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danilo2

Flowbox project 

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Hello,

I'm an "old Houdini user" :) I was working for few years as senior FX TD and OD FORCE forum was always my favorite one. Because of that I want to share some information with you - I've quit the job and started with a strong programmers team a Flowbox project. You can read more informations about it below:

We’re making a new tool for processing images. We believe that our novel approach will speed-up your work and make your workflow more flexible.

Flowbox FX refines the node-based approach. It offers a global repository of nodes for image composition, analysis and processing and allows you to fully use the power of your hardware with automatic CUDA/OpenCL acceleration.

We’re going to release a closed alpha soon. Everyone who’s interested in our product — please let us know by signing up on our website.

Visit: http://flowbox.io

Best regards,

Wojciech Danilo

Flowbox co-founder

post-4677-0-47165800-1384005323.png

Edited by danilo2
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Confused... On your website there is a picture of something that looks vaguely like nuke on an ipad but no more information. What exactly is it?

Is it photoshop but with nodes?

Can it do video or just stills?

Is it for mobile devices?

Not sure I know what I am looking at currently... Any more info would be great.

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@TomRaynor - please also look at the page http://flowbox.io/landing.php - there is no ipad to distrub you :) We are randomly showing pages to people - the light and dark one to see which one is "nicer" to you.

Answering your question - right now Flowbox allows to process still images, but in the near future (probably up to alpha release) it will support processing sequences of them. It works right now on Linux, Darwin and Windows. We are focusing on these platforms at the moment, but Flowbox is designed to work also on mobile devices (like tablets, etc) - it consists of GUI and a Server, which can be run on the same device or can be distributed - GUI on thin client, like ipad and Server on some "bigger" machine.

We have created a new dataflow programming language - Luna - which has got 2 representations - textual and visual one. (Yes, it is a real programming language). While connecting nodes, our compiler is analysing the flow, optimizing it and producing efficient binaries, which are processing images, automatically distributing the computations across available CPU cores and GPU.

Flowbox is a data processing platform - it allows you to process any data in a visual way (you can write nodes to process for example sound, 3D graphics, drive simulations etc). Right now we are focused on Flowbox FX, which is Flowbox with nodes allowing for image composition and processing.

I hope I've answered your question. If you've got further questions, feel free to ask me :)

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Interesting. May I ask what it is "aimed" for? I mean something like what Photoshop does, or more a "traditional" compositor like AE/Nuke? Maybe a mix?

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@TomRaynor - Thank you :) If you've got any further questions, feel free to ask me :)

@Skybar - of course you may! Even you should :)

On the beginning, please read my answer above. Our team is focused right now on image processing (including image compositing) in general. I do not think it will allow you to replace your "pure artistic" photoshop workflow at the moment - of course you are free to define nodes, which will allow for drawing with brushesh, applying filters, and anything you're doing in everyday "photoshop life", but we want deliver nodes aimed at general image composition on the beginning, like AE or Nuke but with much greater flexibility. Of course we do NOT want to cover all the Nuke or AE functionality with our Alpha product :)

As you can see, you can using our blocks (read nodes) or using textual Luna (or using them both of course) define custom operations - like brush painting, stencil brush tools, sound or scientific image analysis tools and share them (again, read nodes) with others using our online nodes repository. Your idea is interesting, because it would create a non-breakable node based photoshop operation history, isnt it?

The main idea behind the project is, that we want to give more power, flexibility and performance to the user. So the user should be able to easy understand, extend, and share existing and new solutions.

Of course if you are interested in developing your own tools for processing data (like creating node based photoshop-like tools with specialized interactive artistic toolset), feel free to contact me at wojtek@flowbox.io or contact@flowbox.io :)

Did I answer your question? :)

Edited by danilo2

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Did I answer your question? :)

You did! Great answer, sounds very interesting :)

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This could be interesting. As a Nuke and Houdini user, I'm also an avid user of Pure Data, reaktor and Touch Desginer for more DSP and realtime like stuff. Is this a marked you guys perhaps might venture into ? Or with Flowbox FX stricktly aimed at offline image processing ?

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@thetheo:

Flowbox (see no FX here) is made with at all the people in mind, who would like to create custom solutions like 2D tools, simulation tools or sound processing tools. It allows them to create these tools in a visual / textual environment and share with other using an online node repository.

Flowbox FX (here is the FX) is Flowbox with nodes aimed at (right now) offline image processing, but we do not exclude possibility, that it will contain in the future reactive components by default (like vvvv or Touch Designer).

If there will be more people who will need such functionality, we will add it to the basic version.

What I think is very important, if you know Touch Designer or PD and you know how data flows between the nodes, you would be able to create components known from these solutions even if they are not included by default. And if you are even more technical - you will be able to create custom DSP solution based on our platform and distribute it as your own product, allowing end users for visual way of working :)

Does it make sense to you? :)

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Hello once again! :) There is some bigger discussion about flowbox on CG Society forum. If anyone is interested in more technical insight into Flowbox, I recommend taking look at it: http://forums.cgsoci...60&page=1&pp=15

@Skybar - I've used there one answer written originally for you, I hope you dont mind it :)

All the best! :)

Wojtek

Edited by danilo2

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Guest tar

Look super cool, I'm always supportive of new ideas and I hope it can shake the industry up!

I'd be quite interested to hear how you are going to tackle the biggest issue of independent software development... Sales / Marketing - quite simply it's now relatively easy for a group of highly skilled programmers to form and create amazing new products but the sales and marketing is almost always left out. How are you going to address this critical area, because without it, in a few years this project will most likely be on floor when everyone runs out their or the vc's money!

Thanks!

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@marty: Hello! This is a very important question.

We've got a strong technical team, but as you pointed out - Sales / Marketing is driving the business in the future. We've got some people who made strategies for Forbes 1000 companies, so we are aware of this issue.

We want to release Flowbox basing of your needs. We strongly believe in customer based development process.

We plan to release Flowbox free for non commercial usage. We are even thinking of releasing some parts of it as Open Source software. We strongly believe in the community spirit. I believe, that one of the most important things for a product to live, is a community of people using it. We love sharing our ideas, knowledge and technology, so we also believe, there will appear some community based high-end tools based on Flowbox, if it will prove, that it is the next level data processing platform.

I've used "believe" word too many times, haven't I? :D

This is not a direct answer to your question, but I wanted to share with you my point of view and our beliefs. I do not think this answers your question also. Do you have any ideas or comments? Could you ask more precisely please?

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Guest tar

Great - that's good to hear, as a user it's important to know that the energy and effort we put learning your software, and not using other software, will not go to waste for not addressing the cash-flow-lifeblood area!

For the non-commerical/PLE version. If you can make it like the Sesi model, just a small watermark or for a small fee with no watermark that would be good. I certainly found this perfect to bringing Houdini into the commercial environment.

Almost as important then is the bug reporting and fixing. What are your plans for these? It appears to me that Sesi sets the industry standard with daily builds.

Lastly there is a all too familiar software development model of announcing X number of features and only putting resources developing a percentage of them, then based on customer feedback developing the ones that people want. This seems to be getting a bit old... maybe it's the only way though, what are your plans here?

Thanks again.

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@marty: You pointed very important topics again!

For the non-commerical/PLE version. If you can make it like the Sesi model, just a small watermark or for a small fee with no watermark that would be good. I certainly found this perfect to bringing Houdini into the commercial environment.

We also think, this is very good idea. We will probably o with it :)

Almost as important then is the bug reporting and fixing. What are your plans for these? It appears to me that Sesi sets the industry standard with daily builds.

Sesi model is good, but far from perfect to me. I love the way Houdini is released and we plan to automate our releasing process at some time to create daily builds. It will be not available by Alpha, but we plan to introduce it as soon as possible.

We want to provide an issue tracker for you (like Jira, Bugzilla, etc) - to make it clear, what are the known bugs, what we are working at, etc. This brings very good clarifications of what is happening to the project and track status of bugs, you are interested in.

Lastly there is a all too familiar software development model of announcing X number of features and only putting resources developing a percentage of them, then based on customer feedback developing the ones that people want. This seems to be getting a bit old... maybe it's the only way though, what are your plans here?

We were thinking about creating a place, where everybody would be able to write, what functionality would love to see or vote for existing ideas. The most voted ideas would have priorities over the others and would be implemented first. What do you thing of such idea?

Edited by danilo2

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We have sent a survey for all the people, who signed up on our website.

We want to thank you for the great answers and feedback, we get from you! We really appreciate it.

Thank you for all great questions :) In case of any new questions or ideas, feel free to ask them here or write directly to me: wojciech [at] flowbox.io :)

If you did not signed up yet, do not worry - we allow for signing up to the alpha release and we will send surveys to all new people also :)

Edited by danilo2

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Guest tar

We were thinking about creating a place, where everybody would be able to write, what functionality would love to see or vote for existing ideas. The most voted ideas would have priorities over the others and would be implemented first. What do you thing of such idea?

Sounds good - I think also being clear as to what you will be doing with development, i.e. tick-tock development; new feature release then improving stability and performance. So there is an expectation. Right now we have no idea if a new release of any software will be new feature heavy or stability performance improvement. New features drive sales and competitiveness but stability/performance is always in the long-run professional's view.

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@marty: you are right - knowing what to expect from new release is very important :) We will keep that in mind :)

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Looks interesting.

If I'm not mistaken, the Flowbox FX is a bit like a compositor that has a VEX / VOP environment. Sounds great! I've always shied away from coding nodes in Fusion (or Nuke), and Houdini (COP).. well there's just too much missing.

If I may say something. I would really try to target Artists aswell. Have a very basic (just brushes, masks, some filters and merge tools) on day one. Show artistically pleasing works and make video tutorials.

I think many will pick it up as a (little) photosphop replacement. Which will create momentun. This will make programmers interested and start making tools. Maybe have some kind of store (like orbolt) where developers can also sell their nodes.

Looking forward to see where this is going.

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