Product Review: Page (1) of 3 - 02/20/02 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

Combustion 2

Discreet's Desktop Compositing Powerhouse By Paulo de Andrade
?Doctor, I came to see you because Ive become totally addicted to combustion?
?Im glad you came! Sometimes it starts with a simple love for flames. But when you least expect it, your life can turn into a real inferno!
?I know! Thats what Im afraid of! On the other hand, combustion gives me all I need.
?You definitely need treatment! Often times cases like yours can result in arson?
?Excuse me?
?You start playing with matches, then small fires and, when you least expect it, you are setting a whole Microsoft building on fire! Huh? Maybe I should not try to cure you at all?
?Doctor, I understand your inner feelings of anger but thats not what Im talking about. Im talking about my addiction to Discreets combustion 2.0. Its a compositing package that is simply amazing!
?I wonder in which building they program Windows?
?Well, I guess our time is up. Anyway, I have to rush home because Ive got some serious particle manipulation to do. By the way, doctor, Combustion also runs on Macs?

In case you are wondering, the event above is entirely fictitious. Except, of course, for my recent addiction to Combustion and the fact that many doctors do hate Windows. However, no doctor would dare set Microsoft on fire because most of them own stocks.

Combustion is a very powerful desktop compositing and motion graphics package by Discreet, the same company that brought us Flame, Flint and Inferno. Part of the reason for Combustions extreme success is the fact that it not only shares a similar interface with its much more expensive siblings but it also uses the same color correction, tracking and keying technologies that Discreet is famous for. In addition, most files are readily interchangeable between these programs, making Combustion an ideal addition to high-end facilities that have Flame and Inferno stations. Masking and line removal jobs, for example, can be sent to a less expensive Combustion station while the Inferno artist concentrates on more complex and creative tasks. The finished work can then be brought back into Inferno for the final compositing. This capability alone saves production facilities many thousands of dollars in software and operational costs and is one of the reasons why industry giants like ILM and Disney have acquired several Combustion seats.


Another big plus for Combustion in a larger production environment is that it shares the same interface model with Flame and Inferno, making it an ideal training system for junior artists. Not only can they train in house on much less expensive systems but also in schools or even by themselves. That way good Combustion artists can make a very easy transition to Inferno and Flame and facilities dont have to worry as much about finding qualified people.

Combustion makes an excellent Character Generator
But what excites me the most about Combustion is the fact that it is extremely affordable, enabling smaller companies or even individuals to have access to the amazing Discreet technology found on their more expensive systems. This is definitely not another severely crippled package like some companies put together to lure new users. Combustion is fully featured and extremely powerful. So much so that even large facilities that can easily afford (and do own) Inferno and Flame constantly do high-end effects work in Combustion alone. So, a small facility with Combustion and a good artist can create practically the same level of effects and motion graphics that a large facility can.

Combustion 2 works on Macintosh OS X, 9.x and Windows 2000. It is fully multi-threaded and comes with two types of network rendering, one supporting multiple platforms and another specifically for Windows-based networks. The network rendering programs come standard with Combustion, requiring no additional purchase. You can install them on any computer on the network and Combustion will take advantage of all available machines when it come time to render, regardless of OS. You can also use the stand-alone rendering apps to render a project on a few machines while working on another project on the main Combustion system. And, even if you dont have access to multiple machines, Combustion lets you render in the background while you continue working.

One very useful render-related feature is the e-mail notification. If you wish to take a break while the computer is rendering your project you can have Combustion send you an e-mail when the rendering is done. If your cell phone service lets you receive e-mails or messages, you can even go out and youll be automatically notified when its time to go back to the office. The system is also versatile enough to attach a smaller rendered file to an e-mail, in case you need to send it to a remote location, or to send a larger file via ftp to a remote server.


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Related Keywords:Discreet Combustion, Flame, Inferno, 3D compositing, 2D compositing, 3D Max, Special Effects, Particles

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