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.