Cryptomattes

I’ve heard of Cryptomattes a lot lately. My friend, Paul Rivera, first mentioned it to me for Clarisse and loving the ease of use. Then literally the next day in a tutorial I heard about them. And then a co-worker mentioned them about if we’d looked into them at my work.

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So I decided to dig into it a little. Cryptomatte is a tool created by Psyop studio as a way to automatically generate ID mattes using information available at render time. It works with motion blur, transparency, and depth of field. It was presented at Siggraph 2015. This tool has already been picked up by multiple studios and various packages. The nice thing is Psyop has kept this an open source tool. Here is a good intro to them: PSYOP releases Cryptomatte

So far, Clarisse, V-ray, Katana, Maya, Houdini, Blender, Renderman, Redshift, Arnold, Nuke, Fusion, and After Effects can use it.

You can download it on GitHub

It’s super easy to install in Nuke. Takes only a few seconds to setup.

Here’s a Redshift tutorial that was useful: Tutorial #15

A cool update to Cryptomatte looks like their’s a new release of OpenEXR plugin for Photoshop: EXR-IO 2

I’ll be digging into it more over the coming months.

Recommended books

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I was recently introduced to Carol Dweck and her research on mindset. Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford proposes that everyone has either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is one in which you view your talents and abilities as like it sounds, fixed. In other words, your intelligence and talents are fixed. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is one in which you see your talents and abilities are fluid. You can build your abilities up by doing the work and putting in the time.

Here are a couple videos that explain it in more detail:

I am currently reading her book, “Mindset: A new Psychology of Success“. It’s pretty interesting so far.

Some other interesting reads:

“The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle

“Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson and Robert  Pool

 

Composition of Outdoor Painting

Some books just rise above the others, some seemingly choose you, and some just keep coming back to you through all your years.

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I was introduced to “Composition of Outdoor Painting” almost two decades ago. It still is one of my go to books of choice. The book was first printed in 1941 (now in it’s 7th printing).

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Edgar Payne (1883-1947) was a gifted plein-air painter whose powerful work and impressionistic style inspired many an artist. His bold use of color and rugged landscapes captivated audiences. He was one of the first artists to illuminate the Sierras and the Southwest.

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I was lucky to see a traveling show of a large body of his work: Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey in Pasadena several years ago. The link above is a retrospective book of his work and was printed to coincide with the show. The printing is top notch, but I have to admit seeing the originals are simply sublime.

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Here is a nice retrospective video on Edgar Payne

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Payne wrote his book at the latter part of his life and gives us a wonderful insight in his thought process and painting language. It is filled with pages and pages of thumbnails for compositions and his suggestions for what makes a “good” composition.

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I simply love his line work and simplicity of his design of composition (which is not simple at all).  His dated prose style may not be for all readers, but there is a certain tone to it that I rather enjoy. The book is filled with designs and compositional instruction that any artist will devour. Whenever I am at a loss at a composition, I am always drawn back to this excellent book for some help.

“Originality is but old thoughts made over.”

-E.A.P.