Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Foundry announces Nuke Studio

The Foundry has unveiled Nuke Studio: an upcoming addition to the Nuke product family intended to provide a complete node-based “VFX, editorial and finishing studio” in a single application.

The announcement was made at NAB 2014 yesterday.

A new ‘super Nuke’
The new product combines all of the features from NukeX, the current top-of-the-range edition of The Foundry’s 3D compositor, with features from Hiero, its conform, shot-management and review tool.

In the NAB announcement, Nuke product manager Jon Wadelton described Nuke Studio as “full NukeX with the capabilities of Hiero [plus] lots of secret-sauce tech that makes [it] more than the sum of its parts”.

Key features include a full online editing toolset, real-time timeline effects, and integrated workflow between the timeline and NukeX’s node graph, including the option to copy and paste between the two.

Real-time 4K playback, pipeline integration
Nuke Studio will also provide real-time 4K playback, both in-application and through SDI-out hardware: something that Autodesk has also just announced for Flame 2015.

Playback will be GPU-accelerated, with Wadelton noting that The Foundry will be announcing a list of recommended “Quadro-class Nvidia” cards, although Nuke Studio “will run on other hardware as well”.

Like Nuke itself, the software will run on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and unlike turnkey solutions like Flame, there will be “no hardware locks”.

The Foundry also says that Nuke Studio will have “built-in renderfarm functionality” – “if you want to go faster, you just add extra machines and it will use those as well,” said Wadelton – and will be Python-scriptable.

The Foundry’s teaser for its NAB announcement: a video that proved sufficiently enigmatic to prompt some of its forum users to speculate that the company was developing an audio-editing tool.

So how much will this cost?
The Foundry hasn’t announced pricing for Nuke Studio yet, although it describes it as sitting “at the top of our current Nuke range” and being “a reasonable upgrade from NukeX”.

Given NukeX’s current list price of $8,144, excluding tax, that suggests Nuke Studio will be more expensive than Autodesk’s Smoke – the 2013 release of which is priced at $3,495 – but significantly less than Flame.

Asked where The Foundry was pitching Nuke Studio in the market, Nuke product marketing manager Philippa Carroll commented that it “was not designed to offer a like-for-like replacement” for any existing product.

Instead, she noted that The Foundry had “designed an application that meets the new requirements of fast-turnaround post-production, where Nuke is the primary compositor used.”

Slotting into standard pipelines
The Foundry sees the fact that Nuke Studio is being built around an already industry-standard tool as a key selling point for the new product.

“With Studio, you’re getting access to the power of Nuke and all its benefits,” said Carroll. “All the tech in this product is battle-tested.”

“Nuke Studio gives an artist a whole lot of control – they can conform, edit, colour-correct, add effects, play back at 4K – basically, they can run a whole project and even sit with a client while doing it.”

However, Carroll noted that the software is designed for team, as well as solo, work.

“Because it’s built on an architecture that was designed to be highly collaborative, [artists] can take a particular part of the project on the timeline and get other members of their team to independently work on it, in the way a Nuke team always has.”

Still details to be finalised
Given that many of the capabilities of Nuke Studio are already present in NukeX and Hiero, the only major unknown would seem to be the editing toolset.

Carroll commented that The Foundry has “made a huge number of advances with our editorial capabilities”, although it isn’t yet clear exactly how fully featured an editor Nuke Studio will be.

In the NAB presentation, Wadelton noted that it would be able to cut audio, but not apply effects like compression, for example.

It also isn’t clear yet exactly which features of NukeX will be accessible from the timeline.

In the NAB session, Wadelton identified NukeX’s colour-matching tool, masks and retiming as features that would be “cool to have”, but noted that the intention was not to bypass the node graph entirely.

“We don’t want to move everything to the timeline because we really believe that the node graph environment is the best [place] to do compositing, because it’s much more fluid,” he said.

Release dates and further updates
However, even from the current outline description, Nuke Studio sounds a powerful – and potentially disruptive – new product.

The Foundry says that it will be sharing more information in the run-up to its release, currently scheduled for “late 2014”. You can sign up for news updates on The Foundry’s website via the link below.

Read The Foundry’s official Nuke Studio news release

Watch a recording of the NAB announcement on The Foundry’s website
(Includes a link to sign up for news announcements)