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CS5.5 Initial Thoughts

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Kevin WatkinsCS5.5 Initial Thoughts
by on May 7, 2011 at 1:37:18 am

I've been working with CS5.5 since all of Tuesday and have some initial experiences I figured were worth sharing. I've been using AE since version 2 and have really come to love this program. As any pro user knows, installing right after an update is usually not a good idea and this is no exception. But I had recently shot a project on DSLR's and was keen to see how the 'Warp Stabilization' would hold up. In fact in shooting I hoped/planned on it helping us out due to the budget/deadline. (Not a good idea I know but I was in a bind.) So after some initial panic when the creepy online help messenger guy informed me it would not be coming out until mid-May, I was relieved to see it released (no emails, in-spite of signing up for that, thanks Adobe!)

I decided to go with the upgrade rather than the subscription, as that made no sense financially, but if you are thinking of taking the leap, you might want to consider just going with the month-to-month until all the 3rd party developers have caught up. The reason I say this is because the app is not a simple upgrade (which I had unrealistically hoped) but a new version. So all your plug-ins, scripts etc have to be updated/installed and that's a mess. I have not had time to go through the process yet, so I unfortunately can't report on what works and what doesn't.

But what I can say is that the main reason for me upgrading - Warp Stabilization is pretty damn impressive. Its worth the upgrade cost in itself. I'm really pessimistic when it comes to the hype about new features - been let down too many times, but this is pretty amazing. I Walked through parts of the New York Auto show with a DSLR and then threw those shots into CS5.5 and was just blown away. It's one of those things where you just go "How the hell is it doing that??" Obviously not everything works. I have a shot where I am 'tracking' past a car that is on a turn-table and AE is trying to stop the car from turning. But overall it has surpassed my expectations. The short-coming is that DSLR footage (720p at 60 conformed to 23.98) doesn't hold up to being enlarged. The shots get 'murky' and need sharpening. This has more to do with the camera resolving (especially on wides) than with AE.

AE is also noticeably faster. And my machine does not have a Mecury supported card. The stabilization is fast and that makes it a pleasure to work with as you can tweak and not worry that you're wasting time better spent. It handles H.264 much faster than before and just about everything seems quicker, except saving...for some reason it takes much longer now to save. Not sure why.

One sorely missing feature is background rendering. There are many scripts/plug-ins that achieve this, but surely this feature can be built straight into the app? With an easy 'email when done' command?

The new Camera Focus blur (or whatever they call it) is also much better and faster. And I really didn't have a problem with the old system, so I was pleasantly surprised.

You can also run both versions of AE at the same time (CS5 and 5.5) which is odd, but I can see that as a work around for plug-ins until they get with the new program. Being able to save a CS5 version is handy, except why would you do it - none of the new features work?

The biggest surprise was Premiere Pro (I upgraded the whole Production Premium suite) - It really does play nicely with the DSLR footage. The project was cut in FCP, which struggled and then I exported an XML and brought it into PP. For once it worked fine (I've tried before and been un-impressed with Premiere). The footage played back without any issues and even though it indicated I needed to render, it still played back...From there moving shots into AE was a breeze and making tweaks was a pleasure. So nice not to render, import etc, etc. It still sucks in many regards (Title Tool - come Adobe, you have InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, AE etc. and yet in PP you have this? And it doesn't carry over into AE??) The biggest drawback is the Media Encoder. Its no Compressor, by a long shot. And ProRes is still an issue (I'm a noob on PP, so maybe its just me.) Plus I was hoping to be able to Conform the job in AE with a simple 'Send To...' command, but couldn't figure it out. I have AE comps in the timeline that I had to manually replace after using the 'Replace with After Effects sequence' over the entire timeline.

My suggestion to anyone thinking to upgrade is to wait. If you need the warp stabilization tool then just buy CS5.5 for a month (I think its only $85, which is not bad for what you get - put it in the budget!)

Hope this helps anyone pondering the move. My render is done, so back to work.

Kevin.
Mac Pro, 2x3.2GHz Quad Intel Xeon, 18Gb Ram, AJA Kona 3, Niveda GE 8800GT, blah, blah blah


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Kevin WatkinsOh yes, and...
by on May 7, 2011 at 2:32:41 am

Have to re-render due to none of the music tracks porting over from PP...most likely my fault, but I don't have this issue with Automatic Duck and FCP...

One big issue with Premier Pro, that I forgot to mention, is mixed timebase/size issues. Our client sent us 960x540 29.97 H.264 files that FCP had no issue with, but PPro could not handle (720 23.98 H.264 timeline). In going through the Adobe site I found no mention of PP playing nicely with different sizes/timebases, so I guess they aren't claiming it will. But this is obviously a problem, confounded by the fact that when you 'Replace with AE comp' even AE won't see the footage (its just greened out.) I had to create a new project, bring in the files and then output as 23.98/720. Not ideal. At this point in time, I expected more from Adobe and PP.

Also, and I know this is minor, but when you pay $400 for an upgrade and then discover that PS and AI are CS5.1, it kinda pisses you off...so if you do upgrade, just know not everything is '5.5'.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 7, 2011 at 2:56:37 pm

Thanks for taking the time- I was pondering on the subject of the upgrade, but after reading your feedback I think I may wait.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Todd KoprivaRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 8, 2011 at 6:43:11 pm

> but I can see that as a work around for plug-ins until they get with the new program.


I don't know what you're talking about here.

Plug-ins that work for CS5 work for CS5.5. There are no differences. Just make sure that they're installed in the CS5.5 locations. (I have an alias/shortcut from my CS5.5 plug-ins folder that points to my CS5 plug-ins folder.)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Kevin WatkinsRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 8, 2011 at 8:51:16 pm

As I said, I haven't tried installing plug-ins yet, but Magic Bullet Looks trial had no option to install in CS5.5.

But that's awesome to know...can you share the shortcut with us?


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Jordan QuackenbushRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 9, 2011 at 2:26:27 pm

Todd meant he created a shortcut within the 5.5 folder that points to the 5 folder's plugin, if I read it correctly.

The new features don't necessarily help my company & what we do (though the warp stabilizer is tempting), so I was not in favor of upgrading. Thank you, Kevin, for a good overview so I know from someone who has used it that I'll survive till Production Premium 6.0.


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Kevin WatkinsRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 9, 2011 at 3:43:54 pm

I understand what Todd was suggesting...Sounds like a huge time saver. A short cut that could make life very simple and installing a breeze. I've search the forums and his blog in particular but found nothing yet.

One other amazing thing I discovered between AE and PPro is the simple ability to copy and paste. I had to add 3 clips to the edit and decided to try copy them and paste into AE, and it worked! They came in at the exact correct position in the timeline...Bravo Adobe!


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Jordan QuackenbushRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 9, 2011 at 4:41:43 pm

Should be a click-drag of the CS5's plug-in folder to the 5.5 plugin folder, and hit Cmd-Alt before releasing. Creates a shortcut/alias.


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Todd KoprivaRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 9, 2011 at 9:49:48 pm

I just wrote this blog post to deal wth questions about plug-ins for After Effects CS5.5.

Let me know if you have any questions.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Shawn MarshallRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 9, 2011 at 9:57:44 pm

I don't suppose CS5.5 brings back wireframe previews? I still use CS4 for 90% of my work, and when I recently had to use CS5 to take over a project I was dumbfounded to find that wireframe previews had been removed. Why would you REMOVE functionality? Yes, I can set Fast Previews to wireframe and hit the spacebar to get realtime playback, but I don't get audio nor the rough shape of the layers. When I'm flying 50 HD layers of video wireframe previews allow me to tweak the timing much faster than running a RAM preview that has to call up 50 video layers for every frame.

Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics


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Todd KoprivaRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 9, 2011 at 10:09:11 pm

Shawn,

I answered your question about wireframe preview the first time you asked it:
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/2/999771

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Shawn MarshallRe: Oh yes, and...
by on May 10, 2011 at 2:00:14 am

Sorry, I didn't see that reply.

Thanks.

Shawn Marshall


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