Tag Archives: Autodesk

Shotgun 7.6 adds analytics feature set for VFX and animation

Shotgun Software has released Shotgun 7.6, the latest version of its cloud-based review and production tracking software, featuring a new set of analytics and reporting tools that give studios the ability to visualize key production information, keep a close eye on the progress of their projects and make business-critical decisions quickly.

The new normal is shorter turnaround, tighter budgets and growing creative demands, so studios need to be efficient, identify business issues quickly and adjust where and how resources are being used during production. Production Insights in Shotgun provides studios with an overview of the health of projects as well as the ability to dive into the details to see where time and resources are used, so operations can be streamlined and better decisions can be made.

“Our new Production Insights features help Shotgun customers answer urgent and costly production questions such as: Are we going to hit our deadline? How much work is there left to do? Where are we struggling?” explains James Pycock, head of product management for Shotgun. “Having access to these tools out of the box gives everyone instant at-a-glance visualizations of how and where they are spending time and resources.”

Shotgun Production Insights include:

– Analytics: The ability to apply production data in Shotgun to optimize how resources are used, plan ahead for tight deadlines and budgets, and accurately compile bids for upcoming projects.
– Data Visualization: In addition to the existing horizontal bar chart in Shotgun, there are now new graph types, including pie charts, vertical bar charts and line charts.
– Data Grouping: Display data is now available as stacked (see picture) or un-stacked bar charts to visualize in even greater at-a-glance detail.
– Presets: Users can drag and drop from a number of pre-configured presets to build reports instantly, with flexible customization options.

Shotgun pricing starts at $30 per account/per month with what they call “Awesome” support, or $50 per account/per month for “Super Awesome” support. They are offering free trials here.

Steve Holyhead

AJA brings on Steve Holyhead from Fox Broadcasting

Steve Holyhead has joined AJA as senior product manager for desktop products. He joins AJA from Fox Broadcasting Company where he was director of technical operations.

Holyhead recently moved to Grass Valley, where AJA is headquartered, from Los Angeles. In addition to working at Fox, his 20-plus years of industry experience includes developing professional digital video workflows with BloomCast, managing post operations at Discovery Communications and working as a technology evangelist, producer and technical marketing manager for both Discreet (now Autodesk) and Avid. He has also developed Avid and Adobe training courses for multiple partners, including Lynda.com.

“Steve brings a blend of real-world production and technology developer experience to AJA. His understanding of production, broadcast and post, together with his experience both designing enterprise scale workflows and as a master trainer for Adobe, Apple and Avid products, will make powerful contributions to the success of our customers,” says Nick Rashby, president of AJA.

Appex 1

Boxx offers two new workstations with Kaby Lake Intel processors

Boxx Technologies has introduced Apexx workstations featuring the new seventh-generation Kaby Lake Intel Core i7 processors. The integration of these processors provides the Apexx 1 1202 a base clock speed of 4.2GHz with a turbo boost of 4.5GHz. The ultra-compact Apexx 1 also features advanced liquid cooling and professional graphics. Apexx 1 (pictured in our main image) is designed for users working in visualization, 3D animation, modeling and motion media.

Apexx 2

The latest Intel Core i7 processor is also included in the new, compact, liquid-cooled Apexx 2 2203 workstation. Featuring the same base clock speed of 4.2GHz (and 4.5GHz turbo boost), Apexx 2 2203 is configurable with up to two full-size, pro GPUs and is optimized for software such as Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya and Maxon’s Cinema 4D, as well as other CAD and 3D design applications.

“Because Boxx specializes in high-performance workstations, we know that for greater efficiency and productivity, organizations require the latest technology and innovation,” says VP of marketing and business development Shoaib Mohammad. “The integration of new Intel Kaby Lake processors coupled with our space-saving chassis, liquid cooling, professional GPUs and other features, provides architects, engineers and motion media pros with maximum performance.”

Pricing for these new models is not yet available. The company says both these units have non-overclocked processors and would typically be priced lower than models with overclocked processors.


NAB: Autodesk buys Solid Angle, updates products

At the NAB show, Autodesk announced that it has acquired Solid Angle, developer of Arnold, an advanced, ray-tracing image renderer for high-quality 3D animation and visual effects creation used in film, television and advertising worldwide. Arnold has been used on Academy Award-winning films such as Ex Machina and The Martian, as well as Emmy Award-winning series Game of Thrones, among other popular features, TV shows and commercials.

As part of Autodesk, Solid Angle’s development team will continue to evolve Arnold, working in close collaboration with its user community. Arnold will remain available as a standalone renderer for both Autodesk products and third-party applications including Houdini, Katana, and Cinema 4D on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Both Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya will also continue to support other third-party renderers.

“We’re constantly looking out for promising technologies that help artists boost creativity and productivity,” shared Chris Bradshaw, senior VP, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “Efficient rendering is increasingly critical for 3D content creation and acquiring Solid Angle will allow us to help customers better tackle this computationally intensive part of the creative process. Together, we can improve rendering workflows within our products as well as accelerate the development of new rendering solutions that tap into the full potential of the cloud, helping all studios scale production.”

“Autodesk shares our passion for numerical methods and computational performance and our desire to simplify the rendering pipeline, so artists can create top quality visuals more easily,” said Solid Angle Founder Marcos Fajardo. “With Autodesk, we’ll be able to accelerate development as well as scale our marketing, sales and support operations for Arnold to better meet the needs of our growing user base. Working side-by-side, we can solve production challenges in rendering and beyond.”

Arnold pricing and packaging is unchanged and Autodesk will continue to offer perpetual licenses of Arnold. Customers should continue to purchase Arnold through their usual Solid Angle channels.

Product Updates
In other news, Autodesk updated three of its products.

Autodesk Flame 2017:
– Camera FX scene-based tools enable the creation of sophisticated 3D composites in Action.Powered by algorithms from the Stingray game engine, artists can use these highly interactive VFX tools for ambient occlusion, realistic reflections, and depth of field without slowing interactivity.
– Connected color workflow introduces a new level of integration between VFX and proven color grading. This new workflow brings color grading information from Autodesk Lustre directly into Flame’s node-based compositing environment and maintains a live connection so that composites can be rendered and seen in context in Lustre (our main image). This collaborative workflow allows artists to rapidly finish high-end projects by moving seamlessly between compositing, VFX and look development tools.
– Color management enhancements to Flame, Autodesk Flare and Autodesk Flame Assist allow users to quickly standardize the way a source’s colorspace is identified and processed.
– User-requested enhancements include improvements to desktop reels, conform and timeline workflow, batch, media panel and the UI.

Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2:
Extension 2 adds new capabilities for creating 3D motion graphics, a new rendering workflow and tools for artists that allow them to create and animate characters faster and easier than ever.
– New motion graphics tools bring a procedural, node-based 3D design workflow directly into Maya. Combining powerful motion graphics tools with Maya’s deep creative toolset allows artists to quickly create sophisticated and unique 3D motion graphics such as futuristic UIs, expressive text, and organic animation and effects.
– Updated render management makes segmenting your scenes into render layers easier and faster, giving artists more control.
– Character creation workflows with a new quick rig tool and shape authoring enhancements that allow artists to create, rig and animate characters faster. Additional updates include: improvements to symmetry and poly modeling, UV editing, animation performance, rigging, the Bifrost workflow and XGen; a content browser; deep adaptive fluid simulation and high-accuracy viscosity in Bifrost; and XGen hair cards.

Autodesk 3ds Max 2017:
Freeing up more time for creativity, 3ds Max 2017 offers artists a fresh new look as well as modeling, animation and rendering enhancements, including:
– A new UI with support for high DPI displays expands the array of monitors and laptops users may run the software on while correctly applying Windows display scaling.
– Autodesk Raytracer Renderer (ART) a fast, physically-based renderer, enables the creation of photoreal imagery and videos.
– 3ds Max asset library, available via the Autodesk Exchange App Store, offers quick access to model libraries; simply search assets and drag and drop them into a scene.
– Additional updates include fast form hard surfaces; UV mapping, object tool and animation productivity enhancements; a scene converter for moving from one renderer to another or to realtime engines; and tighter pipeline integration via an improved Python/.NET toolset.

Autodesk restructuring for cloud, subscription model, laying off 10%

Autodesk, via a press release on the BusinessWire, announced a restructuring plan intended to accelerate the company’s move to the cloud and its transition to a subscription-based business model. Through the restructuring, Autodesk seeks to reduce expenses, streamline the organization and reallocate resources to better serve its needs going forward. Part of this reduction of expenses means 10 percent of its workforce will be laid off — that’s about 925 positions — and certain leased facilities will be consolidated.

“As we progress through our business model transition, we continue to take a comprehensive look at our company to see where we can be more effective and efficient. To realize maximum value for both our customers and shareholders, and as a follow-on to previously discussed cost reduction actions, we are restructuring so we can focus resources on areas that will accelerate the move to the cloud and transition to a subscription-based business,” said Carl Bass, president/CEO of Autodesk.

Autodesk expects these actions will result in additional cost savings in fiscal 2017 and beyond, while reinvesting a portion of the savings in areas critical to its platform and business model transition. The company anticipates taking pre-tax charges of $85 million to $95 million in connection with the restructuring. Autodesk also expects to be at the high end or exceed its guidance ranges for billings, revenue, non-GAAP EPS, and net subscription additions for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016.

“To be clear, the restructuring is not related to anything we are seeing in the macro-economic environment,” continued Bass. “We ended fiscal 2016 on a high note with very strong fourth-quarter billings growth and continued demand for our subscription offerings. Solid revenues, coupled with continued cost-controls, led to better than expected non-GAAP EPS during the quarter. I’m pleased we were able to deliver these results at such a critical moment in Autodesk’s transition.”

Additional details regarding the company’s fourth quarter financial results and restructuring plan will be provided on the company’s regularly scheduled earnings conference call.

postPerspective has questions in with Autodesk asking how this restructuring will affect the media and entertainment side of its business. More to come…

Autodesk offering software-only version of Flame, new subscription options

For those of you who have longed to be able to own an Autodesk Flame system, but the cost to entry was out of your reach, well your time has come. Autodesk has announced a software-only version of Flame that comes with a new subscription model, allowing artists to use the software for a year for approximately $6,000.

The company, which in the past sold Flame as a turnkey hardware and software system, has now opened the tool up to the masses. For those of you who have bought a hardware-configured Flame running on Linux, don’t fret. Autodesk is allowing for a floating license via a Linux server. Also important to know is that early next year sales of Flame as a turnkey system will discontinue.

Those who buy the software-only Linux version it will be locked  (one license, one computer) and they can choose their own qualified Linux hardware. Later this month, Flame on Mac will be released, with recommended configuration specifications from the company. For those who choose the software-only version of Flame, you will be locked into one system, with no floating license.

The new subscription pricing for Flame starts at $750 per month and can be accessed annually for as low as $500 per month. Autodesk also announced Flame support for OS X as part of the Autodesk Flame Extension 2 release, available later this moth. Autodesk Flare and Autodesk Flame Assist software are now available as standalone products with monthly subscription prices, starting at around $400.

“The changes we are making allow us to continue to provide our Flame users with the tools they need to grow and transform their businesses, now and in the future, as well as to ensure that our business continues to serve them. With the new Flame business model, it’s never been easier for artists and studios to access these powerful tools they need for the high-end finishing their customers demand,” said Marc Stevens, VP, Film and TV at Autodesk. “Community feedback is vital to the future of Flame, and these changes reflect what our customers want; they’ll also allow us to meet the emerging needs of staff artists, freelancers and facilities by offering more choices, just like the rest of Autodesk.”

Fred Ruckel, a long-time Flame user, was happy with the news: “This is a smart decision on their part. It allows Autodesk to recapture users they might have lost due to the cost of the Premium Plan, and it will help them gain users who can now afford to jump in.”

“Autodesk has correctly seen the direction the market is taking by offering Flame on the Mac and unbundling Flare,” saidBarry Goch, online editor at Modern VideoFilm. “It’s a great move to expand the user base while guaranteeing top tier product support and continued development of my favorite finishing platform.”

To sum up…
— New monthly, quarterly and annual subscription options for Flame, Flare, Flame Assist and Autodesk Lustre.
— Unrestricted ability to purchase Flare and Flame Assist licenses with no requirement to own Flame software already.
— Customers may source their own qualified Linux hardware for Flame Family products.
— New support for Flame on OS X in addition to Linux and the announcement of the Flame Family 2016 Extension 2 release available later in November.

With these changes, Autodesk is opening up its products to many more artists, including freelancers and smaller facilities. The new subscription offerings provide a lower cost for facilities expanding their creative capabilities and for smaller studios, including individual freelancers who work on a project basis. Autodesk plans to continue to sell perpetual licenses of Flame Family.

Flame Family 2016 Extension 2
Autodesk has also announced the upcoming Flame Family 2016 Extension 2 release that will be available later this month. It brings new format support and performance gains in color grading workflows. Lustre Reactor brings new GPU acceleration to color grading workflows and improves performance when using blur, keying and softness controls for both preview and rendering operations.

Other enhancements in Lustre include 32-bit floating point GPU rendering locally via Shot Reactor and when using Autodesk background rendering software; performance enhancements when working with Open EXR source media with embedded mattes; UI support for high DPI monitors (4K); and new Print View and Print LUT support when using AJA SDI output. Across the Flame family of products, when importing media, artists can take advantage of new support for the full DNxHR media family by using either QuickTime or MXF containers, as well as updated support for R3D media files including R3D SDK 6.0.3, allowing Flame to directly support the new Dragon 6K sensor and Rec. 2020 color space. When exporting media, the extension supports Sony MPEG-4 Part 2 Simple Studio Profile (SStP) encoding in an MXF wrapper, supporting a variety of formats and presets.

The 2016 versions of Flame, Lustre, Flare and Flame Assist are now available for purchase as software subscription only.

IBC 2015 Blog: Beautiful clouds in the sky, content in the cloud

By Robert Keske

The weather this year during IBC might be the best I ever experienced in Amsterdam. Inside the RAI, IBC seemed quieter this year — the halls were less crowded and easy to navigate. I have to assume that everyone was enjoying the weather instead of being inside the RAI.

The theme of the 2015 show was “Content Everywhere.” This is a productization taking place to incorporate mobile and cloud technology into the production and post production process. Creative and collaborative applications are now running on tablets and smart phones in some innovative ways, from content bypassing traditional distribution to direct-to-mobile consumption.

After taking in the overall conference, I paid a visit to a few of our vendors to see what they were presenting at this year’s show.

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight FLIP + FLIP remote

FilmLight has continued to impress me with their focus on delivering a full-service product line, offering solutions from on-set all the way through the beginnings of a complete finishing toolset.

Autodesk has made some nice advancements to the latest release of Flame 2016 Premium. The latest workflow and UI improvements appear to have incorporated user feedback and will surely be welcomed by the Flame user community.

SGO Mistika has also listened to feedback from the community, with the beginnings of a new UI, and the media management UI has greatly improved.

Another bright spot is the work Henry Gu is performing in content delivery automation. Henry was at the Data Direct Networks booth, and I highly recommend paying him a visit to see his work.

New York-based Robert Keske is CIO/CTO at Nice Shoes (@niceshoesonline).

IBC: Autodesk to release Extension 1 for Flame 2016 line

Autodesk will soon release Extension 1 for its Flame 2016 family of 3D VFX software, which includes Autodesk Flame, Autodesk Flare, Autodesk Lustre and Autodesk Flame Assist. Inspired by user feedback, Autodesk added workflow improvements, new creative tools and a performance boost. Flame 2016 Extension 1 will be available to subscription customers on September 23.

Highlights of the Flame 2016 Extension 1 release are:
– Connected Conform: A new, unified media management approach to sharing, sorting and syncing media across different sequences for faster finishing in Flame Premium, Flame and Flare. New capabilities include shared sources, source sequence, shots sequence, shared segment syncing and smart replace.
– Advanced Performance: Realtime, GPU-accelerated debayering of Red and ArriRaw source media using high-performance Nvidia K6000 or M6000 graphics cards. The performance boost allows artist to begin work instantly in Flame Premium, Flame, Flare and Lustre.
– GMask Tracer: New to Flame Premium, Flame and Flare, this feature simplifies VFX creation with spline-based shape functionality and a chroma-keying algorithm.
– User-Requested Features: Proxy workflow enhancements, new batch context views, refined cache status, full-screen views, redesigned tools page and more.

New Autodesk extensions, updated Shotgun at SIGGRAPH 2015

At SIGGRAPH 2015  Autodesk announced its 2016 M&E extensions, designed to accelerate design, sharing, review and iteration of 3D content across every stage of the creative pipeline. The Maya 2016 extension is a new text tool for creating branding, flying logos, title sequences and other projects that require 3D text. The 3ds Max 2016 extension includes geodesic voxel and heat map solvers to help artists create better skin weighting faster. New Max Creation Graph (MCG) animation controls provide procedural animation capabilities.

Creative Market, an online content marketplace acquired by Autodesk last year, is expanding its offerings with the debut of 3D content. The marketplace is currently home to nearly 9,000 shops selling more than 250,000 design assets to a community of more than one million members. Artists can search, purchase and license high-quality 3D content created by designers around the world or upload and sell original 3D models on the site.

Shotgun Software has announced a new set of features and updates designed to make it easier for teams to review, share and provide feedback on creative projects. Also at SIGGRAPH 2015, Autodesk has announced the latest extension releases for its Maya 2016 and 3ds Max 2016 3D modeling, animation, VFX and rendering software and a new 3D marketplace on Creative Market, the company’s online platform for purchasing and selling custom content developed by artists.

Shotgun’s upcoming Shotgun 6.3 release will include new review and approval features and an updated Client Review Site to streamline collaboration and communication within teams, across sites and with clients. Shotgun’s Pipeline Toolkit is also being updated with the Shotgun Panel, which will let artists communicate directly with other artists and see only the information relevant to their tasks directly inside creative tools like Autodesk Maya and The Foundry’s Nuke, along with a refreshed Workfiles tool to find and navigate to relevant files more quickly.

Shotgun 6.3 includes a new global view that allows users to easily access and manage media across all of a studio’s projects from a central location in Shotgun. Other improvements include new browsing options, playlists and a preference to launch media in RV, the desktop image/movie player.


Autodesk intros Stingray game engine

Autodesk’s new Stingray game engine will be available to game developers worldwide beginning August 19. Later this summer, Autodesk will also offer Autodesk Maya LT desktop subscription customers access to Autodesk Stingray as part of their subscription.

Built on the data-driven architecture of the Bitsquid engine, which Autodesk acquired in 2014, Stingray is a new platform for making 3D games. The engine supports a host of industry-standard game development workflows and includes powerful connectivity to Autodesk 3D animation software that simplifies game development across a wide range of platforms.

Highlights of the new Stingray engine include a seamless art-to-engine workflow, allowing users to import, create, iterate, test and review 3D assets and gameplay faster using a one-click workflow and live link between Stingray and Autodesk 3D animation software.

In addition, a lightweight code base allows game developers to make significant changes to the engine and renderer without requiring source code access. A rendering pipeline, physically-based shading, advanced particle effects, post processed visual effects, lightmap baking and a high-performance reflection system help make the games look high end.

Stingray includes solutions such as Beast, HumanIK, Navigation, Scaleform Studio (UI technology built on Scaleform), FBX, Audiokinetic Wwise and Nvidia PhysX. At the same time, a wide range of development tools — including visual node-based-scripting and Lua scripting — make game creation more accessible for game makers with varying levels of experience. C++ source code will also be available as an additional purchase upon request.

Among Stingray’s other features is the ability to make and apply changes to gameplay and visuals across supported platforms: Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8, Oculus Rift DevKit 2, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One. 

Autodesk previewed Stingray at GDC 2015 earlier this year in San Francisco. Since then, game developers around the world have signed up for Autodesk’s beta program and shipped games using this technology.

The Stingray engine can also be used in design environments and is an informative next step to further understand design data before anything is physically built. The engine’s realtime digital environment is programmed to look and feel like the physical world. Through the high-end development tools and visual scripting system, customers can program objects, light effects, environmental elements, materials and entourage elements to behave and react as they would in the physical world.