This don't like to AE maniacs, but it is true:
NUKE is a high end composition software, used in feature films like Avatar (that is a big thing). Actually is the standard for compositing scenes in commercials, films and so many things. If we compare two of them (in compositing) Nuke is just a lot better than AE. Starting by his workflow, Nuke is a node-base program, wich is really more convenint than a layer-base program for certain tasks, like compositing.
For motion graphics AE is probably more convenient and is the standard too. But in general terms of "power" AE has nothing to do against Nuke
The 3D system in Nuke is reeeeeeeeeeeeeealy powerful, where you can import animated 3d objects from your 3d package directly. But the "3D system" in AE isn't even 3D, actually is 2.5D and it is full of weaknesses.
I love AE, but this is my honest opinion
Largely true for film (although I don't work much in film these days), but not true at all for commercials. Ae is used LOADS in commercials. Yes - I'm talking about the major high end campaigns with million dollar budgets that hit your screens on Saturday night prime time.
There's a lot to like about a node-based workflow for many (especially heavy) compositing tasks. Much of my earliest compositing work was in Shake.. a node-based fore-runner to Nuke, although I haven't used Nuke now for quite a few versions). After Effects is also an extremely capable compositing program and in the right hands, you can expect the same quality at the same speed as in Nuke. (an Ae user will probably need an external matchmover / tracker like Syntheyes though, because the tracking in Ae is admittedly pretty shameful IMHO)
After Effects is however much more versatile. You'll find lots of people doing great compositing work in Ae (including many Nuke and Flame artists). But you won't find many people doing great motion graphics in Nuke. It's exactly this that I like about After Effects. The way that an Ae artist gets to work is so varied.
Regarding 2.5D: Since CS6, Ae has had a fledgling true 3D capability. As of CC, you can embed entire Cinema 4D projects as layers and CC comes bundled with a 'lite' version of C4D. That's a pretty solid 3D capability if you ask me.
By the way, I'm not an Ae maniac - I'm someone who has worked in visual effects and motion graphics, largely in high-end commercial / music video / TV (and a little feature film work) for about 20 years.
Yeap, I agree with you in many things.
AE is used a lot in commercials production, but in the last years Nuke has been growing up a lot in this field too. I don’t know if it is used more than AE, but I guess so.
I know AE is a powerful tool (I didn’t say that is not) capable of a lot of things, even in compositing work. But the point that I was talking was about compositing. You probably never going to see that a movie like Avatar or so, is going to be composite entirely in AE, but in Nuke, Fusion or others.
And as you said tracking in AE is shameful. But no only tracking, other essential things (for compositing) like the 3D system. The C4D integration with AE is a big step to take the motion graphic workflow further, but still is not just AE. That means that you have to learn another (totally different) package to enjoy things like a truly 3D particle system, basic editing geometry tools, and a lot of other features that are native in Nuke.
But actually is pretty sad to me (an AE lover) that a $400 package like Hit Film has all this features. That’s a shame seriously. Because you don’t have to spend $5000 in Nuke to have all these MODERN features that doesn’t exist natively in AE. So, the CS6 “3D capabilities” doesn’t even compare with a $400 package. Then, it isn’t even fair compare AE with Nuke.
And I know that there is always the “super artist” that can do a lot things with the simplest tool, but here we are not talking about people, we are talking about packages, tools and workflow.
Sorry if you get offended by the maniac thing. It was no my intent offend anyone, it was just a joke. Actually I don’t have a half of the experience that you, so please excuse me for that.