Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 7 (July 2005)

Compositing Software


Adobe Systems’ After Effects motion graphics and visual effects software offers compositing functionality. Currently in Version 6.5, After Effects is offered in Standard and Professional editions for Windows and Macintosh operating systems. After Effects 6.5 Standard, priced at $699, aids professionals in 2D and 3D compositing, animation, and visual effects tasks. The Professional package, shipping at $999 with Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse and Zaxwerks 3-D Invigorator Classic plug-ins, also includes motion tracking and stabilization, keying and warping, more visual and audio effects, a particle system, and network rendering. After Effects is part of Adobe Video Collection 2.5 Professional edition, which has recently been updated with the addition of Photoshop CS for the creation and manipulation of digital imagery. In addition, Adobe Video Collection 2.5 Professional boasts Premiere Pro 1.5, Audition 1.5, and Encore DVD 1.5. It is offered at a cost of $1499.
Adobe Systems; www.adobe.com




During NAB2005 in Las Vegas, Apple Computer introduced its Shake 4 visual effects and compositing software for film and commercial applications. Available alone or as part of Apple’s Final Cut Studio, Shake 4 offers 3D multi-plane compositing, as well as optical flow image processing, and integration with Final Cut Pro 5. A new OpenGL-accelerated 3D compositing node enables users of Version 4 to not only position and rotate, but also animate virtually unlimited layers and cameras in 3D space. Now able to launch directly from the timeline in Final Cut Pro 5, Shake 4 also features Truelight monitor calibration, more efficient retiming, improved rendering performance, and automatic image stabilization. Shake 4 for Mac OS X is priced at $999 as an upgrade and $2999 for the full version with unlimited render licenses, whereas a cross-platform version is offered for $4999.
Apple Computer; www.apple.com




Autodesk Media and Entertainment has unveiled Combustion 4, the latest edition of its desktop compositing and motion graphics application. Combustion 4 provides 3D compositing and animation utilities, particles, effects, and vector paint. Version 4 features a second-generation Diamond Keyer, B-spline vector shapes, improved “Fast Gaussian Blur,” more file import/export options, and an enhanced user interface. Combustion also offers integration with the company’s Flame 9, Inferno 6, and Flint 9 real-time visual effects systems, which also furnish users with a 3D compositing environment. Combustion 4 for Windows is priced at $995 for the full version and $249 as an upgrade from Version 3. At NAB2005, the company launched its Toxik collaborative compositing software for the production of digital visual effects. The new offering is targeted at film studios and postproduction facilities requiring advanced compositing capabilities, such as those in which multiple compositors collaborate on a single high-end project. Designed to run on Windows- and Intel-based workstations with Nvidia Quadro FX series graphics cards, one Toxik creative seat with supporting collaboration infrastructure costs $9000.
Autodesk Media and Entertainment; www.discreet.com




Boris FX offers six solutions for 3D compositing and titling: Red, Graffiti, FX, Continuum Complete, Continuum Complete AVX, and Blue. Among the offerings are vector paint and rotoscoping, 3D digital video effects, motion tracking, track-based motion blur, 3D shapes, and support for third-party filters compatible with Adobe After Effects. The company unveiled new versions of its FX and Graffiti during NAB2005 and, this month, begins shipping a new version of Boris Continuum Complete AVX running on Avid’s new AVX 2.0 architecture. New to Version 8.0 of Boris FX, which infuses non-linear editing systems with effects and compositing technologies for video and film, are a Template Mode, expanded support of and integration with industry-standard NLEs, and Motion Tracking, Stabilizing, and Corner Pin Tracking filters. The Graffiti 4.0 NLE plug-in provides broadcast-quality 2D and 3D titling features, including randomization, jitter, text on a path, and type-on-animation options, and support for the animation of titles over timeline video without importing or exporting, and the creation of shapes and text with bump maps, reflections, and textures. A collection of plug-in filters, Continuum Complete AVX 4.0 offers Avid editors more than 160 filters, including Glint, Glare, Optical Flow, Motion Blur, Glow, Wire Remover, and Witness Protection. Scheduled to begin shipping in September and based on Boris Red, the Boris Blue 3D compositing and motion graphics application aid users in the development of 3D objects with bump maps, pixel shaders, natural materials, reflections, 3D shadows, and more. OpenGL vertex shaders, support for common 3D file formats, and a $1995 price further complement the upcoming release.
Boris FX; www.borisfx.com




D2 Software’s Nuke (short for New Compositor), recipient of an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2001, is a high-end compositing and effects software application designed by artists. In fact, Nuke got its start as Digital Domain’s in-house compositing and visual effects solution and, to date, has been employed in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of commercials and music videos. It features a 3D work space, a vector-based paint system, an open architecture, and compatibility with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Irix. Also included are an animation editor, color correction, various filters, and a four-point 2D tracker/stabilizer.
D2 Software; www.d2software.com




During SIGGRAPH 2005 in Los Angeles, Eyeon Software will demonstrate the latest enhancements to its Fusion node-based compositing system. Fusion 5 provides film and video professionals a 3D environment with cameras and lights, as well as support for today’s leading 3D applications and an intuitive particle system. A scripting engine with ODBC support and hardware-accelerated 3D capabilities further complement Fusion. It also boasts 3D text, native resolution independence, color management, a non-destructive paint system, and support for HD and video standards. Its resolution-free work space, region of interest, and full-featured LUTs (look-up tables) benefit film professionals.
Eyeon Software; www.eyeonline.com




Pinnacle Systems’ Liquid Edition 6.1 standard- and high-definition video-editing software combines compositing, real-time effects, DVD authoring, and multi-stream native HD editing. The latest version also incorporates a redesigned user interface, a wide variety of real-time SD and HD effects, and an open architecture for improved integration with existing work flows. Its SmartEdit technology enables users to mix multiple video formats, frame rates, and resolutions in a single timeline, while its SmartRT technology harnesses the power of the workstation’s CPU and GPU for working in real time.
Pinnacle Systems; www.pinnaclesys.com



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