Premier

Adobe’s Software Development Teams Need To Get a Clue.

adobeYesterday I finally broke down and installed all of the software upgrades that Adobe’s Creative Cloud had been pushing on me since they were announced at Adobe Max. While the process of running the upgrades wasn’t painful (at first) it was time-consuming (and still is). So let’s get to this. If you haven’t upgraded yet, be prepared to spend a boat load of time being involved with this process. Not because the initial upgrade will eat your day, but because the aftermath will. Why? because the Adobe software engineering team failed to take into account that an upgrade involves more than just their base software. It involves all the third-party plugins, presets scripts, and additional add-ons that most of use to extend Adobe’s software and make it more functional.

The new upgrade installs completely new versions of the Creative Cloud suite. That’s right it doesn’t actually upgrade your existing software base, it installs a brand new version of each piece of software you use. Adobe, this is an engineering fail and let me explain why. By installing a new version of the software as opposed to overwriting the existing software you force me to spend hours downloading and reinstalling hundreds of third-party add-ons across 14 applications that were upgraded in a single move. Now I know I am probably an exception to the rule since I use more than the average Joe when it comes to your software suite, but even for people only using, let’s say Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, this sucks. For instance, I have to now download and reinstall just for Photoshop the Nik plugin pack, Topaz Denoise, Natural HDR, Luminosity mask scripts, all of the actions I had created for previous versions, and a handful of other plugins and scripts. For After Effects it’s even worse I have to download and reinstall the entire Red Giant suite, (Particular, Light Factory, Composite Wizard, Holomatrix, Warp, Text Anarchy, Plane Space, Lux, Shine, Starglow, 3D Stroke, Sound Keys, Mir, Tow, Form, Looks, Colorista, Primatte, and about 8 more), not to mention scripts like Ease and Wizz and about 10 others.

This is a giant time suck, and time is money.

Adobe is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to creative software. If you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, filmmaker, typographer, sound designer, videographer, or artist you probably use at least one Adobe product if not components from the entire suite, and you are probably using Adobe’s Creative Cloud to stay current. Like many of you, I have a love-hate relationship with the Creative Cloud. I love that it keeps me up to date. I hate that every time there is a major upgrade I have to go through this bullshit. I get that Adobe moved to the Creative Cloud set up to combat software piracy, and control versioning across a large distribution base. What I don’t get is why after 3 or 4 years of pushing everyone to use the Creative Cloud, no one at Adobe has figured out that their upgrade process truly sucks. It’s broken. The user experience after making the upgrade is pure crap. It’s a gigantic time suck, and it could be avoided. The thing is, when you are the only game in town, you don’t have to make things right for your customer base

The thing is, when you are the only game in town, you don’t have to make things right for your customer base. You just keep doing what you are doing, because the chances of being dethroned after 30 years is pretty small. Adobe if you are listening, and I doubt you are, I am going to spend the better part of a day completing the upgrade to CC 2017, because your software engineering team didn’t feel that it was important enough to create an actual “Upgrade” as opposed to a complete new install. A new install that left legacy versions of 10 applications sitting on my hard drive wasting space, and is forcing me to track down essential tools I need to complete my workflow and reinstall them.

I know there are alternative tool sets available, but like so many I have bought into the Adobe workflow, and have spent decades learning to use these tools to master my craft. For lack of a better term, Adobe has me by the balls, and they know I am too invested to give them up. Consequently, it feels as though they have stopped giving a damn about the total user experience which involves maintenance like upgrades, but hey they added some new features to Photoshop I’ll probably never use.

I wonder if I can send them a bill for the time I’ll spend installing everything else I need to make the current updates fully functional with my workflow?

 

UPDATE: Like pouring salt in an open wound, if you are a Mac user, all of the applications in your Dock no longer work so you get to spend additional time removing all of them and adding the new application updates back in.

dock

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2 Cameras, 1 Phone, and 100 or so Balloons.

Over the last year I have been doing a little experiment using mixed video and audio sources in a series of small video productions. No commercial projects just a series of personal projects to test workflow, camera  comparisons, and end results. The video below was shot a couple of weeks back at the Great Midwest Balloon festival on a Canon 5D MkII, and Olympus OMD EM-1, an iPhone 4s, and 5. All the footage was imported directly into Adobe Premier, with video stabilizing, and color correction being handled by After Effects.

What I was looking for was could I spot the difference between cameras, and how would the Adobe workflow handle the differing camera footage when they were mixed. I have to say, once again I am pretty impressed with the way things turned out. The OMD did a great job, and it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the footage it produced from the 5D. Even the iPhone footage when color balanced and graded in After Effects looks pretty impressive, and blends in just fine with that from the larger cameras. It’s pretty amazing just how much things have changed form a shooting and editing perspective in just the last few years. I never would have tried this five years ago.

“Exodus”

Trapcode makes some of the best plugins in the world for After Effects. I can honestly say, that doing my job would be a hell of a lot more difficult without their suite of tools, that I use daily in After Effects, and Premier. The video below was commissioned by Trapcode to showcase new and existing plugins focusing specifically on Mir.

EXODUS, is an animated short film by director/designer Magnus Östergren of Potemkin. It has a stunning look to it. The score is fantastic, and it shows the true power of the Trapcode suite in action. While this animated short could have been made without their tools, I’m sure using them made Östergren’s workflow a whole lot easier, and I know that these tools made the finished look of this film what it is.

Music and visuals by Magnus Östergren
Production management by Thomas Oger
Produced by POTEMKIN
Commissioned by TRAPCODE

Newton. Physics for After Effects

As a designer that works primarily with dynamic, and interactive media, I spend a large portion of my day using applications like Adobe After Effects. Actually I spend most of my day bouncing between After Effects, Premier, PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Audition these days. One thing I am always looking for is a way to improve my work, and if possible simplify the process.

Earlier today while looking for a real physics engine for After Effects, I came across Newton. This plugin has been out for a while, and is currently on version 1.2. I however just discovered it, and it looks really promising. Available from Motion Boutique, the plugin features: Gravity, friction, bounce, resistance, elasticity, collision detection, and a time divider for super slow motion.

At around $250.00 depending on the exchange rates its not cheap, but well worth the money if you need an easy to use solution for any of the features mentioned above.

Newton for Adobe After Effects, first tech demo. from motionboutique on Vimeo.

Studio B for Adobe’s CS6 Suite.

Studio B has created a really amazing stinger to promote Adobe’s latest release of their creative suite. The visuals used were created by various artist Adobe hired to create imagery with the suite of tools. Imagery that represents Adobe’s paradigm shift for their whole creative suite line and the re-thinking of the creative process that Adobe has engaged in.

What I really like about this piece is the fact that its not a “tools demo”. Instead it represents the beautiful artwork created by the artist Adobe commissioned, and highlights what can be created with their tools.

Adobe CS6 Stinger Video / Animation 3:1 ratio from Studio B Films on Vimeo.

producer: Jane Selle Morgan
creative director: Aaron Barry
motion designers: Devin Earthman, Michael Rigley
music: Johnny Random

FontShop Plugins For Photoshop and now Illustrator.

As every graphic designer knows, fonts are expensive, and needed in quantity to do good work. Owning a vast library of fonts can be extremely expensive, but required in order to show your clients a variety of type stylings before taking a design concept to its final stages. Thankfully plugins for Creative Suite applications are starting to make it possible to browse and preview fonts from vendors directly within layouts without purchasing them first. This is huge for designers on tight budgets or not in a position to layout thousands of dollars on complete type libraries.

One of them, the FontShop plugin, which seems to have been stuck in a beta mode for a lifetime now, has now been extended to Mac and Windows Illustrator CS3-CS6.If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot. I have been using it with Photoshop since CS4, and it has been a lifesaver when dealing with needy clients that can’t make up their mind on a specific look for a project. Now I wish they would add InDesign, After Effects, and Premier support as well.

The Story Behind Adobe’s CS6 Desktop Brand System

I haven’t upgraded to Adobe Creative Suite CS6 yet. I simply can’t afford it right now, and I’ve only been using CS5.5 for about 9 months. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been following the changes, upgrades, and new features at the Adobe site though. Today, while I was perusing the Adobe blog, I came across a really interesting article talking about the number of branded assets that now go into the entire creative suite. These assets comprise everything from application icons, to packaging, and splash screens. Much to my surprise, I found out there are now 5000 shared branded assets. That’s right 5000, and it takes a year to produce all of them.

With software refresh cycles happening every 12 to 18 months, you can bet money that the marketing design team for Adobe is well underway with the branding redesign for CS7. The entire article is on the Adobe Blog and well worth the read if you are a designer, or simply use any of these tools.

“It takes well over a year to design, execute, deliver, and ensure the proper implementation of the roughly 5,000 or so assets it takes to get a CS release out the door (we’re already thinking about CS7). Along the away, there are innumerable institutional, technological, and political hurdles to overcome. It can be daunting, but we do everything we can to get it made with as few design compromises as possible.”