The first ever Nuke master class in London was held in Soho today and over 200 artists from all around Europe attended the event. The session was definitely geared towards artist-types and started with the Foundry's Jon Waddleton covering python scripting for artists. There were also a ton of cool tips and tricks shown by Nuke gizmos guru Frank Rueter and artists Tahl Niran and Matt Leonard (favorites of members). Double Negative's Roy Stelzer showed cool techniques for touchup relighting in 2.5D, with a nod to efficient irradiance environment maps developed by Ramamoorthi and Hanrahan. It was really a great session with a ton of fantastic tips and ideas.

The day closed with The Foundry divulging their short term plans for Nuke moving forward, with a presentation by Richard Shackleton. Click through for details about plans for version 5.2, nuke 6, and beyond.....

Beta testing begins on the upcoming version 5.2 in February and will include:

  • Video Output Support. Broadcast monitor support for the Blackmagic DeckLink card to be followed with supporting AJA IO/HD and Kona cards
  • Pre-comp External Scripts. Artists will be able to save sub portions of a comp as an external script, which the main script then references. This will effectively enables the first steps of collaboration in Nuke, since another artist could be modifying this external script. Functionality will also include a read-write cache. When a new render is created from this pre-comp script, the main script is notified of changes and can be updated if desired.
  • Python UI Panels and Callbacks. Extends the capability of creating custom dockable UI panels from within Nuke using Python. Callbacks can allow the UI to change based upon the buttons pressed or values in the fields.
  • Viewer/Flipbook Performance and Caching Improvements. Cache nodes can be inserted at any point in a graph so that intermediate renders can be done, saving reprocessing time when changes are made later in the graph.
  • New Metadata Support. Artists can have metadata flowing throughout the graph. For instance, read data could get data from dpx files and provide for use later in the graph. Burn-in would be a simple example of this. It could also read a script included in an image as n EXR channel and build a preliminary comp from it.
  • RED R3D Reader. Will be using the RED SDK to bring RED footage into Nuke. The standard SDK adjustments will be available for import

Next, Schackleton gave clues about their next major release, NUKE 6 which is planned for late in 2009. At this point, the feature set is scheduled to include:

  • A new roto and paint node
    • Totally updated curve library starting with bezier and bsplines
    • multiple paint and vector strokes per node
    • a layer hierarchy for splines with editable attributes
    • a toolbox in the viewer to quickly change tools
  • Integrated 3D Camera Tracking, creating a camera and point cloud right in Nuke
  • Integrated Lens Distortion Tools

Moving forward, The Foundry is planning on adding much improved FBX import/export, layer support for PSD documents, and letting all modules use the updated curve library so that all curves are consistent across the application. After a question from a participant, Shackleton said improvements to the animation curve editor were planned as well, such as having a dope sheet to move animations in time.

Finally, he spoke about some more technology they were working on: a 3D particle generator as part of Nuke. This would include things such as instanced geometry in particles and expression-driven functions. There is no schedule for its release but Shackleton commented that he "would like to see later in the year".

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