excerpts, quips, and musings on the production and post-production industry, and other stuff of interest

Autodesk Smoke is changing. Everything. Really?

By now you've probably seen or heard, Autodesk Smoke is changing. Everything. Not sure if this will just be chalked up as another yawn in the marketing hall of shame or if they actually have something important to say. I've got hope. I've also got my doubts, but there's been plenty of speculation over the last couple weeks regarding what Autodesk plans to reveal about it's finishing app. AWN has a post saying,

Autodesk will reveal a new, radically redesigned version of Autodesk Smoke software; demonstrate the latest releases of its Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites, including the new Ultimate Suite; and celebrate 20 years of industry leadership in visual effects for the commercial, film and broadcast industries.

I run a station of it here and there are things that are amazing about it, but some things just make you scratch your head. It has it pros, but it's certainly not for everybody. Autodesk has traditionally not done well with a mass-market product. Smoke for Mac (or maybe Sketchbook?) is the closest they've come to having a successful mass-market product. Personally, I really want to like Smoke, but it feels like it was designed in 1995. Compared to other modern NLE's (Premier Pro, Final Cut, Avid, Sony, etc.) the design is clunky and heavily menu driven. Interface wise it feels bulky to me, especially given that it only runs on 1 monitor. Most high-end workstations have 2 monitors and possibly multiple GPU's. It seems like aging architecture that Smoke can't take advantage of the added real estate or horsepower. Ultimately, it's underlying architecture is aging and needs a dramatic refresh. Redesigns tend to mean a differnt (or at least modified) UI. I would love to see the Smoke UI updated and "radically redesigned."

If you're like me and aren't going to the land of buffets, booth babes, and casinos then you can watch the announcement online. Here's to hoping Autodesk delivers at NAB 2012...

UPDATE (4/13/2012) - Walter Biscardi has apparently seen the new Autodesk Smoke and writes on the Creative Cow:

Avid and Adobe might have gotten the party started but the discussion about Post Production will really begin on Sunday. For once, the actual product is going to live up to the hype. Smoke IS changing and this is one company that really REALLY listened.