For the current Adobe Creative Cloud release, Adobe continues their software as a service model. The idea for the Cloud was that applications would be updated more easily, with more features and enhancements over time. I have been working with Adobe CC for around a year, so I have seen many updates to applications I use the most (Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Audition). Now that a new major update to the suite (Adobe CC 2014) has been released, I decided it was time for another review.
First of all, let me say it is somewhat tricky to review this new release, because applications have been getting updates and enhancements all along. However, some of these changes feel significant enough to be considered part of a “new” release. Also, remember that if you currently have an Adobe CC subscription, you get all these updates free of charge (that was part of the plan Adobe revealed when they released the Adobe CC), because you don’t need to “buy” this upgrade.
As some of you know, I work mostly in animation, and now, game development, and I focus mostly on the video production side of things. That means I usually leave live-action footage or graphic design subjects out of my articles. For this review I will, as usual, focus on Premiere Pro CC and see how other applications work with it.
The thing I like the most about recent Adobe releases is the Dynamic Link feature. In case you don’t know, Dynamic Link is what drives the “renderless workflow” between all of the different applications. This means you can take a Photoshop file and throw it into After Effects, or create an After Effects composition and an Audition project, and use them in Premiere Pro, without having to render them to video or audio. This ensures you will have the highest possible image quality, because every time you render your media out to video it gets compressed, losing a little bit of quality.
Dynamic Link also allows you to update media “on the fly.” For example, if you import an After Effects composition into Premiere Pro, and then go back to After Effects to make any change to it, those changes will automatically appear in Premiere Pro.
For this release they have added a few new Dynamic Link features. One of them is the Live Text Templates. Now you can import a composition into Premiere Pro, and rather than modifying the text in After Effects and then see the results in Premiere Pro, you can edit the text directly in Premiere Pro using Live Text.
Premiere Pro CC also lets you create masks that will automatically track moving objects. To tell the truth, the feature doesn’t sound so impressive by itself, since tracking is a feature most compositing applications have had for a long time. However, masks in Premiere Pro are compatible with Dynamic Link. If you send a masked clip to After Effects, the mask will be available for refinement and tweaking in After Effects.
My favorite feature for this release would be using Master Clips to apply effects. It is pretty normal that, during editing, you will split a full shot into smaller clips because you needed additional clips between them. This can be a problem when you need to add effects to the clips, because you end up pasting the effects onto every clip. Using Master Clips means you can simply add the effects to your original clip, and every trimmed portion of the clip on your sequence will have the effect applied automatically. You can even continue trimming and editing and the effects will always be present, because they are added to the “parent” clip, not to every clip that was already on your timeline.
If you use Premiere Pro for digital cinema, or are an independent filmmaker who often needs to produce digital cinema packages, you’ll be happy to know the new Adobe Media Encoder can render to DCP. To create a DCP you usually need to render the movie in a specific format and then use a separate package to encode the DCP. Media Encoder does all that in a single step. You have to know there’s a catch, though: out of the box you can only render unencrypted DCPs at 2K resolution. However, since Media Encoder uses the Wraptor DCP encoder, you can purchase extra modules to encode encrypted DCPs for stereoscopic 3D, or 4K resolutions.
Note: those not working with digital cinema may not know what that last paragraph was about. Basically the DCP is the video format used by digital cinema projectors (the ones that don’t use film). The encryption is some sort of protection and DRM.
There are other features mostly aimed to people working with live action footage. After Effects has enhanced chroma keying tools that can easily mask problematic elements, like hair. You can also use SpeedGrade to color grade footage more easily. Both applications are linked, so the color correction applied in SpeedGrade appears automatically in Premiere Pro.
Adobe Audition CC makes it easier to work with surround sound (since I am in game development, I don’t really use that feature), and makes it easier to work with multitrack projects. Different tracks have different colors assigned to them, so even thoiugh it’s a really small feature it makes each clip easier to identify.
I’ve noticed sometimes graphic designers have tons of fonts, and sometimes they are looking for new ones. You can now link your Adobe CC account to a Typekit account, and download new fonts (I should mention the font catalog is really big). Fonts will be instantly available in your application as soon as you install them through their web portal.
If you’ve been using Adobe CC, there’s a chance you’ve already downloaded the update, since it’s free to Creative Cloud subscribers. However, maybe you were not ready for big downloads, so I hope this gives you a better view of what you’d get. On the other hand, if you are not using Adobe CC, or are using a previous version (CS6 or older), you can always give Adobe CC 2014 a try.
Sergio Aris Rosa [nemirc], is Sr. Staff Writer for the Renderosity Front Page News. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields. You can follow him on Twitter, and if you want to see what he's up to you can visit his blog.
July 20, 2014
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