Brian Mulligan, from WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, a long time Smoke user was demoing Smoke 2013 in the Autodesk booth during NAB. He has a good write up regrading what people want to know with regards to the new Smoke 2013.
4. What effects does it do? This is where it got very interesting. Most of the people I talked to were versed in editing and coloring, and they might have had some experience with After Effects, but they weren’t prepared for what they saw with ConnectFX. You can do a lot of powerful timeline layering effects with AXIS, which has a full Keyer with Masking included in its 3D positional axis controls. But ConnectFX bring the full arsenal of creative tools to the timeline.
A simple right-click and add effect to a clip or multiple clips will bring them into the Node based ConnectFX workspace. Most people are familiar with layer-based compositing like in After Effects. So I had to explain to them how that with a node based system, you aren’t limited to one layer over another, but that with the ConnectFX tools which include Action, you can work in a true 3D compositing environment. This 3D workspace allows for realistic lighting, shadows and 3D object integration along with your 2D clip elements. A node based workflow allows you to use media assets and repurpose them at different points in the pipeline.
And therein lies the true power of Smoke. It's not for everybody, but those who use it that way seem to swear by it.