View Full Version : Is Toxik worth learning?

03 March 2010, 05:28 AM
I'm a hobbyist who uses Maya a lot and I want to learn node based compositing. Now that Maya comes with Toxik I've been playing around with it. But is it a program worth learning? Will it be around in a few years? What are it's limitations? Will the knowledge transfer to Nuke or other compositors? What do you think? Is it worth it to learn Toxik in depth just because it comes free with Maya?

03 March 2010, 03:53 PM
I think nuke is much like Toxik, but yea I would like to know this too.

03 March 2010, 06:14 PM
You must know what you want, whether plugins you are planning to purchase support toxic, or the places you are planning to work accept compositors working in toxik. I'm very curious to look at it as it comes with max.

07 July 2010, 01:29 AM
Depends what you want exactly. I've been considering using Toxik/Maya composite for my purposes but just found out it has no audio support. For me that renders it pretty much useless :(

07 July 2010, 04:26 AM
I think it is incredibly handy to a have a high level node based compositor included in the Maya package now, especially for smaller studios who don't need to purchase a separate app like Nuke.

The fact is: Nuke is now the standard for high-end film and TV visual effects. Nothing else comes close in terms of widespread industry/studio use.

The goods news is that if you learn the "mindset" of node based compositing, the transfer between applications is *much* more straightforward than for 3D applications. If you understand the process and why you are doing something, you generally just have to work out what the new app calls the same/similar process.

07 July 2010, 02:40 AM
I come from a somewhat different world, Blender, which of course does have fully integrated node-based compositing now (tho' I am sure, not nearly to the level of these cats...), and (full disclosure...) I do not do this for a full-time living. However, I can definitely tell you that "the 'node-based' way of thinking" is a very essential thing to know. If you've got at your disposal a tool that can do that, even if it isn't perfect in every way, you need to make it your business to learn more than a little bit about it. The knowledge will serve you very well, and it'll have a big impact on how you work.

I find the notion of "a production line" (or, dare I say it, "a data-flow diagram") is extremely intuitive. Your first impression might be "huh?" But your next one will be "ahhhh...!"

Of course I have no way to know if you've ever spent time "dancing in the red lights" of a real-world darkroom, but if you have, then you know just how important "post production" is, and how dramatic the difference can be between what is captured and what you finally see. This is the ultimate digital darkroom.

This strategy (and it really is a "strategy") just might be the most-important idea in your entire toolkit. It gives you essentially unlimited control over exactly how your images are put together. You'll find that you're visualizing how you intend to stitch nodes together even as you're planning the modeling and the lights ... and that you're pulling all of these ideas together, even in the shot planning stages, to achieve the results you want. The notion that "everything must happen in the render" will fly right out the window, never to return.

07 July 2010, 04:18 AM
Knowledge from one node-based compositor transfers well to another. Learn Toxic, and if you have to use Shake or Nuke or any other node-based compositor, you'll be much better prepared for it.

11 November 2010, 02:32 AM
Check out Ken's blog if you want some good tutorials:


11 November 2010, 07:38 AM
I used toxic for about two months on a project; at that point, our technology division was testing it to see if it was going to be a replacement for Shake.

With all due respect to the individuals who coded the software, it's no replacement. The UI is incredibly unintuitive, the software prone to frequent crashes, and it reflects a package that was developed without talking to longtime compositors. To complete a simple composite took nearly three to four times as long, and I've been compositing for well over a decade.

If you're looking to learn, try obtaining a copy of Shake and start from there. If you need something for a paying job, grab a copy of Nuke. I'd disagree with others who say that it's the same learning principles as another node-based compositor-- it's not. It may look on the surface like it is, but the interface reminds me of a bad mix of Combustion and After Effects.

I should note that when I tested Toxic, I was at another studio.

11 November 2010, 03:16 PM
When did you try it out, Alan? The 2010 version saw a lot of UI improvements.


11 November 2010, 05:12 PM
About a year ago. If Autodesk improved the UI & stability since then significantly, my criticism may be moot.

11 November 2010, 07:35 PM
I don't think they have. I got the 2010 version with our 3ds max subscription, and it crashes just about everytime I start trying to work with it. The UI is a little hard to get used to, but problem is it's just so un-intuitive and takes a long time to do stuff. But then again I find that to be true with most of Autodesk's stuff - FFI and Combustion.

11 November 2010, 02:22 PM
... it crashes just about everytime I start trying to work with it. The UI is a little hard to get used to, but problem is it's just so un-intuitive and takes a long time to do stuff.

Wow, that's strange; I find it to be the complete opposite. The UI is simple and took me an afternoon to learn, I have never had a crash, and it's incredibly quick to comp in.

I'd be very interested to find out why it is dead simple for some people and a total mess for others. I assume there aren't two versions out there just to mess with us.

11 November 2010, 09:58 AM
Well, Nuke is the New Industrial standard for sure, but there is a good option for small studios that works great is - Fusion.

Try it if that works for you.

02 February 2011, 11:21 AM
Nuke is the standard, no contest on this one.
Toxik is now bundled with max/maya/softimage, period. Will it be more widely used to this ? Yes, in a lot of small studios, freelancers etc that can't pay another max/toxik license price for nuke alone. Will it make toxik become the standard ? I seriously doubt that. They are competitors, everyone now have it, but Nuke is here to stay, I think (apart pure business considerations).
That being said, when you know node based compositing, transitionning from one to another software is really fast. I know some Nuke compositors who have switch to Composite2011(Toxik), after one to two weeks, Toxik was familiar, and while can be disturbing at first, they now appreciate its interface/workflow and are more efficient/faster with Toxik. To contrary, if you learn Toxik, switching to Nuke will be easy also. A lot easier than changing 3d software.
All these are just tools. Combustion is dead. Shake is dead. Desktop compositing is a very little market, and anything can happens anytime with these tools. Learn what you have, being node based, and just use it or switch if needed.
Composite 2011 is buggy actually (we use it in production anyway, without much troubles). It is the first 'portage' so the three 3d packages bundles, so I guess Composite2012 with be a lot more stable. Let's see !
My 2cent

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