Product Manager Steve Forde shares his thoughts on After Effects and the motion graphics/visual effects market.
Before I have an ‘Occupy After Effects’ movement on my front lawn – I wanted to provide some clarity on the decision we made, and why we made it. For reference:
First off – this decision was not made while we chomp our cigars with feet on desk counting cash. It was a legal requirement that came in at the 11th hour of CS 5.5 for which we had no capability to rectify in the timeframe (and still have reliable / stable software). It’s that simple. No conspiracy. No cash grab. Simply making sure we are playing by the rules and not breaking the law.
Did we like it? – hell no. Are we doing something about it? – hell yes. Can I tell you what that is? – unfortunately – not at this time. (isn’t this fun?)
We cannot disclose what we are doing about it as we would also be breaking another set of financial and legal rules that every public company in existence MUST follow – not just Adobe.
Again – it is not the answer I would like to give – but it’s the truth.
What I am really happy about through all this though are 2 things:
1. People care enough to let us know when they think we are doing something wrong.
2. The render engine sure gets a LOT of use!
Therefore – please understand the current licensing issue for the render engine is not what we want, and is not some conspiracy to make a few more bucks. That we are exploring ways to get to a viable solution sometime in the near future that gets back to an easy way to deploy the render engine – while still meeting those pesky legal obligations.
Wanted to do a shout out to 2 companies that have really been going all out in terms of their workflows with AE. In September, Autodesk released a new compositor link feature for AE that works with 3ds Max. What blew me away was it can create a link between the two applications, so if you make a change in one application, you can see the change in the other. Check out:
A few weeks ago, Maxon, the makers of Cinema 4D came out with an update to their plugin for AE which allows you to literally create a .c4d file from within AE. Combined with the ability to make a .aep within Cinema 4D – you have great interop when jumping back and forth between the applications.
What this means? Any method that can streamline the process of going from an idea to what you see on the screen, irrespective of tools is paramount in my book. Both companies produce GREAT products. Check it out.
Adobe’s Todd Kopriva jotted this down before he heads out for a much deserved break. He mentions the top feature requests we receive and some thoughts on what we are doing / have done with them.
We have put together an EXTREMELY short survey (2 questions!) to get your feedback on the value of AE CS 5.5. This is a really important tool for us to measure your opinion on the value of After Effects.
We will draw for 2 free copies of CS 5.5 Production Premium – so be sure to leave your name and email if you want to get in the draw.
Thanks from the entire AE team!
First – I am definitely not trying to pass the buck here. This decision rests purely with us, and I want to make it clear as to why.
If you are unknown to the problem, AE CS 5.5 introduced the requirement for adding your serial number if you wish to use the AE render engine that is included with every install of After Effects. With previous versions, you could install that render engine on as many workstations as you wish, just as long as you had purchased 1 copy of the full version of AE.
Here’s the rub. As of CS 5.5, we are now required to pay a royalty on every install of After Effects – ANY version (that is not a trial) that can render out any of these licensed formats. Now you can see the dilemma.
As an aside – this is why most other tools must charge for their accompanying render engine.
Therefore, a legal obligation is just that – an obligation. To correct this, we must restrict the render engine to the license agreement of full AE. This means you can install a single license on 2 workstations – render engine OR full. I know this is not necessarily what you want to hear, yet we will commit to investigating alternative solutions for a future release.
[ Update: Instead of responding to all your comments individually - please check out part 2 of this blog post. -S ]
Oh blog – how I have ignored thee. Back in the saddle so to speak after some crazy time on the road (Siggraph, IBC, etc etc).
By now you have heard of our acquisition of IRIDAS technology (just spent 3 days with their team and am VERY excited about the future), and that Adobe and Automatic Duck have entered into a strategic partnership. Both of these developments are huge for AE, Premiere Pro and production workflow in general.
With that – I am also ECSTATIC that Wes Plate has joined Adobe, and specifically will be working with yours truly as the Product Marketing Manager (PMM) of After Effects (amongst other things). Not only has Wes been an integral part of AE workflows since time immemorial, he explicitly understands that production is not a walled garden. See what Walter Biscardi has to say about it:
Wes and I have known each other for years, and I can’t believe we are now on the same team. For edification, the Product Manager (PM) and Product Marketing Manager (PMM) essentially work together along with the entire AE team to define, then articulate what AE will be in the future.
There have been a few videos flying around the interwebs showing yours truly demonstrating a research project with Nvidia at Siggraph:
It’s a very cool ‘research project’ at this point. Here at Adobe we’re exploring the use of ray-tracing on extruded text and shape layers that better utilize the GPU. Obviously we can’t say if or when something like this would ship (in even what product for that matter), but it would be fantastic to see what you think.
Along those lines – interoperability with other tools (that say do …3D) is also very important – now and in the future. Check out what Autodesk just announced. It’s a VERY cool integration between 3DSMax and AE:
So Lion is now out. Many users will be asking how this will impact applications such as AE.
To give some insight – Adobe engineers have been testing our applications since the first drop of Lion was available to developers. In many cases, there has been a dialogue between Apple and Adobe about where issues have arisen and how to address / fix them.
For After Effects specifically – there are no known specific issues to report with CS 5 or CS 5.5 running on 10.7 Lion. There are however a few changes in the OS that you should be aware of in your production workflow (for installing applications, accessing prefs etc):
We do know of an intermittent crash on quit with AE CS 4 in Lion that was being addressed by Apple. We are working on determining if this was fixed by Apple in the final shipping version of the OS.