Archive for February, 2009

Do you use Stock Footage or Photography?

I’ve been working on a little pet project related to using stock footage, photography, and audio in After Effects. If you use any stock content from commercial sources like Artbeats, Getty, Corbis, or iStockPhoto, send me a comment to let me know how you use stock content and how it fits into your workflow. Some example questions to think about:

+ what companies do you purchase from?
+ how frequently do you use stock content?
+ which kinds of stock do you use (images, video, audio)?
+ do you use royalty-free footage, rights-managed, or both?
+ once you have the stock footage, do you track its usage?
+ do you charge your clients for using stock footage?
+ do you start working with proxies, then replace with high quality final images?


A follow up on 64-bit

When people ask me if After Effects is 64-bit, I am always tempted to ask a follow-up question. I try to understand what benefit they are looking to gain. The answer is usually that they want to be able to render faster, and have longer RAM previews.

If you are running on multi-core system with a 32-bit Windows OS, you’re likely to experience better multi-core rendering and longer RAM previews if you move to a 64-bit edition of Windows. Simple as that. If you’re running a lot of ram-hungry applications, the benefit is even greater.

Here’s why: A 32-bit edition of Windows is limited to a total of about 4GB. Each process on a 32-bit Windows system is limited to about 2GB. By the time you reserve some for the OS and divide the remainder among all your applications and distribute some to each core for rendering in After Effects, it’s sliced into relatively small chunks. After Effects isn’t the limiting factor, it’s your operating system.

Enter 64-bit Windows. A 64-bit OS raises the roof on RAM limits, both for individual processes and the total. After Effects and Premiere Pro are both designed to take advantage of much more RAM than is available on a 32-bit system.

So the remaining question is: Do After Effects and Premiere take advantage of *ALL* the RAM on a 64-bit OS? The answer is no. They would have to be 64-bit native apps to do that. You get some great benefits, and the ball is back in our court. I can’t be specific about future releases, but it’s safe to assume that 64-bit native applications are a matter of when, not if.

But don’t let this stop you from enjoying the benefits of 64-bit. Get a 64-bit OS. Fill up on cheap RAM. Work faster today. I don’t want you to miss out on improved performance with CS4 apps on a 64-bit OS.

Thinking Vista? Think 64-bit.

I was at an electronics store the other day and I was surprised to see how many of the new systems are sold with 64-bit editions of Windows Vista. I also noticed that a gigabyte of computer memory is now touching the $25 price range.

I think this is a great news.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your Adobe CS4 applications is to run them on a 64-bit operating system. Mac users have it easy because the Mac OS Leopard is only available in a 64-bit flavor. Windows users face a choice between 32- and 64-bit. I suggest walking right past 32-bit Windows and picking up a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista.

The advantage to running CS4 applications on 64-bit OS is that you can install and use large amounts of RAM. Here’s how it works with After Effects: When you are rendering in the Render Queue or building a RAM preview, After Effects can use multiple processor cores to render several frames at the same time. Behind the scenes, After Effects starts a process on each available core. Each process can address up to 4GB of RAM. The After Effects Help on the Web has all the details about memory and multi-core rendering.

How much RAM should you have when running AE? A good rule of thumb is 4 GB per core, plus whatever you want to use for your operating system and other applications.

Speaking of other applications, say you’re running Premiere Pro CS4 along with After Effects CS4. Premiere Pro can also take advantage of extra RAM. Throw in a couple more gigs for Photoshop, Illustrator and web browser, and it’s looking like the sweet spot is now 16-32 Gigs on a 64-bit OS.

Windows users should make sure that your hardware drivers are available for the 64-bit edition of Vista. It’s been a while since Vista shipped, so this is becoming less of an issue every day. Also, it’s good practice to update to the latest versions of your software. For Vista, get Service Pack 1. For Adobe software, be sure you are using Premiere Pro 4.0.1 and After Effects 9.0.1.

For those of you who aren’t interested in moving to 64-bit, send me a comment and let me know what’s holding you back!

New Adobe Installer Blog

From time to time customers ask me about installer, deployment and licensing issues. Adobe has a team dedicated to the out-of-the-box experience and these folks are often the source of my answers. In the past, they have made guest appearances on John Nack’s blog. But now you can skip the middleman and go directly to the source by checking out the new Adobe Installer and Licensing Blog. I’m sure it will be a great way to get the latest information and to provide feedback about the some of the issues that are important to you.

Paint shortcuts we might have forgotten to tell you about

Getting into the flow while painting or rotoscoping is all about the ergonomics of moving quickly. We have a bunch of single key shortcuts to make this easier, but it seems that we forgot to mention a couple shortcuts in the usual place. These are available while you have a paint tool selected:

  • 1 — Step forward by the number of frames indicated in the Paint panel
  • 2 — Step backward by the number of frames indicated in the Paint panel
  • 3 — Choose clone preset #1
  • 4 — Choose clone preset #2
  • 5 — Choose clone preset #3
  • 6 — Choose clone preset #4
  • 7 — Choose clone preset #5

Of these, I think the 1 & 2 keys are particularly useful for right-handers because you don’t have to reach across the keyboard to the Page Up/Page Down keys. And since they move the current time indicator by the amount indicated in the paint panel, you can easily paint "on twos", or whatever increment you need.


Comments Are Enabled Again

I thought things were a bit quiet. Due to operator error, the commenting feature was turned off for my last few posts. It’s on again, so if you have something to say, have at it!

The Orphanage Closes Its Doors

I read this news with sadness today.

Rarely do people and organizations function so well as “multipliers” — those who raise others around them to new levels. The Orphanage is one such place. So I’d like to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who has worked at the Orphanage over the past decade. You are a positive influence on the After Effects team at Adobe. There’s more than a little bit of your blood, sweat and tears in After Effects today.

The Orphanage might shuffle off this mortal coil, but you can’t kill the ideas and skills it has unleashed upon the world. I can’t wait to see what becomes of the new orphans.