Different artists have different workflows. But I think most can agree on common practices that make nuke run faster, and stay more organized, allow you as an artist to do your thing and output renders quickly.
I have my own list of Steps I have written sort of as a compositor’s Checklist. I believe I posted this checklist in a blog awhile back, but I will give you guys the link to check it out. I strongly suggest you write these down and keep them on your desk at work. It is invaluable when you are starting out. The blog was down so I’ll just post it here:
1.) Check your reference well (placement, timing, color, lighting, etc.)
2.) Flip back and forth/compare between the original plate and your render (or end of your script)
3.) Check Comp and elements in different LUT’s to check any problems across a wide range of color and values (basically testing to see if DI will mess up your shot by crunching values)
4.) Remember to Re-distort your CG, Also remember to undistort a plate before projecting it inside nuke. (these both assume you have a layout or matchmove geometry and camera that was exported from a program that tracked an undistorted plates)
5.) Try to limit the amount of grain nodes to 1 at the very bottom of the script, and use a “combined alpha” in order to mask where the grain should go. ***tip gamma up the channel being used as the mask, as a falloff in the mask will result in “soft grain”, which can reveal seams.
6.) Delete most or all nodes in your script that are unused or off to the side, if its something you think you’ll need later, just version up.
7.) Try to do test frames, test renders with jpgs at a lower quality first, to get a sense of timing or things that are immediate red flags. At the very least, render out first, middle and, last frames before committing to a lengthy render.
8.)AutoCrop whenever you can, keep your bounding box as small as possible on every element. In the spine of your script you’ll usually want the bbox to remain the size of your plate. For more info and a much better explanation go here:
9.) Use a saturation keyer at the end of the script to make sure cg isn’t overly saturated compared to the plate.
10.) When match specs, gamma down and match the CG spec to the plates natural spec, try to pick an area of that plate thats got similar spec already, if possible
11.) always gamma up to check blacks and shadow color
12.) Bring in previous renders so you can compare the current version to older versions, and that the proper notes were addressed.
13.) Note the kind of lens being used on the plate, judge depth of field based off how much defocus there is in the footage.
14.) make your own mattes in CG passes using a combo of combining mattes provided, huekeyer, and some rough roto, then pump it into the stream with it’s own channel so you can use it later on.
I am also going to link you guys to the 2 most useful articles about nuke optimization I have read online. Both have saved me tons of render time and have made my scripts more organized and easy to navigate. Links Down Below.