The power of NOISE

Educational
What association you have when I say noise. This annoying thing that you try to remove from your photos and videos? Or something else? What if I told you that noise is one of the most powerful tools in graphics production?

I would say this video is aimed toward beginners, because more advanced users surely know what I'll be talking about. Nonetheless, I personally didn't know this for quite a few years. When I started learning CG, I already had several years of experience with cameras and my opinion was strong: Noise is evil. Everything changed when I realised that in CG production world noise is not a byproduct of cameras sensor.

Noise in CG world is a definition of mathematically generated pattern that you can use to drive almost anything. It's randomness at its best. One of the most comprehensive noise libraries can be found in Cinema4D, also known as Maxon Noises. It's exactly what I just said - patterns generated with float values ranging from 0 to 1 where 0 is Black and 1 is White. You can scale these noises up, you can clamp them, you can animate them in many different ways and you can stack different noises on top of each other to get the infinite amount of totally different effects.

The reason Maxons noise library is the best in my opinion is because there are noises particularly best suitable for certain tasks, or certain effects if you wish. For example Luka is amazing for terrain base generation, while Poxo is fantastic for morphing animations. These are just two primitive examples, the list of use cases is truly endless. And it's not the easiest task to replicate the same effect unless you properly document all the values.

The Maxon Noises Library consist of 32 unique noises, which can drive displacements, masks, positions, rotations, scale and even animation. I would imagine in Cinema4D noises would go even beyond of what they already are with their new Neutron core. But this is a topic for another time. One day in the future.

It could be similar to Houdini. Houdini noises are not as rich as Maxons, but we all know the power it provides. There are no effects done without noises, period. Forces, velocities and any kinds of vectors can be modified with noises.

Similar use of noises can be seen in X-Particles - Flowfield, for example with random flow is nothing else than noise applied to vectors. And as x-particles is exclusive for Cinema 4D you can use any Maxon noise to drive the velocity in Flowfield.

This is a brief overview of noises in 3D, but uses of noise does not end there.

There are noises in Comp softwares like Nuke, Fusion or After Effects. In Fusion we have Fast Noise which again can be used as displacer for different sort of effects or it can be used as a mask. After Effects has Fractal noise which serves as a base for so many amazing effects too.

Many fancy effects you are inspired by are made using noises. One of the most desired qualities in our works is randomness and noise is by far the best tool to achieve it. Noise is also your best friend in compositing, various filters help you to introduce imperfections to the shot. One of the most used techniques in VFX is noise matching. We want to match the noise of our CG elements to original plate. Furthermore we use different filters driven by noise to blend CG into real footage even better.

Okay, I hope this portion of information sparked some interest for further research in you.