12 Toolsets for a smarter and faster comp workflow

Updated: Feb 3

Today I want to talk about the use of toolsets in my daily comp workflow.

Toolsets are a great way to save workflow presets for any imaginable aspect of a comp.

You can safe anything you create in your nodegraph as a toolset.


I have 40+ toolsets in my config that I use regularly and I selected the 12 most used and most valuable toolsets to share with you.

All of these toolsets are created by myself with a few integrated node-setups from other people that are credited at the specific places.


Overview of the Toolsets


Efficient-Workflow Toolsets:

- degrain

- prerender

- concatenation


Keying Toolsets:

- IBK stacker

- Keying Setup Basic

- Keying Setup Plus


Projection Toolsets:

- uv project

- project warp

- project shadow


Mini Toolsets:

- rotate normals

- clamp saturation

- check comp


scroll down for more information about the toolsets

Download Toolset Collection:


http://www.nukepedia.com/miscellaneous/m_toolsets


The toolsets are named "M_" + "name of the toolset" inside of nuke:

For example "M_degrain".


Installation:


1. Un-zip the file.


2. Place the "M_Toolsets" folder inside of your "ToolSets" folder which is located in your ".nuke" folder.

Create a folder called "ToolSets" if you don´t have one yet.


3. Restart nuke.

Toolset Descriptions:

Efficient-Workflow Toolsets:


M_degrain:


This is my most used toolset out of the 12 mentioned here.

It is my basic degrain / regrain setup which i use as a starting point for all shots that have a plate.

It allows me to always comp on a degrained version of the plate and makes the use of just one regrain node possible, which results in an efficient and clean comp.


M_degrain toolset

It works like this:


1. Read in plate at the top and degrain it in your prefered way.

2. Write the degrain out on the left and read the render back in on the right.

3. While the degrain is rendering your can start working on the original plate and once it is rendered just read it in and toggle the switch, to work on the degrained plate.

4. In the lower purple area your isolated plate grain gets plussed back on the comp.

5. To regrain the areas of the plate that you changed, just use your grain node of choice and connect a grain mask that includes all the changed areas to the specific input. Then toggle the switch by enabling it.


After the regrain part i also added the "M_check_comp" toolset and a few preset backdrops for structuring versions, references, cutrefs etc.

M_prerender:


This is my prerender setup. I use it almost every time i prerender something.

I like structured and organized comps, so i try to avoid just putting a write- and read-node in the middle of my tree without any note.

M_prerender toolset

This setup kills all unnecessary channels with the remove node so you stay efficient.

After you rendered the tree above it you can turn the switch on or off to toggle between your prerender and the comp.







M_concatenation:


This toolset gives you a clear overview of all nodes that concatenate in nuke.


It is separated in 3 groups with different concatenations:


M_concatenation toolset

left:

up- and downstream


middle:

downstream


right:

upstream




Keying Toolsets:


M_ibk_stacker:


This is a preset for the IBK stacker technique.

In this technique you setup one "IBK color" node, which is then copied multiple times. The copys of the first node have increasing "patch black" values.

This creates a good cleanplate fore the use in the "IBK gizmo" node.


M_ibk_stacker toolset

This toolset also includes a roto node, where you can bring back areas of the

greenscreen that should

not be affected by the first "IBK color".


Keep in mind that, if you want to change the IBK color nodes from greenscreen to bluescreen then you have to change them all seperatly.









M_keying_setup_basic:


This is my standart keying setup. I use it as a starting point for easy keying shots.

The setup just provides a proper workflow so there are no preset values in the keyers.


M_keying_setup_basic toolset

It includes all parts of the M_degrain toolset, complemented by a splitted keying workflow.


The key is splitted into:

  • core despill

  • edge despill

  • core key

  • edge key

  • garbage matte










M_keying_setup_plus:


This is an advanced form of "M_keying_setup_basic".

I use it as a starting point for hard keying shots.

It has multiple build-in setups to help you blend the edges of your foreground better with the background.

These functionalities are all disabled by default, but the toolset makes it easy to use them if needed.

M_keying_setup_plus toolset

Build-in setups:

  1. edge extend

  2. additive key

  3. overlay fg over bg

  4. match edge luminance

  5. lightwrap


This toolset includes a gizmo called "CleanPlateGenerator" created by Niko Junge.










I started this template based on the keying tutorials by Tony Lyons when i started working as a compositor. Since then i am constantly adding and removing parts from it.

I will definitely develop it further on every shot, so i might release an updated version in the future.

If you need in-depth explanations of many of the parts of it then you

should watch Tony´s youtube playlist about keying:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsg8drquDno&list=PLt2Nu4KGXJ2iXe7s-ydCQ9u1tTzzApmJX

Projection Toolsets:


M_uv_project:


This is a camera projection setup that works with moving objects.

It is quite different to a projection on a static object, because you first need to render the projection out as a texture.

After that you apply your render as a texture on the same geo, to make it stick.


M_uv_project toolset

How it works:


1. Replace the Lensdistortion node, with the lens distortion of your shot to

un-distort the image.

2. Choose a reference frame and set it in the top Framehold node.

3. Plug-in the camera of your shot.

This will be your projection and render cam.

4. Plug-in the geo where you want to project on.

5. Set the format of your shot in the Reformat node.

6. Plug-in your lens distortion to

re-distort the render.


Your input needs a solid alpha to get projected correctly.







M_project_warp:


This workflow is based on the M_uv_project setup.

It offers you a way to project any warp you do onto a moving geo.


M_project_warp toolset

It works like this:

  1. Warp your input with the SplineWarp node or replace it with any other type of warp.

  2. It needs to be connected to the expression note for the setup to work, but you can connect your warpnode (e.g. gridwarp) to the Framehold and then change the connection once your done.

  3. Setup the cam, geo, lens-distortion and format for your shot.

  4. The setup projects a warped STMap and an unwarped STMap onto your geo.

  5. After the scanline-render we first subtract the projected unwarped stmap from the warped one and then add the unprojected and unwarped one to it.

  6. Your shot gets warped by the stmap. Your shot will not look like it is projected, because the only thing that changes with the projection is the position of the warp. You can also use a CornerPin instead of a uv-projection to make your warp stick to something.

  7. Use the roto node to mask the warp to an specific area or just use the output of the STMap node as is.

M_project_shadow:


This toolset provides you with a clean way to create a shadow in nuke without the use of a light.

M_project_shadow toolset

What do you need:

  • A Geo that casts the shadow

  • A Geo that catches the shadow

  • A Camera that represents your spotlight

  • A render camera


How does it work:


  1. The "light-camera" renders a silhouette of the object that should cast the shadow.

  2. This silhouette gets then projected onto the geo that catches the shadow.

  3. The render camera renders just the object that catches the shadow.

  4. You can use the output as a mask to grade an actual shadow onto a plate.





Mini Toolsets:


M_clamp_saturation:


This small toolset converts your image from linear to HSV and back, to clamp just the saturation channel, which is the green channel in this color space.


M_saturation toolset

This is really helpful when integrating dynamic elements with varying saturation, like fire.


I learned this technique from my VFX supervisor Mark Spindler and I am using it really often since then.











M_rotate_normals:


This really basic setup allows you to adjust your normals AOV to achive results that you can´t achieve by just shuffeling out red, green or blue.

M_rotate_normals toolset

If none of these 3 channels gives you the right direction (alpha), it helps a lot to shift the hue of the normals AOV before shuffeling the needed channel out.


  1. Shuffle the "normals" AOV out

  2. Shift the hue

  3. Shuffle out red, green or blue






M_check_comp:


To finish this collection, we have a simple yet useful toolset to check all your comps.

You can plug this toolset in your comp right before the write note to check the color and look of the shot. I got this toolset from Christian Friesser.


M_check_comp toolset

It provides 3 ways to get a slightly different view of the shot:

  • double the saturation

  • blur the image

  • mirror horizontally




I hope some of these toolsets will help you in your comp work. Even if you don´t want to take over my workflows, there could be one or two comp tricks in here that you need in the future.


Cheers

Marcel

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