Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk announces Flow

Autodesk has announced Flow, a new ‘industry cloud’ for media and entertainment to “[connect] customer workflows, data, and teams across the entire production lifecycle from earliest concept to final delivery”.

The first product available on Flow will “focus on asset management”.

The platform was announced at Autodesk University 2022, the company’s annual user event, alongside Forma and Fusion, equivalent clouds for the AEC and design and manufacturing industries.

So what is Autodesk Flow?
According to its press release, Autodesk will be launching three industry clouds: Flow, Forma and Fusion.

Flow will be aimed at media and entertainment work like visual effects and game development, Forma at architecture, engineering and construction, and Fusion at design and manufacturing.

All three will be based on Autodesk Platform Services, Autodesk’s suite of web APIs and services, previously known as Forge.

Flow will “connect customer workflows, data and teams across the entire production lifecycle from earliest concept to final delivery”, and the first product available on Flow will “focus on asset management”.

Initially a cloud-based asset management platform, but later more like Fusion 360?
Beyond that, we don’t yet have a lot of information about Flow or its constituent products.

In 2020, Autodesk announced an upcoming new asset lifecycle management system based on Forge for ShotGrid, its cloud-based production management platform, then still known as Shotgun.

The firm has also recently acquired LoUPE, Tangent Labs’ cloud-based animation production pipeline, which includes its own asset-management functionality.

We’ve contacted Autodesk to ask whether either will form the basis of Flow’s asset management product.

Updated 4 October 2022: Autodesk told us that the first product available through Flow will be a “new capability for connecting products … to an open asset management system”.

As well as Autodesk’s own products – in its reply, the firm namechecked Maya, 3ds Max and ShotGrid itself – that connectivity will extend to third-party applications.

Autodesk told us: “Our goal is to enable asset sharing and collaboration, versioning, and other advanced asset management capabilities in alignment with [non-profit industry organisation] MovieLabs’ vision.”

Autodesk is “still [determining how the service] will be productized”, and did not comment on when it would be available publicly or how much it would cost, but said that Flow is intended for “studios of all sizes”.

However, the news release also notes that the “best example of where we’re taking our industry clouds” is Fusion 360, Autodesk’s cloud-based CAD platform.

We’ve contacted Autodesk to ask whether we can expect to see an equivalent cloud-based content creation tool for media and entertainment work, and will update if we hear back.

Updated 4 October 2022: Autodesk replied that as well as being a specific current product, Fusion “describes the manufacturing cloud of the future”, and commented that while its other content creation tools will continue to evolve with cloud workflows, “Our M&E products are a bit different”.

Other related recent Autodesk announcements
Autodesk also has a blog post in which it discusses cloud workflows in media and entertainment.

Aside from Flow, most of the topics covered are things that Autodesk has already announced, such as its acqusition of cloud-based digital dailies platform Moxion, in use at Amazon Studios.

The blog post also covers Autodesk’s intention to open-source parts of RV, its image viewer and shot playback system, and Maya Creative, the new cut-down edition of Maya available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Release date, system requirements and price
Autodesk hasn’t yet confirmed when Autodesk Flow will be publicly available, what the system requirements for its products will be, or how they will be priced.

Read Autodesk’s announcement of Flow

Read Autodesk’s blog post on cloud workflows in media and entertainment