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Developer(s)SilhouetteFX LLC
Stable release
Operating systemLinux, Windows, Mac OS X

SilhouetteFX began as a rotoscoping tool for the visual effects industry. SilhouetteFX has been expanded to include capabilities facilitating paint, warping and morphing, 2D to 3D conversion and alternative matting methods. As of V6, SilhouetteFX retains all of the aforementioned capabilities now embedded in a node-based digital compositing application.

Version history[edit]

Version 1 was demonstrated at the January 2005 Motion Graphics LA (MGLA) meeting.[1]

Versions 1 and 2 were broken into separate rotoscoping and paint products. Version 3 (released May 2008)[2] and beyond combined all core features (roto and paint) into a single product. With the release of Version 3 in May 2008,[2] SilhouetteFX gained a stereoscopic workflow, planar tracking, x-splines plus keying and compositing capabilities.

As a paint package, SilhouetteFX can be used for wire, rig, dust and blemish removal.[3] Advanced cloning features were added in Version 4.[4] A hybrid vector / raster paint system was added in Version 5.[5]

Beginning in Version 4, released in March 2010, SilhouetteFX could be used to convert 2D motion pictures to 3D.[4][6][7] Version 4 also introduced multiple simultaneous clone sources, open shapes (e.g. hair), python scripting and command line rendering.

The mocha planar tracking system was licensed from Imagineer Systems and integrated into Version 5.[5]

Version 5 added a high speed advanced shape driven warping and morphing system.[5][8] Company partner, Perry Kivolowitz, is the co-inventor of shape driven warping and morphing and is a recipient of a 1996 Scientific and Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[9] Version 5 also contributed more 2D to 3D conversion tools, inverse kinematics roto. Significantly, a hybrid raster / vector paint system was added permitting stereoscopic paint incorporating history and automatic paint with match-move.

In Version 6, SilhouetteFX exposed a node-based digital compositing application providing more than 130 stereo-enabled nodes. Version 6 also provides enhanced interoperability with NUKE developed by The Foundry. Version 6 incorporated OpenCL acceleration.

Version 7, released in July 2018, now incorporates more than 140 effects nodes and a sequence editor. A pin-warp clone brush was added as well as a new planar tracking system capable of tracking non-textured objects with partial occlusion.


SilhouetteFX is named for the art form associated with Étienne de Silhouette (July 8, 1709 – 1767). The fundamental output of a rotoscoping program is a matte which when viewed appears as a silhouette of an object to be treated in isolation of the remainder of an image. The image density of the matte determines how a compositing operation effect will be applied. Image pixels corresponding to brighter pixels in the matte will be treated differently than image pixels corresponding to darker pixels in the matte vfx.


The developer, SilhouetteFX LLC, was formed as a partnership between principals from Digital Film Tools and Profound Effects, Inc. Partners include Paul Miller, Marco Paolini, Peter Moyer and Perry Kivolowitz.

In 2019, Boris FX, a leading developer of VFX, compositing, titling, video editing, and workflow tools for broadcast, post-production, and film professionals acquired SilhouetteFX.


2019 Academy Award for Technical Achievement - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

2019 Engineering Emmy - Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Partial List of Notable Films[edit]


  1. ^ "MGLA Meeting Summary: 01/18/05". 2005-01-18. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  2. ^ a b "Step by Step: Eagle Eye". 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  3. ^ "Frame-byframe Painting". Conrad Olson. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  4. ^ a b "Silhouette: A versatile tool for VFX work". NYC Production and Post News. 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  5. ^ a b c "SilhouetteFX Silhouette". Computer Graphics World. 2013-09-01. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  6. ^ "Madison software company has Titanic connection to Hollywood". 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
  7. ^ "2D to 3D Conversion". Post Magazine. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  8. ^ "Silhouette V5: Much More than Just Rotoscoping". NYC Production and Post News. 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  9. ^ "Oscar-winning computer graphics pioneer reveals tricks in new course (Feb. 24, 1998)". 1998-02-24. Retrieved 2013-05-02.

External links[edit]