Fusion 9 start-up troubleshooting

Let me lead by saying that I have no intention of being Fusion tech support. The information in this post is the only help I will offer, so don't send me emails asking how to get Fusion running. I will steadfastly ignore them (so don't take it personally when I don't reply; it's just a policy I'm using to maintain my sanity). I am interested in new solutions, though, so if you manage to overcome a start-up or crash problem that isn't detailed here, do let me know your solution so I can disseminate it. Or better yet, post it at both the official forum and We Suck Less. You probably already know that I frequent both of those sites, so I'm almost guaranteed to see it.

0xc0000142

If you get a message that the application was unable to start, with a reference to a strange-looking number like the one above, chances are good that your computer doesn't meet the minimum system requirements. Fusion 9 needs a processor that supports the SSE 4.1 instruction set. There is no workaround for this error other than upgrading your processor. Fusion 8, however, does not have this requirement, so you could step back to that version and get working. Do note that you won't be able to run Reactor, which requires Fusion 9.0.2 or higher. Oddly, Resolve 15 also does not have this requirement, in spite of being newer—I was able to run it on an old Pentium processor (not well, but it ran). Of course, Resolve comes with its own set of issues, none of which I am competent to address.

Synology Backup Service

If you have a Synology brand NAS on Windows, you may be running a service called "Cloud Station Drive VSS Service x64". This service is known to interfere with Fusion 9 loading up. Usually it hangs at the splash screen, but you also may also see a white or black box in place of the splash. The solution is to temporarily stop the backup service, start Fusion, then restart the service. Save the following as Fusion9.bat

@echo off
net stop "Cloud Station Drive VSS Service x64"
start "Fusion" "C:\Program Files\Blackmagic Design\Fusion 9\Fusion.exe"
PING -n 30 127.0.0.1>nul
net start "Cloud Station Drive VSS Service x64"

If you've installed Fusion to a different directory, obviously you'll need to change the path to the executable. The Ping command is simply a way to wait 30 seconds to give Fusion time to fully load before restarting the service.

Another possible symptom of this problem is that Fusion 9 will only start if Resolve 15 is already running.

Bad OFX Plug-ins

Although the OFX standard is intended to allow plug-in developers to write code that works in every compliant host, the unfortunate truth is that many programmers are too lazy to test in environments other than Adobe products. As a result, several popular plug-ins are incompatible with Fusion and will prevent it from loading. Fortunately, there is a way to blacklist the offending plug-ins. First, determine which ones are causing the problem.

On Windows, your OFX plug-ins are found in C:\Program Files\Common Files\OFX\Plugins\

On Mac they're in /Library/OFX/Plugins/

You can easily disable a plug-in by moving it out of that directory. Once you've identified the culprit, you can blacklist it by creating a file called "FusionOFX.blacklist" in your Fusion Profile directory. On Windows that's located at %APPDATA%\Blackmagic Design\Fusion\Profiles\Default\

Place the full path of each plug-in bundle you wish to blacklist, one per line. There should be a single blank line at the end of the file. Or you can download the UI Manager Lua & Python Examples script collection from Reactor. Among the many scripts available there is an OFX Blacklist Generator. Obviously you need to be able to start Fusion to use Reactor, so you'll need to do this while the offending plug-in is disabled.

Corrupted Preferences File

Occasionally a bad Prefs file can prevent Fusion from starting. Find the file Fusion.prefs and rename it to Fusion.oldprefs. The next time you start Fusion, the Preferences will be re-generated with default values. This file is found in
%APPDATA%\Blackmagic Design\Fusion\Profiles\Default\
on Windows. I'm not 100% sure of the Mac path, but I think it's something like:
/Users/<your user name>/Library/Application Support/Blackmagic Design/Fusion/Profiles/Default/
I don't have a Mac I can test with.

Missing Media Location

Fusion keeps a ridiculously long Most Recently Used (MRU) list in its preferences. If you have to wait for several seconds to a minute every time you open a file requester, chances are good that Fusion is looking for a path that is no longer valid. This is most commonly a network share that has been unmapped or renamed, but it might also be looking for something like an external USB storage device. The solutions are: Reconnect the missing media, delete the Preferences file (see above), or edit the Preferences to remove the entries in the FileReq.History table. Use a programmer's text editor if you want to do this—regular old Windows Notepad won't do. Search for "FileReq", then go down a couple of lines to "History = {". Delete every line following that curly brace and above a single brace on its own line. Every line should be a file path. Do not delete that lone curly brace—it needs to stay.

Next, search for "RecentComps" and again delete everything between the curly braces, but not the braces themselves. There are a couple of additional LastFile entries, for LUTs, Alembic and FBX files, maybe a couple of other things depending on your usage. Change whatever paths those have to "",

Other crashes

There are a multitude of reasons that Fusion might crash at various times. It's not as common in 9.0.2 as it was in 9.0, but OpenFX can be unstable in some configurations. In the Preferences, you can turn off OpenCL by setting OpenCL tools to Disable. In most configurations, this won't actually affect your performance as much as you'd expect. While Fusion is GPU accelerated, there seems to be some kind of limitation that prevents GPU processing from being significantly faster than keeping everything on the CPU. That will hopefully change once the codebase overhaul has been completed (at which point we should finally get access to CUDA, too!)

In the Memory section of the Prefs, you can try turning off Simultaneous Branching. This will slow things down much more, essentially turning off much of the multi-processing—Fusion will render only one node path at a time instead of processing several.

Some people report crashes when using the B-Spline. That's not a crash I experience myself, but I've heard it from enough independent sources to think that there's an issue there. I recommend keeping your point count down when using the B-Spline, and if you have this problem, maybe get used to using Polygons instead.

There are also occasional interactions with OFX tools that cause instability. I sometimes have difficulty with ReelSmart Motion Blur, and Neat Video's Reduce Noise can get crashy if I use more than one in a comp, even if they're on separate branches. I don't have any solutions for those. Save early and save often. Same goes for using the Paint tools. Some people have no problem with them, but Paint and MaskPaint crash frequently for me. I guess it's a trade-off for the B-Spline thing.

Again, if you're having an issue I haven't covered here, please don't ask me. This is literally everything I know. I may update it as more information comes my way, but I'm not BMD support, and I'm no computer problems guru.

Toolbox UI Script for Fusion

We use quite a few scripts and custom tools at Muse VFX, and using Fusion's built-in methods of organizing them was starting to get cumbersome. I built a little toolbox panel to ease the burden of keeping track of everything, inspired by SirEdric's ScriptScript script at We Suck Less. It's a nice example of a responsive script that is easy to maintain and attractive. It also extended my understanding of Fusion's UI Manager, enabling even more options in the future. Let's take a look under the hood.Continue reading →

Kill the Happyforms Ad in your WordPress Editor

I don't know if any of my small number of readers runs their own WordPress site, but I ran into an annoyance today related to the theme on one of my mine. When I entered the Editor page, an ad for something called "Happyforms" had been placed in the layout. Screen space is precious, and I sure as heck didn't want to give any up to an ad, so I immediately looked for a way to squash it.

First, I needed to figure out where in the world it came from. It was an ad for a plug-in, so the first thing I did was to find out who published it by going to the WordPress Plugins repository. I didn't click on the ad itself—not only did I not want to give the advertiser any positive reinforcement from a click, but I wanted to be sure I was headed to the official WordPress repository and not to any potentially malicious impostor site. Searching for Happyforms turned up that it was published by The Theme Foundry, which pointed me to my themes manager. Sure enough, the Make theme is also published by The Theme Foundry and is the source of the ad.

The next step was to find the code that was embedding the ad. I started by looking through the Theme Editor, specifically at the Theme Functions and Post Builder files. I didn't turn up anything in there, so I dove into the "inc" subfolder, which I think is short for "includes." In there I found the conveniently-named "happythemes.php" file. Opening it up, I found that there was a function called make_before_editor_happyforms_ad().

If your permissions are set up properly, you can't alter this file directly in the Theme Editor, so to modify it you'll need to either do it by ftp or find it in your host's file manager. In my case, I browsed the File Manager to the location /wp-content/themes/make/inc/happyforms.php

I located the function I was interested in and simply deleted everything between the curly braces {}. It's important not to delete the braces themselves or change anything outside of them. This way, the function will be called, not do anything, then return control back to whatever process asked for it. Where before there was an ad, there is now nothing but the editor.

I'll probably have to repeat this process every time the theme updates. If it gets to be too annoying I'll look into how child themes work and see if I can't build a permanent override. Or maybe I'll just jump ship and stop using any themes from publishers that pull such stunts.

Given my previous history with a determined hacker, this kind of thing is a big red flag for me. I don't know what kind of limitations are in place at the WordPress and Wordfence (my firewall) level, but a bad actor could conceivably place links that lead to anywhere they like. In this case I think it's just a matter of an overzealous publisher trying to hock their new product in every channel they have access to. In the future…?

DeSharpen for Fusion

I've been dealing with some greenscreen footage at work from a client that doesn't often use visual effects. They had the in-camera sharpening filter turned all the way up, which creates a harsh black line around the subject, as seen to the left.

This artifact naturally causes problems when keying, so it needs to be smoothed out in order to get the best results. While it is generally impossible to perfectly remove such filtering once it's been done, it is sometimes possible to reduce it to the point where it no longer breaks the key.

For this technique, we'll investigate a common method of sharpening called the Unsharp Mask.Continue reading →

Redshift Camera Metadata in Fusion

Springboarding from Vito's excellent tutorial Exchange Cameras perfectly using the power of Meta-Data, which uses V-Ray, I developed a similar method for Redshift. Redshift's metadata format differs significantly from V-Ray's. First, it's not in an easily-accessed table format; instead, Redshift writes the transform matrix into a comma-separated list. Second, the rotation order of Redshift's matrix is ZXY instead of XYZ. These two issues prevent us from directly using the method Vito shows. Oh, and there's one further problem: The 3DS Max Redshift plugin doesn't yet write metadata to the image, so this won't work there. I have verified it in both Houdini and Maya, though, and I'm reasonably sure it will also work for Cinema4D.  In this article, we'll build a Fuse that reformats the metadata into something easier to apply to a Camera3D node. Take warning, though: There be trig ahead!

Continue reading →

Morality and Investing

Over the past few years I have been very blessed by an income that greatly exceeds my expenses. While I am still not out of the woods with regard to debt—my student loan still exceeds $60,000—the economy has been in a state where it is more efficient to invest my excess than to pay down the debt. I currently have four investment vehicles, and I'd like to take some time to explain each one and consider not only the financial pros and cons, but also the ethical impact of my decisions.Continue reading →

Combining Normal Maps

My buddy Vito asked for some help with combining normal maps with bump maps in Fusion. He's been using a method that's pretty common but mathematically flawed: Apply the bump to the base normals using Overlay mode. While this Looks About Right most of the time, he wanted to improve his workflow. To be honest, the problem was a little bit over my head, but being unable to resist the technical challenge, I dove in.Continue reading →

First Impressions of Fusion in Resolve 15

Blackmagic Design released the first public beta of Resolve 15, to which they've added a Fusion tab so that VFX work can be done without ever leaving the editing environment. Obviously, that's going to put Fusion in front of thousands more eyes, and given that I'm writing a book about it, that seems like good news to me! So it behooves me to try it out as early as possible.

Now, given that I'm a reasonably advanced user of Fusion, it's to be expected that I'll hate a lot about trying to use it in the context of Resolve. I really have no interest in being an editor, so my inclination is to resist wrapping my software inside an editing program. Keep that in mind if I get overly negative. I'm sure for editors who want to dabble their toes in effects, it's the Best Thing Evar.Continue reading →

It's a Great Time to be a Fusioneer!

Over the past three months or so, there have been quite a few very encouraging and exciting developments in the Fusion community. Just in case any of them have been overlooked, I thought I'd take a few minutes out of your day to tell you about them.


The first thing I'd like to point out is the release of Reactor, a package manager for Fusion. Reactor makes it dead easy to find, download and install new tools. My own Glitch Tools are available there, as are several other offerings from Muse VFX.Continue reading →