AMSTERDAM - Autodesk (www.autodesk.com) has made upgrades to its
entire product line for the coming year, as promised - product versions are
named after their year. Flame, Smoke, Lustre, and Toxik are beneficiaries as
well as CG programs Max and Maya.
Systems now will offer standard file support to improve facility workflow
allowing Autodesk systems and third-party apps to share clips without
duplicating media and to work with native media or off a SAN or NAS device.
Autodesk has enhanced concurrent workflow between visual effects editing and
color grading. Software support for OpenEXR and Autodesk FBX allow for new
interoperability between Flame and Maya. Flame can now import NURBS objects and
compositing artists will be able to match their work with that of their CG
department by exporting camera data as well as axis positions and 3D point
What's more, Flame and Smoke are now 100 percent compatible, including a new UI,
which will allow artists to switch between systems more easily.
Autodesk's Maurice Patel says that the company's migration from the Irix to
Linux platform two years ago has fostered lower prices and
"democratization" for programs as esoteric as Flame and Smoke. Such
strides are taking hold in emerging markets as well as in the US where prices
are lowering and straight, plain-vanilla video editing is not enough for many
producers seeking visual impact.
VFX and color grading are where the
high-value, high-margin work lies, he said, and the new Flame and Lustre are
leading the way. Lustre is promising a DI-friendly multi-layer timeline and a
Flame-like tracker meant to make the colorist's life simpler by adding the
ability to track moving objects, says Autodesk's Marcus Schioler, product
marketing manager. Lustre also embraces the ASC's CDL, a universal color
Patel looks to stereoscopic production and post as a potential "next big
thing," but wonders if it will ever become a production norm rather than a
curiosity. As a buzz developed at IBC over "3D" production such as
James Cameron's Avatar, Patel points to
three ways stereoscopic production may be achieved: as fully CG-animated
stereo; as "mono" footage from which stereo information is extracted
by companies such at In Three; and as films such as Cameron's, which are shot
in stereo with dual cameras. He sees that stereo is coming soon and adds that
such post production work for a feature demands difficult, intensive work.