Every year — just in time for the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters — Adobe circles back to its video suite — Premiere Pro, After Effects, Media Encoder, SpeedGrade, Audition and others, and finds it wanting.
This year, the company is shining the spotlight on four major innovations to its Creative Cloud video lineup. First, it is launching a preview of Character Animator, a new companion app for After Effects CC; then, we will see new color workflows via the Lumetri Color Panel, a color-oriented inspirational iPhone app called Project Candy, and improvements in sharing assets via Creative Cloud Libraries. These initiatives are designed to improve what Adobe calls the “connected workflow” revolving around mobile and remote projects and teams.
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The next version of Premiere Pro CC starts to implement touch-friendly editing by allowing editors with hybrid devices, such as the Surface Pro 3, to easily move clips in the timeline, scrub a playhead and change color parameters by touching the screen.
Lumetri Color Panel
The Lumetri Color panel in Adobe Premiere Pro CC now combines SpeedGrade‘s 32-bit floating-point color technology with Lightroom-style ease of use to more deeply embed color into the video editing process. It features a new three-way color corrector for making creative changes to shadows, midtones and highlights of your video. It offers integrated tools to tweak color and light throughout the editing process, and without having to leave Premiere Pro. The Direct Link mobile function moves Premiere Pro projects into SpeedGrade, the suite’s color grading app.
Like Adobe’s Color (derived from the previous Kuler), Project Candy is an iPhone app that synthesizes color schemes dynamically from the scene you are shooting.
As you use the app to capture and refine light and color on your smartphone, Project Candy can create unique Looks, either as references or to enhance actual footage in Adobe Premiere Clip, Premiere Pro and After Effects.
Creative Cloud Libraries
Creative Cloud Libraries, which provide asset access, storage and sharing between Creative Cloud tools, services and teams, let you share materials with colleagues and work together either onsite or remotely via Adobe Anywhere, the company’s postproduction workflow platform.
Creative Cloud Libraries were already available in InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, and now the feature has arrived for After Effects and Premiere Pro. With it, you can work together on the same project with Adobe Anywhere, which is now comes in two versions — for on-site in the same location (teams and enterprise users) or remote production.
Adobe Character Animator preview
Animation is a huge booming business for communicating complex concepts, but Adobe’s new Character Animator, a companion app for After Effects, is designed to take the concept further. The app plays off your movements via a Webcam to the 2D characters you created on-screen
Start by setting simple rigging controls, and use your Webcam and keyboard to animate the characters you created in Photoshop or Illustrator. Thus, when you talk or look angry or confused, your character looks the same way.
Webcam tracking lets you control the position, scale, rotation, and expressions of your character’s features. Automate lip syncing by talking into a microphone and triggering audio analysis that selects and applies mouth movements in sync with your voice. Give your character personality by triggering expressions such as blinks with your eyelids or keyboard.
You can also move limbs and set up automatic breathing for your character with settings that control how much or how frequently a character’s chest expands or restrict movement to specify which parts of your character move or not and animate limbs with your mouse.
Starting with Photoshop or Illustrator, you build multi-layered documents that represent a character’s structure –such as head, eyes, mouth and other features. Character Animator uses that structure and the layer names to automatically rig the puppet. Any artwork revisions will automatically update the characters.
The new Adobe Character Animator installs with After Effects CC. This initial release is a preview that is still under development, but ready to use. Adobe seeks the response of users as it continues developing the app.
Lots of updates
Among other new features are the ability to use the new Morph Cut in Premiere Pro to smooth out edits in talking-head footage and automatically adjust the duration of completed projects with Time Tuner in Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder CC. Morph Cut excises unwanted pauses and jump cuts for a more polished-looking edit.
You can review shots while you work on them with new preview enhancements in After Effects, and apply precise animated masks with the new Face Tracker. The workflow in Premiere Clip for iPad is now better integrated in Premiere Pro.
Adobe Media Encoder now includes Dolby Digital support, letting you create content with Doly Digital and Dolby Digital Plus multichannel audio.
Organize, access, and view the tools you want, how and when you want them. Toggle between preset and custom workspace layouts that configure interface panels and tools for the different parts of your workflow, including editing, color, audio, and effects.
Finally, Adobe has expanded the roster of native video and digital cinema formats for Premiere Pro to include Apple ProRes 4444 XQ, Avid DNxHR with compressed alpha, Canon XF-AVC, MXF-wrapped JPEG 2000 and Panasonic 4K_HS.
Adobe has also revealed updates to Primetime,its lesser-known multiscreen TV platform for broadcasters, cable networks and service providers offering TV content on devices such as Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Roku.
The new Primetime version helps broadcasters and pay-TV providers scale video delivery across devices, delivering updates such as closed captioning, content protection and ad insertion across TV apps and operating systems, authenticates 2.25 million viewers per minute and launches videos up to 4 times faster.
The company announced it is partnering with MLBAM (Major League Baseball Advanced Media) to offer programming for live, linear and video-on-demand services on TVs and other screens. Adobe says it is working with MLBAM to deliver live streaming of the Major League Baseball season, providing playback and delivery for all games.
The company will launch numerous initiatives around delivery, monetization and personalization for content owners, programmers and pay-TV providers. Adobe Primetime now supports all major third-party DRM technologies.
Several of MLBAM’s sports, news and entertainment partners have introduced direct-to-consumer TV apps using Adobe Primetime technologies and Turner Broadcasting is using Adobe Primetime for ad insertion on AppleTV and other devices.
Activity around Creative Cloud
Adobe typically uses the NAB yearly confab to spotlight advances to its overall slate of video tools, technologies and services that assist in the creation process for broadcasters, filmmakers and video pros. There’s a lot going on this year, as high-profile projects such as the Coen Brothers’ “Hail Caesar!”, director Rhys Thomas and producer Lorne Michaels upcoming “Staten Island Summer” and the MLB Network are now using Creative Cloud workflows.
These software updates will ship in the “coming months,” Adobe said. The company has a special offer for video pros who switch to Creative Cloud — $29.99 a month for the first year, valid through May 29.