Friday, May 10, 2013

Exploring Nuke Interface

The main interface window of NukeX consists of various components such as panes, panels, toolbar, and menu bar, refer to Figure 1.

Figure 1 The various components of the NukeX interface
These components are discussed next.

The default NukeX interface consists of Nodes toolbar pane, the Viewer pane, the Node Graph/Curve Editor/Dope Sheet pane and the Properties Bin. The tabs inside the panes are called panels. By default, the Node Graph/Curve Editor/Dope Sheet pane is displayed at the lower left corner of the NukeX interface, the Viewer pane is located at the upper left corner, and the Properties Bin pane at the right. The Nodes toolbar pane is located on the left of the NukeX interface and the menu bar is located at its top. The options in the Nodes toolbar are used to add nodes to the Node Graph panel. The Node Graph panel is used to build a network of nodes to create a composite. The Curve Editor and Dope Sheet panels are used to refine the animation curves and keyframes. The Properties Bin pane is used to adjust the controls of the nodes. The Viewer pane is used to preview the output of the nodes. You can also add the Script Editor and Progress Bar panels to the panes. The Script Editor panel is used to execute the Python commands, whereas the Progress Bar panel is used to display the progress bars.
Note: The Node Graph is also known as DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph).
You can modify the position and size of the panes. You can also add or remove panels from the panes. Various methods to modify the arrangement of the panes and panels are discussed next.

Changing the Size of a Pane
To change the size of a pane, place the cursor on the divider line between the panes; the shape of the cursor will change, as shown in Figure art1-2. Next, drag the cursor to resize the pane as required and then release the mouse button.

Figure 2 The changed shape of the cursor
Splitting a Pane
To split a pane, choose the Checkerboard button located at the upper left corner of the pane; the Content menu will be displayed, as shown in Figure art2-3. Next, choose Split Vertical or Split Horizontal from the menu to split the pane vertically or horizontally. Figure art2-4 shows the horizontally split Node Graph/Graph Editor/Dope Sheet pane. To restore the default layout, press SHIFT+F1.

Figure 3 The Content menu displayed on choosing the Checkerboard button
Figure 4 The Node Graph/Curve Editor/Dope Sheet pane split horizontally

Adding Panel to a Pane
To add a new panel to a pane, choose the Checkerboard button and then choose the desired option such as Script Editor or New Viewer from the Content menu displayed.

Tip: To cycle through the panels in a pane, use the CTRL+T keys.
Closing a Panel
To close a panel, click on the Close (x) button located on the top right corner of the panel or choose the Close Tab option from the Content menu.

Floating a Pane or Panel
To float a pane or a panel, choose the Float Pane or Float Tab option from the Content menu.

Tip: You can dock or undock the panels from the NukeX interface. To undock a panel, press CTRL and then click on the label of the panel name; a floating window will be displayed. Alternatively, you can drag the panel outside the borders of the main NukeX window. To dock the floating panel back to the pane, drag the panel name label over the pane; an orange line will appear at the top of the pane and then release the mouse button to dock the panel back to the pane.
Note: In NukeX, you can save and restore upto 6 layouts. To save a layout, choose Layout > Save Layout # from the menu bar. To restore a layout, choose Layout > Restore Layout # from the menu bar. Here, the # symbol represents the layout number.
Nodes Toolbar
The Nodes toolbar is located on the left of the NukeX interface. All nodes can be accessed from it. By default, this toolbar contains 17 buttons. When you choose a button from this toolbar, a menu containing a list of nodes associated with that button will be displayed.

In the coming articles, we will talk about various nodes available in Nuke.

This article is taken from the Nuke Book: The Foundry Nuke 7 for Compositors.

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