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One of the most powerful 3D applications on the market, Maya 2010, now includes three complimentary bundled applications: MatchMover, powerful camera matching software; Toxik, a node-based compositor; and Backburner, a network rendering manager for Maya, 3ds Max, and Toxik. In Maya 2010: Getting Started with MatchMover, Toxik, and Backburner, instructor George Maestri demonstrates how to use these applications with Maya's existing powerful feature set to create engaging 3D animations. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now that we have our basic composition set up, we can actually start inputting footage and start building our composition. So in order to input footage, all you have to do is just go to File > Import or Ctrl+I and that brings you back to the File browser and again, we are in under Exercise Files, Chap04 and you will notice there are three directories here: City_Shot, Robot, and Shadow and these are three elements that we are going to composite together. So right now, let's just start with the backing play, which is called City_Shot. So when I click on that, you will notice it right here, there is a little node that says JPEG and what this is is a JPEG sequence.
Now footage in Toxic can only be image sequences. It's very similar to MatchMover in that regard. You can not bring in QuickTime or AVI, Flash. Any sort of movie file just won't be able to be imported. Toxic does support a wide array of still image types, but you are working with image sequences. So this one is actually a JPEG sequence. So if I looked at this in the Windows browser, you would see 150 files named City_Shot_00, City_Shot_01 and so on, but Toxic is actually nice enough to say, "This is actually an image sequence.
Let's just go ahead and combine that into one menu item and let's just import it." Now when you import this, I am going to close this right here, you will see now we have two nodes. We have our footage node, and we have our Output. Now if I look at my footage node, you will see I have image import. You can see its type is JPEG, resolution, image ratio, frame rate, also the duration. This is 150 frames, so I can scrub through it. But right now, I can only scrub to frame 24, because that's as many frames as I have in my default composition.
So, I need to actually bring that up to 150 frames and now I can scrub through my whole piece of footage there. There are some additional options here. We can actually change our start and end frame if we want. We can also change our frame rate if we need to, but basically, this is our image import. Now once we have this image here, we can actually start working with it in Layout. If you notice here, if I click on this piece of footage here, it shows up in my viewport. That's just the image sequence.
It's not what's going to be the final output. That's determined by this node and right now, that node is black. There is nothing there. That's because we haven't connected the two together and this goes to the heart of what node-based compositing is, is that you have to wire one node to the other in order to actually get a compositing network. So let's go ahead and do this and create one of the simplest composites we can get, which is just an image being output. So what I do is I just go here to this little tab at the right-side of this icon, left-click and drag, and you will see I get a little wire that comes up and all I have to do is plug that wire into the back end of Output and now my output is that image sequence.
Now, of course, this is just a very simple composite, but what we can do is we can expand on this. We can actually run these wires through nodes that composite images together that do color correction, that do special effects, and we can build a much more sophisticated network. So now, we have brought in footage and actually wired it to the output. Now we can go ahead and start bringing in more footage and actually doing some compositing.
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