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Walter Soyka
Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 4:30:20 am

Smoke 2013 was officially released earlier this week, and is available for the next month or so at 20% off.

Who's in? Any thoughts?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jamie Franklin
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:04:12 am

I had a private demo from Autodesk last week. Linux box with Flame Premium. Looks very promising. Some walls have come down, a new batch system I think is called CFX and it is a little more intuitive. Although that isn't saying much. It's still not for the uninitiated, but it is better. You need a screaming fast machine, 32 cores, to run even 1/4 res HDR R3D. Although working in 5k isn't my bag. I'm going to put the mac version through it's paces over the holidays on the trial. I only have a 12 core mac with 2 Q4000's and a red rocket (which isn't yet supported) so my expectations aren't high on much real time material, but as an editor, it still is lacking ProRes support without the Flame package and I think that is frustrating as 30-40% of our workflow incorporates ProRes in either deliverables or handoffs from clients...

Back to the Linux box, I found it surprising Lustre didn't receive much love and still needs to be loaded separately from Flame/Smoke. I think it's days might be numbered...?


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:20:35 am

I've been using it since the first Pre-Release. Will definitely pick up a license. At this price point (even without the discount) it's a no-brainer.

Things I love: Paint, Tracking, Stabilization, CFX and Action on one machine. Having all of this accessible without having to switch away from my timeline in the offline process is very satisfying.

Things I dislike: having to render constantly, and the fact that you don't have playback while rendering. This can be a killer if you've got a client in the room, especially one who is accustomed to the speed of the FFI boxes.

Things I can't fathom: the lack of the following- 3D tracker, Particles, Projections.

It's no longer as fast as the Linux boxes, but the feature set is tremendous. It requires a lot of time to get really proficient with CFX and Action, despite how simple things appear in the demos - if you want to be able to give clients everything they want, it'll take a few months of dedicated effort to reach that point. I've seen it mentioned somewhere that all it takes is a couple of days to get up to speed with Batch (CFX) and Action - but this is simply not true.

So in my opinion, if you're willing to put in the time, accept the holes in it's feature set, and adapt some of your existing workflows, then Smoke is a good addition to an editors skillset.

Oh and unlike the Flame box (mentioned by James) it deals very well with ProRes - infact you can set your Intermediates to various flavours of ProRes if you don't need to work in DPX...

Sandeep.


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Jamie Franklin
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:29:03 am

[Sandeep Sajeev] "
Oh and unlike the Flame box (mentioned by James) it deals very well with ProRes - infact you can set your Intermediates to various flavours of ProRes if you don't need to work in DPX..."


Steve Jobs is still angry about something even after life....It's mind boggling we have to spend another 30-40K for that feature...

The 3D tracker is in the Flame package unfortunately...


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:46:47 am

Lol.

All the stuff that's missing in 2013 is in Flame. They probably just need to activate the code for it to show up in Smoke, but it's unlikely to happen - especially if 2013 sells well.

Is Flame selling for 40k these days? Remember when it was close to a million, all told?

I love love the Flame, but we don't do enough business for it to be anywhere on the horizon as a purchase.

Sandeep.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:00:59 pm

[Sandeep Sajeev] "I've seen it mentioned somewhere that all it takes is a couple of days to get up to speed with Batch (CFX) and Action - but this is simply not true."

Agreed. The timeline centricity in 2013 makes it more approachable for an editor, but once you step into the effects side for anything more than the simple demo scenarios, you really have to understand the Autodesk way if you want to get anything done.

It took me a couple months of on-and-off use before CFX and Action clicked, but once it did, I felt a lot more comfortable working and exploring. I actually think it's somewhat like After Effects in this regard: the learning curve is not linear. There are some bumps along the way that take a lot of effort to get over. There were a few points where I struggled through internalized some of the key concepts, but then once I got them, the learning curve smoothed out for a bit.

All that said, I do think it will still take me a bit of work before I can operate Smoke as quickly as I can Ae/Pr.



[Sandeep Sajeev] "Things I love: Paint, Tracking, Stabilization, CFX and Action on one machine. Having all of this accessible without having to switch away from my timeline in the offline process is very satisfying. Things I dislike: having to render constantly, and the fact that you don't have playback while rendering. This can be a killer if you've got a client in the room, especially one who is accustomed to the speed of the FFI boxes. Things I can't fathom: the lack of the following- 3D tracker, Particles, Projections."

I love your list.

I'd add limited secondaries in the Colour Warper to the "Things I dislike" list, and I'd add weak 3D viewport navigation, lack of vector import and lack of dope sheet the the "Things I can't fathom" list.



[Sandeep Sajeev] "So in my opinion, if you're willing to put in the time, accept the holes in it's feature set, and adapt some of your existing workflows, then Smoke is a good addition to an editors skillset. "

Agreed.

I started training on Smoke 2012, and I've been working with the 2013 pre-release for some time. The addition of CFX makes the workflow much more approachable for me vs. the clip-with-history-based workflow in 2012. As a designer, I really like Action, but the "things I can't fathom" list represents some serious room for improvement.

At this point, I'm looking at Smoke as an addition to my toolset, too; it won't be right for me for every project, and I'll still be spending a lot of time in Ae/Pr, but I do think some of my projects will benefit from a Smoke finish.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 6:09:39 pm

I recently finished a spot in which I had to Paint out a couple of background elements, swap out the sky, turn on a couple of street lights, Denoise and add in a lens flare all on one shot. Usually in situations like this, we just use the shot as-is in the offline, then it gets fixed on the Flame during the online.

But I was able to do all this on my timeline and it's great for the client to see it happen this early in editorial. This is where Smoke becomes more than just the sum of its feature set...it really extends the dialog between the editor and the agency creatives in a tangible, meaningful way. Especially when dealing with younger inexperienced agency creatives who are still learning the ropes - it cuts out the whole, "you'll see it on the online" runaround.

Of course Smoke has always done this, and it's probably accurate to say that it has done it better and faster in earlier iterations, but that's a whole different argument I guess. As someone who couldn't figure out how to get material into the system in the 2012 trial, I'm glad that this sort of thing has been made friendlier.


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 6:17:04 pm

Oh and FCPX timelines conform flawlessly. At-least, I haven't had any issues on 6 spots.


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:38:51 am

I opted out when Autodesk dudes said it would not ever support scandic keyboards. I can't even use my öäå whatever keys for binding anything because they just don't exist in any keyboard layout in the software. 2013? Right.


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Jamie Franklin
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:40:20 am

But it does come with a FCP shortcut layout :P


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:50:10 am

Jamie,

Smoke 2013 does offer support for Red Rocket. As well as ProRes, as I mentioned earlier. But it has nowhere near the speed of the Linux boxes.

Sandeep.


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Jamie Franklin
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 24, 2012 at 8:52:29 pm

During the demo I asked more about the Linux box than Smoke. Smoke doesn't have Prores support without a Flame license nor RR on the Linux box...

If Smoke on a Mac can that's interesting. Although still frustrating as real time deliverables are bottlenecked anyways. And with HDR in the pipe, you have to get away from R3D to time with real time playback...


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 21, 2012 at 10:13:36 am

[Jamie Franklin] "But it does come with a FCP shortcut layout :P"

Which I still can't fully use on a scandinavian keyboard. Whoopdefrickindoo.


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Craig Shields
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 22, 2012 at 12:35:39 am

I was really impressed after watch this demo. This is what I thought Apple was working on before X came out but with a simpler interface.









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Michael Phillips
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 22, 2012 at 2:55:16 pm

I use Smoke as my 2K+ conform system as I edit on Media Composer. Knowing many of the developers there, and their backgrounds, I know that conform will get better and better over time. Even during the beta there were some really nice additions.

Editorially speaking at this point. I refer to it as a conform editing. I wouldn't edit my long form (features) with it to start, but works great when those tweaks are needed in the final piece without the need to roundtrip the changes and conform. I am sure more traditional editing style with some nice innovation will be thrown in.

Michael


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Richard Cardonna
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 25, 2012 at 7:47:38 pm

I hope they dig deep down into their eol vaults and add the edit* interface. Then I am sure it would be a killer app.

richard

Not to mention the Combustion interface.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 25, 2012 at 7:54:29 pm

Seeing as *edit was mainly a rebranded D/Vision product, they are probably better off looking at what *edit did well and write the code natively within Smoke. I can't see any of the code being re-usable due to age and difference of platform. And look to what other NLE's do well in the process (which I know they are doing).

Michael


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Richard Cardonna
Re: Smoke 2013
on Dec 25, 2012 at 8:10:34 pm

They have the interface design of both edit* and combustion so basicaly the woulld have to update it and write it for mac but i think it would be better if they wrote it in linux just to be safe.

I wonder if autodesk even knows what the have I am sure that most if not all of the discreet people are long gone. The last I hearrd of the combustion team they where in apple but maybe not anymore and patel and others in avid.

Just imagine smoke with a combustion interface and an a edit* for editing.

Richard


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