Considering how powerful it is, it is very easy to use. I've been using it and it beats the pants off of FCP or Motion's built in keyers. I don't think you could use it as a replacement for Shake, unless you're not doing the complicated type of effects that Shake really stands out on. Either way, it's not a waste of money, IMHO.
Winston A. Cely
Editor/Owner | Della St. Media, LLC
"If God could do the tricks we can do, He'd be a happy Man." - Peter O'Toole - "The Stuntman"
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Conduit is great for basic stuff. Pulling a simple key, or doing some simple color corrections on multipass 3d animations. Especially if you know the nodal approach, and not the motion effects approach to a concept, it comes together pretty quick. The tutorials on their site can really get you rolling pretty quick.
Conduit's edge is speed. Quick and simple nodal compositing. It has about 10% of the functionality of shake, but speedwise it IS REDICULOUS. Everything happens in realtime. Your quicktime output will wind up being a minute or two.