February 27, 2006
Appearing Together for the First Time...
I've been on the road the last week in Atlanta, Orlando, and West Palm Beach helping out at launch events, and I've fallen behind in my blog. This week, I'll be spending quite a bit of time at Flash Forward.
The Flash Forward Conference in Seattle gets into full swing tomorrow. In addition to the main program, there is a dedicated Adobe Technology Track. Besides the traditional product demos, the Adobe room will have several Birds of a Feather sessions with the After Effects, Audition, and Flash development teams, plus if you want to talk cross-product integration; Tuesday from 5:15-6:30pm, the product managers for After Effects (myself), Flash (Mike Downey), Photoshop (John Nack), and Illustrator (Phil Guindi) will be appearing together to lead a discussion about cross-product workflows.
While we have our own ideas on how we can improve how these products all work together, and have started to take the first steps in that direction, the session is a great opportunity influence how we improve workflows and help us understand why your requests are important to you.
hope to see you there and report back on these sessions as well as what I learn during the main conference.
February 20, 2006
fxguide podcast and After Effects 7.0 Review
Last week I was in Chicago to participate in a Production Studio seminar. While we were there we met with John Montgomery an industry veteran (for lack of better words) and one of the guiding forces behind fxguide, in my opinion one of the best sites for keeping up on what is happening in the world of visual effects.
In addition to writing a review of AE7 from a visual effects perspective, John interviewed Dave Simons and myself for a podcast. The nuggets in this interview came from Dave, who talked in depth with John about our HDR and color management implementation until parental responsibilities kicked in (it was 7am Seattle time) and Dave had to focus on toddler needs. We ran over our 30 minute time slot allocation so hopefully John edited me out and left all of Dave's comments in.
February 19, 2006
Visit to KING 5 TV
William Drescher, Design Director at KING 5 here in Seattle, invited us for a visit to see how they were using After Effects. It was a very informative visit for us. There were two things William showed us that I thought would be of interest to share here.
In addition to After Effects, they rely on Photoshop extensively. Part of managing the transition from SD to HD requires a lot of reformatting and creating multiple versions of their graphics. As you can imagine they also revise lots text in graphics for lower thirds. We got a brief demo of Tools for Television. It was very cool to see how this product beefed up Photoshop for video design. Since I haven't used the product myself, please don't take this as an endorsement, but what I saw looked useful and William spoke very highly of it. It would be nice to see these capabilities built into Photoshop (or made easier to do/find if they are already there) Hopefully, Mr. Nack will chime in here (or on his blog) about this.
The second thing we saw worth mentioning is that they have built a medals board motion graphic in After Effects that is used for their Olympic coverage. It was cool to see the template they built that allowed them to quicky swap out various animated country flags (using Zaxwerks 3D Flag plug-in), and names and then update the medal count. What was even more interesting to me was that they were playing the RAM Previews direct-to-air. It was the first time I had seen AE go straight to air from the timeline.
We are always looking for new customers to visit. If your company would be interested in inviting us for a visit, let me know and hopefully we will be able to arrange something down the road.
February 17, 2006
After Effects 7.0 Classroom in a Book Now Available
The After Effects 7.0 Classroom In A Book was released this week. It contains all new lessons, and for the first time covers Pro version features such as Keying, Tracking and Timewarp. You can view the Table of Contents to get a better sense of what is covered. Unlike the previous edition, each lesson is self-contained and allows you to create a finished result at the end of the lesson.
My thanks to Mark Christiansen, Takeshi Hiraoka, Stephen Schleicher, and Anna Ullrich, for the lessons they contributed; to Andrew Faulkner and Anita Dennis for pulling it all together; and to Christine Yarrow for letting me meddle, and turning me on to Sambar.
February 13, 2006
After Effects 7.0 HDR & OpenGL Tutorials
Brian Maffitt's latest episode on the Guru Lounge is an excellent introduction on how HDR is relevant for a non-film based workflow.
Over on Creative COW, Mylenium walks through the OpenGL fidelity improvements added in After Effects 7.0
February 11, 2006
Improving UI Font Appearance
If you are running After Effects 7.0 on Windows, I find the UI fonts are easier on the eyes if you have ClearType enabled which improves the antialiasing if you are using a flat screen display (I haven't tried this on a CRT).
To enable ClearType, go to the Appearance tab in your Display Settings and open the Effects dialog. Change the font edge smoothing from "Standard" to ClearType, and apply.
February 10, 2006
Found Voices and Images
In 1981 Brian Eno collaborated with David Byrne to record one of my desert island "must-haves" My Life in the Bush of Ghosts . The album was monumental for me for two reasons: 1) it was my introduction to world beats, and 2) it was the first album I heard that incorporated "found voices".
I was fascinated by the concept of taking recordings of voices from radio broadcasts and other recordings and "re-mixing" them into new songs unlike anything I had ever heard at the time. 25 years later the album stands the test of time and sound as fresh as it did then and given the broad use of sampling can be viewed as a source of inspiration for many recordings that are so commonplace today.
So hear I go again rambling off-topic. What's the connection? Well, I was cleaning out my bookmarks file this weekend and visited the Big Idea section of Getty's Web site and viewed the videos using imagery from Getty's library, and I associated it as being a visual equivalent of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. I was intrigued by the way the artists combined the imagery to create stories, and see/hear them talk about how they approached the project.
The Next Big Idea is underway. I am looking forward to seeing stories using found imagery evolves over time.
February 4, 2006
FlashForward comes to Seattle
The FlashForward Conference will be in Seattle this year from 2/27 - 3/2. I'm looking forward to attending as many sessions as possible. Adobe is a sponsor of the conference and will have a Technology Room. In addition to giving product presentations (Production Studio, Flash, and Flash Media Server) in the room, we will have 3 "Birds of a Feather" [where did that term orginate?] sessions with the After Effects, Audition, and Flash Authoring development teams, plus a special guest presentation by Paul Matthaeus from Digital Kitchen on Visual Storytelling.
Hope to see you there.
February 1, 2006
Online Community in Italy
I received an email after my blog entry about After Effects User Groups from an AE user in Italy interested in having a user group in Italy. While it may take a while to get something like this going, after looking into this on this user's behalf, I discovered that there is an Adobe|Guru Web site which includes a Pro Video forum for Creatitve Pros using Adobe software in Italy, or if you simply prefer discussing Adobe software with others in Italian.
I have no idea what this means but here is a brief description of what the mission is of Adobe|Guru.com: "uno spazio dedicato al contatto tra i massimi specialisti di adobe e gli utenti in cerca di risposte alle loro domande sui prodotti Adobe. Uno posto dove poter discutere, parlare, essere aggiornati su tutto quello che accade nel mondo della creatività".
Before we leave the topic of community in Italy, here is info on where to sign up to see the Adobe Production Studio Roadshow in Italy.
Mactel & After Effects
Given the timing of the release of AE7 and the impending release of the first Mactel machines from Apple, I've seen quite a bit of discussion and speculation about what this means for After Effects users.
While I encourage our Macintosh customers to read the FAQ, to summarize the key points for After Effects users:
1. We plan to release a Universal version of After Effects.
2. We are not planning to release a Mactel version of After Effects 7.0
3. The transition requires a major development effort, not just for us, but our 3rd party partners (plug-ins as an example).
4. We are not aware of any known issues running After Effects 7.0 using Rosetta, however in most cases user will not see any performance improvements and are likely to see performance degradation.
While it would be nice to see the performance of a Universal version of After Effects on an iMac or MacBook when they ship, for most of our users the real benefits won't be realized until Apple releases their desktop line of products and the entire ecosystem of tools our users rely on is available on Mactel.
While not exactly the same thing, anyone else feel like it is deja vu all over again (OS9 to OS X transition or for Windows customers going from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95)?