Blackmagic Design has announced a “major update” to its vfx, compositing, 3D and motion graphics software Fusion at this year’s Siggraph and has dropped the price to $299. 

The update, Fusion 9, features new VR tools, new keyer technology, planar tracking, camera tracking and multi user collaboration tools. 

Fusion 9 gives users a full 360º true 3D workspace, along with a new panoramic viewer and support for popular VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Black magic says that GPU acceleration will allow users to wear a headset and interact with elements in a VR scene in realtime. Fusion 9 also supports stereoscopic VR and the new 360º spherical camera renders out complete VR scenes in a single pass and without the need for complex camera rigs.

The new planar tracker in Fusion 9 calculates motion planes for accurately compositing elements onto moving objects in a scene. For example, the new planar tracker can be used to replace signs or other flat objects as they move through a scene. Planar tracking data can also be used on rotoscope shapes so users don’t have to manually animate motion, perspective, position, scale or rotation of rotoscoped elements as the image changes.

Fusion 9 also features a new camera tracker that analyses the motion of a live action camera in a scene and reconstructs the identical motion path in 3D space for use with cameras inside of Fusion. This lets users composite elements with precisely matched movement and perspective of the original. Fusion can also use lens metadata for proper framing, focal length and more.

In addition to new image science and processing, the new delta keyer has a complete set of matte finesse controls for creating clean keys while preserving fine image detail. There’s also a new clean plate tool that can smooth out subtle colour variations on blue and green screens in live action footage, making them easier to key.

For multi user collaboration, Fusion 9 Studio includes Studio Player, a new application that has a playlist, storyboard and timeline for playing back shots. Studio Player can track version history, display annotation notes and has support for LUTs. The new Studio Player can output via Blackmagic DeckLink and UltraStudio devices for users that need to see shots in a suite or theatre for review and approval. Remote synchronisation lets customers around the world synchronise Studio Players in multiple locations. Fusion 9 also features a bin server so shared assets and tools don’t have to be copied onto each artist’s local workstation.

Fusion 9 Studio also gives customers unlimited network rendering so large studios working on complex shots and high end visual effects heavy feature films won’t have to pay a license fee for each render node. 

Fusion 9 will also have more GPU and OpenCL acceleration and it will work with additional formats and file types such as DNxHR, MXF and others.

Blackmagic Design also announced a price reduction for Fusion Studio from $995 to $299.

Jon Creamer

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