Get an overview of the Nuke user interface and the various windows and menus
- [Instructor] This course assumes that you're new to Nuke, which might also mean that you're new to node-based compositing, which is the basis of Nuke. So let's first take a look at how node-based compositing works, then we'll take a look at the overall Nuke interface. So the whole idea of node-based compositing is that each image processing operation is represented by a node. This node reads in images, this node applies a blur, and that one would do a transform. This node pipes the image up to viewer, which is of course up here.
So if I connect the viewer node to the read node, I'm now piping the data from the read node to the viewer and we see it up here. Now if I want to add an image processing operation I'll grab a node, this blur node is set to do a horizontal blur. So I'll slide that in to the data stream, or what we call a data pipe in Nuke speak. And now I've added a nice horizontal blur. Let's say I want to add a transform to rotate it. Well, I'll add that right in here. And Nuke will hook it in for me.
So now, if I play this. You can see I have a little animation goin' here. And I've got a blur, followed by a transform. Now, the operational order is read it in, then blur it horizontally, then rotate it. However, I'm going to swap the order with a little keyboard shortcut here. Now the order is, read it in, then rotate it, then do the horizontal blur. So you can see now the blurs are leaned this way instead of being at an angle.
So that's kind of a big picture overview of node-based compositing and the reason Nuke works that way is this is the ideal method for building huge complex visual effects shots, which is what Nuke is optimized for. The node tree allows you to literally trace the data from where you read it in to each and every image processing operation, to the final write node out to disk, and this is a huge help in trouble-shooting.
Okay, now let's take a look at the Nuke user interface. First up of course, is the viewer up here. And the viewer allows you of course, you can pan your images, you can scale and zoom. And you can even take a look at your color channels. So here's the Red channel, here's the Alpha channel. So we'll put that back to RGB. Down here is the timeline. And this little yellow guy here is your playhead. So we scrub the timeline, we're moving through time, and we can jump.
And notice, the little orange marks that are below each frame as I move the playhead. What's happening is Nuke is caching those images in the timeline. This way you know which frames have been cached and which have not. Next, we have the playhead controls down here. Jump to the last frame, jump to the first frame. Play forward, stop, single frame forward. Now these are keyframes, so to get those, I need to open up the Transform property panel, where we have some animation with keyframes.
You'll notice on the timeline, little blue tick marks have popped up. Those blue tick marks are where the keyframes are. So if I click on this button here, notice I'm getting a tool tip by the way, so Nuke gives you tool tips on all the tools and toys. So if I click here I'll go forward to the next keyframe or back to the previous. Next, is the Node Graph. This is where we build our node trees. This is where we bring in the nodes, delete them, connect them, disconnect them, copy and paste, clone.
So all your node operations for building the node tree occurs right here in the Node Graph. Next, let's take a look at the property panels. I'm going to open up the Blur, so we have both the Blur and the Transform property panels open. The property panels are where you adjust the parameters for each of the nodes. Let me move this viewer over here and I'm going to increase my blur and decrease my blur by adjusting the property panel.
Down here in the Transform, and I can scale it up or scale it down. Again, I'm adjusting the parameter in the property panel for the transform node. Now the property panels live in the property bin. So this is the Properties bin here and that's where all the property panels go whenever you open them and you can clear them out as you saw with one click. Now, up here is the Background Renders tab which we'll be looking at later. And down below, these are some statistics about your workspace.
How much memory your system is using, the CPU load, how much Disk I/O is going on, and your network traffic. Next, let's take a look at the tool bar. Here's the tool bar over here, and this is where all the nodes live. And they're all collected into similar groups based on type. So let's open up the color, and every one of these nodes does something with the color of the image. And many of them have hot keys, like here you go, there's a hot key here and a hot key there.
Another example, might be the Transforms. All of these nodes change the shape or the size of the images. Next is the menu bar up here. These contain a series of additional pop-up menus that you can use for different things in your work. For example, the file pop up menu has for saving and loading Nuke scripts. Edit pertains to copying and pasting and editing the nodes that are in your Node Graph. Workspace is where you can save and load layouts of your workspace.
And these are some viewer controls. The Render pop-up is whether you want to render all the nodes or a few selected nodes. And of course the Cache pop up has to do with clearing cache buffers and cache management. And of course the ever popular help menu. You'll notice that most of them have keyboard shortcuts. Which are over here on the right. Okay, let's look at the curve editor. But first, I'm going to open up the Transform property panel. Alright, so I've opened up the property panel for the transform node, which has some animation, which is keyframed.
So now we can open up the Curve Editor and look at the animation curves in the Curve Editor, which is where we of course, edit the curves for our animation. I can scrub the playhead anywhere I want on the timeline. And if I put it on a control point, I can adjust that control point and actually see it update in the viewer in real time. There are also a series of menus in here for doing other editing of your animation curves and of course we're going to have an entire video on the Curve Editor, maybe a couple of them.
Here's the Dope Sheet. Now the Dope Sheet concerns itself only with the timing of keyframes. Remember the blue tick marks up here? So if I grab a couple of these guys and I shift them to the left, you'll see that the blue tick marks have shifted, and of course that changed the animation on the screen. Going back to the Node Graph, another really neat thing about the Nuke user interface is your ability to completely customize it. We can adjust the size of these areas here, which are called panes.
See this little guy right here? That upper left hand corner means that this entire area is one pane. Here's another one over here. This is a second pane, and there's one more up here, which is a third pane. So I have three panes and in the panes live the tabs. The Node Graph tab, the Curve Editor tab. So you can not only configure the size of things, but also their position. I'm going to grab the Node Graph tab, bring it over her, and drop it off. Now my Properties bin and Node Graph are now in this pane over here.
When you have a workspace that you like, come over here to the Workspace pop-up menu and save it. And then later, you can restore it any time you want. Now that we've had a quick tour of the Nuke interface, the videos that follow will focus on each part of it with greater detail.
- Building node trees
- Animating keyframes
- Transforming and reformatting images
- Changing clip timing
- Merging images and layers
- Keying with ChromaKeyer
- 3D compositing
- Lights and cameras
- Rendering 3D scenes