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Autodesk Goes Toxik

Autodesk Inc. introduced Toxik, collaborative compositing software for the creation of digital visual effects. Featuring advanced creative tools as well as integrated, enterprise-level collaboration, Toxik brings new capabilities to feature film production a market that is demanding increasingly sophisticated levels of creativity, collaboration and image processing quality. Redefining the way visual effects are created, managed and shared, Toxik will be shown publicly at the National Assn. of Broadcasters Convention (NAB) in Las Vegas, April 18-21, 2005. Toxik will begin shipping at that time for $9,000 (one creative seat with supporting collaboration infrastructure).

Sophisticated film pipelines are the technological backbone through which filmmakers can realize their most creative and complex ideas, said Carl Bass, coo of Autodesk. With Toxik, Autodesk is charting a new course for the creativity behind film visual effects, and is designing a new way for digital artists to work together on film post-production.

In essence, a visual effects film pipeline is a finely tuned assembly line in which teams of specialized artists create individual elements that are amassed into the final scene. Toxiks collaborative engine offers a way to manage this complexity and automate time consuming data management tasks to quickly deliver superior digital imagery.

Martin Vann, vp of Autodesks Media and Ent. division, added, Our goal is to enable filmmakers to turn their most creative ideas into reality. For this reason, weve developed Toxik from the ground up, with extensive input from industry leaders around the world. The growing complexity of filmmaking clearly indicates the need for an integrated, procedural, multi-user compositing technology that complements our single-user, Academy Award-winning visual effects systems like Discreet inferno and Discreet flame. Toxik fulfills this need.

Toxik software has been shaped by feedback from 28 beta sites, including: New Zealands Weta Digital (KING KONG, THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Condor (Amsterdam), London-based Moving Picture Co. (HARRY POTTER, BATMAN BEGINS, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN), Lumiq Studios (Italy), Éclair Laboratoires (France), Imagica Corp. (Japan) and Asylum). Toxik is ideal for film studios and post-production facilities that require an efficient production pipeline in which multiple compositors work together on projects that call for high-resolution, high bit-depth and procedural advanced compositing capabilities.

Matteo Eleni, inferno artist at Lumiq Studios, said, With Toxik, Autodesk has once again put together the useful and the creative; the result is collaboration. Collaboration is at the very heart of creativity.

Dr. Jon Peddie, principal analyst at Jon Peddie Research (Tiburon, California), a leading multimedia market research firm, said, The demands for increased complexity and creativity have fueled a shift in the last 30 years from physical in-camera visual effects to post-production based digital effects. For example, the original 1977 STAR WARS had only one-fifth the technical credits compared to last years blockbuster SPIDER-MAN 2. Autodesk Toxik software is pioneering technology that tackles the new realities for filmmaking head on by providing a creative toolset in a no-compromise software architecture.

Jeroen Schulte, head of 2D systems at Condor, offered, Advanced systems such as Flame have always provided a powerful core to our business. Theyre tuned systems that let us work interactively with clients to produce stellar imagery. Toxik solves some of the new challenges weve been facing at Condor, like having the flexibility to deal with large scale projects for which the facility processes mass amounts of content in a short period of time. Autodesk is unique in being able to provide both the hero seat and the multiple-user compositing software necessary for our business to grow.

Since Toxik is a software-based product, it can be rapidly deployed on a number of standard PCs to augment interactive systems. Toxiks centralized project management enables users to be immediately productive, eliminating the delays associated with sequential compositing.

Phil Brennam, Asylums lead compositing artist, added, Toxik is the most innovative new compositing product to hit the market in many years. Toxiks project structure allows the artist to remain focused on the creative while the database tracks your every change." Tommy Hooper, director of technology at Asylum, elaborated, Until Toxik, no compositing software had addressed the problems of versioning the tracking of dependencies between multiple elements that change over time. This used to be such a time consuming, error-prone process, but Toxik's powerful embedded database takes care of that, so projects get done faster. With its extensive Python-based scripting, we can easily integrate Toxik into our pipeline, functioning as a powerful, distributed software pipeline.

Designed with a creative user in mind, Toxiks image processing capabilities are built around its Ultra-High Resolution Interaction and High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI) core, allowing users to work interactively and intuitively with virtually any visual media, regardless of bit-depth or image size. Toxik also features: Reaction, Autodesks next-generation 3D environment for interactive compositing; Suave, a high-quality software renderer; and an entirely new user interface (UI) paradigm called Touch UI. The advanced, patent-pending components of the Touch UIs gestural interface keep the artists focus on the creative task at hand by providing creative tools and options in context, and optimizing flow through the various UI elements. The Touch UI scales to even the highest-resolution modern displays.

Key features include:

* Creative tools: Advanced compositing toolset for visual effects creation, including tracking, keying, HDRI and standard color correction and rotoscoping tools

* Enterprise collaboration: Simultaneous multi-user access to centralized media and meta-data; composition versioning

* Ultra High-Resolution Interaction: Fast display and fluid manipulation of extremely large images (4K, 8K, even 21K-plus)

* Reaction: Autodesks next-generation 3D compositing environment

* Suave: Reactions 32-bit float, high-quality, HDR-capable software renderer

* Touch UI: A unique gestural user interface for fast on-screen compositing interaction

* Highly-optimized, 32-bit float and 16-bit half-float HDR processing pipeline

* Efficient, node-based procedural compositing system with advanced animation capabilities

* Flexible, modular software architecture, comprehensive API and full Python scripting capabilities for superior facility integration, process automation and workflow customization

Toxik is designed to extract the maximum performance from Intel-based workstations and the NVIDIA Quadro FX series of graphics cards for Windows-based operating systems. North American pricing for one Toxik creative seat with supporting collaboration infrastructure is $9,000. Toxik 1.0 begins shipping worldwide in mid-April 2005 (at NAB). For further information visit

Founded in 1982, Autodesk Inc. ( is headquartered in San Rafael, California. The company recently renamed Discreet to Autodesk Media and Ent. The division best known for 3ds max and other digital imaging software will continue to service the film, video, gaming and related media and entertainment markets. This renaming ensures that the creative toolset from Autodesk Media and Ent. will stay on the leading edge of product innovation.