Foundry has released Nuke 14.0, a major update to its node-based compositing software.
The release introduces a complete new USD-based 3D system, available in beta in all four of the commercial editions of the software: Nuke 14.0, NukeX 14.0, Nuke Studio 14.0 and Nuke Indie 14.0.
Both NukeX and Nuke Studio also get updates to UnrealReader, Nuke’s live link to Unreal Engine – now officially out of beta in this release – and to AIR, Nuke’s machine-learning toolset.
In related news, Foundry has launched Cattery, a free online library of machine-learning models for Nuke.
Nuke, NukeX, Nuke Studio and Nuke Indie 14.0: new USD-based 3D system
The main change in Nuke 14.0 is the new USD-based 3D compositing system, intended to help Nuke play nicely in modern VFX and animation pipelines based around the Universal Scene Description format.
It’s built around a USD scene graph, with a dedicated Scene Graph panel to make it easier to view, navigate and organise large production scenes.
There are also new ways to control which objects in a scene are affected by any node that modifies geometry, in the shape of new Path and Masking knobs on those nodes.
Other key features include a new USD-native material system and USD lights, meaning that imported USD files with their own materials, looks and lights should display immediately inside Nuke.
The material system includes a new PreviewSurface node, based on UsdPreviewSurface, which Foundry describes as “the first step into Nuke fully supporting USD material networks”.
The new 3D system is currently in beta, and is provided in parallel with the existing ‘Classic’ 3D system.
The initial release has over 40 nodes – roughly 80% of the total in the Classic system – including those for creating and modifying geometry, adding lights and cameras, and generating point clouds and depth data.
NukeX, Nuke Studio and Nuke Indie 14.0: workflow and performance improvements in AIR
The 14.0 updates also further extend AIR, Nuke’s machine learning framework, intended to enable users to train their own neural networks to automate repetive tasks like roto and marker removal.
Training a network using the CopyCat node is now “20% faster” on Nvidia’s Ampere GPUs, and it is no longer necessary to wait for kernel compilation when running the tools for the first time.
CopyCat also gets a new checkpoint targeting human matting, speeding up the process of training a network to isolate a person from the background of shot by “up to 10 times”.
Outside Nuke itself, Foundry has launched Cattery, an online library of open-source third-party machine learning models converted to CopyCat .cat files.
It provides artists, particularly those working outside large studios, with readymade models for common tasks like segmentation, depth estimation, optical flow, upscaling, denoising, and style transfer.
And whereas training a network requires NukeX or above, the files can be loaded in any edition of Nuke.
Cattery is currently download-only, but Foundry plans to open the site up to user submissions.
NukeX, Nuke Studio and Nuke Indie 14.0: UnrealReader out of beta, now supports OCIO
In addition, the UnrealReader node is now officially out of beta and production-ready.
Introduced in Nuke 13.1, the node creates a live link to Unreal Engine, letting users build composites from render passes generated in the game engine, now increasingly also used for VFX work.
As well as improving UnrealReader’s stability, the update adds several important new features, including OpenColorIO support, making it possible to ensure colour consistency between Unreal Engine and Nuke.
Users can also now read in custom render passes from Unreal Engine, including Class and Post Process Material passes, and segment post-process looks into multiple passes for finer control in the composite.
Nuke, NukeX, Nuke Studio and Nuke Indie 14.0: support for colorimetry metadata in Monitor Out
The Monitor Out system gets another update in Nuke 14.0, adding support for colorimetry metadata. The change is intended to make review sessions easier to manager when using HDR workflows and monitors.
Hiero Player: edit OCIO Soft Effects added in Hiero or Nuke Studio
Outside the Nuke products themselves, Hiero Player, the desktop review tool available for Nuke and NukeX, now supports editing of OCIO Soft Effects from the timeline.
The change makes it possible for artists who only have access to Hiero Player to edit colour transforms added to a project created in Nuke Studio or Hiero, Foundry’s editing and shot management software.
Pipeline integration, standard and licensing changes
The 14.0 releases also bring Nuke in line with the current VFX Reference Platform specification, CY2022, updating the software to Python 3.9.1, OCIO 2.1.2 and ACES 1.3.
By default, the new USD-based 3D system uses USD 22.05, but it is designed to enable studios to work with any version of USD they want, including the option to run multiple version combinations of Nuke and USD.
In addition, login-based licensing, previously only available for Nuke Indie and Nuke Non-Commercial, is now available across the entire product family, including plugins and render nodes.
The system enables studio admins to manage licences and user access permissions in the cloud, although conventional RLM licensing is still available.
Free integrated version of the Bokeh lens dynamics plugin due in a future update
In addition, Nuke 14.0 will feature an integrated version of Bokeh, Peregrine Labs’ lens simulation plugin, described as “an essential tool for … deep compositing in Nuke”, which Foundry has just acquired.
It isn’t present in the initial release, but will be added to all editions of the software in the next upate, Nuke 14.0v2, currently due in “early 2023”.
Price and system requirements
Nuke, NukeX and Nuke Studio 14.0 are available for Windows 10+, CentOS 7.4-7.6 Linux, and macOS 11+. The releases support current Apple Silicon Macs on macOS 12.0+ only, and only via Rosetta emulation.
Node-locked and floating licences of Nuke cost $5,518. NukeX costs $10,268 and Nuke Studio costs $11,868. Quarterly rental plans are also available.
Artists with revenue under $100,000/year can use Nuke Indie, which provides the same toolset as Nuke Studio, but which has a number of other restrictions. It’s rental-only, and is priced at $499/year.
Read an overview of the new features in the Nuke 14.0 family on the product website
Read a full list of new features in the Nuke 14.0 family in the online release notes
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