Autodesk has decided that it will not renew its development license with The Foundry, citing competitive issues, according to the Nuke developer. The Foundry has three Sparks plug-ins for Autodesk's high-end visual effects systems such as Flame and Inferno -- Furnace, Tinder and Keylight. In 2007, the company purchased the compositing software Nuke from Digital Domain, which is a rival to both Autodesk's software-based products including Combustion and Toxik, and -- to some degree -- its high-end systems.

From January 1 2009, The Foundry says that it's no longer part of the Autodesk Authorised Developer Network programme and can no longer guarantee continued development or support. The Nuke developer says that Autodesk has provided a non-binding, verbal assurance to The Foundry that may be sufficient to enable it to continue supporting Sparks plug-ins. It continues that due to the uncertain nature of this assurance, the company can only guarantee ‘best effort’ support to its Sparks users at this time. The Foundry also says that is also unable to predict whether it will be able to develop or support future releases on Autodesk systems platforms.

The Foundry’s CEO, Bill Collis, says that "without a legal agreement in place, we cannot guarantee how long we will be able to continue to provide this service."

The company says that because of this, it's dropping the price of the Furnace and Tinder plug-ins to US$1,000/£650 plus VAT, and Keylight to $500/£325 plus VAT.

Tinder was the first commercially-available Sparks plug-in, which was released in 1996 for Flame systems.

Simon Robinson, The Foundry’s chief scientist and co-founder, said: "The Foundry was originally established to develop Tinder on Discreet Logic [the original owner of Flame and Inferno], so it is particularly sad that this relationship is altering so significantly."