View Full Version : Looking for Compositing Advice

04 April 2009, 03:27 AM
Hi, I am currently looking for an "Compositing" app and have been leaning towards After Effects, but I an also curious about "Motion" and was wondering if anyone here uses it or could give me their opinion of it? I'd like to hear from those who have used "Motion" and can give a fair assessment of it's qualities.

Motion uses "Nodes" I believe which I've heard are more intuitive and easier to use than After Effects system, but what have your experiences been?

Also, do you think AE will ever go the "Node" route and is it a better way of working IYO?

04 April 2009, 09:32 AM
Motion is mainly for Motion Graphics, AE is good for (Layer based) Compositing and Motion Graphics.

If you really want to take a look into nodal compositing get a cheap version of shake to learn or start with (the much more expensive) Nuke, Toxik, Fusion etc.

04 April 2009, 10:54 AM
I think that AE would be your best bet as a freelancer, especially if you get it as part of the Adobe suites.

Does motion really use nodes? Last time I checked it used layers. As for nodes vs layers, it has been covered here already and the general consensus is that nodes are usually a lot more flexible when it comes to working on large composites, ala film. Having said that, you could achieve the same or similar results in AE, it would just be more faffing about.

Of course, this is all very general.

04 April 2009, 02:31 PM
There is a plug-in for motion (and AE) that lets you use nodes, I forgot the name though...

Still it limits you, since you use the nodes only for single layer, and you never know if 3rd party plugins work.

04 April 2009, 12:19 AM
I believe the DVGarage put out the Conduit plugin for Motion. Might be a bit old now though.

04 April 2009, 11:05 PM
Id recommend a node-based app over AE. I personally find it more intuitive and easier to work with.

04 April 2009, 02:41 AM
Sure, but if you are freelancing or a student, the entire Adobe Suite is very good value for money compared to a single node-based comping app. Plus, students get to use the apps for commercial work.

04 April 2009, 05:39 AM
if they want to try out a node based app to compare, Nuke PLE is a great place to start. Granted a little hard to get into at first, but in terms of future career paths it is a good bet. Plus I hear the online training offer by the foundry is awesome :) ......

04 April 2009, 07:00 AM
Thanks everyone, sorry about not responding earlier. I checked out Nuke and it looks great but a bit out of my price range. I was looking for an application where I could simply add my image sequences and overlay some type. Having a compositing app would be nice but I might not need it right away, but having the ability to add smoke, fire, particles etc. would be nice.

I have used Quicktime to add text but it is a bit of a pain to do it quickly.

I understand Premier and Final Cut are "Editing" apps and AE is a "Compositing" app, but for my purposes, do you think Premier or Final Cut Studio would be a simpler solution than After Effects to assemble some image sequences and add some text or should I just dole out the $$$ and buy After Effects?

Like I said, I don't have a specific project that needs compositing but it might be handy to have the ability to add smoke or particles etc. at some point, so maybe AE would be the better choice, but I found the demo version a bit overwhelming to understand.

Just looking for opinions. Thanks!

04 April 2009, 02:52 PM
You might also want to take a look at Blender. It's not considered as pro as AE or all the more expensive software, but hey, it's free! It has some sort of a node compositor in it.

04 April 2009, 01:28 PM
I checked out the Blender method about a year ago and found it lacked the flexibility of something like After Effects. I started with the node based compositor built into xsi, then got work at a place using After Effects and haven't looked back.
Nodes are fairly easy to get your head around imo though. Just try before you buy, or not if it's ple. ;)

05 May 2009, 11:18 AM
If you wanna add smoke, particles and other "fun stuff" AE seems like a good choice for you. But if what you need is pure compositing then I wouldn't recommend AE since it's kinda slow and doesn't grant you total control.

Nuke is a very powerful compositing software, but if you need something cheaper I'd recommend Shake. You can't generate particles and such with those softwares though..
Eyon Fusion has a particle system built in, but I don't know how good it is, never tried it. But I've heard people saying it's ok.

If all you need is some text and stuff then maybe premiere is enough.

05 May 2009, 05:23 AM
I suggest you should go for AE......value for money....yet so powerful

05 May 2009, 06:30 AM
Thanks everyone. I am looking at Blender and AE. :)

05 May 2009, 01:08 AM
Here's my suggestion ...

At this point in your learning process, what you really want is exposure to the whys and wherefores of "node based processing," and you don't want to spend much money (yet...) to accomplish that. Ergo, Blender. (If you have not looked at that constantly evolving program in the last three months, you're missing a lot...)

Down the line, you'll probably also want to expose yourself to other programs that are used in the day-to-day profession to do comping work. There are several to choose from, and don't overlook "student" editions of these. But this will probably be "step two" of your self-education. When Blender ... itself a professional-grade tool ... implements so many useful concepts at no cost whatsoever, it's a logical place to begin.

05 May 2009, 10:23 AM
Having tried Blender for some basic 3D stuff a while back, I found it arse-backwards on the really basic stuff, which didn't fill me with confidence for the higher end bits and pieces.

BUZZFX: Are you on Windows or Mac? If you're on Mac, you could do a lot worse than to buy Shake (full working and legal copy) for $500.

It also depends on where you want to go with this - do you want to turn professional and work for a larger vfx company, or do you just want it for your own projects?

If you want to end up working for a big company, you'll probably have to learn Shake or Nuke at some point (or, to a lesser extent, Fusion or After Effects). I've got by just knowing Shake so far - I'm learning Nuke, and have never really had any reason to want to get into either of the other ones. Nuke and Fusion can both be learnt from their PLEs. Shake, you'd need a Mac for, and I don't know what kind of demo/learning edition Adobe offers.

If you're just doing it on your own, then use whatever works best for you, in terms of workflow and cost. The Adobe suite may well be your best bet - there are a lot of good resources out there for it, and it's just as capable of doing the same kind of thing as the others.

05 May 2009, 03:40 AM
This is definitely (also) sound advice.

The way I see it, there are really two parts to this self-education: what (and why) ... then how.

If you are at the "what and why" stage, then Blender is a very good tool because it is both very-complete and absolutely-free. Which is always music to the ears of a starving student.

Then, you start to be interested in "how" a particular target-company accomplishes their particular workload. And that's where product-specific knowledge may be important.

What you don't want to wind up doing is this: "yeah, I know 'all about' Tool X, but I really have no idea what to do with it." :bounce: (Hey, I'm serious!) Now, the reality for anyone who is "just starting out" is that you really don't "know the ropes" yet, and no one can realistically expect you to. So, probably, a well-balanced mix of the two approaches is best.

"Above all, actually do ... and finish ... lots and lots of stuff." If you can do that for zero-dollars (and you can), go for it. But then, start branching out. Spend some serious time with different tools ... several different tools.

05 May 2009, 02:56 AM
I worked a lot with Motion and AE. Iīm doing mostly Motion Graphics, and enjoyed "Motion" much more than AE. But the downside of it, itīs slow, I mean very slow, even on a 8core MacPro I see most of the time this funny color wheel, and Motion ucks if you wanna get into serious compositing (green screen, multi layer renders, ... ) cause the lack of good keyers and layer based style. One year ago I started using Shake, and took some fxphd courses, since then I never looked back, the node based stuff seems much more logic the me, feel like before I just pressed buttons ... even the price is great, as a student you get Shake for 250 euroīs ! Donīt care if itīs not developed anymore, thereīs actually nothing I miss there, and for the fancy particles and type stuff I have Appleīs Motion on my back.

hope that helps ;-)

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