Mac OS X Version Is Coming Later This Month

It's the beginning of a new era for Autodesk Flame. Effective today, Autodesk is offering desktop subscription plans for current versions of Flame, Lustre, Flare and Flame Assist software. It marks the first time Flame is available as a software-only product.The move is intended to provide a lower cost of entry for smaller studios and freelancers working on a per-project basis.

In addition, the company said Flame will be supported on Apple Mac OS X when Flame 2016 Extension 2 is released later this month.

Flame pricing will start at $750 for a monthly subscription, or $6000 ($500/month) for an entire year, while Flare and Flame Assist will be available at $400/month or $3200/year each. Autodesk is also removing a business restriction on users of Flare and Flame Assist. Both products will now be available to all potential users, rather than restricted to existing Flame customers.

Unlike Autodesk's other software products, Flame will also remain available under a perpetual license for some time. "We have no intention to stop selling perpetual licenses [for Flame]," Autodesk Senior Product Marketing Manager Marc Hamaker told StudioDaily. That $6,000 annual subscription price is "about one-tenth of the price of a software-only perpetual license," he said.

Lustre color-grading software starts at $750/month or $6,000/year, and will remain a Linux-only product with no OS X version in the offing.

Autodesk Creative Finishing Family Desktop Subscription Pricing (U.S.)

Product Monthly Quarterly Annually
Flame $750 $2000 $6000
Flare $400 $1050 $3200
Flame Assist $400 $1050 $3200
Lustre $750 $2000 $6000
Source: Autodesk

"Customers have been asking for ways to decouple hardware from the Flame software sale, either for a lower cost of acquisition of hardware, or for use on a workstation they already have," Hamaker said. "So we're opening up the platform. But we have not rearchitectured it from the ground up."

OS X users will want to know that the Mac has a few feature limitations. For one thing, GPU debayering will not be available. But Hamaker stressed that it's not imposing "artificial limitations" to encourage customers to favor one platform or the other. "It's the first time we've supported [Flame] on two platforms, and it's something our customers have been asking about a lot in terms of increased flexibility," Hamaker said. "We are not trying to tell customers they should go one way or another. But from what we've learned from products like Flare, Flame Assist, and Smoke, it seemed like the right time."

Autodesk will continue to specify system requirements for both Linux and Mac, and will not stop selling turnkey Flame systems until January. From then on, customers will be free to purchase their own hardware. System requirements for the Mac will be announced soon

"We will have qualified system requirements, but not a 'certified' system," Hamaker explained. "Desktop pricing is a much lower cost of entry, but if people are spending $6000 for the year, they'll want to make sure the right hardware is behind it. So self-sourcing will be allowed, but working with our channel partners will be important to us. Flame is a high-touch sale. If you're committed to buying it, we're commited to helping you have the right experience."

In addition to the changes in how Flame licenses are offered, new features are coming with the Extension 2 release of Flame 2016. For import, Flame will now support DNxHR media using QuickTime or MXF containers and v6.0.3 of the R3D SDK with the Dragon 6K sensor and Rec. 2020 color space updates. On export, Sony MPEG-4 Part 2 SStP encoding in an MXF wrapper will be supported. Meanwhile, the update to Lustre will bring 32-bit floating point GPU rendering locally via Lustre ShotReactor and Autodesk Burn background rendering software, as well as UI support for high-DPI monitors.