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Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6

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Sean Gibson
Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 11, 2013 at 10:45:31 pm

Hello, I was wondering how Smoke matches up to the Adobe CS6 Production Premium suite?

Does Smoke have anything comparable to Adobe Photoshop? How does the color grading system compare with Speed Grade? Or the audio software with Audition?

Thanks.


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Simon Modery
Re: Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 12, 2013 at 8:12:32 am

You still need PS when working with Smoke, to create the elements for your composition. Smoke has a very advanced texteditor, so you dont need to do that in PS anymore. But you definitly still need PS on your rig.

Head of Postproduction
Motherlode

http://www.simonmodery.com


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robert coulin
Re: Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 12, 2013 at 11:57:19 am

hi,

main difference is, that everything is inside a single package ...

robert

robert coulin
http://www.dreamwalks.com


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 14, 2013 at 3:40:14 pm

[robert coulin] "main difference is, that everything is inside a single package ..."

I think this is more marketing than truth. There are a great deal of differences between Adobe's suite and Autodesk Smoke. In order to answer the OP's question we would need to know better your workflow, material, and goals in order to better assess if Smoke would solve your needs.

Can Smoke do editing? Yes. Can Smoke color grade? Yes. Can Smoke composite? Yes. Can Smoke tweak audio? Yes. Can Smoke encode/transcode? Sort of (it's not as robust as Prelude or Media Encoder, but it can do some stuff).

Smoke can do a lot of different jobs. The question is does it do it to the level you need. Smoke has traditionally been more billed as a finishing system. So NLE, color, graphics all start out in other apps and eventually migrate into Smoke. So Smoke never needed to have the best NLE, or the best color correction tools, or the best audio. It just needed to have tools that enhanced what was already there and did it in near realtime for the client sitting in the room. Historically this realtime aspect was a huge selling point for Smoke and the hardware that accompanied it wasn't cheap. Since CPU and GPU technology has exploded the "realtime" aspect of Smoke is less compelling since every NLE, color grading app, and compositor can now push 2K+ resolutions in realtime. In some ways Smoke really needs to embrace more GPU computing so less FX need to be "rendered" (something Smoke 2012 and later does seem to start to embrace, but nowhere as powerful as Adobe's Mercury Playback Engine, IMHO).

Smoke is now being pushed by AD as the only tool you need. But Smoke seems, in my use, to be a jack-of-all-trades software and master of none. If you want a traditional NLE then Media Composer or Premiere will be a better asset to you than Smoke. If you need to dive deep into audio plugins and fx Audition (or ProTools or Logic Pro) will have more to offer. If you need heavy color correction tools then SpeedGrade (or Resolve) will have more for you to use. But that doesn't mean what Smoke does is weak or irrelevant. Quite the contrary. But it really depends on your workflow. For much of the type of work I do, Premiere Pro with the Mercury Playback Engine, allows me to more quickly ingest, edit, and deliver than Smoke can. But that's my workflow. Yours might heavily benefit from Smoke.

Smoke can edit like a traditional NLE. But a traditional NLE will have more tools. Smoke can color correct. But a traditional color grading app will have more options at its disposal. Smoke can fix audio. But a regular audio-only software will have more tools to treat your problem. The drawback is that you have to learn all these other apps instead of just learning Smoke. However, Smoke's learning curve is far steeper than other applications. ConnectFX is incredibly powerful and incredibly complex.

Again, this all depends on the type of work you do. Smoke may be a perfect compliment to what you're doing and may prove itself as an indispensable tool in your production. Or you may find that it does some things well and others not so well, and you'll be better off with a suite of specific apps geared toward those specific areas of post-production that you need.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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robert coulin
Re: Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 16, 2013 at 9:40:57 am

hi

well - "everything in one package" - i wasnt just repeating adsk marketing phrase
- the tools, which are available there, ARE in fact in one package.

obviously a long discussion about pros & cons - but everyone knows illustrator sending you to photoshop & back or other examples. this is, what i mean with "not in a single package ..." - and i personally dont like it
- of course there are different opinions - obviously ;-)

robert

robert coulin
http://www.dreamwalks.com


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David Jahns
Re: Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 16, 2013 at 3:57:14 pm

I agree with both Ryan and Robert. I've been using Smoke for a year and half now (old version and new), and it is not the only tool you'll ever need. But it is a fantastic tool, for sure.

In my current role, I am doing finishing work - and I love Smoke for that. But it does have a pretty steep learning curve. The new version has tried to make the editing portion more editor friendly, which they have so it's much easier to get started, but it's not a best in class editor.

I still feel Avid/FCP/Premiere are better tools for assembling your creative cut - but I think Smoke's all in one workflow is fantastic when a project moves into finishing stages. Sure, you can bounce around between Premiere/SpeedGrade and After FX, and it's fairly well integrated - but having all of the tools in one place allows for an incredibly flexible workflow when those last minute editorial changes or client comments roll in.

But even in finishing stages, it might not be the only tool you'll need. I still use Mocha for tracking, sometimes Resolve for grading, and we're even incorporating Nuke as our high-end compositing tool.

I wrote a lengthy article a year ago when the new Smoke Beta was being released - and I think my predictions and interpretations still hold up pretty well.

http://library.creativecow.net/jahns_david/Autodesk_Smoke-A-Journey/1

Feel free to hit me up with any more questions...

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 16, 2013 at 9:52:04 pm

[David Jahns] "I wrote a lengthy article a year ago when the new Smoke Beta was being released - and I think my predictions and interpretations still hold up pretty well.

http://library.creativecow.net/jahns_david/Autodesk_Smoke-A-Journey/1"


I think David nails it in hi post. Good read, great post! If I'd would have seen that before posting it would have saved me from typing my above response.

Like David says in his post - Smoke has no multicam editor so if that's what you need stick with FCP, PPro, or Avid. In David's workflow doing 30-120 second commercials the color and compositing tools are great in Smoke. But if you're doing a 10 minute piece or a 45 minute documentary then you'll probably want to jump to Resolve or After Effects for your other needed tools.

Smoke has you covered in every area of the post-production pipeline, but it may not have you covered at the depth you need for a given area. But I've watched guys work Smoke and achieve more than I thought possible in relatively short amounts of time. So it really comes down to your workflow, your style, your budget, and how much work your willing to put in to learning a new app, etc.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Smoke comparison with Adobe CS6
on Jul 16, 2013 at 9:55:59 pm

[robert coulin] "well - "everything in one package" - i wasnt just repeating adsk marketing phrase
- the tools, which are available there, ARE in fact in one package."


Robert - I didn't mean to insinuate that you were just pumping out marketing drivel. I just wanted to explore the other side that while Smoke does have everything inside of one app, I'm not sure the OP will be satisfied with all those tools depending on his workflow. I simply wanted to point out the potential shortcomings of Smoke in relation to highly specific tools available in Adobe CS6 (or CC).

Didn't mean to pick on ya....

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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