Thursday, April 28th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Foundry ships Nuke, NukeX and Nuke Studio 10

Originally posted on 17 November 2015. Scroll down for news of the software’s release.

The Foundry has announced Nuke 10, the next update to its Nuke product range, adding a new raytracing renderer, improving the performance of the RotoPaint node, and extending GPU support.

In addition, users of NukeX, the extended edition of the base Nuke compositing software, will get a new Smart Paint toolset designed to simplify common tasks like plate clean-up and beauty work.

Users of Nuke Studio, The Foundry’s new VFX, editorial and finishing system, will get Smart Paint plus a new chroma keyer, improved audio tools, and a range of new timeline-based effects.

Updated 28 April 2016: Since this story was written, the Smart Paint toolset has been renamed the Smart Vector toolset, while the new raytracing renderer is now officially an unsupported beta feature.

In all three editions: new raytracing renderer, better vector blur
The biggest feature common to all three editions is the RayRender node: a new native raytracing render engine first glimpsed in The Foundry’s NAB presentation on its R&D for new virtual reality workflows.

Like the existing ScanlineRender node, it uses a scanline display, but it has a smaller memory footprint; and being a ray tracer, offers extended support for reflections and ambient occlusion and better motion blur.

As you might expect from its origins as a tool designed for VR work, it has been optimised for nonlinear spherical projection, to generate more accurate spherical renders.

In addition, performance of a number of core functions within the software has been improved: notably the vector blur algorithms, which now generate “better-quality motion blur”, including areas of occlusion.

Artists can also work with more paint and clone strokes in a single RotoPaint node in real time – although The Foundry doesn’t quantify how many more – removing the need to split paint operations across multiple nodes.

GPU support in general has been improved, with support for identical pairs of Nvidia cards on all of Nuke’s GPU-accelerated nodes; and support for AMD cards on newer MacBook Pro laptops.

In NukeX and Nuke Studio: new Smart Paint toolset
Users of NukeX also get Smart Paint: a new collection of nodes designed to simplify clean-up and beauty work.

Intriguingly, they can also make use of a “new set of vectors [generated from an image sequence] to wrap patches of clean plates or textures through [that] sequence of frames”.

The video above shows the toolset being used to map a dirt texture onto the back of an actor’s shirt, with the texture deforming according to the motion of the cloth beneath.

In Nuke Studio only: new chroma keyer, more timeline effects
As well as Smart Paint, Nuke Studio users get a range of new timeline-based soft effects, including audio scrubbing, with a half-waveform display option; and a colour correction effect based on the existing node.

There is also a new GPU-accelerated chroma keyer node with a corresponding soft effect. It’s designed to build on the overlay functionality added in Nuke Studio 9.0v7, making it possible to do greenscreen work in real time.

In addition, performance has been improved to address common workflow bottlenecks, including stability of playback, responsiveness when interacting with the user interface, and transcoding speed.

Updated 13 April 2016:The Foundry has just issued a press release “announcing the launch of Nuke 10”.

Actually, when you read it more closely, the Nuke 10 series isn’t actually shipping yet – the products will become available in “the coming weeks” – so we imagine it’s more of a ‘this is still happening’ in the run up to NAB.

At time of posting, The Foundry hadn’t updated its website, but the press release does go into a bit more detail about the new features. We’ve reproduced the relevant section below.

(Note: the list doesn’t include the new raytrace renderer, which The Foundry says “still isn’t as stable as we would like”. It is still present in the software, but is now an unsupported beta feature.)

What’s new in NUKE, NUKEX and NUKE STUDIO

  • Accelerated Roto Paint performance
    Now you can enjoy significantly improved interactivity and stability when working with large numbers of paint strokes in a single RotoPaint node. With a number of bottlenecks identified and addressed, you’ll be able to do far more painting or cloning in a single node where previously you’d need to split it up over multiple nodes, with all the inherent workflow complications that entailed.
  • Vector Blur enhancements
    NUKE’s VectorBlur node has been revamped with a more intuitive UI, accelerated performance and higher quality motion blur results, including areas of occlusion. The new version makes better use of the available processing power in machines with many CPU cores and offers the option for GPU acceleration.
  • Localization system improvements
    We’ve unified the way NUKE and NUKE STUDIO perform localization, taking the best parts of each system to produce a faster, easier-to-use solution that features a more informative and responsive UI, together with greater stability.
  • OCIO Integration
    OpenColorIO has been integrated into NUKE’s root LUT management, so artists can use the same process for accessing OCIO LUTs as any other type, eliminating the need to add OCIOColorspace nodes.
  • NVIDIA multi-GPU support
    Take better advantage of your graphics hardware investment to accelerate your workflows, with new support for harnessing the power of dual identical NVIDIA GPUs for all existing and future GPU-accelerated nodes.
  • BlinkScript GLSL GPU path
    The BlinkScript node can now use a GLSL GPU path, allowing you to create custom GPU-enabled Soft Effects on the NUKE STUDIO timeline and in the node graph.
  • VFX Reference Platform 2015 updates
    Updates to the VFX Reference Platform libraries include Pyside to version 1.2.2; EXR to version 2.2, featuring DWAA/DWAB compression; and GCC to version 4.8.3

What’s new in NUKEX and NUKE STUDIO

  • Smart Vector toolset
    The Smart Vector toolset [known as Smart Paint in the original preview, but since renamed – Ed.] delivers a powerful new workflow for adding textures or paint to image sequences that contain complex motion or subtle detail. With it, you can generate high-quality motion vectors and use them to automatically push or warp an input image sequence across a range of frames. With the Smart Vector toolset, you can replace tedious and error-prone manual clean-up, replacement and augmentation tasks with a simple and accurate automated process.
  • NUKE Assist updates
    The NUKE Assist licenses included with NUKEX and NUKE STUDIO now include Blur and Vector Distort nodes, extending the range of everyday paint, roto and tracking tasks for which they can be used.

What’s new in NUKE STUDIO

  • Timeline performance
    NUKE STUDIO now offers a faster and more satisfying timeline editing and conform experience, especially when working with longer timelines or timelines with many items. Key improvements include better responsiveness when interacting with the timeline user interface along with faster and more stable playback on both short and long-form projects.
  • Transcode performance
    Users will experience faster export speed due to accelerated file transcoding when converting NUKE’s native DPX format to Apple QuickTime ProRes 4444 and Apple QuickTime ProRes 422.
  • Chroma Keyer Soft Effect
    NUKE STUDIO’s new Chroma Keyer Soft Effect delivers real-time keying directly in the timeline. When used in conjunction with the Overlay Track, Chroma Keyer lets you see your keyed element on top of background elements, enabling you to make adjustments in context. The corresponding ChromaKeyer compositing node is available in all NUKE products.
  • Blink Script Soft Effect
    The BlinkScript node is now available as a Soft Effect on the NUKE STUDIO timeline, allowing you to create custom GPU-enabled Soft Effects on the timeline and in the node graph.
  • Color Correct Soft Effect
    A new Color Correct Soft Effect brings the functionality of the frequently used ColorCorrect node to the timeline, letting you make quick adjustments to contrast, gamma, gain, and offset without jumping to the node graph.
  • Audio handling
    You can now scrub or step through audio samples in order to easily match specific points in a clip or sequence. In addition, there’s a new option to view a half waveform for better use of screen real estate.

Updated 28 April:The Nuke 10 product range is now officially shipping for Windows, Linux and OS X. A single node-locked or floating licence of Nuke costs $4,274; NukeX is $7,998; and Nuke Studio is $9,331.

Read more about the new features in Nuke 10 on The Foundry’s website