Posts Tagged ‘combustion’

The Fall of Combustion…

I need to get something off my chest: I’ve always had a soft spot for Combustion, as if it’s the neglected step-child of the visual effects world. I guess it goes back to my days as a Smoke/Fire operator, but I’ve always preferred the design and interface to its contemporaries such as Shake and After Effects. So I was excited when Combustion 2008 was released at the end of 2007.

It’s been a few years since a major Combustion release (4.0), and I was worried the product line was starting to go stale, as it seemed that there were dozens of bugs and compatibility issues piled up. So I was really looking forward to the new version. I was relieved to discover two things: firstly, that there were lots of bug fixes announced in the latest version, and second, that another jewel in Autodesk’s high-end effects crown, the Colour Warper, was to be included.

However, when I started up the demo version, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. There was a new splash screen, a new licensing method, a shiny new Colour Warper operator in the Colour Correction category, and — actually, that’s about it. Combustion 2008 seemed exactly the same as its three-year-old predecessor (albeit with all the hot fixes and service packs installed). And it wasn’t fully compatible with Leopard upon its release.

I spoke to one of the product managers about it in January, who confirmed my suspicions: the major new things are the Colour Warper and roll-ups of bug fixes and hot fixes. Then there are the following UI improvements:

1.        Improvements to scene footage import (you can specify things like the imported frame-range, timing, and duration)
2.       Menus and windows can be expanded
3.       Operators can be dragged into viewports
4.       Synchronize playback of multiple viewports using shift+click
5.       Schematic enhancements inherited from the Toxik and Flame workflow

Combustion 2008 is approximately 850GBP (165GBP to upgrade from version 4.0). Toxik 2008 is 2,500GBP per license and all render nodes are free. A subscription to receive updates and new nodes is an extra 470GBP per year.

combustion2008

Although the Colour Warper is a notable addition to the suite, it doesn’t really seem to justify the upgrade fee. The Combustion development team, I’m told, is currently focusing on Leopard compatibility. So what’s going on here? Where is Combustion headed? Why do I get the feeling that this is the beginning of the end for this wonderful application?

Posted: March 6th, 2008
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Combustion Alive After All…

I’d previously written off Autodesk’s Combustion as being dead in the water, with seemingly no development having taken place for a long time, and a seemingly endless list of bugs (on the Mac version at least). Today however, Autodesk announced Combustion 2008 for Windows and Mac (with a whole slew of features), so maybe there’s still competition for After Effects.

The popular Colour Warper tool, found in the Autodesk Flame visual effects system, has been added to Combustion 2008. The new release also includes improvements to the schematic view.

The Colour Warper in Combustion 2008 performs primary and selective colour correction. It also allows for precise fine-tuning with multiple levels of adjustment in a single pass. Colour Warper features include:

·         Interactive adjustment of gamma, gain, offset, hue, saturation, and contrast

·         Intuitive hue shift and a tint colour wheel for fast, accurate colour balancing and a visual colour sampling palette for precise colour matching

·         Interactive Histogram and curves editing modes for subtle, precision tweaking of colour components

·         Independent controls for colour correcting the image’s shadow, midtone, and highlight regions

·         “Match” feature for fast scene-to-scene colour correction

·         “Selective” feature for sampling up to three different colour regions for isolated correction

·         User interface features: high-quality RGB vector scope, and a 3D histogram for precise colour monitoring

Pricing and Availability

Autodesk anticipates that Combustion 2008 will be available in December 2007. The 2008 release will be supported on Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Autodesk suggested retail pricing is £850 or EUR 1,200*. The suggested upgrade price from Combustion 4 to Combustion 2008 is £165 or EUR 235*.

Posted: November 29th, 2007
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