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Oliver Peters
AE competitor
on Mar 16, 2016 at 12:02:33 pm

Obviously in this forum, Motion would be the answer. But other than Motion, are there any other viable competitors to After Effects? I don't mean node-based applications like Fusion. Rather, I mean track and timeline approaches that can work a lot like AE works. Ideas?

Oliver

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


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Bob Zelin
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 16, 2016 at 12:42:19 pm

hitfilm.com

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 16, 2016 at 1:30:42 pm

Viability is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but in addition to Bob's HitFilm suggestion, I'd add Boris FX RED and maybe Corel MotionStudio 3D to the list.

One could make an argument for Blender, too, though it's clearly in a different category.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Tim Wilson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 16, 2016 at 4:24:09 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Viability is certainly in the eye of the beholder,"

You're pushing AE as hard as anyone I know right now, Walter, so as a practical matter of doing what YOU need it to do, how do you see the landscape?


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:22:50 pm

[Tim Wilson] "as a practical matter of doing what YOU need it to do, how do you see the landscape?"

It's easy to forget that After Effects is where it is in the market because it's a damn good application, and that it covers a huge number of disparate use cases across design, animation, compositing and visual effects.

There's a lot I really, really like about Ae for our work. Some editors may be inclined to view Ae as a host for effects plugins. For me, it's more: After Effects is a visual development environment, a platform that lets me be an artist and a nerd at the same time, that lets me use both sides of my brain to get my work done.

I think Ae is unmatched in terms of design tools applicable to motion: the text and shape tools plus the layered timeline model offer a lot of immediacy and flexibility. Ae is highly extensible and has a huge ecosystem of developers and a large pool of talented freelancers. Its scripting and expression engines expose lots of power to users who are technically inclined, but not full-time developers. It accommodates really complex projects with thousands of comps easily, and has supported really large rasters for a long time.

And what a testament to the original CoSA engineers that Ae has followed a straight line from where it began to where it is today! The application is both fundamentally the same as it has always been, and massively more capable than ever before, without having ever really rattled users with a big change. This is a tool that has continuously grown with its users, for more than 20 years running.

All that said, Ae is not without problems. Its legacy, which enabled both the big ecosystem and smooth trajectory, also defines its limitations. Performance is poor (though I hope the re-architecture in Ae CC 2015 will solve this problem in time). Ae thinks fundamentally with RGBA and in screen space, which makes using arbitrary image data or real 3D a challenge. The layer model which makes animation so easy makes hard compositing harder.

I'm very optimistic about Ae's future, but I'm keeping an eye on my other options, too. If I'm fluent in Ae, I'm conversant in NUKE, Smoke/Flame and Motion (where I've lost fluency through disuse), and I can ask where the bathroom is in Fusion. I can talk at some length about how I see their relative positioning to Ae in the landscape if you're really interested.

Overall, I see Ae as the best choice, by far, for most of our work today, and I don't see much in Ae's competitors that would entice me to switch away.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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David Mathis
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:49:35 pm

I am leaning towards Hit Film for a couple of reasons. First, the price is reasonable. Second, the Pro 4 version includes Hit Film Ignite, a nice set of plug ins for all supported host applications. I hope to see a forum for Hit Film though I don't know of anyone who uses it at the moment.


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Ricardo Marty
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 3:13:10 pm

would boris cc give adobe cs6 or reslove capable motion graphics capabilities close to ae?

Ricardo


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John Rofrano
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 3:18:53 pm

[Ricardo Marty] "would boris cc give adobe cs6 or reslove capable motion graphics capabilities close to ae?"
I assume you mean Boris RED and Boris RED can actually run most After Effects plug-ins so it's not only very similar in function but you can use most of the same plug-ins for both. I don't know if AE ever got real 3D Text but Boris RED has 3D text as well. RED is basically Boris FX + Boris Graffiti + some extras plug-ins all in one. I would download a trial if you want to try it out.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Ricardo Marty
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 3:24:25 pm

thanks for the response. I ment boris continum comlete.

I have never been able to get into the boris interface but this version uses the nle interface.

https://www.borisfx.com/products/continuum-complete/

Ricardo


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John Rofrano
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 5:04:21 pm

[Ricardo Marty] "I ment boris continum comlete."
Sorry, I didn't know what 'cc' was.
[Ricardo Marty] "I have never been able to get into the boris interface but this version uses the nle interface."
While Boris Continuum Complete will not give you 3D Containers and Cameras to do sophisticated motion graphics like RED will, it does give you a lot of capability.

You can judge for yourself from my Boris TV Episodes with Boris Continuum Complete inside of Final Cut Pro X:

Boris TV, Episode 226: Extruded .EPS Basics, Part II






Boris TV, Episode 222: Extruded Text Basics in FCP X, Part II






While the motion graphics are basic in those videos, it was all done without the need to leave Final Cut Pro X.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Ricardo Marty
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 5:29:30 pm

So i will need red complete and grafiti mocha and twixter to get close to ae in terms of mg


Thanks
Again
Ricaedo Marty


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John Rofrano
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 7:53:13 pm

[Ricardo Marty] "So i will need red complete and grafiti mocha and twixter to get close to ae in terms of mg"
Boris RED includes Graffiti and Continuum Complete functionality so you only need Boris RED. I'm not sure how Twixtor fits in. That's a retiming tool not Motion Graphics. Actually the latest version of Continuum Complete includes Mocha functionality so I wouldn't be surprised if the next version of RED has it too.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Ricardo Marty
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:16:16 pm

great

thanks


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Neil Goodman
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 4:30:21 am

[John Rofrano] "Boris RED includes Graffiti and Continuum Complete functionality so you only need Boris RED. I'm not sure how Twixtor fits in. That's a retiming tool not Motion Graphics. Actually the latest version of Continuum Complete includes Mocha functionality so I wouldn't be surprised if the next version of RED has it too."


Red sounds great on paper - but the interface and real time performance are horrendous.

Ive used it along with MC and as a standalone and its a real PITA.

What you cant beat is the price - for $299 upgrade from an old version of Red(Avid FX) bundled with MC4 you get ALOT of BCC filters, most of the useable stuff bread and butter stuff anyways, and a pretty bad ass titler for next to nothing.

I only am really using it now for the odd BCC filter and blending modes in MC and for that its great.


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John Rofrano
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 3:55:55 am

Why not Motion? Perhaps if you explained why you feel that Motion isn't a viable competitor to AE, it would give people more insight into recommending an alternative that was... although, other than the already mentioned Hit Film and Boris RED, there's not much out there to recommend.

I've used AE in the past and now I only use Motion so I'm curious as to why the obvious choice is not even an option.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:30:50 am

[John Rofrano] "Why not Motion"

I never said Motion wouldn't be an option, just looking for other suggsetions. In my opinion, Motion has 2 big deficiencies compared with AE. First, it doesn't have good multiclip timeline management in order to work with a sequence of clips. Second, it doesn't really have viable solutions to send a whole timeline of clips into it. Maybe something like Automatic Duck for Motion could be an answer to that.

Oliver

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


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Bret Williams
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 7:15:00 pm

You're just referring to sending it a sequence of clips right? Because once you have a sequence of clips as a group, it acts much more like an NLE than AE. Both in functionality and performance. I'd love it in AutoMatic Duck got something together. Still the only way I know of to get a sequence over to Motion from X is via XtoCC and a copy of FCP 7 to send that resulting sequence to Motion. Which results in a Motion 4 project that can be opened in Motion 5 instead. But it's super quick and doable. Even 7 is on another machine it can be done over ethernet. Seems like someone should be able to duplicate whatever it is that FCP 7 is doing to send that data to a Motion 4 file. That'd be worth something!

I've been having to dig back into AE the last few weeks and it's tough to go back to AE and deal with the performance hit once you've gotten used to Motion. In Motion I only miss a few things like the render que, selective motion blur, and being able to put all my comps in one big project. I also miss true nested comps instead of just groups help to clean up a complex project. That said, I'd also like a twirl down group option in AE. In motion I enjoy the 3D text, reflections, particles, replicators, text engine, publishing, rigging, behaviors, clones and drop zones over AE's counterparts (where applicable).


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Steve Connor
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 7:18:53 pm

I love Motion but the sad thing is that Motion probably hasn't got a future where it's being developed as anything other than a generator for FCPX.

If only Apple would let Affinity have it, or perhaps the Motion VFX Team :)


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Bret Williams
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 2:32:09 am

They could've given away shake.


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Shawn Miller
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 6:15:01 pm

[Bret Williams] "They could've given away shake."

It's funny, Shake was still pretty popular among compositors until fairly recently... maybe two or three years ago? I would be willing to bet that a company like Boris/Imagineer Systems, Blackmagic or Adobe could have picked it up, modernized it and made it great again... if it had been for sale, that is. I still don't get Apple's reasoning for killing Shake outright. It was still a viable piece of software that didn't directly compete with any of Apple's offerings... why destroy it?

Shawn



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Andrew Kimery
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 6:33:10 pm

[Shawn Miller] "It was still a viable piece of software that didn't directly compete with any of Apple's offerings... why destroy it? "

It's a product that goes too far down the post-production rabbit hole for Apple, IMO. I think it was originally acquired for parts, prestige, and with the hopes that it would be picked up by a much broader user base. After Apple took the IP from Shake that it wanted, and the potential market didn't seem much broader than the existing market, is when Apple probably decided that it was Done with Shake. Interesting thing about it is that Apple EOL'd Shake in '06 but kept selling it until '09.


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Shawn Miller
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 7:09:52 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "It's a product that goes too far down the post-production rabbit hole for Apple, IMO. I think it was originally acquired for parts, prestige, and with the hopes that it would be picked up by a much broader user base. After Apple took the IP from Shake that it wanted, and the potential market didn't seem much broader than the existing market, is when Apple probably decided that it was Done with Shake. Interesting thing about it is that Apple EOL'd Shake in '06 but kept selling it until '09."

I don't doubt that this completely correct, and it does make the decision to kill Shake a bit more understandable - can't have someone else mining the same IP after all. Too bad, I always wanted to try Shake.

Shawn



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Tim Wilson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:31:38 pm
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:39:50 pm

[Shawn Miller] "After Apple took the IP from Shake that it wanted, and the potential market didn't seem much broader than the existing market, is when Apple probably decided that it was Done with Shake."

You know what always mystified me: exactly what IP did Apple take?

They were certainly unambiguous that this was the intent. I just looked up the original press release:

"Apple has acquired Nothing Real, a developer of high-performance software for professional visual effects and post-production based in Venice Beach, California. Apple plans to use Nothing Real's technology in future versions of its products."

What I mostly heard at the time was that Steve bought it to solve some internal problems for Pixar. THAT makes sense to me. At the time, he was still calling Pixar his "day job," and it was apparently short money. A multiple of earnings when the earnings were that little?

As is the case with a lot of the acquisitions he did in those days (remember Chalice? Prismo Graphics?), I suspect it was as much about buying the people as anything else. It wasn't unusual for people to immediately be shifted off the products they founded into other parts of the company.

But is there a PRODUCT that bears the marks of Shake? Certainly not on the UI side. Image processing? I just don't know.

My guess about selling the product on Macs is that Steve saw it as low-hanging fruit. It was fairly easy to port, people in that market were already using Macs, so why the hell not? Remember, as an inducement to convert from Linux, he offered to double your number of licenses for free.

For that matter, I think selling Final Cut was low-hanging fruit. Remember that his original intent had been to buy a consumer-level product to run on iMacs, and only pursued Final Cut when Adobe declined to license Premiere's tech. (It has been said that Apple tried to buy Premiere, but I'm pretty sure the pitch was strictly to license tech.)

That's also why I've always felt that Apple didn't go very far in making Final Cut very Apple-like. It was in some ways the least Apple-like product they ever shipped. Other than some colored dots for minimize/maximize/close windows, the actual interface didn't change substantially at all.

But hey, Apple was only too happy to take the money. $2 billion in FCP/FCS software sales alone over 12 years was pretty easy pickin's.

Which is why my reaction to X when I first saw it was, "Ah, THIS is what Steve wanted all along. THIS looks like Apple."

Or to be more precise, when I saw iMovie, I said, "Ah, THIS is what he wanted all along." I do continue to suspect that it's not that Apple doesn't care about pros -- a ridiculous contention, imo -- but that, the superlative commitment of the pro development team notwithstanding, as a COMPANY, Apple still considers pros low hanging fruit.

This is ENTIRELY borne out by Nothing Real founder/Shake developer Ron Brinkmann. We actually talked about this at the time, but when X was first launched, he publicly made some observations about Shake that he hadn't made at the time (what with not wanting to have his family murdered while he watched).

(My emphasis added.)

After the acquisition I remember sitting in a roomful of Hollywood VFX pros where Steve told everybody point-blank that we/Apple were going to focus on giving them powerful tools that were far more cost-effective than what they were accustomed to… but that the relationship between them and Apple wasn’t going to be something where they’d be driving product direction anymore. Didn’t go over particularly well, incidentally, but I don’t think that concerned Steve overmuch… :-)


Nothing particularly controversial about that, I hope -- but I can imagine the shock at the time for a bunch of VFX pros who'd relied on Shake to be told that their needs would no longer be the ones driving development, when in fact their original love for Shake was driven precisely be the product absolutely being tailored to meet their needs.

And in fairness, why would any constituency pleased by a product that meets their needs in a stellar and comprehensive fashion NOT be pleased to hear that those needs would no longer be driving development?

Ron continues,

And back then the same questions were being asked as now – “Doesn’t Apple care about the professional market?”

In a word, no. Not really. Not enough to focus on it as a primary business
.



Again, nothing controversial here. Ron does indeed qualify his "not really" by emphasizing that pros weren't driving Apple's PRIMARY business, and surely nobody here disagrees.

As he observes, my emphasis added,

Before Apple bought Shake, customer feedback drove about 90% of the features we’d put into the product. But that’s not how Apple rolls – for them a high end customers are high-bandwidth in terms of the attention they require relative to the revenue they return.


I hope that nobody here will argue that we as pro users are not a pain in Apple's ass at least occasionally. LOL

Not meaning to go too far down this rabbit hole, I do think his observation about all this in the context of his experience developing Shake, and then selling it, is very interesting, and worth a read. Five years later, still pretty relevant...if admittedly most interesting to ME as filling in the historical record. Here ya go.

Which still leaves my question -- do any of you know where Shake's tech wound up in the Apple ecosystem?


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:49:49 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Which still leaves my question -- do any of you know where Shake's tech wound up in the Apple ecosystem?"

Well, quite! Apart from optical flow, which subsequently made an appearance in Motion, I can't see anything that fits the bill, despite the fact that we hear this notion repeated pretty frequently. And even optical flow - did Apple really need to "borrow" this from Shake? I don't know enough about the commercial history of this, but I'm far from convinced that it was a proprietary Shake feature that couldn't have come from somewhere else.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Shawn Miller
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:58:14 pm

[Tim Wilson] "do any of you know where Shake's tech wound up in the Apple ecosystem?"

I thought Shake's optical flow technology made it into Motion via their camera stabilization effect... I could be wrong though. :-)

Shawn



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Simon Ubsdell
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:59:39 pm

[Shawn Miller] "I thought Shake's optical flow technology made it into Motion via their camera stabilization effect... I could be wrong though. :-)"

I could be wrong too (!) but I think we had optical flow in Motion before they introduced the stabilisation option.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Shawn Miller
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:39:13 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "
I could be wrong too (!) but I think we had optical flow in Motion before they introduced the stabilisation option."


Of the two of us, I'm pretty sure you're more likely to be right about this. :-)

Shawn



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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:04:22 pm

[Tim Wilson] " but that the relationship between them and Apple wasn’t going to be something where they’d be driving product direction anymore. Didn’t go over particularly well, incidentally, but I don’t think that concerned Steve overmuch… :-)"

I think this quote from Ron is the quintessential difference between Apple's relationship to "pros" compared with Avid or Adobe. This is quite obvious in how the interaction has been between Apple and the "Focus"/"WTF" film team versus Adobe and the Fincher/Miller/Coen teams ("Gone Girl", "Deadpool", "Hail, Caesar!").

Namely that Apple's software is the off-the-shelf version without any direct, active support of the ProApps team. They are happy to provide some level of BTS assistance and reap the marketing benefits, but they don't provide any active assistance, such as software modification. They may or may not study the experience and learn things that they can adapt into future builds, but nothing they would ever admit to as a direct outcome.

Conversely, the Premiere team is directly involved with those filmmakers providing some direct engineering assistance and custom builds. This provides a direct link between things learned in the trenches and and actual features that find their way into future versions.

Avid used to do the same, but Media Composer is pretty thoroughly baked so there's less of a chance for those sorts of incremental changes. In the old days Avid product designers would actually drop in on key customers with notepads and study the pain points caused by the software in given situations. This resulted in to-do lists for the software team. Some of those folks are now on the FCPX team. That might still happen, but it is certainly less visible and those involved will almost always publicly deny it.

Whether it is true of not, the impression certainly is there that Adobe's tools (AE, Premiere, etc.) were vetted by real world customer input, whereas Apple's tools (FCPX, Motion, etc.) are more like the tablets descended from on high by the software gods. :)

- Oliver

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


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Andrew Kimery
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:03:22 pm

[Tim Wilson] "You know what always mystified me: exactly what IP did Apple take?"

I think Shake's implementation of Optical Flow and SmoothCam were probably the two most well know. How many 'smaller' things found their way into Motion I have no idea.


[Tim Wilson] "My guess about selling the product on Macs is that Steve saw it as low-hanging fruit. It was fairly easy to port, people in that market were already using Macs, so why the hell not? Remember, as an inducement to convert from Linux, he offered to double your number of licenses for free."

Apple also kept the Windows license the original price ($12k or $15k, I can't quite remember) even though the Mac license eventually went down to $500.


[Tim Wilson] "That's also why I've always felt that Apple didn't go very far in making Final Cut very Apple-like. It was in some ways the least Apple-like product they ever shipped. Other than some colored dots for minimize/maximize/close windows, the actual interface didn't change substantially at all."

In the early/mid 2000's Apple was all about the brushed metal look and FCP fit in with that. All the iApps from that era (iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto) had a matching visual style as did DVD SP, Compressor and QT 7 Pro. FCP never got a facelift, but that's probably because by the time the facelift was needed they knew they were going to start from scratch anyway so why bother?


[Tim Wilson] "Nothing particularly controversial about that, I hope -- but I can imagine the shock at the time for a bunch of VFX pros who'd relied on Shake to be told that their needs would no longer be the ones driving development, when in fact their original love for Shake was driven precisely be the product absolutely being tailored to meet their needs."

This is what I meant by Apple not wanting to go too far down the post production rabbit hole (too much effort for too few users). I thought about bringing up Ron Brinkmann's post as a case-in-point, but every time I have it's turned into a firestorm. ;)


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Tim Wilson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:24:27 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "FCP never got a facelift, but that's probably because by the time the facelift was needed they knew they were going to start from scratch anyway so why bother?"

Exactly. I think they already HAD gotten started, in work that was bearing fruit in iMovie first, simply because iMovie didn't have any baggage to carry.

I think this also underscores that flipping the switch to a more modern FCP 8 had been off the table for many, many years.




[Andrew Kimery] "hought about bringing up Ron Brinkmann's post as a case-in-point, but every time I have it's turned into a firestorm. ;)"

I'm hopeful that a gentle soul such as yourself just now agreeing with me on his relevance might prevent people from teeing off on an a-hole like me bringing it up. LOL




[Andrew Kimery] "I think Shake's implementation of Optical Flow and SmoothCam were probably the two most well know. How many 'smaller' things found their way into Motion I have no idea."

Simon is right, though, that Motion had those already.


My predecessor at Boris FX, Dion Scoppettuolo, left to run the team at Autodesk that worked on what became Motion after Apple bought it, and where he continued to manage it for several years.

When I was still "just" a customer of Boris, Dion was already working on implementing (and getting my meager input as a beta tester) motion tracking, stabilization, and optical flow features that were well nigh unto completion by the time Dion left and I arrived. Those, and the fundamentally particle-based nature of Motion were very exciting to him, at least when he showed it to me...although his demo might have been skewed by the interest he knew *I* had in tracking, stabilization, and optical flows, all passions of mine, for sure.

That's not to say that Nothing Real's math wasn't swapped in after the acquisition to make Motion work faster or better or optimized in some other way. Maybe it was. Maybe we're all right. :-)

BTW, Motion is the product that became the MOST Apple-like of anything that Apple ever bought imo. I think that reflected a seriousness of development intent that I just never saw with FCP...but most definitely DID see with the decidedly home-grown iMovie. So it was never a surprise to me to see Apple's first home-grown *PRO* NLE look more like both iMovie AND Motion than the gently tweaked Macromedia-developed look of FCP.

Although lord knows that the formerly-Adobe, Ubillos-led team that Macromedia brought in to develop Keygrip, which evolved into Final Cut sure made something that was pretty damn un-Macromedia-like in the scheme of things. Can you imagine if Macromedia's NLE was some kind of outgrowth of Director????

Although if you (like me) bought version 1 of Macromind (their original name) MediaMaker, then you know that the reality is even worse than you imagined. LOL So there are in fact limits to the shade I throw on the relative lack of nurturing Apple showed to FCP. LOL It could so, so, so have been worse.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:57:59 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Exactly. I think they already HAD gotten started, in work that was bearing fruit in iMovie first, simply because iMovie didn't have any baggage to carry."

iMovie had some baggage, but not as much as FCP. With iMovie '08 (released in 2007) Apple completely rewrote it and redesigned it. iMovie '06 was a mature product and had a brushed metal theme similar to FCP. iMovie '08 changed the visual style to what we see in iMovie, and X, today and it also went over like a lead balloon because it was barebones compared to iMovie '06. The reaction was so negative that Apple made iMovie '06 a free download for anyone that purchased iMovie '08. Over the next two versions iMovie mostly regained all the features that iMovie 06 had.



[Tim Wilson] "Simon is right, though, that Motion had those already."

The world may never know... ;)

According to Wikipedia Apple acquired Silicon Grail (which made compositing software) and Nothing Real in 2002. Was Motion an existing product at Autodesk Tim, or was it a prototype in a lab when Apple got its hands on it? Since Apple didn't release Motion until 2004 that seems like enough time for them to take cherry pick the parts they wanted from the different acquisitions and roll them into a new product.


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 19, 2016 at 10:50:02 am

[Tim Wilson] "My predecessor at Boris FX, Dion Scoppettuolo, left to run the team at Autodesk that worked on what became Motion after Apple bought it, and where he continued to manage it for several years."

Wow, I had no idea that Motion was sort of purchased from Autodesk. Apple did a great job making it their own.


[Tim Wilson] "That's not to say that Nothing Real's math wasn't swapped in after the acquisition to make Motion work faster or better or optimized in some other way. Maybe it was. Maybe we're all right. :-)"

I always doubted the claim that Shake lives on in Motion. Doing the math for compositing is easy; building the architecture of a compositor worth using is the hard part.

Apple already had institutional expertise in the area of optical flow before Nothing Real. Peter Litwinowicz had worked at Apple for a while before going off to work on What Dreams May Come and then co-found RE:Vision FX and develop Twixtor. Then three years passed between Apple's acquisition of Nothing Real in 2002 and the announcement of Shake 4, the first version with optical flow, in 2005. How far along could Nothing Real have been on optical flow when Apple bought them? Surely the Nothing Real team, the people themselves, was more strategically important than that IP.

On a separate note, while we're reviewing history, does anyone know the true story of the oft-rumored, never-seen Apple Phenomenon?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:15:43 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Then three years passed between Apple's acquisition of Nothing Real in 2002 and the announcement of Shake 4, the first version with optical flow, in 2005. How far along could Nothing Real have been on optical flow when Apple bought them? Surely the Nothing Real team, the people themselves, was more strategically important than that IP."

This could all be true, however, maybe some of this ended up many years later in projects like the iPhone camera. Or maybe Apple just wanted to learn other approaches. Or they were on a buying spree and wanted to take a few companies off the market and out of the hands of other potential competitors.

Look at Blackmagic Design. They are amassing quite a valuable portfolio of IP that may or may not ever find it's way into a new product.

- Oliver

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


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:13:03 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I hope that nobody here will argue that we as pro users are not a pain in Apple's ass at least occasionally."

I think the problem with Shake from Apple's point of view was that it is a microscopically small market that at the same time has astronomically high expectations in respect of product development.

If you just look at the changes in the VFX world that have taken place since Shake was EOL'd, there have been giant strides forward year on year that only dedicated players have been able to keep up with.

If we then look at the pace of development on Apple's video products, namely FCP X and Motion, it's plain to see that they are not in the business of keeping up with this kind of change, to say the very least!

It's sound commercial sense not to be wasting time with niche products like Shake ...

But as someone who, like most in the VFX community, really, really liked working with Shake, it's a sadness to me that it was killed.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:43:59 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "It's sound commercial sense not to be wasting time with niche products like Shake ...

But as someone who, like most in the VFX community, really, really liked working with Shake, it's a sadness to me that it was killed."


I talked a lot about this at the time that Avid EOL'd D|S. Some especially adamant D|S fans (of which there were understandably plenty) took this as a sign of Avid's intent to kill it from Day 1, which is nonsense. Avid certainly developed the UI more than Apple did FCP's....

...although who knows? Maybe Apple's intent for Final Cut was always to kill that form of it? There was simply no incentive NOT to monetize it in the meantime???? Okay, a bit extreme even for me, but not entirely devoid of evidence. LOL

But no, I sat next to the D|S product manager for 3 years, Matt Allard, one of the most customer-focused product professionals it has ever been my pleasure to know. He was driven.

Here's what came along in very, very short order, though, in no particular order:

-- A Blackmagic'd Resolve, which was surely the nail in the coffin. And tbh, the D|S killer was the high-end version. D|S'ers had long lamented the lack of a robust control surface, which was something of a deal-killer in Europe in fact...then along comes a stupefyingly low price for the best control surface WITH better-than-ever software?

-- eyeon fusion (bought by BMD well after DS's demise of course, but a pain for quite some time)

-- Scratch

-- Pablo

-- GPU-juiced After Effects, while still not as slippery-smooth as some would like, and obviously non-nodal, still, After Effects has taken bigger and bigger bites out of EVERYONE, from Chyron on down. I think AE was the end of the road for Deko in this exact timeframe, for example.

-- mistika

-- Baselight

-- Mac-based Nitris hardware Symphony -- less that Avid de-prioritized D|S in Symphony's favor than that a lot of Symphony guys who'd moved to D|S because they needed its power now had it back in Symphony where they always wanted it....

--- AND A LITTLE THING CALLED NUKE.

That's just off the top of my head for the last handful of years, but DAY-YUM. D|S was getting eaten by cheaper products, more expensive but focused products, and products in every single niche represented in its vast feature set.

Maybe some theoretically more nimble company than Avid could have sustained it longer...but that's a hell of a theory, even for me. LOL I was a believer, and I swear that Avid was too (heck, the FREE version of D|S was freaking amazing), but there's only so many piranhas anyone can fight off.

Now, compare that to Apple and Shake: the product getting eaten from every side, yes, with the difference being that Shake was NOT Apple's top of the line product, was NOT its most heavily-powered product, NOT the finale of every post product lineup demo -- duuuuude, it's amazing Shake stuck around in product form for as long as it did.

And inevitable that D|S had to go. It died an honorable death, though. LOL


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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:03:46 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I talked a lot about this at the time that Avid EOL'd D|S. Some especially adamant D|S fans (of which there were understandably plenty) took this as a sign of Avid's intent to kill it from Day 1, which is nonsense. Avid certainly developed the UI more than Apple did FCP's.."

I think another nail - possibly the first and biggest - was to try to make the DS interface more like Media Composer in order to push it onto the MC user market. Plus a muddled marketing message that Symphony wouldn't become an HD machine - until it did. This did nothing to endear DS to the MC folks and along the way, alienated the DS users, as well.

As far as your timeline of products... In my recollection, DS was already close to EOL by the time these things came along. However a key cost faster was price. When Avid first introduced the HD version of DS, they were pushing the $400K mark for a turnkey system. That was silly even for Avid and for that time. It quickly dropped, but that certainly alienated people.

In fact, that price miscalculation directly pushed some folks to FCP. Remember at that time, HD was more of a marketing hook than a lot of actual production. For a LOT less money than $400K, you could buy a tricked out Mac, storage, Cinewave HD and FCP and have a tool that could at least conform uncompressed HD. So offline on your old SD MC, then ingest HD and conform in FCP. Once Avid made that sort of misjudgment, it was hard to recover from it.

- Oliver

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


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Tim Wilson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:51:18 pm

[Oliver Peters] "In my recollection, DS was already close to EOL by the time these things came along. "

Some of them, yes, but by no means all. It was the cumulative effect. And certainly by the time the EOL came to pass, I don't see how anyone, anywhere, no matter how much they loved D|S, could say with a straight face that it still had a place anywhere but in their hearts. Certainly not in the market, and imo it wasn't Avid's fault.

You know what else accumulated? EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD. LOL

I know you remember this, Oliver, but in the 2004-ish timeframe, the show-stopping D|S demo was a single track of 2K DPX files, with one layer of primary color correction, playing a full 30 seconds in real time. LOL It was the Martin Scorsese Amex commercial, remember?

People got so lathered up that there was NO WAY a system that cost "so little" could do this that they were actually yelling out during the demo "Prove it!!!", so part of the demo evolved to include actually lifting out one single one of the files. LOL "See? It's not a self-contained media container or movie. It's FILES!!!"

And people STILL came up to the stage afterward, not just to check the files, but to check the storage, to make sure that we weren't doing some switcho-changeo with playing the demo off tape....

...which I know you remember happened quite regularly back in the day, Oliver, and not on Avid, since of course RT performance was not really part of the MC pitch 25 years ago.

By the time of its EOL, was there ANY system that COULDN'T play a single layer of HD files with one primary color correction for 30 seconds without a hiccup? Hell, most of 'em could do it on a laptop.



[Oliver Peters] "When Avid first introduced the HD version of DS, they were pushing the $400K mark for a turnkey system. "

Yes, but this was considered disruptive enough to be causing pain to its customers. Especially in the DNA era, the system cost less than similarly featured products from Autodesk, and their clients knew it, so the houses were being forced to CHARGE less. This turned ugly fast, because their monetization plan was based on a rate they could no longer get away with charging.

I'm tellin' ya, man, all day every day, people were calling, BEGGING Avid to raise the price. I listened to 'em...and they were the exact opposite of the calls I was getting about MC pricing. LOL

The pleas to raise D|S's price eventually evaporated of course, but there genuinely had been a significant swath of its customer base not at all happy to see the prices for it keep dropping.


[Oliver Peters] "So offline on your old SD MC, then ingest HD and conform in FCP. "

Yes, I mentioned this dynamic in an earlier post. I saw this a LOT. It definitely accelerated with Final Touch, and lit up even more with Color. But I feel like that came much more at Symphony's expense than D|S's.

And to an earlier point in the thread, very little of that displaced MC from creative editorial per se. MC still has the lion's share, and if the 2009 ACE survey is to be believed, MC marketshare was slightly UP even before FCP EOL.

The FCP/Color online scheme caused pain for Avid's ability to add satellite products into those houses, though, to be sure.

That said, the Mac Symphony Nitris was a very successful launch...which, on the flip side, did nothing to displace the cozy home that FCP (and Color) had set up in finishing. :-)

It's like cameras. They all got cheaper, except for the ones that got more expensive. LOL

And cheap, hardware-independent finishing systems came along at EXACTLY the same time that proprietary hardware systems like Pablo, Baselight, mistika, and the top of the line Resolve all blossomed.

The story of this industry in the past 7-10 years has to account for BOTH dynamics, or it ain't the full story.


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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 18, 2016 at 11:10:09 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Especially in the DNA era, the system cost less"

Ugh. DNA on MC - what a joke! "The power of 40 Pentiums!" A very dubious claim. The scary part is those "marketeers" at Avid are still employed there.

[Tim Wilson] "I'm tellin' ya, man, all day every day, people were calling, BEGGING Avid to raise the price"

Sure, post houses arguing for protectionism.

[Tim Wilson] "That said, the Mac Symphony Nitris was a very successful launch."

Also one of Avid's better products. At least the PC version was.

[Tim Wilson] "The story of this industry in the past 7-10 years has to account for BOTH dynamics, or it ain't the full story."

Agreed.

- Oliver

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


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Tim Wilson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:27:11 am

Replying to several posts at once:

[Oliver Peters] "DNA on MC - what a joke! "The power of 40 Pentiums!" A very dubious claim. The scary part is those "marketeers" at Avid are still employed there."

As far as I can tell -- and I have NO INSIDE INFORMATION ON THIS, as the specifics predate me -- but speaking strictly as another opinionated a-hole on the internet, it LOOKS to me that the only "acceleration" was a hardware DV compressor-decompressor. Not really solving a huge problem. LOL

On D|S, and later Symphony, though, Nitris hardware acceleration appeared to be real....although you probably know more about than I do.

That's all ima say about that though. LOL


[Oliver Peters] "Sure, post houses arguing for protectionism."

Well, I'd put it a little more empathetically -- their business model was based on $600 rooms, not $100 rooms, and the industry was changing faster than the depreciation schedule -- but that's all ima say about that too. LOL



[Andrew Kimery] "iMovie '08 changed the visual style to what we see in iMovie, and X, today and it also went over like a lead balloon because it was barebones compared to iMovie '06. The reaction was so negative that Apple made iMovie '06 a free download for anyone that purchased iMovie '08. Over the next two versions iMovie mostly regained all the features that iMovie 06 had."

Hey, wait a minute: a sweeping interface change, stripping out features and causing widespread discontent, even market chaos, until those features came back a couple of years later??? Where have I heard THAT before? LOL

Or should I say, where have I heard that SINCE? LOL



[Andrew Kimery] "Was Motion an existing product at Autodesk Tim, or was it a prototype in a lab when Apple got its hands on it? Since Apple didn't release Motion until 2004 that seems like enough time for them to take cherry pick the parts they wanted from the different acquisitions and roll them into a new product."

My eye was no longer on this particular ball, and of course a lot of it was happening behind closed doors...but my fuzzy recollection is that the Autodesk component of what became Motion was still a lab-only product at the time.

You're right, a couple of years would have provided ample time for Apple to roll their own product from their flurry of purchases at the time, which, again, Apple was clearly motivated to do.

This mightily contrasts with Final Cut, which, yes, was still in the lab when Apple bought it, but only barely. It was VERY well developed, and close enough to the finish line that Apple could clean out all that Windows crap LOL and still ship it a year later.

Impressive in itself for sure, but I think it reflects the extent to which Apple didn't really really REALLY take the time to make it as Apple-y as they could have with more time....which they clearly didn't see the value of before the end of its life, for whatever reasons.

No disrespect intended. Worked out pretty well I s'pose. LOL Just trying to track the breadcrumbs backwards.


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 20, 2016 at 9:47:26 pm

[Tim Wilson] "And certainly by the time the EOL came to pass, I don't see how anyone, anywhere, no matter how much they loved D|S, could say with a straight face that it still had a place anywhere but in their hearts. Certainly not in the market, and imo it wasn't Avid's fault."

I considered DS in early 2012. DS artists' passion for the platform made it tempting, but I was really surprised when I dug in to it a bit. It wasn't just that new products appeard -- DS just never kept up. The product was lacking in some really important areas like file-based workflows and a 3D space for compositing/design.

I could be persuaded otherwise, but I don't see how DS's failure isn't at least partially on Avid. DS was years ahead of its time when Softimage launched it, but years behind when Avid EOLed it. I don't believe Avid management really understood what they had with DS, and I don't believe they made the investment in DS's architecture that would kept DS relevant, let alone competitive.

DS is like the Ghost of Software Yet to Come: a cautionary tale that shows a dim future for your favorite mature application unless its developers make a change. I'm pretty sure Dickens had things like FCPX, Flame's 20th Anniversary Edition, and After Effects CC 2015 in mind when he sent Scrooge to see a poulterer about a turkey.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 20, 2016 at 10:08:05 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I could be persuaded otherwise, but I don't see how DS's failure isn't at least partially on Avid. DS was years ahead of its time when Softimage launched it, but years behind when Avid EOLed it. I don't believe Avid management really understood what they had with DS, and I don't believe they made the investment in DS's architecture that would kept DS relevant, let alone competitive."

There was also a very definite culture clash between the Tewksbury and Montreal operations and management, which didn't help matters.

- Oliver

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


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Scott Witthaus
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 20, 2016 at 10:50:42 pm

[Walter Soyka] "but I don't see how DS's failure isn't at least partially on Avid. DS was years ahead of its time when Softimage launched it, but years behind when Avid EOLed it. I don't believe Avid management really understood what they had with DS, and I don't believe they made the investment in DS's architecture that would kept DS relevant, let alone competitive."

Bingo! Give this man a prize. I saw DS at NAB before v1.0 was released and found it very intriguing. After a trip to Nashville to visit with Bill Hite, I was hooked and had a system in my shop soon after (actually got the system that I demoed down in Nashville). I beta tested versions 2-4. It was way ahead of anything that Avid could offer. As soon as Avid bought the product everything stopped. Then Avid said that DS would be their HD solution and the howls from the MC/Symph crowd could be heard coast to coast. So Avid backed away from that. Avid had no clue what they had in DS and the pro-MC crowd in Tewks won out. Damn shame, as the company could have been playing in the high-end finishing world, but through ignorance and arrogance missed that opportunity. IMHO (DS-biased too)

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 20, 2016 at 11:26:20 pm

[Scott Witthaus] "Damn shame, as the company could have been playing in the high-end finishing world, but through ignorance and arrogance missed that opportunity"

I think there's a lot of blame to go around. From what I heard on the inside, Montreal also dragged its feet implementing the product roadmap, yet was more than happy to implement little features not on the roadmap. Part of the culture clash.

For awhile, it was in fact Avid's only HD product, so it's not like it didn't get a chance. However it was offered at a price that was in the Autodesk and Quantel range and those products were perceived as better. Being a "Flame artist" carried weight. Being a "DS artist" didn't. There's only so much room at the top at that price and DS was the odd product out.

Of course, I'll freely admit that Avid jacked up the price unrealistically, but that is only because at the time they believed in the product. When I first saw DS in the very beginning, it was $80K turnkey. After Avid, the SD version was bumped up to $120K. Then the HD model was $300K. Seems to me that was trying to be opportunistic, but it was justified compared to the heavy iron alternatives. That happened right at the same time that low-cost options entered the market.

The core issue is that DS was good as a short-form box, not a long-form box. Avid is generally viewed as a long-form product company at the high-end and that's the market they were pushing DS into. Obviously part of the miscalculation.

Oliver

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


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Scott Witthaus
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:13:07 am

[Oliver Peters] "However it was offered at a price that was in the Autodesk and Quantel range and those products were perceived as better. Being a "Flame artist" carried weight. Being a "DS artist" didn't. There's only so much room at the top at that price and DS was the odd product out.
"


That was an Avid issue. Jacked the price with no development. It was a no-win situation.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Oliver Peters
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:52:03 am

Well, if you remember, at that time Avid also had another competing compositing product in Illusion. I think it's fair to say that some of those purchases were misguided.

Oliver

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


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David Mathis
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 21, 2016 at 12:37:08 am

I bought Shake shortly prior to its demise. Will it was a great piece of software it was never given a chance to develop. Now that Fusion is available for Mac at a reasonable price there would be no point on keeping Shake around. Fusion is easy to transition over to for anyone with experience with a node based compositor or Resolve since it s node based. Even without exposure, Fusion is still easy to learn though a slight learning curve is involved.

With that said I doubt Fusion would disrupt After Effects or Nuke for that matter. Just my two cents.


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Jason Watson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 7:37:43 pm

[Bret Williams] "I've been having to dig back into AE the last few weeks and it's tough to go back to AE and deal with the performance hit once you've gotten used to Motion."

I had a similar albeit opposite experience having to go back to Motion to modify a template after being used to Ae. The performance hit was also similar; I found that Ae CC2015 churned through the somewhat complex project more quickly (and consistently) in comparison. I actually ended up recreating the project in Ae to save time.

I agree that it would be nice to have groups in Ae; when I first started in Ae from Motion it really got to me that it didn't have them, but now I'd definitely take precomps over groups if I had to choose, which may be related to my particular workflow.


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Bret Williams
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 7:42:10 pm

Are you talking render or playback during creation? Rendering can be a mixed bag depending on what you're doing as each as their strengths. But aren't many rendering their 2015CC projects with 2014 since 2015 isn't even multi processor aware? I'm working with a template that is insanely huge with multiple puppet tool characters and tons of animated shapes and expressions. 2015 just couldn't even deal with it. I'm having to use 2014.


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Jason Watson
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 8:38:51 pm

I was more referring to the entire process; for example, in my experience CC15 doesn't get as bogged down in the UI as Motion does (at least with the project I was working on), which at least for me greatly speeds up the whole process. I found that the playback during creation was faster and more consistent as well; both apps suffer during playback with complex projects, but in my experience Ae plays it back more consistently, whereas with Motion it is sometimes a crap shoot as far as a RAM Preview goes. Could be system quirks, who knows.

I have rendered almost every project with CC2014 since the day CC2015 came out as a part of my workflow, so I guess that doesn't really figure into it for me. But I do a lot of animated characters and tend to use lots of shapes and expressions as well, and I haven't yet had CC2015 give me any significant problems.


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE competitor
on Mar 21, 2016 at 4:51:26 pm

Since Ae is used for animation, this seems relevant:

http://www.toonzpremium.com/

Toonz, 2D animation software used for Futurama and films including Princess Mononoke, Anastasia, and Balto, is becoming free and open-source this weekend.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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