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xmb
01-12-2003, 03:26 PM
i was wondering if it's really worth to get a system that cost's as much as a house. what's so much better in flame and what can you do so much more than in combustion, digital-fusion, shake, after-effects...
of course there is much highend stuff in there that you need from time to time for highend compositing, but is it really worth? today's pc's get faster & cheaper. and mid-end software too...

for example

you can do "bicubics" with a 3d program (and with this 3d program you get at least more options for real texturing, animation & modeling)
morphing with elastic reality
2d/3dtracking with boujou
compositing with combustion or shake or digital fusion or after effects
and so on...
and even with all those tools you still are far under flame's price.

maybe you have a combination of, lets say:
3d studio max & combustion, or digital fusion, or shake, or after-effects.
what do you need more? digital fusion has great keying-tools & color-correction too.

i was playing with flame from time to time and i was missing the option to switch between different programs. i love to work between flash, illustrator, photoshop, combustion, digital fusion & 3d and share those possibilities between those tools. but on flame you have only this one system and especially for motion-graphics it's not a such a good choice. the playback in flame is wonderful (especially when you work with film), but it needs to process (render) everything additional you do on your footage (like color-correction, etc...) like in all those other tools. so?

so can any flame-user tell me some more flame-pro's or contra's?

arvid
01-12-2003, 03:36 PM
try sitting down with a demanding customer doing some touch-ups on some 2k/HD material with combustion, then ask that question again :)

xmb
01-12-2003, 06:37 PM
get a good pc with the best available cpu's today (for example 3ghz dual from intel) with quadro graphics card & voodoo hd-video board or something like that and with all the other tools you're still far under flame's price.

cerebros
01-12-2003, 08:16 PM
Its always interesting to read how non-FFI users see the price point at which FFI is sold at. FFI offers the best "tools" suited to todays client supervised online editing sessions. As a result you can also bill them accordingly which offsets the initial price of purchase. Hourly rates of $800 are not uncommon for a flame suite with a Good operator, try getting that for a combustion "suite". It just doesn't work like that in the real world. When I was doing demo's at discreet for combustion I also had a view of like "whats the big deal about FFI?" One day desktop software is going to trounce these guys... I have since changed my view, I see that various tools are suited to various jobs. The desktop products you mentioned are all great tools in their own right and work together reasonably well, where as a FFI system just works on its "own" and might not offer some of the flexibility a dedicated program does. It does however offer clients a quick turn around for their needs, and a "global" toolset that is unmatched in any product out there today.

Just sit down in a major online session with a tough, demanding client and see what I mean, sure you could do some of the work on a pc, but that same client won't like it when he needs a quick turn around on a major project that demands quick, interactive and high quality results.

After all they're just tools, some work better than others, and will cost to reflect that...

-C-

Milo FX
01-13-2003, 12:12 AM
Years ago when I worked with Henrie for first time, I amazed.It give us a lot of tool to make our dreams comes true.We can realise all the client s demands. The price of the system is approx.. same as todays FFI brothers...
At that old days you can use the PC for only a couples math operation :)
Todays PC are much faster then old Henrie s. And what is the price?
I agree with Cerebro in some of his words. But today, as a Flame Artist, I only respect to desktop machines and DCC applications.
Thats right, FFI brothers give us a stabile and fast changable world, but for a 300 000 $ (Flame).

There is absolutly nothing you could NOT make with your desktop PC and DCC applications. If you like to create a fantastic world full of your imagination, go buy some PC with a lot of tools (around 10 000$). If you like to make big client connection, ask for FFI brothers. :thumbsup:

wireFrame
01-13-2003, 06:08 AM
I've heard this comment several times already and I the guys have answered your question.

I would just like to add that although there are pc/cpus that are really fast, nothing comes close to how sgi and discreet tailored their machines to work in a demanding online environment.

FFI is an software combining all the applications you need to get the job done (you don't have to use other apps) integrated to run on a hardware that discreet itself tailored to run.

The ultimate challenge to those desktop pc's is the I/O system. Of course you can do the job on a cheap machine but how would you get the uncompressed clips to your pc realtime? Can you hook up a HD deck/camera on it or D1 to that pc?

What about maintenance and support? If you use several software, it could be a headache when you have to call several developers when something goes wrong. Does the manufacturerers guarantee that some of you peripherals work flawlessly with other third party products?

With an FFI system, you just have to call Discreet.

Think again.

MayaV
01-13-2003, 02:45 PM
hi people

i agree with wireFrame i have seen demo of FFI at discereet and these guys have awesome tools and speed i also work on combustion but beleive me its good for broadcast work as soon as you go for Film it screams for harware and more hardware, and you dont have toold like modular keyer, 3d keyer, 3d tracking and other high end stuff in combustion you even dont have timeline warping like afx, and lot of times c2 crashes if you use third party plugins like psuanami, lens flare etc.

regards

Vivek

Milo FX
01-14-2003, 02:21 AM
Sorry about my angry style but who are you guys?
You work for Discreet or you live outside of the world?


I would just like to add that although there are pc/cpus that are really fast, nothing comes close to how sgi and discreet tailored their machines to work in a demanding online environment.

i agree with wireFrame i have seen demo of FFI at discereet and these guys have awesome tools and speed


I worked with FFI brothers hundreds times... If you think Flint or Flame are two time faster than Intel P4 3 Ghz, think again.
You are thinking that this systems works faster because of an illusion. The illusion is, how you work. Not how they work... When you use Flint or Flame, usually you use one module at time. For example you use modular keyer for keying, you process that. And go to Action module with your footage and matte to animate them, you process that. And you go to Grain Module for make grain, you process that etc etc. If you try to use all modules in action you can see they are not couple times faster than P4 processors.
Try to use Combustion like you use Flame with a RAID array, you will see the differance.

Ok I agree that Inferno is really much faster than desktop systems. But how many times? Please calculate this little equation.
Lets say you give one and a half billion dolars to buy an Inferno system. And you have to make a key in 2k 16 bit footage during
1000 frames. Lets say Inferno calculates one frame of 2k key in half of a second. What is the render time of this process.
Ok you are right 500 seconds.
In the other hand you spend 500 thousands dolars for a PC network that contain 500 P4 (that is possible).
Lets say Inferno is 20 times faster than any P4 (it s not fair but for a second I agree with that). Ok lets back to our
problem with new system. What is the render time for same key process. Each CPU spend 10 seconds for a frame, we have 500 CPU and we have 1000 frames.
Ok you are right 20 seconds.
And now I have 25 times faster system for 1/3 of the price...


FFI is an software combining all the applications you need to get the job done (you don't have to use other apps) integrated to run on a hardware that discreet itself tailored to run.

So if you can make all the things in IFF, please try to make a lens flare without a 3rd party plugins...


The ultimate challenge to those desktop pc's is the I/O system. Of course you can do the job on a cheap machine but how would you get the uncompressed clips to your pc realtime? Can you hook up a HD deck/camera on it or D1 to that pc?

You ask about I/O solution on desktop system. Do you ever heard an editing system called AVID?
This industry leader of editing software work noncompressly only at desktop PCs. Not on Silicon Graphic, not on Machintosh!
And if you like you can buy Videopump I/O card for PAL DV or HD for only 3000 or 7000 $ each...


and lot of times c2 crashes if you use third party plugins like psuanami, lens flare etc.

If you think that FFI does not crash, you are in dream. Please try this, make a new composite on Flint. Capture a footage, it is
not important what was inside. Go to Action Module with this footage. Make some blur or key framed axis anim when your footage is the 1st layer. Process it. Than add this processed footage to Action Module like 2nd layer. Than push the add button on layer tab for 3rd layer and delete the first process that you see in import footage desktop(just push it outside the window). Return to Action Module. Just push the Process button. You will see what is really means crashing.

I like to apologize from all the members of Discreet company for this reply because I really believe that they are working
for a really good objective. They are making a lot of people s dreams comes true.
And I believe that they have some reasons on their price strategy in the market.
But this strategy is not about the speed or "one size fits all" :shrug:

beaker
01-14-2003, 06:17 AM
>>Lets say you give one and a half billion dolars to buy an Inferno system. And you have to make a key in 2k 16 bit footage during
>>In the other hand you spend 500 thousands dolars for a PC network that contain 500 P4 (that is possible).

Where are you getting all these crazy numbers? half a billion dollars? 500 thousand for a pc?

FFI cost brand new between US$100k and $500k. You can get used Flame and inferno systems for $80-100k. I have seen Flints for $20k.

>>You ask about I/O solution on desktop system. Do you ever heard an editing system called AVID? This industry leader of editing software work noncompressly only at desktop PCs. Not on Silicon Graphic, not on Machintosh!

What avid are you talking about, Avid is a company, not a software package. You do know that an uncompressed Avid DS starts at $100k, an avid ds with HD starts at $180k, both of those prices are without storage, add another 25-50k for that. Also do you know that Avid software does run on macintosh, Xpress, Media Composer and Film Composer all run on mac. Avid software only ran on mac and sgi up untill 3-4 years ago. DS runs on pc only because they bought up softimage and got DS along with it.

Avid DS HD system is still pretty pokey because of the limited bandwidth of intel boxes compared to SGI. Most of the inexpensive HD cards that run on windows boxes have to use a lossless codec that compresses the file down small enough so you can get the multiple HD streams over the PCI bus. The way arround this currently has been the systems similar to the HD DDR that 5d Cyborg and NR Tremor systems use, but again, they are expensive (US$50k).

wireFrame
01-14-2003, 06:23 AM
I don't have to argue or peruade you but I understand what you're fighting for, Milo FX.

I'm an artist and maybe the rest of us who you are trying to persuade but we're not the ones who bought those machines that we're using. If I have to buy a new system that I can afford then I would still buy a discreet system 'coz it's built around the integrity of its system and the maintenance support (minus the headaches). We're comfortable using it and it would be very nice if Discreet would lower the price (though it is justifyiable).

FFI is an award winning tool and people who uses it should respect it the way it is. It is the prefered tool by top compositors on earth. Those post houses that can' afford it/them would consult you instead.

All I can say is: To each his own.

PS. By the way, if you know/understand how to use batch processing, you'll understand why FFI is soooo cool to use.

Avid amchines here are just used for offline editing

xmb
01-14-2003, 11:34 AM
the sad thing is that discreet thinks very capitalistic (of course, like many other companies. it's their right to make money)...

they introduced the new dma technology demo some while ago (remember toxik, strata, mezzo) and it looked like a new highend next generation compositing/editing-allinone tool available as a pc-turnkey-system this year. with almost or similiar options as the ffi systems but really amazing performance with no additional hardware-acceleration (only dual p4 & raid with a wildcat-graphics card)

read also here: http://www.fxguide.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=31

and: http://www.digitalproducer.com/2002/04_apr/features/04_15/cw_discreet_strata.htm

now since sony's socratto pc-turnkey system died & 5d (cyborg) too, discreet just stopped the development of their highend pc-system, because now they're out of concurrence in that area (ok maybe avid-ds, but not really) and thus it would only decrease the ffi-sales probably.
the dma technology will be introduced in the existing systems, but i'm not sure how exactly.
one at discreet told me that there will be a very big surprise this year (maybe at nab),

so let's wait & see...
i still hope there will be something for pc like this toxik-thing.

arvid
01-14-2003, 02:00 PM
now since sony's socratto pc-turnkey system died & 5d (cyborg) too, discreet just stopped the development of their highend pc-system, because now they're out of concurrence in that area (ok maybe avid-ds, but not really) and thus it would only decrease the ffi-sales probably.


Stopped development? Are you sure? :surprised

xmb
01-14-2003, 03:21 PM
not the development of dma, but of this pc-system. at least that's what a guy from discreet told me...
i guess it's not really stopped, but "sleeping", until they get real concurrence from outside again.

arvid
01-14-2003, 03:36 PM
So they're sitting on a 5-stream realtime 4:4:4 3D/composite system, and waiting for someone to race with?

I wonder why noone at all ever mentions Media100 844x..? it has real decent hardware, but an immature software so far, but who knows what it will be in a year?

beaker
01-14-2003, 04:13 PM
Trouble with the 844X is that it only works with D1 right now. Discreet products can go up to HD or film(since they are resolution independant).

Milo FX
01-15-2003, 03:01 AM
Where are you getting all these crazy numbers? half a billion dollars? 500 thousand for a pc?

Not 500 thousand dolar for one PC. The idea is making a render farm that build with 500 PC. Please read the sentences carefully.

FFI cost brand new between US$100k and $500k. You can get used Flame and inferno systems for $80-100k. I have seen Flints for $20k.

In my country the saling price of a new Inferno system is 1.500.000 $ approx. And the cost a new Flame is 350.000 $. Sorry I have not live in United State and I can not found everyday, used cheap FFI systems.

What avid are you talking about, Avid is a company, not a software package. You do know that an uncompressed Avid DS starts at $100k

Good word game. Sorry but I m not soldier who speak like: " I AM WORKING ON AVID XPRESS, NON LINEAR EDITING SYSTEM SIR!!!"
I call Avid name for all editing product, thanks for your understanding. And also 2 years ago my company purchased a new AVID XPRESS (PC) with 3 hours noncompress storage for $50k.

Also do you know that Avid software does run on macintosh, Xpress, Media Composer and Film Composer all run on mac.

I know very well but all this product runs with compressed footage. Please read the sentences carefully (again).

Avid software only ran on mac and sgi up untill 3-4 years ago

This is a good nostalgic vision :)


Avid DS HD system is still pretty pokey because of the limited bandwidth of intel boxes compared to SGI. Most of the inexpensive HD cards that run on windows boxes have to use a lossless codec that compresses the file down small enough so you can get the multiple HD streams over the PCI bus. The way arround this currently has been the systems similar to the HD DDR that 5d Cyborg and NR Tremor systems use, but again, they are expensive (US$50k).

You can found a Videopump HD card for PC for only 7000$.

PS. By the way, if you know/understand how to use batch processing, you'll understand why FFI is soooo cool to use.

I know very well how to use batch processing, and I hope you know what I mean in my long reply :)

FFI is an award winning tool and people who uses it should respect it the way it is. It is the prefered tool by top compositors on earth. Those post houses that can' afford it/them would consult you instead.

I'm saying again,
I did not say any bad thing to any highend system. I know all the advantages and disadvantages of the FFI brothers. And I know all the capabilities and limitation of PC systems. I m only saying the highend systems are not high as we imagine, you can make all the think that you imagine on a PC system.

:shrug:

arvid
01-15-2003, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by beaker
Trouble with the 844X is that it only works with D1 right now. Discreet products can go up to HD or film(since they are resolution independant).

That's not the reason, probably most of the productions are aimed at TV, and Avid|DS is 601, but also available in HD for those who want it, but with a limited set of realtime tools. I don't like the 844x very much after testing it for two weeks here at the studio when it was brand new, but that was mainly due to the software in it, and the fact that everything it does, it does in fields, so it's ineffective, the things that are realtime are indeed realtime, but the things that are not, is extra-extra-slow, so they got some work to do. Their mistake is that they are selling it as a composite suite, while it's in fact a high-quality edititing suite. It did not meet my compositing needs, not even close, but that's another story, I'm sure it'll grow, I was just surprised to see that there's absolutely no interest in it (they do have HD coming...)

beaker
01-15-2003, 07:05 PM
Media 100 is aiming at that Avid DS crowd. It is an editor that has alot of compositing capabilities. Also like FCP where they added a bunch of afterfx like capabilities to an editor. In the professional world before FCP and DS most avid editing software just did strait editing, very little effects of any kind or keying or even audio editing(any that were in there were pretty damn cludgy) not even much for color correction tools either. Just cut, slip, slide. So they are aiming at alot of the avid crowd that are eyeing other systems that have a little more without the price bite of an Avid DS/Symphony/Media Composer.

Good to hear about the 844/x though, I hadn't hear much from people that had used it yet.

arvid
01-15-2003, 09:12 PM
I've been waiting to hear a second opinion myself actually, maybe next year :D

jeferichardson
01-16-2003, 05:08 AM
I was Flint (o2) artist , Then I had the oportunity to use a pc and After Effects. What a difference. The Flint was a peice of garbage in comparrison. We only got the Flint station to help support our Inferno. But when I show speed tests to boss, He became very upset. PC was faster.
Not to long ago I was operating a Flame running on Octane. Same thing. As soon as I got a complex Batch setup it crawled. I know for a fact that I could have done it on a PC and got the same rusults for a fraction of the cost.

The workflow patterns for Inferno and Flames are different than other comp packages. It was a good experience working on them. Being able to work with clients sitting right behind you telling you to do this, do that, and change this, is somthing I never want to do again.

One company I worked for ( www.lostboys-studios.com ) has a really good system setup. They invite the clients in, Get them to critque the shots, Then send them out for lunch or whatever, when they get back its done. I guess it depends on the project you are working on, but having the client sitting there all the time is more of a hinderence I believe.

beaker
01-16-2003, 06:24 AM
Alot of people have pretty ancient FFI systems. I know many still running a Flint on a Slo2(which is over 7 years old) or a flame on an old onyx(came out in 92-93, so it is 10 years old). It is kind of a hard to compare to a modern system. Many companies dont want to pay to upgrade their systems because they paid so much for it in the first place.

Another good example is avid. Many places still rent out old avid media composers that are running on pre-powerpc hardware with OS7 or 8. They still get like $150-$200 a day for these 10 year old machines.

wireFrame
01-16-2003, 09:35 AM
Yes, I agree with beaker. Some fx houses are reluctant to upgrade both software and hardware. We're in that same situation about 3 years ago.

I use inferno (onyx2), flame (octane 2), flint (old impact), and smoke (octane 2). We also have a PC to assist us loaded with Photoshop and AE.

If you ask me, I have never finished anything on a PC except preparing materials to use for compositing. I do render in AE but just passes.

You can actually finish something on a PC using several apps in combination but it's not that fast (even compared it to flint overall). Rendering on a per frame basis could be faster on a PC but to get the job done in time within the patience of the client, PC is not an alternative.

If you ask me to do a lenst flare without a plugin? Heck, I did that even when I was just starting to use flint six years ago. AE at that time (version 3) was just a lousy flat compositing tool. How can you do a moving lens flare in photoshop? If you don't know how to paint in Paint then you're an ineficient artist.

I really don't care what software/hardware I use may it be AE, Combustion, FFI, etc. What matters to me is how to efficiently use them and get the job done immediately may there be clients or none. The clients don't care as much as long as they get what they want and happy about it (so you'll have a fat bonus in the end). If you're an artist that can't take being supervised and rather work on a backroom with your PC/AE then you can't move ahead in your career.

If you think you're faster by doing it in photoshop then by all means use it.

I just don't agree that using the fastest PC makes the fastest octane or O2 lame and slow.

MayaV
01-16-2003, 11:56 AM
hi

i agree with wireFrame. major studios in Hollywood absolutely rely on Discreet FFI line up, they are not crazy to invest 100 of thousand of dollars in discreet systems even they might be aware of Avid & Videopump but they just rely on Discreet when it comes to a high end commercial or film compositing.

let me clear one thing disceet dosent pay us to say all this thing but its discreet client tele which speaks for them.

Well as far as our country goes 3 years back there were hardly 5 FFI brothers in INDIA but today there are more then 300 installation alone in INDIA. i think this figures speaks for themselves.

regards

Vivek

flameop
01-16-2003, 01:22 PM
Ok. just a few things,
Milo, your lens flair , do you think people will quibble over $200 for knoll lensflair when they just forked out for a FFI. $700 an hour and I have the plugin forever?

As for avid.. it's all compressed.. apart from DS.. but then your into flame $$

To put it simply. give me a complex comp/edit.
One very nasty client to the mix. Ya can run around all the diff suites doing the jobs.. I'd rather do it in one place.. quickly.

I agree you could put together a suite with all the tools for less. But try charging FFI $$ for it.

And one last point. Integration=speed

Milo FX
01-17-2003, 01:54 AM
I think that it s very hard to make a conversation about compositing system. I feel anger in your sentences about my idea. But I also think there is a misunderstanding beacause of my english that is not my original language.
For a physical comparison between SGI cpu and Intel cpu, please take a look to benchmarks. Plus O2 and Octane workstations are not expensive as we imagine. So what is the thing that make Flame software, 250 times expensive than Combustion software?

3 years ago when I go in France to Aaton(Europeen famous movie camera company) factory, I asked to one of the directors in company: "Why you sell your cameras, two times expensive than a new sport car. There is any thing that make it so expensive?"
And he ansvered me: "Absolutly there is nothing in camera that make it two time expensive than a car. But also there is not enough customers as a car customers."

In this stuation I change my question and ask you again.
What is the thing that make Combustion software 250 times cheaper than Flame software?

I insist on there is absolutly nothing that you can make in FFI in spite of you can not make with several application on PC system.
If you dont believe me please make a little research about Pitof who is a celebre visual effect producer in France (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Alien Ressuraction) and he said that he use 25 NT workstation with Photoshop, AE and Dutruc (Dubois company s home compositing product) for all compositing needs.

Please try to see the idea. If not, thats ok, everyone used to walk in his own territory...

:) :) :)

Flywaver
01-17-2003, 02:37 PM
Hey,

Well...it's very nice to hear from both sides...I never had a chance to see FFI in action, I just "heard" things about it but it was mostly the good sides as if there weren't any downsides. :thumbsdow

Right now I use C2 and AE and soon DF and by reading a bit here I see that the best solution is probably to stick with one of them and buy a LOT of render nodes...we won't do film/HD for at least 2 years anyways. :hmm:

I didn't see much about smoke...how does it compare to it's competitors? I understand it's 55k$ US but competes with Avid DS?!

Cheers!

wireFrame
01-20-2003, 01:34 PM
My best answer to your burning question on the point of view of an online artist:

If you analyze why an expensive camera can cost a lot aside from having few costumers compared to cars is that cameras are equipments that you can make huge money out from it.

I guess this rationalizes why flame is more expensive than combustion. Though you can finish a compositing job using a combination of several applications, its not that fast in terms of turnaround compared to a single program that has it all integrated into one. Why is it faster to use one 2.0 Ghz of cpu than two 1.0 Ghz cpus?

Now, as what flameop pointed out that integration=speed-- I agree with him. Speed is about finishing a series of complex inter-related operations to achieve a final composite. This 'speed' translates into $$$. Clients are willing to pay as long as they get what they want and on time. On an online session with them, they are the bosses; they're the one who has the money.
Discreet knows that their systems can deliver huge amounts of profit to those who uses them that's why it's so damn expensive.

Take this for an analogy: If a company invents something (like a diamond making machine) and market it, they are giving those who buy their machines the opportunity to get rich. Of course there are big machines and small machines and those who has the big machines obviously can profit from it quickly. So if you profit more quickly than using a small machine (or several of them), then they'll charge you higher for the big machines. You charge more if you work in film res than video res.


The difference between inferno and combustion is tremendous. Inferno is a system not just a software. It's a combination of hardware and software meaning the machine (Onyx 2) that runs the inferno software is configured by discreet to run it. It's not like combustion that is just the software and intall it to an off the shelf pc. You can't buy an inferno or flame software and run it to an off the shelf Onyx or Octane.

Conclusion: Small fx houses in our country are desperate to compete with us in the bids. Yes, they win in some small bids but for an expensive production with a material to break/air on a scheduled date, the competition backs out. They know that they can do the requirement (using their 'complete' and souped-up PCs) but not the deadline. Rendering on their PCs is fast but not the way in interacting with several apps to work effiently. Client handling is a major factor for the online artist. This is where you can charge huge $$$ to clients. So if you're earning big time using inferno or flame then Discreet has the right to raise the price of those systems.

If you think you can revise what you've done in a couple of minutes using a PC system and show it to a nasty client (and revising it again and again) then you made a breakthrough, MiloFX/XMB. But for the time being what you're fighting for still remains a theory to be proven.

That's all for a wrap.

lightwolf
01-21-2003, 05:13 PM
Hi wireframe and all the others...

I couldn't hold back :-)

Originally posted by wireFrame

If you think you can revise what you've done in a couple of minutes using a PC system and show it to a nasty client (and revising it again and again) then you made a breakthrough, MiloFX/XMB. But for the time being what you're fighting for still remains a theory to be proven.

That's all for a wrap.

Well, that's what I do all the time, on a PC, and it works quite well, allthough I use DF which clusters quite nicely over the network.

I think the main points here are:

If you have to work with a client on your back, and the schedule is tight, get an FFI system and hope that it pays off.

If you don't have the client on your back, you might as well go for a cheaper and "faster" solution.

Also, PC's are by far faster as far as rendering speed is concerned compared to SGI's. Why is discreet releasing , oops forgot the name, theirs linux renderer for FFI systems?
As far as i/o is concerned, 5D showed us what a decent PC can do, and it made every single FFI system look slow in comparison. True, the only limitation still is the PCI bus, but even PCI-X boards are starting to appear. And RDRAM has a massive bandwidth, even though intel seems to be focused on dual channel DDR ram right now.

If I don't have to work interactively with the client, I can run circles around an FFI system though.

Cheers,

Mike

wireFrame
01-21-2003, 09:49 PM
You understood it quite well, lightwolf!

These systems that we're talking about is built to be operated in an online environment/session--meaning full interactive, on-the-spot- experimentation with quick turnaround of work. Demanding client presence is a major factor if you're doing a online work.

If you can online on a pc, then I'll invest on using it to compete with some companies here. But again, we're talking bandwidth here.

As for cyborg and 5D, their dead. Could have been a breakthrough there. Their system is promising indeed but they're out of business. Who's next?

As for the linux render nodes (burn), its a cheap alternative rather than buying addtional processors for the Onyx. It's more of like a render farm and if it's possible to create a linux based renderer for inferno then discreet considered it (as a suggestion from their users).

wireFrame
01-21-2003, 09:58 PM
Another thing-- your ROI (return of investment) would only be from two to three years. It'll pay itself off in a few years eventhough it's expensive but you're charging huge as well from your services. Check out flameop's post here.

Aftern the systems pay's itself off, them you'll understand why post production is a lucrative business. and why FFI artists have high salary compared to others.

Milo FX
01-22-2003, 04:02 AM
I sense much ego in you, jedi master...


As for cyborg and 5D, their dead. Could have been a breakthrough there. Their system is promising indeed but they're out of business. Who's next?

What a capitalistic vision is that...
How you can not accept the abilitys of this system, because of it' s dead. This is like saying: "Ah Jesus isn t a great man because nobody used his way and also he killed him:annoyed:

Sory but I m very confusing right now. What kind of forum is that?
Is it a composite artists forum that people discuss the creative process or is it a Ferrari user forum that some users doesnt accept the Porche power?

Wireframe, when someone read your replies he thinks that FFI are magical machines and the users are half gods.

You say always FFI are complete system that makes all the production needs really fast and rechangable. How about that? Can you work resolution independant in FFI. Can you import a HD footage in a PAL project or versus versa? What happend if a client want something that you use to make a camera movement in a map that is 6000 x 6000 pixel?
In FFI you use to cut this huge image to a pieces that are 720 x 576 pixel each. And reput together, using a parent target relationship in FFI. But in Combustion you simply import the map in your composite.
As you see(I hope that) all the softwares are advantages and desadvantages...

So I reask the question.
What is the think thats make Flame, 250 times expansive if I dont worship to clients?

wireFrame
01-22-2003, 04:22 AM
Hahaha!, Oh boy... LOL!

Pyro2301
01-22-2003, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by xmb
one at discreet told me that there will be a very big surprise this year (maybe at nab),


Wanna take bets? I'm going with it running on Linux.

-Victor

xmb
01-28-2003, 01:21 PM
flame on linux?

hmm, i doubt. as they said that pc's arent (yet) as powerful for video as sgi.

but i'm really wondering what that big surprise is gonna look like. because toxik (the highend pc-turnkey system) developement has been "stopped". new versions of their highend tools just released...

so what can we expect?

dmeyer
01-28-2003, 01:40 PM
*cough cough* combustion 3 *cough cough*

:buttrock:

Or maybe Flames for $5 K :)

Flywaver
01-28-2003, 03:28 PM
hehe I'd take Flame for 5 grand!! :bounce:

According to discreet there isn't more than the latest versions of FFI but we never know, there *could* be a surprise at NAB! :beer:

Cheers!

Pyro2301
01-28-2003, 04:45 PM
Originally posted by xmb
because toxik (the highend pc-turnkey system) developement has been "stopped".

woah! When did that happen? Was it right after 5D went under?

-Victor

xmb
01-28-2003, 05:16 PM
yes, when cyborg (& also sony socratto) died and they (discreet) were out of concurrence.

i wouldn't call combustion 3.0 a big surprise. the guy told me it will be a BIG SURPRISE. but what... hmm...

dmeyer
01-28-2003, 05:54 PM
Originally posted by Flywaver
hehe I'd take Flame for 5 grand!! :bounce:

According to discreet there isn't more than the latest versions of FFI but we never know, there *could* be a surprise at NAB! :beer:

Cheers!

I'll take 2 flames for $5K.

Flywaver
01-29-2003, 03:52 AM
I saw in the latest Film&Video that discreet has put their high end new technology on hold since the collapse of 5D and Socratto.

For me a great surprise would be something to replace edit or combustion 3 or anything within these categories but a reasonable price...I rather build cheap render nodes for the time being than having a FFI...unless someone wants to lend us the money! :drool:

Cheers!

xmb
01-29-2003, 08:40 AM
oh no, not replace combustion.
i'm so tired of software-deaths & replaces. i finally want to continue work with a tool and not learn new software again and again.
it would be cool to see combustion growing along it's big brothers & sisters.

Flywaver
01-29-2003, 02:11 PM
Oh no hehe I meant a replacement to edit which is dead AND a release of C3! :thumbsup:

Cheers!

Aruna
01-30-2003, 07:39 AM
Just wanted to add something else to this thread.. I've been using discreet FFI products for the better part of 4 years. Started on a flint doing training and roto, got into a flame suite, and now freelancing as an inferno/flame artist. One of the reasons why FFI is so much more expensive, as others in this thread have already mentioned, is the interactivity you get (needed in a commercial environment with clients behind you, or even if you to fix a comp within 30 mins.). Do you want more reasons? How about quickness.. Have a deadline? It can get done pretty quickly. I'm not going to reiterate what others have said already about it being an all-in-one box.

To respond to MiloFX, Inferno 5, Flame 8 and Flint 8 will support multiple resolutions in the same project. FFI is a very powerful tool in the right operators hands. I demoed a Flame HD system about a year ago. It was running on an Octane2, putting out HD in realtime. It was keying in realtime (simple GS key), and playing back HD res. I don't think any PC solution can do that. I freelanced for a company in Australia on an inferno system, and their machine was top of the line. It was able to playback 2k (2048x1556) 12bit images at 20fps. Consistently. The power behind the machine was phenomenal. I almost didn't have to go into a proxy partition to do any work. I started the comp in 2k and hardly left there. FFI also has intergrate particle systems, 3d tracking, motion estimation (like realviz retimer), import of 3d objects.. For the price that these machines are, they are definitely worth it. For speed and interactivity, I wouldn't choose any other package.

fabman
01-30-2003, 10:53 AM
It's been a good argument here, I'm not an Video editing expert, but as far as I know, the companies charge you whatever they fu** want for they software.... you just have to check the downprices in the 3d field, how much cost Maya a few years ago, how much cost now... how much cost Softimage now ( still expensive ) do you think they're gonna keep it like that?.
If we use the ideas about pricing that the people is using here Maya should be repriced again to 50.000$ because some companies earn a lot with that soft... isn't it?.

I'm sorry but I have to totally agree with Milo FX, it doesn't matter if you're an "artist" or a basic user... I'm talkin' about money, and I still think those packages are OVERPRICED!!!

beaker
01-30-2003, 05:16 PM
If people can charge 300-800 an hour, then obviosly they aren't underpriced. Also FFI is not the only package that costs that much money. There is also: Avid DS, Jaleho, Quatel eQ/iQ/etc..., They all cost 100k +.

Another thing many of your comparing the price of a standalone compositor(combustion) to a Turnkey system(FFI), that includes D1/HD I/O with a framestore with gigs of scsi storage, HD/NTSC monitor, and a souped up system. These parts alone cost 25-100k+ if you were to buy them separately. Plus 24/7 support on top of all that for the hardware and software(can easily run 5-10k+ a year) and a training class for your employees(3k per person).

When you get a turnkey system of any kind involved the price rises quite quickly.

boss10
01-30-2003, 10:12 PM
hi all.
excuse my bad english:)
first i'm a newbie at compositing and i love combustion.i want to answer to the question asked before about why it's so expensive to by FFIwhen it' possible to do it for very low price like combustion?hahahaha
MILO FX you're right,
remember this,DICREET is a compagny which have vision of the future,the ability to see the evolution of the market,best example is (PLASMA)i know it's another product
who uses FFI,hoollywood and others(TV,VIDEO CLIPS...), everybody here knows that they win lot of money and so,DISCREET asks for a good price to sold them FFI :)
DISCREET saw that AE is used for many little houses,why not catching this market,than they give us combustion for the same price with pdf specialy for AE users ,but why they do that? they was obliged to,the pc's will be very fast and they are affraid to see one day another product very sheap runs like FFI or faster
to be honnest ,DISCREET makes the game. i.m.h.o ,the future of compositing is a product like combustion,AE,DF...with updates running on pc's platform.
no future for FFI,one man says in few years the computer reachs the very high speed for the very low price.
to be clear ,i'm a little user supporting nobody and no compagnies.

Flywaver
01-30-2003, 10:18 PM
Well, I'd love to get a FFI station if someone gave it to me...but unfortunately it might take us 5-10 years at this pace until we can afford one. For the time being I use AE and C2 (just got DFX+ which I am learning as well) and for now they are plenty enough for our projects. Who knows, maybe we will need high end solutions once we are in high-end broadcast but then by the time we are in this market we will be able to afford at least an Avid DS|HD or something similar! :bounce:

Cheers!

kyphur
01-31-2003, 07:12 AM
Can definantly tell that Boss10 is a newbie to compositing systems.

Flint, Flame, Inferno will never dissappear. Their capabilities far exceed AE and combustion hands down. I only used Flint 7 for a short time (about 3 months) on a machine that was well over 4 years old and was still impressed. The only thing that really sucked was the transfer times of pulling from the network and the media array. Once it was local it was pretty darn good. The ability to process and use the system was pretty amazing too. I can definantly see why they're considered more high end.

Kyph

Aruna
01-31-2003, 07:32 AM
If any of you really want to see how FFI performs and haven't seen it in person, I recommend checking out Siggraph 2003 (http://www.siggraph.org/s2003/) or NAB 2003 (http://www.nab.org/conventions/nab2003/) when it comes to town.. Just go to the exhibit and discreet will have a booth on the floor. They showed Flame 8 last year, definitely amazing.. Ask the demo guy (depends on who it is, this one guy last year didn't know what a LUT was and he was demoing a film shot) about processes and advantages over Combustion or AE. They'll be sure and let ya know. :)

xmb
01-31-2003, 04:54 PM
people who say flame is so badly interactive can be right, but also false. because i've experienced when you have a mid-complex setup it's getting so damn slow.

wireFrame
01-31-2003, 10:53 PM
It depends on who's using it, slowpoke!

wireFrame
01-31-2003, 11:18 PM
xmb-- before making thees ridiculous comments, it's better that you reformat your brain first then stick some few ddr ram on it(at least 128 megs) and upgrade to a new graphics card (a gforce 3 at least) so you yourself could run faster.

:eek: :eek: :eek:

Milo FX
02-01-2003, 01:43 AM
because i've experienced when you have a mid-complex setup it's getting so damn slow.

xmb is absolutly right, I' ve experienced that stuation too.


xmb-- before making thees ridiculous comments, it's better that you reformat your brain first then stick some few ddr ram on it(at least 128 megs) and upgrade to a new graphics card (a gforce 3 at least) so you yourself could run faster.

And again Wireframe, what kind of thing are you? If you dont like the truths, you dont have to read this topics. Please keep away your ugly vision from the forum.

beaker
02-01-2003, 02:36 AM
Milo and xmb:

What kind of sgi are you guys running on? I'm guessing either a flint on an o2 or a flame on an octane 1. Both are over 7 years old. You really can't compare a 7 year old system to a modern FFI system.

wireFrame
02-01-2003, 02:39 AM
Yes you may experience sluggishness but we're not in the Jurassic period. If you think your new PC is fast then ran away from this forum as fast as your setup and start a new forum about desperate wannabees. There you can vent all your frustrations about all the apps and hardwares that both of you despised. What most professional post here is quite the opposite of what the two of you are posting.

I'm not the underminer here and I'm on the right place. If I were an intelligent person, I don't come in here and brag about your god-forsaken set of applications 'coz this is a discreet forum.

Me and the rest who's been supportive and constructive about the apps that we use (especially the FFI) know the system more than you do and that's the basic truth.

And for you, MiloFX do you know what your'e talking about? This guy xmb just posted the most stupid thread I've ever seen about combustion and you believe this loser? You two should get married.

Well, there's a thread going on entitled 'bitchin thread' http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=38825 and this is where you both belong.

Pyro2301
02-01-2003, 05:44 AM
Beaker:
Three cheers for you because you know how to talk to people in a polite manner thus resulting in people taking you seriously and listening.:thumbsup:

wireframe:
You come off as an elitist but you don't have the grammer of one. If they are using outdated machines you could ask nicely and be more constructive about all this.;)

-Victor

wireFrame
02-01-2003, 06:16 AM
Oh, boy...

I didn't pretend to be an elitist, opacity. I'm just levelling this of with these guys. I'll explain it in the manner appropriate to people who deserve it.

kyphur
02-01-2003, 05:33 PM
O.K. It seems as if no one's going to change the view of the other. I've almost always agreed with Beaker on the end of technical discussions because he does know what he's talking about. In this case, I agree with him whole heartedly.

The whole thing about this is that it's a person's opinion. You're not going to change the other person's opinion unless we all got together, had both old and new SGI systems with both old and new PC systems and let the master of the PC's duke it out with the master of the SGI's.

Maybe you guys could get together at Siggraph and get them to duel it out for you. :D

I think this thread is probably going to get out of hand over the next couple of days though. Maybe we should just leave it at that and not worry about which is better because it doesn't look like anyone's done a good job of changing the other's mind. The only thing that looks as if is happening is the fact that you're slowly getting more and more at each other's throats.

Kyph

chicolima
02-02-2003, 05:45 AM
Hi guys,

Discreet systems are expensive and they will continue to be as long as they address the need of the market who needs hero stations that can deliver complex visual effects really fast.

I agree that now that 5D Cyborg and Socratto being out of the market gives Discreet some time to think about their strategy of releasing new tools on new platforms.

Anyways, if you get a job were you need to assemble an EDL, colour correct, create 3d objects mapped with video textures such as 3d logos, create complex keys, and at the end of the day have 3 different versions of the commercial or Film shot with different editing and with the client on your back then you really need a Flame/Inferno.

To do what I mention above on a PC you'd need:

Capture EDL on Premier, export the files into combustion for colour correction, export the files to be applied as textures on 3d objects to 3ds max, create 3d object in Max and apply video as texture. Render the 3d object. Import those from 3ds max files into Combustion to composite with colour corrected clips, export those files to Premiere insert composite into timeline and output shot to VTR.

Then the client says, let's do another version with a different edit, colour correction and let's change the 3d object a litte bit.

You'll have to go through the whole process again.

As soon as you exit one application and enter a complete different one and you have to wait the rendering of one application to work rapidly on the other, your client will leave......

Just my 02 cents.....

Chicolima

Milo FX
02-03-2003, 03:48 AM
I agree with chicolima about the process. Sorry about my style but I find Wireframe s words boring (some of them). Why he examine my technical information deepness. Surely, I can not write all my information to a forum. How can he now that who am I or what did I do in the past. I find his style very impolite.

I never say that the FFI is useless in market. That will be comical.

Please remember the begining of this topic...

i was wondering if it's really worth to get a system that cost's as much as a house. what's so much better in flame and what can you do so much more than in combustion, digital-fusion, shake, after-effects...

I m trying to answer this question.
There is absolutly nothing to make better with FFI in a manner of final image...
Perhaps time? Maybe. Depand of what you are trying to do. Better render time? Not a "huge" difference.
Price? 90 times expansive than Combustion + 3d MAX.
Quick to work? Thats it, FFI is always quick in a manner of working (operator s side).

I dont understand why Wireframe fight with me in a total impolite way... I m too old for this kind of fights, sorry about that...

Milo FX
02-03-2003, 04:02 AM
Me and the rest who's been supportive and constructive about the apps that we use (especially the FFI) know the system more than you do and that's the basic truth.

I dont understand who are you talking about by "you" but I said that many times: I' m a Flame Artist too... So I hope I have a clear vision about what am I saying.

And for you, MiloFX do you know what your'e talking about? This guy xmb just posted the most stupid thread I've ever seen about combustion and you believe this loser? You two should get married.

If you talk about 3d import in Combustion, I think just like you.

But when I say:

And again Wireframe, what kind of thing are you? If you dont like the truths, you dont have to read this topics. Please keep away your ugly vision from the forum.

it is just for:

xmb-- before making thees ridiculous comments, it's better that you reformat your brain first then stick some few ddr ram on it(at least 128 megs) and upgrade to a new graphics card (a gforce 3 at least) so you yourself could run faster.

sorry but I find this style very agressive and impolite.

Thank you for listening...

wireFrame
02-03-2003, 05:46 AM
Ok, I apologize to rest that my posts (especially to MiloFX) gone out of hand. I've tried to be as polite as I can initially. I've never been so involved in defending my beliefs and opinions and I would level/adjust to any person if needed.

My request is that I hope everyone should respect each of our grounds. I won't come into AE's forum (or any forum) and tell them things that would spark a heated discussions.

So here's the deal. This type of discussion about comparison between systems shouldn't be discussed here especially this type of inquiry or a downplay/underestimation on the very forum of FFI/combustion.


Any FFI/combustion artists who wants to post about comparison should instead find another forum in cgtalk to discuss them.

I won't refer to any other posts to prove something 'coz it's just worthless anymore...

A fine day to you all. :beer:

Milo FX
02-04-2003, 03:10 AM
So here's the deal. This type of discussion about comparison between systems shouldn't be discussed here especially this type of inquiry or a downplay/underestimation on the very forum of FFI/combustion.

Ok. I accept that for my part. But it is funny to see that there is 1183 views for this discussion... It has been a very atractive subject.

And also I like to apologize to Wireframe about certain of my replies. There are not a personal things...
:beer:

Flywaver
02-04-2003, 02:59 PM
hehe...it seems to be a great reading thread indeed! :p

But for me it's interesting to get feedback from daily users of FFI since I can only rely on what discreet tells me or what Larry White (DMN) writes about them! ;)

I can't wait to see FFI in action...last time I was at Sig I didn't pay attention to anything above DF/C2/Shake but I slowly keep an eye for the high-end since we might need HD within 2 years! :surprised

Keep the debate open...it's better to talk about FFI in regards to C2 than start a war about discreet vs avid and so on! :applause:

Cheers!

tuna
02-04-2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by Milo FX
Ok. I accept that for my part. But it is funny to see that there is 1183 views for this discussion... It has been a very atractive subject.

its not every day an audience can view several FFI artists argue at each other about their intriguing systems :) mind you, it did get a bit sidetracked a bit.

Mwai Kasamale
02-05-2003, 06:42 AM
Shake

that all I have to say. The 'Notepad' of compositing packages.

wireFrame
02-05-2003, 07:14 AM
I thought it was Photoshop...?

Yes, I agree that this is an interesteing subject. We've got 1200+ views and yet we're just a small bunch of fanatics.

Maybe we're matured enough to handle delicate topics like this and be sport about it.

:beer:

Mwai Kasamale
02-05-2003, 07:28 AM
My apologies, allow me to ellaborate, (were all so touchy) I'm no evangelist, all I intended on getting across was that Shake to me seems to be the middle ground here.

In time 3D info import macros will be made avaliable, if not through the shake community, commercially, in fact they already exist but as inhouse tools, (The MPC, The Mill and Weta). I can't say I've ever used a Flame but from what I hear its what RT editors(FX) would be most comfortable with when a client is barking down their necks.

I'd have to agree that the Cost is not justified. Hardware has typically been behind Software, but that can't be said these days. As someone stated in and earlier reply, CPU's are getting more powerful and hardware is finally catching up, not to mention GPU's. In these times appz and hardware configured correctly can match those systems in speed (psuedo RT). Shake is special in this case because it can operate on D1,HD or Film in RT if using proxymodes, with a decent system you can work with Film rez images faster without a super powerful system.

Thats what I meant when I say "Shake"

again my apologies WireFrame

wireFrame
02-05-2003, 07:44 AM
Hey, I use an NT machine too. I've tried shake (trial version) and I got impressed with it. It's fairly easy to use and I like the z-channel feature.

I use a lot of batch processing these days and shakes node conventions very similar and user friendly; 'noodling around' as I look at it.

However, in terms of keying, combustion (IMO) is somewhat easier. Primatte is a good keyer and I'm very impressed with it.

wireFrame
02-05-2003, 08:12 AM
However, I also believe the other side of this debate that we could 'go around' the FFI systems and win some few biddings.

Here's my software arsenal to compete with flame/inferno:

AE/C2/Shake -compositing/paint system
3dsMax/Maya -particle system/3d text
Elastic Relaity -warp/morfing
Retimer -timewarp/motion estimation
Premier/5D -capture/editing/assembly/dump

... what else...

For the hardware, I'm not very well informed/knowledgeable about the latest guerilla hardwares (that exist). Supply me then with:

*Realtime, uncompressed SD capture card or an Accom WSD (at least 20 minutes)
*Raid Disk array for framestore with controllers
*Audio subsystem
*Graphics subsystem (3dlabs?)

...what else...

... well this is the part where I need a hardware specialist (or a catalogue perhaps)

jazzman121
02-09-2003, 08:30 PM
hehehe... wow this is soo much fun... thanks guys ...... i wish i could jsut see an inferno or flint machine ;) that would be the day:bounce:

dg
02-14-2003, 09:40 AM
Damn great awsome useless discution, great! :applause:

Where is the body count?

Thanks guys,
See Ya! :)

and before I go, sorry for the joke!

andre_alder
02-14-2003, 12:48 PM
Hi all

And about NUKE or AVID Digital Studio?

They are good alternatives, too.....:thumbsup:

AD

VSLX
02-14-2003, 08:18 PM
Omg... I'm really far from all the stuff you've just discused but, I would probably die working with the client, who is sitting right behind me...

I just hate to work directly with the clients, there's always interference between us.... most of them don't know a thing about what you do...:buttrock:

Aruna
02-14-2003, 08:27 PM
Ya know, I thought so too.. But if you know how to operate the machine, and are friendly and jovial, you almost have no problems. Some of them know what compositing is, some of them don't, but in the end, you're there to please them. I don't mind. You get paid what you're worth, especially as a flame or inferno artist. I can't say the same with AE or combustion, as I have no professional experience with those packages.

Like I mentioned before, the best places to check out inferno and flame is to go to NAB or Siggraph.

dg
02-15-2003, 07:33 AM
I think that dealing with clients is part of the process, don't matter if you are a Flame artist or a Hotdog salesman, if you wan't and deppend on their money, and you are getting paid fine, you are there for them.
More complex works almost always you have to deal with the client, he is spending some bucks on you and he have the right to see and check if what you are doing is what he wants, you are there to please them.
Sometimes I rather like a client on my side doing the changes in realtime then having to change all the work in 1 month from now.

See Ya!

VSLX
02-15-2003, 03:49 PM
Yeah, I agree on that I depend on them, but man if I'm an artist, and hell a good one, leave the stuff to me. That's why I'm artist... I have ideas/skills you don't have, otherwise anybody with a bit of brain could learn to mess with the program...

I say this as an example, because the most of the clients want to sit with you and guide you.... but they don't know any theory or whatsoever, and in some cases they even don't know what they want so in 70% they make you lose time.
Now, if you work for some company that's nothing... but if you are a freelancer... time = money...

I say this as average freelance, not as some elite guy, who works with Nike, Adidas, Sony, etc... sure they know what they want...

Cheers.

dg
02-15-2003, 09:36 PM
When I say the client I mean any structure ralated to the specific job outside the structure of your company. In big projects, for big clients you will be working in a team and not alone so will have to deal with a lot of opnions, from the Publicity Agency of the client to art departments, art directors and so on.

I agree with you that in freelance jobs things get another perspective, in this case a client may be a problem, the very best thing to do is clear things out before you start.

Cheers.

VSLX
02-17-2003, 11:43 PM
I agree on that... totally.

maxtomaya
09-21-2004, 03:16 PM
My dad works as a Oracle Admin and the server they run does transaction in anywhere from 120 Gig to 1.2 Terrabytes every day. Believe it or not, they have an entire room full of Sun Servers that cost 1.2M bucks. ALL remotely administered by four persons from different offices. They run many other business that require higher degree diff eqa calculations which takes approximately 8 hours to 1 week on JUST a P4 3GhZ processor. One of the servers in the room has 42 processors. These things can render anything 100 (at least) times faster than Flame.

The price is there not because of the beauty of the Flame. It is there because ONLY Flame can run on such systems. Why do you they make it in UNIX system? The underlying OS architecture of Windows (Mac doesn't even have one) cannot run stable on those systems. So Why should Discreet lower their price when there is no other software that can do so:scream:

There is no point in bragging about Flame's hardware as there is nothing to brag about. It is nothing compared to a 210k cluster we have seen in a University. AND that includes the price for 9 flat monitors and a touch pad monitor (only 8 were sold in US that time). However, it is the only Composition software that can run on such a system. THAT IS WHY the price is high. If Apple and DF were to develop this, watch the price going down.

beaker
09-21-2004, 08:23 PM
Clustering does not add much speed to video processing. Also neither does the 42 processor machinesyou keep talking about. First, clustering is hurt because of bandwidth of your connection between machines is so small(gigabit or fiberchannel is so small compared to the bus speed of a machine). AE, Apple and DF have grid solutions for speeding up rendering, but it doesn't add that much speed, maybe 10-25% for each additional processor. As for 42 processors, none of the video or graphics apps out there are very good at parallel processing. After you pass 4-8 processors the returns diminish very quickly. Also most of the apps are only 32 bit, so the amount of ram you can use per process is only 2-3 gig.

Your comparing apples with oranges. Sun and Oracle vs a Flame on SGI are two very different operations.

lightwolf
09-22-2004, 09:58 AM
Clustering does not add much speed to video processing. Also neither does the 42 processor machinesyou keep talking about. First, clustering is hurt because of bandwidth of your connection between machines is so small(gigabit or fiberchannel is so small compared to the bus speed of a machine). AE, Apple and DF have grid solutions for speeding up rendering, but it doesn't add that much speed, maybe 10-25% for each additional processor.
Huh? I guess this largely depends on the kind of composites you work on. If you do heavy processing, you can easily speed up projects by an additional 100% per node in a network. This might not be true for i/o intensive tasks, but once you _really_ do some work on the CPU, i/o bandwidth becomes less of an issue.
I've seen DF in a network scream through renders that a flame would choke on (then again, DF isn't the tool to work with having a customer at your side).

Heck, most of our nodes are still 100MBit on a 1GBit backbone, and looking at the CPU usage, I find that very little (CPU) time is wasted for i/o, even when processing 2K dpx.

Cheers,
Mike

BTW, has this thread now risen from the dead again? Very funny :)

maxtomaya
09-22-2004, 01:48 PM
beaker, not true at all. A fully optimized system uses all processors based on system. Yes, it is true only few applications have this and that is the difference. I am not sure what you are talking about. Before I came into the CG designing, I was programming for 7 years on CG apps. I have worked on 3D game engines to Fluid Dynamics coding. We have created proprietory apps that can utilize more than 52 processors for protien decoding, Video Wall rendering and these are optimized to use Intel's SIMD (and MIPS as well) architecture to the maximum. In SIMD, four instructions can be done in parallel. ONe such example would be Matrix multiplication, Pixel analying, Pixel to Pixel Calc. These are all processor dependent issues. The more the better. In case of Matrix multiplication, 64 can be reduced to 16 (or even 8). If you are calculating a pixel instruction and you only need 100 near by pixels for this caluculation, they why should the unrelated pixels wait for this to finish? That is why things require many processors.

Also, the return diminishing you are talking about in cluster is only in a stage where the data from each processor comes to merge, when the master has to wait for assembling. However, that was an issue in the early 90s. We have clusters that are very advanced from the primitives you are talking about. Infact, this sort of thing sends data first calculate and store data in it;s own system until it is requested. Data trasfering is not a big issue in 3D/2D processing on such calucations as you only have MBs per frame and the calculation per frame if intensive can go many hours per frame and that is why we use cluster. If the instruction only requires 4, the app will you four and all else for something else. If the structions requires 100 the app should use 100.

And if you can put all that processors into one system (2-4 per bus) all the better. You avoid net links, memory hits and a lot of otherfactors. The only real factor would be board-to-board which only a factor in Database world not in CG. When it comes to CPU usage, Oracle, Flame, AE and all are the same. They are using different instructions primarly, but they are using CPUs. In case of Oracle, it is millions of users per second entering query and in CG it is millions of pixels/vertices per second. Like lightwolf said, if instructions becomes CPU intenive, adding a CPU can improve 100%+.

beaker
09-22-2004, 06:00 PM
lightwolf:

I believe you are mixing stuff up because different software companies calls things different names. I'm talking about clustering as in grid processing(Xgrid, GridIron, Mental Ray Interactive rendering) or a Beowulf cluster, not net rendering. Where a bunch of machines act as one job in little pieces of divided up processes. Eyeon calls their net rendering "Clustering". Which I guess it is technically. I was more refering to the "Power Cluster" option, but even that still kinda works like a renderfarm because each machine is working on a frame rather than a piece of a frame. I should have said Grid processing instead of Clustering.

beaker
09-22-2004, 06:11 PM
Data trasfering is not a big issue in 3D/2D processing on such calucations as you only have MBs per frame and the calculation per frame if intensive can go many hours per frame and that is why we use cluster. If the instruction only requires 4, the app will you four and all else for something else. If the structions requires 100 the app should use 100.

30 meg cineons per frame and there are usually 3-10+ layers of those, another 2-30 layers of iff or exr files that come in at 18-24 megs per frame. That is going to kick your network bandwidth in the jimmy really fast. Especially since most people, even if they have gigabit ethernet, can't use it's full bandwidth because of the slow bus(you really only get 800Mb/s, not 1gb unless you have a machine that came out in the last year). Most of my renderings only take 1-2 minutes per frame.

Using grid/clustering solutions is still limited by the bandwidth unless were talking about basic net rendering where each machine is only doing 1 frame at a time. This is the same with software rendering in 3d, it is just way too inefficient. Especially when you have 1 gig per frame rib files and another 3-10 gig of textures per frame.

I always copy all my source frames to my local machine before working because it is just painfull working over the network interactivly.

Aruna
09-22-2004, 06:31 PM
I've gotta agree with Beaker here.. 2k Cineons + 2k EXR files times by 20 some odd compers accessing the wide area network = ALOT of bandwidth.. I work locally when I'm at 2k, because it just takes forever to get stuff off the network server.. And if it goes down, you're out of luck. Not only that, but the farm accesses the same network server, so not only are the compers accessing the same thing, but then the farm is rendering your frames, and it's pulling everything at once (per frame) to render it!

FFI excels because everything is local. Not only that, the SGI it runs on is BUILT for this sort of work. I'm going to bring this up again because it's necessary. On one of my last jobs on inferno, we were playing back 2k 12bit cineon frames in real time (NOT from memory, from the Stone HD array). Not only that, but when we proxied down to tv res, we were still able to comp in close to real time (with realtime greenscreen pulls and CCing, etc). This was 2 years ago.. Before the Tezro and the new Onyx's got here.. The Suns and Sparcstations of the world can't do that off the shelf. They're built, as you said, for data processing, not realtime image processing and playback.

And if you can put all that processors into one system (2-4 per bus) all the better. You avoid net links, memory hits and a lot of otherfactors. The only real factor would be board-to-board which only a factor in Database world not in CG. When it comes to CPU usage, Oracle, Flame, AE and all are the same. They are using different instructions primarly, but they are using CPUs. In case of Oracle, it is millions of users per second entering query and in CG it is millions of pixels/vertices per second. Like lightwolf said, if instructions becomes CPU intenive, adding a CPU can improve 100%+.
This is exactly what the multi-processor flame and inferno programs do.. But they're not just CPU dependent, they're also bandwidth dependent (which is a huge factor in CG/VFX).. Having it run on an SGI archictecture is an asset. I am agreeing with you that it is CPU dependent, but SGIs have much better processing for visualization and immediate feedback types of exercises (because their data buses are much better integrated)..

I'll write more, but I have to run to film dailies now.

maxtomaya
09-22-2004, 08:33 PM
Clustering is an option, but like I said if you can put all processors needed into one system all the better, which is one aspect of SGI/all MIPS/SPARC systems. I am not talking about a net rendering here either. I am talking about the cost of a system that has the processing power of SGI. SGI uses the UMA architecture which reduces the buffer related bottleneck. Instead of have separate buffers for each on a PCI bus (~ 80-100MB/s), it is all one chuck controled by Memory and Graphic Managers (hardware). However, SGI type has been around in other area of Computer industry long before it was put to use in Graphics industry. This was mosty for Scientific purposes. The architecture was changed when it was brought into Graphics industry to allow plugable high speed transfer access to the multiplex SDRAM of the SGI via network etc.. which is not needed in other areas of computing. The power at which instructions are processed and data written is so fast that network/cluster is not a good option. But that same architecture power is there in use in other area of computing for different price option.

Nowadays all systems other than the PC has the similar architecture which was polished after the research by Silicon Graphics and further modified by server needs in other areas of computing. A memory buffer bandwith of 2.1Gb+ in one system is easily atained by this architecture. SGI is not unique in anyway. What my point is that even though in terms of power the pricing is high, there are systems that runs in the same architecture for different purposes (same underlying need for processing speed and GBs of memory/transfer) for less cost.

I know flame in iteself is powerful and Yes, the software is good, yes, the hardware is good but the cost of production is way below the cost at which they sell. This is probably because the cost of software development over it AND less people buying is compared to PC and other Servers.

Oh! ya, I forgot to mention this, the SGI hardware itself isn't that much priced. Like Sun, IBM and HP, SGI is also used in a lot of other areas. For like 25K-50K you can get a really good workstation with awesome specs. That is why I posted in other post why such a price? (May be for the software?)

lightwolf
09-23-2004, 09:10 AM
lightwolf:

I believe you are mixing stuff up because different software companies calls things different names. I'm talking about clustering as in grid processing(Xgrid, GridIron, Mental Ray Interactive rendering) or a Beowulf cluster, not net rendering. Where a bunch of machines act as one job in little pieces of divided up processes.
Hi beaker,
exactly. Except that for a compositing app it doesn't tend to make sense to break down a work unit into less than a single frame to be processed.
I think the distinction is a fluid one, but as long as I get my job done faster, I'm happy :)

Cheers,
Mike

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