Adobe Cre­ative Cloud 2014

Animation Magazine - - Visual Effects -

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.”

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