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Adobe announces Creative Suite 6
Today Adobe announced the full feature set of Creative Suite 6. Here are the features that stood out at me:
- Open CL - Mac laptop users do not get a choice as to which brand of graphics card they use so it's great to see GPU acceleration extended for people with ATI graphics cards.
- Full-screen playback - Premiere Pro can now play back your sequence in full screen on your primary monitor, which is great if you're on the move.
- New trim mode - This one seems to be aimed at Avid users with dynamic trimming via JKL.
- Adjustment layers - This is something I've wanted to see in an NLE for a long time. You can add a Photoshop-style adjustment layer and it will affect all clips beneath it. This is great for applying global effects to a sequence.
- Combine mono, stereo and multitrack clips into a single audio track - One big point of confusion for Final Cut Pro switchers was the way Premiere Pro CS 5.5 dealt with audio tracks. Instead of having one audio track per channel, Premiere can create mono, stereo or surround tracks, which means that mono clips can only be added to a mono track and stereo clips have to be added to a stereo track. These limitations are now removed in CS 6.
- Big thumbnails that can be "hover-scrubbed" - This looks to be almost identical to skimming in Final Cut Pro X. You can even set in and out points from the thumbnails.
- Ability to toggle Work Area off - The Work Area was another point of confusion for FCP users. It allows you to set a certain area of the timeline for rendering and exporting which can also be achieved by setting in and out points. If you don't plan to use this feature, it can now be switched off in CS 6.
- Markers can now be assigned a color and duration - I've always felt the marker implementation in Premiere was poor so this is great news. There is also a marker window that provides a summary of all markers in the sequence and you can quickly jump to them. No word yet on whether you can import and export marker lists.
- Unlimited multiclip angles - I was disappointed with the four-angle multicam in CS 5.5 so this is a big improvement.
- Uninterrupted playback - You can now adjust effects on-the-fly without pausing playback.
- New apps - Prelude and SpeedGrade
- Prelude has an SDK - Adobe's new tool for ingesting file-based media has an SDK to allow production houses to integrate it into their custom workflows.
- Ray tracing, extruding and 3D tracker in After Effects - Adobe is really aiming at the higher end of the visual effects market with these features.
- Variable mask feathering in AE - I've never been keen on AE's mask tools so this is a big improvement.
- Automatic Duck integration - Pro Import AE is now bundled with After Effects and allows you to import Avid projects into AE.
What's clear from this release is that Adobe is aggressively targeting a broad range of users. There are features in the new release that will be familiar to Avid, FCP7 and FCPX users. Since the demise of Final Cut Studio, Creative Suite is the only suite in town and this release fixes many of my complaints with CS 5.5 (although no word on new developer features yet). I don't think it will change my plan to use Avid for long-form and Premiere for short-form but the wide-open nature of the NLE market right now is something that is clearly producing great results for editors.