Friday, September 9th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk unveils Flame 2017 Extension 1

Autodesk has announced Flame 2017 Extension 1, the latest update to its compositing and finishing system, including better compatibility with Maya and improved workflows for organising Batch schematics.

The new features, which build on those of Flame 2017, released earlier this year, were announced at IBC 2016.

Better workflows for editing Batch schematics
The update introduces a number of improvements to workflow in Batch, Flame’s node-based compositing environment, which you can see in the first half of the video above.

Changes include a new Compass node, which enables users to group sets of related nodes, then colour-code and title the groups to help improve the readbility of a schematic at a glance.

The workflow should be familiar to users of other node-based software.

Better compatibility with Maya and other pipeline tools
Autodesk has also improved Flame’s compatibility with other pipeline tools, particularly Maya – the look and feel of whose viewport navigation controls it now shares, as shown at 2:20 in the video.

The changes, which are described as being aimed at new users, continue the recent repositioning of Flame from an expensive, specialised turnkey system to a more general-purpose pipeline tool.

Other, more general, compatibility improvements include a new FBX scene export feature, and improved colour management and handling of EXR files, as summarised in Autodesk’s official features list:

  • New ‘Maya-inspired’ 3D scene navigation and manipulators
    To make action more fluid for modeling, selecting geometries and modifying complex scenes.
  • Improved compatibility with third-party 3D software through a new FBX scene export feature
    Flame artists can now export complex projects – including geometries, deformed surfaces and textures as well as object animation and timing – facilitating more collaborative workflows.
  • Enhanced pipeline integration for color management, pipeline compositing and multi-channel clips
    Simplifies the user experience and strengthens the versatility of Flame products.
  • Upgraded Action render quality
    Extension 1 combines the latest techniques in physically based rendering (PBR) with core lighting and texturing tools and includes a new package of 60 Allegorithmic Substance textures.
  • Improved EXR handling for upgraded pipeline compositing
    Multi EXRs can now be imported, conformed, cached and archived – while maintained as a single clip.
  • Connected color workflow improvements for finishing artists
    Batch effects applied in Autodesk Lustre can now be rendered through the background reactor, and tangent ELEMENT panels are now automatically switched to the focused application.
  • Batch setups are now project-independent
    Setups contain all metadata to re-import content or transfer assets from remote workstations.

Pricing and Availability
Flame 2017 Extension 1 will be available to users with valid subscriptions on 13 October 2016. New licences are available on a rental-only basis, with pricing starting at $750/month.

The software is compatible with CentOS 6.3+ or RHEL 6.3+ Linux and Mac OS X 10.9.5+, although Autodesk plans to discontinue RHEL support next year.

Read more about Flame on Autodesk’s product site
(Note: at time of posting, features shown as new are those from previous releases, not Extension 1)