Yepp, it’s once more time to talk about Star Wars. With the new trailer just coming online and a nice selection of images, how could we possibly avoid it? While I was less than impressed with the first teaser, this is much more like it. That crashed battle cruiser in the desert in the opening shot alone is just awesome! It’s actually the first time you get a feeling for how big those things are (supposed to be), something which the old movies never managed to pull off and even the “new” Episode I – III never managed. Either way, it feels very cinematic. Now if only they could do away with those hokey references to The Force…
Aside from having limited access to it way back then with version 4 (my computer sucked, so I actually never pursued it fully), I’ve long been salivating over Nuke and finally there’s a chance to get a bit into it (again) with the “free” non-commercial edition. As much as I hate to say it, nothing beats the original and while for a free tool it’s not bad, my little excursion with Natron ended up too frustrating (some really annoying bugs in there), so it’s obviously clear which I’m gonna use to idle a bit of time away to toy around when I’m in the mood. Between this and Fusion things are looking great for “serious” compositing. The latter is now available for Mac as well and Blackmagic have also added more compositing goodies to DaVinci Resolve like a 3D tracker. One could spend an entire lifetime just geeking out on all of those programs. I could watch colored tracker tails all day. ;-)
Over the years it has become trés chic to hate on Autodesk, mainly for sucking the marrow from their customer’s bones with annual updates without doing much in terms of really developing the programs and fixing legacy issues. Project XBR (a re-designed MAX based on nodal workflows) had been demoed several years and yet never made an appearance and aside from overhauling the viewport nothing much seemed to happen with Maya, either. That now has changed quite radically in a positive sense and you can color me impressed! New interface! More Bifrost! Nodal modelling! Reworked Hypershade! Rig evaluation performance! Really not bad, even more so if you think about the long-term like re-using things like nodes in other areas. MAX might be rid of the clunky Modifier Stack, after all?!
Fighting the good fight I just wrote some articles illustrating how insane our public health system can be and perhaps you care to read them and sign the petition (if you are from Germany).
Deine Unterschrift für meine Windel!
Your Signature for my Nappy!
Since my mom is a teacher, she got it in her head to give her soon to be ex-students a custom photo calendar as a parting gift. While I’m generally proud of her embracing computers even at a late age (she only started when she was around 50), she’s the “Your mom nuked the Internet.” type and thus it fell onto me to do the actual design. Doing so once more confirmed why I hate photo books. Now I’m critical of the mess that is Adobe‘s software all the time, but wait until you have to use one of those “design” tools hacked together with standard libraries like Qt and some Open Source stuff. Calling it atrocious doesn’t even begin to cover it. In the end I again ended up designing the full pages in Photoshop and just plopping them into the software. This also had the benefit of being able to salvage my mom’s flashlight shots and doing proper color corrections – at just 1.53 m height she’s even shorter than most of her students now, which I guess explains it… ;-)
As I hinted yesterday, more info on the next version of what once used to be my favorite geek toy, After Effects, has publicly become available. And what can I tell you? Yepp, once more we need to chalk it off as a so-so release at best.
Integration of Creative Cloud Libraries? Seriously? What have we come to! It’s not that the world would need another way for people that barely know how their computer runs to download templates and stock content. *umpf*
The “uninterrupted previews” are ambiguous. Granted, a bit of unification and native playback performance doesn’t hurt, but I mostly feel that this caters to the above crowds that never learned what a RAM preview is as well as editors that merely use After Effects as an elaborate title generator. It’s also obvious from the way it works now that while you can slap on stuff while it plays, it’s still going to budge if your assets are large or you use effects and features that do more than just add a few color corrections or blurs. In my opinion it’s simply trying to solve the equation from the wrong end, as ironically better effects performance and thus potentially smoothly scrubbing often would eliminate the need to actually play back your timeline.
Finally, what really kinda sets me off is the Face Tracker. I mean as amazing as the technology is, but do we really need the fourth/ fifth separate tracking method? We have the legacy 2D tracker, mochaAE, the 3D tracker and a bit of rigid mask tracking and none of it really works together and now this… Wouldn’t it make much more sense to have a unified tracking architecture where we can just hit an Analyze button, select a bunch of the automatically generated trackers or add manual ones and then decide whether they give us a corner pin, we want to add some 3D text or those markers are the anchors of a mask? If you get my meaning: It’s beginning to get ridiculous when you have to learn all these separate tools with their individual settings, no matter how useful e.g. the masks it generates may be for “digital makeup”. Will we see a specialised “belly button and nipples tracker” one day or will they finally get the message? *sigh*
Adobe Character Animator (demoed on last year’s Adobe MAX as Project Animal) is a bit odd to me, not just for the extremely unimaginative name. Mostly I fear that this will set off an avalanche of poorly acted and completely unimaginative presentations where people are hiding behind their digital character. YouTube is going to be flooded with stuff from kids. Mark my words: We all are going to hate it. Beyond those reservations it looks like an interesting tool, though you probably shouldn’t expect to get a Gollum performance out of it. After all, the hallmark of good character animation and acting has always been finding the balance between going over the top to give a unique personality and capturing all the subtleties, which solely relying on such automated technology doesn’t deliver (yet). While for the time being it’s limited to 2D, it might also be interesting to export some basic setups to a 3D program…
NAB will be starting tomorrow and while we’re waiting for Adobe to release their news for After Effects “oooh-ficially”, here’s a little diversion for you:
modo 901 Sneaky Peeky
FXGuide also have some complimentary info on other areas of the new version As always, the forums are burning with speculation, but suffice it to say that that you don’t necessarily get to see everything your parents do even when looking through their bedroom window… ;-)