A piece of software may seem an odd thing to get excited about but bear with me and I’ll make the case.
Although I currently use Adobe Photoshop and After FX for all my manip work, my preferred tool is a compositing application called Fusion. I got turned on to it in college, got an academic copy, and quickly fell in love with its powerful feature set. Unfortunately, Fusion is a Windows-only app so I had to say goodbye to it when I made the transition to Mac years ago. Every now and then, I’d check to see if there were any movement on the long-rumored Mac version, but there never was.
And then, earlier this year the company that makes Fusion was acquired by Blackmagic Design.
Several years ago, Blackmagic bought a company called Da Vinci Systems that made professional grade color correction systems for film and tv. We’re talking about software that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Today, Blackmagic sells the high-end product with its bespoke hardware for thirty-grand. But, the software alone now only costs $995 USD. They even give away an entry-level version of the application for free. And, they ported what was a Windows-only product to Mac and Linux.
So, the news Blackmagic had bought Fusion had the entire visual fx industry elated. A Mac version was finally a certainty as well as a lower price point (Fusion costs around five-thousand dollars per license). This week, to my joy, Blackmagic did exactly what we all hoped they would.
Fusion is, officially, on its way to Mac. No timeline on its release, but the work has begun. For me, knowing that someday in the not-too-distant future I’ll be able to return to the compositing tool that I used to create Orientation, and many other early animated manips, is really exciting. Every time I start a new animation in After FX, I miss Fusion a little bit; its a tool that was a very good fit for me.
So, why am I telling you all this?
Because, I know most of you are Windows users and that means that most of you can go and download Fusion right now…for free. Blackmagic has released two versions of the software. Fusion and Fusion Studio. The Studio version now runs just $995 and includes some high-end features most of us will never use (tools for stereoscopic 3D, network rendering, plugins, etc). Aside from those features, Fusion is now 100% free with no strings attached.
So, what’s the catch? The learning curve. Fusion is a professional tool that can be very intimidating for an entry-level user. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tutorial videos on YouTube that can walk you through almost anything you need to know about what the software can do.
And, what this software can do is almost anything. It can replicate nearly all of the functionality I use in Photoshop when doing manips. It can also do animation, 3D objects and text, visual FX, 3D particles. This is a very powerful piece of software. If you’re willing to tackle the learning curve and teach yourself how it works, you could conceivably use this single application to do any of the manips in my catalog. That’s how deep its feature-set is.
I get emails from many of you asking about the software I use and what I’d recommend. Just recently, someone asked for advice on achieving an effect that they couldn’t accomplish in the photo-editor they’ve been using. So, I wanted to share with all of you the news that there is a professional-quality tool that is now available to you (on Windows) that is limited only by your imagination.
I hope that this will facilitate all the artists out there to make even more great manips with great animations, and fx, and (especially) imagination. You can download Fusion here and you can start on a great series of learning videos here.
I can’t wait to see what you create.