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Cosmo Ray

Autodesk Smoke

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I'm in the midst of a three day training session for Smoke. So far—coming from an Adobe/Cinema perspective—it feels really cumbersome and frustrating. It seems like not many people here use it, not sure if that's cause of the price tag or learning curve, but I'm curious to hear your opinions on it. If it was closer to the price of After Effects, would you be more likely to use it?

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FFI and Smoke have pretty specific applications ie. client in the room sessions, quick changes, versioning & finishing. They've always been dependent on hardware for their workflow system, so comparisons to software only apps are not always relevant. It works with the Agency model of post, but with ever shrinking budgets even they may start to question the model. It has it's place, but if you're struggling to figure out how it might fit into your post workflow, then you probably don't need it.

That being said, personally I'd rather have AE or Nuke, C4D & PPro or FCP. More and more, C4D is at the core of everything I do.

-mike

 

 

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if you do a lot of editing and compositing. If you have to work at uncompressed resolutions and have the tape out by fedEx. smoke/flame and the like are well suited for that.

My running line has always been that AE is infinitely more flexible but if you need the speed and need to edit smoke might be what you need.

Smoke/flame have no "real" 3D creation tools per se, though I've seen some absurdly creative uses of 3D text to get the job done.

Previously, I had been on smoke for 10+yrs, but haven't been on it a lot lately. Things and machines change.

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Have you tried the tracker? It blows any other tracker out of the water.

 

Any heavy beauty retouching work is also done way better and faster in there.

 

Great finishing tool

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I have been running Smoke since V5. Now on 2011. It does take a bit of wrapping your mind around how it thinks, and some of it is pretty old school thought process. But it continues to be developed and each version is better than the last.

The-area.com has lots of good tutorials and tips and forums for Autodesk and Smoke/Flame

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Can somebody explain "Finishing" to me? No sarcasm meant.

 

Also known as 'online' at times. It when you take an edl from an offline edit session and do what needs to be done to make a finished project. Which commonly includes:

 

- Reconforming the edit at full res/ uncompressed

- DOing touch ups (removing film dirt, cloning wires, removing unapproved badging or signs, etc)

- Basic color corrections assuming your final selecvts were done by a colorist. If not then maybe full color correction

- removing objects, replacing objects, compositing elements from 2D library or 3D elements given to you.

 

Doing slates and layout to tape. If the 'art card' at the end is simple then it maybe done by the online dude. But in my observation if it's more graphic oriented it's usually passed to a mograph type guy using AE/3D package.

 

As a side note I want to plug the Avid DS which IMO smokes the smoke and is a complete pleasure to work with. Even though it's owned by evil AVID, it was created and still maintained by Softimage. I've had one now for 5 years and love every minute on it. Editing like media composer, paint system like PS in motion, node based compositing, fantastic media management. Completely open way of working how you want.

 

http://www.avid.com/US/products/Avid-DS

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Also known as 'online' at times. It when you take an edl from an offline edit session and do what needs to be done to make a finished project. Which commonly includes:

 

- Reconforming the edit at full res/ uncompressed

- DOing touch ups (removing film dirt, cloning wires, removing unapproved badging or signs, etc)

- Basic color corrections assuming your final selecvts were done by a colorist. If not then maybe full color correction

- removing objects, replacing objects, compositing elements from 2D library or 3D elements given to you.

 

Doing slates and layout to tape. If the 'art card' at the end is simple then it maybe done by the online dude. But in my observation if it's more graphic oriented it's usually passed to a mograph type guy using AE/3D package.

 

As a side note I want to plug the Avid DS which IMO smokes the smoke and is a complete pleasure to work with. Even though it's owned by evil AVID, it was created and still maintained by Softimage. I've had one now for 5 years and love every minute on it. Editing like media composer, paint system like PS in motion, node based compositing, fantastic media management. Completely open way of working how you want.

 

http://www.avid.com/...roducts/Avid-DS

 

 

-I demo'd that back when it was Softimage DS. It was pretty pricey at the time, but I remember their version of the node tree was very cool. How is the price-point compared to smoke these days?

 

 

 

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-I demo'd that back when it was Softimage DS. It was pretty pricey at the time, but I remember their version of the node tree was very cool. How is the price-point compared to smoke these days?

 

When I bought mine the MSRP was around 150k (I didn't pay that though). Last year with the new CEO of Avid coming in (Who I must say is actually trying to make things right) the MSRP for an extremely fast system is around 60k I believe. I'm about to do the 12k trade in thing where I get a completely new system with all new components.

 

I love the node tree on it. You can also work in layers like AE if you want. The workflow is completely open to the user. 5 DS guys will have 5 different ways of working. Me personally, once I have an edit locked on the master timeline. I turn each shot into a container. Open that container and I have a full node tree inside every shot to do what I want with it. No switching programs, no conforming. Just simply diving inside it and doing all the effects and corrections in the world. To see the master cut just jump to the top level. Extremely simple and powerful. One of the most underrated post boxes of all time.

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I love the node tree on it. You can also work in layers like AE if you want. The workflow is completely open to the user. 5 DS guys will have 5 different ways of working. Me personally, once I have an edit locked on the master timeline. I turn each shot into a container. Open that container and I have a full node tree inside every shot to do what I want with it. No switching programs, no conforming. Just simply diving inside it and doing all the effects and corrections in the world. To see the master cut just jump to the top level. Extremely simple and powerful. One of the most underrated post boxes of all time.

You pretty much just described Smoke on Linux as well. :)

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You pretty much just described Smoke on Linux as well. :)

 

yeah. I heard in the last few years it became far less cumbersome and they added Batch so it became closer to DS. When I shopped it in 2005, I compared DS and Smoke for a few months and Smoke at the time was very awkward for me and seem to have weird workarounds like their 'history' way of going to previous states is a hack to me.

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Thanks for all the great replies y'all. It's nice to hear your opinions.

 

Going into this training I had the mentality that I was trying to get Smoke to replace my AE/Cinema workflow, or become an integral part of it, or something like that. I don't feel like an expert by any means, but I can understand the merits of using it as a finishing tool.

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I've been using smoke since v2 running on an Octane2 (circa 97/98) and it's a great system. Like most have said, it's fast, it's great with clients, versioning etc. Years ago I would of said there was no other way working. But today it's just one tool in an array of tools I use. AE, C4D, AVID, FCP, Mocha etc. I still love the smoke, and use it constantly but don't think it's the one tool that replaces everything.

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