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/*jupiter jazz*/ is looking for alpha/beta testers for AtomKraft/After Effects

AtomKraft beta test After Effects

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#1 virtualritz

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 02:16 PM

So, I wanted to write this since 9 years. :)

I guess some of you may have heard of AtomKraft. It is essentially a full integration of a high end 3D renderer into the Foundry's Nuke 2D/3D compositing app.
Funny thing is that we originally did this for After Effects 9 years ago. Never finished it. Forgot about it. Did the Nuke version starting in 2010. Then came back full 360 to do the AE version as of last December. :P

Of course, we have a lot more features now, than we did in 2003.

Basically AtomKraft for After Effects allows you to use AtomRender instead of the Advanced 3D renderer. But there is much more:
  • Import Wavefront OBJ and Alembic files and animated sequences just like normal footage into you Project window
  • Render these as full 3D geometry inside any AE comp (choose polygons, subdivison surfaces, or one of 6 particle types, e.g. blobbies)
  • A Shitload of channels can be extracted from any nested 3d comp that uses AtomRender to combine them as you please
  • Physically plausible materials, with subsurface scattering, glossy reflections, soft shadows etc.
  • Real 3D motion blur and real world depth-of-field with no real speed penality
  • Sub pixel displacement
  • ...
We are planning to release a beta version next week. You need After Effects CS 5.5 on Mac OSX or Windows 7 64.

Before we do this we'd like some people to grind the shit out of our current alpha version to help us polish the beta for general public consumption. Interested pixel pushers please drop me a mail at info@jupiter-jazz.com.

Check the Nuke version to get an idea what the After Effects one will bring: atomkraft.hk/nuke.

Oh yeah, if there is anything you always wished you could do in AE, instead of having to resort to a 3D app, please let use know, we are listening. :)

Beers,

--Moritz

Edited by virtualritz, 03 April 2012 - 09:44 AM.

May your pixels be always free of aliasing

— The Jupiter Jazz Team www.jupiter-jazz.com


#2 Mylenium

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:23 PM

Sounds interesting. Soon people will feel all 3D-ed out with all these new 3D stuff on the horizon.... Though I'm seriously beginning to question the sensibility with everybody just focusing on the rendering part and at best displacements, while still requiring users to create models in a 3D app or buying them from somewhere. If you allow me to make this point: I'd be much more excited about something that would natively simulate those blobby particles inside AE rather than having it just render cached/ baked stuff from elsewhere. Well, it's NAB in under 2 weeks and I suppose we'll all find out some things after that...

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#3 levante

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:33 PM

Unfortunately i'm on a CS5 project at the moment - so no chance to do any testing in CS5.5. But i'm looking forward to see more about AtomKraft soon. It will be interesting how it integrates into AE, wich lacks most of Nukes native 3D capabilities. As Mylenium said: it sounds a bit like a render engine without a cause, just because there's hardly anything AE can feed to a real 3D renderer at the moment (maybe it could replace the crappy c4d render engine from time to time though...).

#4 C.Smith

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:39 AM

Um, this is monumental. I think the Nuke people will get it way more than AE people. There is the whole trend that large studios are moving towards which is re-lighting. So compositors take the control of lighting and shading in a fraction of the time of doing full 3D renders by "3D" guys. Up to this point that has been with proprietary software or very expensive stand-alone software. These dudes are bringing it to good ol' AE. It's not trying to be a 3D application (which is great). But it's becoming a new hybrid where you use your 3D app just to build assets and let all those assets come together right next to compositing for a way more artistic and malleable process. Assuming it is still using the 3Delight renderer, you are basically getting a Renderman style renderer in software that is extraordinarily more simple than most software that utilizes Renderman style renderers. The people that get it will probably make magic with it. Very exciting.
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#5 Mylenium

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:17 AM

Fair enough, but as long as C4D doesn't do any of the grunt work properly (not spitting out usable OBJ files natively, no Alembic support, no point clouds) I don't think it will be that useful. Sure, once that all works it might become interesting, but in this case the whole matter depends too much on external factors to get me as an AE user excited. And like it or not, it still strikes me as odd that everybody tries to reinvent the wheel, claiming his approach would be the best and most innovative. Soon enough we'll have tons of 3D solutions and AE is still gonna suck at 3D like it does now - each of the tools will have its own 3D space on top of AE's, they all will greedily usurp your graphics card buffers and get in the way of each other and you won't be able to use certain combinations, which in my world makes the whole matter a pointless effort. Or, IOW: It will still be a fuckin' mess.

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#6 levante

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 09:43 AM

...each of the tools will have its own 3D space on top of AE's, they all will greedily usurp your graphics card buffers and get in the way of each other and you won't be able to use certain combinations, which in my world makes the whole matter a pointless effort.

Well if i get the the feature list right, it says that AtomKraft can be be used instead of AEs own 3D render engine, meaning it would handle all built in 3D features of the host app. My major concern here is that there are hardly any real 3D features built into After Effects today. No 3D particles, no camera mapping, no geometry import (except that strange PS 3D Layer thingy that nobody's using), no nothing.

But i'm totally with Chris on the matter of relighting, retexturing, post motion blurring, reframing & refocusing while seeing the final look right inside your compositing application, instead of imagining how multiple passes might combine later on while preparing a 3D scene for a render the "traditional" way. Deep compositing is another field that comes to mind when thinking about the possibilities cause extracting z-information from a real 3D scene should be way easier than from some sort of image sequence. In fact the whole process of setting up multi-pass renders in 3D (and therefore often having to set up multiple scene-instances / layers by hand) already seems to be a bit outdated and i would greatly appreciate an overhaul of the whole 3D production process.

#7 virtualritz

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:04 AM

Some comments: we fully support the current AE renderer (and we will support any changes/improvements Adobe makes). This means you can just render an existing comp using AtomRender instead of Advanced 3D. Everything else we add is in form of effects that you add to 3d footage, 3d solid or 3d text layers.

Re-lighting: why do re-lighting when you can light in comp? :) Lighting and compositing are very related. In the big facilities, most lighting TDs are doing the basic comp setup too and the compers themselves do more of the finesse resp. roto work, before the shot gets handed to the TD for lighting.
The AE version can't import a light setup yet and AE lights are very limited. But we do plan to port the Atomic lighting system, we have in Nuke, over to AE too.

Geometry: currently we support importing geometry and changing its interpretation. For example, you can import a polygon model and render it as a subdivision surface. We have a very cool feature planned that preserves the original shape of the polygon model better than "smoothing everything with subdivision" usually does.

Camera mapping: we hear you, we have this fully supported in Nuke, porting this to AE will be straightforward & quick.

Particles: you can use any imported (possibly animated) geometry's vertices as particles and choose from different render types or you can import just particles (OBJ file that only contains vertices or Alembic file that contains points). Unfortunately there is no public API to get at the data from effects like Particular etc. If you have a favorite particle plugin/effect that you want us to support, let us know and we will try our best to convince the vendor to give us access to their data within AE.

In the worst case (or maybe not), we add our own particle system. :)

We also plan to add features for procedural modeling inside AE, much like the modifier stack in 3ds max. Using nested comps one could imagine doing more complex stuff, like the node graph in Houdini. We are open to suggestions here.

The last two things are for version 1.5 at the earliest. That being said: our development priorities are entirely driven by our users. You tell us what you need/want most, we add it. ;)

Someone mentioned deep compositing: this needs to be supported by the host app before we can support it. It also means a shitload of data since deep doesn't mean using a pixel's z value, it means having multiple fragments per pixel, in depth. And it requires float precision, commonly. At least for the depth part of each fragment, color could be 16bit I guess.
AE is kind of slow using full float data, I have admittedly a bit of trouble imagining it doing deep compositing, in the near future, until Adobe has addressed this.

.mm

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— The Jupiter Jazz Team www.jupiter-jazz.com


#8 Mylenium

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

Well if i get the the feature list right, it says that AtomKraft can be be used instead of AEs own 3D render engine, meaning it would handle all built in 3D features of the host app.


To my knowledge that's not possible. I've seen prototypes of such alternate comp render plug-ins and they all had to forego one or the other feature to work. So it's not magically gonna solve all your problems in AE. Could be as trivial as a function call from another plug-in that they did not implement going into a balck hole and then the app crashing. Well, we'l ljust have to see.


But i'm totally with Chris on the matter of relighting, retexturing, post motion blurring, reframing & refocusing while seeing the final look right inside your compositing application, instead of imagining how multiple passes might combine later on while preparing a 3D scene for a render the "traditional" way.


Depends on what kind of work you do and how feasible this "fix it in post" approach is, I guess. For motion graphics, character close-ups, design studies - yeah, go with it. I just don't see it working with my 20 million poly CAD scenes or other stuff and of course it doesn't save your from rendering your 3D stuff again, if the underlying geometry changes all to radically...


In fact the whole process of setting up multi-pass renders in 3D (and therefore often having to set up multiple scene-instances / layers by hand) already seems to be a bit outdated and i would greatly appreciate an overhaul of the whole 3D production process.


Well, I tend to disagree. This is mostly an issue with how those 3D programs handle their internal scene formats and do or do not allow access to their internal buffers. any 3D rendering pipeline will have to make some decisions on that one. It's the balance of keeping the programs usable or geeking out. We can agree, though, that especially Cinema 4D is not that great at managing this and there no doubt are equal limitations in otehr programs.

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#9 Mylenium

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:23 AM

Some comments: we fully support the current AE renderer (and we will support any changes/improvements Adobe makes). This means you can just render an existing comp using AtomRender instead of Advanced 3D. Everything else we add is in form of effects that you add to 3d footage, 3d solid or 3d text layers.


Be careful with such statements or a future version of AE might slap you in your face... ;-)


Unfortunately there is no public API to get at the data from effects like Particular etc.


It's all custom code and indeed you'd have to ask Peder directly. ;-)

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#10 levante

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:01 PM

Thanks for the feedback Moritz - sounds very promising.

Integration of Trapcodes 3D effects would be amazing (just guessing, but Particular seems to be the most widely used particle system amongst After Effects users and personally i can't remember a single project during the last years where i didn't use it at least a bit) - but i can imagine that every new version of a supported plug-in could lead to conflicts with AtomRender.

In terms of deep compositing i was just thinking that, having the 3D scenery right inside my composition, there might be an "easy" way to insert layers, particles or objects at the correct z-depht to integrate with the 3D scene (just like placing an image plane in a real 3D app and without the need to render out z-, object- or whatever-buffers). Or am i being totally naive here?

#11 Mylenium

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:57 PM

In terms of deep compositing i was just thinking that, having the 3D scenery right inside my composition, there might be an "easy" way to insert layers, particles or objects at the correct z-depht to integrate with the 3D scene (just like placing an image plane in a real 3D app and without the need to render out z-, object- or whatever-buffers). Or am i being totally naive here?


The problem will be how to figure out the depth sorting for stuff that doesn't work inside this environment, inevitably taking us back to the current standing issues: As long as Particular or other plug-ins exist outside this world, there is no way to correctly determine the correct depth for each particle or any other arbitrary sample point. It's the same issue you face when trying to do raycasting with expressions - you can determine the intersection of a layer with e.g the axis from the camera to a light emitter, but you cannot determine the actual position of each individual particle.

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#12 illd

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:33 PM

Finally someone gets his ass up and tries to bring something new to AE in terms of 3D. I hope we will soon have a lot of those great nuke features...

#13 iline

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

I'm betatesting Element at the moment, but aside from importing c4D models, the cope of it seems a little less ambitious than the raft of features promised by Atomkraft. I'd be very interested in doing a side-by-side comparison.

As for real-3D features I wanna see in future? Exportable particle caches in Particular, and particle groups, would have to be up there...

#14 virtualritz

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 09:20 AM

All of the people who registered for the beta should now have an email in their inbox. :)

Apologies for taking a month longer than we anticipated to release this. We look forward to your feedback, particular features useful for motion graphics shit. :)


Beers,

--Moritz


P.S. I am drinking a glass of Auchentoshan single malt while writing this.

May your pixels be always free of aliasing

— The Jupiter Jazz Team www.jupiter-jazz.com


#15 tcastudios

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:06 AM

I had the chance to do a brief test and my first gut reaction
was how darn good the materials looked.
I'm not able to test it more for awhile but really looking forward
to the progress of it.

Cheers
Lennart
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