Just installed After Effects CC with Cineware here at work (yes, after 8 weeks sick I’m back at my office!) and what can I say? It’s in every aspect as awful as I thought it would be. The performance simply sucks even with the simplest extruded text and then it keeps bugging you that the settings must match. Somewhere along the lines someone also seems to have forgotten that in After Effects you can pan the camera without actually having a camera layer and the thing refuses to acknowledge that behavior by just using the default editor cam in the C4D file. Oh my… Well, really time to wait for CS8 before that becomes even remotely relevant for what I would want to do with it, I guess. Still, I should probably consider myself lucky not having experienced any breakdowns with my Adobe Application Manager. The forums are already full of them not 24 hours after the launch and I predict the next few days will bring a Tsunami of complaints…. What a nightmare.
I got up at 4 in the morning today because the pain in my abdomen and thorax once more prevented me from catching a few more hours of sleep and realized that today would actually be my 17th doctor appointment in those last 8 weeks. This means there were on average 2 per week and if I hadn’t cancelled two of my scheduled quarterly inspections even more. *yikes* The 17th of June also carries a certain historical significance here in Germany as a day of remembrance of a popular uprising known as the June worker revolt back in 1953. It’s the 60th anniversary, so everyone is a bit more all over it than usual. And of course how can we forget that today the new Creative Cloud versions for the Adobe products will be released. I’m sure that soon enough the forums will be full with that stuff and crappy Cineware tutorials pop up everywhere, but well, what can you do… That will be fun explaining people how to create a sphere in Cinema 4D. *lol*
Ah yes… There I was, taking my error code database offline without realizing how I quite literally shot myself in the foot with my forum work. So what did I do? Yepp, I put it back up. Quite exemplary of the love-hate relationship I have with that thing (and Adobe). On one hand it would be sad to let almost 10 years of work go to waste, on the other hand I don’t quite know how to keep it running. Too much work, too much money, not enough time and energy. That sort of thing, y’know. For now it’s back in business and perhaps I can figure out how to secure financing for it in the future. Since everybody seems to be surfing from mobile devices and the orange button may appear a bit tiny, let’s start by making it more prominent:
Yoda says: “Hit the button you must!”
It’s that time of the year again… It’s Apple‘s WWDC and aside from the usual updates to iOS and OSX, this time around of course the new Mac Pros are everyone’s favorite topic, so let’s have a little fun dissecting it as well.
On the After Effects mailing list I jokingly recommended calling it SLUF because, well, it just looks ugly. Gone is the shiny perforated aluminium casing that made PC users jealous (for a while, anyway; there are reasonably tasteful and equally easily accessible casings these days) and it has been replaced with what Steve Oakley called a round trashcan design and I would have to concur. It looks like a design student’s nightmare and reminds me of all those Bose or whatever HiFi speakers – by trying to be all to “tasteful”, the uniqueness is lost. Or if you want to see it the other way around, this is just the same as SGI‘s attempts of being all too different with their workstations in the 1990s (O2 and Octane looking like oversized toasters and the 320 with its oval front flap looking all too egg-like, if you care to remember) and merely looking ridiculous. As far as I’m concerned, it gets a big fail for overall appearance.
The tech specs are equally odd. Let’s start with the alleged magical data transfer rates. A slightly acerbic Bob Currier gave me flak when I commented on someone opening up the SSD can of worms and this being my usual cynicism about not getting my desires, but really, it’s not about that. At the moment, unless you buy a super-expensive FusionIO PCI card, you can’t achieve the promised data rates using conventional SSDs. In conclusion this means that if they have such a system it’s gonna be equally costly and in turn this means it will be limited in storage size considerably, impairing its practical relevance. After one and a half year this article is still one of the most popular on my dirty little blog and clearly in it I’m recommending turning of the disk cache because it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Now imagine what impact turning on the cache on your super-expensive new machine would have, when it eats away from those 512 GB or whatever? It’s that what worries me. Ultimately you might find yourself in a position where you have spent a lot of money on something you can’t use. It’s an old editor’s truth: You can stuff your Fibrechannel storage server with as many fast disk as you want, you’ll never feel like you have enough. This would be no different, but several times more costly.
Another point of concern is of course the graphics hardware, namely the move to AMD processors. It’s funny that as an outspoken skeptic of all that GPU processing nonsense and Adobe‘s atrocious GPU raytracer in CS6 exploding in everyone’s face I should stand here pleading for CUDA, but yeah, it is kinda important, which people using plug-ins like Turbulence FD in Cinema 4D or GenArts Sapphire in After Effects can attest to. Of course the more CUDA is being replaced by OpenCL, the less it will be a problem, but for now it’s something people have on their minds. Triple 4k output sounds nice on paper, but is once again going to be a pretty costly proposition, if you really want to make use of it. Is there actually even already a 4k monitor out there for people to buy? I’m not sure.
Don’t get me wrong: For all it is, these are merely random ponderings because in my 8th week with an infection I seem to have too much time to speculate, but the whole thing seems rather *naff*. The thing is that by now even an iMac or any other “normal” PC have plenty of juice and unless you are an extreme power user, you don’t actually need expensive workstations to get your work done. Or in other words: I don’t see where this is supposed to fit and Apple could just as well have the Mac Pro let die off for good and nobody would have noticed (except the most ardent Apple disciples). It strikes me as a deluxe iMac for editors that want to do 4k in FCP or something like that, but without the expansibility required to really take this to a new level (no, expensive Thunderbolt components don’t count; Who outside Apple uses Thunderbolt, anyway?)
Oh, and before I forget: Elsewhere E-on have come to their senses and restructured their product range for The Plant Factory. I guess users threatening to move over to SpeedTree en masse got them thinking. Still, the price just seems too high for a tool of this type…
…financially, that is. I went over my bank account extracts lately and realized that this thing is costing real money which I no longer have and so I’ve taken down the After Effects Error Code Database for good. It was never much more than a hobbyist obsession of mine and has now become too costly to maintain. With my health issues and the bad influence it has on my job situation I need to scrounge for every last penny and doing paid work is just more important at this point and I have to cut down on other activities. The bitter irony is that now of course the moaning and groaning will start over again on the After Effects mailing list and elsewhere, but to be blunt: If those hypocrites had hit that orange button as much as they make a fuss about the site’s demise, we wouldn’t be here – again, after an admittedly somewhat rushed shutdown back then in a similar critical situation and equally pointless comments from all sides. If you know some investor who’d spring the money or want to start a Kickstarter campaign, then for the right price it can be all yours/ resurrected, but otherwise you shouldn’t keep your hopes up that it will ever come back. I’m not giving it away for free…
As promised two days ago, I’m now rolling out a bit of stuff. Not much, not particularly exciting, but well, perhaps it’s still useful to someone. Recently I had read several posts about how to create globes or spherical clouds of layers and I have already been pointing people to my IBL Toolkit and other projects, but naturally modifying the expressions may not be trivial to some, so I sat down and crafted my own version of the whole. It has its issues, since I was simply too lazy to write my own solver to get clean Euler angles and instead merely relied on the orientation parameter, but if you carefully avoid such crooked parameters, it can still look nice. Each layer from the cloud can be pulled out and animated on its own, so you should be able to get all those “Oh, look at that cute baby shot!” presentations you can want. Get the good stuff here.
Ah, E-on, you started off so well and now you screwed it! With pricing information now being available, I can only say this is so typical of them – milking the customer for every last penny. There’s 4 versions of the whole thing and naturally only the biggest, most expensive one gives you full freedom in creation. If that weren’t bad enough, they want you to exchange stuff only via their own Cornucopia system, which is ridiculous. Sad to see how greedy they are and want to control everything. Well, no thanks and goodbye. It’s been fun watching this the last few weeks and now you blew it! I’d rather keep my money and try my luck with what I have or whatever I can find elsewhere.