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Autodesk unveils Flame 2020


Autodesk has announced Flame 2020, the next update to its compositing and effects software, adding new machine-learning-based tools for extracting Z-depth maps and normal maps for human faces from footage.

Both Flame and its cut-down editions, Flame Assist and Flare, get support for OFX plugins; and Flame and Flare get support for Cryptomatte.

The releases will go on show at NAB 2019 next week, then ship on 16 April 2019.

At the time of posting, Autodesk hasn’t updated its online product documentation or released any videos of the new features, so we’ll update if more information becomes available.

Flame 2020: new AI-driven depth and normal map generators
To judge from the summary in Autodesk’s press release, the main new creative features in Flame itself are the automated Z-depth map generator and the normal map generator for human faces.

Both have been trained using machine learning techniques, and analyse video footage to generate a matching synthetic render pass that can be used in relighting the shot or applying effects.

The software also now supports refraction for transparent and translucent materials, including an Index of Refraction setting.

Workflow improvements include new expanded full-width layouts for key parts of the UI, including the MasterGrade and Surface interfaces, intended to make it quicker to access key tools.

The update also adds Manager: a simplified schematic view for Action, Image and GMask, designed to make easier to add or organise video or 3D layers.

Linux users also get GPU-accelerated background rendering, triggered automatically immediately after modifying a shot.

Support for Cryptomatte and OFX plugins in Flame and Flare, OFX support in Flame Assist
In the Flame product family as a whole, both Flame and Flare get support for Cryptomatte, Psyop’s open-source ID matte generation system, widely adopted in other DCC applications.

Flame, Flame Assist and Flare get “comprehensive” support for OpenFX (OFX) plugins, both as Batch nodes and via the Flame timeline, following preliminary support for OFX in Flame 2019.2.

Pricing and availability
Flame 2020, Flame Assist 2020 and Flare 2020 are due to ship on 16 April 2019, along with their sister product, grading software Lustre 2020.

The current version, Flame 2019, is available for CentOS 7.2/7.4 Linux and Mac OS X 10.11+. It is available on a rental-only basis: since its release, subscriptions have risen in price, to $525/month or $4,205/year.

Autodesk no longer directly offers subscriptions to Flame Assist, Flare or Lustre, its website instead directing users to local resellers.

Read more about Flame on Autodesk’s product website
(No further information about Flame 2020 at the time of posting)

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