immediately.

Mylenium

evanfotis
02-02-2006, 06:09 AM
Anybody know some good tutorials just for understanding DF5's interface?
Check out this site:
http://www.cmivfx.com/
http://www.cmivfx.com/tutorials.asp

It has plenty interesting video tutorials for Shake, DF, Nuke etc

Vympel
02-02-2006, 11:16 AM
Not really. combustion* can become just as clunky when working on more complex projects, be it just for enlarging the lower are to give more room to the scene tree or better work on the graph editor.

Mylenium

The Combustion have shortcuts to expand the Graph editor and the lower panel and shortcuts to viewport only interface. To 3d post Combustion have more tools and flexible workflow that it doesnīt depend necessarily on the use of specific file formats like RLF/RLA. This flexibility doesnīt exist in the After Effects.

Mylenium
02-02-2006, 11:45 AM
The Combustion have shortcuts to expand the Graph editor and the lower panel and shortcuts to viewport only interface.

You can do the same in AE 7 using th tilde key.


To 3d post Combustion have more tools and flexible workflow that it doesnīt depend necessarily on the use of specific file formats like RLF/RLA. This flexibility doesnīt exist in the After Effects.

Could you give an example? what you're saying doesn't make much sense to me. You don't have to use special formats in AE as well and as far as I know it's just as difficult to get 3D scene information from 3D programs into combustion*(though obviously it is tailored to use RPF from MAX). Beyond that I don't see any asuperiority in combustion* for that type of work.

Mylenium

Vympel
02-02-2006, 12:58 PM
The Combustion have more operators to 3d post like Motion Blur ( 3d motion blur, that is use velocity information), 3D Glow, texture map and the G-Buffer Builder, that it allows the use of normal file formats like TGA/Tiff to store the "3d" information (Z-depth,IDīs, UV...) , not being necessary the use of formats with extra buffers like OpenEXR, RPF. Beyond of this when using RPF you can use option they allow relight in post ("RPF" 3D Depth/Shading)

Mylenium
02-02-2006, 04:13 PM
Okay, you have some points. BTW, if you have followed some other threads, image relighting will be available as a plugin by Stefan Minning some time soon, so one more area where catches up on combustion*.

Mylenium

ehoch
02-02-2006, 05:07 PM
As the creator of this thread I thank you all.
My final decision has been made, if anyone is interested.
I will be using AfterEffects7. It will be faster since I am already familiar, and I haven't found a problem that I can't solve yet.

The G-buffer builder in Combustion is a nice tool that really helps streamline 3D post operations. But with a little ingenuity we can do those things that we need in After Effects. It would be nice to have a more streamlined way to do these things, but I don't mind.

PS- mylenium, can you please post a link to that plugin for me? I'm very interested.

Vympel
02-02-2006, 05:22 PM
Check this link

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=289077

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