I'm thinking of doing a course to give me a head start into Smoke. I'm pretty program savvy, but still find getting into smoke quite daunting. I've been an Avid/ FCP editor for about 15 years and used AE for 10, also know Davinci etc inside out. I was looking at the soho editors course and was wondering if anyone had done it, is it too basic etc? I want to use smoke as my main finishing tool, replacing the avid to ae to avid to davinci to avid workflow that I currently go through. All advice appreciated.
I highly recommend personal training. I started with Smoke about a year and a half ago, (on the old version!), and did 2 trainings - an Intro course, then an intermediate course a month later.
The new version is more approachable, but as you know, still gets very complicated pretty quickly. In the old version, you knew this was a different beast, and you had to think differently to know how to operate it. This new one almost lulls you into thinking it will operate like any other NLE you're used to, and all of sudden, you're trying to do something very simple, and yet you're completely lost... (I remember spending over an hour trying to figure out how to add a simple drop shadow!)
One thing that's challenging about Smoke is there are many ways to accomplish the same task, and when you're starting out, it's hard to know which way is the right one. I like to think of Smoke as having 3 different "modes" of working - timeline FX (LayerBased Compositing), Action 3D Compositing, and Connect FX Nodal Pipeline.
There's lots of overlap and combinations as well. But once you understand these different modes, and when to use each one, then you're halfway there. (Well. maybe 25% there... Action goes very deep!)
Don't know any place in London, but if you can come to California for a few days, I highly recommend Smoke/Flame Academy. (Or if you can afford, they can come to you for one on one training.)