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Autodesk Launches Flare, Smoke, Flint and More at NAB 2009

Autodesk announced the 2010 releases of Smoke and Flint software for editorial finishing and vfx, while also unveiling the 2009 Extension 1 releases of Lustre and Incinerator color grading software. In addition, the company launched Autodesk Flare software, a creative companion to the 2010 releases of Flame and Inferno vfx systems. The new releases are being showcased in the Autodesk booth SL2120 at NAB 2009 in Las Vegas, which runs through Thursday.

"This year, we're especially excited about two developments," said Stig Gruman, digital entertainment VP, Autodesk Media & Ent. "First, we are launching Flare, which will be a great creativity and productivity booster for customers of our flagship visual effects software. Second, we have expanded our RED workflow capability to provide extremely fast and flexible import options. Both are already huge hits with our beta customers. In this economic climate, our software gives entertainment customers a real creative and competitive edge."

"We're talking more and more about workflows and overall solutions," added Bruno Sargeant, industry manager for film and television, Autodesk Media & Ent. "t all of our presentations at this show we talk about pipelines rather than products in isolation, and I think that's important, particularly this year because as face this economic downturn, we're looking at how we can improve the ROI for our customers," he explained to VFXWORLD.

"We have introduced significant changes to the Smoke line to build compatibility with Flame to more easily move vfx shots back and forth between editorial and vfx. We are building on that further this year with new workflows for grading and also launching a new product, Flare, which is a creative companion for Flame, targeting both the Flame assistant and artist. "

"We have brought in RED workflow capability across the product line," added Barbara Marshall, senior assistant product marketing manager, Autodesk Media & Ent. "On the vfx products, we have a background distributed transcoding solution, which means that we're able to transcode the data and bring it into the application, and with Lustre we have the transcoding option but are able to stream the data directly into Lustre immediately, even as the transcoding is taking place, which means people are able to start grading as soon as they start working with the files. With Lustre as well, we also have a realtime 1K preview capability in native format so you can preview the files immediately. That's a hot topic: And bringing it in for NAB is the next stage of our capability. We're confident that... the solution we're offering, providing a very fast and efficient way of working with RED files by using the transcoding on other workstations, you're not tying up your processing power of the actual Lustre or visual effects system, so you can concentrate on your creative tools."

Flame and Inferno vfx systems for high-speed 2D and 3D compositing, advanced graphics and interactive client-driven design provide digital artists with reliable, flexible and interactive toolsets to tackle complex high-resolution projects. With a focus on expanding 3D technology in Flame and Inferno, new features and enhancements in these new versions are:

-- More creative tools such as graphical processing unit (GPU)-accelerated 3D Blur, 3D Path, Normal and UV Mapping tools as well as advancements to 3D Text and Displacement Mapping tools-- Expanded format support via WiretapCentral software for REDCODE RAW files, multichannel OpenEXR import and DNxHD with Apple QuickTime-- File-based conform workflow with a powerful new search engine and configurable import settings to control metadata mapping-- Extended floating-point processing support and redesigned Modular Keyer with customizable presets

Autodesk Flare 2010 is an integral part of the Autodesk solution to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D. Featuring the core creative toolset of Flame and Inferno, Flare is designed to help boost creativity, expand capacity and develop talent for Flame and Inferno customers. Flare is intended for advanced creative tasks, such as compositing, sophisticated graphics and interactive design, as well as support tasks such as rotoscoping, retouching and dust removal, project setup and keying. Flare is available with Autodesk Subscription and with floating licenses for increased flexibility.

Top benefits are:

-- Software application based on the Batch procedural compositing environment-- Action 3D compositing environment with advanced 3D tools-- Integral addition to Flame and Inferno workflow

Autodesk Smoke is a nonlinear, timeline-based system for editorial finishing and vfx in short- and long-form post-production and broadcast design. Autodesk Flint is a cost-effective system for designing complex vfx and motion graphics in a realtime environment for postproduction and broadcast design. It is used primarily for promotions, stations ID packages, commercials and brand graphics.

Smoke and Flint 2010 feature highlights include:

-- New 3D creative tools: 3D displacement, UV Mapping and enhanced 3D Text-- Modular Keyer with easier-to-use presets-- Extended support for professional digital-media formats: REDCODE RAW,multichannel OpenEXR and Avid DNxHD with Apple QuickTime for expanded media conform capabilities-- Faster and more flexible file-based conform capabilities with a powerful new search engine with definable search criteria; configurable import settings to control metadata mapping; and relink rules to more easily matchmedia to the original source-- Support for Advanced Pulldown removal from clips with Advanced, Standardand PAL Pulldown with automatic pulldown detection-- Extended floating point processing support in Batch

Autodesk Lustre is a high-performance graphical processing unit (GPU)-accelerated digital intermediate color grading solution for film and television projects. Autodesk Incinerator is the realtime accelerator within Lustre that enables interactive grading sessions, ultra high-speed clustering and intelligent system management.

Top benefits are:

-- New color isolation capabilities based on the Autodesk Diamond Keyer, featuring pre-filtering options, enhanced post-Key filters, quick color presets and control panel implementation-- 3D lookup table (LUT) support on input and color matte view to make it easier to perform complex color transformations-- Expanded format support for REDCODE RAW and Avid DNxHD with Apple QuickTime-- 16 audio tracks I/O via embedded SDI signal as well as project-basedaudio file format setting for capture-- Improved interoperability between Lustre and Flame, Inferno and Smoke

The 2010 releases of Flame, Flare, Flint, Inferno and Smoke will be available later this month. Lustre 2009 Extension 1 and Incinerator 2009 Extension 1 are anticipated to be available to Autodesk Subscription customers on Wednesday.

-- By Senior Editor Bill Desowitz