Monday, January 6th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Check out Point Render 1.1 for Nuke

Higx – aka VFX artist Mads Hagbarth Damsbo – has released Point Render: an inexpensive new point rendering engine for Nuke.

Written in BlinkScript and created using only native Nuke nodes, the renderer is described as a way to “create, modulate and render dense energy effects”.

A powerful particle renderer created using only native Nuke tools
Point Render does exactly what the name suggests, rendering out sets of millions of one-pixel points to create a range of particle effects for VFX and motion graphics work.

It’s written using Nuke’s BlinkScript scripting language and uses only native Nuke nodes, so it should be forwards-compatible with future releases of the software.

Generate, modify and shade point clouds to create complex energy effects
Point Render comes with a set of point cloud generators, including basic planes and 3D primitives, plus the option to use imported 3D geometry as a point source.

Once generated, point clouds can be manipulated into more complex forms using Point Render’s set of readymade modifiers, and shaded according to properties like motion velocity or inter-point density.

Unlike most Nuke renderers, Point Render works from 2D data rather than 3D geometry, so you can’t use Nuke’s built-in shaders.

However, the BlinkScript nodes are left open, making it possible for users to customise their output.

By default, the renderer works additively, so where two points overlap in screen space, they become twice as bright, although there is experimental support for conventional depth sorting.

Together, the toolsets make it possible to create a range of energy effects, as shown in the teaser video at the top of the story, and on the Point Render product website.

In his excellent Nuke resource Ben’s Comp Newsletter, Image Engine lead compositor Ben McEwan describes Point Render as a rare example of “a particle system in Nuke that doesn’t suck”.

Updated 6 January 2020: Point Render 1.1 is due out today. The update is free to existing users.

New features include a new Fractal Texture node, which can be used to generate 1D or 3D fractal patterns based on input point position, which can be used for masking or to add fractal noise to effects.

The existing Point Fractal Evolve node gets a new ground collision option and a new spherical gravity option, making it possible to set points to collide with the surface of a sphere.

Other changes include a new ‘Point Dublicator’ node – that is the way it’s spelled in the demo video – which creates instanced arrays of point sources, and a new Point Merge node for merging separate point streams.

The renderer itself now supports overscan rendering and can process Z-depth information from Nuke’s Scanline renderer natively, rather than requiring an expression node to convert it.

Pricing and system requirements
Point Render is available for Nuke 9+ on Windows and Nuke 10+ on Linux and macOS. It only works with the commercial editions of the software. It costs €30 (around $34)

Read more about Point Render on the higx website