After spending most of its years in the high-end post sector with its exclusive Flame* and Inferno* machines, Discreet has decided to firmly enter the desktop market with the release of Combustion*. The company had little more than dabbled in this sector before with Edit*, which sat at the high end of the desktop market. Combustion* represents "a significant milestone in the company’s history", according to Discreet. Combustion* is a unified paint, animation and 3D compositing tool that runs on Mac OS and Windows NT systems. It is based on Inferno*’s software, but combines this with desktop standards such as support for Photoshop and After Effects plug-ins. As with both Inferno* and Edit*, Combustion* uses Discreet’s intuitive ‘artist interface’. The back-end also takes a leaf out of higher-end products – offering scalability through support for multi-processor systems, advanced RAM caching and realtime multi-clip playback. The tool also supports batch, background and network rendering. On the front end, the application includes keying, colour correction, motion tracking and stabilization features. True perspective facilities are also on offer, as are non-destructive vector-based paint tools. Composites can also be nested almost limitlessly. Integration with other Discreet products is seen as a major selling point for the product. 3D Studio MAX users can paint or use composites directly in their application. Conversely, MAX scenes can be placed in Combustion* compositions without conversion from the RPF file format. Edit* users can access Combustion* effects directly from the timeline or clip bins. Users of Discreet’s higher-end products can also share date with Combustion*. Combustion* will ship in the summer and will cost around £2,000. There is no extra charge for network rendering licenses.