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Introduction to ConnectFX and Action

Introduction to ConnectFX and Action

When you’re an Online Video Editor, it’s all about the effects and finishing tools available to you. ConnectFX is Autodesk Smoke’s powerful and versatile compositing environment. If you’re using Smoke for just about any kind of effect, from comping a shot to complex motion graphics, this is where you will want to create it.

This tutorial explains how to access ConnectFX, how to add an Action node, and how to work with clips to get them into Action.

Let’s get started! First we will enter ConnectFX with a color source.

- Right-Click (or Command+Click) anywhere on the Timeline section of the interface, and select New > Color Source.

Creating a color source in the timeline

- In the timecode length field at the lower left of the Color Source dialog, enter 48 to give our source a length of 48 frames.

- Double-Click the resulting clip to see the Timeline view, and click the FX button to access the FX ribbon. Select ConnectFX.


- Once in the ConnectFX schematic, drag an Action node up to the schematic view.

Dragging An Action Node


- Double-Click the Action Node to access it.

- Click the “New Input” button.

This adds a blank input node named “Media1″ to the Action node in the schematic, and the a new layer named “[Internal]” which is in red because nothing is connected to it yet.

Adding an Input to Action

- In the ConnectFX schematic, drag from the colored area on the right of the color source node to the red area on the top of the input node.

This attaches the Colour Source clip to the Front input of the Media1 input node. Notice the first layer in the Action layers area has been updated to show this.

Dragging Color Source to Input Node

We still need to add a Matte input to the layer. For now, let’s just pipe the same color source in and turn the matte off so the clip shows up at full opacity.

- In the ConnectFX schematic area, drag from the colored right area of the color clip to the blue input of the Media1 node.

Notice in the result window of the Action module, we’re still not seeing the clip very well. This is because the matte is currently itself, which is not white.

- In the button area to the left of the layers, select “Matte Off” to turn off the layer’s matte.

Turning the Matte Input off


Now you see the color source as a clip in the Result Window of the Action module.

Result of Adding the Clip


Now you can manipulate the clip using its axis, or do anything you want with it. To add more colored layers, just go to the ConnectFX node bin, drag up the node named “Color Source” to the schematic, and add more media layers to the Action module.

Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to:

- Add a color source in the Smoke timeline

- Create a ConnectFX effect in the timeline

- Use nodes in the ConnectFX schematic, such as adding them and adding layers to them

- Work with clips in the Action layers, such as turning the matte off.


If you have any comments or questions on this tutorial, please let us know below. We would also like to know what kinds of tutorials you would like to see for Autodesk Smoke for Mac in the future. Thanks!





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