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Autodesk Flame Gets Overhaul for End-to-End 4K Workflows

New Features Include 3D Shapes, Background GPU Rendering and a New Timeline-Based Version

Autodesk has debuted a much more flexible Flame, as well as two new companion versions of the visual effects and finishing system that are only available to Flame Premium customers. Flame 2015's improvements will not only let artists work in 4K from start to finish but bring them faster and and more fluid workflows when working with any high-res scenes, including those in 4K. The new version is optimized to monitor, play back in real time and deliver industry-standard 4K formats, and it now includes 4K/UHD color management tools that support ACES and Rec. 2020 color spaces. Timeline effects and batch nodes also get a performance boost in this version. 

Updated and new tools inside Flame 2015 give Flame's 3D compositing features added depth. The Matchbox shader, though not new to Flame, is available for the first time in the timeline, where it can now be applied across the timeline throughout a project. Those comfortable using Gmask inside the 3D compositing environment should have no trouble picking up the new 3D Shape tool for projection mapping, logo design, relighting or any quick modeling or motion graphics effect needed on the spot. According to Autodesk, Flame 2015 beta testers were most intrigued by this new easy-to-use 3D tool and quickly integrated it into their workflows. Replica, another useful new tool, lets users create and animate cascading effects with a single cloned object. 

Compositing in 3D space and with 4K files is meaningless without extra render power, and the new version now supports an additional GPU card when working on HP Z800 and Z820 workstations. Flame 2015's Background Reactor will let users push out a shot, sequence or even batch setup to a second Nvidia Quadro K6000 GPU—the only GPU that works with Reactor—to render while continuing to work off the other Quadro K6000 in the system.

Flame Premium, designed for facility users, now includes access to Autodesk's full-service color-grading software Lustre, and its new Screen Grab Mode that lets them better preview their work for clients. This version also puts a LUT editor directly in the timeline to apply LUTs to scenes, gaps or transitions. But the bigger news in Flame Premium is the introduction of another collaborative companion version, Flame Assist, a timeline-based cousin to Flare that runs on the Mac. Autodesk describes it as a Mac-based assist station that can pick up any number of tasks within a Flame Premium project workflow. Both Flame Assist and Flare are only available through Autodesk's new Desktop Subscription service that lets Premium customers pay for them as they need them on a quarterly or annual basis.

Flame 2015, Flame Premium 2015, Flame Assist 2015, Flame Flare 2015 and Lustre 2015 are all due to begin shipping on April 21.

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