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Why Fusion 16 Is A Great Choice For VFX Artists

Why Fusion 16 Is A Great Choice For VFX Artists

Here's how the node-based compositing software Fusion can benefit your projects.

As Blackmagic Design continues expanding its hardware presence in the filmmaking and VFX industry with a key focus on providing value to its users (like their revolutionary new Ursa Mini Pro 12K camera for under $10,000), their software has followed suit, packing in more value with each release.

In fact, their industry-standard VFX software, Fusion 16, is even available in the free version of DaVinci Resolve or for just $299 in the even more robust Fusion Studio 16 version

Let's review some of Fusion's capabilities so you can see how it could be integrated into your VFX workflow.

What Can Fusion 16 Do?

In Fusion 16, you’ll find various keyers, 3D model support (complete with lights and cameras), planar tracking and rotoscoping, support for animated broadcast graphics, and even tools for VR filmmaking. Keep in mind, this is all included in the free version of DaVinci Resolve 16 on the Fusion tab.

Fusion Studio 16 adds even greater features, like a neural network for AI-assisted VFX production (similar to Adobe Sensei). You can see this full comparison for the differences between Fusion 16 and Fusion Studio 16, but you’ll see it mostly comes down to having the ability to render across a network.

This video covers some of the basics to get you started in Fusion, and you’ll find that when you spend a little time understanding the flow, it’s really not as intimidating as it may look at first glance.
It’s also important to have an understanding of the basics of Resolve (since that’s really the overall program you’ll be working in), so be sure to check out this helpful tutorial on getting started with Resolve 16.

Fusion vs. After Effects

The question of whether to choose Fusion or After Effects really isn't a simple one. They both have their own strengths that can be beneficial for VFX, but they’re largely built to operate in tandem with their NLE counterparts (DaVinci Resolve or Premiere Pro). 

Depending on how your team’s pipeline operates, you may find it easier to just work with one over the other.

If you’re working with Blackmagic’s BRAW footage, you’ll discover it works much more smoothly within DaVinci and Fusion because Blackmagic’s software utilizes GPU rendering, whereas Premiere Pro’s BRAW rendering currently relies on the CPU only.

Fusion is optimal for compositing, while After Effects is more of a rounded tool that can also tackle animation, motion graphics, and more. 

However, Fusion's updates over the years have added numerous features that have drastically blurred the lines between the two programs. Even then, After Effects still boasts a huge user-base with a limitless trove of YouTube tutorials and plugins to expand its functionality.

In contrast with After Effects' layer-based workflow, Fusion features a node-based interface similar to Nuke, which makes Fusion a great stepping stone for progressing to advanced compositing with Nuke. Unlike Nuke’s huge learning curve, though, you can actually get started in Fusion very quickly.
As demonstrated in the video above, node-based workflows allow for a much more fluid and flexible creative advantage over the tedium of going back and forth between adjusting individual parameters of layers.

The other nice thing the video touched on was the ability of nodes to have a much better "at-a-glance" interface, speeding up both individual adjustments and a team-based collaborative process. You won't spend hours hunting through pre-comp layers when changes need to be made. That's a huge advantage!  

ActionVFX Fusion Tutorials

Hungry for more Fusion? You’re in luck! Our YouTube channel features Fusion tutorials like the one below that show you how to composite ActionVFX products into your scenes.

You can also hit up our blog for our latest resources on Fusion.

It’s easy to get so comfortable working in a certain program that learning something new can feel intimidating, but if it can expand your capabilities as a VFX artist and open up new creative possibilities, it’s probably worth a look!

Fusion has actually been around for over three decades and provided VFX for countless Hollywood films. Considering it’s now available as a free program with more features than ever is a pretty tantalizing incentive to get started. Plus, ActionVFX will be here to provide products and resources as you grow.


First time here? ActionVFX creates the best pre-keyed stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

From Fire and massive Explosions to Blood and Gore VFX, we have the largest VFX library in the world ready to be composited in your project. Check out over 3,400 VFX stock footage elements right here

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