I'm not sure what Flame is anymore

Flame is fast losing ground as VFX software, trying to become no one knows what. An editor? Premiere is better. Colour corrector? Resolve is better. Compositing or VFX? Nuke is better. Motion graphic? After Effect is better. I find myself increasingly struggling to do things I would often do better with other software. This year there have been no updates, no new tolls, just minor detail improvements.
But when new things are implemented, such as ML, they are not developed and remain the same for years.
Even the new camera tracking implemented last year is a step forward (for certain situations). Still, we don’t have object tracking yet: seeing KenTools on After Effects makes it perfectly clear that Flame is no longer considered a platform on which to develop new tools.

I have those days too. But I still love the old girl.
I’m actually feeling pretty good about Flame’s direction. There appears to be a concerted attempt at modernization and innovation. Doesn’t have all the fancy toys, might not do grade as well as Resolve, or heavy lifting as well as Nuke (although… debateable… outside edge cases like the mentioned object tracking and deep image comp or something - and to be fair, when it gets tricky I get vendors who use even more specialized tools like 3DE or whatever)

I’ve been slowly realizing that there can’t be one tool to rule them all.
What I do know is that I am much more comfortable sitting in a room with clients and being able to deal with most of what they throw at me in Flame than anything else.
By a mile. There are things that drive me up the wall, but outside of Resolve for color I find client attend a whole different ballgame in Fusion / AE / Nuke Studio.
Outside the suite I find Flame a very freeform “creative experimentation” platform - I dont know how else to explain it - more of a less constrained “flow” than some of the other workflows?
It cant beat AE in motion, completely, but it’s got it’s own vibe that’s… unique?

But anyway. I feel your frustration and understand. Always good to question and push and hold accountable. Just know that the grass is greener is a tricky beast, that sometimes leads to greater frustration down the road.

To be fair - I think what it boils down to (maybe) is broader plugin development in Flame to enable coverage of the areas that it lacks. Whether it is lower level API access or making it attractive to external devs I don’t know - AE on its own is super basic, but what it does have is a seemingly infinite amount of plugins.
You want to do particles? Trapcode or Stardust. 3D stuff? Plexus or Element3D
Facetracking/ Object tracking - Keentools etc etc. A lot of the same themes with Nuke.

This is an interesting discussion to me as I’m coming from many of the other apps you list, and am relatively new to Flame.

One thing you have be mindful is the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome. I would argue that Premiere is a buggy mess, and Resolve is another app that wants to be everything, and is not that great (or worse) at it give or take the color function, and even there I have some issues. Have you ever had to keyframe or roto a mask in Resolve for anything except a lose basic color matte. Or do some tracking. It’s utterly tedious. The way you can tell something was edited on Premiere is that the render ends on a black frame by default. I can find my way around AE, but it’s an utterly frustrating app, even with some plugins. I would actually say you need to add Cinema4D or another proper 3D app to the mix. I started out in Fusion before it became a tab in Resolve, and it’s ok, but quirky and you mostly only get basic nodes, not the timesaving middle layer (though I haven’t used it in a few years).

In my mind the everything app is the shiny object being chased. It would be the ideal solve in theory. But in practice it really only works if you don’t sacrifice the parts. Resolve tried to get there on a budget. They bought 2nd and 3rd tier solutions on the flea market and smashed them together. The early integration of Fairlight was very clumsy. And there are few audio people that really looked working in Fairlight rather than ProTools or other DAWs.

As I’ve seen more of these, I think I prefer more that an app does one thing fantastic, maybe two, and the other stuff good enough that I can avoid using multiple apps on the job and conforming bits and parts back and forth, because that’s time consuming and fraught with errors. And then you know multiple of these, and decide for each job, which one is going to be most efficient. So as the bar keeps getting raised, the artist that is 100% Flame, or 100% Nuke may no longer be the answer. But you have multiple. If it’s a heavy compositing/tracking job, maybe you do it in Nuke. If it’s a beauty job, you do it in Flame. Demanding paint job could be Flame, Si, or Nuke depends on the details. If connected conform saves you days of work, definitely Flame. If it’s attended, Flame, you have time to fiddle, Nuke. And of course others in the mix too. If it’s heavy edit and color, maybe Resolve. Heavy edit, light on FX, Avid. Need lots of motion graphics, do some of in Cinema4D or 3DSMax.

Of course it becomes a cost and fluency problem. I am using multiple apps, but it’s difficult to keep muscle memory for all the nuances of all of them.

So far I’m enjoying Flame very much, but feel it has a very different character from Nuke. And when you start out in this forum you get the sense that Nuke is a dirty work. And then you slowly get the sense that a fair number of people here use Nuke regularly probably for a lot of these reasons.

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The best tool for me is the tool I use the best.

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The devs have gone on record saying this is from having to rewrite Icore parts of the app to be M1 native. Blame Tim Apple. I certainly do!

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As you said before, the Apple Tax is a real drag in this regard. Wish we could charge Tim Cook all this opportunity cost…

Evolution of tools is rarely linear. You have to look at it holistically and with a lens greater than 12 months.

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You make some very broad generalizations that may apply to your situation, but not in the high-end post production environment.
I can’t imagine doing my job on Resolve, After Effects, and or Premiere. Flame for me in incomparable.

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At this moment I honestly don’t think I could do my job with anything other than flame. For instance, last week I was doing the review for a Netflix show, watched the hdr version, then applied the DoVi and reviewed the trim pass. During both reviews they wanted tiny tweaks making to previously heavy completed comps, I just can’t see how I’d do this elsewhere. Maybe in resolve but from my experience I think that would have been a struggle and not as quick and easy.

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I’m still new to Flame too, and specialized in luxury/beauty work but as all the big post shops here in Paris says (The Mill, Fix, Firm, Reepost, Nightshift etc…) : “Wasn’t Flame supposed to die 10 years ago already? Yeah, and we never had this much jobs and opportunities in years”.
Here Flame is king and since Nuke isn’t realtime, it will never work in beauty work.
Yes, it’s very specific and dedicated to a particular market but Flame is strong and isn’t going anywhere soon.

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[quote=“pixelmixer, post:9, topic:6932”]

You make some very broad generalizations that may apply to your situation, but not in the high-end post production environment.
I can’t imagine doing my job on Resolve, After Effects, and or Premiere. Flame for me in incomparable.

[/quote]I don't know what you mean, I have been using Flame for 30 years, first in post-production houses and for 3 years as a freelance and although I manage to get by in most situations thanks to my experience, in fact, the production companies no longer let me do the conform anymore because then they want the Premiere project, all over Europe they ask you for the Premiere project ... then, no professional colourist uses Flame but resolve ... let's not talk about 2D-3D integration with face tracking or similar, where then Flame shows all its limits.

Flame is an indispensible tool for me.
It allows me to get high quality work out quickly and reliably.

Resolve is a great solution if only doing color but once it gets more complicated it starts to fall apart.
Nuke is like a slog thru molasses comparitively.

When a better solution presents itself that can come close to the interactivity of flame, i’ll give it consideration.

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I agree on this with Adobox. When I was head of post-prod in creative agencies, I only booked Flame artists for the cleaning/beauty/pack work but everything was then conformed, exported and delivered by my editing team.
For color grading, when it’s digital: Resolve, for every high end work: Baselight.

I actually thingk , for me at least, has a lot to do with the style of work i get. When i used flame in the 90s and early 00’s i did a lot of vfx intensive creative work and flame was perfect for it. It was free flowing, fast and i could create things out of essentially nothing. No other software allowed that type of flexibility. I think the type of work we often can get these days in the US is more editorial, more finishing, more label replacement, more final grade tweaks, i still love flame to be able to do all these things, but creatively we are very starved so flame has become something different for me. There are better tools out there for specific tasks but holding timelines and mastering projects flame is still the best place to do it. Is it the best at heavy VFX, absolutely not, but can be used as such easily! it comes down to the artist but i too wish it kept up its professional vfx end better but we know as a company autodsk is not interesting in RnD like some other software. its a pity but its still the best tool for doing a range of tasks and closing out a project. Its still can be used in a smart and very effective way. This forum is going a long way to reinvigorate artists and developers to come up with clever ways to solve propblems much like nukedpedia or other sites that have artist driven toolsets. US advertising is not the most creative lets face it, compared to the scripts from NZ and UK but that is nothing we can do much about!

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In the end, when you talk about the peculiarities of Flame, the same things always come out: you are in a room with the agency and with Flame you can quickly do this and that. But when there are demanding VFX projects where time is not the main thing, then other tools are used. The point is that Flame no longer has any specific sector in which it excels over others, precisely because it does a little bit of everything but only up to a certain level of complexity.

It is indeed way behind other bits of software. but I still like it!!! As a side I just did a whole show using fusion and mastering in resolve and it was really good! But felt like I was cheating on Flame.

I disagree. If you look at top post facilities in the Los Angeles area, feature films and episodic television are conformed along with VFX on Flame. So as a long-form finishing tool many larger facilities use it as their premier “on line” suites. This is where Flame excels.

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Precisely, as a finishing tool. In the past it was THE software for the impossible things to do, now it is a bit of everything, the fast tool to finish and deliver. It is very different.
Many years ago Flame was used to do things that were impossible to do with other software, now this is no longer the case. This is indisputable.