More 3D, Adobe CS5 highlights, and some other cool things

Posted By Heath Firestone on April 14, 2010 12:00 am | Permalink
Day 2:

I spent most of today in the Lower South Hall again, which is where all of the post production tools are, which is what a lot of you are probably most interested in.This time I visited Adobe’s booth, to find out what they were announcing as the key features of the CS5 suite.There are a lot of details on their site, including several videos explaining the features, but here’s what I saw in a nutshell, and my take on it.CS5 is a major upgrade on all fronts, primarily, when it comes to speed and features.It has now ported its major applications like Premiere Pro and After Effects over to 64 bit OS only.The advantage on the PC side is that they can take advantage of a lot more RAM if you have it… and you’ll want it!No more only 3.5GB recognized RAM issues.The systems I saw running were utilizing 16GB of RAM.

After Effects had one of the most interesting new tools called Roto Brush, which is probably the coolest rotoscoping tool I have seen (at least on effects tools in this price range).It works by the user drawing the most basic shape within the area they want to create a roto mask for.From there, it automatically finds edges, and creates an impressively accurate mask.You can then, very easily refine the mask with general clicks, of the mouse, which define what is in the mask, that you don’t want, and what isn’t that you do.It then automatically tracks from frame to frame with only minor adjustments required to tweak it.It does such a good job, very quickly and easily, that, as an effects guy, I was amazed, and thought about how much time this could save me on future compositing work.I’m so impressed, with the speed and quality of the mask and intelligent edge tracking, that I am considering changing my current effects workflow to utilize it just for that capability.On top of that, they have a really nice Refine Matte effect, which not only does your typical matte choker, and edge softness, but also does intelligent edge tracking, and motion blurring.Add Color LUT support, and frame buffer support to enhance AVC Intra and Red R3D experiences, and you have some really great tools, which will excite a lot of people, myself included.

Premiere Pro CS5, is truly exciting!Adobe decided it was time to add realtime capabilities, with lots of layers and tons of effects using multiple formats.To do that, they tapped into NVIDIA’s CUDA capabilities.The Adobe Mercury Playback Engine utilizes the GPU on NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards to process the effects, which gives phenomenal performance without needing to render effects layers.While those of us with effects accelerator cards, like Matrox’s Axio LE’s, have embraced this kind of workflow, because of the immense amount of time saved by seeing immediate realtime playback, rather than waiting for renders… this will be new to a lot of users, who will quickly wonder how they ever lived without it.On a side note, Matrox will be supporting similar realtime effects using their effects in CS5, with their MXO2 line of products with the Max option, without a Quadro card.AxioLE’s will be similarly accelerated.As far as new or improved effects in Premiere Pro CS5, Ultra has been rebuilt as Ultra Keyer, which is now a filter in Premiere Pro instead of a stand alone application as it was in the past, which means there is a new, better keyer built into Premiere Pro.Oh yeah, those realtime effects support RED, DSLR, and 4K.Tapeless workflows also don’t require rewrapping or transcoding.

Photoshop now has one of the coolest features I’ve ever seen in an image editing application.The new Content Aware Fill, allows you to select an area of an image and delete it.Photoshop then replaces the hole, with what it thinks was behind the object you deleted, with amazing results. Sometimes it does an almost perfect job, while other times it gets a little confused, but with a little tweaking, you can remove objects from the scene in ways you never have been able to before. You’ll have to see it, or try it to believe it, but it is definitely a powerful tool you will use often.

There’s plenty more, but that’s my quick rundown on the Adobe CS5 Production Premium Suite.

Then there’s the question of stereoscopic support in CS5… natively, there is none yet, however, Cineform has a plugin, Neo 3D ($3000), which does work with CS5, so you’re not left out in the cold if this is your editor of choice. Cineform’s Neo 3D is actually a suite of products, which include tools for converting your files to Cineform files, then muxing the two views into a single video file. Then there are color correction and transform tools, and lastly, there are tools for adjusting convergence and auto crop.

On the production side of things, SteadiCam was showing a prototype new rig, called Tango, which adds a 5’ jib to the SteadiCam. Pan and Tilt are controlled by a cable system and leveling bar. Currently it is running a small head only camera, for weight purposes, but it allows nine feet of vertical movement, and the ability to do sweeping, and arc movements with the SteadiCam, while standing still… or moving. It’s still a prototype with bugs getting worked out, which Garrett Brown is quick to point out, but even in these early stages, it looks like the coolest advancement I’ve seen in the image stabilization realm for quite some time.

Red Rock Micro is also showing off a new tool, which is a cool little wireless focus controller, which is separated from other products in the same class, by having the ability to snap in an iPhone or an iPod Touch, which gives you a visual display, but also calculates range and allows you to setup your lens specs, which it will then translate to display approximate focus distance based on the motor driven lens rotation.

I’m still gathering info on 3D rigs, and stereoscopic post production tools, which I will post when I can.