Flame in a whole new light: Introducing Flame Premium 2012

Posted by Bill Ennis, 6 March 2011 7:00 pm

Flame in a whole new light: Introducing Flame Premium

Today Autodesk is announcing the 2012 versions of its Digital Entertainment Creation products. This includes new 2012 versions of Creative Finishing products Flame Premium, Flame, Flare, Smoke, Lustre and Flint. While each product has plenty of new features and creative capabilities, possibly the most exciting new tools are in Flame Premium 2012 centered on the creative concept of relighting.

Relighting in Flame Premium 2012 describes a broad set of creative tools and workflows that give artists the ability to control the fundamental interaction of light and color in their scenes. With the ability to combine practical production footage with real world 3D data captured on location or created in post, artists can manipulate images using creative tools that respect the 3D nature of the composite. Relighting in Flame Premium 2012 gives artists total control over the final look of a scene without impacting the interactive finishing experience Flame is known for.

The Beginning

When Flame Premium was introduced in late 2010, it brought the worlds of 3D visual effects and real-time grading together as a single offering and gave artists the flexibility to take on any creative challenge in terms of grading, visual effects, or finishing. With digital acquisition formats making raw image data available at any stage of post, Flame Premium gave artists the tools they needed to combine real-time grading with the visual effects tools they already depended on to deliver stunning results and offer more creative services to their customers. For colorists, Flame Premium brought the full Flame creative and technical toolset into traditional grading environments. It allowed these artists to take their projects beyond grading with powerful creative and technical visual effects tools. So, when a particular shot required more than grading, artists could easily move into Flame and manipulate the imagery as needed. In just a few short months, Flame Premium has quickly become a popular choice for facilities that want to offer a broader range of services and give their artists access to end-to-end finishing tools.

Flame Premium 2012: Next Generation Creative 3D Finishing

Today relighting in Flame Premium represents the next step in the evolution of creative 3D finishing. Relighting takes advantage of the inherent 3D nature of the Flame toolset and introduces the principle that lights reacting with objects and cameras in 3D space should be fundamental tools for look development – just like in the real world. As 3D becomes ubiquitous at all stages of production - from multi-pass renders in CG pipelines to 3D data acquired on-set such using techniques such as motion capture, Lidar scanning or environment mapping – finishing artists require tools that let them access 3D data deeper into post. Relighting in Flame Premium 2012 allows artists to take advantage of the 3D data generated before finishing, giving artists more control during finishing.


Color, Light and 3D Space

Throughout Flame Premium 2012, there are examples of cutting edge 3D technology to deliver amazing creative capabilities. Action (Flame’s 3D compositing environment) features a brand new lighting system with new light types that have unique properties. Lights cast shadows and generate lighting effects in true 3D space - ranging from highly stylized to ultra realistic – all without impacting interactivity. By simply positioning lights in a composite, shadows, volumetric rays, lens flares and occlusion effects are generated automatically. The result is a fun and interactive way to create dramatic looks using only lighting tools. And it works in Stereo3D as well.

When working with CG assets in Flame Premium 2012, artists will find new options for working with multi-channel CG render pass image data and FBX metadata.

Furthermore, the 3D tracking system has been redesigned to offer a more flexible workflow and now supports both mono- and stereoscopic clip analysis. A new Gmask tool has been introduced directly inside of Action – allowing selective 3D masking within composites. In Batch, the new Gateway clip workflow makes it easier than ever to build a finishing pipeline for CG-intensive finishing that can be customized to facility or project needs allowing artists to have the most up-to-date renders and versions at their fingertips without manually reconnecting complex schematics.

image courtesy McRAY Corporation

Image courtesy McRAY Corporation

3D Grading

Colorists will find that relighting in Flame Premium 2012 can be the first step in taking their traditional grading workflow into the 3rd dimension. Instead of using masks and shapes to simulate lighting effects, relighting tools in Flame Premium lets them use real 3D shadows and lighting to set the mood of a scene. These new tools work in both mono- and stereoscopic workflows reducing the complexity and headache of creating looks and effects when grading stereo3D projects. It’s also easier than ever to work with mattes created in Action when using real-time grading tools. This means colorists have access to some of the best tracking and masking tools in the industry for color isolation when grading. The combination of real-time grading, visual effects and new relighting capabilities in Flame Premium 2012 make for a powerful next-generation finishing solution that goes beyond the capabilities of dedicated color correction software.

See For Yourself

You really have to see the 2012 release for yourself, so be sure to visit the Flame Premium page on Autodesk.com. There you’ll find product details and over an hour of new feature videos. If you already own a Creative Finishing product such as Flint, Smoke Advanced or Lustre, you’ll find detailed information on the benefits of crossgrading to Flame Premium.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about the new version of Flame Premium leading up to NAB 2011 in April. If you aren’t able to attend NAB in person, Autodesk puts its entire show online. Check out area.autodesk.com/NAB2011 for details.

Finally, check out the video below for a sampling of some of the new relighting tools in Action. This video just scratches the surface of what’s possible in Flame Premium 2012, so be sure to visit the product page to find out more.




1 Comment

Steve B

Posted 1 March 2011 9:49 pm

Fantastic! Can't wait to use the new lighting tools. Interactive shadows and 3d lighting look great.
I couldn't help but notice that on the Autodesk website that Smoke Advanced is not listed as a standalone product anymore; only Smoke on Mac. Will Smoke Advanced users on subscription be migrating to Flame Premium.

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