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Anamorphic post workflows part 1

Rob Bannister

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Hello everyone,


This is one way to learn to deal with Anamorphic footage in post. Here is a detailed tutorial on working with anamorphic footage in post, from dealing with lens distortion and squeeze factor, moving data between applications and rendering with the proper pixel aspect ratios. I will be updating this tutorial with more info as I move through the process and adding more applications as well. Currently I cover Nuke, After Effects, Video Copilot and Maya. The next one will most likely be Houdini but if you have any suggestions, something is missing or if there is a better way to do something please let me know. I really wanted a place to consolidate all of this info and make it available to anyone who needs it, so let me know if you found this useful.



Rob B






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Thanks guys, I should mark this as part one because I doing this in order to do a large matte painting correctly so there should be a part 2 coming with way more stuff once the geo gets built, rendered, stuff gets added etc. Im glad it looks like it could be of some use.


@mugwart Ive used Houdini before but you are right it is not easy to set up image planes and projection cameras in that program. I may ask the Houdini guy at work to help me get this scene over.

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Yes houdini is great but there are parts of that package that get a little left behind like the COPs section of it. Also the amount of artists available to do the amazing things that program is capable of is low even here in Van. So I will be using it for more specialized sims and then using mudbox, maya and vray to achieve the rest. Im not a fan of maya either but the studio Im at does great stuff with it so it should be a pretty good workflow.

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Oh yeah.  You won't catch me defending COPs.  I try to avoid that part of the package entirely.  It's never felt anything but clunky to me.  And for several releases several really important nodes just plain didn't work correctly.  And we're talking nodes that were really basic math.


After using Nuke for so long it's hard to not be disappointed with any other node-based compositor, truthfully.  I'm a .5-Alpha Nuker and one of the first artists to risk putting it into production, back on True Lies.  It was a text only, script-based compositor back then, in the style of Wavefront's TAV-Comp.  I was ready for anything better than Wavefront's Video Composer and until Nuke got a GUI I preferred script-based compositing anyhow.


By Apollo 13 and Strange Days the first version with a GUI (nuke2) was rolled out but it was like the wild wild west.  You'd kick off a six hour network render and halfway through you'd see things go haywire on the queue because the new lead programmer had pushed out a new version where he inverted his assumption regarding how a node might treat the absence of an alpha channel.  Stuff like that.  Good times.


I kinda got even with Bill for giving me ulcers with nuke2 when he was exiled from the software department to work as an artist assigned to a show, so that he could get some perspective on how his work affected so many people, and he got assigned to one of my teams, lol.


I use mostly After Effects these days.  I love the interactivity but really, really hate how inefficient the timeline paradigm is.

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Ahhh after effects is ok but I couldnt do have the work I need to quite as fast. For using a piece of software all day everyday I am quite happy with Nuke actually.


So I have almost figured out the Houdini workflow but Im just having a bit of an issue getting the background image to play nice with the overscan workflow. Currently the geo extends as well so it is not lining up but you can use the non overscan plate and then increase the window size.


Anyways I'll try to sort it out and keep moving ahead adding more stuff.



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...For using a piece of software all day everyday I am quite happy with Nuke actually.



Now that Cineon is no more, it's the only compositor on the market, that I'm aware of, created and designed by high end compositors actually doing the work and not just computer scientists and software engineers.  I'm sure there have been changes made by the Foundry but it's still basically purpose-built production software, like Renderman and Katana.  There is a difference, definitely.

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We still use cineon or a flavor of log as in Alexa LogC but people are slowly moving over to ACES or Open ColorIO so that it can hold the amount of data into linear 32bitfloat EXR which by default still clips everything over 1 but Im also looking at moving us over to it so I can send the proper plates over to 3d. Maybe this year...

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Oh no, I meant the Cineon compositor.  Kodak used to market the compositor they developed in-house at Cinesite.  What I saw was kinda like Shake locked to laying down nodes horizontally.  This would have been around '98/99 or so last time I saw it in action.  I think they sold the source to a 3rd party company who rebranded it for a period under a new name but I think Shake buried it in the early, pre-Apple days on price and I lost track of it.

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