Fu­sion 9

PRICE Free or $299 for the Stu­dio Ver­sion | Com­pany Black­magic De­sign | Web­site www.black­mag­icde­sign.com

3D World - - CONTENTS -

Is it a worth­while up­grade?

With Fu­sion 9, which Black­magic De­sign first re­leased dur­ing Sig­graph ear­lier this year, much more has been up­dated than a port to another OS. There are new pla­nar and cam­era track­ers, a new colour dif­fer­ence keyer, GPU ac­cel­er­a­tion, Ap­ple-li­censed en­cod­ing to Prores on both Win­dows and Linux, and even a VR toolset. Per­haps most ex­cit­ingly – es­pe­cially for those in­die pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies out there – there’s also been a very com­pet­i­tive price drop for the full Fu­sion Stu­dio from $995 to $299 per seat.

Go­ing to any CG event over the past few years, you can see how much of an im­pact VR has, so it was in­ter­est­ing to see Fu­sion 9 an­nounced with a toolset specif­i­cally for vir­tual re­al­ity projects. With it, users have ac­cess to a full 360-de­gree 3D workspace along with a new panoramic viewer and sup­port for pop­u­lar VR head­sets such as Ocu­lus Rift and HTC Vive. Hav­ing a proper stereo­scopic VR cam­era built in means you can sim­ply plug it into a 3D merge node and sud­denly, if you’ve got a head­set and a suit­able GPU, you can work di­rectly in the VR en­vi­ron­ment within Fu­sion in real time.

While VR in Fu­sion does present an ex­cit­ing nov­elty, for many VFX artists the more im­me­di­ately use­ful tools will be the pla­nar and cam­era track­ers. In Fu­sion 8 there was some track­ing abil­ity, like the ca­pac­ity to track a pat­tern rec­tan­gle or search area, but ver­sion 9’s track­ers are more ef­fi­cient, ac­cu­rate and pro­fes­sional tools that can cre­ate a mas­sive im­pact on daily work.

The pla­nar tracker is quick to set up with con­sis­tent re­sults and al­lows users to track sub­jects and re­gions in a live-ac­tion scene for any­thing from cor­ner pin­ning an im­age to sta­bil­is­ing footage.

Mean­while, the new cam­era tracker analy­ses the mo­tion of a live-ac­tion cam­era, then re­con­structs the iden­ti­cal mo­tion within Fu­sion us­ing a 3D mo­tion path. Users can change cam­era set­tings such as fo­cal length and aper­ture within Fu­sion to bet­ter re­flect real-world cam­eras and mod­ify in­di­vid­ual track er­rors af­ter the solve is com­plete to en­sure that the re­sults are as ac­cu­rate as they can pos­si­bly be.

With my tests on an NVIDIA K6000 GPU, Fu­sion 9 cal­cu­lated solves in real time, even with tricky shots in­volv­ing fo­liage in a for­est – great news for any­one, par­tic­u­larly small out­fits like mine, who wants to achieve

“THE PLA­NAR TRACKER is quick To SET up WITH Con­sis­tent RE­SULTS AND Al­lows USERS To TRACK SUB­JECTS AND Re­gions in A live-ac­tion Scene”

ex­te­rior shot com­pos­ites with­out hav­ing an ex­tra per­son run­ning around on set stick­ing gaffa tape to trees first!

Another very use­ful new fea­ture for Fu­sion 9 is the delta keyer. With the delta keyer, users can plug in footage, pick a colour us­ing a nor­mal colour picker and achieve a clean key while pre­serv­ing fine im­age de­tail like hair. There are matte fi­nesse con­trols, which can blur the edge of the key, for ex­am­ple, to re­fine this fur­ther.

Last but not least is Stu­dio Player, which Black­magic have in­tro­duced as a re­place­ment for Fu­sion’s pre­vi­ous stand­alone app, Gen­er­a­tion. In­te­grated into Fu­sion’s pre­ex­ist­ing bin sys­tem, Stu­dio Player has been built for multi user col­lab­o­ra­tion with a playlist, sto­ry­board and time­line for play­ing back shots, along with op­tions to track ver­sion his­tory, dis­play an­no­ta­tion notes and more.

There is def­i­nitely a lot to love about Fu­sion 9 from the over­all work­flow to the new tools and, con­sid­er­ing that the stu­dio ver­sion has come down to such a fan­tas­ti­cally low price, there re­ally isn’t any rea­son for a se­ri­ous artist not to take a look, no mat­ter what field they work in.

Hav­ing mul­ti­ple view­ers helps fo­cus on task spe­cific at­tributes while keep­ing an eye on the end re­sult

the in­ter­face is clean and log­i­cal but al­lows for cus­tomi­sa­tion to suit any given work­flow or project

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