combustion (with small 'c') is a professional-quality
, 3D animation
, and vector
painting system used for film, video, and other motion graphic post-production
work. It is a product of the Discreet
(formerly Discreet Logic
) company, and will run on the Macintosh OS 9.x and OS X
operating systems as well as Windows NT
. This is a major development, as Discreet's other well known high-end products (inferno
, specifically) require massively powerful Silicon Graphics Oynx
"visual workstations" to run effectively. combustion is well suited to a dual 800MHz G4
Macintosh (and even
useable on a single-processor G3
266MHz system), bringing the cost
of an extremely powerful special effects
system down to the "nearly affordable" range.
Even with its extensive animation and paint capabilities, combustion's primary use remains compositing; that is, elements are commonly generated external to the application (such as a 3D model created and rendered in Maya Illusion), then imported and combined with other elements like practically photographed background plates.
flame artists will commonly have a combustion-equipped workstation around for assistants to do a lot of the grunt work required to prep effects shots. Mattes can be "cut" in combustion and then imported into flame, for example.
combustion is capable of working at resolutions ranging from highly compressed video to full-res scanned film frames. If the project is finishing on film, combustion can not only add simulated film grain to the composite, but has the characteristics of many commonly used film stocks preprogrammed and ready for application. Alternatively, the grain characteristics from an already scanned film frame can be sampled and applied elsewhere. This feature greatly enhances the realism of a finished CGI effect.
The program's user interface is visually similar to many UNIX/Linux-based applications. This is a holdover from the SGI workstations' IRIX operating system, which makes experienced composite artists feel right at home.
Note: this writeup is the stylistic result of several days spent reading user manuals. Such activity is not recommended for those who wish to write anything interesting.