Adobe offers a “studio in a box”



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Hi there, I’m Joaquim Menezes Web Editor of IT World Canada. I’m here at the Adobe offices in Toronto to find out more about Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Premium – a comprehensive post-production suite. Production Premium integrates a range of Adobe video, audio and design tool, and is available for both Mac as well as Windows. With me to talk about the product is Colin Smith, a Senior Adobe Solutions Architect with more than 10 years experience, who is a much sought after instructor in Adobe products.

Colin, Production Premium CS3 combines a very wide range of tools – graphic design tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, video production software like Premiere, After Effects and OnLocation, and other applications that would typically used by audio professionals such as Soundbooth. What’s the rationale for including such a wide range of applications in one suite?

Well, first of all, although these are used by professionals, Production Premium does have some beautiful jewels in it such as Soundbooth. Soundbooth is for audio editing purposes, but it was made simple for video editors. Video editors aren’t necessarily audio experts. So the whole application is a visual application. If you want to make something louder you can actually see it getting louder or quieter instead of actually putting in numbers such as DBs.

The other inclusion is the application of things like Illustrator and Photoshop. They are very important. Because if I’m doing a corporate video, maybe someone gave me the logo of the company in a format that video doesn’t understand. Well, maybe something like Adobe Illustrator can actually import that and give it to After Effects and Premiere as an application it could use. So all the applications integrate really well.

So who is Production Premium CS3 targeted at?

It’s targeted at anyone who is creating media – whether it is for feature films, or all the way down to mobile phones. We wanted to make an application that wasn’t just for the video geeks. If I’m a corporation and I need to create dynamic information and everything I’ve used up to now is Power Point, you know it’s a perfect time to start looking at animation and video. And those words shouldn’t scare people who aren’t used to it.

Which individual products in the Production Premium suite have been significantly updated from the Production Studio version, and which entirely new applications have been added to the CS3 version that weren’t in Production Studio?

Well every single product has been enhanced. And some of them have been brought into the Mac Platform that weren’t there. In December 2006, we purchased a company called Serious Magic, which had something called DV Rack and Ultra. We’ve re-branded that as OnLocation and Ultra. They are in the box. Ultra is really interesting for being able to use green screen and blue screen technology. Ultra doesn’t mind if you have DV cameras doing that.

The stuff you see in professional [programs], where you have the weather man standing there and he’s cut out of the background, those are broadcast quality cameras that have a lot of colour. DV cameras have a lot less colour, so taking somebody out of the background is hard. Well that’s what Ultra does. It’s meant to get somebody out of the background and move them into a new environment. And we ship with 3-D environments. People should go online and look at some of the animations.

And the last one that’s brand new is OnLocation, formerly called DV Rack. It takes any laptop and turns it into a digital video recorder, a vectroscope, waveform scope and a field monitor. So if you’re tired about looking at that tiny little display where you’re capturing video, you could be looking at a large 1024 x 768 monitor and seeing exactly what the tape would see. It’s a beautiful solution for capturing video.

Can you explain the capabilities and benefits of the Dynamic Link feature?

Dynamic Link is a revolutionary new technology that works between After Effects CS3, Premiere Pro CS3, and Encore CS3. And here’s a typical situation or typical time you would use it: Let’s say you’ve got your video cut in Premiere and you want to create an animated title.

That animated title is something you would create in After Effects. In the past you would have to render a movie, and that would be mean waiting and wasting time just to place it in the timeline Premiere Pro. So many of our customers do this that we wanted to make that [process] seamless. So Dynamic Link is a background technology. You never see it. You just get the benefits from it.

You simply drag After Effects compositions into your Premiere Project, drop it on the timeline and it updates.

So Colin, what are some of the cool things you can do with the Shape Layers feature?

Well the Shape Layers can also include things like text from Illustrator. So if you wanted to create a 1,000 copies of a logo, you simply open that in Illustrator, copy that actual shape of the vector logo, drop it into After Effects and you can use all these interactive tools within After Effects to create all these multiple interactive shapes that are blending on each other, that are going into the horizon – all with one object.

Can you describe the Puppet tool within After Effects? Your literature says it enables you to imbue a 2-D image with life-like characteristics. How?

Definitely. Well look at the typical way that people would do very primitive animations. They would take my arm and chop it into three Photoshop layers and then move one layer around. And it looks like a puppet – a traditional puppet, that doesn’t look very life-like at all. What the puppet tool does is it gives you a push pin. So imagine you can put the push pin in my hand and as you move my hand, it pulls the rest of my arm along which is very realistic.

Another example is if I wanted to create an expression of smiling on a dog. Dogs can’t smile, but it sure would look cool to have a dog smiling. So you basically take a photograph in Photoshop. You put puppet tool push pins in the areas you want to move.

And there’s another tool – the Starch tool – and you click on the areas you don’t want to move. So you could deform the mouth, deform the nose, make the dog’s eye go up, simply by clicking and moving these pushpins around.

If there’s audio at the same time. Say you wanted the dog haaa – and you actually wanted to have that sound in there, you could be listening to the sound as you are pushing and animating the face. It’s very lifelike. Some of the examples I’ve seen looked so real I actually thought it was video.

So typically who do you see using this tool?

Well there are a lot of South Park wannabes out there that want to create video animation. And because it’s so easy, you can take any photograph…any family photograph and start to animate that very easily. But I could think of people using this in many different areas: medical, forensics – anytime you want

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