Nuke vs After Effects


#1

OK, guys. Can someone that has experience with both programs can tell me what are differences. Are those two programs doing the same thing at the end and only workflow is different ( like Maya, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Softimage that are basically all 3D programs and you can create almost everything the same in all of them ) or there is really some basic difference between Nuke and AE. If there is, which one is better etc. I ask this bcs company where I start to work is requiring from me to learn Nuke to work in it ( my boss actually because he hates AE generaly ). Company where I’m working makes 3D cartoons, commercials, 3D games for android phones and iphones. So in general there is a lot of motion graphics, some effects in production and compositing 3D scenes involved. So is the Nuke really that much better then AE, is it a must to learn program for doing the job we guys do or I can stick with AE ? I work in AE for years and years and I really like it’s workflow so I’m really not interested in learning new software if it does the same as AE.

best,
nemanja


#2

The difference is in compositing approach. Nuke is a node-based compositing software, After Effects - a layer-based. As it was said a lot of times - these are just tools, the technique is more important than a choice of software. However, I prefer working on difficult and complicated shots in Nuke - a node-based compositing gives your greater control on composition parts, besides it seems that even a complicated node flow in Nuke is much faster than a composition with, let’s say, 100 layers in AE.
Another point is that Nuke is a standard software for the majority of studios today. A number of the big studios that are using AE for compositing and working on top level movies is very small. So if you know Nuke and can show your skills there - it’s your ticket to a middle/top compositing studio to work on high level commercials and movies.
What is Nuke bad in is motion graphics, this is usually done in AE, but with later compositing in Nuke.


#3

I’m not a Nuke-master, but from my experience in these days After-Effects can achieve anything you can do with Nuke.

However</strong, Nuke is far more powerful than AE. Its workflow is totally different since you work on 1 shot at the time. Its node-based system is much better for compositing than the layer-based system in AE. Also, Nuke works with 3D models & materials.

I know that in the real film industry nobody uses AE for compositing (and they all hate it for some reason) …there you’d find Nuke/Flame for dealing with VFX.


If the job is worth the money, learn Nuke…for an AE expert like you, it won’t be that hard to adopt Nuke’s system.



But for motion graphics - AE is definitely the winner…


#4

Forgot to mention that at some points it’s easier and faster to work in AE than in Nuke - Nuke is hardcore, it is even not so easy to apply a mask to a node, not to mention other more complicated actions. But when it comes to hard compositing shots - Nuke is the choice


#5

I worked in Nuke for a movie project for about 6 months. If you compare both, firstly Nuke is more suit for complex movie works. Of course you can make every project in both, but AE will work hard on complex projects. (When you work with thousands of layers and plugins etc.)
Nuke works on node based system, so it is a bit easier to control all workaround. Its keying works amazing, its tracker amazing. It can export import .dpx type cinema files with time-code data inside it.

To sum up, if you will only work on cinema projects, movies etc. Nuke is a good way, otherwise After Effects is a more user friendly for the broadcast, motion graphic works. And AE has also a big plus, it has huge user number so you can easily find millions of scripts, plugins etc.

Hope that helps a bit,

Caner


#6

Nuke is a node based compositor. After Effects is a timeline based animation, finishing and compositing package.

IIRC Nuke costs around $5000, After Effects around $1000.

Nuke is a highly specialized tool for serious, hardcore compositors; used in film, increasingly used in commercial stuff. After Effects is a versatile moving image solution that covers a lot of bases and is pretty universally used.

You are a compositor and you do compositing with complex comps and set-ups. You receive your input material from camera captured stuff or 3D generated passes. You use Nuke.

You are a motion graphics artist who probably also does some conforming / compositing. You sometimes receive your input material from camera or 3D generated passes, other times you generate your own material from scratch. You use After Effects.


#7
GhosTeam said

However</strong, Nuke is far more powerful than AE.

I think that’s a mis-statement. They do different things, and each is better and more powerful than the other in different ways.

See this from the After Effects product manager about the relative strengths of each application (and a statement that we like it when people use both):

So, don’t hink of this as an either/or decision. Use the right tool for the job; the right thing for one job my not be the right thing for another.


#8
GhosTeam said

I know that in the real film industry nobody uses AE for compositing (and they all hate it for some reason) …there you’d find Nuke/Flame for dealing with VFX.

Ae is a pretty general tool, so when it comes to highly specialized tasks, there’s usually a tool around that’s more suited to the job. In areas like film, where the production and work flow is very much split out into different disciplines, then naturally people tend to use more specialized tools.

There’s also a kind of snobbery thing in high-end media, that if you use the widely available tool that everybody uses, you’re somehow not as good as the person that uses the very, very expensive box of tricks. At the end of the day, a Flame operator whose suite is being hired out to clients at $1000/hour never did themselves any favours by saying “actually you could do this part pretty easily in After Effects”. There exists a kind of techno-philistinism which has been around at least as long as I’ve been in the industry.

All of this leads to my rule of thumb: Look at the craftsman, not the tool

What can be said of Ae is that it delivers an extraordinary value for money. It can do a lot of stuff for a very reasonable price, in the right hands it can achieve extraordinary results very quickly. For me, and for many small, cool, boutique-studios it is exactly its widespreadness that is interesting.

I can’t speak for film anymore, as it’s a while since I worked on a film, but actually in high-end commercial stuff, After Effects is used way more than you’d think.


#9

Its not necessarily true that After Effects can’t be used for feature film work. Just ask Gareth Edwards. http://tv.adobe.com/watch/customer-stories-video-film-and-audio/adobegarethedwards/


#10
eco_bach said

Its not necessarily true that After Effects can’t be used for feature film work. Just ask Gareth Edwards. http://tv.adobe.com/watch/customer-stories-video-film-and-audio/adobegarethedwards/

Yep. And there are far more examples than that. In most movies, there is a mix of tools used, depending on the needs of the specific shot and the skills of the specific artist.

And for cinematic television programs (like House of Cards and Walking Dead) all of the compositing for some shows is done in After Effects.

Again, this is not a slam against Nuke, which is a great tool; I just want to make sure that the over-generalizations about After Effects are refuted.


#11

I would like to chime in with a thanks to all who have posted. This is an excellent thread.


#12

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 :frowning:

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 :grin:


#13
weCREATEthings said

NUKE is a high end composition software, used in feature films like Avatar (that is a big thing).

Here’s a movie about the several ways that After Effects was used in Avatar:


#14
weCREATEthings said

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 :frowning:

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 :grin:

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.


#15

Yea, AE is awesome, but it’s slow, that’s the issue. :slight_smile:


#16
felt_tips said
weCREATEthings said

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 :frowning:

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 :grin:

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.


#17

@weCreatethings

Are you talking from personal experience working in the TV, advertising or feature film industries? Or are you kind of going on the basis of hearsay and surmise? Have you used Hit Film on a live, commercial project? Do you work a lot compositing 3D passes? Are you a Nuke artist? If so, in what context? Do you work alone or as part of a large compositing department? What kind of projects do you work on in Nuke? What kind of projects do you work on in After Effects?

It’d be interesting to know what angle you’re coming at this from. Sounds like you’ve got something of a downer on ol’ Ae just at the moment. :slight_smile:


#18
EFEKT_Studio said

Yea, AE is awesome, but it’s slow, that’s the issue. :slight_smile:

I just bunged a bunch more RAM in my machine. Worked wonders for read-heavy stuff like transcoding in Ae. I also went over to SSD. I now have 3 SSDs… One for the system, one for the cache and one for the job.

I’ve yet to put Ae through its paces on a huge render intensive job with the new set-up, but that’s coming up. I’ll report back.

Ae is slow at some things, but it all depends what you’re comparing it with. I agree there’s room for improvement though.


#19
felt_tips said

Ae is slow at some things, but it all depends what you’re comparing it with. I agree there’s room for improvement though.

We agree, too. That’s why a large fraction of the After Effects team is working on nothing but performance improvements right now, the most substantial of which should see public release next year, if all goes according to plan.


#20

That’s what I like to hear! :slight_smile: