Blackmagic Design Releases Fusion 9

Blackmagic Design is releasing Fusion 9 effects software with exciting new features and an even more exciting price—free!

The node-based visual effects and compositing software, Fusion, is getting a major upgrade from Blackmagic Design with the Fusion 9 they are going to unveil at September’s IBC convention in Amsterdam.

“Fusion 9 is a massive update with numerous new features and enhancements,” Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations at Blackmagic Design told The Broadcast Bridge in an exclusive interview. “In addition to the brand new VR toolset, Fusion 9 includes entirely new keyer technology, planar tracking, camera tracking and multi-user collaboration tools, just to highlight a few of its features.”

Fusion 9's new VR tools give users a 360-degree interactive 3D workspace,

Fusion 9's new VR tools give users a 360-degree interactive 3D workspace,

Thanks to enhanced GPU acceleration, users can wear a headset and interact with elements in a VR scene in real time. In addition, the new 360-degree spherical camera renders out complete scenes, all in a single pass and without the need for complex camera rigs.

Fusion 9 also brings with it a new delta keyer, a benefit Caniglia was good enough to detail.

“For truly seamless compositing, blue, green or any other color backgrounds need to be removed completely,” he said. “Fusion 9’s new delta keyer provides a complete set of matte finesse controls for the cleanest possible keys, while again, still preserving fine image detail. In essence, the delta keyer is a classic channel difference keyer with color bias and spill replacement. It supplies a clean plate to improve shadows and separation from the background.”

On the tracking side, Fusion 9’s planar tracker calculates motion planes, allowing users to accurately composite elements onto moving objects in a scene.

Node-based tracking adds flexibility to composites

Node-based tracking adds flexibility to composites

“The planar tracking calculates motion planes for accurately compositing elements onto moving objects in a scene,” Caniglia explained. “As it tracks areas of an image, it automatically finds the tracking detail and then calculates planes of motion that can be used to corner pin, and stabilize images. This removes the need to manually animate motion, perspective, position, scale or rotation of rotoscoped elements as the image changes.”

Fusion 9 is designed for either single user or collaborative workgroups, and that’s where its Studio Play comes into action.

Fusion 9 talks nicely with other software.

Fusion 9 talks nicely with other software.

 As Caniglia described it, “The Studio Player application is perfect when working with a large team. It features a single layer timeline with basic shot trimming, storyboard tools, versioning and annotation notes, making it ideal for version control. It also automatically synchronizes reel changes, annotations and color adjustments across multiple workstations, allowing multiple users to access the same projects simultaneously.

Remote synchronization also allows multiple Studio Players to follow the master, meaning actions performed on the master will also be executed on the additional workstations, allowing the reel to be reviewed across multiple workstations or sites.”

Fusion 9 is available as a free download, while Fusion 9 Studio costs $299. The difference is that Fusion 9 Studio includes a few additional features that are geared towards larger studios and more complex projects and workflows, such as the multi-user collaboration tools, Studio Player, bin server, network rendering, as well as the planar and camera trackers.

Fusion 9 Studio’s unlimited network rendering means that users no longer have to pay a license fee for each render node. After purchasing and installing Fusion 9 Studio on all the workstations, users can then install it on as many render nodes as they need without any additional charges or maintenance costs.

But those of us who have tracked Fusion software’s progress over the years will note that this $299 price is a major drop from the previous $995. Should this raise a red flag?

Caniglia came clean. “For Blackmagic Design, it’s all about empowering the end user,” he said. “We believe creatives should have the tools they need at their fingertips and our products should be a portal to fostering creativity, not limiting it. This is why we drop prices whenever we can and pass savings along to our customers.”

Let’s remember that after Blackmagic Design acquired DaVinci in 2009, they not only dropped the price of Resolve down to $995, but they also released a free version. And now DaVinci Resolve Studio is down to $299.

So, why?

“Hollywood’s top visual effects and motion graphics artists have been using Fusion for years on thousands of movies, television series and more.” Caniglia said. “We feel the release of Fusion 9 makes professional VFX, compositing and motion graphics tools more accessible to a wider range of users than ever before.”

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