Comp Node nuttiness!

I started out in Autodeskland on Smoke 2015, and really liked getting back to a world of nodes instead of AEs layers.

The Comp node was great and maked a lot of sense. Then an update came out and completely changed the comp nodes layout making it very unintuitive and awkward to use. I asked at the time …why?..and all i got back was we went back to how it used to be.

To this day i have not understood why its not a more logical, and visually neater way of arranging the inputs so each video input is followed by its specific matte channel.

It makes disconnecting sources more awkward and easier to cut the wrong connections , its less easy to connect sources with all the extra clicking and dragging.

Can you imagine the reaction if SSL were to change the inputs on the back of a sound mixer so all the left channel inputs were grouped together and all the right channel inputs grouped together after the left?

I know it will never go back, but i’m just curious to know if anyone knows why it was set up this way?

Are there any other quirks of interface design that drive you mad?

It depends on point of view. Now it`s

  1. Do something with 2 RGB sources
  2. Output RGB result
  3. Do something with 2 matte sources
  4. Output matte result

Pretty straight forward when thinking in node way of doing things, may sound strange with AE background (RGB+matte treating as one thing).

from a purely practical point its easily illustrated Comp Node - very messy with connections all over the place, Blend & Comp - very neat and less visual confusion an dchance of getting inputs/mattes wrongly connected.

The otuput isn’t really relevant as there is only one of each -

I see your point but, it’s always been front-back- matte and it has never bothered me. Throw some elbows in there and it’ll clean it up.


So, from the 2013 “anniversary edition” until flame 2016 (I think) the Comp node was laid out like you want it, going front matte back matte.

the Comp node is a replacement for the LogicOp node, which had three inputs, Front/Back/Matte. One of the things that people loved about Logic Op was you could click through your front/back/matte/result by pressing f1, f2, f3, and f4. 2013 comp changed it to f1, f1, f3, f3, f4 and it was both a break in muscle memory and less intuitive.

People got mad.

I remember being at one user group at Framestore LA and people complained about the comp node for the better part of an hour.

And so a compromise was made: the node now looks and behaves more like the Logic Op, while retaining all the new functionality (dividing and multiplying fills). Everybody wins!

For my part, I was fine with the new layout, but was incensed by the adoption of the terms “premultiplied” and “unpremultiplied” and went so far as to compare them to newspeak from 1984 (which they very much are). I lost that campaign. I’m still mad about it.



That’s what I said to myself when after using LogikOp happily for many, many years we were told to get used to Flame Anniversary’s answer to the Logik Op: the Comp node.

Others may have their own reasons, but mine is that I use Comp/LogicOp all day to Mult or Screen mattes, and don’t want an unnecessary Matte input getting in the way. Less clicks.

Your diagram of Comp is a use case for something I’d normally do in Action.


Because LogicOp couldn’t do 16bit/colorspace?

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wow…almost as contentious as horizontal or vertical !!

wouldnt it be cool if you could select your own prefered node style whilst retaining functionality as is.

Like Peter said, i’m doing more and more in Action, but for those things outside its a pain in the derriere.

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nah - elbows will never remove crossed links, just move them elsewhere

So far I’ve never felt the need to use Blend & Comp, I’d expect the agency/clients to want to add a few more things later to the comp, so Action has more flexibility.

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yeah blend and comp was an anniversary edition mistake, i reckon it just live in there now for legacy reasons just like source front and source matte

Never use blend & comp…just used it as an example of neater input layout!

Related to this… does anyone know if its possible to have the Comp matte output behave like a Blend & Comp matte output or basic Action matte output. I would like it to not merge with the implied Back matte.

fwiw, the two matte inputs can be used to combine mattes. Just plug two mattes into the blue inputs and ignore the front and back inputs. Then you can pick how you want the mattes combined.