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Cromulent
Jan 21, 2008, 05:37 AM
Does anyone use Blender as a Shake alternative?

I posted a thread a few months back about Shake and was literally just about to pull the trigger and buy it when I heard that Apple were working on a new Shake like application. Although Shake is one of the best apps available and certainly one of the best for the price I am keen to avoid spending money on an application which is going to be discontinued at some point in the near future. Especially when I have little to no experience with compositing in general.

So I am planning on using Blender until I see what Apple manage to do with the new product that is rumoured to be in development.

The question is how well does Blender work at this role? I assume the best way to get your footage out of Final Cut Studio and into Blender would be a reference movie (I forget what is called now - away from my home computer)?

Any info from someone who has used Blender like this would be appreciated.



AviationFan
Jan 21, 2008, 09:10 AM
Isn't Blender a 3D app, such as Maya or 3DStudio? Sounds like a very different type of application compared with Shake.

You are correct that Shake is discontinued, and there are rumors about a replacement being on the horizon. However, if that replacement is priced like Shake was originally, it will be out of most people's financial reach. My advise is to get Shake now, while you still can, if you are at all interested in learning about compositing or have an actual need for it in a project.

- Martin

Cromulent
Jan 21, 2008, 09:54 AM
Isn't Blender a 3D app, such as Maya or 3DStudio? Sounds like a very different type of application compared with Shake.

It can also do video editing and node based compositing as well as the standard 3D work such as you have already mentioned. Blender is a very capable application for the price :).

You are correct that Shake is discontinued, and there are rumors about a replacement being on the horizon. However, if that replacement is priced like Shake was originally, it will be out of most people's financial reach. My advise is to get Shake now, while you still can, if you are at all interested in learning about compositing or have an actual need for it in a project.

- Martin

I appreciate the advice and that is the way I was thinking myself but the original question of whether Blender is a viable short to medium term replacement while we wait still stands. I am sure Shake will be available on eBay for awhile after this new application is released.

P-Worm
Jan 21, 2008, 10:44 AM
Do you plan on playing with greenscreening? I don't think Blender has any option for that and Shake has a lot of powerful tools for that.

Keep in mind that when Apple releases a replacement that it probably won't be $500....

P-Worm

Cromulent
Jan 22, 2008, 03:14 AM
Do you plan on playing with greenscreening? I don't think Blender has any option for that and Shake has a lot of powerful tools for that.

Keep in mind that when Apple releases a replacement that it probably won't be $500....

P-Worm

The point about greenscreening is a good one. These types of decisions are never easy unfortunatly. Hopefully MacRumours will have some information prior to release about the new product. Until that time I think Blender is an acceptable solution at least until I have learnt the workflow of node based compositing.

angelneo
Jan 22, 2008, 03:33 AM
Isn't Blender an open source 3D app? Has they start charging for it? The last time I downloaded it (2 years ago?), it was still free. But it is pretty complicated compared to Maya and 3D Max. I picked up 3D Max (basics) fairly easy but Blender is too mind boggling.

Cromulent
Jan 22, 2008, 04:58 AM
Isn't Blender an open source 3D app? Has they start charging for it? The last time I downloaded it (2 years ago?), it was still free. But it is pretty complicated compared to Maya and 3D Max. I picked up 3D Max (basics) fairly easy but Blender is too mind boggling.

Yep Blender is still open source. Hence my comment about it being a very capable application for the price (i.e free).

Blender is okay once to get to grips with it. I have found some incredibly good tutorials for it and the keyboard shortcuts do make sense after an hour or so.

speakerwizard
Jan 22, 2008, 06:28 AM
as the others said, blender is like a maya alternative, their are open source (free) compositing packages about though that are node based like shake, but if you are serious shake is an industry standard so its good to learn.

Cromulent
Jan 22, 2008, 07:26 AM
as the others said, blender is like a maya alternative, their are open source (free) compositing packages about though that are node based like shake, but if you are serious shake is an industry standard so its good to learn.

And as I have said it is also a compositor.

http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/features/



Compositor (http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/features/features-gallery/features/feature-videos/?video=map_uv_id_mask) tightly integrated and aligned with the rendering pipeline
MultiLayer (http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/features/features-gallery/features/feature-videos/?video=imaging) OpenEXR (http://www.openexr.com/) files allow to store and reuse raw renderlayer and passes data
Complete list of composite node filters, convertors, color and vector operators and mixers including Chroma Key, Blur, RGB Curves, Z Combine, Color Ramp
Preview panel to define the portion of interest. A composite then only happens on this part
Threaded and memory efficient (up to 8 processors)
Near realtime sequencer can edit hours of video
Waveform and U/V scatter plots
Open and write many audio & video file formats using ffmpeg(linux only at the moment, FFMPEG for Windows/OS X is scheduled for next release)
Can render using frameserver-support directly into foreign applications
Supports float images as well as regular 32 bits images
Curves tool allows you to create a mapping from the float range to a displayable result (for HDR images)

Also of note which I have just noticed is that it does in fact support chroma keying which is pretty interesting. I'll have to read up on that.

speakerwizard
Jan 22, 2008, 02:54 PM
here it is http://jahshaka.org/

enjoy

Cromulent
Jan 22, 2008, 05:03 PM
here it is http://jahshaka.org/

enjoy

Err that is not what I wanted at all. Are you even following this thread? I already own Final Cut Studio.

All I was asking was for opinions on Blender as a compositing application when compared to Shake.

Edit : By the way I am aware of Jahshaka but the project is pretty much dead. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Plus Blender is far more feature packed in the effects area (unsurprisingly seeing as it is primarily a 3D modelling, rendering and animation program).

speakerwizard
Jan 22, 2008, 06:40 PM
well you wanted a compositor and thats what i suggested, not a 3d mdelling like blender, i wont bother next time.

Cromulent
Jan 23, 2008, 01:03 AM
well you wanted a compositor and thats what i suggested, not a 3d mdelling like blender, i wont bother next time.

Blender is a compositing application. Jesus christ, how many times...

It does 3D modelling and compositing as well as having a simple video editor as well.

P-Worm
Jan 23, 2008, 08:33 AM
To be fair, no one considers Blender a compositing application. It's a 3D application with compositing applications. No one would consider Shake an alternative for Photoshop, but you can use it that way.

Just out of curiosity, have you tried blender out yet? It seems to me that it wouldn't have the necessary tools too do the compositing that is often required (though I have not looked into it myself). A lot of compositing work is about generating mattes to overlay images. Theses are done by obvious methods like Green screening and other methods like luma keys, garbage mattes, and rotoscoping. Is it possible to rotoscope or make vector based mattes frame by frame in Blender? For compositing, rotoscoping is essential.

P-Worm

Cromulent
Jan 23, 2008, 09:17 AM
To be fair, no one considers Blender a compositing application. It's a 3D application with compositing applications. No one would consider Shake an alternative for Photoshop, but you can use it that way.

I think a lot of people underestimate how powerful Blender is becoming.

Just out of curiosity, have you tried blender out yet?

Yep. It is not the easiest program to learn but it is certainly capable.

It seems to me that it wouldn't have the necessary tools too do the compositing that is often required (though I have not looked into it myself). A lot of compositing work is about generating mattes to overlay images. Theses are done by obvious methods like Green screening and other methods like luma keys, garbage mattes, and rotoscoping. Is it possible to rotoscope or make vector based mattes frame by frame in Blender? For compositing, rotoscoping is essential.

P-Worm

I know rotoscoping and keying are available in Blender. Just how good they are in comparison to Shake was the whole point of this thread.

Excellent short video showing what can be done. (http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/features/feature-videos/?video=imaging)

Some very impressive information of compositing in Blender. (http://www.blender.org/community/blender-conference/blender-conference-2006/proceedings/riccardo-covino/)

Lightsaber rotoscoping in Blender (http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=113612&highlight=rotoscoping)

ANIM8R
Jan 23, 2008, 11:17 AM
I think a lot of people underestimate how powerful Blender is becoming.

Cromulent,

I feel for you. I've read this thread in it's entirety. You have enlightened me to many of Blender's capabilities. I also thought it was merely modeling and animation, but I do see that it has a capable compositing node as well.

I personally use Shake as my primary tool. It's what I learned and what I've stuck with. However, I see Blender's screenshots and it looks like it can handle layering just as effectively as Shake can.

I think the obvious answer here is: if Blender is free, why not go for it? I'm sure you've downloaded it and played with it by now, right? Get into Blender, play around, do some tutorials, learn about it's compositing node. Surely that will teach you universal compositing concepts.

After that, check out http://safari.peachpit.com/9780321256096 to order a copy of the Peachpit Press Shake 4 book (you may be able to find the book cheaper elsewhere). The DVD includes a 30-day trial for Shake so you can do those tutorials as well and test out Shake's interface.

Funny side-note: Peachpit Press' site says that Shake is still a "multi thousand dollar" piece of software. :)

But in all seriousness, try both. I'm sure the end results will be very similar. If you like Blender, move into Shake. That will be the path you need to take to open doors for yourself if you really like this type of work.

Good luck Cromulent.