Leading visual effects developer The Foundry kicks off 2006 with the release of Furnace 3 for Shake, including brand new image processing plug-ins designed to significantly enhance workflow and productivity for Shake artists.
Furnace, available for Linux and OSX, is already a popular suite of image processing tools, designed to tackle every day compositing tasks, and the new release delivers Shake artists with an additional 10 plug-ins, many of which automate time-consuming processes in the creation of digital visual effects.
Furnace 3 is the result of continual research by The Foundry into advanced image processing algorithms, notably motion estimation technology, and benefits from The Foundrys comprehensive knowledge of the post-production industry. The new plug-ins include a sophisticated DeBlur solution, which automatically removes motion and out-of-focus blur, MatchGrade for automatic color histogram matching and Tracker, a multi-point tracker which can track the most challenging regions within a moving image.
Since its launch in 2002, Furnace is now deployed by many leading post production facilities, including Double Negative, Rhythm & Hues, Weta Digital, Pacific Title and Art Studio, Moving Picture Co., Cinesite UK, Framestore CFC, Animal Logic and Gray Matter.
With Furnace 3, the toolbox just expanded again, said Mike Seymour, InCase Sydney, and co-founder of FXguide.com. The Foundry provides real image-processing tools I can actually use in production. Now with Furnace 3, this is my No.1 plug-in/spark requirement on new systems.
"Furnace is one of the most advanced toolsets available for Shake artists, commented Simon Anderson, Photon VFX, New Zealand. "Furnace 3 gives you a superior collection of plug-ins that deliver quick and easy solutions to every day tasks, giving you great results and saving hours. I wouldnt be without it.
The Foundry products are widely acclaimed across the industry, having recently been used by digital artists on a wide range of projects, including; CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, BATMAN BEGINS, KING KONG and HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.
Key features of Furnace 3 for Shake:* ColourAlign. Automatically removes any discrepancy in the alignment of the three-color channels in an image.
* Depth. Generates a relative depth matte from a sequence. The depth matte has many applications including the ability to introduce new objects such as smoke and sparks more realistically as they are able to travel behind foreground objects.
* DeNoise. Is a fully motion compensated noise and grain removal plug-in. DeNoise reduces noise without introducing any of the artefacts typically associated with noise reduction. It is even able to remove the extreme levels of grain typically found in the blue channel of some film stocks.
* DeBlur. Automatically removes global motion blur or out-of-focus blur from a sequence.
* MatchGrade. Automatically grades one image to match another Allowing sequences that were shot with different lighting to have the same look. It also performs severe histogram corrections with ease, such as those required for day to night transformations.
* MatteToRoto. Quickly and effortlessly edit and tidy ill-defined RGB and alpha mattes without the need for time-consuming rotoscoping. The plug-in requires the artist to simply position a cross hair at the edge of the matte and MatteToRoto will produce a roto with a soft-edge falloff and associated alpha channel with a single click of the mouse.
* MotionBlur. Uses The Foundrys advanced motion estimation technology to add motion blur to a sequence.
* MotionMatte. Given a sequence with a foreground object moving relative to the background, MotionMatte generates a segmented version of the foreground and associated alpha matte, with minimal user intervention.
* PlanarPatcher. Tracks planar regions in a sequence. The plug-in allows artists to create new image elements such as hand-painted frame repairs and accurately patch them over a complete clip, taking into account any perspective changes, rotations and zooms.
* Splicer. Stitches together arbitrarily shaped images or parts of an image. Given a rough join position, the plug-in automatically finds the most visually believable seam along the border between the images.
* Tracker. Is a multi-point tracker designed to robustly track the most challenging of regions. It will accurately handle regions of occlusion (where the tracking point goes behind another object or off the edge of an image) and copes well with scale and rotational changes to the tracked region.
Furnace 3 node-locked is priced at: $4,000 / £2,200, with Furnace 3 float priced at: $6,000 / £3,300. Existing customers can upgrade for $2,000 / £1,100 node-locked and $3,000 / £1,650 floating.
The Foundry (www.thefoundry.co.uk) is a software developer specializing in plug-in visual effects for the film and video markets. The company was set up in 1996 by Bruno Nicoletti after writing custom effects for flame operators at Rushes Postproduction in London. Simon Robinson joined soon afterwards to form the partnership. The Foundry were the first sparks developer for Discreet Systems Products and now have their Tinder, Furnace, Keylight and Anvil plug-ins on the leading compositing platforms for customers throughout the world. In January 2004, The Foundry launched OpenFX, an open plug-in solution that is setting the new standard for industry plug-in development and support.