As well as gearing up for a big presence at IBC in Amsterdam this week, Blackmagic Design is broadcasting the fact that its public beta of the free version of Fusion 8 is now available for download from its website. This beta of the high end visual effects software is available for both Mac OS X and Windows.

The first ever Mac compatible release of Fusion, which was previously a Windows-only product, means that projects can be easily moved between Mac and Windows versions of Fusion so customers can work on the platform of their choice.

The company said that Fusion has been one of Hollywood’s leading visual effects and motion graphics tools for over 25 years, and has been used on thousands of feature film and television projects. Take a look at this breakdown from the BBC's Poldark, for which Lexhag used Fusion for many of the visual effects.

In the 6 months since Fusion 8 was announced at NAB, there has been many improvements to the user interface, with a more modern look of the software. Blackmagic said there would be many more improvements to the user interface as the Fusion engineering teams continue to work with the visual effects community.

Featuring a node-based interface, Fusion makes it easy to build sophisticated visual effects compositions very quickly, said Blackmagic. Nodes representing effects, filters and other image processing operations can be connected together in any order to create unlimited visual effects. Nodes are laid out logically like a flow chart, and it’s easy to see and adjust any part of a project in Fusion by simply clicking on a node, according to the company.

The toolset consists of hundreds of built-in tools, allowing customers to pull keys, track objects, rotoscope, retouch images, animate titles, create particle effects and more, in a 3D workspace.

Fusion can also import 3D models, point cloud data, cameras or entire 3D scenes from Maya, 3ds Max or Lightwave and render them together with other elements. Deep pixel tools can be used to add volumetric fog, lighting and reflection mapping of rendered objects using world position passes so customers can create atmospheric effects that render in seconds, instead of hours, claimed Blackmagic.

“Since we announced our plans to bring Fusion 8 to Mac OS X, we’ve had a massive response from the creative community,” said Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty. “This is something that animators, designers and visual effects artists have wanted on the Mac for a very long time. Because it was written specifically for Windows, bringing Fusion to Mac OS X wasn’t just a simple port. Our engineering team has been working tirelessly to rewrite parts of the Fusion code base so it runs incredibly well on Mac OS X, while also improving the Windows version. This new free version of Fusion 8 for Mac and Windows will make it accessible to many more users than ever.”

The paid-for version, Fusion 8 Studio, will soon be available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Fusion Studio has all of the same features as the free version, but also adds advanced optical flow image analysis tools for stereoscopic 3D work, retiming and stabilisation. Fusion Studio also includes support for third-party OpenFX plugins, unlimited distributed network rendering, and Generation for studio wide multi user collaboration to track, manage, review and approve shots when working with large creative teams on complex projects.

Download Blackmagic Fusion for Mac or Windows here.