Tuesday, October 13, 2020

ProEXR 2.6

If you've been keeping your After Effects up to date you're already running ProEXR 2.6, which adds some performance optimizations to the AE plug-ins. Standard scanline multi-channel EXR files receive a modest speed improvement, while tiled EXRs will read about 3x faster in this version. And if you have a multi-part EXR file, the individual parts are now read on-demand for faster previews and more efficient rendering.

These optimizations were made possible by Harsh Patil from Apple's Pro Workflow Team, who analyzed the OpenEXR plug-in's performance when loading some real-world EXR sequences from various renderers. I warned him that Windows users were going to benefit from his optimizations as much as Mac, and he said Apple was fine with that! Thanks, Harsh!

Friday, September 11, 2020


BRAWconverter is a command line program for converting Blackmagic RAW files into image sequences. It uses Blackmagic's public SDK to convert the BRAW file to RGB, complete with various color transformations, etc. It can output OpenEXR, DPX, PNG, TIFF, and JPEG.

BRAWconverter is free and open source. Enjoy!

Version: 1.0
Date: 11 September 2020

Download Mac

Monday, November 4, 2019

ProEXR 2.5

Today marks the release of Adobe After Effects 2020, which includes ProEXR 2.5. In fact, improved multi-channel performance is one of the highlighted features in this version of AE. Users who had previously installed version 2.0 have already been enjoying the extra speed, but now it's shipping with AE itself.

ProEXR 2.5 gets rid of the separate ProEXR AE plug-in, which has been merged into the main OpenEXR plug-in. That means AE now ships with the features in ProEXR AE, such as the ability to set up your layered comps for you, as well as export layered EXR files. To have AE set up comps for you, import your EXRs using AE's regular Import File dialog, and then tell it to Import As Composition, which is very easy to miss. Fans of the old File menu item can bring it back by editing their AE preferences file.

Import As Composition
Also coming along for the ride is the Cryptomatte plug-in that first appeared in ProEXR 2.0. In addition, ProEXR 2.5 uses newly added AE APIs to support the reading and writing of timecode with EXR files. And finally, the EXtractoR and IDentifier interfaces have been re-done, getting rid of their modal dialogs in favor of menus right in the Effect Controls Window.

The easiest way to get ProEXR 2.5 is to just start using the new version of AE. For people sticking with older versions, you can still download the plug-ins from the ProEXR site.


Friday, August 30, 2019

The joys of an antique keyboard

Apple Extended Keyboard (AEK) photo by bujcich
The best tech I’ve bought this year is a keyboard made in 1987.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Apple delivers, mostly

I was wrong! Apple has indeed delivered a cheese grater sequel in the new Mac Pro. It is a tower. With slots. Thank goodness.

I didn't expect Apple to deliver everything I wanted in the new Mac Pro, which would basically be the 2010 Mac Pro with updated specs and the ability to run modern Nvidia cards. I thought maybe I'd get 50% satisfaction, but I'd say Apple gave me more like 70%, which is pretty good! But let's talk about that remaining 30%.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Dreading the new Mac Pro

The unveiling of a new Mac Pro may finally be upon us. In a bout of uncharacteristic frankness and humility, Apple admitted to journalists in April 2017 that it had made a mistake, designing the “trash can” Mac Pro into a “thermal corner.” They said a redesign would be coming in the form of a “modular system” that would take more than a year to ship. It's now been over two years and next week’s WWDC will mark the 6 year anniversary of the loathed cylindrical Mac Pro’s announcement, so it seems likely an unveiling will come Monday morning. I assume Apple wants me to be excited that the long wait is finally over, but instead I am terrified—terrified that Apple will get the Mac Pro wrong again, and that my long relationship and investment in the Mac for professional graphics work has no future.

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!