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Sept. Tech Critiques: Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition, Foundry Flix 6.3 & Silhouette Paint for Nuke

Razer Blade 15 Studio Version

Of all of the more recent laptop/cellular workstations that have not long ago appear out with the latest RTX card, the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is the most recent and visually the sexiest, in my opinion. The new product has an anodized complete on top rated of a overall body milled from a block of aluminum (which I identified a minimal sharp on the edge) and an illuminated color keyboard which could be just glitzy glamor, but I uncovered it sensible to map unique shades to keys, equivalent to the Avid keyboards of lengthy in the past (I’m positive they are still close to).

But to shift outside of the slick exterior: The very first asset is the 4K contact show that extends to approximately the edge with a negligible bezel, with a 100% DCi-P3 color gamut — which is the standard that the American movie marketplace has set for movie projectors. This suggests that you can be moderately confident that what you see is what really should be coming out when it’s projected. And for a laptop like this, that is really critical. Since, while the Razer Blade Studio Edition runs the latest version of GTA incredibly nicely, that is not what it’s made for. It is built to be a workhorse for creative imagination. Given that this is an animation-centric publication, and I’m an animator, I’m likely to say it was intended for us (even although that assuredly is only partly real).

To further prove my position, the show and acceleration is driven by a Quadro RTX 5000 with Max-Q (indicating it is developed to in good shape within a very slim profile). The technique I’m examining has a display screen card with 16GB of RAM, which is fairly robust. The RTX series of Nvidia playing cards is precisely built for ray-tracing acceleration. Any software program employing the GPU has by now been updated to make the most of this technology to velocity up calculations. And for our applications, this weighs heavily in 3D rendering from GPU accelerated renderers like V-Ray, Arnold, Redshift, RenderMan — you name it. But it also is vital for serious-time rendering in issues like Unreal Motor. And with genuine-time technological know-how jumping into lightspeed soon after the achievements of The Mandalorian, this variety of technology is no extended simply just an possibility — it is a requirement. So, if you have that in your 15” Razer Blade … I’ll allow you fill in the summary.

But, I digress! The Razer Blade has a great deal of ability packed inside of of it, which usually means that it generates a lot of heat. The designers have mitigated that by employing a copper vapor chamber that vaporizes deionized water and transfers the warmth away from the elements (a.k.a. science points), as a result of its twin fans and out the bottom. Fantastic for the components, poor for your legs.

The souped-up model I was examining arrives in at almost $5K with the RTX, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, which is a nutritious investment decision. But if you are on established giving real-time rendering for administrators to glimpse at, it may just be well worth it.


Selling price: Starts off at $4,299.99



Foundry’s Flix 6.3

Flix is Foundry’s on the web storyboard and animatic software geared in direction of tale development and pre-production on movie, Tv, gaming and animation jobs — or whatsoever medium occurs to be invented in the foreseeable future. Tale is tale, proper? But how is it diverse from, say, drawing storyboards and reducing them jointly in some thing like Avid, Premiere or Toon Boom’s StoryboardPro?

The reply is that Flix acts as a central collaboration hub in between team users and software. The vital being collaboration — and, extra critically in these pandemic moments, remote collaboration. Flix is in essence situated in the cloud with a server up and running for your account. You can set up your personal server, but for this evaluate, I’ll be speaking about the Foundry’s cloud assistance. All of the individuals on the artistic group have their individual logins and permissions. And as people today make modifications to the challenge, almost everything is tracked in just the database and stored as revisions.

This is a minor abstract, so let’s get into some depth. I have a task that has been storyboarded — almost certainly through a digital source like Photoshop or Storyboard Professional, but it could be scanned from true pencil-on-paper drawings (gasp!). I can import all these drawings into Flix, which outlets them on the server. Flix provides them in as a set duration, and you can perspective the sequence of storyboards as an animatic.

But that is not so appealing out of the box. So, you can export the sequence into Avid, Premiere or Storyboard Pro, and the editor can fine-tune the cut, rearrange frames, add consequences, add seem, etcetera., and then push it back to Flix so that anyone on the crew can see it and weigh in.

The director can go in and use annotation resources to mark up the frames indicating changes. All those are observed by the illustrators on the staff who can open up up the frame as a layered Photoshop file, which is dynamically joined to Flix, make the adjustments and drive it back to Flix, where by it updates — and retains access to the earlier variations of the body. Almost everything is non-destructive so absolutely nothing is dropped.

This is a 30,000-foot view of what Flix is about, but it was demanded to swiftly go over variation 6.3, which was produced this previous spring and has had a number of iterations given that. Some of the more substantial adjustments are not pretty, but they are essential: Import speeds for illustrations or photos have improved by more than 2x because v6.2 — which is important when you have hundreds of boards. Also, Flix can now run in excess of HTTPS, which implies your data is encrypted and secure. But Foundry has also included some performance to the dialogue field, which will travel with Avid exports and be displayed as a SubCap.

I observed Flix’s interface clean up and intuitive (despite the fact that I would like to see a prettier UX in the Photoshop plugin). The workflow is obvious and responsive. I was equipped to export and import out of both of those Photoshop and Premiere with no challenge. Even while I never generate as much content as a total team, it was readily clear that on larger assignments, the monitoring of versions and variations that Flix manages underneath the hood is critical, and allows you target on the artistic rather than the administrative.

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Silhouette Paint for Nuke

Before this calendar year, I reviewed a quantity of latest applications from Boris Fx, a single of which was their paint and roto device SilhouetteFX, which is also a complete compositing instrument. A few months afterwards, they introduced Silhouette Paint, which can be launched from within just the host compositor of your selection: Right after Consequences, Fusion, Flame and Nuke to title a couple of. But for this, I was working with the variation inside Foundry’s Nuke 12.2. It’s a Silhouette Mild version that is geared toward paint and roto even though leaving out the far more sophisticated things that the standalone edition has.

Here is the genius of this groundbreaking workflow: Boris Fx experienced introduced a plugin for Mocha Professional that operates in a identical way. The natural beauty of it all is that you are incorporating the instruments into a dynamic, non-harmful way that doesn’t stall or disrupt the workflow. You see, in the past, you would export a sequence of files from the compositor, pretty probably immediately after you’ve finished a number of processes, and then import that sequence into Silhouette for portray. Then, you would export the result to a new sequence, that you then import again into the compositor. And off you go, back to the compositing work. This can include up to a massive amount of money of rendering time, and a whole lot of drive room.

So inside of Nuke, you can carry in a Silhouette Paint node into your stream, and start the interface from in Nuke. You do all of your paint get the job done and exit again out to Nuke, and the paint calculates under the hood from Silhouette, feeding the painted footage to the rest of the Nuke script. I analyzed it out on some really heinous paintwork on a 500-body shot and didn’t detect any considerable slowdown in the workflow. Although you could help save out a pre-rendered sequence, I felt it was avoidable, as calculations within just Silhouette ended up responsive sufficient. If I noticed something that I experienced skipped, I could basically go back into Silhouette by Nuke, make the alterations, and it would propagate by the relaxation of the comp.

What is also intriguing and vital, is that the knowledge is really cross-platform, so the paint file can be shared in between Following Consequences, Nuke, Premiere, Fusion, and so on.— all when retaining OCIO or ACES shade profiles. You could even open it up in a standalone SilhouetteFX if you needed to use some of the a lot more highly developed applications.

Bonus update: SilhouetteFX has a outrageous cloning function that permits it to blend among two different clone resources at the very same time! So if you are portray anything out that is dark on 1 facet and shiny on the other, you can interpolate among the two. This was a everyday living-changing rapid suggestion that I picked up from Boris Fx guru Mary Poplin. Thank you!


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Todd Sheridan Perry is an award-successful VFX supervisor and electronic artist whose credits incorporate Black Panther, Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Christmas Chronicles. You can reach him at [email protected]