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LukaStellwag
10-10-2007, 04:14 AM
Hi there,
I just wanted to ask around how you think Phenomenon will be.

Since Shake is supposed to be a highend compositing application I think Phenomenon will be it's successor and try to hit in that market segment, I cannot imagine Apple plans to enter into the midrange segment with it.

What I'm pretty sure that it will be tightly integrated into Final Cut Studio and node based.

It is to be released around 2008, right?

Any news on that?

jeremybirn
10-10-2007, 05:52 AM
I guess there's a lot of definitions of "high end." If you mean advanced software capable of high quality effects, then I'm sure it could be. If you meant aiming to dominate the Linux-based feature-film compositing market as Shake did, then I don't think they'll be aiming for that.

-jeremy

osxrules
10-10-2007, 02:17 PM
I guess there's a lot of definitions of "high end." If you mean advanced software capable of high quality effects, then I'm sure it could be. If you meant aiming to dominate the Linux-based feature-film compositing market as Shake did, then I don't think they'll be aiming for that.

Yeah I think the latter market will migrate to Nuke 'cos Shake is still expensive for Linux, Shake will die out (that'll likely take a few years though) and we Mac users will get some dumbed down iapp like Motion and Apple will advertise it as being the mostest uber fantastic app you could ever want (based on Shake). And they'll have removed all the expression stuff for some stupid applescript integration or something.

If they use Python, which they said would be integrated quite well in Leopard then things might not be so bad and if it is indeed a node-based extension to Final Cut Pro then again, I could be ok with that as Shake could use some better linking with the timeline but the second I see that they've messed with any of the stuff that makes Shake such a great app to use, I will be very pissed off indeed.

What I imagine is just having Final Cut Pro and then you select a clip in the timeline and this shows a node branch full of Shake effects and input nodes - each Final Cut segment is basically a separate Shake script. Then the audio tracks all load into the timeline so it keeps the sync. So NLE and effects all in one. No more intermediate formats to deal with as it's done in one program. There are a load of problems with that kind of setup though so maybe it's not a great idea.

My main concern is where Motion fits into all this. Will it perhaps be extended to include Shake's functionality and remain separate from Final Cut. To me there would be little sense in including Motion and another Shake-like app as there is some overlap between film CGI and motion graphics. I have always thought it better to do both in the same software and AE does this pretty well.

LukaStellwag
10-12-2007, 05:45 AM
I guess there's a lot of definitions of "high end." If you mean advanced software capable of high quality effects, then I'm sure it could be. If you meant aiming to dominate the Linux-based feature-film compositing market as Shake did, then I don't think they'll be aiming for that.

-jeremy

Hi Jeremy,
with HighEnd I meant to compete against Fusion or Nuke. However, as osxrules already said, I am scared that they will make it another Motion-Like application.

Bye,
Littleluk

Kai01W
10-12-2007, 11:38 AM
If you look at what Apple did before and what they just now did with Logic, it's pretty obvious they are willing to take some loss if they can drive out any competition (which has to live on software sales alone) and dominate the market.
So don't expect it to be much more than ~1000 $. Maybe even much less.

I just find it weird that so many apple users openly embrace that monoculture.

-k

NickJushchyshyn
10-13-2007, 01:05 AM
I'd be really surprised and disapointed if they made it "motion like". After all ... they already have motion. Why do that again?

Also, the fundamentals in a plugin route is already kinda covered by conduit (http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=conduit15). (GPU-based nodal comp in FCP & Motion)


Dare to dream, but I'd be happy to see the first iteration simply be Shake with a GPU optimized rendering adn UI engine. Ideally toss in improved 3D functionality like what's in Nuke, and a dash of particle effects from motion and that would be sweet.

Sigh ... come to mention it ... a cleaner approach for handling multi-channel node trees (like EXR renders loaded up with CG multipass channels) would also be quite welcome. :)

osxrules
10-13-2007, 02:44 PM
Also, the fundamentals in a plugin route is already kinda covered by conduit (http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=conduit15). (GPU-based nodal comp in FCP & Motion)

Whoa, that's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about. If you can add custom nodes to Conduit as easily as Shake, that would be a great plugin.

Does anyone here use Conduit regularly and can compare it to Shake?

I'll try out the demo at work on Monday.

Dare to dream, but I'd be happy to see the first iteration simply be Shake with a GPU optimized rendering adn UI engine. Ideally toss in improved 3D functionality like what's in Nuke, and a dash of particle effects from motion and that would be sweet.

But if they add the features of Motion, would you still need Motion as Shake would be far more capable?

EDIT: it seems other people have thought the same thing:

http://aeportal.blogspot.com/2006/05/more-on-conduit-at-dvgarage.html

"As a Shake user, it's pretty amazing how much performance I get out of Conduit running in the lowly Apple Motion. It's lacking some important nodes, such as a blur node and a matte-choker/dilate node. Kind of a bummer, but I'm sure they'll add that in the near future. But being able to color-correct with Curves...in float...in real-time, and with all the added power and flexibility of a node-based workflow just rocks my casbah! ...If Apple can somehow integrate the the same realtime FXplug architecture that Motion has into Shake, it would be a most amazing product."

A 'phenomenal' product even. ;) (don't groan you were thinking the same thing)

What would be a pain using this kind of setup with FCP though is that you only get one sequence setting at a time so if you had effects in a timeline but some you wanted to precomp, it might be tricky to maintain alpha channels depending on what settings you used. I'm sure this sort of thing could be resolved one way or another though.

Shake certainly needs some of that real-time stuff but it would have to be scriptable like Shake is now.

NickJushchyshyn
10-14-2007, 01:15 AM
But if they add the features of Motion, would you still need Motion as Shake would be far more capable?

... but it would have to be scriptable like Shake is now.

Pretty much for the same reason there is Apple Script and XCode.
Both let you accomplish similar tasks (programming your own stuff for a mac) but one is much more complex and powerful than the other. Motion is awesome for motion graphics and happens to include some compositing. The Shake successor should be a full-on compositing tool like Shake or Nuke.

One encouraging thing is that Apple does seem to favor text based project files. Motion projects, for example are in XML format.
Definitely needs to be scriptable so it can be "wired" into asset and production management systems. :)

rferl
10-14-2007, 08:03 AM
Well, I just want to say, I use shake 2.51 on vista and I can't live without it.
90% functionality of 4.1 and more stable than that.

Nydendarin
10-14-2007, 10:30 PM
With shake slowly becoming a dieing trend in the glimmer of steve job's eye, I've been seeking out alternative cross-platform, node-based compositing applications to sink my teeth into. Has anyone here used Toxik?

I saw the demo at SIGGRAPH this year for Toxik 2008, and a lot of the mini presentations at the autodesk booth, and it looks like a more than capable alternative to shake, matter of fact the 2008 version has a lot of features I was hoping I would some day have in Shake, which it doesn't look like I'll ever get. Granted, Toxik is Windows/Linux so no Mac version, but, since I primarily do work in linux anyways, that's not that big of a deal to me. And also, with it's super-tight integration with Maya 2008(Render > Export to Toxik) it looks to be attempting to make your life a lot easier in terms of render passes and migration of all your assets from 3D to Comp.

I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on it, 2008 is supposed to release sometime this Fall, don't know of an exact release date, but here's more information on it. Toxik 2008 Highlights (http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=9949953)

jeremybirn
10-15-2007, 02:07 AM
With shake slowly becoming a dieing trend in the glimmer of steve job's eye, I've been seeking out alternative cross-platform, node-based compositing applications to sink my teeth into. Has anyone here used Toxik?

Toxik looks like a very strong new competitor. It seems much more modern than Shake. I like the Maya integration, the functions for DOF and motion blur, the approach of being able to do more functions with fewer nodes, the support for tone mapping HDRI, and the way the GUI works with nodes over the image. Of course being multi-platform it's competing in different markets...

-jeremy

LukaStellwag
10-16-2007, 03:51 AM
Sorry for probably off topic but what about Nuke - How does that compare? Because you've been talking about Fusion and Toxik.

Aneks
10-16-2007, 07:16 AM
Phenomena 2008.... I have pretty much given up hope. But if apple do come to the party well it will be nice.

I just want to say, I use shake 2.51 on vista and I can't live without it.
90% functionality of 4.1 and more stable than that.

Oh my. 2.51 was pretty messy in a lot of areas. I couldn't imagine going back now. 4.1 was definitely the most stable release. Lots and lots of things that where broken have been fixed. Frankly I think you are missing out.

Per
11-07-2007, 09:17 AM
How come everybody are so sure that Apple will make a new compositing program? Has there been an announcement?

It really sucks to be Shake user these days, because we've got no insurrance from Apple that they will deliver this "Phenomenon"... 'cause as far as I know "Phenomenon" is still just a rumor. After all many people earn their living based on this program.
So the question is:
Should Shake users rely on Apple in the hopes that they will bring us Phenomenon? Or should Shake users start looking at other programs?

As a Shake user I expect to start looking at Nuke very soon. Nuke is looking really promising... especially now that most of the Nothing Real guys are working on it together with Ron Brinkman.

beaker
11-08-2007, 05:44 AM
How come everybody are so sure that Apple will make a new compositing program? Has there been an announcement?They said so in the email they sent out to all maintenance customers when they EOL 4.1 back in May of 2006.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=12&t=372233

Here is the snippet:
Apple will no longer be selling maintenance for Shake and no further software updates are planned as we begin work on the next generation of Shake compositing software. While we're excited about the innovations we can bring in the future, we understand you have a business to run today that requires Shake. To that end, we will provide all Maintenance customers with the following three options:

Kokosing
11-08-2007, 12:34 PM
I think Per makes a very good point: people who rely on Shake for a living may be in a tight spot. Apple's secrecy about any new app is great for building suspense, but it's not very good for an industry. As far as I know, Shake's user base grew as the software grew, and likewise, the effects industry benefited from a growing pool of talented users. But now that no one outside of an NDA really knows what to expect, things seem very shakey indeed.

Can you imagine if Apple announced that they were dropping Final Cut Pro and gave no incling of what the replacement app might be? Or how it would work? Or if it would work? The video post industry would drop FCP so fast that Avid wouldn't be able to make enough software DVDs to keep up. Why? Because they would have lost faith in Apple, and they wouldn't believe that the next product would be as good. By the way, Apple didn't make the original version of Final Cut Pro either.

This may seem like sceptisicm, but look at what Apple has really done since it acquired Shake. OK, it's more stable. There have been some useful nodes added in the last few upgrades. But really Shake's main growth has been through third party plug-ins aimed at highend users. So why is this? Because Apple isn't in the business of creating industrial strength software. And they didn't invent Shake, did they?

Why is that a problem? I'll give you an example: A few years ago I started a petition to get a PAL film workflow solution for Final Cut Pro. The Pro Apps guys were surprised. They had been claiming that FCP already did this. Two white papers later I finally convinced them they were wrong. Their solution was to send a software developer to meet me in London. I took him around various post facilities here and taught him how feature films were cut in Europe. Before that, they didn't know. The following version (4.5) added the tools to cut features in a PAL environment. Of course Final Cut Pro can do what it says on the box, but if you ask any editor who's also used Avid, they'll tell you this: FCP is a great, innovative app, but it lacks industrial strength features that Avid, Lightworks and the others have always had.

So when I imagine Apple building the next generation compositing App, I'm not convinced they're going to have the professional compositor in mind. I wouldn't be surprised if Phenomenon had some mind-blowing new features, but at the same time left out some of the essential elements that compositors need. And that's just economics. It's easier to sell something like automatic match-moving than it is floating point values.

My two pence. And sorry for the rant.

W

beaker
11-08-2007, 07:14 PM
I think Per makes a very good point: people who rely on Shake for a living may be in a tight spot. Apple's secrecy about any new app is great for building suspense, but it's not very good for an industry. As far as I know, Shake's user base grew as the software grew, and likewise, the effects industry benefited from a growing pool of talented users. But now that no one outside of an NDA really knows what to expect, things seem very shakey indeed.

I have to disagree. In software, there is nothing worse then a software company that announces a product long before it is ready. Digital Fusion, Softimage XSI, and a few others did this with their products and I believe it severly hurt them. XSI was announced for 3-4 years before it shipped. I actually got sick of going to siggraph every year and seeing this awesome product that was supposed to ship in 6 months(for 3 years in a row). People went with Maya and many never went back because of it. DF had the same problem. 5.0 was announced and shown off for 2-3 years before it actually came out.

People adapt just fine. Before it was Media Illusion, Composer, Eddie, etc... now it is Shake, tomorrow it will be Nuke, Toxik and DF. If you don't keep your skills up, you fall behind. This only helps to keep us all on our toes. There is no point in Apple announcing a product that isn't ready. Especially since 1.0 of any product is still beta and buggy and takes 1-2 versions to solidify and become a well oiled machine.

beaker
11-08-2007, 07:27 PM
Can you imagine if Apple announced that they were dropping Final Cut Pro and gave no incling of what the replacement app might be? Or how it would work? Or if it would work? The video post industry would drop FCP so fast that Avid wouldn't be able to make enough software DVDs to keep up.History would tend to disagree with you. After a product is discontinued it takes roughly 4 years for it to be replaced by another product. Just because a company discontinues it doesn't mean everyone dumps it immediately. Not all of us can afford to just dump our current product and take 3 months off to learn a new one and pay a bunch of people to implement it into our pipeline. Stuff like this takes time.

People actually said the same thing about Shake, but I am actually seeing more Shake jobs now then 2-3 years ago.

Kokosing
11-08-2007, 07:52 PM
Well it only takes one clever fellow to find the holes in all my theories. You're absolutely right that Shake will live on long after its development stops. And yes, sitting around waiting for a software release is pretty boring. And yes, no one should devote themselves to one app only. But do you really think that Apple will come up with a product that will rival Nuke or Fusion? (and I mean that question honestly.)

Thanks for putting me right,

W

beaker
11-08-2007, 08:02 PM
But do you really think that Apple will come up with a product that will rival Nuke or Fusion? (and I mean that question honestly.) I have no idea, but the guys writing the new incarnation are the same guys that originally wrote Shake.

The thing is I don't really care. Competition is good. Nuke, Toxik, AE, DF, Shake mk2, etc... will only drive the software to be better. Avid and Premiere were in a big giant hole when FCP came around. They were stagnant and sucky in many departments. Competition from Apple drove them to be better as will competition from Nuke will drive whatever the new version of Shake is to be a better product.

isophlex
11-20-2007, 10:57 PM
Interesting considering the big Phenomenon question....

http://www.macnn.com/blogs/?p=468
"On November 20, the US Patent & Trademark Office published three of Apple’s newly granted patents. The most notable amongst the three is titled Depth ordering of planes and displaying interconnects having an appearance indicating data characteristics . This particular patent relates to Apple’s Shake application in respect to depth ordering of planes and displaying interconnects having an appearance indicating data characteristics.

Patent 1: Depth Ordering of Planes and Displaying Interconnects having an Appearance Indicating Data Characteristics

Patent Background: Compositing and effects applications (such as Shake by Apple Computer, Inc.) receive and process multimedia items (e.g., text, image, video, audio, etc.) to produce a multi-layered composited output. Such applications can import and composite multimedia items and allow transformations of multimedia items that change characteristics (e.g., position, size, shape, and rotation) using transformations such as pan/move, rotate, scale, etc. A graphical user interface (GUI) used in these applications display multimedia items in a three dimensional (3D) workspace and allows a user to select and manipulate the displayed multimedia items. Keyboards or cursor controlling devices (e.g., computer mouse) are used to interact with the GUI to select and manipulate multimedia items in the 3D workspace.

Apple’s Abstract: A method for determining a depth ordering between two planes in a 3D workspace of an application is provided. The method includes projecting vectors from a reference position through points of interest on the planes, determining corresponding points on the other plane, determining a number of points of interest on a first plane having a depth lower than its corresponding point and a number of points of interest on a second plane having a depth lower than its corresponding point, and setting the depth ordering based on these numbers. A method for displaying interconnects between nodes of a tree displayed in an application is provided. A node represents a multimedia item or a function and an interconnect represents data passed between two nodes. The method includes displaying an interconnect in the tree having an appearance indicating at least one characteristic of the data being passed between two nodes.

Apple’s patent covers the following subject matter in depth: Process Tree and Multi-Plane Nodes, Multi-Pane Interface, Transforms and Controls, Hot Key Selection of Transforms and Activation of Onscreen Control Guidelines, Multi-Plane Depth Ordering, Identification of Data Characteristics through Interconnect Appearance and Transformation of Screen Space Cursor Movements.

Apple lists Mitchell Scott Middler (Hermosa Beach, CA), Ron Brinkmann (Hermosa Beach, CA) and Peter Warner (Paris, FR) as the inventors of this patent which was initially filed in April 2005. For further details, see patent 7,298,370.

Apple’s second patent win of the day titled Apparatus and method for indicating password quality and variety, generally relates to apparatuses and methods for indicating the quality and variety of a password used for computer system authentication.

Apple’s third patent win of the day titled Wire bonding method and apparatus for integrated circuit, relates to packages for integrated circuits. More particularly, Apple’s invention relates to package arrangement to reduce loop inductance."

So what might this mean for us?

osxrules
11-22-2007, 10:31 PM
So what might this mean for us?

Possibly the depth ordering relates to being able to take parts of one image and instead of placing either in front or behind, you can place at some depth in another image. For example, the flower in the field could be in amongst the other flowers and the butterfly can go between them. Possibly it's a technique for extracting depth information from 2D images.

It might also allow intersecting planes unlike the current Multiplane. Hopefully they'll allow multiple parenting too for layers.

The method includes displaying an interconnect in the tree having an appearance indicating at least one characteristic of the data being passed between two nodes.

I hope this means transform concatenation beyond arbitrary intermediate nodes. When you put a composite node between two transforms, it shouldn't break the concatenation because you can simply move the transform node above the composite node and you get the same result. The software should be able to figure this out by itself.

The mention of 3D workspace suggests hardware acceleration for all items, which is a good thing in some ways because it means fast manipulation of all the source elements. It's a bad thing in that it will likely require a good graphics card. If you composite too many items or use high resolution images, you might run out of video memory. Plus hardware rendered images don't always come out the same as software rendered ones.

Generally I'm in favor of hardware acceleration throughout the whole program though as the performance increase far outweighs quality degradation during preview. There would be less need for caching if the viewer preview can be generated quickly enough. You can compare the difference in the current multiplane node. Throw in a few layers in software mode and hit the play button. Then do it in hardware mode and there's a world of difference. This is lost when you add heavier effects like blurring so complete hardware acceleration and quality downgrading in the interests of performance would be a very good thing IMO.

osxrules
11-25-2007, 10:29 PM
After looking at Ron Brinkman's book the Art and Science of Digital Compositing (1999), I notice a mention of this exact thing on p261:

"Research is being done on allowing Z-depth information to be automatically extracted from live-action footage. Stereoscopic photography inherently contains some depth cues and even a single camera view can give some information if it is moving enough to introduce parallax shifts. Sophisticated software algorithms are able to analyze such imagery and can often produce useful depth information for the scene. As the availability and reliability of these tools increases, expect to see more and more use of Z-depth compositing in conjunction with live-action footage."

pgraham
11-26-2007, 05:13 PM
I don't think it has anything to do with extracting depth from an image. It sounds like an automatic depth ordering system for the multiplane node, instead of ordering planes according to a list. It would just determine when more than half of one plane is in front of another plane and draw it on top of (after) the other one.

Another possibility would be a 3d node interface, where you could see the node icons and their connections in a 3d view and spin it around. That's something I thought would be a cool novelty ever since I saw a node interface, but I doubt they would actually make it since going 3d usually adds a thick layer of confusion to any app. Might explain the "displaying the interconnect" line (aka rendering noodles) in the patent though.

Extracting depth from 2d is an interesting topic though, I'm most interested in its implications for stereoscopic movies. I would guess that ILM is using this kind of technology to do 3d conversions from 2d movies. Would be cool to see the capability in publicly available software.

beaker
11-26-2007, 07:01 PM
Zdepth extracted from an image has been around for atleast 6-7 years in plugins for Shake and other compositors(Furnace, etc...). So a patent based on that would be void because of prior art.

osxrules
11-26-2007, 08:00 PM
I don't think it has anything to do with extracting depth from an image. It sounds like an automatic depth ordering system for the multiplane node, instead of ordering planes according to a list. It would just determine when more than half of one plane is in front of another plane and draw it on top of (after) the other one.

It already does that though with the autoOrder toggle. That determines the z-value of the plane, which is well-defined and changes which one goes in front.

Another possibility would be a 3d node interface, where you could see the node icons and their connections in a 3d view and spin it around. That's something I thought would be a cool novelty ever since I saw a node interface, but I doubt they would actually make it since going 3d usually adds a thick layer of confusion to any app. Might explain the "displaying the interconnect" line (aka rendering noodles) in the patent though.

That could keep the space used down on some composites and maybe could be used instead of grouping so that you don't have to open a group and then move all the other nodes to get enough space to see what's going on. I agree it would likely be confusing if you are trying to manipulate noodles with depth to think about.

Extracting depth from 2d is an interesting topic though, I'm most interested in its implications for stereoscopic movies. I would guess that ILM is using this kind of technology to do 3d conversions from 2d movies. Would be cool to see the capability in publicly available software.

I don't know, I've never really taken to stereoscopic movies and I wouldn't like to see it becoming a popular trend so that we end up with 3D clips everywhere that people can't watch without 3D glasses. If Phenomenon goes back to the old Shake price, that might not happen though.

For creating 3D elements from 2D, that would certainly be a good tool to have, especially when it comes to tracking and trying to blend CG imagery with film.

I think it'd be useful so that you don't need matte painting done so much. Just extract the depth information and drop CG elements into the film. Of course then we'll have no end of videos on youtube along the lines of OMG a new UFO sighting in Tahiti, it looks so real it must be real, post on every forum about it.

Zdepth extracted from an image has been around for atleast 6-7 years in plugins for Shake and other compositors(Furnace, etc...). So a patent based on that would be void because of prior art.

But if Brinkman said about the research in 1999 and his name is on the patent, maybe the plugins were based on his research. Could this maybe just be the same thing but built-in? Just like some industry standard keyers are included in Shake now.

Plus it could be a unique algorithm that does it better than the others.

pixelpimp
12-24-2007, 09:02 PM
I think Apple needs to buy Nvidia and make a hardware video acceleration product. That would be the Ender.

Sapphire
01-03-2008, 09:37 AM
Hi all,

Is there any news about the new software.

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