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Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?

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Alexander HigginsIs Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 17, 2012 at 5:28:55 pm

So as we all know Apple does what Apple wants. Autodesk does what Autodesk wants. They are both giants in their own right and they both have their own methods to secure what markets and incomes they have.

In the past years with all the competition to the post world, you would think Autodesk would change a little, but Autodesk has been very slow to change. I have found their work flows and methods for post production very CLOSED and LIMITED and PROPITIATORY and to be honest ARROGANT. If you do Post with an Autodesk Product, its the Autodesk way and no other way. End of Story. If you don't like it, move on. I am speaking mainly of FLAME, SMOKE, FLINT, LUSTRE.... Autodesk at one time had the glory and fun in the sun. FLAME was a huge part of the development of visual effects in Los Angeles, a lot of studios that embraced Autodesk had their products in production and use for a lot of years, mainly thinking of SGI hardware. These studios kept the Autodesk Post pipeline and tools alive.

Now where are we? Apple has done away with the MacPro that is a fact and Autodesk in some ways has already crippled SMOKE 2013 by making it for the iMac. When I think of a high end workstation, no matter how fast the the iMac is, I will never think of an iMac. An iMac is not a Professional Workstation. Autodesk is embracing the death of Apples High End Workstations in fear of destroying their own high end LINUX market. Autodesk knows that making a SMOKE 2013 for PC is death. If we can go to Newegg and build a PC SMOKE 2013 for 10k, that is faster than the LINUX Flame, how can they justify selling a LINUX one for 80k or 100k.

At the end of the day, so what, Autodesk can do whatever they want, its their prerogative, its their company. The only reason I even care is that at one point I was excited about Autodesk trying to come down to earth from planet 20 years ago. Now I am over it and little pissed that I learned how to use Autodesk Flame and Smoke, since I had to unlearn a lot of how I did composition to learn their tools. FLAME, SMOKE, have a learning curve like no other.. SO MANY CLICKS!!!

DaVinci Resolve is a better color tool than LUSTRE, SMOKE, FLAME. The Foundry Nuke is a better Compositing tool than Flame, but Autodesk still has a bundle factor that is pretty cool.

I do like having all the tools in once place, that is something I liked about Autodesk Flame and Smoke.

The whole thing is lame. At first I was excited about SMOKE 2013, now that I see how its really going to pan out.. I am very very unhappy. You have to use a "*!!@*!" iMac to use it? Or an outdated MacPro WTF!

Later Audodesk, enjoy planet 20 years ago.


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Tim WilsonRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 17, 2012 at 7:51:49 pm

I may have it wrong Alexander...but I think YOU do. :-)

About the Apple and the Mac Pro, too soon to tell. While it has been 2 years since the last model, there were two years between the very first two models -- and nobody said anything about it. Between the previous two models -- 18 months. So the gap now is nothing we haven't seen before. Part of the reason is that new architecture don't come along often -- and lo and behold, they're becoming available just now. That was out of Apple's hands, so NOW we should consider the clock to be counting.

You don't HAVE to use an iMac. The fact that you CAN use an iMac is the OPPOSITE of Autodesk's arrogance. It's an acknowledgement of a cold, hard that many people have already added iMacs, and are looking at adding more. There are very, very manufacturers who actually pay attention to the real world that its customers live in. Autodesk is resetting the bar with Smoke 2013.

It's also not that you're REQUIRED to use an "old" Mac Pro...it's just that that was the last one available for testing.

Apple will do what Apple will do. If there's a new Mac Pro, Autodesk will test it. If there's not, Autodesk has already taken that into account. Not only NOT arrogant - they're ready for whatever future you're facing.

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou



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walter biscardiRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 17, 2012 at 8:33:01 pm

If you were at NAB this past April you would have noticed one thing. iMacs were EVERYWHERE. I found 2 Mac Pros in the AJA Booth.

I don't know why Smoke 2013 running on an iMac is a major turnoff, I'm personally excited as we get ready to sell off 5 Mac Pros and replace them all with iMacs. We've been editing with iMacs for 5 or 6 years now as an Edit Assist workstation.

5 brand new workstations for just over $16,000 and they can run Avid, Adobe and Autodesk. I say bring it on! At NAB they were the talk of the show not only because of Smoke being more edit friendly but BECAUSE it was running on the iMac.

As Tim says, you aren't "forced" to do anything, just like you're not forced to run Smoke 2013. If you want a Big Iron system, you're gonna have to buy an older Mac Pro, a Windows workstation or a Linux workstation. Just use what you want and move on.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Tim WilsonRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 18, 2012 at 2:09:42 am

[walter biscardi] "I don't know why Smoke 2013 running on an iMac is a major turnoff, I'm personally excited as we get ready to sell off 5 Mac Pros and replace them all with iMacs. We've been editing with iMacs for 5 or 6 years now as an Edit Assist workstation."

As a general principle, I'd also add that before we declare something dead in the water, we might should let it actually get IN the water.

:-)

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou



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Gustavo BermudasRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 18, 2012 at 7:58:20 am

I was actually at NAB, and spent a lot of time in the Autodesk boot.

One thing I asked the Autodesk guys is what's gonna happen if Mac Pro goes EOL? And one said "I don't know really, but I can tell you Smoke runs way better on a Mac Pro than on an iMac."
Which is obvious, but I do share the sentiment that on a medium size post house an iMac is just not enough, unless you're doing just editing. There are cards that do heavy lifting, specially graphics cards, and there's not a solution yet for a pci-e thunderbolt expansion that allows graphic cards.

I mean, just look at DaVinci resolve, and all the hardware you really need to make it run decently on a client session, MacBook Pros and iMac are fine to be able to see the project, but the real deal if you're sitting with a client is that you need horsepower.

But there's also hackintosh, so worse come to worse I'll start experimenting with that as well


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walter biscardiRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 18, 2012 at 11:13:27 am

[Gustavo Bermudas] "I mean, just look at DaVinci resolve, and all the hardware you really need to make it run decently on a client session, MacBook Pros and iMac are fine to be able to see the project, but the real deal if you're sitting with a client is that you need horsepower."

I'm running Davinci Resolve on my iMac at home and it actually runs just fine, even with an ATI card in there. I wouldn't have any issue running a client driven session with that machine and it's 2 years old. After June we'll probably have all new iMacs and we're ready to upgrade everything in our shop.

Also remember that Smoke can do a lot of things on multiple computers so I've heard from a few folks who are creating "render farms" using nothing but a cluster of Mac Minis. Those are essentially the same computers as the iMacs, just without the body full body and monitor. Put about 10 of those together in a cluster and you've got more horsepower than any Mac Pro currently available.

This was a three year project by Autodesk to make this version of Smoke and as they were developing it, their user based wanted this on Mac, so that's where they went. I don't think any of us foresaw the incredible development of the iMac to the point where it has almost caught up to the Mac Pro. It's already running a quad core processor and there are some who think duals will be available in the new 27" iMacs when they are announced so you'll be up to an 8 core machine if that happens.

Looking forward for "Big Iron" the questions remains to be seen if Autodesk will begin the task of creating a Windows version of Smoke. That's not an easy task and would take some time. Whether they do or no will depend solely on the feedback of the end user.

The good news that come June, you'll be able to download the software if you've signed up for the pre-release version and try it out for yourself and see if it performs as you'd like. If not, there are a host of other options available to you. Today in our facility we run FCP 7, Adobe CS6 and Avid Symphony 6. In fact yesterday all three were cutting in four different suites. Come June we'll add Smoke to the mix and continue with our philosophy of using the right tool for the task at hand.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Gustavo BermudasRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 18, 2012 at 5:30:06 pm

[walter biscardi] "I'm running Davinci Resolve on my iMac at home and it actually runs just fine, even with an ATI card in there. I wouldn't have any issue running a client driven session with that machine and it's 2 years old."

I may be wrong, but I doubt you're running projects reading R3D files shot on 4K.I have the latest Mac mini at home with their top option graphics card, and it's still very slow comparing to my Mac Pro, not for Final Cut stuff, but for After Effects for example it is.

I think you're going to see the real difference when you'll need to start getting things done in After Effects, even at the shop where I work, a regular Mac Pro octo without a Quadro 4000 just drags and takes forever to get anything done.

I think in my opinion all this iMac displays is not really an indication where the industry is moving, I think it's more a way to try to see if we can stay on the Mac with the iMac, maybe even a denial of a situation that seem inevitable. In any case, vendors where having iMacs to showcase, and they're not going to show you stuff that runs slow on a demo at NAB.


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Tim WilsonRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 18, 2012 at 6:26:30 pm

Gustavo Bermudas One thing I asked the Autodesk guys is what's gonna happen if Mac Pro goes EOL? And one said "I don't know really, but I can tell you that it runs way better on a Mac Pro than on an iMac."

Exactly the point, perfectly made. It's the OPPOSITE of arrogance to prepare for whatever future the customer might face.

I still believe that a new Mac Pro is coming. This is right in keeping with previous gaps between Mac Pros. This one makes sense because there hasn't been a new motherboard architecture in a couple of years...and now there is. We'll see.

But I love that Autodesk is taking this into account.

[Gustavo Bermudas] "I think in my opinion all this iMac displays is not really an indication where the industry is moving, I think it's more a way to try to see if we can stay on the Mac with the iMac, maybe even a denial of a situation that seem inevitable."

I agree that an iMac-only future *for anything but editing* is a depressing one. They make great edit stations, but we find at Creative COW that even for making print magazines, they are 100% useless. Even at the maximum configuration, they're simply way too slow.

However, the HP Z1 could point the way to a future for professionals using all-in-one computers -- upgradeable graphics, upgradeable drives, faster processors, two to four times as much RAM as an iMac....

...but by no means all the way enough to replace a workstation....which, again, I suspect Apple will provide.

Regardless, to me, the most depressing scenario is that Smoke stays Mac-only. It's wonderful on Mac, but there's simply too much power available on PCs that's sitting there wasted until Smoke is available for them too. Maybe 2014. :-)

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou



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moody glasgowRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 18, 2012 at 8:28:21 pm

I dont see the point in porting Smoke to Windows, it just doesn't make sense to me. Why spend even more money porting it, when It would be far easier to sell a software only version of Smoke on Linux. Linux is a better OS then Windows and OS X. And by better I mean faster.
This is the way I see it: Smoke is handicapped on the Mac platform and will never be as fast as a linux machine. If apple does decide to discontinue the Mac Pro, then Smoke on Mac will have a real hard time being a replacement for Linux boxes running Smoke. Especially in client attended sessions.

moody glasgow
smoke/flame
http://www.thereelthinginc.com


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Alex HardingRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 20, 2012 at 7:59:48 pm

In my opinion Linux is fine for the big facility style arrangement but it's a pain in the arse for everyone else. I have to use it every day and I'm tired of not being able to watch half the quicktimes I get emailed, dreadful PDF reader, super buggy web browsing and so on.

Windows machines are much cheaper than mac pro's weather they discontinue them or not.

Currently I do all my comps in Nuke and edits and client sessions on Smoke (both linux) and I love the idea of being able to do all that on one machine that can also run photoshop etc. I don't really care if its a mac or a PC, either is a more creative environment than linux, but if windows is cheaper then why not? I do know that I don't want to run nuke / maya on an iMac.


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Gustavo BermudasRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 19, 2012 at 10:54:06 am

[Tim Wilson] "I still believe that a new Mac Pro is coming."

Like Fox Mulder used to say..."I want to believe".

But despite their secrecy, Apple has become a very predictable company, what they don't say seems to speak more than what they say. I remember a year ago, right after the announcement on Final Cut Pro X many of us could tell already that Final Cut was dead, there were hopes and many unanswered questions, but their silence just confirmed what we feared most.

What it would be great if they are going to discontinue the Mac Pros, is that they release a version of OS X for installing on non Apple computers, that would be fair.


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walter biscardiRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 19, 2012 at 12:55:55 pm

[Gustavo Bermudas] "What it would be great if they are going to discontinue the Mac Pros, is that they release a version of OS X for installing on non Apple computers, that would be fair."

Ron Lindeboom mused on this recently here on the Cow.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/27839

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Biscardi Creative Media

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Tim WilsonRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 19, 2012 at 8:04:47 pm

And my reply to a similar conversation elsewhere:

++++
The closed ecosystem is working for Apple computers, using Windows customers as leverage. Half of Apple's new computer sales are coming from people who've never bought a Mac before, and as I've noted before, computers are a growth business for Apple, 25-30% YoY -- and I believe that'll go up this year if Apple releases even a couple of new models.

So what's the benefit for Apple of selling the OS for Windows machines? A few more sales of boxes of the OS? A few, but why put a single dollar their growing computer sales at risk even for a minute, when half of it is from previously Windows-ONLY users? It makes no sense.

Apple isn't afraid to crater existing businesses, but only when there are upsides for Apple. I'm just not seeing it.

The bigger software money for Apple is coming from the apps store, where owners of Windows DESKTOP systems make up the majority of iDevices customers. Apple obviously has plenty of ways to grow their apps ecosystem without compromising their closed approach to the OS -- not when the closed approach to the OS is driving their *computer* sales to the tune of tens of billions of dollars every year.

So that's the question you need to ask yourself when thinking about Apple: what's in it for Apple? Because what's in it for you and me doesn't factor in, nor should it, really.

Never take your eyes off this ball, because I promise that Apple's not: after the first little bit before he axed the clones and completely shut out everyone else, every penny that Apple has made since Steve returned is in a closed ecosystem. It's more money than any almost any company in the world generated in that span. More than all but a handful ever. It's all coming from a closed ecosystem. Or, technically, TWO closed ecosystems, desktops and devices. But closed. Not open. There's no money in open.

Closed is working really, really well for them, and I don't see anything to suggest that'll change. Quite the contrary. I see nearly a trillion dollars worth of reasons why they'll still be closed when the sun goes nova.
++++

The answer to why support Windows is the same as it has always been: the business explodes, in a good way, because the user experience becomes better, because performance skyrockets. Machines from companies like HP -- and increasingly others as they see how many Mac users are jumping ship -- are simply dramatically more powerful, more expandable, and graphics cards options surpass both Mac and often Linux. There's simply no comparison.

I'll leave off the market share argument (except to say that as of Feb 2012, the latest figures available: even Windows VISTA has more market share than every version of the Mac OS combined)... but you can look at Adobe and Blackmagic/DaVinci for some of the evidence. They simply work better on Windows -- not because of any effort by developers, but because these systems CAN work better on Windows: more RAM, more graphics power.

Even hardcore Mac people have been lamenting almost from the beginning that other vendors offer computers that are better-suited to what they're doing -- especially when it comes to graphics, and ESPECIALLY if the best that Macs have to offer remains a Quadro 4000 or similar. That's just sad.


This is getting really, really far off topic, though.

I'm sticking by my first point, that Autodesk is on EXACTLY the right track to assume that the future for most Mac users in this market has iMacs in it, one way or the other.

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou



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Gustavo BermudasRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 20, 2012 at 7:49:12 pm

I know, way off topic, but I want to add something I read in Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography.

At one point Bill Gates says Both open and closed models worked, but the close model only works when Steve is at the helm.

Let's see what happens now


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Mike MostRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 21, 2012 at 2:08:27 am

I think it's probably more likely that Apple will do what they always do - innovate. It's clear that the towers are not a form factor that Apple really wants to continue, but there are a number of things they could be working on that could be a largely acceptable replacement. One possibility would be to replace the Mac Pro with..... an iMac Pro. An iMac with a great display (4K "retina" displays are already being talked about), and in the same form factor as the standard iMac, but with some differences. Perhaps access to a processor module that would be upgradeable. Perhaps an optical implementation of Thunderbolt with multiple ports and higher speeds, approaching that of current PCIe expanders. And perhaps partner with manufacturers like Promise, Atto, Blackmagic, AJA, and others to provide Thunderbolt based expansion solutions for external GPUs, video I/O, and the like. They could conceivably go the HP route and design an all-in-one-yet-still-upgradeable workstation. If HP could come up with a design like the Z1, imagine what Apple could do. Either way, I don't really think Apple is in love with the tower/card slot form factor. The question is what they will come up with to replace it.

Apple has a history of being very successful at creating new "standards" and having an awful lot of third party suppliers adopt them. 3 1/2 inch floppys, USB, Firewire, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt - all of these appeared on Apple's computers before anyone else started calling them "standards," and before the things they replaced had been retired. That didn't stop them from becoming the things that now define everyone's systems. Perhaps this is one of those times they redefine what a creative workstation is as well.


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Gustavo BermudasRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 24, 2012 at 9:56:02 am

[Mike Most] "I think it's probably more likely that Apple will do what they always do - innovate"

And how did that work with Final Cut Pro X? Innovation is not bad, but not when it's ignoring the needs of professionals


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walter biscardiRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 24, 2012 at 2:24:45 pm

[Gustavo Bermudas] "And how did that work with Final Cut Pro X? Innovation is not bad, but not when it's ignoring the needs of professionals"

If you talk to the under 20 crowd, I'm hearing that X is being very well received. They are the next generation of editors and just like FCP took 10 years to get the groundswell from the bottom up the first time around, it might only take 5 years this time.

I'm not a fan of it right now, but I would not dismiss it off-hand like many Avid editors did when FCP first appeared on the scene in 1998-99.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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Mike MostRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 24, 2012 at 3:18:27 pm

By all accounts, it worked pretty well. My guess is that they sold more FCPX licenses by far than they ever did of Final Cut Original, and brought a lot of new users into the camp as well. So "how did that work out" depends on how you look at it. You can look at it from a personal perspective as a professional who didn't really respond well to what they did, or you can look at it from a business perspective, in which case what they did was quite successful. And Apple is a business, not a bunch of entertainment industry professionals.

Besides, that's really not what I was referring to, although the spirit is similar. Over the years Apple has never been reluctant to abandon technologies and form factors that they feel are nearing the end of their useful lives. They jettisoned NuBus, the Power PC chip line, 5 1/4 inch floppys, CRT displays, and three piece desktop computers, all when they were still standards, and present on nearly every computer that Apple was making at the time. And, in some cases, at the very high risk of alienating nearly their entire user base - which was certainly the case when they abandoned NuBus and the Power PC. My comments were in that context. I feel that Apple might be looking at Thunderbolt as the technology that finally "frees" them from needing tower/slot configurations, since the main advantage of those form factors is buss speed peripherals. If you can achieve that in a more compact way, and with lower manufacturing costs and probably higher reliability, it's very attractive to do it, even if you irritate part of your user base in the process. In Apple's view, those users will get over it, just like they have in the past. And within a year or less, every PC manufacturer will do exactly what Apple pioneered, just as they have in the past. Now, I could, of course, be completely wrong about this. Time will tell.


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Horacio IngargiolaRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on Dec 12, 2012 at 4:02:43 pm

Totally true.
I love avid for not change the essentials tools that need a professional to work


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Miguel Angel DoncelRe: Is Smoke 2013 already futureless because of Arrogance and Apple?
by on May 8, 2013 at 11:52:18 am

If you like Linux based integrated high end solutions, I would recomend you take a look to Mistika. You may like it.


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