Posts in Category "General"

Cheese Food Prostitute at Macworld

OK, this is a bit off topic, and is not, repeat NOT about an actual prostitute (although the Moscone Center is in the South of Market part of San Francisco which does have its share of street life if you wander down the wrong street). Among the curiosities and attractions at Macworld was this humongous stack of CDs.

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So I wandered over and there was a CD my band put out in 1994, called Cheese Food Prostitute. My band was called The Rake’s Progress and you can see the CD 15 down from the top of the stack in the photo below. The spine is yellow on the right and blue on the left.

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How random is that?

As far as the Macworld buzz goes, the iPhone thingy looks neat, but the only one they have in the unbelievably enormous Apple booth is in a huge illuminated plexiglas cylinder, which has easiily a hundred people crowded around it at any given moment. It’s like trying to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.

At the Adobe booth we have Dave Helmly showing Production Studio on the Mac once a day on the stage, so make sure to get over and see that if you’re at the big shoo. The stars of Photoshop (Julianne Kost and Russell Brown) are also presenting daily, as well as Hart Shafer showing Soundbooth.

Mac To The Future

I’ve been a Mac user since 1988, when I bought my first Mac Plus with a whopping 1 megabyte of RAM and a 20 megabyte external hard drive the size & weight of a couple of bricks. The Mac was, more or less, the only platform I used until a few years ago when I worked at Anystream who develops only for Windows.

I love using Premiere Pro and Encore on Windows (as well as the rest of Production Studio), but I’ve always had a fondness for the Mac OS. This is why I’m personally excited, on so many levels, to be able to show you this:

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We announced today that Adobe Production Studio is coming to the Mac. That’s Premiere Pro on the Mac above, and we’ll also have Encore and the rest of Production Studio available for the Mac when we release the next version (that’s expected to ship in mid-2007).

All the features in the Windows version will also be in the Mac version (including some new ones, but it’s still too early to talk about that . . .). True cross-platform, baby. It’s the first time Premiere Pro and Encore have ever been on the Mac (of course the original Premiere had its beginnings on the Mac, but that was a completely different app than Premiere Pro) and the tight integration between all the apps in Production Studio, with features like Dynamic Link which let you drag & drop your After Effects compositions into Premiere Pro and Encore without rendering, can now be enjoyed by Mac & Windows users alike.

You gonna be at Macworld next week? Stop by the Adobe exhibit and see the first ever demos of Production Studio on the Mac, being given by the venerable Dave Helmly.

I’ll be at Macworld as well, so if you see me make me buy you a beer or something. I live here in SF and know some pretty good places to get thrown out of…

As I Was Saying . . .

When I last left off, before the holidays, I was strutting some of the great new stuff we’ve got for you to try out on Adobe Labs where you can visit “Tomorrow’s Adobe Today” (no, that isn’t an official company line, I just made that up, so don’t think we’ve gone all lame with slogans, OK?). Labs is a relatively new thing for Adobe – we haven’t exactly been known for public betas in the past – and it’s the way we’re getting new products in your hands when we’re still developing them so you can tell us how to make ‘em even better! We’ve already gotten tons of great feedback on Soundbooth — if you haven’t tried it yet (it’s free to download and use for the next few months so whattayouwaitingfor???) you can download it here.

After a restful holiday break (we pretty much hung the Gone Fishin’ sign on the door for the entire week) I’m geared up for what is going to be an incredible year at Adobe. It’s our 25th Anniversary, and some of the things we’ve got in the works are going to blow your mind. But before we even get there, check out this truly tasty snack on Adobe Labs.

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This is not your daddy’s Photoshop

That’s right, for the first time ever you can download the not-even-released-yet-brand-spanking-new version of Photoshop, use it while we’re still developing it, and give us feedback on the new features. It’s a great opportunity for you to influence the future of Photoshop, so go forth and download!

One thing though — unlike the Soundbooth beta (which anyone can download) you need to be a registered owner of Photoshop CS2 (or any suite that contains it, such as Production Studio or Creative Suite) to use the Photoshop CS3 Public Beta. All the details are here.

By the way, if you’re one of the cool folks currently using the Soundbooth Public Beta, we put a new build up on Labs recently which includes some new functionality, so please do check it out.

So . . . after a week of laying low for the holidays, I was happy to return to the office this morning to find a box full of my latest “product.”

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Clearly a guy not to be trusted . . .

Once again, I teamed up with Total Training – this time it’s a training series for the beginner/hobbyist crowd (unlike my last Total Training disc for Production Studio which we made for professional users). I’m quite proud of this one – Total Training for Adobe Premiere Elements 3. If you’re just getting into video for the first time, this disc is for you as I take you through the fundamentals of setting up your camcorder and computer, shooting footage, editing, creating effects & titles, recording narrations, creating DVDs with customized menus, exporting your movie for the web & mobile devices, and on and on . . .

Premiere Elements is based on Premiere Pro, so if you’re just starting out it’s easy to learn Elements and move up to Pro once you’ve got some skills.

Okay, enough shameless self-promotion. I’ll promote something else instead. The folks over at Future Media Concepts have put together quite a conference – the Editors’ Retreat – which will be in Miami at the end of this month. You need credits to get into this, and by credits I mean motion picture or television. This is a high-level conference for seasoned pros, and there is a crack lineup of presenters. I’ll be attending (not presenting), and if you’re a pro editor in TV or film you should consider joining us in Miami (hey, a week in Florida at the end of January can’t be all bad . . .)

Kuler Than Thou

The new technology just keeps rolling off the assembly line at Adobe Labs. It seems like every time I return from traveling (was working in Mexico City last week) there’s something new to talk about — and this time it has to do with . . . (hold on to your hats, folks) . . . Color Theory!!!!!

For those of you that think I’ve geeked way too far out this time, stay with me. Color Theory is one of the fundamentals of graphic design (including motion graphic design), and since most people come into motion graphics on a “sideways” path (i.e. without having gone to design school) it’s something that not everybody understands. One of the many reasons you learn Color Theory in design school or art school is to help you understand how colors relate to one another, which is the first step to being able to create an appropriate color palette for a motion graphics project.

In a project for a corporate client, it’s often the case that the client will require that only their brand palette be used, so that their brand identity is reinforced. But even if you don’t work with these constraints it’s a good idea to create a working palette for your projects as it helps you to keep a cohesive look and feel. I like to use the analogy of a music ensemble — there are a set of instruments each with their own sonic characteristics (i.e. timbre) but it’s also how those instruments sound together that makes up the texture & feel of a piece. There’s a reason to use a string quartet, as opposed to, say, the Stanford University Marching Band to convey the mood of serenity. I think you get my drift.

So, being that having a color palette for a motion graphics project is important, and being that our goal here at Adobe is to create tools that make you more creative & productive, we rolled out a new web-based application called Kuler last week. It’s free to use and you can access it at kuler.adobe.com

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Kuler lets you create and share color palettes, as well as browse & download palettes created by other Kuler users. It’s designed to help you create palettes based on the rules of Color Theory, so even if you haven’t got a clue you can create tight, logical palettes with just a few clicks of the mouse.

When you first launch Kuler, you’ll see the screen above showing some of the highest rated palettes created by the growing community of Kuler users (you can see one I created based on the colors of the old “Good ‘n Plenty” candy box). To create your own palette, click on the Create button and you will be presented with Kuler’s easy-to-use palette creation interface:

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To start with, adjust the sliders under the first swatch to set your base color. In my example, I’m using red. Then, you can create several color palettes based on the rules of Color Theory by clicking on the names of the rules, which are (with examples):

Analogous: Matches colors with adjacent hues
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Monochromatic: Focuses on one color with varied intensity and lightness in a single hue
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Triad: Spaces your colors in a triangle around the wheel for a contrasting theme
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Complementary: Uses the opposite two colors on the color wheel for a simple theme based on two hues
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Compound: Combines interesting colors from multiple hues
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Shades: Creates subtle variations of the base color’s hue
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Custom: Lets you drag individual color circles around the wheel with complete freedom
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It’s easy to see, from the examples above, how many possibilities there are just staying within the rules of Color Theory. But it’s also easy to expand on this by dragging the color circles when you’re within a rule – thereby using the rule as a jumping off point to creating a palette that will look cohesive and pleasing.

Once you’ve created a palette you can save it, publish it for other Kuler users to use (if you wish) and then download it as an Adobe Swatch Exchange file that can be opened in Illustrator CS2. You can also use the swatches as they appear in Kuler to sample with the eyedropper tool in After Effects, Photoshop, or most other Adobe tools. Use this as the basis for the colors you use in your backgrounds, text, and other colored elements in your projects .

As someone who came into motion graphics “sideways” and didn’t learn Color Theory until I took a post-grad class at Pratt Institute after I’d already been working in the field a couple years, I can’t emphasize enough how much better a designer you’ll become by broadening your understanding of color. Whether this is a new concept to you, or you’ve had this down cold for years, give this great new (and free) Adobe tool a spin on your next project.

Another Reason Why I Live Here

I decided to take a long lunch today with my buddy Tom who is visiting from NYC (Tom happens to be a very talented web developer — his company is called Local Galaxy). Anyhoo, I decided to take Tom up to one of my favorite spots in the Bay Area, the Marin Headlands.

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It took me exactly 25 minutes to drive from my office, which is completely on the other side of San Francisco, to where I took this photo. ‘Nuff said.

Just over the bridge is The Presidio, where George Lucas has his brand-spanking new production facilities. Along with Lucas-owned Industrial Light & Magic, there are a handful of large & small production and post-production companies, such as The Orphanage.

I Can See Clearly Now

And no, this has nothing to do with my winetasting jaunt through Napa Valley on Saturday. This is a tip for those of you running After Effects 7.0 on Windows XP.

AE7 uses the ClearType technology found in WinXP to smooth the appearance of fonts in it’s User Interface. Here’s how to make sure you have ClearType enabled:

1) Right-mouse-click anywhere on your desktop and select “Properties”. The Display Properties dialog appears.

2) Click on the “Appearance” tab and then click on the “Effects” button. (screencap below)

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3) In the second pulldown menu from the top, select “ClearType”, and click OK.

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This’ll keep the AE UI smooth, smooth smooth, regardless of the “After Effects of Weekend Hijinks”. Oh that’s just sad.

Exporting Flash Video from After Effects 7.0

A tutorial I wrote for Studio Monthly magazine on exporting Flash Video from After Effects 7.0 is now online at Studio Monthly’s sister web publication Studio Daily (let’s see how long it takes for “Studio Hourly” to show up).

Read the tutorial here.

BTW, Studio Monthly is an excellent magazine that has more tutorials per issue than any other magazine. You can get a free subscription here.

Mooooooo

One of the best online resources for tutorials on Adobe’s Video & Audio products is Creative COW (mooooooo) — COW actually stands for “Communities of the World”, so it’s really “Creative Communities of the World”. They still use a cow as their logo, and give away neat promotional items like “Bovine Bessie’s Chicken Sauce” at trade shows. The COW’s founders, Ron & Kathlyn Lindeboom, are extremely smart, creative industry vets who have built one of the best onine user forums for Video & Audio on the planet. I used to host the forum for a competitor’s editing product there before I started working at Adobe, and if you seach the archives you’ll see some of the product reviews & industry reports that I did for them over the years. Ron also happens to be a mean drummer and despite being extremely busy running the COW still manages to produce records & do session work now & then.

Here are direct links to the COW tutorials for After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Audition. In particular, there are some really good ones for AE7 and Premiere Pro 2 for those of you starting to work with the new versions.

They also just started a print magazine which you can get a free subscription to, and they have a podcast, hosted by Franklin McMahon, which discusses creative & business issues in our industry. Well worth checking out.

Killer Advanced After Effects Training

In an earlier post, I wrote that Dean Velez (a multiple Emmy Award winning broadcast designer & former Adobe SE) has a new After Effects training DVD (from Total Training, where he’s now the Creative Director). Upon arriving back to my office today, I was delighted to find a copy of it in my mailbox — “Total Training for Advanced Adobe After Effects 7 Pro – Broadcast Design Secrets“. Dean is one of the rare talents that can start with absolutely nothing, create some artwork in Photoshop, animate it in After Effects, and come out with an incredibly deep, dynamic motion design piece. I guess it comes from all those years he spent in TV News, having to create graphics packages with an average deadline of 1/2 hour (!).

I just watched the first part — creating a News Bumper — which uses the Fractal Noise effect to great effect (sorry) in creating the animated clouds. Fractal Noise is one of those effects that you should always turn to when creating animated backgrounds as the possibilities are virtually endless. Here’s a screencap from the training.

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Anybody involved in Broadcast Design should have a copy of this disc.

Adobe Production Studio AsiaPac Seminar Tour

Well, it’s off to the races as I hop on a plane around noon today at SFO and will be delivered to Seoul, Korea by Singapore Airlines a mere 14 hours later. A day to set up gear and see a bit of Seoul and then we start a 2 week swing through 4 countries to show the new goodies to seminar audiences and meet with journalists.

I just got off the phone with Dean Velez, formerly an Adobe SE (and a multi-emmy award winninng broadcast designer). He has a great new advanced broadcast design After Effects 7 training disc, just released by Total Training.

Dean is now the Creative Director over at the Total Training production facilities in Valley Cottege, NY (about 45 min. NW of Midtown Manhattan). He’s a kick-ass designer and I’m looking forward to seeing his design influence on the Total Training series.

Gotta get to the airport…