Discreet has announced combustion 2, the latest version of its award-winning paint, animation and 3D compositing software. combustion 2 will support new multi-format project capabilities, including video, HDTV, and 64-bit color, offering enhanced image quality and performance. New advanced tool sets include a fully-editable, interactive schematic view, an intuitive compositing flowchart designed to make visual effects creation faster and simpler, a fully-integrated 2D particle system, an expansive and interactive text and motion-graphics module and garbage masking technology compatible with inferno*, flame and flint*. Performance enhancements include a new, highly optimized 2D software renderer as well as high performance OpenGL support for combustion's new particle system and unique 3D compositing environment. The new version also has a network rendering task manager similar to 3ds max, providing users with an easy way to manage all their background rendering requirements across multiple distributed systems. "combustion 2 will offer artists superior workflow, in-context tools and an extremely rich user experience-on the desktop," said Howard Gutstadt, combustion product manager. "Leveraging Discreet's experience in developing high-performance effects and editing systems, combustion 2 will provide independent artists and post/effects companies a powerful, cost-effective creative solution unlike any other for the Macintosh and Windows environments-as well as a very attractive entry point into the world of Discreet's online visual effects systems." combustion 2 is scheduled to start shipping end-of-year 2001 and will sell for US$3,495.