Autodesk is launching the new Flame 2020, at NAB2019. Included in the new version of Flame is a machine learning-powered feature set which bring a host of new capabilities to Flame artists.If you are at NAB Show in Las Vegas, check out the demo suite at the Renaissance Hotel.
Using advanced computer vision, photogrammetry and machine learning, it is possible to extract motion vectors, Z depth and 3D normals based on an analysis of a still or image sequence. This core new AI engine then enables a host of extremely useful new tools.
The Flame 2020 release includes these built-in machine learning analysis algorithms to isolate and modify common objects in moving footage, dramatically accelerating VFX and compositing workflows, from colour grading to complex compositing techniques and image processing.
“Machine learning has enormous potential for content creators, particularly in the areas of compositing and image manipulation where AI can be used to track and isolate objects in a scene to pull rough mattes quickly,” said Steve McNeill, Director Flame Family Products, Autodesk, M&E. “Flame has a great reputation and this latest 2020 release significantly extends creative flexibility and performance for our artists.”
The reaction from users who have been testing the software in Beta has been equally encouraging:
“Arthur C. Clarke once said ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. The machine learning technology inside of Flame is truly magic. I recently worked on a virtual set comp where they forgot to add depth-of-field on the backgrounds. It took me two hours per shot to roto and add motion blur; I ran the same shots through the Z Depth Map Generator and got results in two seconds. Wow!”
-Craig Russo, VFX Supervisor, cr2creative
Creative Tools in 2020
Z Depth Map Generator
Enables Z depth map extraction analysis using machine learning for live action scene depth reclamation. This allows artists doing colour grading or look development to quickly analyze a shot and apply effects accurately based on distance from camera.
Since all human faces have commonly recognizable features (relative distance between eyes, nose, location of mouth,) machine learning algorithms can be trained to find these patterns. This tool can be used to simplify accurate colour adjustment, relighting and digital cosmetic/beauty retouching.
“I’m super excited about the new machine learning tools in Flame. Machine learning can be used to automate a lot of processes, letting artists focus on more creative tasks. Z Depth Map Generator is a great tool for making depth-of-field adjustments but it’s also a really useful tool for speeding up selective color correction and beauty clean up too.”
– Bryan Bayley, Flame Artist, Treehouse Edit
With the new Refraction tool, a 3D object can now refract and distort background objects based on its surface material characteristics. To achieve convincing transparency through glass, ice, windshields and more, the index of refraction can be set to an accurate approximation of real-world material light refraction.
- Automatic Background Reactor— Immediately after modifying a shot, this mode is triggered, sending jobs to process. Accelerated, automated background rendering allows Flame artists to keep projects moving using GPU and system capacity to its fullest. This feature is available on Linux only, and can function on a single GPU.
- Simpler UX in Core Areas— A new expanded full width UX layout for MasterGrade, Image surface, and several Map User interfaces, are now included, allowing for easier accessibility to key tools.
- ‘Manager’ for Action, Image, Gmask—A simplified list schematic view, Manager makes it easier to add, organize and adjust video layers and objects in the 3D environment.
- Open FX Support—Flame, Flare and Flame Assist version 2020 now includes comprehensive support for Open FX creative plugins as Batch/BFX nodes or on the Flame timeline.
- Cryptomatte Support is now available in Flame and Flare. Cryptomatte is the open source advanced rendering technique offers a new way to pack alpha channels for every object in a 3D rendered scene, a simplified or streamlined version of a ‘Deep composting’ pipeline.
Single user license offering—Linux customers can now opt for monthly, yearly and three-year single user licensing options. Customers with an existing Mac-only single user license can transfer their license to run Flame on Linux.
Flame, Flare, Flame Assist and Lustre 2020 will be available on April 16, 2019 on subscription.
“Loads of people have talked about machine learning for compositing work, but nobody has delivered anything in an actual product. This is really impressively fast compared to the object labelling/mask approach to getting rough mattes quickly.”
– Lewis Saunders, freelance Flame Artist, London .