cragl vfx tools – useful plugins for Nuke and Maya

cragl vfx tools has specialized in writing useful plugins for the visual effects industry, mainly focusing on The Foundry’s Nuke. The German brand was founded by compositing artist and compositing TD Simon Jokuschies. All cragl products follow the objectives to simplify, accelerate and automate everydays compositing tasks.

Although Nuke is highly customizable, usually you need to have some basic technical knowledge how to install plugins for the compositing package. cragl vfx tools tries to solve this problem in a different way so that all artists can easily use plugins. cragl offers a free product called “connect” which can download and install each cragl plugin fully automatically with one button click – directly inside Nuke. So the artist doesn’t need to struggle with getting to run a plugin at all.

All plugins can be tested as a fully featured trial. The trial versions are also downloadable via connect – directly inside Nuke. At the moment cragl vfx tools offers four plugins for Nuke/Maya which will be introduced in the following.

Here you can find the official cragl website:



smartMessage is an instant messenger for Nuke and Maya. It can be used as a local network to let all Nuke and Maya artists in your company communicate with each other and let them work more efficiently as a team. If you are connected to the web it can also be used to get connected to a network of digital artists from all over the world.

Besides writing text smartMessage offers the ability to exchange data like node setups, images, 3D data like cameras and even animated geometry. This enhances the collaboration and speeds up the communication among artists.

By using the local chat the computer doesn’t need to be connected to the web. All data like text histories and sent data will be stored on a local path. On the other hand by using the global chat all data that will be generated is stored encrypted on the cragl server.

Additional information can be found here:



smartLib is a project and shot management system for Nuke. This tool will become handy for you if you find yourself often switching between different projects and shots.

You can easily navigate between different projects and shots, set shot status and write notes. Other artists in the team that use smartLib too can see the shots status and comments. They are able to edit them and add new ones. This enhances the collaboration among artists in the team and makes everydays compositing work faster and more effective. In addition you can create new shots out of fully customizable shot templates.

Additional information can be found here:



smartShelves lets you manage your node shelves in a simple, fast and intuitive way. To create and edit custom node shelves usually you need some knowledge about python scripting and need to create a custom shelf by manually programing it. smartShelves solves this tedious task in a visual approach. By using smartShelves you can add new custom shelves and assign nodes and gizmos to them. Hotkeys can also be assigned to these elements. All custom shelves are always editable. If you work on a centralized repository you can set up a custom gizmo path so that all gizmos in the specified directory are imported automatically on your machine. Everything is done visually without the need to write even one line of code.

Additional information can be found here:



Don’t waste any time searching nuke scripts manually in your explorer. All your recent work is immediately accessible. smartRecents offers a window to quickly access your latest nuke scripts. You can also reveal a script directly in your explorer. You can decide how many scripts you want to see in the smartRecents window and if you like to have the smartRecents window pop up whenever Nuke is launched or simply whenever it is needed.

Additional information can be found here: