Adobe has revealed details about its next generation of professional creative applications, and you don’t have to be a video professional to find them exciting. For starters, a new collaboration platform called Anywhere lets people share resources, working together without the burden of exchanging files.
This is a sneak peek, and many details are still missing. Adobe gives no indication of when a new version of Creative Suite will come out, what it will be called, or what it will include. Adobe also isn’t talking about other pro products, such as Photoshop or Flash. We gather that more details will emerge at the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles, May 4th through 8th. For now, Adobe says it’s focusing on its core video creation products. They should be easy to spot at NAB: Adobe says partners in nearly 100 booths will be running preview versions.
Adobe Premiere Pro
The last year has been good for Premiere Pro, says Adobe, and some of that is due to the release of Apple Final Cut Pro X. Final Cut users saw it as a new platform, rather than an upgrade, so many chose to look around and perhaps try something new.
To keep new and old customers happy, Adobe is making Premiere Pro easier to use with a variety of small interface improvements that reveal information at a glance. Adobe is also adding many new keyboard controls, so that seasoned editors can do more without a mouse. According to an Adobe rep, the most requested user feature was a keyboard control to nudge a clip up or down to a different track in the timeline. It’s coming.
One improvement is a refined method of finding files that have become unlinked from a project, even when those files have been changed in some way. Editors will be able to add color effects quickly, thanks to the new Lumetri Deep Color Engine, and Final Cut users especially will like the new audio clip mixer. Closed captioning is taking on a new urgency, so editors will appreciate improvements that let them reuse existing captions from older media.
With these applications, Adobe is responding to a new way of working, one where the network is always present, broadcasters use file-based workflows, and editors don’t need to think about exactly where their content is stored. To aid in anywhere workflows, Adobe is adding Anywhere, a collaboration platform that lets video professionals work together whether they’re in the same office or across the country.
Two years in development, Anywhere includes two parts: a collaboration hub and the Mercury Streaming Engine. People using Adobe pro applications will be able to share resources in essentially their own private cloud. Adobe sees it as a natural fit for post-production, broadcasters, and educators. Because resources aren’t stored by remote users and remote editors work with preview streams, Adobe says that even lower-powered machines will be able to edit high-resolution content, such as a Red 4K file, from thousands of miles away. Due to latency issues, Anywhere will work fine across the continent, but not for intercontinental use. Anywhere is installed on-premises, while remote users will need the latest versions of Adobe’s pro applications.
Adobe After Effects
Improvements to After Effects take the burden out of rotoscoping (the Refine Edge tool makes quick work of separating complicated objects), and let editors stabilize just one part of a scene while keeping the rest as is. An alliance with Maxon, announced a few weeks ago, adds a version of Cinema 4D Lite to After Effects for 3D modeling, letting editors easily switch between the two without rendering.
As with Premiere Pro, Adobe’s sound editor is benefitting from user interface improvements. Controls will now be more visual and, Adobe hopes, more accessible. New tools let editors separate and remove foreground sounds and fill in the resulting gaps. Editors can also teach the program a recurring sound and have Audition remove all instances of it. The program is now 64-bit, and its real-time effects can be found in Premiere Pro.
Prelude debuted with Creative Suite 6, offering a prep tool for non-editors. The first version focused on ingesting and logging content. Prelude becomes more useful this time around, letting producers preview clips and add metadata to sections of the footage. Once the content is tagged, Prelude can create a marker list so editors can quickly go to the marked sections. Producers can use it to create a rough-cut of footage, which can then be sent to Premiere Pro. All markers travel with the footage. Prelude also lets producers ingest a script from Adobe Story and turn the words into metadata.
Color-grading tool SpeedGrade was also introduced in Creative Suite 6. Adobe found that the product was hard to learn, even for those experienced in color grading, so the new version focuses on accessibility. Editors can scrub through videos, and view information quickly from resized icons and renamed layers. Because SpeedGrade is often used on multiple machines, with editors bringing a cursory version of their work to show clients, the application includes a new Look Manager. Other improvements help match looks between shots, and import a retouched frame from Photoshop to clone that look to the rest of the scene.
Adobe’s script-creation tool now lets writers create scene-based tags to better plan productions, send changes quickly to everyone on a crew, and edit call sheets for the best use of resources.
Adobe Encore, the disc-creation program that works with Premiere Pro, is apparently not a part of Adobe’s efforts moving forward.
Look for a formal announcement of the next version of Adobe’s commercial suites in the near future, we’re guessing. But for now, Adobe is hoping to make a splash at NAB with this sneak peek.