Autodesk ships Flame 2018.3
Autodesk has released Flame 2018.3, the latest version of its compositing and finishing software, adding a new Motion Warp tracking system, a 360-degree VR viewing mode, and better waveform monitoring.
The update is the third in eight months since the release of Flame 2018 in February.
New inside Action: Motion Warp tracking, Action Selectives, support for the Stingray PBS shader
New features in Flame 2018.3 include Motion Warp tracking within Action, Flame’s compositing toolset.
The system, which supplements Flame’s existing point, planar and 3D tracking capabilities, uses 32-bit motion-vector-based technology to track objects that change shape organically through a shot.
Suggested use cases include touch-ups to an actor’s skin or lips, as shown in the video above.
The update also introduces Action Selectives, a new system for isolating 2D regions on surfaces or in cameras, then applying effects using Flame’s Matchbox shader system.
The toolset is intended as a quick way to recolour or apply effects to selected regions of a shot.
Action also now supports the Stingray physically based shader, making it possible to display assets shaded in 3ds Max, Maya or Stingray itself and exported in FBX format accurately within Flame.
As with the recent Unity 2017.2 update, which introduced similar functionality into the Unity game engine, the change is intended to make it easier to round trip assets between Flame and Autodesk’s DCC tools.
New 360-degree viewing mode lets users finish VR projects on standard monitors
Flame 2018.3 also introduces a new 360-degree viewing mode for the Flame player and viewports, which enables users to navigate footage in LatLong format interactively during playback, as shown above.
There’s no support for any actual VR headsets, although Autodesk points out that workflow has the advantage of enabling VR projects to be finished and viewed using only a standard monitor.
Improved image analysis workflow
Flame’s image-analysis workflow has also been updated, making it possible to display Waveform, Vectorscope or 3D Cube scopes inside the player or any viewport.
The update makes it possible to zoom in and out or pan within the scopes in the same way as in standard footage. Scopes also now update in real-time when image adjustments are made during playback.
The scopes support HDR and wide color gamut (WCG) color spaces, including Rec2100 PQ, Rec2020 and DCI P3. The Waveform scope also gets a new RGB parade option, shown at 04:20 in this video.
New Shotgun Loader imports assets from Shotgun
Other changes include the new Shotgun Loader, for loading assets into Flame from Shotgun, Autodesk’s production-tracking system. Custom batching jobs can be created using Flame’s new Python API.
Another related change is that a Python console is now available from the Flame menu itself, meaning that a Shotgun subscription is no longer required to use the Python API.
The third update to Flame since Flame 2018 shipped in February
The 2018.3 release builds on a steady stream of updates since Flame 2018 was released in February 2017: a pattern that Autodesk says will be repeated with future releases.
The video above picks out the highlights of the initial release and Flame 2018.1 and Flame 2018.2, including 32-bit float image processing; enhancements to the Desktop Paint tool, including support for 16-bit float images; improvements to Connected Conform workflow; and the Python API itself, added in 2018.2.
Pricing and availability
Flame 2018.3 is available for CentOS 7.2+ Linux and Mac OS X 10.10+. It is available on a rental-only basis, with subscriptions priced at $500/month or $4,000/year.
Flame Assist and Flare, the cut-down editions of the software for specialist tasks, cost $2,135/year. Lustre, the Flame product family’s grading software, is priced on enquiry.