VFX artist , switching my workflow to full Blender, lot of questions

Hello there !

I am a VFX artist / Video Editor, I currently work on a Macbook running Adobe Premiere, Photoshop , After Effects and Cinema4D when I need to animate / render a 3D model into a scene (I don’t model myself).

I used both Windows and Mac OS while working on projects and I hate both of them, the OS I really like to use since ever is Ubuntu, that I had to stop using because no serious video programs where running on them.

A couple hours ago, I heard that blender (that I never used, maybe launched a few times 4 years ago, that’s it) now has video editing and compositing abilities, If I’m able to switch to Ubuntu and still work on heavy projects, that is awesome.

Here are my question :

  • Coming from the regular Adobe Products to Full blender work from importing my video footage to adding a 3D model to the scene (with HDRI lightning) is it a hard transition? (I will have to learn node base compositing, but is there Blender specific things I need to know?)

  • Is Blender really good at compositing / video editing?

  • Does it support audio? Can I add some very basic audio effects (lower volume, doppler effect etc…)

Imagine a scene where I’m filming a chair, I want to animate a 3D model of a small character climbing the chair using HDRI lightning and having the character’s shadow casting on the chair I shot, is this kind of thing that I do all days using C4D + After Effects easy to do ?

What about Color Correction? Camera Mapping ? Chromakey? I saw a Youtube video of a guy doing chromakey in blender but it was only with a cube textured with the same green colour, in a real life situation the green screen behind the actor has a little bit of grain, it’s never the same “perfect” color.

Sorry about all these noob questions but I prefer to know before I dive into it, I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands.

Thanks !

Coming from the regular Adobe Products to Full blender w…

Blender is similar in video compositing to after effects though with much less functionality – basic things like cutting, overlays, swipes are easy, but particle world/playground CC effects require a few extra steps in the workflow. blender can do these – they just must be done much more manually than in After Effects. Start a thread on some of these issues for a more complete discussion

Is Blender really good…
depends on def’n of good. I use it extensively, I find it better than Premier but not as handy as AE for effects

Does it support audio


In your example – Blender could do it all. Check out Project Mango - a VFX short designed to streamline and integrate all the effect capabilities of Blender into Live action

I see

Sounds like I’ll be able to do everything if I take the time to dive into it

Unrelated question, is there a way I can print this : http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Manual ?

Not really true though. Maya, XSI, Houdini for 3D and NukeX for compositing are apps that run as good or bettar in GNU/Linux than in Windows OS X - but AE do not, that I do agree on. :slight_smile:

It’s a real simple answer, yes to all points. (accept the being easy parts as that depends)

But there’s a ‘but’. It’s a huge jump coming from After Affects and start compositing with nodes, be it in Blender or Nuke. It’s a different ballgame all together, you need to totally remap your thinking in regards to how you plan scenes a.s.o… In some ways it’s simpler, but in most ways it’s not.

And node based compositing is also more of a DIY-game than in AE where we so often rely on plugins and other shortcuts. There’s no Keying suite with plugins doing all the work, you build the plugin yourself. But you can absolutely get the same results AND have better control - but it’s also a whole lot more work that applying keylight… So keing a semi transparent plate like this - well, it’s not very simple, hehe…

Also, expressions in Blender are dome with Python scripting, so that part in itself is a whole new field of study…

But I don’t write this to scare you away, I just want you to realise it’s no simple transition. :slight_smile:

Sure I got it.

I’ll just wait for the 2.6 user manual to be 100% reviewed, print it out and then read and apply the whole thing :slight_smile:

Thanks to you all !

Really? I myself used to do that back in the day, print & read the manuals (3000+ pages of SI|3D 3.8 was a fun read, hehe) but nowadays I’ve become more of a tutorial-kinda-guy, and there are loads of really good tutorials out there. BlenderGuru, CG Cookie’s Blender-area a.s.o…

The manual is a constant wip, it will never be 100% ‘reviewed’. It is constantly changing and very rarely up to date, with some subjects totally missing or referring back to outdated previous versions of blender.

I am too , totaly !

The thing is, if I want to completely change tools, I need a good batch of professional documentation first, I can’t switch from one day to another and then tell my clients to “wait” :wink: I just need a good “static” source of info so I can maybe do a chapter per week end and switch when I feel I know enough

Really? Because the 2.4 manual is “fixed” and has a printed version available . A shame :confused:

well, 2.4 development ceased a few years ago, so that explains why it’s fixed. This is a common complaint though – that the 2.5xx manual isn’t available.

Hi !
I just played a bit with it this morning and it’s awesome :smiley:

I was just wondering two things :

I can’t see my .mov video files in the file importer thingy, are they unsupported?
If I have a 3D model and my video editing timeline, how do I add the 3D model to my video?

Thanks !

Same here and that’s why I kinda dedicated 2012 to see if I can switch from Maya to Blender - though I will still use AE/Premiere (more of a workflow choice rather than Blender not being able to do compositing/editing). For me, the price of the end at the rainbow is $2.500 in licensing costs á year for Maya alone…

But, imo, there’s no doubt you can do ‘anything’ in Blender given enough time. :slight_smile:

And out of date the day it was published.

Yeah, I choose to learn everything in Blender because the idea of being able to work on Ubuntu is music to my ears :smiley:

Btw I had two other question on my post right up yours, have you seen them? Thanks :slight_smile:

I answered the first one by playing around, still : “If I have a 3D model and my video editing timeline, how do I add the 3D model to my video?”


3D models need to be rendered. After rendering they are composited on top, like an AE layer - but it’s not like in Nuke where you can actually render in the middle of the workflow.

Really? Huh that’s actually a bit stupid I tough it was able to place the 3D model right in without any render, since… well it’s a 3D program :stuck_out_tongue:

Got another question , sorry to annoy you guys x)

Imagine I have 3 different shots for a movie with 3 different 3D models to integrate per shot.

How do I do all that in only one project file? (so I can keep my video editing timeline) I played around a bit, and can’t see how I can “re initialise” the 3D modeling view without loosing the old model

Thanks again :slight_smile:

I’m not sure I’m following you 100%… but I recommend that you first of all create a new scene for your editing timeline, so you don’t have to switch between image sequence/movie output settings, ever. In this “editing Scene”, you don’t have any 3d-stuff at all.
It’s pretty easy to get confused when working with multiple Scenes in one Blend file, but it’s important to remember that it has nothing to do with the different UI tabs. A Scene created in the Video Editor isn’t actually technically a “video editing Scene”, you just happen to be looking at the Scene’s video-editing content at the moment you create it. There’s not much use having a Scene that contains both video editing data and 3d data - I don’t think you can really usefully render from both at the same time. However - if you want it to play back sound during animation in the 3d view, you put the sound into the “video editing part” (datablock?) of that Scene.

One pretty neat thing is that you can import “scenes” into the VSE - this is a real-time preview render from the scene in question, handled as any video-clip you can cut and splice to jump between in-scene keyframes.
Checking now, it also supports “alpha over”, so you can actually use it to preview-comp a bunch of 3d scenes over your footage plate. Theoretically you should also be able to Meta-strip the whole thing and edit that further, but I’ve found the editing of meta-strips to be a bit unpredictable.
Until now I thought this was a pure preview-thing, but it seems like the VSE actually renders these frames for real when hitting Render. If I understand this correctly, I guess I’ve stumbled across a great way to handle selective frame rendering.

A general thing about the VSE editor - I’ve found the “refresh scene” button to be a very good friend. Clips tend to lose synch and gain weirdness when I cut and splice a lot, and refreshing often clears that out. More importantly - doing meticulous timing on frames that are invisibly out of synch is obviosly pretty bad use of production time:)
And finally - if you haven’t, you probably want to raise your Memory Cache Limit in the System Settings…