Burning Question: How can I learn NUKE quickly as an AE user?

Burning Question: How can I learn NUKE quickly as an AE user?


Compositing in After Effects vs. Nuke

Know the differences between NUKE’s node-based system and After Effects layer based system, before you start, so you have an idea of what you’re getting into. Joey from School of Motion explains it quite nicely.

Migrating from After Effects to Nuke

General differences between the two programs.


If you don’t have NUKE, download the NUKE Non-Commercial version.

In case you haven’t heard already, The Foundry is offering free, non-watermarked versions of NUKE, NUKEX and even top-of-the-line NUKE STUDIO.  Learn, experiment, play, update your skills, whatever, for FREE!

According to The Foundry’s website:

NUKE Non-commercial lets you:

  • Get up to speed with the toolset used by the best VFX artists in the business.
  • Take all the time you need to get comfortable, with self-paced learning and rolling licenses that automatically renew.
  • Use professional finishing tools to make your demo reel or personal project stand out from the crowd.
  • Show prospective employers that you have the skills they need.

What can’t you do with NUKE Non-commercial?

There are a few differences between commercial and non-commercial versions of the NUKE family. Here are the basic limitations of using the non-commercial versions:

  • Licenses cannot be used in the same pipeline as commercial versions of NUKE or in clusters of non-commercial licenses.
  • Licenses are not valid for commercial work at home or in a company, or for use in a commercial environment when completing work or in an educational institution.
    • If you’re looking to evaluate the full commercial version, try our free 15-day trial here.
    • If you’re an educational institution, find out more about educational licenses here.

Key feature differences:

  • Output resolution up to HD (1920 x 1080).
  • Some nodes disabled including the WriteGeo node, Ultimatte node, Primatte node, BlinkScript node, and GenerateLUT node.
  • 2D format support disabled for MPEG4 and h264.
  • Encrypted data storage and limited python scripting.

You can find more details on feature differences and about valid and invalid uses of NUKE Non-commercial on the FAQ page.

Ready to try Nuke?  Get your free copy of NUKE Non-commercial here.

Download the User Guide here

Get some good NUKE training

I used Digital Tutors training and most of the videos in the NUKE learning path were excellent. It helped to have a series on a specific topic like rotoscoping or keying and puts them in the right order so that you’re not getting ahead of yourself. There are loads of good training options out there like Lynda.com and others. Try it. If it’s not working for you, try something else.

If you don’t want to pay for training, you can find free tutorials online. Many free tutorials are excellent, but remember, you sometimes get what you pay for. It’s also nice to have a pre-set course so that you learn things in a logical order. Here are a few free resources for learning NUKE.

Expert Advice on Learning NUKE

10 Simple Steps to Becoming a VFX Compositor – “Master the entry level skills – roto, paint, tracking, keying, color correction and junior level compositing.”

9 things 3D artists need to know about NUKE – “There is of course much more to learn about Nuke, but when starting out it is important to keep it simple. Trying out one thing at a time usually makes for the best results and a better understanding.”

I’ll leave you with that for now. Happy NUKING!

Share This Post

Subscribe to Toolfarm!

Get the latest updates on products, sales, tutorials, and freebies, delivered bi-weekly to your inbox!

Posted by Michele Yamazaki