I was one of the demo artist at NAB and I have had my hands on the Smoke 2013 for about a month.
There is only so much you can gleam from videos and blogs. So if you want any first hand info on features shown at NAB or my impressions, please feel free to ask.
[NOTE: ANYTHING I HAVE SEEN COULD BE CHANGED AT TIME OF RELEASE OR PRE-RELEASE. I CAN ONLY SHARE WHAT I SHOWED THE CROWDS AT NAB. WHICH WAS NOT A FULL AND FINAL PRODUCT.]
[The Area Smoke Forum Assistant]
Indianapolis, IN, USA
SMOKE 2013.2.2 HP9400/FX5800 | HP z800/FX5800 | & now Smoke 2013 SP2 on MBP
[Twitter @bkmeditor] | Check out the Smoke Blog on PremiumBeat.com |
If i sit on the new one with a Director (who is used to sit in FLAME and SMOKE Suites)
how will i feel. And how will the Director feel.
If you were sitting with Smoke for Mac 2012 then the biggest change as far as creative power goes is the Node Based compositing of ConnectFX. So much more can be done by linking nodes than could ever be done in the 2012 Module based workflow.
Having that node based workflow that comes from Flame gives Smoke 2013 instant credibility as a high end product coming from Autodesk.
It’s still Smoke. Just because the economics have changed doesn’t mean the tools and power of what makes Smoke wonderful has changed. In fact, it’s even better.
You should feel that you are still working with the best all in one tool set for video production. The Director should feel happy that he still has the same level of quality that he has known from the other Autodesk Systems.
From the sounds of it, Desktop Paint has been removed. This is very disappointing. Do you know of any other Desktop tools that have been removed and not replicated exactly in CFX? Specifically, I’m wondering about Average.
There is nothing final with the toolset yet. The release isn’t until Fall. But at the NAB showing there were no desktop tools becasue they wanted to shift everything or as much as they can toward the timeline.
That being said, there are some processes that still need to be a new media creation process. Average may be one of them, although Average is a node in ConnectFX.
Audio Mixdown and interlace/deinterlace tools are another. I trust that giving the user some access to these basic tools will not escape the developers.
As far as desktop paint… who knows. It’s biggest feature from the Paint node in CFX is AutoPaint and paint tracking. I know I do a lot with it. I hope they find someway to retain it, until a proper timeline solution can be achieved.
One major thing that might not be known is that you can add effects to source clips in your Bins/Source Areas. This is was not possible in 2012. So in the same manner you might have run a clip through CC and created new media, or through a FlameFX, you can now add to a source clip. I haven’t wrapped by head around it’s full usefulness, but it does work like processing through a module, except now it is non-destructive. So you can Average a source clip from the source clips Timeline.
Hard Commit still exists as well an can be used to commit the effect on the source clip.
thank you very much for sharing the newest information with us, i highly appreciate that.
i have a question about the wacom usage. do we have to use a mouse now? i saw that there are mouse right click pulldown menue things going on.
what about compartibility to flame? can the setups be shared, can i directly access flames framestore from smoke? is there still wiretab central?
one of my favirite features in smac 2012 is the fullscreen playback via 2nd monitor graphics card output. is this feature still there?
1. Wacoms are still usable and they work fine. Right-click is the back pen button.
2. Setups with Flame should still be fine as the main tools have not changed. Action is still Action, just the UI changed. As I understand, wiretap is still all there, it’s just been cleaned up easier to use. Backburner still exists, it’s just more transparent. As far as accessing framestores from Flame and moving clips.... this might still be in flux. I would think that DPX frames would be fine, but currently there is still no prores on Linux. So some of these issues are still being developed… stay tuned.
2a. I don’t know about WTC… it wan’t part of what was needed to be shown at NAB.
3. There is a full screen playback.. I don’t think that anything has changed there.
2012 SAP2 SP3
Kona 3G driver 10.3.2
Quadro 4000 driver 256.01.00f03
Cuda driver 4.2.10
Mac Pro (mid 2010)
12 Cores / 24 Gigs
CalDigit HD Pro2 (8TB, 723 MB/sec read)
You know....I never checked. There are FCP hotkeys. There were some subtle hotkey changes to the Smoke default keys regarding the timeline. ‘T’ is now for thumbnail view for source area tiles. F5 activates timeline view, and F6 & F7 are now source timeline and record timeline focus.
Brian, did Audtodesk include Avid hotkeys? That would be a big help in transitioning, as I know Avid extremely well. Also, as I understand it now there is no 3D tracking option in Smoke 2013, Frederic Warren said that it was being considered. Can you confirm that as of now, Smoke 2013 has no 3D tracking option. Thank you very much Brain.
@bradaschreiber What was shown at NAB 2012 was an alpha version. This means that this version was not complete by any means and the full feature set has not been decided. We cannot comment on what all make it into the final release. All we can speak about was what was shown on the show floor. Everything is always considered but no promises or commitments have been made.
Frederic knows more about whats planned or being considered than I do. Sorry nothing I can say here. As grant pointed out. It’s was a an alpha and things are still in flux. June will give us a better idea about what’s going to be included, but nothing is final until release.
Firstly, thanks for sharing the info. I have few question.
i. How stable/robust is Connect FX, comparing with Smoke Advance Batch. We know u got lot of experience using Smoke Advance. Do u managed to test it with lot of layers.?
ii. Do u feel the software are “light”. Means you can jump from one module to others easily without feel slow..?
Lastly, if 5 starts are full rate, what’s your benchmark about this new Smoke.?
@iconslave Brian will certainly give his opinion as he is perfectly entitled to but bear in mind that he was working with the alpha build of the software. It is not optimised or feature complete. So in terms of speed and performance, true benchmarks are not possible except his opinion but he is aware of what he was working on.
My suggestion to everyone is to sign up for the Pre-Release trial at http://www.autodesk.com/smoke-trial and try the Pre-Release in June to get your own experience with performances and benchmarks. Once again, only true performance bench marks on the final release is September will give you a true reflection of what to expect.
I was demoing it on an iMac… 8 gig Ram and i7 with a stock ATI card. All in all it was running quite well. Given that it is an Alpha build… ConnectFX was quite fluid and I was able to easily work in Action with 2K layers, 3D Geom, lights and shadows will no issues. I can only expect that it will get better form here.
At the NAB demo there were no desktop tools. But the developers know that some tools( audio mixdown, interlacing tools, pull-down etc.) might still need to just be a clip process. The trick is, is to find a proper integration for them.
The tools are still in development.... so patience.
As far as the interface. You won’t want to go back. I felt very comfortable with the UI. In fact, coming back to my Linux Smoke, kind of freaked me out today. The new UI is much cleaner and much more intuitive. 95% of all of the button are in the same spots. And subtle tinge like the scaleble viewports are awesome. I get so tired of my fixed HD frame size in the current viewer. I know change is hard, and we all get used to stuff, but I have been on Smoke for 7+ years and the transition was almost instant.
I am sure it’s hard to judge by just looking at videos.... so wait till the pre-release in a month and see for yourself.
In the scenario where SMAC is the NLE are there options for exporting an XML or other for grading in Resolve, Baselight etc?
I do not know. It would be a valid point if you are using Smoke as an NLE. But the idea behind the all in one workflow would be to limit that type of data transfer. Obviously Lustre would be an option. But I can see how some might want to go to Resolve.
It would be sooooo great if they could update/rework the colour tools in Smoke to be more Lustre like.
Add a grading specific GUI for ConnectFX where it would be easy to compare shots, load/save nodes, etc.
I must sound like a broken record at this point… but even if the the CC was just faster to work with across a long timeline…
i know its a bit off topic here, but i would really like to know what is the advantage
to switch to a colour grading system when already working in smoke/flame.
i am working on flame since 1996. and i never ever had the feeling that there is something
more advanced or faster in telecine than in flame/smoke.
in fact when ever the clients dont wanted to be in the telecine (when things were shoot on film)
i always asked the colourist to give me a technical grade and i did the rest in flame.
i know there is always the thing about the speed, but honnestly, if it renders in realtime
or if a 20 sec clip renders 30 seconds is not really a difference.
now that everything is shot digitally imo a telecine is completely useless if you do
your online work in smoke or flame.
and the very last thing. many people say that flame is faster than smac. that is completely rubbish. of course a flame compared to a smac on mac mini using the internal disk as framestore is a difference but on a propper hardware smac is as fast as flame. the fastest system i ve ever worked on until now was in fact a smac.
Rendering aside, the real benefit of a dedicated colour grading application, is that there is no “add a cc, then enter the cc module”, you just are in the CC module already. When you start working on a shot, you just reach out and start making adjustments on the panels, and when you want to add another layer of adjustments you push 1 button to move to the next layer.
Currently in either the timeline or in batch, adding cc nodes or gapFX just takes longer. As does comparing grades. In Lustre it saves a frame grab everytime you save a grade setup, so you just tap 1 button to bring up your reference frame. In the Smoke timeline I am either setting in/outs, or copying a frame to the editdesk and switching to src/rec focus, or in an editdesk module I have to load up my shot in the reference buffer.
My point is that this kind of easy stuff is a very manual process in any NLE or Compositing application. If Autodesk were able to add these basic things to Smoke as they are in Lustre, or Resolve, or Scratch, etc, etc. Then they would be the first to offer something that was truly All-In-One.
Actually I guess they already do, in Flame Premium.... Sighhhhhh.
i agree that the workflow is a little faster. no doubt about it, but here comes the big BUT ;-) the clients i know allways want a colour grade that is extremly selective. i am not talking about “give the sky more blue and match the skintones with the shot before” i am more talking about cut this picture into 20 peaces and adjust everything seperately. a task that can be done in telecine as well as they have trackers and masks and keys but exacly these trackers and masks and keys never work that well as they do in flame/smoke.
i totally agree that if you want to grade a feature you dont need to start with a flame (i did that once and it was a disaster) but when we are talking about a 30sec commercial up to maybe a 5min music clip the time saving advantage is not really huge. even when i think of lustre where you dont need to import/export your footage, but the advantage of being as pricise and selective as a like is imo clearly on the flame/smoke side.
<<i know there is always the thing about the speed, but honnestly, if it renders in realtime or if a 20 sec clip renders 30 seconds is not really a difference.>>
Do the math on that with a timeline that has 100-1000 shots on it & then get back to me. Especially if you have to hit Process every time you want to, well, play back anything or show a client a series of adjusted shots. The GPU-accelerated playback is the whole ball game.
I wouldn’t replace the batch workflow with just Lustre tools for a million dollars, because you are right. But to be able to fly through a feature length grade with 1200+ edits and then go back and use batch/action for some precision work on a couple dozen special shots is my dream.
Peppermintpost, I totally agree with you. It all comes down to the clients, and what toolset will satisfy as many different clients as possible.
The little boutique I’m at does trailers, commercials, animation, dramatic tv, reality tv and features. Basically anything we can get our hands on. I just want a tool that is as diverse as the Vancouver market is.
There are folks on other forums who are also looking to Smoke for grading tools.
Excellent point about clients wanting shots cut into 20 little pieces, each with a separate grade. This is exactly the type of workflow that should be taken into consideration and then make the tools achieve this in the quickest and least painful way. Mask should be a dedicated part of the color corrector. In the current version of Smoke this can be a tedious task when grading a timeline.
"As far as the interface. You won’t want to go back. I felt very comfortable with the UI. In fact, coming back to my Linux Smoke, kind of freaked me out today. The new UI is much cleaner and much more intuitive. 95% of all of the button are in the same spots.”
Brian, if imposed upon us, i am sure we all will have to use the new UI as there is no other viable choice/option right now and therefore eventually we will get used to it, but conventional wisdom dictates that clean, large buttons allow for faster navigation thru the interface and error-free landings on buttons, its just that simple. I jump back and forth between avid and smoke and even though i have been using avid for the last seventeen years or so (and that UI has largely remained unchanged), i still find myself slowing down on avid due to the tiny little icons and buttons, so i heavily rely on hotkeys to make up for it. On smoke its just the exact opposite of it, i fly thru it. As a matter of fact, if smoke offered DNxHD editing as an option, i would not need to use avid at all (but that is a whole another discussion).
Why change something thats been working perfectly well (and for good and valid reasons) for the last twenty years or so. Like it or not, the simple fact of the matter is this: Its all about the economics of things, front and foremost, and everything else is secondary. FCPX created a void which created monetary opportunities for the suits (no disrespect there, we are intelligent enough to understand that its pure business), and Autodesk had to do something about it, whatever it took. Its that simple. I may sound bitter right now, cuz i am a bit.
I just wish they had left an excellent product alone as is and had created another package to please the fcpx crowd. When you take such a powerful and complex code as Smoke and rewrite it to allow it run on iMacs and such, how can i trust its rock solidity, stability, and reliablity anymore. The beauty of the current UI is that you are working on it for days, completely unaware of the OS. Everything that you need is inside that UI, you never have to go anywhere else. Its a system on its own that lets you just be in a zone creatively speaking without being distracted by anything on the OS finder bar, its indicator icons, ichats etc.
It would have been great if autodesk had created a version that lost some fat for it to be able to run on lighter system requirements for FCP segment of the market. This market is less concerned about things like rock-solid stability and UI efficiency and therefore is less willing to learn different type of UIs/workflows. Its more concerned about the comfort of being able to edit and do vfx work on a macbook pro or even macbook air, be the media on the system drive. Please dont get me wrong, I am not saying this with any disrespect, i edit on my macbook pro too, and that is really the market autodesk is trying to please with 2013. But when its time to output to tape, i would not want anything else but smoke on a tower being fed proper sync, with quadro and an aja installed. With 2013 Autodesk is trying to bank on volume of sales vs quality and reliability that have been the hallmark of their system products line. Again, no disrespect, its pure economics and nothing else, lets just be clear about it.
I have been very comfortable with the idea that there was a respectable level of threshold in terms of system requirements qualification that you had to reach to ensure smoke’ operation with stability without any hickups. That gave me a piece of mind and assurance when doing a long layoff, etc.
But i am open to everything and anything. I have signed up for the beta, and will put it thru its paces with a neutral and open mindset. But one thing that i will not do is not call a spade a spade.
2012 SAP2 SP3
Kona 3G driver 10.3.2
Quadro 4000 driver 256.01.00f03
Cuda driver 4.2.10
Mac Pro (mid 2010)
12 Cores / 24 Gigs
CalDigit HD Pro2 (8TB, 723 MB/sec read)
I believe that DNxHD is being considered. The demo intermediate was prores HQ. The UI although looks different doesn’t act any differently in the major tools like Action. CC, CW… and others. I had no issues finding or hitting a button. Even thought the interface has lost some color, the buttons do pop, and seeing the tools is not a problem. Everything is still in the UI. I saw OSX as much as I now see Linux. Nothing has changed there.
Hotkeys are all still there.... editing and media management are the major things that got reworked. And they are reworked for the better. After 3 days of demoing the system and working at a quick pace, I did’t think that I was even working on a new UI.
As far as stablity, I was demoing it at almost a production pace. meaning I was working as fast as I do now. I had maybe 1 to 3 beach balls a day. Not bad for an Alpha build. I have just as many crashes on my Linux during the day. :) So I felt it was pretty stable at this stage. Running Smoke on an iMac with a Thunderbolt Pegasus raid and an AJA ioXT didn’t feel like I was sacrificing any degree of stability or reliability. The main advantages to running Smoke with lesser system requirements has more to do with it now being able to use high quality compressed codecs for intermediate work. In my case, Prores. So you don;t need as hefty a system to process the video. Now if you want to run uncompressed DPX like in 2012, you can. And you will need storage and processors that can handle that.