Node based compositing for After Effects Users

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Node based compositing for After Effects Users

The big transition | We look for the common ground | From layers to nodes

In this tutorial, we take an introductory look at node based compositing from the perspective of an After Effects user. If you are someone who has lots of experience with After Effects, and wants to get into using a program like Shake, Nuke, or Fusion, this will help you get on the right track.

In Part one of this tutorial, we take a look at the differences in importing footage in After Effects VS. a node based compositing application (in this case Fusion 5).

We also cover:

• Different frame rates
• Straight VS. Post Multiplied alphas, and explaining the difference
• Removing fields
• Setting pixel aspect ratios
• Looping your footage

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22 Responses to “Node based compositing for After Effects Users”

  1. Matt F Says:

    Very nice tutorial. It definitely takes a little while for the bing moment to happen with node base comping, but for me, once it happened I couldn’t go back. Heck, I hate using Photoshop now because the layers are holding me back!

  2. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Matt F: Totally agree! I’ve been using Photoshop a lot lately, and I wish there was a way to use nodes in it. :) I’ve created a tutorial called How to work non destructively in Photoshop. That gets about as close to a node based workflow in photoshop that you can get. :)

  3. Dominicgl Says:

    Nice tutorial i’m waiting for next one, great job !

  4. IPOL Says:

    Great tutorial! Please continue with this series of tutorials for people like us, the ones trying to pass from layers to nodes! Thanks a lot! Greetings from Argentina!

  5. Karie Says:

    Hi Kert,

    Thx a great deal for your tut!
    im somewhat new to node-based rendering.
    I have one question: How can i reuse some effects (for example, i have an animated effect rendered by a group of nodes ) at different times in a single video clip?
    To be more precise:
    I have a cool logo animation (not pre-rendered, but generated by a lot of nodes on the fly. it’s not done by me), i want it to pop up at the each section’s beginning (and there’re 8 sections in my clip).
    What should i do?
    Pls give me some advices. thx


  6. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hi Karie,

    In this case, what I would do is use a TimeStretcher node to offset all the nodes to the point in time in which you want it to appear. You can use one timestretcher node, and animate it so that it comes in and out at the frames that you want, or you could make separate time-stretchers for each appearance of the logo.

    Hope this helps!

  7. Karie Says:

    thx alot Kert.
    I going to give it a try.


  8. Karie Says:

    hi Kert,

    Is there any way to let me simulate a type out effect with a blinking caret?
    I see there’s a write-on option in Text+ tool, but no way to add a blinking caret.
    what should i do?

    ty a loooot

  9. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hi Karie,

    That might be possible with the text+ tool, but I haven’t really explored that too too much. The easiest thing to do would be to make a BG and mask off a small caret with a rectangle mask. Then set the level of that mask to blink on and off. You can set the keyframes to loop so you only have to make one blink, and the rest will happen automagically :)

    Hope this helps!

  10. Karie Says:

    hi Kert,

    Thank you for the quick tip. But, does that technique require me to do the same again and again for different clips?


  11. Karie Says:

    Oops, forgot to mention that i found it’s quite difficult and cumbersome to perfectly align my masked blinking caret to the end of the texts. (cuz, when typing plays, the character width is not always the same, i have to make lots of keys to match the caret the last character)
    Again, thank you so much for help

  12. Navin Says:

    Hiye Karie,
    I am from India.This is my first time looking into your tuts. Its amazing thanks a lot.I am using after effects for about three years and now switched to Fusion because AE didnt have 3D projection system. Can u please explain about the 3D system in Fusion. Hope you will answer my request

  13. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hi Navin, I’ll see what I can do! :)

  14. Chandan Kumar Says:

    Hi Kert,
    I am an AE user and learning Fusion, but I want to learn Fusion in AE style, while having comparison between these two apps. I haven’t started seeing your tuts but I believe that this will really fulfill my expectation as I never found such tutorial on net “learning Fusion in AE style”.Thanks.

  15. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Great! I hope it works out for you :)

  16. Chandan Kumar Says:

    Really Great collection!
    I have one query Kert. Like AE, can you tell me how to do “track matt” kind of thing? In AE if we put a black solid on some BG, and if we make the “Alpha Matt” on in the BG’s track Matt option, the black solid part becomes isolated from rest of the BG. So how to achieve this thing in Fusion? Thanks in advanced.

  17. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hi Chandan, All you have to do is plug in any input into the mask input of any node. So for example, if you have a BG tool, and add a polygon mask to it, you’re essentially creating a track matte using the polygon tool. Every tool in fusion has a mask input (the purple one), so all you have to do is hook up something to that input for it to be masked.

  18. Chandan Kumar Says:

    Hi Kert, Doing very well in Fusion. Thanks for your help. One weird problem I faced today. While working in Fusion 6, the rectangular border of every part, flow,tools,view etc gone red. Earlier it used to be blue. Now if I import/load any footage and drag it to the viewport, nothing happens. Nothing is working or showing any footage. It reminds me AE when you make the “caps lock” on accidentally, the viewport shows red boarder. Something like this is happening in Fusion also. I made several restarts but to no avail. Please help me.

  19. Kert Gartner (VFX Haiku Admin) Says:

    Hey Chandan, you must have accidentally set your update mode to none. There will be a button on the bottom of the screen that says NONE. Click on it until it says SOME and you’ll be back to normal.

  20. Chandan Kumar Says:

    Kert, you are the master of the masters, I believe now.Thanks a lot for saving me.

  21. Pete Says:

    Hey man,

    nice insights on the most basic principles of node-based compositing. I guess I’ll stick with After Effects as long as I can, though.

  22. Chris Says:

    Hey Kert, can you tell me how to do slow motion in Fusion? Thanks.

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