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The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...

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David Jahns
The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 7:09:12 am

As a long time FCP user, and now currently a recent Smoke-Mac user, I've been swamped with discussion about the new version.

I started to write a post here during NAB, then it became a longer article, and then - hell - I figured I should just start my own blog, as I'm sure I'll have lots more to say during the Beta release, and beyond...

I'm the first to admit I'm no expert Smoke artist yet, but from reading the forums over the last few weeks, I'll be there are thousands of people out there in the same situation I was in last year, and might find my experiences with Smoke-Mac helpful.

http://fcp2smoke.com

An awfully exciting time to be in the industry... Cheers!

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Michael Gissing
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 8:20:42 am

Thanks for the thoughts and insight. Exciting times indeed.


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Greg Andonian
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 9:25:55 am

Your blog was really interesting, and cleared up several of the questions I had about the new Smoke.

I also liked this part:

"The reality is that EVERYONE who learns editing learns the Avid/FCP/Premiere way of working, and it’s a brilliant move for Autodesk to concede that they lost that battle, and make their app work according to the standard conventions."

______________________________________________
"THAT'S our fail-safe point. Up until here, we still have enough track to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine... But after this windmill it's the future or bust."


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 9:32:42 am

Interesting and informative read, thanks!

I'm glad you pointed out that Smoke is not a grading app in the strict sense:

Is the Color Grading as good as a dedicated grading app like DaVinci Resolve? No, which is why they have Lustre, a dedicated grading app. Of course, the image quality is just as good, and there’s really not much you can’t accomplish with Smoke’s Grading tools, but you can generally work faster, and achieve complicated grades with lots of secondaries, and do things like versioning much easier in Resolve, or Lustre.


I think this is a very important point to recognise. Yes, you can grade in Smoke and get good results but you can grade a whole lot quicker in a dedicated grading environment.

So from that point of view, although it's a useful tool for doing a whole range of different things under one roof, it's still a compromise solution, albeit the best compromise we're likely ever to see.

Simon Ubsdell
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 12:16:22 pm

How's the audio workflow?

No XML/AAF out? Really?

No tc on EDLs from rendered material?

I am really looking forward to this, but there's already a new application that has limited interchange, and most people think its for the birds.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 12:35:52 pm

Also, are there dedicated color correction nodes, things like lift, gamma, gain, curves, that could be combined with hsl key or masks, but aren't part of the warper?

Jeremy


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Eric Santiago
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 1:44:52 pm

I will def have to look into this deeper before buying.
Its great that Autodesk lowered the price but I cant seem to justify the purchase even now.
Years ago when I did the demo (a few times), I put it up against DS.
Both lost out to due the cost and the type of work we do.
But now that its cheaper, what stops us is the fact that we still need to use another app like Lustre (we have Resolve) for high-end CC.
I guess we will do another test drive once it becomes available.


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 3:31:21 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Also, are there dedicated color correction nodes, things like lift, gamma, gain, curves, that could be combined with hsl key or masks, but aren't part of the warper?"

In addition to the Colour Warper, Smoke also has the Discreet Color Corrector, which is essentially a 3-way CC with adjustable low/mid/high crossover points, curves, gamma, gain, etc. Combustion also had the Discreet CC and the Colour Warper. If you want a detailed look, hunt down some of Ken LaRue's Combustion tutorials - pretty sure he covers these in depth.

As has already been said, there are some very comprehensive and powerful color tools in Smoke, but they're probably best thought of as tools for matching shots/comps rather than doing feature-length color grading.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 3:47:04 pm

[Alan Okey] "As has already been said, there are some very comprehensive and powerful color tools in Smoke, but they're probably best thought of as tools for matching shots/comps rather than doing feature-length color grading.
"


Thanks, Alan.

We don't work in feature length so it's not too much of a hassle for us as our projects are much more short.

Here's a recent ColorFX tree that I did in Color. Would Smoke give me similar tools in it's node effects?



colorfxtree.png

Of course, I am not expecting one for one comparisons/nodes, I'm just wondering if I can add color correction features (like curves, or lift or gamma or gain) to help me work within a qualified area whether that's an HSL key, or a mask, or whatever. I guess I will know in June!

Jeremy


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Richard Cardonna
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 4:51:51 pm

Why couldn't auto desk combine combustion and edit*?

The last version of combustion had some editing capabilities they could have expanded it with the edit code they have locked up somewhere.

Then they could add some of the smoke tools to the edit/combustion nle and wala an instant killer and working on windows

Ric


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 5:36:31 pm

I'm not sure about edit*, but in the case of Combustion there were several problems.

First, the code was quite old and would have taken a complete rewrite to make the application 64-bit. Second, Combustion's architecture was based, like AE, on RAM caching, not a disk-based frame store like Smoke and Flame. Also keep in mind that many of the tools in Combustion from version 2.1 onward came directly from the systems products, so in some respects it made as much sense to just go to the source rather than rework an application that began its life as Paint and Effect and ended up being a hybrid of those applications plus some of the higher end Discreet tools (along with particles courtesy of Particle Illusion.)

I'm much happier having the opportunity to purchase Smoke at a reasonable price than to be offered a rewarmed version of two discontinued legacy apps that have languished for years. As I see it, any projects for which Smoke's editing tools aren't sufficient can be cut in any one of several other dedicated NLEs that are both ideally suited to the task and very affordable.

I do think that a Windows version would be advantageous, but Autodesk has no plans to port Smoke to Windows. Despite the fact that Smoke 2013 is said to run well on an iMac, I don't relish being limited to Apple's future hardware offerings, which will exclude the Mac Pro.


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Richard Cardonna
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 5:44:01 pm

You are right what I ment was mostly about workflow and interface of those two apps. So maybe should have said smoke with the workflow and interface of edit* and Combustion working in windows.
Ric


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:03:05 pm

I've never used edit*, but I agree with you wholeheartedly about Combustion. Discreet really nailed the UI. I can't think of any other application I've used that lets me work almost as quickly as I can think (minus the rendering). With a tablet, I can simply fly in Combustion, as the interface is smart enough to know what I'm doing and show me just what I need at any given moment, and at the same time allow for a great degree of customization. It's one of the reasons I find it so painful to work in AE, which I think has an absolutely atrocious UI.

It's interesting- if you check out the Smoke forum on The Area (Autodesk's forum and tutorial site), you'll see a lot of concern from seasoned Smoke artists who worry about the tablet-based interface being suppressed by new mouse-focused UI features in Smoke 2013. Fortunately, Smoke will retain all of the tablet-centric goodness (swipe bars, buttons, etc.), so those who have come to appreciate its speed and utility will be able to continue working the same way.


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Andrew Richards
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:12:08 pm

[Alan Okey] "I do think that a Windows version would be advantageous, but Autodesk has no plans to port Smoke to Windows."

That's kind of a bombshell- did Autodesk announce this? This is the first I've seen a definitive claim that there are not even plans to port Smoke to Windows. In fact, despite its Linux roots, I can't find any mention of a Linux version of Smoke 2012 or 2013. Surely it would be easier to port back to Linux than Windows if OS X becomes too constrained?

[Alan Okey] "Despite the fact that Smoke 2013 is said to run well on an iMac, I don't relish being limited to Apple's future hardware offerings, which will exclude the Mac Pro."

Though I share your skepticism of the Mac Pro's future, we don't really know what will happen to it. We should have a pretty good idea by the end of the summer though. If Apple is going to revise it, replace it, EOL it, whatever, it will be done by then. If nothing else, the supply chain for key components of the current model's guts could be winding down in the near future.

Dead Mac walking!

Best,
Andy


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:21:41 pm

That's kind of a bombshell- did Autodesk announce this? This is the first I've seen a definitive claim that there are not even plans to port Smoke to Windows.

Yes, an Autodesk employee posted this recently in a forum I read - can't recall if it was the Cow's Smoke forum or on The Area.

There will be a Linux version of Smoke 2013, but it will retain the look of the existing Linux version. This information is on The Area in the Smoke forum.

As for the Mac Pro, it's definitely dead. I can't share my source, but suffice to say it's gone.


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Andrew Richards
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:27:51 pm

[Alan Okey] "As for the Mac Pro, it's definitely dead. I can't share my source, but suffice to say it's gone."

Now, is it the Mac Pro name and form factor that are gone, or is it that nothing will sit atop the iMac on the OS X food chain? If they only kill the name and the case, I won't be so sad if it means it is replaced by a similarly capable/powerful New Thing. If the iMac really is going to inherit the crown, wow, what a shame.

Best,
Andy


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:43:31 pm

Now, is it the Mac Pro name and form factor that are gone, or is it that nothing will sit atop the iMac on the OS X food chain? If they only kill the name and the case, I won't be so sad if it means it is replaced by a similarly capable/powerful New Thing. If the iMac really is going to inherit the crown, wow, what a shame.

Unfortunately it's the latter. Apple is now a mobile devices company. The iMac (and possibly theMac Mini) will soon be the only desktop machine that Apple will sell. Make of that what you will. I'm not too happy about it, but fortunately there are options.


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Andrew Richards
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:48:11 pm

[Alan Okey] "Unfortunately it's the latter. Apple is now a mobile devices company. The iMac (and possibly theMac Mini) will soon be the only desktop machine that Apple will sell."

What a waste of a good OS.

Best,
Andy


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David Jahns
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 7:01:01 pm

I find it very hard to believe that Autodesk would put all of their eggs in the Mac basket without knowing the roadmap for future hardware, and since Smoke is really dependent on GPU, I think there has to be a powerhouse system on the horizon.

I'm 90% sure the big silver box "MacPro" is dead, but I don't think the iMac is going to be the powerhouse computer from Apple. Maybe it's an iMac Pro, maybe it's a giant Mac-Mini the size of a pizza box?

Whatever the future, when Apple killed the X-Serve, it didn't just linger in no man's land forever, they announced it. I would expect they would do the same for the MacPro, but they won't announce it without a replacement.

All that being said, this time last year, I was also 90% sure Apple's ProVideo segment was very important to them - so what do I know? ;-)

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Andrew Richards
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 7:11:19 pm

[David Jahns] "I'm 90% sure the big silver box "MacPro" is dead, but I don't think the iMac is going to be the powerhouse computer from Apple. Maybe it's an iMac Pro, maybe it's a giant Mac-Mini the size of a pizza box?"

That's the box I'd love to see, though maybe a good bit thicker than a pizza box (say, 2U perhaps?). Consider it a consolidation of the Xserve and Mac Pro product lines, and call it whatever you want.

[David Jahns] "Whatever the future, when Apple killed the X-Serve, it didn't just linger in no man's land forever, they announced it. I would expect they would do the same for the MacPro, but they won't announce it without a replacement."

You'd think, right?

Best,
Andy


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Richard Cardonna
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 8:25:17 pm

What i heard from smoke is tha smoke was originaly written in unix so thats why they have only ported to linuz and mac because they are both relted to unix. doing a wintel version is a nother story.


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David Jahns
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:27:16 pm

Autodesk is pretty clearly working to consolidate their offering to two distinct tiers - Smoke on Mac, and Flame Premium on Linux. And Flame Prem will probably be just Flame/Lustre (and probably old Smoke) - I don't see them updating the new Smoke UI for Linux - they are going to be distinctly separate products.

At NAB, I did hear talk of a Windows port, and I never heard Autodesk officially rule it out. The company line was "Smoke 2013 works on Mac, and with AJA hardware." When pressed about it, they said basically, 'We will continue to monitor user interest in working on other platforms and with other hardware.'

My guess would be 50/50 that we'll see a Windows and/or Blackmagic compatibility - but even then, probably not until Smoke 2014 at the earliest. This might change to 80/20 if Apple officially EOLs the Mac Pro.

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:53:00 pm

Here's the Cow thread in which an Autodesk developer states that Autodesk is not currently porting Smoke to Windows:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/159/857459#857459


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Andrew Richards
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 6:54:43 pm

Given that, has the price of Flame fallen as well? Is it still strictly turn-key? Is there interchange between Smoke and Flame, if they are to be complimentary and Smoke it to be the "little brother"?

Best,
Andy


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 7:09:42 pm

Given that, has the price of Flame fallen as well? Is it still strictly turn-key? Is there interchange between Smoke and Flame, if they are to be complimentary and Smoke it to be the "little brother"?


I don't believe the price of Flame has changed. Flame is still a turnkey system that runs on Linux. There is a software-only version of Flame called Flare that is available only to owners of Flame. It's most often used as a prep station so that post houses can keep their Flames online doing high-rate billable work while other artists can do more mundane prepping tasks without tying up an expensive Flame suite.

Flame and Smoke do have a certain amount of interchange, (as does Lustre), but you'd need to ask someone in the Smoke forum for specifics.

Give the path that Apple has chosen to take with its hardware, I think it's safe to say that Flame will never be ported to OS X. It's possible that Flare might be ported to OS X, but we'll have to wait and see.


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David Jahns
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 7:10:55 pm

[Alan Okey] "Autodesk is not currently porting Smoke"

Key word = "currently".

If MacPro gets officially EOLed without a replacement, that may change - especially if the iMacs are lacking in real world performance during the beta phase, and sales are lack-luster in the fall.

Another thing to remember is that the new Smoke can work in Uncompressed 444 RGB DPX, or it can work in ProRes renders. So they'd also need to find a Windows compatible codec, etc...

And like I said, they have their hands full just doing the new UI on Mac and getting that to work with existing known OS and hardware...

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Richard Cardonna
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 8:37:56 pm

Edit* was a superb editing tool all around years ahead back in 99


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David Jahns
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 2, 2012 at 3:55:52 pm

I've heard more about Edit* in the last 3 weeks than I heard in the last ten years about it.

So now I'm curious. Does anyone have screenshots? Or any further info about it? Was it a turnkey SGI system? a Windows app? I never crossed paths with it. What was so great about it, compared to Avid of the 1999-era?

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 2, 2012 at 4:06:16 pm

[David Jahns] "I've heard more about Edit* in the last 3 weeks than I heard in the last ten years about it."

I had the same reaction a few years ago when it kept coming up.

I forget exactly why it kept coming up, perhaps the FCP Extreme rumors, but it was some sort of rumored sea change that was supposed to happen and never materialized.

It really must have been great as the users seemed to absolutely love it, and it still hurts them to talk about the ultimate demise.

Ya got me.

Jeremy


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 2, 2012 at 6:22:14 pm

I never used edit*, but I know that it ran on Windows NT. The only SGI-based applications were the high end finishing and editing systems like Inferno, Flame, Flint, Effect, Spark, Fire and Smoke. Inferno, Flame, Flint, Fire and Smoke all went to Linux eventually. I'm not even sure that Inferno and Fire are still being sold.


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David Jahns
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 3:08:42 pm

Thanks for reading, guys! A few answers....

Jeremy - there is actually quite an extensive audio toolset. But quite honestly, since I've been doing picture finishing, I haven't really touched it, I just load in mixes done from ProTools.

No XML/AAF - even though Autodesk has been positioning Smoke as an Editor, they haven't positioned it as an offline editor. Brian Mulligan is the only person I know who champions the old Smoke as an editing tool, and he always finishes inside completely inside Smoke. So the idea of editing in Smoke and finishing elsewhere is not a common workflow by any means. (Current version can output OMF audio, too.)

At NAB, at least one of the guys from Autodesk told me they were planning for XML output, but I can't remember if he was a demo artist, or a developer, etc... I'm 99% sure they will put it in the new version - but by June? Who knows...

Other nodes - yes, there is a tremendous nodal toolset for working with masks in the Modular Keyer, and I'm sure you can do just about anything your heart desires with the new Connect FX (previously Batch FX in Smoke Premium & Flame) - but I haven't seen a complete list of available nodes. I know there are some Flame tools that will not be available in Smoke - like 3D tracking, for example. I paused one of the video to check out the Connect FX node bin, but you can only see a few of the nodes, they didn't scroll over to show the full list.

Grading - here's an example. You do a primary grade, then want to highlight an actors face as he moves through the shot. In Resolve, that's like 3 clicks of the mouse & sliders (or knobs/buttons!) - I've literally seen it done in 10-15 seconds. In Smoke, that means doing the primary grade, then stepping out of the grading module, duplicating media (or adding adjustment layer) on the layer above it, drawing a mask (no quick & easy oval preset), tracking the mask (hoping it tracks well on a face, not a given), and then rendering. So, maybe it's a 2 minute process. Does it look just as good? Sure.

But then the client says, "Ok, that's good - let's try a different look..." Here's where even Apple Color is superior. Click Add New Grade - try out new things, easily switch between Grade 1, 2, 3, or 4. Smoke would require a lot more management to be able to quickly show a client 4 different looks. You can save "setups" and even "sub-setups", but doing all of this quickly is challenging. Maybe this will get faster/easier with connect FX, but a dedicated app is DESIGNED for this exact thing, and it's crazy to think an "everything" can be the absolute best at everything.

I usually work on 30-120 second pieces, and for this kind of short form work, I still find it much faster to work entirely in Smoke, rather than round tripping and segmenting the workflow into different phases. That being said, for something longer - a 10 minute film that primarily needs grading, not FX & compositing - for that, I might still use Color, and either finish directly in FCP, or grade in Color, then send to Smoke for finishing - or maybe just send a few shots to Smoke if that's all that's needed.

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 3:36:42 pm

Thanks so much for your response.

[David Jahns] "Jeremy - there is actually quite an extensive audio toolset. But quite honestly, since I've been doing picture finishing, I haven't really touched it, I just load in mixes done from ProTools."

Typically, we do too, but clients are so crazy these days that they want to see something that is ALMOST finished, and so we need some audio tools (don't have to the best audio tools) to clean things up and do a really nicely roughed mix. As long as their's some audio tools/filters I don't need a ProTools set. We part that out as well via OMF, typically.

[David Jahns] "No XML/AAF - even though Autodesk has been positioning Smoke as an Editor, they haven't positioned it as an offline editor"

Yes. Actually I don't necessarily want to use it as an offline editor. I realize that my workflow is weird, but there are times when I would bring footage in to Smoke and key it, or do other things, and then I need to part that slice of the timeline out to other After Effects users that are offsite. I do this now with FCP7, Automatic Duck and After Effects. I usually end up sending the AE artists a project/compositions with rendered handles. This way, our timelines stay relatively matched for timing. The AE users really seem to like it. Once I get the media back from them, I then put their rendered media in my timeline.

So I would still use SMoke to finish, but I would need to get edited /layered pieces (and not necessarily flattened movies/DPX). Also, having interchange means that I won't have to be locked to one application. Call me paranoid.

[David Jahns] "Grading - here's an example. You do a primary grade, then want to highlight an actors face as he moves through the shot. In Resolve, that's like 3 clicks of the mouse & sliders (or knobs/buttons!) - I've literally seen it done in 10-15 seconds. In Smoke, that means doing the primary grade, then stepping out of the grading module, duplicating media (or adding adjustment layer) on the layer above it, drawing a mask (no quick & easy oval preset), tracking the mask (hoping it tracks well on a face, not a given), and then rendering. So, maybe it's a 2 minute process. Does it look just as good? Sure. "

And that sounds pretty good, actually. Color's tracker is not too awesome, as I'm sure you know. I do use a lot of keys (hsl), though to qualify skin tones and other elements that need it. The nodal method in Color allows keys, and then you can set node "grades" on those that are usually comprised of all the different parts of the primary/secondary. It doesn't work like the rest of Color at all, but it is supremely powerful. I was hoping that Smoke would have similar capability. We are also an AJA shop, so Resolve isn't fitting for us at the moment.

[David Jahns] "But then the client says, "Ok, that's good - let's try a different look..." Here's where even Apple Color is superior. Click Add New Grade - try out new things, easily switch between Grade 1, 2, 3, or 4. Smoke would require a lot more management to be able to quickly show a client 4 different looks. You can save "setups" and even "sub-setups", but doing all of this quickly is challenging. Maybe this will get faster/easier with connect FX, but a dedicated app is DESIGNED for this exact thing, and it's crazy to think an "everything" can be the absolute best at everything. "

I totally agree. I have been very interested in someone giving an "all-in-one" an honest go, and I am one of the people that would really like to stay with OSX. Call me naive and boring, but it's just the way it is. Obviously, it can't be absolutely great at everything. That's too much to ask. I do like that Autodesk is thinking that these "lower power" computers might just work in a professional environment. I really enjoyed your comment about how your clients don't ask about what application you are working on. Mostly, that's my experience as well. They just want the job done at a big quality.

I don't need anything to be a real time super beast. I've never had one, and honestly don't need really need one. I do need decently powerful and controllable tools to get the job done, but not everything has to happen in real time. If Autodesk is thinking that a new iMac or MacBookPro with fast storage is good enough, I am listening.

[David Jahns] "I usually work on 30-120 second pieces, and for this kind of short form work, I still find it much faster to work entirely in Smoke, rather than round tripping and segmenting the workflow into different phases. That being said, for something longer - a 10 minute film that primarily needs grading, not FX & compositing - for that, I might still use Color, and either finish directly in FCP, or grade in Color, then send to Smoke for finishing - or maybe just send a few shots to Smoke if that's all that's needed."

Yep. Can't wait to check this out!

Thanks again for writing this all up.

Jeremy


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Jim Giberti
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 4:56:49 pm

[David Jahns] " here's an example. You do a primary grade, then want to highlight an actors face as he moves through the shot. In Resolve, that's like 3 clicks of the mouse & sliders (or knobs/buttons!) - I've literally seen it done in 10-15 seconds."

To give FCPX it's due, and despite it's "unconventional" color board vs color wheel, this is something that it too shines on.
I can blitz through scenes like that and much more complex scenes requiring multiple secondaries, including painting with light across a landscape and adding moving color masks with subjects.

If the folks at Apple sat down and addressed the glaringly dumb, but simple omissions to the interface, it would be an amazing tool. As it is, it's one of the real highlights of the program.


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Alan Okey
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 5:39:02 pm

Does FCP X have tracking built in to its color board?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 5:42:03 pm

[Alan Okey] "Does FCP X have tracking built in to its color board?"

No. But you can keyframe a shape mask position manually.

I agree with Jim, despite the Color Board interface which is not familiar, it really is not all that bad and the quality is very very good, in my opinion anyway.


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Jim Giberti
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 5:44:35 pm

[Alan Okey] "Does FCP X have tracking built in to its color board?
"


I need to clarify that. First the lack of keyframing is one of the stupid, simple, glaring omissions in the color board.
Second, I meant to mention MB, which I use for moving masks along with FCPX. They work very well together and are integrated with no round tripping.
But Apple has to get their act together with the simple refinement of 21st century tools.


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Richard Cardonna
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 1, 2012 at 8:35:13 pm

What ever happend to fire and inferno?


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Ken LaRue
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 18, 2012 at 12:11:59 am

Hi Richard,
Back in the day the difference between Flame and Inferno, Smoke and Fire were the systems they were run on. Yes there were some tool differences but the main thing that separated them was the power of the individual systems. (SGI Systems: Onyx, Octane, Tezro) When everything was ported to Linux that changed the game and the differences changed also. So eventually Inferno and Fire where hazed out since there was no really difference anymore.

Ken LaRue
Autodesk Smoke Technical Marketing Manager


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Robert Brown
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 2, 2012 at 7:33:56 pm

I think it's amazing that Smoke is now only $3500 and it's still hard to really justify. I think Resolve for $1000 really changed everything and the other guys are reeling from that one. Smoke is best as a video Swiss Army knife but there are other ways to do everything it does better. It will be interesting to see what shakes out in the next couple of years. I think eventually things will stabilize somewhat but right now things are changing to fast and there are too many options to sink a lot of money in one thing - unless you have a project right now that will pay for it.

Robert Brown
Editor/VFX/Colorist - FCP, Smoke, Quantel Pablo, After Effects, 3DS MAX, Premiere Pro

http://vimeo.com/user3987510/videos


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Robert Brown
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 3, 2012 at 5:46:54 am

I got around to reading your blog. Good post. For whatever reason I get the creeping feeling that Smoke is kind of over the hill despite the re-write. Smoke or what used to be Fire and Flame were fantastic when they came out 17 years ago or so as they did many things that were impossible in comparison to linear tape based gear. I've been a Smoke user for a few years now and it seems basically it was a great system when you didn't have all of the other things that are available now. But with so many things available I'm scratching my head as to why I would reach for Smoke as opposed to something else.

And as many complaints as I hear about round-tripping, I have to wonder if moving projects between apps is just a reality that's not going anywhere any time soon. It really just seems that some tools shine in certain areas and as much as a pain as it may be people will continue to reach for the application that does whatever task the best. That's the way I think at least.

I guess if I didn't have all of the other stuff I have like Adobe, Avid, Nuke and 3dsMax Smoke might make a lot of sense but since I do....

Robert Brown
Editor/VFX/Colorist - FCP, Smoke, Quantel Pablo, After Effects, 3DS MAX, Premiere Pro

http://vimeo.com/user3987510/videos


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David Jahns
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 3, 2012 at 3:18:59 pm

Hi Robert - we seem to be on the same wavelength for lots of things lately, eh?

Regarding Smoke 2013 - I do think people would prefer an all-in-one solution. I think Autodesk's potential stumbling block with it that expectations are so high, and like you have said, there are many tools that do one specific thing very well, and I think people may be disappointed that Smoke doesn't do ALL of them better than anything else.

In my opinion that's a completley unrealistic expectation - the "everything tool" can't be the absolute best at everything - but it can be pretty damn good at everything, and I think Smoke is.

Is it a better compositing tool than Nuke?
Is it a better tracker than Mocha?
Is it better at Grading than Resolve?
Is it a better editor than Media Composer?

The answer is no to all of these things. And you have all of the time in the world, why not use the best tool for each task? But if I have a 4 hour client supervised session for a TV finish that has to do all of these things and create HD & SD tape masters before the Fedex pickup - it is absolutely the tool that I want to be using - even when it was $15k. (Yeah, we still deliver tape masters for broadcast. Solid, stable, difficult to screw it up on the other end - gamma shifts, field orders, etc.. we seen a lot of errors in the digital delivery pipeline)

Plus - who is really an expert at ALL of those tools? And is it justifyable to spend $10k on software for every room in a facility? And trying to configure a system with the right graphic cards, OS versions, Video cards, etc. that work for all of those apps? It's not easy.

Add all of this up and I think that's a big reason people are so psyched up about Smoke 2013. I just think there may be a bit of disappointment when the reality kicks in, and they realize it's not THE BEST at every one of its tasks. And, there's still quite a learning curve once you get into Action & Connect FX.

So it will be interesting to see the ratio of trial versions downloads to sales this fall.

Although I gotta say that for those people that get deep enough into using CONNECT FX, it will be hard to go back to life without it.

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
Portland, OR


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Robert Brown
Re: The SuperApp? A current Smoke user's take...
on May 4, 2012 at 4:52:16 am

Yeah you nailed it. Smoke is probably the best thing you can be using when you have a producer in the room, with deadlines and there are all kinds of things you may be asked to do. Paint fixes, CC, tracking, titles, stylized effects etc. etc. But for many workflows or projects it just won't be the weapon of choice. I guess people should just get a good idea of what it really does and doesn't do before they pull the trigger.

I guess I was surprised a little by some of the hype recently. Smoke has it's niche but buyer beware. It's no walk in the park to get up to speed with this thing and to learn all of it's modules. It can take a year or more before it all starts coming together.

Robert Brown
Editor/VFX/Colorist - FCP, Smoke, Quantel Pablo, After Effects, 3DS MAX, Premiere Pro

http://vimeo.com/user3987510/videos


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