The Foundry has debuted the Furnace 4 plug-in set for Shake, a release comprising next generation motion estimation technology and a host of cool tools, according to the company. The Foundry will demonstrate Furnace 4 at the NAB 2007 trade show.

Furnace, available for Linux and OSX, was originally launched in 2002 and has become popular suite of image processing plug-ins to enhance workflow and boost productivity. The Foundry says that the key focus for the new Furnace 4 release has been to take advantage of the latest advances in technology, combined with over seven years of The Foundry’s own research into motion estimation, to deliver optimised output, enhanced speed, a more intuitive user interface and improve the user experience.

The new features eight brand new tools. These include: Contrast which, utilising the latest dynamic range compression technology from Apical, will automatically detect and enhance the shadow region, within filmed or HD footage, without blowing out highlights in other parts of the image; DeFlicker2, a fully automated plug-in that will remove in-scene flicker caused by poorly synchronised light rigs or stray lights; and RotoTracker, which tracks a rotoshape through a sequence, keeping it accurately attached to an object even as it changes shape.

"Our artists are employed across a wide variety of high-profile projects. To guarantee we continue to meet clients' demands we require sophisticated digital tools to help us get the job done. The Foundry's Furnace is an impressive digital toolset that delivers time and time again, a first-class collection of tools, which should be on any Shake artist's wish list." Nick Cannon, Head of Technology, Film, at MPC.

Furnace 4 has the ability to separately calculate, pre-generate and utilise motion vectors. Many of the Furnace plug-ins use motion vectors and rather than calculating the vectors on a per plug-in basis it is now possible to calculate them once using the new VectorGenerator plug-in. This new technique has many advantages although the most significant is speed enhancement, says The Foundry.

Now shipping, Furnace 4 node-locked is priced at: $4,400/£2,200, with Furnace 4 float priced at: $6,600/£3,300. Existing customers can upgrade for $2,200/£1,100 node-locked and $3,300/£1,650 floating.