SFX export

Can we get the SFX exporter fixed for the last few versions of SFX? I have noticed at multiple studios that the shapes exported from outsource vendors are missing some sort of transformation data since the splines do not seem to match. Sometimes the spline come in upside down, other times they are scrambled. It seems as though the exporter is missing some transformation parameters or it is compiling them out of order.

Also the motion blur seems to go missing on some of the exports.

I remember doing some extensive troubleshooting with SFX support 3-4 years ago to get this resolved but it does not seem like the code was pushed to update across the board.

I will try to get some additional data to help support the request, but this was done over a company email that i no longer have access to. As well as the project files associated.

Has anyone else run into these issues?

Hey Anthony,
Do you specifically mean exporting Silhouette shapes to Nuke? I believe some of the issues you mention have already been addressed in most recent builds.

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Some outsource vendors still run on old versions of Silhouette where they export splines through the Nuke6.2+ exporter, which has a lot of issues as you mentioned. Imo I think this option should be removed completely in newer versions as its pretty obsolete now.

With the latest Nuke9+ exporter everything normally matches up exactly except the motion blur samples. There is still a bug where the samples set in Silhouette get carried over into the shape motion blur tab in the roto node but do not actually effect the quality of the alpha and it then resets to 1 if you click on any shape or layer.

But what Nuke6+ exporter used to do was some kind of motion blur sample conversion so in nuke your motion blur samples would be for example 2.199999999. Messy looking and also only in the shape tab but it would be great if the Nuke9+ exporter matched Silhouette’s samples as closely as possible just as integer numbers in the global motion blur tab aswell.
In vfx studios, compositors often ask for splines from outsource vendors but if they are not told they also need to manually set appropriate samples it can often get missed believe it or not.

So that’s my only gripe with the Silhouette spline exporter to Nuke, other than that everything works great from my experience.

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Thanks for the input Josh. At a recent customer onsite, some of the motion blur issues were raised. I’ll ask Marco to comment here.

For outsourced vendors, we very much want them to be running the latest Silhouette, but that is obviously out of our control. Some VFX studios have very clear guideline document for their outsourcing roto partners to follow. I was thinking that this could be very useful to have published in the forums. Would love someone to share here.

The issue of software compliance with outsourcing companies is something to mention and new vendors are constantly opening up small shops. We strongly recommend that companies that use outsourcing vendors make sure that these companies are working on valid, paid licenses. Obviously this is how we can continue to improve the tools! :wink:

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There have been a number of changes to the Nuke exporter. The problems you describe occurred with older versions of the exporter.

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Thanks everyone! Looks like i have some emails to send and some vendors to chat with. What is the first version of SFX that contains these updates? obviously the latest version has it.

@joshbarham so if the vendor has the option to export as 9+ that is the best option since the 6.2 has most of these issues.

Also what is the preferred or best settings to select for the Nuke 9+ Shapes export options located in the Preferences to get the most accurate export.

Convert Opacity to Lifetime: On or Off

File Size: Larger or Smaller

Fully Baked: On or Off

@vfx.agarcia The latest version of 7.5.8 as well as Silhouette 2020 has the most up to date Nuke exporter. The changes we made were to keep up with changes in Nuke.

Convert Opacity to Lifetime Preference
This is really a personal preference depending on whether you would like this behavior. If checked, a Nuke lifetime is enabled ending at either the work range end or the first transition to zero Opacity. The start of the lifetime is either the work range start, if the starting value was 100% opacity, or the frame on which it went from zero to 100% opacity.

File Size
Whether you select Smaller or larger depends on whether you would like a human readable file or not.

Smaller (Hexadecimal)
Writes the export out in hexadecimal format resulting in a smaller file size.

Larger (Human Readable)
Writes the export out in human readable format resulting in a larger file size.

Fully Baked
It is best to set this to off to retain the ability to edit the shape in Nuke. If there is tracking data involved, baking will result in keyframes on every frame. Not great for editing.

On
Shape and transform data are baked together.

Off
Shape and transform data remain separate.

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@joshbarham
Since Nuke calculates the Motion Blur differently than Silhouette, it is quite tricky to get an exact match between the two programs.

In SFX 7.0.9, the Silhouette > Nuke Exporter enabled Global Motion Blur automatically by default in Nuke for exported shapes. This results in a more faithful representation of Motion Blur between Silhouette and Nuke, especially for overlapping shapes. Note that when Global Motion Blur is enabled, the Shape Motion Blur parameters will have no effect. To adjust Motion Blur using the Shape parameters, select all the shapes and change the Motion Blur from Global to Shape. Then, setting the Motion Blur parameters would happen at the shape level.

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i don’t mind if its a perfect match, it would be better if it was closer but the issue we had for older exports is that there was no motion blur for some shapes that were exported.

@marco
Yep I thought this may be the case. We always use global motion blur yes, but I’ve always wondered why the Nuke9+ exporter sets global motion blur to 1 whatever samples you have set in Silhouette beforehand whereas the Nuke6+ exporter actually did some kind of conversion even though it wasn’t the most accurate. If you export splines from Silhouette with samples set to 128 for example for the most extreme motion blur to look nice, it would be great to then have the global motion blur samples in Nuke set to a rough approximation of that rather than artists having to go in and try and match it manually.

@vfx.agarcia
As Marco said other than the motion blur samples (quality) matching, Nuke9+ exporter should match the position and motion blur amount exactly. I’ve never had to personally change any of the exporter preferences in Silhouette personally, Nuke9+ exporter always normally works as needed straight out the box for me.

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The exporter sets Nuke’s “motionblur” value to number of motion blur samples set in the Roto node. Is there a different Nuke setting this value should be put into?

Hi Paul, sorry I just saw this. Is that new to Silhouette 2020? I’ve not tested as I have don’t have access to a copy at the moment, but on 7.5 and previous versions when exporting splines to Nuke, the global motion blur knob is always set to 1 regardless of whatever number Silhouette motion blur samples is set to at the time of exporting. Yes 1 in nuke means motion blur is enabled and the amount of motion blur matches great but it is very low quality.

I know what @marco is saying how the motion blur is calculated differently so its difficult to get an exact match, but currently exported roto from Silhouette is coming into Nuke at a very low quality with lots of stepping. If an outsource vendor is providing roto splines only, with nuke scripts for hundreds of shots which is automatically ingested and mattes rendered out in house it means we have to set up python scripts which automatically checks the motion blur knob and turns it up to a suitable value. Which is exactly what I have setup recently. The other thing though is if the exact motion blur samples amount was to be carried over from Silhouette to Nuke it would often be far too high, 64 samples in Silhouette you might set to 10 in the global motion blur knob in Nuke as a rough example. So basically my request was, can a closer sample conversion be included in the exporter at all? as I’m sure Nuke6+ exporter did something similar… It’s not a massive issue as I said we workaround it but thought bringing it to your attention might be help. I’ll put it an official log for it anyway. Hope that made sense though. Thanks!

@joshbarham
It appears that when the Global > Motion Blur was enabled in the exporter, the Samples are setting to 1 instead of the Samples value set in Silhouette. We will fix this in the next point release.

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