March 09, 2010 09:01 ET

GenArts Sapphire 5 for Autodesk Now Available

Next Generation of Award-Winning Visual Effects Software Enables Performance and Productivity Improvements for Linux Flame, Inferno, Flint HD and Smoke HD Users

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - March 9, 2010) -  GenArts Inc., the premier provider of specialized visual effects software for the film, television and video industries, announced today the availability of GenArts Sapphire™ 5 for Autodesk systems users. Announced in November, Sapphire 5 promises to unlock artists' creativity with marked improvements to performance and productivity, all while significantly reducing infrastructure costs.

Sapphire 5 enables a completely interactive user experience at HD resolutions, thanks to full GPU-accelerated render speeds up to 700 percent faster than version 4. Now, batch jobs once requiring overnight processing can be processed in a fraction of the time. Sapphire 5 also uses full floating point for all internal processing, which improves visual effects quality -- even on 8-, 10- and 12-bit footage -- and offers photorealistic image quality with the highest possible dynamic range. Sapphire 5 can also handle 16-bit floating point footage natively on the desktop and in batch, without clamping. By removing these performance limitations of versions past, Sapphire 5 enables artists to explore the full range of their creativity without the worry of incurring additional infrastructure costs. 

"I've been testing Sapphire 5, and I must say I'm impressed with the speed of the plug-ins," said Victor Wolansky, Flame artist from e3 Post. "In addition, the full float support offers a huge difference in effects like blurs or vignettes where I used to see banding. Now they're absolutely perfect, and there is no speed impact. My Flame would not be complete without them."

In addition to performance and productivity improvements, Sapphire 5 also offers 15 vibrant new effects, including TVDamage, TVChannelChange, Technicolor and many new transitions. (A full list of new effects can be found at

New parameters are also offered in this release -- many from customer requests:

  • All Threshold controls now go beyond 1 to support high dynamic range (HDR).
  • ZBlur and ZDefocus support Boost Highlights to give an "HDR look" even to normal footage.
  • New Blur parameters are included in Glint and Glare for improved realism.
  • Glow now has options for Show Threshold and Combine Mode to enhance flexibility and give new looks.

"Sapphire 5 for Autodesk is a critical component of our strategy to grow GenArts via innovation, as well as through acquisitions and alliances," said Steve Bannerman, CMO of GenArts. "Sapphire has been completely re-architected to not only deliver dramatic performance, usability and image quality enhancements today, but to serve as a platform upon which we can deliver entirely new classes of innovation in the future. We're extremely pleased with the feedback we've received from our early testers, and we're confident that Sapphire 5 will empower visual effects artists in completely new ways as they push the envelope to thrill and amaze audiences around the world."

A new Sapphire 5 license for Linux Flame, Inferno, Flint HD and Smoke HD is priced at $8,499. (This price represents a $1,500 decrease from Sapphire 4.) Upgrades from Sapphire 4 to Sapphire 5 will be priced at $3,499. In addition, new Sapphire 5 floating licenses for Burn are available for $499 and for upgrade at $149.

Please visit for more information and to see a video featuring the speed-ups found in Sapphire 5 for Autodesk.

Since the company's founding in 1996, GenArts software has been utilized in thousands of films, television broadcasts and commercials, including more than 20 Oscar-nominated pieces such as Titanic; I, Robot; Armageddon; Star Wars Episode I, II and III; The Matrix trilogy; The Lord of the Rings trilogy; Pearl Harbor; Spider Man; Pirates of the Caribbean; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Transformers; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Avatar and many more.

About GenArts
GenArts, Inc. is the premier provider of specialized digital visual effects for the film, broadcast and video industries. As visual effects have become essential to the art of storytelling, GenArts' tools have emerged as the standard for creating high-end visual effects at leading studio, broadcast and post-production facilities around the world. GenArts' products have been used extensively to create an array of breathtaking effects for not only countless feature films, but television shows, commercials and music videos as well. GenArts enjoys the unique distinction of having been a key component of an Oscar-nominated film for the past 13 consecutive years. 

The GenArts Sapphire™, Monsters™, Raptors™, Tinder™ and particleIllusion™ portfolio equips digital artists with a collection of state-of-the-art visual effects tools such as glows, light rays, lens flares, film, fire, fluid and particles that seamlessly integrate as software plug-ins into leading editing and compositing systems. GenArts was founded in 1996 in Cambridge, Mass.

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