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We had the pleasure today of attending the launch of Autodesk's Smoke 2013 for the Mac at Dream Vision Studios in Las Vegas. Not to be missed was Evan Schectman's take on the product.



Our first thought when we saw the interface was that it looked a bit like the new Premiere Pro CS6, which would be to do it a huge disservice as of course Smoke is much more powerful. There does seem to be a unification of GUI design for editing going on though.

'Autodesk introduces Autodesk Smoke 2013 video editing software, a completely redesigned and repackaged version of the all-in- one video editing and visual effects tool for the Mac. Smoke 2013, born out of two decades of visual effects leadership, features a unified creative workflow that brings powerful node-based compositing right in the timeline at a new price of $3,495 USD.'

This is pretty incredible as not only has the app be redesigned from the ground up, it is going to sell for a fifth of the price of its predecessor.


Marc Hamaker, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Autodesk Creative Finishing Products explained that they had asked editors the question "What is your biggest challenge" The main response was 'Avoid messy workflows' and that led to the design for Smoke being track based but with the addition of advanced effects so that jobs can be completed in one app.

We were pretty impressed when Marc flipped the usual timeline based view into ConnectFX which gives an editable node based view of each effect. Then we signed and wished that Apple had done the same with Shake and Final Cut Pro X.


Key Features

The Smoke User Interface (UI) — An intuitive all-in-one creative workflow that combines track-based editorial, industry-standard editing conventions and proven Autodesk creative tools.

ConnectFX — Powerful node-based compositing inside the timeline for high-end effects and advanced compositing without leaving the editorial environment.

Creative Tools — A robust toolset with proven high-end finishing tools, Action for true 3D compositing,·the Colour Warper for professional grading and color matching, the Master Keyer for one-click chromakeying and stereoscopic 3D editing and effects.

MediaHub — A modern approach to working natively with the most common formats that facilitates·managing all project media from ingest to edit to effects and archiving.

Lower System Requirements — Runs on the most recent generation of Apple iMac and MacBook Pro·systems using high-bandwidth Thunderbolt storage and IO bringing true high-end video effects to flexible desktop and mobile workflows.


Then our FCPX evangelist Evan Schectmann took that stage to talk about how Smoke fits into his company workflow. You may recall Evan from one of the most watched videos on FCPX ever posted, he talked with the same enthusiasm and machine gun paced Keynote presentation. He showed some screen grabs of a project that was started in FCP7, moved to FCPX and then finished in Smoke. We also liked his quotation 'ProRes is the Esperanto of the digital world.'

We caught up with him afterwards and asked about the interchange of media between the apps. Smoke 2013 accepts FCP7 XML and FCPXML natively. There are some practices that you have to follow as some things won't make the trip, but it does a pretty good job.

Are you going to edit a feature film on it? No, but it seems an ideal tool for that 30 second ad spot with FX. In a business where time is money, Smoke 2013 will do well.

Priced at $3495, we think this is going to appeal to the type of editor or post shop that has to turn around a lot of visual effects quickly. A lot can be achieved in one app from simple timeline editing to full 3D tracking, 3D compositing and other features you would expect from a much more expensive product. We do think that pricing it at $999 would have been a killer blow, sold more copies and in the end made more revenue.

It will be available in the Fall, but you can register for the free trial which will be available in June and work until the product is released.

We will post the videos of the presentation when they become available.

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