Adobe Creative Cloud 2014
There is a point in software development where a company must pivot on what they are focusing on.
With Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, I believe that while they are adding additional features into the toolset, they are turning more toward refining how the tools work together.
They’ve already begun to establish this connectivity, but with the latest versions, these connections are becoming more robust, with Premiere Pro being the center hub for the other production-centric CC products.
And before all the compositors, sound designers, and colorists get bent out of shape, you all must concede to the fact that editorial is the driving core of the production. It just is. All post-production decisions are determined (and changed) because of the cut. So I think Adobe has made the right choice.
The most intriguing, and perhaps most innovative, features are between Premiere Pro and After Effects. Frequently in broadcast work, there is a lot of information embedded into design work – like for lower thirds. Often that requires going back to the compositor, changing the data, re-rendering and letting the editor know it’s done. Lots of points of failure in that path.
Now, the After Effects artist can flag text in the comp so that the editor can access and change it from within Premiere Pro, boiled down to just those items he needs to worry about. Used correctly, I think this can be a total time-saver.
Editors also can create masks in Premiere Pro — and track them — without having to request it from the compositor. That data is easily ported back to After Effects for more refined work.
And speaking of masks, the new flexible masking tools allow you to mask effects. No more making additional layers or adjustment layers and masking those. Just make a mask and apply it to that color grade. I’ve only been waiting 20 years for this feature. Game-changer. Tip to AE artists: Learn this. Just ask Nuke guys how important this feature is.
After Effects has a new keying power pack with a preset of Keylight, Key Cleaner and Advance Spill Suppressor, designed specifically with troubling greenscreens in mind — especially with motion blur, transparency and spill.
Speed Grade and Premiere Pro are even friendlier than before, sharing the Lumetri color grades, and now those grades and effects can be applied to entire slips through the Master Clip, affecting all the instances of a clip throughout the cut without having to apply the effect to each. And these changes propagate back and forth between Speed Grade and Premiere Pro.
Prelude, Story, Audition and Media Encoder received a few minor upgrades aiding in the overall workflow, especially with controlling and tracking metadata, but the big changes are listed above. And some of them are, indeed, big changes within deceptively small tweaks.
Persona 4 is a welcome rarity: An animated series based on a computer game that people who’ve never played the game can enjoy. When his parents go abroad for work, Yu Narukami is sent from Tokyo to live with his uncle and niece in the flyspeck town of Inaba. He expects he’s in for a boring year at Yasogami High, but a mysterious killer starts leaving bodies sprawled on old TV antennas aroudn town. As he befriends klutzy Yosuke, bossy Chie, shy Yukiko and tough guy Kanji, Yu learns about the eerie “midnight channel.” On rainy nights, bizarre images appear on television at the stroke of midnight. Yu also learns that he and his new friends can pass through TV screens into an alternate world that’s somehow linked to the midnight channel — and the murders. But when they enter the world, each teenager has to face the embodiement of the aspect of his personality he most dislikes. Yukiko, who works diligently at her family’s traditional inn, longs for a freedom she also fears. Kanji, who beat the sushi out of a local gang of biker toughs, fears being mocked because he likes “cute little shit,” including the animal charms he sews. When they acknowledge the flaws as part of themseves, the characters receive magical cards that summon their Personas, supernatural alter-egos who can slay the resident demons. With the special powers that come with being the “Wild Card,” Yu becomes the leader of the group.
The story rambles at times, and the plot about solving the eerie murder falls by the wayside in the second half of the show. Yu and his friends become a gang of fairly ordinary teen-agers, attending the inevitable school festivals and class trips. Romantic crushes lead to slapstick comedy. Teddie, a melodramatic (and sometimes annoying) little bear who guides the friends through the alternate world, assumes human form in the real one—and pursues both Yukiko and Kanji. Some of the writing is very clever, especially the way the two linked “Stormy Summer Vacation” episodes play off each other. The designs for the Persona creatures have an off-beat flamboyance that contrasts nicely with urban grit of the alternate world settings.
The two elaborate final battles may tie into the ongoing series of Playstation games, but they feel unnecessary and over-the-top. Yu and his friends are engaging group — even without special effects.
of their ill-tempered headmaster The Gromble (Gregg Burger) and his assistant Zimbo (Tim Curry). Mad props to Shout! for offering another way for children of the 1990s to relive some of the highlights of their after school hours.
[Release date: June 10]
The release includes all 39 episodes from season three, which first aired from September 2011 to September 2012. The release also includes commentaries and featurettes, including one in which show creator and executive producer J.G. Quintel talks about why he likes to work in animation.
With the show currently airing its fifth season, we caught up with Quintel for a DVD-inspired walk down memory lane. Animag: Looking back at the third season, what was significant about it for you in terms of the development of the show? Well, it was a big change for us because we’d already done our first two seasons, which the network wanted to really focus on Mordecai and Rigby. All the stories needed to be Mordecai- and Rigby-centric. Once we had those 40 done, we started opening it up to the secondary characters, so we got to see more stories that focused on Skip and Benson and Pops and Muscle Man, and get to know more about them. So it makes for a nicer blend, as far as all the episodes go. And then, we have some really great episodes in there. Our Emmy-winning episode, “Eggscellent,” is in season three, and a bunch of my favorite episodes. Animag: Do you like working in the quarter-hour format? What are the advantages for you of working in that format? I’m definitely more comfortable in the 11-minute format because I came up in the industry doing that. I was on Camp Lazlo and then Flapjack, and they both utilized the 11-minute format, so I kind of understand how long everything should be when we’re writing these things up. But we do have a few half-hour episodes that we have done and they’re really satisfying when you pull them off. But every time we try them they are very difficult. I do enjoy doing the 11-minute format, but when the 30 minutes work, they can be really awesome. I have a lot of respect for the guys who are doing shows that are “only” 30 minutes because it is really hard to write those things. Animag: Some shows take a while to find their groove. Was this that sort of season for you guys? Or do you feel like you’d already found it by that point?
We were getting close to it, but season three we defi- nitely started to jell more. People really took the show on and understood it, and at this point everybody had 40 episodes under their belts, so people were getting better at it. There were less revisions to be done on our end, as far as overseeing it. And if you look at the credits you’ll notice that in seasons one and two, I had storyboarded or helped to storyboard quite a few of the episodes. And then in season three, there’s only maybe one or two, because everybody was really getting it, and we’d hired on a few more board artists so that the crew was kind of filling in and we were starting to run a little more smoothly. Animag: Was there anything about that season that surprised you or turned out really well or made you think, “I never thought we’d get to do that!”? The Mordecai-Margaret storyline, and the way it shaped up. Initially, when Cartoon Network picked up the show, they wanted all standalone episodes. And they didn’t want to do anything that felt serialized. It always needed to restart, so we were fresh for the next episode. But we did start putting in this romantic arc between Mordecai and Margaret, where he was kind of pursuing her, or at least seeing her from afar, and we were being very blatant about it. And then, by the end of the season, to end up with him trying to kiss her and messing it up and then wanting to take it back was kind of a big step for us. Usually, you try to stay away from stories like that because you don’t want to damage the relationship structures that you have built. Animag: You mentioned you had brought in some new storyboard artists. Was there anything on the visual end of things with the animation that stands out from season three? I think it was one of the seasons where you could really start to tell that everything was clicking. If you look at season one, you can really tell they just started, because the characters look a little off model and they’re a little wonky here and there. There’s some scenes that are pretty sloppy looking. And then, once we get to season three, it’s all really tight. The style has been set. We know what it needs to look like every time, so it’s That can happen. Because all the episodes, you’re so close to and you have to go over them so many times where they’re burned into your brain permanently. And when you get those ones where you’re a little late and you’re like, “Well, this is the best we can do for this one.” And there’s still a couple of stories where they’re not my favorites because we were still making small mistakes in the writers room, where we’d push something through and then realize there’s a structural problem, but there’s also some episodes that are really awesome, where I’m like, “Everything about that one worked! How come that one did and that one didn’t?” And it’s a learning experience to go back through so much later and be able to have fresh eyes and just watch them and kind of enjoy them and have a couple of those memories pop up whether they’re good or bad. Animag: You have season five airing now and you’re up for season six, so you are going to be at this for a while longer. Yes. We have a ways to go and we’re still coming up with some of our best episodes, even now, which is really exciting for me because after 150 in the writers room, you come up with a lot of episodes that sound great and then people are like, “We already did that.”