VFx on Linux - my story

Tags: linux vfx blog nuke natron

Preamble

Someone of you might know that between my passions for Japan, Linux, Film-Making, 3D… VFx compositing takes a special place!
Now, you might also know that I refuse to use Windows in any working environment (unless forced to, i.e. meetings on strange platforms.. I have a VM ready for those events), I abandoned it quite a while ago, having to reshape the way I work and I actually wrote a BLog about it years ago.

Abandon of the Adobe way

In short, I graduated from a local film school in which I have been taught the Adobe way and in fact, I used the whole suite during my first work years until… I realized that Windows was not my way. I wanted to continue using the software but on Linux and it was not possible (you lost a paying customer, Adobe!) so I’ve got to learn other ways to complete my works and It took time alongside sacrifices for the initially lowered income rate. I could not accept new works related to various skills I possessed for part of the first year and some more later.. But today I finally caught up almost with everything (still struggling with CMYK color spaces, c’mon Inkscape!!! Still missing Illustrator/In-design) but for what concerns VFx, well… I found out something MUCH better than After Effects! I’m talking about Natron! It is a FOSS software build just for compositing, a little bit like Blender!

Natron

Over the years I used the software for different kind of works and It served me well!
But, unfortunately, it is not yet ready for serious productions (in my opinion) and I say this because using It you will inevitably slap the face into some quite frustrating bugs which sometime result into loosing completely the work and having to start over. BAD but there are workarounds on this, once you learn them, well… You are ready to go! Still, don’t forget to take regular backups! like, i.e. git commits so you can go back and recover when needed (learned the hard way).

Nuke

All of this to start talking about Nuke! This is the software my VFx teacher Enrico De Palo used to work with in the industry, while having to teach Photoshop + After Effects but still highly suggesting Nuke as a more powerful solution and I even wrote “NUKE NUKE NUKE =D” on my notebook during that lecture! like… One day I will have it, one day I will use it! (VFx was my favorite course)

Picture of Nuke Nuke Nuke text with a smile

Nuke non-commercial and Linux

I never got to because of the cost that one license has, but recently they released a non-commercial version (yes, you can publish your work in a Creative Commons license! Even if I would stay away from the “BY” only one, as the line is very thin and you have a “NC”), which would you guess? It’s FREE! Yeah! And what’s even better is that I just downloaded to try if it would work on Linux as they indicated (generally means there’s a crappy software package) and it did! Reading around, I even found out it works even faster! Stunned!! :D And I can confirm it, as it runs fast even on my old T440p with an Haswell 4910MQ processor, in which Natron was instead struggling!
There is even a reference platform website, in collaboration with the Visual Effects Society Technology Committee (you might know them as VES), where developers can have a starting point to build their software in a way such that the end program will be easily integrable in any system! Little pill, you can explore how the references changed along the years by making use of the awesome Wayback Machine!

Nuke <-> Natron

The most amazing side is that Natron’s shortcuts and workflows are very similar, if not identical! And you can import some of your OFX plugins! 😄 (Even if I have not been able to… but I did not either try hard enough yet, AFAIK they are compatible)

The Nuke path

My Nuke path has started in these months and after a couple of months usage, I can safely suggest the production use in a Linux environment! (Arch Linux in my case).

Hype directions

If you are thrilled about but don’t know where to start, I suggest Hugo’s Desk videos and in particular his Nuke 4 Dummies series! (3rd episode this Thursday in live streaming) He is an excellent teacher and kind person! Recommend him even if you are not interested in the subject! ^^ Also, this week (26-29 November) He is offering his in-depth course at 50% price for the Black Friday week and I must say.. I’m quite temped! The course covers basically the A-Z of the software and so Compositing in its essence! Still have to decide, mainly because it is a bad finances time for me but if in the end I would end up investing in it, hope to see you during the lessons!! I know they keep video chats with students from time to time! And we would be schoolmates! 😄

Here is a preview:

and here is a link with the info ^^

Support

Also, if you want to support the release of better libre content, consider some of the support options down here!
Or just, buy me a coffee if you enjoyed reading this BLog 😊


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Francesco Yoshi Gobbo [ AboutMe ] [ HomePage ]
self-taught freelancer.
Nov 23, 2021


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