The Foundry has introduced its Furnace 4 plug-in for Shake, comprising next-generation motion estimation technology and a host of tools for digital visual effects.

Furnace, available for Linux and OS X, was originally launched in 2002 and has become a popular suite of image processing plug-ins. The latest version offers optimised output, enhanced speed, and a more intuitive user interface.

It also offers eight brand new tools, including: Contrast, which will automatically detect and enhance the shadow region within filmed or HD footage without blowing out highlights in other parts of the image; DeFlicker2, a fully automated plug-in that will remove in-scene flicker caused by poorly synchronised light rigs or stray lights; and RotoTracker, which tracks a rotoshape through a sequence, keeping it accurately attached to an object even as it changes shape.

Furnace 4 can also calculate, pre-generate and utilise motion vectors. Many of the Furnace plug-ins use motion vectors and, rather than calculating the vectors on a per plug-in basis, it is now possible to calculate them once using the new VectorGenerator plug-in. This new technique has many advantages, although the most significant is speed enhancement.

The Foundry’s Furnace development team were honoured with a 2006 Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® for their roles in the design and development of the Furnace plug-ins.

Furnace 4 node-locked costs £2,200, with Furnace 4 float priced at £3,300. Existing customers can upgrade for £1,100 node-locked and £1,650 floating.