Flame 2021 brings compositors, colorists, and finishing editors greater creative flexibility and accelerated
workflows. For more information feel free to read the full article.
Building on machine learning-powered features first introduced last year, this release adds even more
uses of AI for isolating features on the human face, along with a highly-requested, GPU-accelerated Defocus
effect and a slew of finishing enhancements. Artists who use Flame in the growing world of finishing for
streaming services can also now take advantage of powerful new workflows for Dolby Vision HDR authoring and
The Flame Family has been trusted by the best artists for over 25 years for 2D/3D, compositing, editing, keying,
tracking, and color.
Clients expect more
As client expectations evolve and become more demanding, Flame artists need to be able to adjust
and modify color/grades, composite, and do final editorial, interactively. Artists need to efficiently
capture their clients attention and get approvals, in a time sensitive environment, to stay on
deadline and budget.
The rise of the Streaming (OTT) vendors and meeting their requirements
Films, TV episodes, and commercial spots used to be created at a predictable pace that could be
planned out seasonally. But now, with traditional TV advertising re-inventing itself, many more
episodic originals, more places to deliver content, and independent producers distributing online,
there is practically no such thing as a standard “season” anymore – it all has to be done now.
Transformation in tradional ad revenue
Traditional viewing is moving from broadcast/cable/terrestrial vendors to online. This in turn has
moved ad budgets from the seasonal viewing spectacles of the past, to not just delivering to air but
to an ever increasing number of social and online platforms all with different technical
Living in an 4K HDR world
As anyone who binge-watches shows online knows, the industry has changed and so in turn have
the technical standards that clients are expected to deliver to. 4K/UHD delivery is now the norm, not
the exception, with HDR mastering being increasingly asked for.
Commoditisation is everywhere
As software has become more accessible, it has enhanced the services and differentiation that Flame
owners can offer. Being able to do more services in-house, say ‘yes’ to the client’s request, and
always answer the ‘911’ fix it call has become more important than ever to keep the client coming
back for more.
SOLUTIONS IN FLAME 2021
GPU-Accelerated Defocus Effect
The new Physical Defocus effect makes it easy to add depth of field in shots. The effect can be used in Batch as a
standalone Matchbox node or in Image Selective in combination with a generated AOV Depth map.
Artists can choose between Physical and Action Camera focus models or create their own custom models by
adjusting attributes. Lens artifacting and radial, chromatic aberration can be customized to achieve the level and
quality of out-of-focus blur desired, Depth Slices can be increased and blended for more granularity of focus, and
highlights can be bloomed using a selection of Bokeh attributes and lens noise models.
Machine Learning-Powered Human Face Segmentation
A new Semantic keyer for feature isolation on the human face adds the ability to extract alpha mattes for skin,
eyes, lips, nose, cheeks, chin, and laugh lines.
Useful for compositing, color grading, and cosmetic beauty work, the Human Face Part Extraction Keyer does not
require any manual tracking as artificial intelligence (AI) does the heavy lifting. In shots with multiple faces,
artists can use an on-screen widget to guide the AI. All Keyers can be combined and refined with GMasks in Action
or the Image node at the timeline level.
For specialized tasks such as isolating a mole or scar, a custom layout workflow is available. Using a template for
the human face that can be painted on ‘unwrapped,’ artists can define custom regions that are then displaced by
the face matching algorithm.
Integrated Finishing Enhancements
For colorists and finishing artists, being able to quickly replicate a look or adjustment across many shots is a
‘power tool’ of finishing. Flame 2021 introduces a new way to quickly save and recall color grading and FX work in
the Explorer, a dedicated ‘grade bin’ and reference comparison area. Image node Selectives can now be dragged
to the Explorer panel or saved by keyboard shortcut. Selective layers can also be saved individually to be recalled
further down the timeline or in another sequence entirely.
Keeping up with client requests and creating beautiful work fast is a core strength of Flame that this release
continues to builds on. Artists can now draw clients in further with a new video preview mode called ‘Viewing
Area’ which enables them to easily share iterations of their work to large SDI or HDMI preview monitors. All artist
viewports are visible in this mode including storyboard, manager, and schematic. When using Viewing Area in
broadcast mode, GMasks can be viewed and edited at the same time, along with any other tool the artist directly
Flame 2021 also adds new GMask pre-made shapes for colorists, compositors, and finishing fx artists in the Image
and Action nodes.
Dolby Vision HDR Authoring and Display Workflow
While there have been ways to output HDR content from Flame using color management and floating point
processing up until this point, this latest update goes a step further by adding a seamless workflow for importing,
authoring, displaying, and exporting Dolby Vision HDR shot-by-shot animatable metadata.
With the ability to deliver more accurate, lifelike color that is maintained across mediums and generations of
viewing devices, Dolby Vision HDR has quickly become a standard for content produced for streaming services
like Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV+, and Disney+.
With this release, several new workflows have been added to Flame to enable collaboration with upstream color
grading tools, including Lustre, using an .XML metadata interop file. Dolby Vision analysis, trim, and target display
viewing are also now possible right in Flame, and a new HDR Track in the multi-layer edit timeline provides a
superior way to keep Dolby Vision metadata in sync, make last minute edits, finalize transitions, integrate
graphics and titles, and export final Dolby Vision HDR Masters.
Important Update on Legacy Hardware Support
With this release, the following legacy hardware will no longer be supported:
• HP Z820 platform
• NVIDIA Quadro K6000
• CentOS 7.2
For details on hardware and operating systems supported by Flame 2021, see the latest system requirements.
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