11 November 2008, 06:35 PM
smoke, inferno and flame are hardware based/bundled compositing solutions. lustre is a colorgrading system.
This narrows your choice down to either combustion or toxik.
IF I had to pick an Autodesk solution, I would go for toxik since it is nodebased.
Basic multipass compositing is doable in 3dsMax's material editor though.
11 November 2008, 01:15 PM
Combustion is more than enough for an individual artist or small studio. The common misconception is that it is Layer-Based...some even consider it Node-Based. Combustion and Toxic, both, are hybrids. They offer layers for those that prefer to work that way (After Effects users for example), or Nodes. I use both (usually layers though).
Combustion has a really sweet and extremely useful particle system, and can use most any After Effects plugin. Not so with Toxic. It has top notch Keying, Color Correction, Painting and Rotoscoping tools (the B-Splines and point grouping help set it apart). Personally, I think Toxic was developed to eventually replace Combustion, as it handles larger files and 32bit files better. It generally has a more refined toolset when you compare them side by side...but that doesn't mean it's more extensive in scope. Combustion is more of an all-around, backroom workhorse. Toxic seems more focused on film compositing.
The other thing to consider, that is often overlooked, is that Combustion is a no-brainer choice if you happen to use 3ds Max. It's live link to Max let's you use Combustion in a Body Paint 3D manner....live texture painting capability. It also has a terrific RPF workflow that makes it worth the purchase all by itself. I can't recommend it enough, based on "bang for your buck" considerations.
Because it's such a great value, it seems that Autodesk chooses not to market it much...because most of their customers would buy fewer Flames, and seats of Toxic if they knew first hand just how powerful Combustion really is. That's not to say there's not a place for them...it's just that AD would rather sell the higher end products, naturally.
Having said all of that, no one outside of Autodesk knows it's future. If Toxic had ALL the tools Combustion had, I'd probably go in that direction myself. But it doesn't. That's why I think it stays around for at least a few more years. The downside is that, at it's pricepoint, it's already too damn good for its own good, so to speak...and they admittedly don't see the rationale in developing it much further, when it would cut sales of it's higher priced products. Combustion used to cost what Toxic costs now...so it was never developed as a low-budget compositor. It's just that Toxic is it's successor at that market segment. Similar to the way Shake used to cost thousands and as soon as they announced that it was no longer going to be developed, it dropped to $500.
Autodesk...instead of killing it and going "black," decided to keep Combustion...slow the development to a snail's pace, and bring it's successor to the market during the entire process. It think it's a better approach than what Apple did with Shake.
11 November 2008, 09:42 PM
Although I dont have anything against combustion at all i find it is at the point of being pretty outdated and left behind by Autodesk. You can really see this in the latest release of combustion. The only real update being the addition of their highend keyer. This is definitely a nice addition but it really seems like they thought.....we need to do something to keep selling this platform....well just put the keyer in there and package it as 2008...The new version of Toxik has great itegration with maya 2009 as well but the interface takes some getting used to.
Really if you want to go with autodesk I would give Toxik a go because it seems like they are really pushing inovation and focusing all their efforts on it. It would take something incredible to be release for combustion for me to think that it wasnt a dead piece of software. If you are open to other companies I would seriously consider Nuke or Fusion as I really think they are far superior as a desktop compositing solution.
11 November 2008, 12:30 PM
The last release (2008) didn't have a keyer, it was a new colour corrector IIRC. The Diamond keyer turned up in C4 I think.
I didn't upgrade from C4, and I agree development appears to be pretty stagnant - there was a big gap between C4 and 2008 and very little development in that 2008 release.
As it stands it's great for certain needs, but it's future is pretty hazy.
11 November 2008, 12:30 PM
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