June 23, 2006
Its been an interesting week. This will be my last post for a few months as I am about to embark on a 9 week sabbatical to stop thinking about compositing software and to enjoy several of my favorite pastimes, travel, wine, reading, and being a kid with my kids (much to my wife's chagrin). So this week I was busy making sure everyone new what I was working on and trying to wrap up as many loose ends as possible before taking off. Luckily the AE team is a well-olied machine and doesn't need me around to get things done.
Then on Tuesday, like everyone else I saw Apple's announcement about Shake repricing and end-of-life. My initial reaction was: "what took them so long?" Even Discreet realized there isn't a large opportunity for $5K desktop compositing software (initial price of effect). It will be interesting to see how Digital Fusion reacts (if at all).
My second reaction was: "$499 is a pretty aggressive price, but the low cost doesn't address the fundamental issue with Shake. In my opinion it is really hard to learn and use, and if you need to do animate anything it becomes even harder to use.
I am not trying to knock Shake. Clearly if you look at the track record of films its been used on it certainly is a more than capable product for film visual effects experts, but Apple's press release positioned it as a "plug-in" for Final Cut Studio. It will be interesting to see how that works out.
What does it all mean for After Effects? It means we need to keep improving the product, adding innovative new features (in addition to enhancements users have asked for) and keep doing the things that have helped us create a very large community of passionate users.
I'll be back in September.
June 14, 2006
I received an email today from a user who was interested in the After Effects ACE program. I thought it would be a good opportunity to increase awareness about this program.
ACE stands for Adobe Certified Expert. The idea behind the ACE program is to allow you to receive recognition for being an "expert" user of AE; in theory allowing you to command a higher salary, or gain an edge in a competitive job market. Sort of like an MBA for artists.
So that's the promise, but is it worth it? I can't answer that because everyone's situation is a bit different. What I hear from people who hire AE users is the #1 thing they look for is talent (no surprise there) which is usually evaluated by viewing their reel. The ACE can be a tie-breaker between two otherwise equally talented people. The ACE is also useful for AE users who want to get into training others on AE.
If you've taken the AE ACE exam, please post a comment and share your experience and thoughts about it.
June 5, 2006
When I entered the Blogosphere, I remember several folks giving me advice that the key to a successful blog was to post regularly. My naive goal was to post every day. That was before I realized that: a) I really don't have something of interest to say every day in a blog, b) that keeping up while traveling is harder than I thought it would be, and c) the blogging software we have to use here at Adobe is well to be polite not particularly user friendly.
I recently discovered 2 users out there creating blogs that I hoped mine would be more like. As the saying sorta goes, those who can do, those who can't link to others who can:
General Specialist is a relatively new blog by Jonas Hummelstrand a VFX Supervisor in Sweden who uses AE.
Motion Graphics and Such is another new blog by Alan Shisko a long time AE user.
Both are now on my reading list.