Following The Foundry’s recent collaboration with Weta Digital on the MARI 3D texture painting technology, the two companies have entered into a new agreement to bring the deep compositing technology developed by Weta Digital during their work on Avatar to NUKE.
Deep compositing allows artists working with CGI material to process and composite ‘deep images’ containing multiple opacity or color samples per pixel at different depths. As well as enabling new creative possibilities in compositing, such as volumetric effects, the technique leads to higher-quality imagery when integrating and finishing CGI rendered elements. By increasing the amount of useful data available in compositing, the toolset provides greater efficiencies by reducing the amount of re-rendering typically required from CGI departments. For example, the generation of holdout mattes for individual CGI objects or characters can then be performed within NUKE itself. Such savings can run into hundreds of hours on large-scale projects that prominently feature CGI assets.
NUKE 6.3, due for release in June, will support deep data within the node graph, and contain a range of ‘deep compositing’ nodes. NUKE’s NDK will also provide a common API for studios to write and exchange new deep image processing tools.
“Deep compositing allows ambitious new effects whilst achieving big time savings in production. Weta Digital have been leading the promotion of the technique and have now ensured that the tools we provide artists within NUKE are thoroughly battle tested and ready to face production,” said Bill Collis, CEO, The Foundry. “The further announcement of an OpenEXR format to support deep data this week is also being supported by NUKE enabling greater collaboration.”
“Working with the Foundry to have our tools integrated into the core of Nuke ensures that the rest of the industry has immediate access to this technology”, said Peter Hillman, the lead developer for the Deep Compositing workflow at Weta Digital. “This integration, together with the collaborative effort between Weta Digital and other leading VFX studios to integrate deep data into the Open EXR format, helps establish a true cross industry standard for utilizing deep data.”