I am in the group of people who believe that a mid range gaming laptop is good enough for VFX Work. This is because gaming laptops have the same features an average vfx artist would need.
The Acer Helios 300 is probably one of the best deals you can get. The laptop’s PCIe SSD storage is one of the fastest in the market today making it a great choice for working locally in nuke.
It does have cons, like having speakers on the bottom then again, most students I know always listen to music with their headphones.
- 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H 6-Core Processor (Up to 5.0GHz)
- Overclockable NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
- 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) LED-backlit IPS Display with 144Hz Refresh Rate (16:9 aspect ratio, 3ms Overdrive Response Time, 300nit Brightness & 72% NTSC)
- 16GB DDR4 2933MHz Memory & 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD (1 – PCIe M.2 Slot Available & 1 – Available Hard Drive Bay)
- Killer Double Shot Pro Wireless-AX 1650i 802.11ax WiFi 6 featuring 2×2 MU-MIMO technology (Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz) & Killer Ethernet E2600 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
Nobody wants to get slap in the face. Asking for critisim especially about the work you created, is asking for a slap in the face. The more brutal the feedback, the more opportunities for you to grow. In the long run, a slap in the face is going to have a lot more mileage than a pat on the back.
If you show your work to others and ask them their opinion, they would most likely say nice things to you.
Next time, ask them what’s wrong with it.
They might not say what you want to hear but the odds are, they are going to go with their gut and tell you how they feel about it.
The truth hurts. But you shouldn’t get your ego get in the way. If it doesn’t look photo-real then it doesn’t.
You now know which parts of your work aren’t reading as photo-real.
Total Amount with Taxes in Canadian Dollars as of August 24 2020
I have been asked by many students over the years what specs they should get for a home workstation PC. I usually answer this question based on their budget.
This is my build for a $3000 budget. I usually invest a little more in things like Monitors, Keyboard, Mouse & Tablet as these things tend to outlive the workstation itself.
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
Price – $429.99
MSI ProSeries AMD Ryzen 2ND and 3rd Gen AM4 M.2 USB 3 DDR4 D-Sub DVI HDMI Micro-ATX Motherboard (B450M PRO-VDH Max)
Price – $150.55
Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz C16 LED Desktop Memory, Black
Price – $257.99
Storage 1 – Nuke Localize
WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB Internal PC SSD – SATA III 6 Gb/s, M.2 2280, Up to 560 MB/s – WDS500G2B0B
Price – $79.99
MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 128-Bit HDMI/DP 4GB GDRR6 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1650 D6 Gaming X)
Price – $144.99
NZXT H510 Compact Atx Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case, Front I/O USB Type-C Port, Tempered Glass Side Panel,Cable Management System
Price – $99.99
Storage 2 – OS / Data Drive
WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB Internal PC SSD – SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5″/7mm, Up to 560 MB/s – WDS100T2B0A
Price – $139.99
ARCTIC MX-4 2019 Edition – Thermal Compound Paste – Carbon Based High Performance – Heatsink Paste
Price – $11.81
BenQ 27″ 2560×1440 QHD IPS Designer Monitor (PD2700Q), 100% Rec. 709 and sRGB, CAD/CAM, Animation, Darkroom, Low Blue Light, Flicker-Free , 60Hz refresh rate, Black
Price – $399.99
Das Keyboard 4 Root Soft Tactile Cherry MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard
Price – $209 + $25.08
Import Fees Deposit
Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse – Graphite
Price – $123.35
Wacom Intuos Wireless Graphics Drawing Tablet with Bonus Software Included, 10.4″ X 7.8″, Black (CTL6100WLK0)
Price – $279.95
Windows 10 Home
Price – $189
I am going to save you some time, and get straight to the point.
If you are on a Budget – get 16 GB DDR4 RAM
If you are building a home PC for compositing – get 32 GB DDR 4 RaM
If you want to build large 3D scenes, browse the web with 50 tabs open, have nuke open – get 64 GB DDR4 RAM.
There was a time when Ram was obscenly expensive and everyone I knew got the most they could afford. These days, thanks to all the competition, RAM has become fairly affordable. Always buy the newest RAM since they are more likely to be compatible with your new motherboard.
Frankly speaking, the more the better but you don’t want to spend all that money if you don’t need it.
Memory Requirement for Compositing
1080p Composites – 16 GB Minimum
4K Composites – 32 GB Minimum
6K-8K Composites – 64 GB Minimum
Of course, the more plates and elements you read in, the resolution of your plates and elements, the number of layers in your Exr sequences, the bit depth of your plates, elements and renders, and the presence of deep data will dramatically increase the amount of RAM required to process all these data.
And that is why is some studios, comper get like 300 GB of ram.
I got 64 GB of Ram and never looked back. Also my motherboard only supports up to 64GB.
Price – $783.98 (4 x 16 GB) 08 Feb 2017
Le Yang, a former student of mine, who graduated in September 2017, came to speak to our Compositing students about her experiences in the VFX industry in Vancouver, Montreal, and Sydney, Australia early last year.
Le has previously worked at Animal Logic, Atomic Fiction, Stargate Studios, MPC and Method Studios.
She has worked on Justice League, A Wrinkle in Time, The Happytime Murders, The First, Love Death + Robots: Ice Age, Men in Black: International, and Peter Rabbit 2.
Download as Gizmo
(You need to have an account with Nukepedia to download from the Site)
Download as Group
(Just Copy all the text and paste it into Nuke’s Node Graph)
In this video, Andrew explains the different features of this gizmo and how you can use it to get better luma keys, tracks, and more options for desaturation quickly and easily in Nuke.
One of the first things I bought with my Pocket 4K was this camera cage from Tilta. I will admit, it looked cool and seemed to do everything I wanted from a camera cage. It is completely customizable and I love the fact it has a modular design. One of my favorite things about this cage is the handle; makes it so much easier to hold the camera. Another thing I love is their mounting solution for the SSD.
One caveat is, the cage doesn’t quite fit snuggly on the camera. There are a few areas where there were small gaps between the cage and the camera causing the cage to slide a little. It is not a big concern as the locking mechanism is pretty tight, just wished that the cage was a tighter fit given how expensive this cage is.
Still, I haven’t seen a better and more sexier cage for the Pocket 4k than the one from Tilta.
- Full Camera Cage for BMPCC 4K
- SSD Drive Holder for Samsung T5
- Quick Release Top Handle
- Rubber Side Handle
- 90-Degree USB-C Cable (20cm)
- 15mm LWS Baseplate
- (2) 15x200mm Rods – Black
- Partial Sunhood for BMPCC 4K
Keep in mind, I built my main workstation in 2017. Don’t go out and buy the same components I purchased. This is just a guide as to what you need to be looking for when you are building your own PC.
I have always told everyone, if you are not into computer hardware, buy pre-made high-end gaming pc.
You also don’t need to buy those expensive workstation-grade PCs, which use the same parts you can buy off the shelf for a much lower price. Companies like BOXX, buy those parts, put them into their own cases, customize the hardware, and charge you a premium. These services are for people who don’t want to deal with the internal machinations of a computer. Also, companies like BOXX have a smaller customer base, and if you have a question about your computer and even why software is sluggish on your BOXX workstation, they will answer and help you out. Good Luck getting dell to respond to you.
If you are building your own computer, although you are saving money, unfortunately, you will not be saving time. A few of my friends built their own pcs only to realize that their computer did not boot up and kept crashing every 15mins. If you don’t have a tech bench and spare parts, it is troublesome to figure out what is wrong with your machine. If you brought a pre-made computer, it has a warranty; you bring it in; they fix it up for you. Or you can bring it to a decent computer shop, where they have all the tools to diagnose your computer.
Personally I have fixed all the computer issues I faced at the studio and at home by myself or by getting some help from Mark (owner of Lost Boys). Between the two of us, there is very little we can’t fix. Hence why Lost Boys has never had an IT guy!
On to today’s topic, then. Motherboards. I got the MSI X370 XPOWER Gaming Titanium Motherboard.
I got this one for 4 Reasons.
1. It was an AMD arm Motherboard that supported the Ryzen 7 series from AMD (there is a new firmware update that lets you use Ryzen 9 chips)
2. One of the few motherboards that let you have an Nvidia SLI setup. (you can have two Nvidia graphics cards for GPU Rendering!)
3. Supported 64GB Max Ram
4. Had 2 NVM Express M.2 PCI-E slots
5. Looks super cool.
One thing you might not know about MSI’s premium lineup is that they have the double ESD protection around the motherboard mounting holes. These prevent electrostatic discharge surges (ESD) from damaging the motherboard.
Personally, MSI has always been my go-to brand for motherboards. All the components they use on their boards are of premium quality and have had very little issues with their boards.
Price – $446.88 (21 July 2017)
Do as much as you can. When the day comes to an end, look back at it and marvel at how much you did and then get to bed. If you get to wake up tomorrow, do it all over again
Not every day is going to be great. Most days are going to be ordinary and some days are just plain terrible. But whatever kind of day you have had, end it. Be done with it!
Stop feeling like you didn’t do much and forgive yourself. A little kindness to yourself goes a long way as a creative. That is why instead of having a to-do list, I have an accomplishment list. Every time I finish something, I write it down in Notion. Just before bed, when I look at my Notion Accomplishment List, I feel satisfied that I did all that I could.
If there is something I couldn’t get to, well it wasn’t really a priority. I have learned to let things go.
Ever Onwards I always say. Another day another chance at accomplishing new and exciting things.
The main issue with the pocket 4k is power. It lasts only for 22 minutes.
Cinema cameras are meant to be modular, and the Pocket 4K is no exception. People who shoot cinema need a rig that needs to work in different situations. They need a rig that has to be highly customizable. Therefore, all the cinema cameras you see from Sony, Canon, Red, Arri are modular.
The Pocket 4k has an unfortunate problem of looking too much like a standard DSLR camera which makes it a target for its perceived shortcomings. The Pocket 4k’s battery wasn’t meant to power the camera for shoots. It was meant to power the camera while you are swapping batteries.
And that is exactly why if you are getting a Pocket 4K, you need to find an alternative way to power the camera. I went with a V-Mount Battery solution.
I bought the Comer 95Wh V-Mount Battery & D-Tap Charger Bundle. A Single V-Mount battery can power the Pocket 4K for about 8 hours. Problem solved. Well not quite. Now that I have an expensive battery, the next thing I had to get was a way to mount it.
This is the part where everyone is going to have to find a solution that works for them. Out of the box, you cannot mount the V-Mount Battery to the Pocket 4K. I had to accessorize my camera with cage and V-Mount Battery Plates.
Price – $290.39 + 35.21 Import Tax (May 30, 2019)
One of the common questions I get from my students about computers is, should I get a full workstation (Desktop PC) or a laptop.
I recommend international students to get a laptop. Buy the best one they can afford from global brands like MSI or Dell. For portability and also international warranties.
They will also quickly realize that they need a second monitor. Some of my students go out and buy a cheap monitor and sell it right before they move. But there is a new alternative; Portable Monitors.
I recently purchased an AZMIOR 4K 15.6 Portable Monitor. I was sick of changing the input of my 4K monitor to play my PS4 at my desk. Also, when I change inputs on my monitor, Windows reshuffles some of my program windows to accommodate the change in overall resolution.
Even though I got it for gaming, it is something I am planning to bring along with me once it is safe to travel.
If you are a student or a junior artist, I recommend picking a portable monitor to use as your second screen in your room. And when you have to move, you can just bring it along wherever you go. There several models out there with options like 4K, HD, with Touch Screen, HDR, FreeSync, etc. If you are a stickler for colour accuracy and HDR implantation, you will not find it among portable monitors.
For compositing students, and fresh graduates, these monitors can be used to expand your nuke workspace or to watch a tutorial.
The cool thing about some of these monitors is they have hdmi and usb-c inputs. You can connect your PS4, XBOX, Switch, and even your phones to these monitors.
There is one thing you need to know, even though they are called portable monitors, they do need power. Some of them can draw power from the device they are plugged into thru the USB-C but if you are using hdmi for video, you need to power your portable monitors. Some people have tried to power them through those portable chargers and they do work but you have to figure if those chargers produce enough amp to power your monitors.
Frankly, I am only ever going to use this device if I have a power source nearby. I am also not one of those people who go to a coffee shop to work, occupy an entire table, and hog all the power outlets. These monitors are meant to be used in your own personal space.
I highly recommend looking into one, if you need a second monitor and are planning to move where ever the wind takes you.
It’s time to talk about all the parts I got for my main workstation. This workstation wasn’t necessarily built for compositing. Even though most people know me as a compositing instructor, I do lots of 3D on the side.
Before teaching compositing, I used to teach the Visual Effects program at Lost Boys. This was a generalist program covering every area of Visual Effects. Unfortunately, once we specialized in compositing, we lost the ability to generate high-quality 3D assets from our student population.
And so, that burden fell on me. I had to generate all the necessary 3D assets for my students and also well as for our lighting students.
Let’s start with the case. I got the be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900.
I have had and used my cases before, and the number one thing I hate about cases is sharp corners. I hate getting scratched in the arms whenever I am assembling my computers. The general rule of thumb is, the cheaper the case, the more you will hate it. This case has rounded corners all around. A case made for humans!
The second thing is cable management. The more expensive the case, the better options you will have for cable management. This matters a lot when you have a tempered glass side panel letting everyone see the guts of your pc.
The third was the size. I needed to put an ATX motherboard in there, two 120mm CPU cooler fans, and it to be big enough to fit two full-sized GPUs.
The fourth thing is raised legs. The entire case is raised off the ground, which makes it easier to move it as you can reach under the case, without needing to lift the case and squashing your hands.
The fifth thing is, there is a charging bay right on top of the case. I love this feature as I don’t want my phone distracting me when it is on my table. So I leave my phone on the charging bay while I work.
The last thing is, well, it is quiet. It lives up to its namesake.
You probably won’t be able to get this case anymore as be Quiet! has a newer revised model. I recommend getting that. It is superior in every way!
Price – $347.19 (July 21, 2017)
Too Long; Didn’t Watch.
In this series of recorded demos, I am going to go in great detail in explaining the little things in Nuke. So much so, that you will probably skip to the end of the video.
Let’s talk about the relationship between multiplication and stops of light.
No one is paying you to be perfect. Close enough is, good enough. If perfection is demanded, then charge them for it. You will see how many clients suddenly become okay with close enough.
Too many artist spend too much time trying to perfect a piece of their work before they actually finish it.
Quit prefection, run with what you’ve got and fix it as you go