Join Steve Wright for an in-depth discussion in this video EXR 2.0 new features, part of Nuke 8 New Features.
NUKE 8 supports EXR2, the latest version of the EXR file format. With EXR1, to access one layer or channel, you had to load the entire file in. With EXR2, you can load just and only what you need, speeding up production. Note that if you try to load an EXR2 image into NUKE 7, you'll get an error message. By the way, you won't find the test frames I'm using here in the Exercise Files, because the file sizes need to be very large in order to demonstrate the performance differences.
So let's start by seeing how we actually create an EXR2 file in NUKE. In the right node, when you tell it that you want to do an EXR file, the right node reconfigures itself. And here is our new feature right here, interleave. This pop-up menu has three choices. The first one, channels, layers and views. This is the default. And this writes an EXR1 file which is backward compatible with older NUKEs and other older software. This one, channels and layers, is an EXR2 file, that has the views separated into their own parts.
So you could load only the left view for example, if you're working in stereo. The third choice, channels, separates the channels, layers and views into separate parts for individual retrieval. You can load a single channel of a single layer, for example. Okay, now let's see an example of all of this performance increase we've been talking about. So let's go over here. Here I have an EXR1 file. You can see that right there. And it has five layers in it. It's also a big 4K image here, you can see that.
So here I have, in the RGBA layer is my layer1. And then here's layer2, I've colored them, so you can kind of tell them apart. And you know I'm not fudging. There's layer4 and layer5. Let's see the load time for just layer5 using the old EXR1 format. I'm going to set the play head to play once and stop, and then I'll play forward. And there it is, loading in one frame, and then there's the next frame, and the next one. And the next one. Okay, that's EXR1 loading one layer out of a five layer 4K file, so we'll jump back to the beginning.
Now let's look at EXR2, and you can see up here that this is my EXR2 file. Let's play this and compare the speed. Much faster. Let's try one channel. I'll jump back to the beginning. We'll go back over to EXR1, and let's say that I want to see just the layer2 red channel in the viewer's alpha channel. Now, let's play that again with EXR1. And we actually get the exact same speed as we had before, because EXR1 has to load the entire frame regardless of what layer or channel you're looking for.
Okay? Let's go back to frame one and switch over to the EXR2. You can see him up there. So we'll load one channel from EXR2. Play that. And there you go. Now, there are other EXR2 new features. For example, support for deep data. Which is now widely used at Weta Digital, Pixar, ILM, Sony Pictures ImgageWorks, Fuel, MPC and many others. Another new feature is a faster decoding of scanline images. There is now very broad industry support for EXR2.
You'll find it in Houdini, Maya, Arnold, Open Image IO, and many, many other software products. EXR2 adds both productivity tools to speed up production and new features such as decompositing, so you'll always be able to do the latest and greatest visaul effects compositing with NUKE 8.
Note: This course is specifically designed for current Nuke artists who just want to learn about the new features in Nuke. For a more thorough exploration of Nuke 8, check out Steve's Nuke 8 Essential Training course.