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NAB 2014: Autodesk improves Flame & Smoke

April 7, 2014
NAB 2014: Autodesk improves Flame & Smoke
LAS VEGAS — At this year’s NAB, Autodesk (www.autodesk.com) is showing Flame 2015, the latest version of its high-end visual effects and creative finishing system. Flame 2015 features new creative tools, faster performance, and an end-to-end 4K workflow intended to meet the needs of today’s high-end post facilities. Autodesk is also showcasing Smoke 2015, the latest version of its video editing software.

“We’ve taken note of the challenges our media and entertainment customers are up against, and have evolved Flame to deliver a more efficient, interactive workflow,” explains Chris Bradshaw, senior vice president, media & entertainment at Autodesk. “Flame 2015 is packed full of features that help artists work collaboratively with high-res material faster than ever before — even at 4K. Flame artists will be able to meet client 4K needs, without compromising the unmatched Flame creative experience.” 

With Flame 2015, artists can work creatively and interactively to deliver high quality final results at 4K resolution. The new workflow helps deliver on the needs of today’s Flame artists with: industry standard 4K formats; closely accurate 4K/UHD color management supporting ACES and REC-2020 color spaces; realtime monitoring and playback via SDI of 4K/UHD material at 50p and 60p; timeline effects and batch nodes performance optimization and 4K capable substance textures; and 16 Gb fiber channel controllers in high-performance storage for realtime throughput of high resolution images. 

Flame 2015 now supports the addition of a second GPU card in the Flame workstation. This Background Reactor feature helps accelerate rendering by allowing artists to send their shot, sequence, or batch setup to the second GPU for rendering while continuing to work interactively on certain other tasks in the foreground. Background Reactor requires two Nvidia Quadro K6000 GPUs (for HP Z820 workstations) or two Nvidia Quadro 6000 GPUs (for HP Z800 and Z820 workstations). 

Flame 2015 boasts new tools such as 3D Shape, which enables quick modeling, projection mapping, logo design, motion graphics and relighting. Replica is a new creative tool in Action that allows artists to easily and interactively create, manipulate and animate cascading effects using a single cloned object. And Matchbox has been enhanced with ability to add effects directly to shots and transitions in the timeline, as well as the ability to protect shader code with packaging and encryption. 

Flame Premium provides a powerful creative combo with Flame and Lustre together, and now the 2015 release expands the offering with two additional companion products: Flare and Flame Assist. Flare is a powerful shot-based visual effects application, used to help augment the creative capabilities of Flame Premium workflows. Flame Assist is a Mac-based, timeline-centric assistant station that can be used to take on a number of tasks related to starting and completing Flame Premium projects. Both Flare and Flame Assist are available as part of the new Desktop Subscription flexible payment model. Available exclusively to Flame and Flame Premium customers, pay-as-you-go pricing for Flare and Flame Assist software is available on a quarterly or annual basis. 

The new Smoke 2015 offers significant new creative tools and performance enhancements. In addition, Smoke 2015 will soon be available as a desktop subscription, so customers can access the software on a pay-as-you-go basis. Smoke 2015 for Mac-based studios now features 3D Tracker, a new Timeline FX workflow, added hardware support and optimization for the new Mac Pro running OS X Mavericks, along with better interoperability with Final Cut Pro X. 

The re-architected Timeline FX offers new effects capabilities for editors,  such as direct access to the Action 3D compositing environment as a segment-based effect. The new timeline-integrated 3D tracker allows editors to match original camera movements in a clip in order to realistically add new elements, video layers, text or 3D objects. There is also improved support for Blackmagic’s DesignLink card and UltraStudio for Thunderbolt devices, and extended video IO support for AJA Video Systems to offer dual stream stereoscopic output. Improved integration with Final Cut Pro X includes more support for timeline and effects metadata.

Flame Premium 2015, Flame 2015, Lustre 2015, Flare 2015 and Flame Assist 2015 begin shipping this month. Smoke as a desktop subscription will be available on May 8.

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