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The Foundry’s new Furnace 3 plug-ins for Autodesk artists

Last Updated: April 24, 2006 4:51 pm GMT
(NAB 2006, Las Vegas, Booth # SL643, 24th April, 2006) Leading visual effects developer The Foundry has announced the launch of its Furnace 3 plug-ins for Autodesk’s Media & Entertainment Division systems products. This is a major product release featuring eleven brand new image processing tools, many of which automate time-consuming processes in the creation of digital visual effects.

Demonstrations will take place during NAB 2006 at The Foundry’s booth #SL643.

The new plug-ins are designed to significantly enhance workflow and productivity for Autodesk’s Discreet Flame, Flint, Fire, Inferno and Smoke systems artists. The Furnace 3 collection includes Correlate, an intelligent solution to help automate the alignment of two clips; fast new matting tools including MatteToRoto, a plug-in that helps artists to effortlessly edit and tidy ill-defined RGB and alpha mattes without the need for time-consuming rotoscoping; and DeNoise, an enhanced noise and grain removal plug-in.

Debuting at NAB 2006, Furnace 3 is the result of continual research by The Foundry into advanced image processing algorithms. The Foundry is committed to providing real solutions for today’s digital artists and Furnace 3 benefits from a dedicated following of first-rate visual effects artists who aid the company’s extensive beta programme.

Key features of Furnace 3 for Autodesk’s Discreet systems products:
  • ColourAlign automatically removes any discrepancy in the alignment of the three colour channels in an image.

  • Correlate is designed to help automate the alignment of two clips. Given two separate passes over the same scene Correlate can analyse the spacial and temporal information within the images to produce aligned sequences. The plug-in can also be manually tuned from a single intuitive interface, allowing the simultaneous adjustment of the timing, special positioning and grading of one clip to match another.

  • DeBlur is designed to automatically remove global motion blur or out-of-focus blur from a sequence. The size and shape of the filter that caused the blur can be automatically estimated by the plug-in or tuned manually by the artist.

  • DeNoise is a noise and grain removal plug-in that uses The Foundry’s advanced motion estimation technology to average pixels along the direction of motion, thus reducing the noise without introducing any of the artefacts typically associated with noise reduction. The plug-in is even able to remove the extreme levels of grain typically found in the blue channel of some film stocks.

  • Depth builds on The Foundry's motion estimation technology in order to generate a relative depth matte from a sequence. As this depth matte is based on the principal that depth is inversely proportional to motion, the plug-in is only able to give reliable depth mattes where there is no local motion.

    The depth matte has many applications, including: 1) Introducing new objects such as smoke and sparks more realistically as they are able to travel behind foreground objects and 2) Applying interesting effects such as a depth of field blur.

  • MatchGrade will automatically perform a non-linear transformation on the colour histogram of an image in order to match it with a different image. This allows sequences that were shot with subtly different lighting to have the same ‘look’. MatchGrade will also perform much more severe histogram corrections with ease, such as those required for day to night transformations.

  • MatteToRoto is designed to help an artist quickly and effortlessly edit and tidy ill-defined RGB and alpha mattes without the need for time-consuming rotoscoping. Simply position a cross hair at the edge of the matte and MatteToRoto will produce a roto with a soft edge falloff and associated alpha channel with the click of the mouse.

  • MotionBlur uses The Foundry’s advanced motion estimation technology to add motion blur to sequence. Blur can be added automatically based on the amount of motion in the sequence or the shutter time can be set manually.

  • MotionMatte, given a sequence with a foreground object moving relative to the background, MotionMatte generates a segmented version of the foreground and associated alpha matte, with minimal user intervention.

  • PlanarPatcher is designed to track planar regions in a sequence. The plug-in allows an artist to create new image elements such as hand-painted frame repairs and logo replacements and accurately patch them over a complete clip, taking into account any perspective changes, rotations and zooms.

  • Splicer stitches together arbitrarily shaped images or parts of an image. Given a rough join position, the plug-in automatically finds the most visually believable seam along the border between the images. Possible uses of Splicer include generating backgrounds, removing foreground elements and creating large clean plates.


Availability and Pricing
Furnace 3 node-locked is priced at: $6,600 / £3,650 with Furnace 3 float priced at: $9,900/ £5,475. Existing customers can upgrade for $3,300 / £1,825 node-locked and $4,950 / £2,737.50 floating.

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