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Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so

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TImothy Auld
Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 12:05:16 am

Finally (after fighting through many layers - and it took about 4 hours) they solved my problem.

But their documentation is a joke. Not indexed. You can't find anything relevant with a phrase search. And there is an unbelievable amount obsolete information to wade through. And the tutorials appear to be produced by people who have not a whit of knowledge of production. Oh, my - one of my multicam elements is not the same size as the others! Whatever will I do? Moronic tutorials covering subjects that make no difference to anyone who has a clue.

Tim


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Gary Huff
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 2:48:56 am

[TImothy Auld] " Oh, my - one of my multicam elements is not the same size as the others! Whatever will I do? Moronic tutorials covering subjects that make no difference to anyone who has a clue."

Wait, was that the issue you spent four hours trying to solve? One of the clips in a multicam sequence was a lower resolution than the rest?


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 5:49:03 am

If you give specific links to the "moronic tutorials" and feedback about them, we may be able to do something to improve this.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 16, 2014 at 7:54:39 pm

you know, you really are a bit of a sport for keeping on turning up Todd.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Herb Sevush
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:24:49 pm

Todd -

What I would like, what Tim would like, what anyone who does not like video tutorials would like, is an index of features. When I see a command in a menu I would like to be able to type that command into a "help" index and have that command explained to me. I do not need to have the craft of editing explained to me, but I desperately need to know what the various commands that fill the multitude of menus actually do. It would be nice if the help index could be cross referenced so I can type in the action I'm trying to do and the appropriate command would pop up, but I'm not expecting miracles.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Steve Connor
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:32:50 am

[TImothy Auld] "You can't find anything relevant with a phrase search. And there is an unbelievable amount obsolete information to wade through"

I've found this also as I've tried to find information on the Adobe site.

Steve Connor
Mellowing slowly


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Rainer Schubert
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 8:20:02 am

Whenever I TRIED to find some help there - the Adobe Help-System - I was nerved, sometimes after hours.
Phrase Search - as written - senseless.
(Try to find an explanation, why a second Illustrator Window of the same file doesn´t refresh as it should... Only ONE small example. BtW: A BUG (confirmed) that exists since many, many Versions and "fast delivered Updates")
Limiting search to one App (than using the Help through all) - doesn´t really work. After a few klicks you get results for other Versions/Apps/...
Community Help? (As Adobe don´t want to do the job?)... Nice Idea & some really helpful people there, but a nightmare of irrelevance.
Tons of Videos there (as search results): I don´t watch 15+ min Videos if I have a problem (...and they nearby never bring the solution).
The Apps themselves (CS) are great - no question.
The Distribution (CC) is not acceptable (...for me, maybe it works for some, who don´t need permanent access to their files and have no problem with paying for the use of their own creations)
The Help-System is a farce. Not for use. A joke. Or below that all.
It happens more and more seldom (as I replaced most of Adobe Apps by competitors) - but using a Web-Search (Google, DuckDuckGo, ...) is much more efficient to solve my problems.
The Adobe Help-System is the worst of all (commercial) Apps I use/used.
(Cinema 4Ds Help-System is the most useable - you can click on every function in the App and you will be directly linked to solution in their help-system. Very power- & really helpful!)


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 1:08:20 pm

I notice that the ones most loudly grousing here are the ones who have never spent a single post trying to help out the other members of the COW. Nothing but contributing to the noise that drowns out those who really need support. What's the saying? "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

That rant off my chest, I find that any help system for any software package I use is less useful for troubleshooting than it is for learning. I rely on the tools at hand which are pertinent to my problem or educational need, and I know the differences between them.

Tim - So you just realized that software manuals are written by technical writers, and not motion graphics artists? That has been a loud complaint across the world for years, and not just in the software industry. That's what the trainers and tutorial videos are for, and God help us if every possible situation we might run into existed on a tutorial video or in the database of online tech support. You'd be on the phone for 20 hours! And the index would be the size of the NYC phone book! Sometimes support just has to try and reproduce the problem, which takes time, or they don't have the hardware/software combination which might be causing your particular problem. They're humans, not gods or all-knowing robots.

I've spent several days waiting for solutions from Red Giant Software, and I'm not complaining. They always nail my problem - it just takes time, sometimes, and knowing when to call for support, as opposed to using an online system can be helpful at cutting down the wait times. I find that most often, when I can't find an answer through the COW, or Google (insert favorite search engine here), that the problem is not widespread enough for the phone support people to be aware of it, so I submit a ticket via the online system (this is not just Adobe, by the way).

How would you like a phone support system that worked the way it sometimes works here? Someone asks for help for a specific problem - phone support person shouts that the corporation that creates the software is the problem, and they should use different software, or better yet, that they're a dufus for using that software. Then more phone support people jump in on a conference call in which they harangue and ridicule the person for using that particular software. Yes, this is a debate forum, but I fear that some of the people "debating" here don't know the definition of the word.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Rainer Schubert
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 3:48:53 pm
Last Edited By Rainer Schubert on Jun 13, 2014 at 3:52:15 pm

You are right, that writing/creating a software help is a strange thing.
I use a lot of software of all kinds. Graphic, Web, Video, 3D, Image-Manipulation, Programming and so on.
From many different developers.
And by doing that, I often have to use the help/handbooks/tutorials of a great variety of applications.
Sure there are problems, which can´t be easily answered.
But if I have to compare - Adobe´s help-system is one of the most un-useable of all.
You have to spend a lot of time to find what ever you need (if you will ever find it).
And I was concerned about that very often.
There are great solutions of other developers - as written, Cinema 4D is one of them.
The Application is much more complex and filled with much more functionality than any of Adobe´s Apps - but whenever I have a problem, I will find the solution by simply clicking on the function and use "help".
Available in nearby every language (!).
In all the years I use it, I only had to contact the company directly twice (in case of problems) and got the answer in less than 24h.
2 times they changed the manual, after I told them, there is a mistake.
A help-system has to be a help-system (not only a teaching tutorial). And, yes, it must be useful for trouble-shooting (and in many cases it works that way).
Elsewise the button should be named "learn" instead of "help".
When I read your post, it sounds like "It´s difficult to write a perfect help-system, and therefore it´s OK, when Adobes help isn´t perfect".
I don´t think so. Adobe´s help system is far away from something perfect - and compared with other developers solutions it´s a joke.
(And I don´t want to talk about their phone-support...)
And also: A Help system should be written by technical writers AND users (people who have to use it).
I think, a Debate doesn´t exclude critics.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 6:24:40 pm

Rainer -

I think you misconstrue my point that you took as "It´s difficult to write a perfect help-system, and therefore it´s OK, when Adobes help isn´t perfect". My point was that Adobe's help system is sometimes as arcane and difficult to use as anyone else's, and that's a problem across all software (and most manuals of any sort). I'm not giving them any more wiggle room than anyone's software - it's always a problem when the tech writers don't talk to the end users. Take a look at software that's written even by a combination of tech writers and the software programmers - that's sometimes even worse. You get a manual which follows the menu flow, which often has nothing at all to do with the way the user works.

A debate doesn't exclude critics, but bear in mind that a debate is in no way a critique, either. Both sides try to support their argument with facts and truths, and your post doesn't support any of your claims - "compared with other developers solutions it´s a joke." What other developers, for which software, and what aspects of that help system are more useful than Adobe's? It's as if you're marching around with a sign that says "Adobe Sucks!", and when someone asks you why, you don't have any facts to back up your sign. I'd just like to hear an argument that holds water, not just a vague statement of opinion.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Steve Connor
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:08:40 pm

Finally, Gary's got some backup here

Steve Connor
Mellowing slowly


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Rainer Schubert
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 9:24:17 pm
Last Edited By Rainer Schubert on Jun 13, 2014 at 9:37:49 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "and when someone asks you why, you don't have any facts to back up your sign. I'd just like to hear an argument that holds water, not just a vague statement of opinion."

Joseph -

Where are the arguments you are missing?
I gave an example for both:

Why it don´t works:
Try to find out, why an second Illustrator window (same file) doesn´t refresh as it should do.
I complete: Try to find it in the ILLUSTRATOR help (the only explanation given in the help system - I found within hours - is photoshop, where this function works as it should and is different from Illustrators behavior).
It´s simply a (confirmed by Adobe) bug, existent since years - but no word about it in this ridiculous help.
Nothing to "learn about" in Illustrators handbook.

And how it should work, in my eyes:
I have given Maxons Cinema 4D as an example how a HELP system can work at it´s best.
(A software with much more functions & complexity than any of Adobe´s Apps)

Should I give you ALL examples? (would be a very long list...)

Adobes help system should be renewed new from the ground up.
It´s that over-pimped (and it even doesn´t look very cheap...) with all it´s Videos.
The search-filters doesn´t work exactly (You can´t really limit your search to one App because 3 clicks later your results belong to all of the Apps again).
If they offer a search via "all Apps" - They have to make their (bought from everywhere) software familiar FIRST!!!

May be it´s OK for you. For me it´s not.
And sorry, if I mis-interpreted your post a bit ("It´s difficult to write a perfect help-system, and therefore it´s OK, when Adobes help isn´t perfect").

But (for me) help system has to be a help system. Tutorials have to be tutorials.
I use a help-system in case of problems. I use tutorials to learn something about the apps.
And there are competitors, who give perfect examples for how it should be or can be useful.
(Once - long time ago - the handbooks of Photoshop were the best in market. Really great and useful. But that was long before they called their software "suites", "creative" or - misleading - "cloud". The times they produced software for customers, not for WallStreet)


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 14, 2014 at 3:35:04 am

Rainer -

Yes, "over-pimped" really gives me an idea of what's wrong with Adobe's help systems. That's true insight.

A help system is not meant to trouble shoot problems, other than the occasional obvious problem, which is usually addressed in a short "troubleshooting" section, akin to the FAQ's you find in many manuals. If a software company knows about a problem, they generally fix it, not write it up in a manual, although the fixes get assigned an order of priority. I agree with you that the written manuals published by Adobe over the years were quite good, but I don't see the online and downloadable versions as much different, other than that they seem to be updated more often, and include useful external links to other users and professionals. But I also remember seeing a fair amount of boilerplate in the printed manuals from version to version, with few changes, unless a feature was changed in a major way.

And the clever "bought from everywhere software" is a nice jab below the belt, very in keeping with a debate. I suppose Apple or AVID develop all their software from the ground up...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Rainer Schubert
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:39:24 am
Last Edited By Rainer Schubert on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:59:00 am

[Joseph W. Bourke] "A help system is not meant to trouble shoot problems"

Why named "help" then?
If I have a problem with one of the Apps functions (Path-Handles for example), I want to be able to get the "How it works" as fast as possible.
I would call it "trouble shooting"
In case of adobe I will first be taken to a phrase-search (over all apps) & including the community help.
Searching for "Path-Handles" will give me tons of results for different Apps and with different content.
I will find "Training-Videos" for Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, ...find the chapters of the different manuals ...find the hard to interpret headlines of community-helpers, ...and so on. The list of search results is long.
Not satisfying? OK - Try to find out, how the search filters work...: Try to limit the search function to the App you use, Try to exclude the community help. Try to exclude Video-Material (and spend the time to find out, how this will work... first hour over ;).
Now? The list of results is a bit shorter. Click on the result you think, it has priority & find out that there is an other link, that sounds interesting. Click on it - and BAM - you are at an different App. Will get an explanation, but it´s the wrong one. Huh.
I used "path-handles" as a example, because their behavior is different in nearby every App of Adobes General Store of Applications. As they bought their Apps from different sources and never tried to make these fundamental functions familiar within all the years (something I´m concerned about also for years).
A search "over all Apps" doesn´t make sense until this (familiar) job is done.
(And the "second window" function I´ve given is an other example for that. And the different behavior of layers (grouping, naming) would be the next.
They could have done very much more to make that Apps familiar.
Now they name their stuff "cloud" - But no one can see, where this cloud is... (or only, when you locked out 24h by that)

The former printed manuals of photoshop - f Ex. - had really great chapters about Color Management. These explanations were better than some of the best books you could buy. Better than everything you will find on this in the help-system today.
But long time ago. The time, a Version of an App wasn´t defined by a CS or CC.

Yes, Online updated manuals could be great advantage - no question - but as long as the usage is that horrible...
I google.

And also yes, debating is getting to an point where it splits the Pro- and Contra- Clouds. Most of arguments are told...
Some find it great (wonder why). Some can live with it. Some don´t.
PingPong game of yes and no.
Adobe doesn´t seem to be willing bring in answers for those who are concerned or need adjustments.
OK.
So we have to wait 1 or 2 years to see if it works or not. Financials will have to give the answer (Customer satisfaction obviously not).
Their image disaster is done - if this "Cloud" will survive or not.
And I wonder if they will get clients back that turned their back, if not.

And the help-system isn´t really the place to be discussed here as it´s not CC specific.


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Jim Wiseman
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 14, 2014 at 5:30:19 pm

Joseph, I think it is quite clear that Adobe has acquired more of their software than any other company. Just look at the plethora of interfaces. I was a Macromedia dealer. Poof goes that competition. AE was COSA, I still have the first copy in my archives. Speedgrade, and many more. Apple and Avid, nowhere close. Perhaps Microsoft runs second in acquiring and/or burying other software. Still miss iView Media Pro, screwed up and dead as Microsoft Expression.

More facts on demand with time for research...

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.5, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Blackmagic Teranex, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1 TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD


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David Mathis
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 14, 2014 at 7:06:24 pm
Last Edited By David Mathis on Jun 14, 2014 at 7:07:25 pm

Agreed.

Final Cut Pro 10.1.1, Final Cut Studio 3, Motion 5.1, Resolve 10, Pixelmator, Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K, 7 to X


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Brian Charles
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 13, 2014 at 5:14:32 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "but I fear that some of the people "debating" here don't know the definition of the word."

Agreed.



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Jim Wiseman
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:38:06 pm

As per Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.5, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Blackmagic Teranex, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1 TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD


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Herb Sevush
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:34:20 pm

Joe -

Premiere Pro has the worst help feature of any NLE I have ever worked on - EMC2, discreet Edit*, Avid, FCP. It is the only one that lacks a basic "help index." This is not asking for the moon, this is pretty basic stuff. The last version of FCP had a 2200 page manual that explained everything you could possibly want to know and an on-line help system that used the index of that manual to, you know, help you. PPro currently has a 500 page PDF with inserts for updates, of which there have been many, and no index to reference it with.

Saying that all software help is awful is disingenuous - as a comparison, in the world of hardware, AJA has the best support imaginable and Black Magic has almost none - both make great products, but they have totally different concepts of what "support" means. The same here - Adobe's system of documentation is atrocious in comparison to all of it's competitors. The fact that you don't care that they don't care does not alter the facts.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 18, 2014 at 9:14:34 pm

Herb -

I'm not being disingenuous at all - it is my true feeling that all software help systems (that I have worked with - Edit*, AVID, 3DS Max, Combustion, CorelDraw and Paint, and many others - not just software) leave much to be desired. As I said, they are generally written with the structure of the software menu in mind, which has little or nothing to do with the actual workflow. Many of them have holes you could drive a truck through, in terms of features - as a Combustion beta tester, I remember there being an entire chapter left out of the manual.

You don't present any facts of your own; just your opinion - which is exactly what I was putting forth. And as for indices, have you looked at any of the Adobe PDF help? There's a big old honking index in the left panel. Maybe not your idea of an index, but one nonetheless. I do care about having a good help system - I've been earning my living with graphics and video hardware and software of one stripe or another since the 1980's. Don't put words in my mouth that "I don't care that they don't care". You're way off base.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Herb Sevush
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:07:16 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "You don't present any facts of your own; just your opinion"

Here's a fact. If you use PPro multicam there is an important feature called "edit cameras." If you type that name in the help index of PPro you get nothing at all.

The PDF "index" you referred to is actually a table of contents, it says "contents" right at the top, and is not an index in any way. An index, in case you are confused, is an alphabetical listing of names and subjects, with references to where said information can be found.

If you want to know how an on-line index actually works you need go no further than PPro's keyboard manager. In the manager you can start typing the name of a function and a contextual listing of all occurrences comes up as the system tries to show you what keyboard shortcut is tied to that function. If that same "indexing" system was tied into a database of function definitions you would have the beginnings of a proper on-line help system. You should be familiar with how this works because nearly every other piece of software I regularly use has something like this - including Quickbooks, Word, Excel, FCP, Avid and on and on and on and on and on. PPro actually has an on-line help index - its just that it never has any useful information in it.

[Joseph W. Bourke] "it is my true feeling that all software help systems (that I have worked with - Edit*, AVID, 3DS Max, Combustion, CorelDraw and Paint, and many others - not just software) leave much to be desired"

I agree that all help systems are imperfect, it's just that some are more imperfect than others and in this arena PPro is the most imperfect I have ever seen for a major application. Good on-line help is very difficult to achieve but let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good enough - I'm just asking for an on-line help index that connects to as many functions as the keyboard manager does. I think that's a reasonable request.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Walter Soyka
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:20:53 pm

[Herbert van der wegen] "I think Adobe's documentation is very helpful - as long as you are able to work with the applications on a high level. ;-)"

I think this is a good criticism. A lot of the Adobe documentation is a reference, not a primer.


[Herb Sevush] "Here's a fact. If you use PPro multicam there is an important feature called "edit cameras." If you type that name in the help index of PPro you get nothing at all."

I almost always choose the "This reference only" option when searching the Adobe help system. This limits the search to the manual only and disregards the community links.

If you search the online help for edit cameras with "this reference only" enabled, it will return this page as the first result:

https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/create-multi-camera-source-seque...

And on that page, this section is relevant:
https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/create-multi-camera-source-seque...


[Herb Sevush] "I agree that all help systems are imperfect, it's just that some are more imperfect than others and in this arena PPro is the most imperfect I have ever seen for a major application. Good on-line help is very difficult to achieve but let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good enough - I'm just asking for an on-line help index that connects to as many functions as the keyboard manager does. I think that's a reasonable request."

I agree. Every panel, menu, tool or feature should have a reference page.

Rainer spoke highly of the C4D documentation, and he's right to do so. It has a context-sensitive help system. Just park the mouse cursor over the thing you're curious about, hit Ctrl+F1, and the relevant documentation pops right up.

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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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 2:47:15 pm

[Walter Soyka] " A lot of the Adobe documentation is a reference, not a primer."

Walter,

I have much to say about the poor quality of the documentation, but I'll limit it here - in my experience, the online system provides very poor tools for keeping results relevant. It is hobbled by inconsistencies in terminology in the software, and by search results that may or may not be "current".

[Walter Soyka] "I agree. Every panel, menu, tool or feature should have a reference page."

As Herb has pointed out, this is pretty basic.

Current example (illustrative of my common experience): problems activating the "desktop playback" function for video in PPro. This function is found under Preferences > Playback and is referred to as "video device" & "adobe monitor" (as well as "video output" in the disable checkbox) - there's already a problem with terminology in all that, one that I find symptomatic of a kind of ad hoc design approach, but that is a whole other discussion.

A search for "playback video device" in the pdf manual yeilds 27 pages, none of which indicate the correct function.

A search for online help yields hits about rendering (or "preview" if you prefer), export, capture, etc.
http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/search/index.cfm?cat=support&term=playback%20v...

Note that the first three links (at least) pull up pages that "applies to Premiere Pro" (no version indicated) - the URL seems to have included versioning info that I never entered, and seems likely wrong to me.

If there is something relevant on that first page of hits, I haven't found it.

[Walter Soyka] "I almost always choose the "This reference only" option when searching the Adobe help system. This limits the search to the manual only and disregards the community links."

This option isn't available until after you've entered your search terms and received the first round of results (if you use the "Adobe Premiere Pro Help" link in the Help menu of the application).

Sifting to Help that is relevant to the version of the application (from which I've asked for help) should be the default. One would think this would be obvious from a design perspective. I have no idea what features have changed or not since CS4 or CS5 or CS5.5, and finding help shouldn't be an exercise in software archeology.

This is not an isolated example in my experience.

Franz.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:12:34 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "I have much to say about the poor quality of the documentation, but I'll limit it here - in my experience, the online system provides very poor tools for keeping results relevant. It is hobbled by inconsistencies in terminology in the software, and by search results that may or may not be "current"."

I won't make sweeping generalizations about all Adobe documentation. I think some of the products have significantly better documentation than others.


[Franz Bieberkopf] "Current example (illustrative of my common experience): problems activating the "desktop playback" function for video in PPro. This function is found under Preferences > Playback and is referred to as "video device" & "adobe monitor" (as well as "video output" in the disable checkbox) - there's already a problem with terminology in all that, one that I find symptomatic of a kind of ad hoc design approach, but that is a whole other discussion."

I see your point, but all these terms mean different things. Video output is the feature that, well, outputs video. Video devices are the destinations for video output. Adobe Monitor is the name of a specific video device for generic computer monitors. With a video I/O card, this would read Blackmagic or AJA etc.

But unclear or over-engineered terminology is the easiest things in the world to fix. File a bug against it. I've had some in-app text changed for clarity in Ae by filing a BR.


[Franz Bieberkopf] "This option isn't available until after you've entered your search terms and received the first round of results (if you use the "Adobe Premiere Pro Help" link in the Help menu of the application)."

Yes. I agree that's undesirable. I only mention it because I find it essential for using the help system.

I don't know for sure, but I'd guess the idea to include "community" help resources was to try to bolster the docs, adding some primer-class material to the existing reference-class material. In other words, making it easy for newbies to find hand-holding tutorials.

I guess that's not really a bad idea, but I think the implementation could be improved.


[Franz Bieberkopf] "Sifting to Help that is relevant to the version of the application (from which I've asked for help) should be the default. One would think this would be obvious from a design perspective. I have no idea what features have changed or not since CS4 or CS5 or CS5.5, and finding help shouldn't be an exercise in software archeology."

I agree.

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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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:38:14 pm
Last Edited By Franz Bieberkopf on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:44:31 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I won't make sweeping generalizations about all Adobe documentation. I think some of the products have significantly better documentation than others."

Walter,

Fair enough - but my experiences have been pretty bad.

[Walter Soyka] "I see your point, but all these terms mean different things."

I understand the principles and options including additional hardware. That is not what is at issue.

[Walter Soyka] "Video output is the feature that, well, outputs video."

Great! Let's call it that. Rather than Playback > Video Device. And sometimes "video output". There is no need for 3 overlapping names here ("playback" "video device" "output") - in the end I have a choice to make about one function, the device for video playback (which may be "none", a computer monitor, or an external device). Relabel "disable video output" as "disable video devices" or relable "video device" as "video output" - either way you have a function with a list of devices that can perform that function. Pick a nomenclature. It makes documentation and communication easier.*

[Walter Soyka] "Video devices are the destinations for video output."

Practically speaking, there is no reason to make this distinction on that preferences page - it allows you to choose destinations for video output. Call it "devices" or call it "output". Additional words are adding nothing, even though on the conceptual level we talk about what the distinction is.

[Walter Soyka] "Adobe Monitor is the name of a specific video device for generic computer monitors."

Sure. (And this is entirely incidental, but why "Adobe" monitor. What helpful purpose is being served by Adobe relabelling my iMac and Panasonic as "Adobe"?)

(Further incidental - the "offset" function isn't well explained and doesn't apply to all video/audio combinations, but there we're off on another poor documentation issue ...)

This isn't about understanding the concepts, it's about being able to communicate clearly about specific implementations.

But, really, all of this would be forgivable if the documentation rose to the question. If the functions are there in the UI, I should be able to find them easily by searching.

Franz.

Edit: * It should be noted that there is also a "full screen mode" which, depending on how you use it, could be very similar to the playback > video device > adobe monitor but apparently isn't a "playback" option.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:01:11 pm
Last Edited By Franz Bieberkopf on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:03:12 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Video output is the feature that, well, outputs video. Video devices are the destinations for video output. Adobe Monitor is the name of a specific video device for generic computer monitors."

Walter,

... since I've started on it, I'll add that your understanding breaks down if you look at the way it applies to audio in the same preference dialog (Playback).

"Audio Devices" is analogous to what you've called "video output" above and it lists not specific audio device (as one would expect, given the video options, and given that it is actually labelled "devices") but the choice between Adobe Desktop Audio and other ... you must go to a different place (Preferences > Audio Hardware) to choose what hardware is actually used by Adobe Desktop Audio. Why an external audio box is referred to as "desktop audio" is confusing, and why Audio Hardware gets a separate Pref dialog where Video Hardware is part of the Playback Pref dialog, ... to me it indicates a very ad hoc approach to features, as I've said.

Though I've only scratched the surface here, I've already digressed well beyond discussion of documentation ...

Franz.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:06:06 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Walter, ... since I've started on it, I'll add that your understanding breaks down if you look at the way it applies to audio in the same preference dialog (Playback)."

It's a fair criticism.


[Franz Bieberkopf] "to me it indicates a very ad hoc approach to features, as I've said."

I think that the naming here reflects the underlying engineering, not necessarily an "ad hoc approach to features." (Here, Adobe provides their own video output system but relies on the OS subsystem for audio.)

But either way, it could certainly be improved to be more user-friendly. Your criticisms are constructive, but they won't do as much good here on this forum as they would here:

https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

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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Todd Kopriva
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:27:15 pm

In general, I agree with Walter that submitting bug reports through that form is a good idea.

However, on the specific matter of suggesting better terminology and criticizing the documentation, I think that it might be best to use the "Give Feedback" widget on the left side of every page of Help on the web, as on this page:
https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/general-user-interface-items.ht...

That goes straight to the Help development team, rather than needing to pass through the software engineering team.

That said, the bug reports do still work. It's one of my coworkers who processes the bug reports, and he'll pass along the documentation ones as appropriate.

Also, having such conversations out in the open on a forum like this is valuable _if_ you know that the technical writer is reading it. To guarantee that, I think that such threads are better posted on the Adobe forums, not here on the Creative COW forums. In general, the COW forums are a great place for troubleshooting and such, but monitoring them is part of the Adobe technical writers' jobs like monitoring the Adobe forums is.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Rainer Schubert
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:24:47 am

[Todd Kopriva] "it might be best to use the "Give Feedback" widget on the left side of every page of Help on the web"

With due respect - I did that a lot in former times.
I´ve NEVER seen, that there was any change to the terms afterwards.
And that´s also a part of criticism.
And I don´t think, that it´s a problem of specific help-sites.
The problem is the system itself. Over-pimped & Misleading. No clear structure. No clear systematic of Search-Filters. Search over all apps as Standard???

Compared to Cinema 4D:
I´ve written twice, that there is a mistake/something missing in the documentation & both were answered with a correction in the following version.
I was contacted personally & they wrote it´s great I took the time.
In one case they even changed the App itself.

Discussion on Adobes Forums?
I´ve seen how "Creative Cloud" was discussed there in the beginning - No thanks!


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 21, 2014 at 4:11:12 pm

> With due respect - I did that a lot in former times.
I´ve NEVER seen, that there was any change to the terms afterwards.
And that´s also a part of criticism.


I used to be the technical writer for After Effects. I can tell you that I made thousands (really, thousands) of changes to After Effects Help based on the comments that came in through the comment form on the Help pages.

Also, as Walter said, he has submitted bug reports about poor/confusing terminology, and changes were made in response to those bug reports. I know, because I'm the one who made the changes.

So, again, I will ask that if you have specific complaints and criticisms, that you make them using the methods that I described above. That is how things will improve.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Herb Sevush
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:29:16 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Sifting to Help that is relevant to the version of the application (from which I've asked for help) should be the default. One would think this would be obvious from a design perspective. I have no idea what features have changed or not since CS4 or CS5 or CS5.5, and finding help shouldn't be an exercise in software archeology."

The nature of the reference PDF is that all updates are tagged on at the beginning as an appendage and not integrated into the manual which makes it near impossible to keep the index relevant to the current version of the software. As I stated in a previous thread, I believe this is a downside to the fast and continuous updates of the Cloud - or else it just shows Adobe's values. In either event Adobe, much like Black Magic in the hardware sphere, doesn't seem to prioritize technical support. That doesn't stop me from buying Black Magic products, but when I have an equivalent choice I'll always buy from AJA.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Herb Sevush
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:46:14 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think this is a good criticism. A lot of the Adobe documentation is a reference, not a primer."

I'm fine with that, my problem is I find most of the video tutorials to be a primer and I'm looking for a reference.

[Walter Soyka] "I almost always choose the "This reference only" option when searching the Adobe help system. This limits the search to the manual only and disregards the community links.

If you search the online help for edit cameras with "this reference only" enabled, it will return this page as the first result:"


Thanks for the tip about "this reference only" - it is very helpful. However the ongoing problem is that the PDF is not indexed properly so that the reference takes you to a section, which you then have to read through to find the simple nugget that started this quest. Nothing is highlighted, terms are not indexed, and the reference PDF itself is an organizational mess. Compare this to something like the help index in Quickbooks or Word or even FCP and it's shortcomings are glaring.

This is obviously an organizational decision that doesn't see the monetary value in quality on-line help. It's not the end of the world once you gain proficiency, but for the first month or so, it's a PITA.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Walter Soyka
Suggestions for improving the documentation
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:20:01 pm

[Herb Sevush] "This is obviously an organizational decision that doesn't see the monetary value in quality on-line help. It's not the end of the world once you gain proficiency, but for the first month or so, it's a PITA."

That's what the COW is for!

But I'll warn you, it's a strange feeling when you're stuck on how to do something, and find the answer in a post you wrote yourself a year or two ago...

In all seriousness, Todd has asked for specific feedback above. Let me collect some thoughts from the thread here:

Some general points:
  • The online help search system does not return relevant results like it should.
  • Every feature should have a documentation section.
  • The search engine should return links to anchored sections within main pages, not just to the main page itself.
  • New features should be immediately folded into the main documentation, not treated as errata.
  • The documentation should identify to which version information is applicable, with finer granularity than per-page.
  • The documentation system should be able to filter by version.
  • Video tutorials should be marginalia, not documentation.
  • The documentation should be fully indexed.


A specific point and clarifying question:
  • Premiere has some inconsistent terminology that should be clarified. Franz has pointed out the differences between video and audio output; what else needs a look-see?


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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Herb Sevush
Re: Suggestions for improving the documentation
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:29:48 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Premiere has some inconsistent terminology that should be clarified. Franz has pointed out the differences between video and audio output; what else needs a look-see?"

While not a matter of overlapping nomenclature the term "edit cameras" is a terrible name for it's function, which is to rearrange the camera angles within a multicamera group. Nothing in the "edit cameras" title indicates it's related to multicamera editing in any way. I knew there was such a feature but it literally took me over an hour to figure out that "edit cameras" was it's name. "multicam angle editor" would be a fine alternative.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Herbert van der wegen
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:00:47 am

I think Adobe's documentation is very helpful - as long as you are able to work with the applications on a high level. ;-)

Jokes aside, I tend to agree that the current online search help function is quite close to being unusable. It is much to difficult to search for specific application features help.

A tip: use Google's advanced search function, and limit the search to one application's documentation url.

For example, suppose we would like to find info in InDesign's help function relating to spot colours.

1) Open http://www.google.com/advanced_search
2) In the "Site/Domain" field paste the InDesign help url: https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/
3) to keep things relevant to more current information, select "past year" (last update field)

Voila!

Or use the regular google search with the site: option:
"spot color" site:https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/

After effects handles:
vector handles site:https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/
(left out the quotes for a more flexible search result)

Google is incredibly useful for topic oriented online help queries. I have been using it for ages now this way - gets you quick results.

For more info check out: http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html#inurl

/*----------------------------------------------------*/
System: Win7 64bit - i7 920@3.6Ghz, p6t Deluxe v1, 48gb (6x8gb RipjawsX), ATI 7970 3gb, EVGA 590 3GB, Revodrive X2 240gb, e-mu 1820. Screens: 2 x Samsung s27a850ds 2560x1440, HP 1920x1200 in portrait mode


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Herb Sevush
Re: Adobe support is OK if you're willing to dig your feet in for a four hours or so
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:10:16 pm

[Herbert van der wegen] "Google is incredibly useful for topic oriented online help queries. I have been using it for ages now this way - gets you quick results."

Thanks, that's very helpful. Of course it's slightly ridiculous that this type of query has to be done in Google to access relevant information that is contained within Adobe.com, but so be it.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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