Thursday, November 8, 2018

ProEXR 2.0

Version 2.0 of ProEXR is now available. The major new addition is support for Cryptomatte in After Effects.

Cryptomatte is a clever improvement over OpenEXR’s ID channels, which have been supported by ProEXR since the beginning, but in practice are rarely used. The problem with an ID channel is that each pixel can only specify a single ID, so small things like antialiasing, motion blur, and depth of field won’t work properly. Using some tricks involving 32-bit float EXR channels and cryptographic hashes, Cryptomatte gives you the ID channels you always wanted, fully functional. Just turn on Cryptomatte in a supported 3D renderer, set up the comps in After Effects using ProEXR AE, select the Cryptomatte effect, and click in your comp to generate perfect mattes for any object(s) you choose.

Since Cryptomatte uses a series of EXR channels to work its magic, developing this plug-in exposed some inefficiencies in the OpenEXR file module, which has now been updated to always cache channels and headers. In extreme cases involving EXR sequences with many channels, the speedup can be as high as 20x. I encourage all multi-channel EXR enthusiasts to replace the plug-in that ships with AE.


Update: More information about this release and Cryptomatte in a ProVideo Coalition article by Chris Zwar!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Apple peaked in 2011

Anyone looking at my desk today could be forgiven for thinking they had stepped into a time machine. An OLED TV and Nintendo Switch on the other side of the room would reassure them this was indeed 2018, but the desk is firmly planted in 2011. There's a MacBook Pro (Early 2011), a Mac Pro (Mid 2010), and an iPhone 4 (released February 2011). Look closer and you'll also see that all three devices are still running operating systems from 2011: Mac OS X Snow Leopard and iOS 5.

Perhaps I'm a Luddite, unable or afraid to upgrade to the current OS versions? Or maybe I'm too poor or cheap to upgrade my hardware, the last time I could afford to do so was during Obama's first term? I assure you that neither of these are the case. In my day job I run a network of Macs running the latest OS. Said job also provides a paycheck that I could use to buy new computers. In fact, those Macs were acquired this calendar year, but they are older models I got through Craigslist. I can and do run newer Mac OS versions inside VMWare or by booting from another partition when necessary. On the iOS side, I have an iPad running a recent iOS. So I'm perfectly familiar with the various Apple OS updates, but I choose to use the 2011 versions instead.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Screw you, Microsoft

This blog has never before veered toward anything that might be considered opinion, but today I am making an exception. With no small amount of chagrin I heard recently that Microsoft had bought GitHub, and so I am now taking my open source projects off GitHub and moving them to GitLab.

I will be the first to admit I'm not completely rational about this. Perhaps a long-ago spurned lover of Barack Obama refused to vote him into office. Ghandi's ex-girlfriend may say he was a jerk. Well, I've been hurt by Microsoft, and if you use computers with any frequency I'd argue you've been hurt as well.