News, Information & Workflows from Users & the Adobe Ae Team

Product Manager Steve Forde shares his thoughts on After Effects and the motion graphics/visual effects market.

Render Engines and Joy of legal obligations

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 ]

Adobe founders remember Steve Jobs

Adobe’s President and CEO Shantanu Narayen, along with Adobe’s Co-founders and Co-chairmen of the board, John Warnock and Chuck Geshcke on the passing of Steve Jobs.

Adobe Co-founders and Steve Jobs


PMM mm good.

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.



Live from Siggraph 2011

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:



OS X 10.7 Lion 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.


We need YOU!

I get a huge amount of email from passionate AE users asking for improvements, new features etc.  I also get several emails from folks who aren’t exactly happy with decisions we’ve made in terms of supporting this or that, or what we haven’t done right etc.

It’s a very cool thing.  You send me this stuff because you CARE.  That is HUGE.

Many also ask how to get more involved.

Here’s one way.  It’s called the “Product Improvement Program”.  (Click: Help –>Product Improvement Program from within AE)

First off – I know this all sounds very formal, and yes – Adobe is a big company.  But this information is a BIG DEAL when it comes time for us to make tough decisions.

Here’s what happens.  AE will anonymously (ANONYMOUSLY!) send data about which functions (ie – effects) you used in AE to a server here at Adobe.  It will also send info about any errors you encounter, what types of formats you export and import and so on.  There is NO information about you or your project that is collected.  If you would tell us via the form what type of work you do, and size of company – that gives us just enough info on who and where AE is being used.

Why is this important?  Myself and my peers on the AE team look at this data almost on a weekly basis as we try and make decisions that we think you will care about.  This data is a HUGE help.

Here is a link to the FAQ on what we store and how: Adobe Product Improvement Program

Therefore,  PLEASE say ‘Yes – participate!’ when you select Help –>Product Improvement Program within AE.

After that – please keep the emails, forum posts, blogs, tweets coming.  The great, good, bad and ugly – all are welcome as they help us make better software.


50% off CS 5.5 Production Premium or Premiere Pro

I had an overwhelming response to my previous blog post about where Adobe stands as a company in the professional market.  Many of you commented via the blog or email that there should be some sort of incentive to switch to Premiere Pro and CS 5.5 Production Premium while moving from your current toolset.

Well – in the spirit of putting our money where our mouth is, we are now offering for a limited time – 50% off either CS 5.5 Production Premium, OR Premiere Pro CS 5.5 standalone.  This is open to anyone, worldwide, coming from either Apple or Avid workflows.

As an example, in the US store, this means a FULL license of CS 5.5 Production Premium suite can be bought for $849.50.   A FULL license of Premiere Pro CS 5.5 can be bought for $399. Again – this promo is worldwide, I’m just using the US store as an example.

Remember – you need the promo code ‘SWITCH’ and you need to click the ‘get 50% off’ icon on the right hand side of the page.

I don’t believe that Adobe has ever had a promotion like this in history.


We are here to compete…

Thought I would post a couple thoughts since I have been receiving a TON of email asking for comment on the FCPX release etc.

First – let me say this:

Before coming to Adobe my preferred tool for editing was FCP. Premiere CS4 was installed as part of master collection. Back then every time I had to use it, I didn’t like it – It wasn’t better than FCP and it did things differently – so I ignored it.

Then jump ahead in time and I am interviewing for the job as AE product manager, and I was honest in my interviews of what I thought about Premiere when asked about it. Where they had me though? – I hadn’t even tried the latest version.

So I tried Premiere CS 5.

Sure it ‘felt’ a little different. There are small things that annoy me such as project settings at the beginning. But then it just worked. OMG. It REALLY worked…fast.

In CS5 Adobe had done a complete rewrite of the guts in Premiere to 64 bit on both MAC and PC, and listened to users about how the application should change – dozens of changes throughout the application to make it ‘just work’.

My point is: If Adobe focus was so clear that it was willing to put that much of an investment into re-architecting an application that was being dismissed or ignored by many – that showed to me that Adobe was VERY serious about winning in the professional market, seat by seat. Frankly, that was what helped me make up my mind to join the company. When I joined I found out how strong the acceptance of Premiere had been in the time I was ignoring it.

To all those asking me for comment on the launch of FCPX, I have none. What right do I have to publicly comment on the hard work any vendor does in creating software and bringing it to market?

What I CAN comment on is our software and how we bring it to market. Adobe has and will continue to focus on EARNING the right to be your tools of choice as you tell your story, and deliver professional content. We know that not all is perfect, but we will LISTEN, engage in dialogue and constantly improve our software. We will also innovate in ways that will continue to streamline workflow and unlock creative potential.

In short – we are here to compete for your business, and we believe we can win.


AE Warp Stabilizer vs. FCPX Stabilization

The last blog post on Warp Stabilizer for sometime – PROMISE!!

That being said – when we launched CS 5.5 at NAB this year in Las Vegas, a number of users were asking for a comparison between AE’s new Warp Stabilizer and the just announced stabilization feature of FCPX.  The great news – both work entirely in the background allowing you to work in the application completely unhindered by the analysis and stabilization of footage.  As you can tell – this is a sign of all things in the future.  Compute intensive tasks being done in the background so it doesn’t get in the way or make you ‘wait’.

I wanted to post the results now that we can test the software in an ‘apples to apples’ fashion (pardon the pun).  The clip is the same as what I used in the warp stabilizer sneak peak on Adobe TV.

Both AE’s Warp Stabilizer and FCPX stabilization were left to the default settings of stabilization and rolling shutter removal. – no tweaking was done whatsoever.

Here it is: AE Warp Stabilizer is the bottom clip, FCPX the top.  The focus of this test is the quality and fidelity of the stabilized image. The clip is looped and should be viewed at full screen.


Press Pause Play

Right after NAB 2011 and launching CS 5.5, a few of us from Adobe flew from Vegas to the F5 conference in NYC to not talk about tech – but just watch what people actually created with it.  Was very cool overall. (although a couple presentations just didn’t do it for yours truly)

A few of them were absolutely amazing.  Watching the construction of a Rube Goldberg machine for OK Go, and some Dutch guys HONESTLY articulate how they do things (and hope to not get fired), were a couple of real highlights for me.

A real standout though was this swedish movie called ‘Press, Pause, Play’.  Very interesting take on the ramifications that tech has made media creation accessible to – ANYONE.  It’s cool, opportunistic, thought provoking and downright scary as hell for anyone whom has an interest in creating media.  Had a particular impact on me as I work on a small part of the tech that made this radical change in expression and communication possible.  I fall into the optimist category after watching it – but not everyone agrees with me.



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