Friday, January 20th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autograph: a next-gen tool for motion design and VFX

French start-up Left Angle has launched Autograph, its next-gen content creation and compositing tool for motion design and visual effects.

The app, which is being pitched as an alternative to After Effects and Nuke, is described as “the first responsive design video software, making it easy to deliver multiple versions of projects”.

Developed by the creator of Natron, and distributed by RE:Vision Effects
Autograph’s creators have a track record in the industry, Left Angle CEO Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat having been the original lead developer of open-source compositing software Natron.

The software is also being distributed worldwide by RE:Vision Effects, and is compatible with many of its own plugins for compositing and editing software.

An alternative to After Effects for motion graphics and VFX work
Autograph’s online documentation includes information for artists migrating from both Nuke and After Effects, though its interface and workflow are more similar to the latter.

Like After Effects, it uses a layer-based compositing model, with its timeline featuring a standard layer stack and dope sheet, but it combines it with a 3D mode for viewing and manipulating 3D assets.

3D workflow is based around Universal Scene Description, to the point that Autograph doesn’t currently import OBJ, FBX or glTF files: the FAQs recommend using Blender to convert them to USD format.

The software has its own real-time physically based renderer, Filament, which can be used to render 3D assets for integration into compositions.

The world’s ‘first responsive design video software’?
Autograph sells itself on ease of use, with its system of Generators pitched as a simpler alternative to a node graph for creating procedural content, and its Modifiers described as a simpler alternative to expressions.

However, its major claim is to be the “first responsive design video software”, with a workflow geared towards artists who need to deliver a project at multiple resolutions and aspect ratios from a single file.

It can also be used to generate multiple design or language variants of a project by connecting database data in CSV format to the software’s Instancer.

Supports key file formats and standards for pipeline integration
Autograph supports a range of standard file formats, including SVG for vector graphics, PSD and OpenEXR for layered images, and USD (including USDA, USDC and USDZ) for 3D assets.

It reads and writes a range of video formats, with support for the ProRes, VP9, H.264, HEVC and AV1 codecs.

Image processing is done in 32-bits-per-channel linear colour space, and the software supports the OpenColorIO standard for colour management: there are built-in OCIO and ACES 1.3 configurations.

Autograph also supports OpenFX (OFX), so it should be compatible with many key third-party plugins, including products from Boris FX, Red Giant and RE:Vision Effects itself.

Comes with its own cloud-based shot review system
In addition, Autograph users get access to Artisan, Left Angle’s cloud-based shot review platform.

Subscriptions include access for up to five users, while perpetual licences include 12 months’ access.

Price and system requirements
Autograph is compatible with Windows 10+, CentOS 7/Ubuntu 20.04+ Linux, and macOS 10.15. The software supports Apple Silicon processors natively on macOS 11.0+.

A perpetual licence of the GUI edition costs $1,795; rental costs $59/month or $599/year. A perpetual licence of Autograph Renderer, the command-line edition, costs $399; rental costs $13.50/month or $399/year.

Updated 27 March 2023: Left Angle has now introduced Autograph Creator, a new lower-cost edition of the software aimed at indie artists and studios with revenues under $1 million/year.

Read an overview of Autograph’s feature set on Left Angle’s website

Read RE:Vision Effects’ summary of Autograph’s key selling points

Read the online documentation for Autograph