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View Full Version : Pondering the DFX+ w/ LW8 Upgrade deal


milqman
10-19-2003, 05:11 AM
It seems this is a killer deal, getting DFX+ with two modules and the Lightwave 8 commercial upgrade for 500 dollars.

I'd like to know though... if it is worth it for someone like me, or if I should get a laptop instead.

What could I do with DFX that I couldn't do with free tools like Gimp/Cinepaint/Virtualdub. I know, probably a LOT... but as a hobbiest 3d artist... what would I need DFX for?

I fear this is too vague... can people tell me what they use it for?

LyonHaert
10-19-2003, 07:41 AM
compositing, which is also what Adobe After Effects is used for. and it really pays to do multi-pass rendering on any project and composite afterwards so you can easily tweak it.

i've only messed around in the demo, rebuilding some old composites that were originally done in AE, but i can tell that i like Digital Fusion much, much better than After Effects.

even as a hobbiest, if you do much compositing at all of stills or animations, then i think this would be worth it. heck, even if you don't do any compositing yet, it'd be handy to already have this around at such a cheap price for when you do start compositing.

i just hope i can get it before the deal ends.

apex
10-19-2003, 09:16 AM
I'm in the same boat as you milqman, deciding on whether or not to get this. Yes it's a great deal, yes there have been rave reviews and yes, I have kicked myself for not buying the upgrade right after the offer ended the past 3 times. Whats my problem? What can DFX do for me? I am still fumbling through LW, trying to learn as much as possible to justify the need to upgrade as I have only explored about 25% of it. As far as animating? Have not even thought about it yet, thus rationalizing with my wallet that I don't need this upgrade until I learn what I've got. Hey. I think I just made up my mind:hmm: Not sure if I helped you but at least you know now your not the only one in this dilema.

Bytehawk
10-19-2003, 09:56 AM
- if you haven't got aftereffects, combustion, or dfx yet
- if you do animation

then this is a deal you don't want to pass.

DFX+ is great, though dauting the first time you open up the program it makes sence after only one hour.

workflow is great

as a hobyist I can say I have played with it for hours

Jaspar
10-19-2003, 10:35 AM
I got this deal, though I don't have too much use for DFX yet. I certainly don't regret getting it, it's a fantastic program, and one that you'd find more and more invaluable the more you get into 3D. It can be just as useful for stills, even when your not doing animation because unlike most stills editors, it can read the RPF format. The great thing about the rpf format is that the image can contain not just alphas, but depth, motion, object names, shadows and much more. Post processing saves a hell of alot of rendering time (when you've got the hang of it, which I haven't).

From my more unprofessional point of view: Digital Fusion is fantastic fun, it's great to look through, pick an effect, mess with the sliders and go 'Wooooooh'. :drool:

takkun
10-19-2003, 10:37 AM
Here's some videos that show a little bit about DFX+:

http://www.newtek.com/eyeon/dfx-fusion.html

icedeyes
10-19-2003, 01:41 PM
After the extension of the dfx+ deal i will upgrade my version of lw at the end of this month.... After seeing the vids from siggraph, I got persuaded... Hope it is more stable than previous versions though... BTW, the new MD looks absolutelly unbelievable (main reason i am gonna upgrade)....

ThreeDBFX
10-19-2003, 05:31 PM
I went for the deal and I don't regret it at all. Been using LW for a couple of years now so the upgrade to 8 was with out question. I've been compositing in AE and Combustion for some time, so jumping on to DFX was kinda scary at first. I must say, DFX is the greatest compositing app I've ever used...it is my compositing app from now on, and best of all, it'll use all of my AE plugins! How cool is that?

Anyway, DFX is a great app, and if yer gonna upgrade to LW8 anyway...might as well take advantage of this great deal.

Facial Deluxe
10-19-2003, 05:43 PM
Good to hear DFX is cool :) Bought it with the upgrade, but didn't installed yet (nice black box though) . I'm so use to AE, I'm scared :hmm:

geoff3dnz
10-19-2003, 08:25 PM
Originally posted by Facial Deluxe
I'm so use to AE, I'm scared :hmm: Hehe, I was too - but now I don't think I'd be going back to AE for much (if anything at all)... Some people say that node-based compositing takes longer to do simple stuff (that you could whip up in AE in about 1 second) but I don't think so - and it's definitely more fun! ;) Install it - you'll be glad you did!

evileye
10-19-2003, 08:59 PM
Anyone know if this is also a download version of eight or do we get manuals? just curious. would make a diffrence. BTW I have used dfx before and it does have a lot to offer that afterfx doesnt.

geoff3dnz
10-19-2003, 09:35 PM
Originally posted by evileye
Anyone know if this is also a download version of eight or do we get manuals? just curious. would make a diffrence. BTW I have used dfx before and it does have a lot to offer that afterfx doesnt. It'll be the download version with pdf manuals I think - for an additional US$99, you can get the box and paper version if you want...

milqman
10-19-2003, 11:03 PM
does DFX at least come with a box and manual(s) ?

takkun
10-19-2003, 11:08 PM
does DFX at least come with a box and manual(s) ? Yes.

Bytehawk
10-19-2003, 11:27 PM
and a nice shiny box it is
it even contains a dvd full of video tutorials to get you started

evileye
10-19-2003, 11:46 PM
Well, good to know. Thanks. Here is a nother Q. Is DFX upgradable to the pro version for the same price?

milqman
10-20-2003, 12:00 AM
would the camera tracking module that comes with the DFX/LW deal take the place of program like ICARUS or Boujou Matchmover?

geoff3dnz
10-20-2003, 12:03 AM
Evileye:
If you mean pro version as in DFX+ with all the modules, that'll cost you US$995 - the same as Combustion. If you mean pro version as in Digital Fusion, that'll cost you US$2995 (from DFX+ with modules 1 and 4). Check out www.eyeonline.com for more information. :) Oh, and for what it's worth, eyeon's tech support is awesome.

geoff3dnz
10-20-2003, 12:05 AM
Originally posted by milqman
would the camera tracking module that comes with the DFX/LW deal take the place of program like ICARUS or Boujou Matchmover? No, it's a 2D tracker.

milqman
10-20-2003, 12:07 AM
what will a 2d tracker do for me?

geoff3dnz
10-20-2003, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by milqman
what will a 2d tracker do for me? Not much, if you don't have anything to track - but if you say had some live action of someone waving their hand at the camera, you could track their hand, and use that tracked region's motion to control your particle emitter (if you had the particle module), or you could track the corner points on a billboard, and use those tracked positions to lock down a new image over the billboard... :)

NanoGator
10-20-2003, 01:01 AM
http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=93031 <-- here's a demo scene I did that includes a Photoshop file with multipassed images. You might have a peek there.

Once I purchased AE, it dramatically changed my workflow with rendering. Now I render in smaller/easier to change elements. I have a feeling that if you got this with DFX, you'd see a dramatic improvement in your workflow as well.

I can't tell you if it's better than AE or not, but I'm doing it anyway because it seems to use a different compositing approach than AE. AE is linearly layered, whereas it looked (from the video) that it used a schematic style view. Seems like that'd be more poweful for somebody like me.

I say go with it if you're getting LW8 anyway. But, then again, I'm not sure what you want in a laptop. That laptop will always be there (and continue to get better), whereas this deal will die soon.

milqman
10-20-2003, 01:11 AM
Could I use it to put snow on a ground where there is otherwise no snow?

NanoGator
10-20-2003, 02:37 AM
You mean add snow to a scene? Yep. Gotta couple of things to learn to do that, but that's exactly what multipass is good for. Notice in the scene I provided that the volumetric ocean was added to the scene in a seperate pass. If I had to do that over again, I wouldn't need to rerender everything else I did. Just that one bit.

milqman
10-20-2003, 03:31 AM
I meant, add snow to an actual real-life ground video footage where there is no snow

geoff3dnz
10-20-2003, 03:42 AM
You could indeed - but by the same token you can do that in photoshop or any other 'paint' package if you know what you're doing - there's obviously no quick 'add snow' tool, so you're going have to use some clever techniques to actually do it - check out Dennis Sedov's website here: xofx.com/learn.htm which has a tutorial on exactly this topic.

A crude way of thinking of DFX+ (or any compositing package) is as an animatable photoshop - not in workflow (it's very different) but that sort of gets the idea across as to some of what can be acheived in a compositor... :)

LyonHaert
10-20-2003, 06:48 AM
NanoGator:

having fully rebuilt a couple compositions in DF that i had previously built in AE (including animated text), i can tell you that DF is much better than AE. node based compositing is awesome. and with the grouping in DF, you can create your own custom tools that you can save out and reuse in other projects.

for example, in the project from which i rebuilt a couple scenes, i had two sets of frames for each shot that were just 8-bit targas (isolated alpha channel) of shadow density cast by static objects and animated objects separately. so to lay the shadows back in, i had to take a black plate, apply the luminosity of the shadow density frames as the alpha for the black plate, and blur the result just a little to smooth out the soft shadows (i had used area lighting).

[the board wouldn't let me post with 5 images in, so i just turned them all into links]

Click for image (http://www.lyonhaert.net/f/01.jpg)
above: in DF, i've built this setup, and merged the static shadows onto the background plate. you can see the black plate, channel boolean, and blur tools in the flow. with many repetitions of this, the flow can look kindof messy. the saver tool (named Output) is just there so you can see a thumbnail of the result, since the merge doesn't show it.

Click for image (http://www.lyonhaert.net/f/02.jpg)
above: here i've selected the 3 tools that are independent of any source images or merging.

Click for image (http://www.lyonhaert.net/f/03.jpg)
above: now i've hit Ctrl-G to group those 3 into their own unit, and renamed the group. see the little window icon in the lower-right of the group?

Click for image (http://www.lyonhaert.net/f/04.jpg)
above: the group expands when you hit that, and it you can alter the internal tools.

now all i have to do is copy that group, and paste it later in the flow when i need to make shadows from an alpha again. i can also save this out (and put it in the Bin) to load it into other projects. it will still have the single input and the single output that it inherits from the internal tools.

Click for image (http://www.lyonhaert.net/f/05.jpg)
above: here i've used that group again (just by copy and paste), and i've also grouped all the titles tools into their own group to make the flow look simpler. the titles group has 5 text+ tools, 5 directional blur tools, and 4 merge tools. it was messy.

i just wish other programs i use (like Photoshop) were node-based.

apex
10-20-2003, 09:28 AM
:hmm: A crude way of thinking of DFX+ (or any compositing package) is as an animatable photoshop
Once I purchased AE, it dramatically changed my workflow with rendering. Now I render in smaller/easier to change elements. I have a feeling that if you got this with DFX, you'd see a dramatic improvement in your workflow as well.

With comments like this, you guys have got me re-thinking my decision not to buy. You've got to understand that my rational is really based on plain old ignorance:thumbsup: Seriously though, it's a tough decision for me because the product and what you can do with it just seems to be at a higher-level than what I am at and what I know. It's like, how can I ask a question if I don't know what to ask for. Screwey, ain't I?:D

NanoGator
10-20-2003, 10:13 AM
Sorry all, posted a comment when I meant to start a thread.

P.S. Lyonheart, THANK YOu for posting those images. When I wake up tomorrow, gonna study those carefully. :)

ajirish
01-08-2004, 12:58 AM
Although the current DFX+ promotion is a great deal for LW users, Mac users are being left out in the cold.

A possible solution would be to offer Mac users the LINUX version of DFX, as LINUX can be installed on a Mac Partition.

Digital Fusion is a great compositor, and when fully blown is on par with SHAKE

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