Pure Flame or Toolbox?

Based on a few recent discussions. Curious:

How many of us want/have to/can take a pure approach to Flame to get their work done vs. how many of us want/have to/can take a toolbox approach?

And I see two circles there -

An inner circle that contains what I would call auxiliary tools, that run inside Flame, but require separate install/licenses.

An outer circle that contains alternate tools that may require a round-trip to augment Flames functionality.

Inner circle would be Neat Video, Mocha Pro, 3rd party Matchbox, Sapphire

Outer circle would be Nuke, Silhouette, Fusion, After Effects, SynthEyes, Photoshop

In a pure case you have to denoise with Flame’s denoise node, do any type of roto with gMask Tracer, 3D tracking with camera analysis, etc.

In the inner circle you might roto in Mocha, use SynthEyes for some tracking, etc. but do your entire clip processing inside Flame.

In the outer circle, you may have a batch in Flame that you’re working on, but there may be a branch of that batch were you rountrip through Nuke for a CopyCat cleanup, or some InfillPaint processing.

I assume some of this (especially in facilities) is a matter of getting licenses and having software installed.

In my case, I’m definitely in the outer circle camp. Recent job in December was colored in TL-FX, had a batch for most of the cleanup, but several clips had round-trips to Nuke for various extras that just work better there.

How much of that choice is driven by personal style, cost considerations, or external rules?

For today’s jobs, how realistic / efficient is a pure approach?

I run Silhouette in my “inner circle” of tools.


Outside of 3d tracking, which we send out of the house, we do everything in Flame +plugins. It is all I’ve ever known for the past 28 years. New flame 3d tracking is terrible and unusable. We also use Silhouette via its OFX interface. But as Flame really starts to lag behind in modern AI tools, we may have to start doing Nuke CopyCat. The fact that ADSK corp can’t even get their act together to unleash the devs to make Timewarp ML and other cool shit is just so typical of mega-corp sloth fools.


I’ve been getting into using PFTrack which is was easy learn as well I now find Photoshop Beta to be amazing, an awesome addition and time saver.

I think I’ll be finally learning Nuke for CopyCat as I totally agree with @ALan on ADSK and corporate drag.

Internally I use Neat, a little Mocha, and have Silhouette.


I’m an inner circle dude all the way. Neat, Mocha and Sapphire I use regularly.
Anything outside that, I get someone else to do.

1 Like

I’m best in flame, so if it’s doable there I’ll do it there. The only serious carve out is Neat Video, which I use exclusively to denoise stuff.

Sometimes I use Syntheyes, or Blender, or Mocha, but only when necessary. I’m like a seal: put me in the water1 (aka using flame) and I’m fast and graceful, put me on land (using other software) and I move like a sausage.


1. Just as an aside here I went looking for gifs of seals flopping about on land and there are hundreds of shitty nigh-identical NFT-type gifs that some prick uploaded to giphy if you search “seal moving”, just pages and pages of the same low effort shit. We’re automating the wrong things, guys.


Inner circle guy here as well. I just want to waddle in a 3rd party camera tracker a bit, maybe teach myself PFTrack. If I had time I would like to delve into CopyCat as well but that would need a Nuke license.

Right, it’s not a small investment. That said, I was on several jobs in December where CopyCat turned into a major time saver and quality bar raiser.

One involved a lot of complex roto where all the other ML tools fell way short. But it was cheaper than sending it overseas (assuming you already have the license of course).

The other one was an intricate cleanup job. Some white lilies in product shots who had lost a significant amount of their pollen dust, an those orange particles were all over. The shot had significant rotation and parallax, so the typical painting techniques didn’t fare well. CopyCat took care of it extremely well and quickly. Especially since the same training can be leveraged over several shots.

So it can be worth it.


Inner circle!

Except for audio (Pro Tools) & cgi (C4d) everything else is in Flame + sapphire. I have all the Adobe stuff but never use it.