Lesson 5

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  • Intro to Blender (3D app)
  • Making fire and smoke using fluid dynamics
  • Integrating fire and smoke into a composite


In this lesson we will be again working with the camera tracker (yay!). We will also be looking at how tracked camera data can be used in another application. Specifically, we will be using the open source 3D app Blender to make smoke and fire. This we will composite onto the footage in nuke. Gluing it all together will be tracked camera data: ensuring that Blender's space agrees with that of Nuke.

Exporting stuff from one application, and importing to another, is one of the mainstays of VFX and film production. This is called pipeline or I/O (which stands for in/out). It is rarely without problems. Though there are many file standards that should, in theory, make this a painless activity, these standards are not supported by all applications. Neither are they all supported very consistently, with much buginess and inconsistency in how they are implemented.

The pipeline that we will be using can be summed up in the following manner:

Application Task I/O
Nuke Track the camera and make a locator object .chan file for camera, .obj file for object
Arrow down.png
Blender Make the smoke and fire using a 3D space and camera that matches that of Nuke's tracked camera. .tiff image sequence of rendered smoke and fire
Arrow down.png
Nuke Composite the smoke and fire over the footage .mov file for the finished result

Blender is an open source 3D authoring application. It is not the most comprehensive 3D app in the world, but it is a good all-rounder, capable even of compositing and editing (though we won't be using it for that). We shall be using it to make fire and smoke, a task it is particularly good at. We will incorporate the animated output into a Nuke composite. Don't worry: we shall not be going into Blender's functionality too deeply.

Nukes time nodes will also be introduced.


Assets for Lesson 5
Name Description Link
Timing Most of Nuke's time nodes exampled in a script. Contains source files and a Nuke script. Download (20mb)
The blender manual The Blender manual, direct from Blender's website. The Blender manual