View Full Version : node based compositing???

01 January 2009, 10:29 PM
I am using After effects and am really getting annoyed with the interface and general navigation of the layers. I am looking into learning either Fusion or Nuke as the seem to be excellent programs and both very popular choices for production.

My question was has anyone got any opinions on these software packages? pros,cons,which one is better etc?anything at all would be great. I think nuke is cheaper this might influence my desicion if there is not much difference? also why is nuke so popular in the first place???

01 January 2009, 12:55 AM
Im sure there are many people who have first hand experience with both of the packages. I have personally only used Nuke and Shake, but I've heard from others in the industry that when it comes to the choice between Nuke and Fusion, their first choice would be Nuke.

Now, it would be interesting to hear what Nuke does better than Fusion. I've heard that Fusion is used more for television? I've also heard its quite unstable, but so is Nuke (even though its gotten quite a bit more stable lately).

01 January 2009, 09:59 AM
meanwhile i know both fusion and nuke. and fusion is definitely not more unstable than nuke. nuke 4.8 was really unstable. with 5.1 it is much better.
so the pros and cons for fusion and nuke (my personal opinion *g*):
- fusion has 3d particles
- fusion is a little bit more intuitive than nuke, but nuke 5.1 is a little bit better (eventually miore fusion like) than 4.8
- nuke is faster in rendering (viewport and final output)
- nukes support for multichannel images is much better than fusion, but fusion 6 should also be better in that way
- some tools of nuke are not really float like but nuke is (so it is a little bit strange).
- nuke can be easier customized with python or tcl
- fusion has more predefined functions (random generator etc.)
- you write earlier your first expression in nuke than in fusion
- nuke has no timeline. moving footage works via time offset nodes (very complicated)
- fusion supports after effects and ofx plugins nuke only ofx

meanwhile i really like nuke. but at the beginning (about one year ago), i missed "my" fusion so much.
fusion is also used for film, e.g sin city. look at there are some examples.
but yes, i think it is mainly used for tv stuff. because it combines node based compositing with some motion graphics functions (the text+ tool is really mighty). so it is great for commercials and on-air design etc.

01 January 2009, 03:07 AM
Fusion 6 will introduce GPU acclerated Rendering (not just viewport....but it uses the hundreds of general purpose GPU processors in the newer graphic cards...consumer as well as workstation cards), so that will be a real treat.
Make sure to check out the portion where he renders out the Ferrari (toward the end of the video, at the 22:37 mark)

I'm in the same boat and have looked at both. Fusion gets the nod due to it's true 3D particle system and timeline.
I'm currently a Combustion user, and I can still use it for most tasks, but Fusion seems to take the things I like about Combustion (namely the particles and paint tools) and goes a step further. Not so much with Nuke. Speed is about it, as far as I can tell.

01 January 2009, 09:41 AM
yes, the gpu rendering of fusion 6 is really nice. and i forgot the mentioned paint tool. painting in nuke can be really painful because the function is really buggy, like many others too :) so, i mainly use combustion for painting and load these intermediate files again in the nuke comp. but this is just a really anoying workaround.

01 January 2009, 05:59 AM
They are both solid applications, but Nuke is rapidly gaining momentum in taking the crown from Shake for film. Fusion has been used by quite a number of studios on features, but just take a look at any job forum. Shake is still # 1 with Nuke rapidly becoming #2 and Fusion at #3.

Good thing is that both have PLE versions so you can try them out yourself free of charge.

I did a quick post on this the other day:

I will also be doing a video next week on the basics of the "node vs layers mindset".

Stay tuned :)

01 January 2009, 07:08 AM
Actually, this is what I like about Combustion, compared to say After Effects or node-based compositors like Shake, Fusion and's a hybrid of the two systems. Its big brother, Toxic, is as well, but it seems dedicated to a film workflow and not an all-around compositor like Combustion or Fusion.

The dual workflow is so handy...I mostly work in layers, because the node view can be a pain in the bum to navigate a heavy project, but there are times where working in nodes is helpful.
I really wish Autodesk would put some development into Combustion, but at its pricepoint, I don't think they will. A vastly improved Combustion eliminates the need for Toxic and potentially their own hardware systems (Flame, Flint, and Inferno)

More speed, updated particle system, and real 3d geometry handling would make it a tough bastard to compete with...even if they had to raise the price a good bit.

Fusion isn't cheap, but it's the most well-rounded desktop compositor on the market, no doubt. That's why I'm using the PLE to get up to speed with it. Glad they came out with that.

02 February 2009, 02:12 AM
I think coming from AE, you will find Shake a lot more competent at handling simple 2D tasks.

Between Fusion and Nuke? I really can't say. I make use of a blackmagic decklink card, and with the improvements Nuke has on the horizon for version 5.2 and followed by version 6, I can't see myself ever trying fusion again.

Look at adding a node based compositor to your arsenal, rather than replacing AE. I would much rather do tasks like paint/roto in AE or Shake over Nuke or Fusion anyday!

Nuke and Fusion have PLE versions rather than trials, and fantastic tutorials, and courseware on their respective websites. One thing to do would be try the courseware in the opposing product. i.e. try the colour correction exercise for fusion, in both Nuke and Fusion, and see which one you like.

02 February 2009, 07:52 AM
I am also a long time AE user and am looking to add a node based application to my skills. I would like to eventually move up to flame. But most people learn shake then goto flame. I actually tinkered around with shake for a while but never really felt comfortable in it. I then took a class on for Nuke. It also has taken me a while to get use to Nuke, but each time I use it and watch more tutorials it starts to make more and more sense. At work we haev a small VFX crew and they are all shake with the option of going nuke later. So i have just focused on Nuke. It just seems like the future, all the things thye are planning to add to v6 are insane. I watched it on and you need to be a member to see, if I find it someplace else i will post it. Nuke can be a little finkie, but it is getting better with each version. It is also nice that it is available on mac, win and lin.

02 February 2009, 08:37 AM
Ive used both, and would if i had to choose a go to package it would be fusion. Nuke beats fusion in speed by a little bit, but it is lacking a particle system. Which forces me into another program many times when i could use fusions particles to create the effect im looking for without relying on going back into a full 3d package.

02 February 2009, 07:33 PM
Here is the Nuke 2009 Roadmap:

Nuke 2009 Roadmap (

I haven't tried fusion because I use a mac. But I have heard great things about it.

The main thing I am trying to get use too; is the time offset = sliding layers around like you can do in AE. Also in AE you can have many comps, where in node compositing one script = one shot usually, helps to keep things organized. I am also coming form the motion graphics side and trying to work on my vfx comping skills by learning nuke. I think one thing nuke could add is a little more editing ability like in flame. I need to learn python so i can code my own.

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