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Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"

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Chris Jacek
Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 4:15:18 am

Having followed this forum on-and-off for 2 years, I've noticed a few trends among the "Not" crowd, which I consider myself part of (i.e. I don't like FCPX, and have even started migrating to Windows after 25 years on Macs). For example: People who still use tape don't like FCPX. People who work in big post-houses don't like FCPX. People who cut news often DO like FCPX. And so forth... Please don't make a big stink if your individual situation contradicts the above generalities. I really only mention them as examples. What I really want to know about is how much you use After Effects. I'm a big fan of AE. I've used it nearly 20 years, and consider myself a "power user." I'll probably (reluctantly) join CC because of it.

What I want to know is the following:

1. Do you use much AE? and
2. Do you use/like FCPX?
EXTRA CREDIT: If you answer "yes" to both, what is your workflow?

For me, a real dealbreaker was the difficulty bringing my full edit into AE, while maintaining control over individual clips/layers. Automatic Duck wasn't perfect, but it was good, especially near the end. Dynamic Link with Premiere is pretty good, despite its quirks. Though I must admit that I haven't checked in a while, I don't remember there being any comparable workflow from FCPX to AE.

If this is indeed the case, then I wanted to test my hypothesis: Heavy AE users are in the camp of "Not" regarding FCPX, and most of the FCPX supporters don't extensively use After Effects. So let me know what you think.

And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee


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Bret Williams
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:29:00 am

Yes to both. I've used AE since 1996. I hardly ever export a sequence to AE. It could be useful I guess, but generally I'm creating stuff from scratch in AE and exporting a ProRes 422 or 4444 if alpha is needed. I export individual shots for use in AE but that's not generally that big of a deal.

For FCP X, try "clip exporter." It's free. Doesn't seem to translate as much as Automatic Duck, pretty much just the sequence, but it works.


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Michael Garber
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:44:31 am

Yes to both but with qualifications. I only use AE when I absolutely need to. I don't do much in the way of graphics work. So I'll use it for whatever it can do that other apps don't. Using FCPX doesn't keep me from using AE. But again, I have never needed to send full sequences over to it. Just individual clips.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X


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Ronny Courtens
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:45:07 am

Yes to both, but that's going to change. AE has been an excellent companion to our work since we switched to linear editing on Avid. When we moved to FCP we continued using AE. But when Motion became part of the FCS suite we gradually started doing a lot of graphics and comp work in Motion because it is faster for quick every-day jobs like creating custom lower thirds, openers and bumpers. Since we added a Flame station to our film post workflow we also started doing the more complex broadcast related comping in Flame, and AE became less important.

We have adopted FCPX from day one, first on two test systems and since October last year in full production. No regrets whatsoever. At the same time I have set up a test workflow using FCPX for editing and Smoke 2013 for finishing. It's a pretty decent workflow as SMAC imports FCPX projects quite flawlessly and it's like you are comping right on your editing timeline, being able to do any last minute editorial changes as well as versioning while you are finishing.

Now it's only a matter of seeing what Apple will do with Motion before I decide which route we will finally go. AE will probably not be part of that route anymore.



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Esteban Pacheco
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 12:49:34 pm

Just got my hands on Clip Exporter, works great for me.


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Scott Thomas
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:41:50 am

I guess I'm kind of backwards.

My most recent project was done almost completely in Cinema4D and After Effects. I used FCPX to do some audio edits, and where it was most helpful was in cranking out client reviews and the client's finals.

I still need Legacy FCP for getting Tape assets, but I'm slowly getting into FCPX and I hope it continues its development apace.

This is one part of my project. The audio mix was done elsewhere, and I added effects to complement the edit.







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andy lewis
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 12:38:36 pm

I used Shake a few times back before apple dumped it and I actually really liked it. I found the nodal interface more intuitive and satisfying than layers. Actually satisfying is maybe the key word there.

In any software using layers it feels as if, as a project grows in complexity the chance of it developing some problem which I have no idea how to fix approaches 1. The question is whether or not I can finish what I want to do before I lose the sense of what it is I'm actually doing. When I close AE at the end of a job I give thanks to the compositing gods that they have chosen not to punish me this time. Though maybe that's just my own lack of experience. Nodal interfaces seems to scale much better - complexity is additive rather than logarithmic.

I'm about to start learning AE properly. Would anyone out there recommend Nuke as an alternative? Given that most of my work will be simple fixes, keying, titles. I could be doing more complex stuff in the future though.


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andy lewis
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 12:40:21 pm

And in answer to the OP; I don't use FCPX but if adobe continue with the current rental model and the next Motion update is amazing, I will have another look.


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 2:51:49 pm

If you don't plan on doing really complex comps then you should consider Smoke. Personally I feel that FCPX, Motion, Smoke and Resolve is a really good end to end package for offline and online. I consider 3D to be separate from this process.

So with this setup you have access to good Keying tools (Motion has a fantastic Keyer, even better than Smoke's Master Keyer which is no slouch), Titles, Tracking, Stabilization, basic Roto, Camera Projection, Particles, Paint, and node based 3D Compositing within Smoke.

Motion is already amazing. I was blown away when I gave it another look a couple of months ago, and I now use it exclusively for Titling and it's Particle System is fantastic - and it complements Smoke really well, since it doesn't have one.

Nuke is great - but if you're more focused on editorial then I feel that Smoke+Motion is a better fit. If however, you plan on doing hardcore comping, then you should probably go with Nuke.

Best,
Sandeep.


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Michael Hadley
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 3:37:44 pm

Don't use AE. Love FCPX. For any complicated graphics, we hire out to individual graphics folks. They all use AE but they deliver Pro Res 444 files to us and we cut 'em into our X timeline.

That said, for a lot of titles/graphics work we can use what we've got with X, Motion and templates/plug ins.

Don't see that changing anytime soon. Big picture, we edit in-house and our hired graphics folks can use whatever tool they wish.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:58:13 pm

Interestingly enough, I just blogged about that:

http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/after-effects-for-the-finish/

I don't really see an incompatibility between X and AE. Since I don't do 3D, I also don't see a big plus for CC over CS6. Cut in X and send a flat file to AE. Split the clip at the cuts and you are ready to go. ClipExporter gives you handles, but it's not a deal breaker without it.

OTOH, Motion is also worth investigating. Cheaper, more real-time and faster rendering than AE.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Jacek
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 9:33:37 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Cut in X and send a flat file to AE. Split the clip at the cuts and you are ready to go."

Yes, but doesn't that workflow break down when you are dealing with transitions between clips in your NLE. Once Automatic Duck came along, it drastically changed my workflow (for the better). I was never comfortable with flattening, and then having a bunch of segments. Having that ability to get my timing and basic motion down in my NLE, and then bringing it into AE and individually control my elements of each layer is important to me (and maybe nobody else). Granted, I've done a great deal of short-form in this manner. I doubt it would work well for a doc.

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee


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Oliver Peters
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 9:37:25 pm

I agree that flattening is not ideal. I merely point it out as an option. Use ClipExporter then to go from X to AE. However, it is possible to add some transitions on top of cuts in AE. For example, glow/blur dissolves or light effects. There's usually a midpoint that is completely blown out and hides the cut.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Brett Sherman
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 9:57:44 pm

I use FCP X daily and AE periodically. In general, I create short graphics that fit into 5-20 minute long videos. So opening a whole sequence/project in AE is not at all useful to me.

I like AE, but part of what I find problematic about the CC is that Adobe seems to be kicking occasional users like me to the curb. I have to really think hard about do I really need 4 computers with CC for $1200 a year for our department. That's a chunk of change to use AE maybe 12-15 times a year and Photoshop/Illustrator 20 times a year. Previously I skipped versions to save money. That's not a possibility now. Probably, either I'll go down to one license for CC or just an AE license. And I'll probably start doing more in Motion.



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David Mathis
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 23, 2013 at 11:38:43 pm

[Brett Sherman] "I like AE, but part of what I find problematic about the CC is that Adobe seems to be kicking occasional users like me to the curb."

I agree with you there.

New version of Final Cut Pro X and Mac Pro is exciting yet no announcement of plans for Motion going forward. I am considering a FCP X, Motion, Resolve and Nuke workflow. Fusion looks like another option for After Effects but only runs on Windows at the moment.


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 24, 2013 at 2:24:27 am

Don't discount Blender! It can do some amazing things and the compositor is node-based, very much in the vein of Shake.

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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David Mathis
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 26, 2013 at 12:51:29 am

I have been curious about Blender and considering it. Just a few quick questions if I may.

1. What is the learning curve?
2. Looking at motion graphics in Motion but wanting to know how well the two "integrate" with each other.
3. I am also interested in Nuke as an alternative.

The Final Cut Pro X or not forum is both informative and entertaining.


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 26, 2013 at 3:40:15 pm

I'd say the learning curve is steeper - but like a lot of software once you get the core concepts it begins to move more quickly - I'm still a novice myself.

As far as integration goes, I'm not sure what you mean. It integrates no differently than AE would in an FCPX workflow. Give it the clips you want to work on, export clips, import them into FCPX. My experience with FCPX is, to be fair at this point, limited - I'm starting two real projects on it shortly after having completed only very small jobs using it along side PrPro CS6.

As far as Nuke is concerned the main difference would be Nuke is a compositor first and foremost (and is rather, ahem, pricey) and Blender is a 3D package first and foremost but seems to be developing some very good compositing infrastructure.

My early opinion (still being formed) is that while there 3rd party support for AE is widespread, the (familiar from my Shake days) node-based interface of Blender makes completing some compositing tasks dramatically simplified.

I don't think there's a "better than other" option in the end, just a solution that's right for each of us.

I do think as FCPX and CC debacles have proved, there's a growing interest in community driven software solutions like Blender, even if some features end up feeling a bit like they were designed by "committee."

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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James Culbertson
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:31:19 am

I use After Effects extensively and I love FCPX. Just drag the AE file to the event icon, use a label like .gfx.mov with smart collection. Use Replace key command, or audition if necessary. Takes a few seconds to update.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:19:23 pm

Yes.

Edit in FCPX, Xto7 for an XML, Import Pro Import After Effects.

I would look at Motion if I could get my edit in to it as easy as Ae.


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Craig Shamwell
Re: Does "FCPX or Not" really boil down to "AE or Not?"
on Jun 27, 2013 at 6:56:38 am

I will tell you that I never use AE! FCPX's third party FX Plug-Ins have become very robust and extremely time saving....seriously!!!! Everything from Color Grading to motion tracking HUB Effects to Dead Pixel removal!
When FCPX first came out, I made the silly mistake of reading and taking for granted what everyone was saying. Sure 10.0.1 was buggy as hell, but boy did I love being able to preview pretty much everything and not have to guess if that was the filter or effect I wanted in FCP7!!
I hated, you hear me....hated the magnetic timeline!! But I have to give Apple Credit because the updates just kept on coming, and things got better! Especially the simple task of moving and deleting connected clips without other clips disappearing and upsetting everything! I can move stuff all over the timeline without worrying about synching or timing. This is very helpful when you want to see how a different "structure" would work.
If i were you my friend, I would seriously re-think your move back to Windows. With so many Plug-Ins built just for FCPX, (thanks to Apple for making Motion open to developers) its an untouchable NLE. And to add to my very first statement....I never use Motion either!! With the right Plug-Ins for the job at hand, FCPX is truly a stand alone editor where just about anything can be done, without ever leaving it! Yes I know its not for everyone, but even if you use anything else, its worth having around and knowing how to use it.


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