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Autodesk Flame and Smoke Real Time Procedural Shading Techniques

Learn how to finish off complete CG scenes in your Flame or Smoke system now without even touching your CG app for a SINGLE RENDER! Simply MODEL, UV then watch this video to learn to do the rest!

Length: 3 Hours 52 Minutes 18 Seconds

Price: $59.95


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cmiVFX has officially released the potential cure for all those people using CPU based rendering applications in their CG pipeline. This new training video is a hardcore in-depth look into lighting, shading and texturing in a VFX app that has recently added tons of incredible new tools in what was once the most illusive application in the world. Autodesk Flame has a long history of being the king of the hill as far as visual effects and post production is concerned for years now, but recently active programming from its development team has put this powerful application in the hands of many at an extremely affordable price. At the time of this press release, Autodesk has released its "Timeline" companion application to Flame, entitled "Smoke for the OSX operation system". While this application has a slightly different home construct interface, its interior parts are very much the same. This training video is not just for experts, but is also for migrators of other 3D Animation programs. We have made this video not only to train people, but to create an entirely new industry workflow. If you calculate in the price of some of its competitor applications, and the fact that while you are in Flame/Smoke creating shading, lighting, texturing, and post plugin grade effects in REAL TIME, then it is safe to assume that financially many companies could be spending time and money in the wrong place. While there is a silent war going on between CPU and GPU based rendering technology, we believe that you can harness the power of both simultaneously through our new "just give it to me and I'll finish it in Flame" attitude. We are now creating a new phrase in this industry called "CG Finishing", which is not to be confused with VFX and COLOR GRADING FINISHING. We are proposing that 3D Modelers UV their models, let animators animate those models, and give the textures to a Flame artist to finish.

Chapter Descriptions


Chris will talk to you about this new shift in paradigm throughout the Visual Effects And Computer Graphics Animation Industry. He will talk about some new competitor applications that will be introduced this year as well as some that are trying to break into the industry right now.  Hang on to your hats, because many of you are going to have to reprogram the way you have been thinking for the last few years! 

Geometry Basics

At this time, None of the Flame or Smoke apps are using traditional 3d modeling tools, however there list of primitives can be used extensively in just about every scene imaginable.  When dealing with highly detailed geometry and parameterization, several topics must be discussed in order to better understand how you should have your models created and UV'd. While Flame and Smoke has some UV tools, you will want to complete the pre construction of complex scenes in your typical 3d application such as Maya, Houdini or Cinema 4D. (But you know us by now, we show you some tricks on how to use primitives to build up entire scenes!) If that wasn't enough, we will show you some of the Ice Cream Truck LIDAR model captured for the film Book Of Eli, starring Denzel Washington, completely textured so you can see how to handle large data sets.

Light Basics

Lighting is probably the most important part of the process for realistic looking scenes on plain geometry.  You can provide lightning in either traditional 3d space or by using luminance tricks inside of your shaders. In this chapter, we focus on real 3d lighting used similarly to your average 3D application. Flame and Smoke have all the tools that you are going to need to get that look you want.  ALL IN REAL TIME!

Adaptive Degradation

When working in large scenes with many parts, there probably isn't a computer large enough to handle that kind of data smoothly.  Flame and Smoke offer an alternative to choking your computer processes by adjusting realtime degradation of elements in your scene during camera and object transformations.  We go into detail around which ones will help you and which ones won't.

Building Custom Shaders

Because these applications are not just 3D Scene makers, but also compositing apps, you can really get extremely detailed on how you assemble your textures.  Using the Batch schematic on Linux and the Connect FX schematic on OSX, you can combine tons of layers of images and procedural textures using the Substance Materialize functionality only found to be this robust inside of Flame and Smoke.  In one of our examples, we show you how to make crystal clear procedural pool water for those of you sweating all ready with excitement!)

Geometry Lighting Issues

"In a perfect world""¦ I'm sure you have all heard this common moniker several times in the past.  What we talk about in this chapter, is what to look out for just in case something goes wrong.  Geometry Building applications all export their data differently, so you will need to make sure your data is clean and conformed in case you get some "hiccups" in your shadows or ambient occlusion effects.

Production Style Scene Creation Project

This scene was built in just a few hours using the Maxon Cinema 4D animation and cloth solver package.  Modeling and UV's were done quickly in this app, so it made sense to use it for this lesson.  The data was then exported in Autodesk' FBX translation format so that compatibility is not an issue. Since Flame and Smoke support FBX, OBJ and Alembic, getting your data in and out of Action is a breeze.The rest of the chapter takes you into a deep journey to the center of the world of Procedural Texturing by utilizing the worlds best procedural texturing system called "Substance Texture".  This collection of procedural textures are photo realistic and completely customizable.  We will show you how to use them, and learn how to create your own shading networks just like Autodesk did in order to create the greatest presets we have ever seen.  This entire chapter uses procedural textures to color our entire scene without the use of a single photograph!

Importing Animation Scenarios

Many of you are probably wondering how you would handle animation inside of Smoke and Flame, so we prepared a demonstration of exporting out a FBX animation from Speedtree and show your how to maintain your completely textured and animated models right inside of Action without creating a ton of node networks messing up your procedural organization. We focus on proper nesting and keeping your scenes clean from extra nodes that do not need to be there. The final conclusion is, animation works seamlessly into this process without a hitch!

Lighting FX Tricks

Because we feel that a lot of the lighting FX tools in both apps are mimicking standard or generic PLUGIN style effects, we saved this to last chapter.  In this chapter we show you how to utilize an army of presets for light rays, glints, glows and more! But thats not all"¦. you know we have to teach you how to build these from scratch also so, we cover the basic connections here for that extra "flair". This lesson will complete your overall general knowledge of assembling 3d scenes inside of Flame, Smoke and Smoke OSX. Based on the sale statistics of this video, we will measure how much need there is for our second volume of extremely high end 3d scene composition systems. For more information email

Autodesk Flame, Smoke and Smoke For Mac (AKA Smoke OSX) are being treated as equally as possible in this video in the hopes that Flame will be avialble on OSX AND Linux as well. While Smoke has a great story telling UI, there is nothing quite as unique and useful as the Flame Desktop. It is in our opinion, that our customers get equivilent features on both Linux and OSX.  Our lesson applies to all three apps, although only a few items are missing from the OSX version at the time that this video was created.


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