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MikeBuckland
04-30-2008, 12:10 PM
Hi,
Im thinking seriously about moving our team across to XSI from a Lightwave based setup, and I'm very interested in the fact that XSI has its own compositor built in.
We currently use After effects and I have quite a bit of experience in Fusion.
What I'd like to know is how the FX tree compares to other node based compositors such as Fusion.
If you have XSI is there really any point in spending more cash on an extra comp suite, or are there specific situations where it would be better to use Fusion or Shake etc?
Any thoughts would be very much appreciated
Mike

wurp
04-30-2008, 12:53 PM
Where I work we use Flame for our comps, so we never get to finalize anything in the fxtree, but pretty much everyone here uses the fxtree to do their precomps and I've never really found it lacking for that purpose. I will obviously not be as advanced as a standalone application like fusion, but for "normal" comp work it's just fine, it even has stuff like painting so you can do plate cleanups and stuff like that. The rotoscope tools are not bad either but they lack things like variable soft edges for rotoscoping motionblured things.

One thing you should keep in mind is that the fxtree doesnt support any standard plugins that fusion and afx will load, I find myself having to go over to afx sometimes just to use a few plugins, however you can write custom plugins for the fxtree and reelsmart has already made their post mblur plugin available, if more and more people use it and if there is a demand I'm sure the most common plugins used will become available for the fxtree eventually, but for now you might still have to rely on afx for that

tc
04-30-2008, 08:50 PM
It depends what you do with compositing but usually if you are putting things together it fits perfectly.
I mean.. color correction, put channels/passes together, checking your zdepth pass, doing some effects etc..

You can do pretty advanced things too... like particles effects, paint 32bit enviroment maps, 2.5D lighting... etc.

check these links:
http://www.xsibase.com/forum/index.php?board=13;action=display;threadid=30504
http://www.xsi-blog.com/archives/99
http://www.andynicholas.com/thezone/index.php?area=downloadinfo&app=XSI5&file=0&curpage=10


Probably the best advantage is to have a 2d compositing in synch with your 3d scene, and have all the variables accessible by the 3d scene, and be able to intercept any map that comes to XSI with compositing nodes without need to output another map.

But if you go crazy with masks/layers it's probably not going to be enough.

MikeBuckland
05-01-2008, 08:18 AM
Thanks for the advice and the links - interesting stuff there, especially about the image based lighting. Im going to look into this more!
Our projects are almost entirely character animation based, with very little live action or sfx elements, so rotoscoping will not really be an issue.
What we mainly do in comp is composite seperately rendered layers and fix rendering artifacts and glitches.
We do some basic colour correction, but take it to a high end suite for proper grading.
I think that its looking like quite a good option.

dwigfor
05-01-2008, 05:47 PM
Have a look at this video to see what's possible by having a compositor integrated inside your 3d app... http://www.softimage.com/products/xsi/videos.aspx?video_id=26

Hun
05-02-2008, 11:04 AM
Careful, the FXtree is not fully 32bit enabled. In fact, it's only 16bit. That makes it pretty much useless in today's linear float workflows.

MikeBuckland
05-06-2008, 06:58 AM
Thank you all for your helpful links and comments.
Our output is mostly for HD quality, not film. Will only being able to work in 16bit colour really be a problem at that level?

wurp
05-06-2008, 10:09 AM
that should be fine, i've done some comps in HD using the fxtree, but keep in mind that the fxtree can be rather memory hungry, if you already have a heavy scene open and you try to do comping in HD on top of that it might run out of memory on a 32 bit system, so I'd say for HD comps go with 64 bit systems, the fxtree has a memory limit in the preferences and on a 32 bit system, if that's set too high xsi as a whole will reach the memory limit for 32 bit systems and might become unstable, on 64 bit systems on the other hand you can set that limit as high as you want really.



Thank you all for your helpful links and comments.
Our output is mostly for HD quality, not film. Will only being able to work in 16bit colour really be a problem at that level?

ThE_JacO
05-06-2008, 10:33 AM
Thank you all for your helpful links and comments.
Our output is mostly for HD quality, not film. Will only being able to work in 16bit colour really be a problem at that level?

Most likely not, half float is plenty even for many film work scenarios; for direct to video, HD or not, it's all that's needed.

adrencg
05-06-2008, 11:29 PM
I don't see how a built in feature in a 3d software(FxTree) can compare to After Effects. It's not even up for debate -- unless you're just doing simple compositing.

ThE_JacO
05-06-2008, 11:47 PM
I don't see how a built in feature in a 3d software(FxTree) can compare to After Effects. It's not even up for debate -- unless you're just doing simple compositing.

I don't see how afterFX compares to anything to be honest.
I found it to have so many issues for anything that wasn't motion graphics that I was surprised some people actually do film work with it.

Without even going into how stupid a grouped layers system is for compositing tasks, it lacks fundamental tools like a pixel parser and basic isolation nodes, and many of its filters and modes are anything but colour friendly.

I was pretty shocked to find that simple things like isolating a colour would only output 8bit, which made multimatting passes useless unless you're happy with some ferocious banding.

AFX is good for motion graphics I'm sure, but it's definitely NOT a compositing package.
So if you want to do even simple compositing, and don't want to fork out for fusion or nuke, you're better off with the fxtree.

Hun
05-07-2008, 10:35 AM
half float is plenty even for many film work scenarios; for direct to video, HD or not, it's all that's needed.

A lot of people aren't in the comfy situation to choose for themselves if something is sufficient or not ;) While I agree that working in 16bit is enough quality-wise it won't get you anywhere when the client says "We need it 32bit from the beginning to the end."

And considering the client requirements I met over the last years I felt forced to point out that you cant do 32bit work with the fxtree.

ThE_JacO
05-07-2008, 10:59 AM
A lot of people aren't in the comfy situation to choose for themselves if something is sufficient or not ;) While I agree that working in 16bit is enough quality-wise it won't get you anywhere when the client says "We need it 32bit from the beginning to the end."

And considering the client requirements I met over the last years I felt forced to point out that you cant do 32bit work with the fxtree.

That's all fair and square, I was just replying to a direct question by Mike :)

T4D
05-07-2008, 02:56 PM
I don't see how a built in feature in a 3d software(FxTree) can compare to After Effects. It's not even up for debate -- unless you're just doing simple compositing.


"composing" in the FX tree is excellent and 99% of the time I pull all my pass together in the fxtree.

BUT I still use After effects for motion graphics, titles and finishing touches ( water marks and encoding etc ) because Afer effect just ROCKS at that stuff =)

but I do see Jaco's point I don;t think i would uses AE for composing my finals ..it's just not up to the job layers are cool but not for some things..well for me anyway.

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