New Cryptomatte Tools Stretch Beyond Psyop

New Cryptomatte Tools Stretch Beyond Psyop


For those of you who have followed the happenings of Psyop for some time now, you may recall when our very own Jonah Friedman and Andy Jones brought their high-functioning tool "Cryptomatte" to SIGGRAPH 2015. Although this ID matte creation tool has now been a core component among the Psyop workplace for awhile, it has now evolved past our walls with a brand new release of the system.

Working to allow these Cryptomatte tools to coincide with Anders Langlands set of open source shaders (AlShaders) this will ideally merge two industry-relevant power techniques and serve as a much more efficient way for artists to create Cryptomattes. But of course if you really want the inside breakdown on how this roll-out will take effect, no better mind to pick than one of the guys who thought it up! We sat down with Jonah Friedman for the full rundown, and to say the least, our minds are blown.

  • For those who are unfamiliar, explain the basic function of Cryptomatte.

Jonah Friedman: "Cryptomatte is a tool created at Psyop by Andy Jones and myself. It creates ID mattes automatically using organizational information already available at render time. This organizational information is usually names, object namespaces, and material names. It also supports motion blur, transparency, and depth of field, making it a pretty complete solution to the problem of mattes."

  • Today marks the release of a new set of tools within this system. How will these tools make a difference in work function? How could this be a game changer for the world of rendering?

JF: "The release of these tools, along with Anders’ release will allow everyone to create Cryptomattes with their Arnold renders, and this will no longer be a 'Psyop-only' technique."

  • Expand for us more on Anders Langlands' role in regard to the Cryptomatte rollout, past and present.

JF: "Anders is the author of AlShaders, a very popular set of open source shaders for Arnold. Very popular is an understatement, they are treated as the defacto standard. After SIGGRAPH of last year, Andy and I invited people from the 3D animation industry as well as developers of renderers to join a “Cryptomatte Committee” - a body with the goal of creating an open standard from Cryptomatte. This work has been done, and Anders is the first to implement the 3D side of Cryptomatte in an open set of shaders."

  • Could you break down the Nuke side of this implementation for us as well?

JF: "There are two parts of the system: creating Cryptomattes and using Cryptomattes, or encoders and decoders. The 3D side of Cryptomattes are the encoders. On the 2D side, we have created a decoder for Cryptomattes in The Foundry’s Nuke, a compositing application. We’re giving this away with the hope that it encourages the implementations in other renderers; just as we hope Anders’ 3D implementation will encourage more decoders for 2D compositing packages. What we really want is a whole ecosystem of encoders and decoders, solving the problem of mattes for everyone."

  • Personally, what was the most rewarding part of creating this set of tools; and what is your hope for how it affects your industry?

JF: "The most rewarding part of creating this toolset was its reception and use here at Psyop. It’s used on virtually every CG project here, and makes me think we’re really onto something that will take even bigger action in the future!"

For a live-action breakdown of the tool, check out the video below and then visit the Cryptomatte GitHub for your very own download!

Cryptomatte Tool Breakdown - 2016