Compositing: The History Of Nuke

Our lecturer ,Alec Parkin, sent me this really interesting post from ‘The Foundry’s’ blog section summarising the history of the powerful Compositing Software NUKE with an interview from original NUKE author Bill Spitzak and Simon Robinson, co-founder of The Foundry.

The article starts off by giving a brief history into both Spitzak and Robinson, from their educational backgrounds to how they got to where they are today.

Bill Spitzah: Summary

  • A graduate of both the Computer Science program at MIT and USC film school,  with several years of software development experience.
  • Broke into the CG industry in the 90’s,where he worked with DD, the creative team that used a command-line script-based compositor to handle the donkey work, alongside their expensive and fixed resolution Flame and Inferno systems.
  • As a result he started to develop a visual, node-based version of the system, and NUKE as we know it today was created.

Simon Robinson: Summary

  • In England, Simon Robinson and Bruno Nicoletti were forming The Foundry, putting their  passion of post-production and visual effects into creating plug-ins for Flame and Inferno.

To think that both these individuals had the opportunity to contribute, develop and mould (heavily I might add) the early stages of CG film into the Goliath it is today is nothing short of awesome.

Over the next 5 years The Foundry and Digital Domain grew as the industry matured, and special visual effects became increasingly essential to the success of films at the box office.
Where in 2002, NUKE was honoured with an Academy Award for technical achievement.
In 2007, The Foundry took over development of NUKE from Digital Domain. Where The Foundry were looking for a software platform of their own, having reached the technical limits of what they could achieve purely through plug-ins.
Over the next few years, NUKE improved in leaps and bounds, as The Foundry added hundreds of new features,including a built-in camera tracker, de-noise, deep compositing and stereo tools—and extended its core with Python, Qt, 64-bit and multi-platform support and soon became the standard fixture in film pipelines around the world.
In 2010, Jon Wadelton became NUKE’s product manager previously working as lead Software engineer from 2007. In the same year, NUKE expanded its range to include NUKEX, which combined the core functionality of NUKE with an out-of-the-box toolkit of exclusive features; many of these drew on The Foundry’s core image-processing expertise which had proven so valuable in the plug-in market, including The Foundry’s own Academy Award winner, FURNACE.
Under Jon’s guidance, NUKE  continued to expand, with the addition in 2012 of HIERO, HIEROPLAYER and NUKE Assist.  In 2014, in tandem with the NUKE 9 release, The Foundry introduced NUKE STUDIO: a collaborative VFX, editorial and finishing solution which sits at the top of the NUKE range.

I really cool read and nice bit of history on the development and evolution of NUKE and its promising future. Better start getting comfortable with it as soon as possible! Thanks again Alec!




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