Motionographer® Transferring from After Results to Nuke

Over my 10-year profession, I’ve labored in two of the main compositing packages within the VFX trade: After Results and Nuke. 

After Results is the Swiss Military knife of post-production, with a number of capabilities, together with keying, monitoring, compositing, and movement graphics. It’s one of many first instruments I realized due to its low barrier to entry, affordability, and ease of use. 

Nuke, then again, is extra like a surgeon’s scalpel — a devoted and exact bundle constructed to do one factor: composite. It’s the trade normal for good motive, and it’s the instrument I take advantage of at Vine FX on tasks starting from Conflict of the Worlds to The Vacationer. 

As a result of Nuke is so ubiquitous, it’s vital to know use it when collaborating with post-production firms or simply as a result of it offers you such a robust set of instruments for compositing. 

Nevertheless, when adopting new software program, you’ll be able to simply fall into the lure of considering it’s only a case of studying a brand new structure. 

Then you definately open Nuke for the primary time…

Interface shock

Instantly, you’re greeted with an unfamiliar structure. Whereas After Results’ design just isn’t dissimilar to an NLE, Nuke begins virtually clean. There are related components, akin to a timeline, however importing information is extra sophisticated. 

In Nuke, the ‘import media’ tab is known as ‘learn’, which differs vastly from most software program. When you convey your footage into your timeline, you continue to can’t see something. You begin to ask your self questions like, “why can’t I see my footage?“ “What do all these results imply?” and “What is that this?”. 

Sure, it’s a very completely different mind-set, however it’s the identical as creating any new talent. It could take a second to relearn naming conventions with a purpose to function Nuke, however as quickly as you do, utilizing it should turn out to be second nature. 

Layers vs Nodes

AE makes use of layer-based compositing. The idea is just like Photoshop or, in retro phrases, chopping out footage and sticking them on prime of one another. 

In AE, you may have a base layer, and if you wish to add a component — like an explosion or a tree within the background — you stack it on prime in a brand new layer. 

Nuke, then again, makes use of node-based compositing, the place as an alternative of a stack of layers, we now have a type of move chart. Right here we join one factor (a node) to a different to provide our last picture. The node tree you create is named a “script” – a procedural illustration of the ultimate picture. Easy sufficient, proper? 

The explanation for this distinction is to do with effectivity. After Results is nice for less complicated compositions (not essentially primary when it comes to talent degree, however with fewer parts or results). 

However the bigger the comp, with doubtlessly lots of of components, the trickier it turns into to navigate. And the extra environment friendly you have to be. For instance, in AE, if you happen to wished to rotoscope or masks an object, you’d have to use the identical form to each layer or duplicate the masks you need to isolate via the Monitor Matte perform. 

In Nuke, you create one node that comprises the rotoscoped form after which join all different layers to it via the node tree. If you have to make any adjustments, you modify it as soon as in Nuke, whereas in AE, you would wish to repair it in each layer you’ve used it in.

Nuke gives a extra visible atmosphere, making compositing large photographs with many components extra manageable. It offers you granular management, which implies you’ll be able to produce extra complicated compositions extra simply.

The place to start 

Let’s begin small. Nuke has a plethora of nodes accessible, with extra capabilities being added on a regular basis. It might take without end to undergo all of them individually, so as an alternative, I’m going to provide the prime 5 nodes to begin with and what all of them do.

This shows the render output of any related course of within the viewer panel. It’s the one node already current inside Nuke if you open it, and it has a small pipe with the number one protruding.

It doesn’t have an effect on the picture in any approach however allows you to see what you’re doing. That is the rationale why you’ll be able to’t see something after studying your footage into the script. 

First, choose your file after which press 1. This may activate the viewer. The great thing about this node is that you may join a couple of viewer to it by urgent completely different numbers. Personally, my favorite mixture is:

  1. What I’m engaged on.
  2. My earlier render for comparability.
  3. The unique plate.
  4. The ultimate output earlier than rendering.

Simply by clicking 4 buttons, I can see 4 completely different views with out shifting the mouse. That is very time environment friendly. 

This allows you to mix a number of photos or components collectively, it’s the equal of layering a picture on prime of one other. When utilizing this node, you select how the pixel values from one picture are calculated with one other in order that the merged picture seems seamless – like how a 3D mannequin of a cup can be positioned on prime of a desk. When merging photos, you add a B pipe for the background (on this occasion, the desk) and an A pipe for the foreground picture (the cup). 

You create this node by urgent M on the Node Graph. 

This is a 2D tracker that allows you to extract information from the place, rotation, and scale of a picture. The final course of for doing that is to attach the node to the picture you need to observe, place anchors on options, calculate the monitoring information, after which select the operation you need to carry out — be it stabilise, match-move, or one thing else. Your photos will then transfer in sync with each other.

Unsurprisingly, this one is for rotoscoping — basically drawing spherical an object in a picture to chop it out of its background. This node options level choice, manipulation, and shape-creation instruments. To make use of, merely choose your instrument, draw your shapes, and use the management panel to fine-tune. 

You possibly can create this node by urgent O within the Node Graph. 

This is sort of a mixture of the Curves and Stage capabilities used for color correction in After Results. At Vine FX, we use this for color matching and a basic grade if wanted. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have as a lot management as DaVinci or Lightroom. There are different color nodes to assist relying in your purpose, however grade is the principle one most artists begin with. 

This node will be created by urgent G on the Node Graph. 

Foundry gives a whole lot of useful information on nodes, what they’re, and the way they work. 

If doubtful, at all times examine with the corporate that made it.


Many compositors go their complete careers with out studying to code. Nevertheless, a number of strains of Python may give you better management over Nuke. Even After Results has coded expressions (although not natively Python).  

Python and expressions are broadly used scripting capabilities built-in into Nuke. By studying some instructions and workflows, you’ll be able to management the consumer interface, shortly modify a number of nodes, and combine with exterior functions. 

Expression instructions are completely different in Nuke and AE. For instance, a “wiggle” expression in After Results is named “random” in Nuke. 

Once more, what could appear to be a whole lot of relearning upfront will streamline your course of in the long term. You possibly can change Colorspace and body vary on a number of information with 2-3 strains of code. You possibly can completely survive without having to know code when utilizing Nuke, however you’ll thrive by studying it.

The place to go subsequent

Utilizing Nuke for the primary time can appear to be a frightening prospect, however there are numerous helpful assets accessible to assist. The very best factor to do, although, is apply. 

Foundry gives a non-commercial version of Nuke so you’ll be able to see what working with it’s truly like earlier than utilizing it on business tasks. It’s additionally free, which is an enormous assist and goes some approach to decreasing the barrier of entry to Nuke. 

Try the Nuke tutorials Foundry provides and YouTube movies from endorsed creators like Hugo Guerra. 

Lastly, pay money for any studying assets that would assist, like Nuke 101, Nodes within nodes, or Gianluca Dentici’s Python course

Each After Results and Nuke have their place and are unbelievable instruments in their very own proper. Movement graphics artists will love AE and its toolset. And for these wanting (or needing) to degree up their compositing abilities, Nuke is the best choice on the market. 

In the end, by taking the time to make the leap from After Results to Nuke for compositing, you’ll be able to be taught to work extra successfully on bigger, extra complicated tasks. 


About Alesja


 As Lead Compositor at Vine FX, Alesja is devoted to her craft. Combining her twin passions for artwork and arithmetic, she has turn out to be a useful asset to the workforce, notably in main sequences on The Witcher, Season 3.

 Different key tasks that Alesja has labored on embrace Conflict of the Worlds Season 1-3, The Serpent, Thor: Ragnarok and RTS award-winning The Lazarus Mission.