Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Check out cool new roto and compositing system Flowbox

Originally posted on 29 September 2016. Scroll down for news of the commercial release.

Polish firm Flowbox has posted some really interesting new demo videos of Flowbox, its self-titled GPU-accelerated rotoscoping and compositing system.

The videos show some well-thought-out workflow features, including smart strokes, auto-snapping of roto shapes, ripple editing of points, and support for open splines.

The technology is currently in beta, and is due for a commercial launch in October.

Designed for VFX artists, by VFX artists
Flowbox has been in development for a while – the original closed alpha was announced in 2013 – but the team has only just started to make details of the feature set public.

Many of the developers come from VFX backgrounds: both co-founder Wojciech Daniło and CEO Mikołaj Valencia worked at Alvernia Studios, where Valencia was a VFX supervisor and head of motion capture.

Intuitive, time-saving workflows for creating and editing roto shapes
The heart of Flowbox is its roto toolset, which offers a nicely designed workflow for creating and manipulating roto shapes, as shown in the video above.

As well as defining shapes by placing points, the RotoSTROKE system enables artists to draw freehand strokes around objects, with Flowbox automatically detecting edges and distributing points along the stroke.

Once created, roto curves can be manipulated by moving points or Bezier controls, or by deforming entire shapes directly, and there are standard options for feathering the edges of mattes.

More interestingly, there are also options to auto-snap points defined in a previous frame to a new stroke; and a ripple edit feature, which interpolates a new point added to a shape into previous frames.

Both features look like great workflow time-savers. The system also supports open splines with variable widths, making it easier to rotoscope objects like tails or long hair.

Planar tracking, roto-painting and roto-rigging in development
The product website also lists some interesting upcoming features in Flowbox’s roto toolset.

These include a point-based and planar tracking system with the option to import tracking data from other software; a non-destructive vector-based roto-paint toolset; and a roto-rigging system.

The latter will enable users to “connect [roto] shapes using bones and joints” with Flowbox using an inverse kinematic solver to make the resulting rig follow the motion of a character on screen.

Plus compositing and animation tools; keying and collaboration to come
Although they aren’t shown in detail, Flowbox also includes a node-based compositing system – the interface looks more reminiscent of Flame than Nuke or Fusion – and an animation dope sheet.

The system is also capable of exporting data to Nuke.

Other planned features include keying, collaboration options, and a VR toolset.

Updated 22 November 2016: Flowbox is now shipping for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It’s rental only, and subscriptions cost $46/month or $440/year.

There is also a free seven-day trial available via the link below.

Read more about Flowbox on the product website

Register for a free seven-day trial of Flowbox

Hat tip to Lester Banks for spotting this story.