The all powerful shortcut
Or…"What people don’t know"
This week, I got a chance to visit some fabulous broadcast clients and while I’ve got some thoughts that I’d like to share soon, the one that struck me the most is how many times incredibly talented people asked for features that already existed or didn’t know about some keyboard shortcuts that would immediately help them.
Does this mean that these people aren’t incredibly talented, intelligent and the like? Of course not! In fact, again and again we were all amazed at the quality and imagination that these artists do with our products. We’re the pastels and they’re wielding Adobe…I tipped my hat to many of them and wished I had their ability… sigh…
Still, it was interesting to learn that even what I would call the expert user can be so used to doing things a certain way that he/she is surprised and elated when they learn a better way.
So, with that in mind here are two of the common ones that some people ‘rediscovered’ this past week.
In After Effects, with your mouse over a panel, if you hit the tilde key "~" it will make that panel take up the whole interface. This is now true of Premiere Pro, Encore and Soundbooth as well. This is a powerful key, but especially for After Effects users trying to navigate amongst many layers.
Actions – Use ‘em! One of the top features requested by some of the clients we visited was chiefly concerned with an easy way to create an alpha channel for compositing in other programs including After Effects. We still have work to do to make this as absolutely simple as possible, but this person wasn’t aware of the common video actions folder that can be loaded into the actions palette.
What does this mean to Adobe? Well, for me it says two things: First that Adobe has several very mature products with new users learning these programs. They’re missing out on what ‘old hands’ learned through the years. Another way to describe this is that Photoshop has over 500 menu items and it’s a given that people aren’t going to know all 500 of these items!
The other point is something I heard from someone who stated that we need to be making it easier on how to find the best way to do something through our various help items. As I am want to say, this had the ring of truth to it and I look forward to seeing how we can get you the information you need (contextually) as quickly as possible. The good news is that we’re thinking about this so it will be interesting to see what happens to software in the future.
On that same note, let me mention about the new Bridge Home that is a part of Bridge CS3. If you haven’t checked it out, you should since it can really help you now in learning how to do certain things. Click on your favorite product icon on the top and the interface will display a lot of the resources available from Adobe and other sources.