Price: 850 . 200 . 400
Pros: Capsules make creating and sharing preset effects easy. B-spline polygon tools hasten masking. Timewarp operator allows creative use of slow- and fast-motion. Minor updates concentrate on efficiency.
Cons: Lack of focus on day-to-day tools. Few new features. Little automation of Diamond Keyer. Capsules need community around them.
Combustion has been portrayed in many different ways by Discreet since its inception – a tool to free up £700-per-hour Flame and Inferno systems, and a training tool for those suites. But the company has had the most trouble trying to convince the majority of compositors that it’s a better compositing environment than After Effects.
Discreet’s application has always had the edge when it comes to traditional effects-creation, but lost out to AE for motion graphics. Combustion also didn’t have AE’s breadth of plug-ins and wasn’t as efficient at the day-to-day tasks of those not working on high-end film and commercial productions.
Unfortunately, version 4.0 isn’t going to do anything about this. Combustion’s still better than AE for pure special FX work and the new features include some great-looking additions, but most are as exciting as Discreet’s name change into Autodesk.
A prime example of Combustion’s focus is the new Diamond Keyer operator (as Combustion calls its effects nodes). This sounds like a fantastic addition – as it’s taken directly from Autodesk’s £350,000 Flame system – and for some effects artists, it is. Many, however, won’t take to it.