I recently sent an email an Adobe employee who (I believe) is one of the programmers on the Ae team. Since I use Ae and Premiere everyday while I am working at home I am really curious about Adobe’s plans to take full advantage of the hardware capabilities of the new Mac Pro. Read below the fold for the story …
I’ve been critical of Adobe in the past. The video I posted on Vimeo a few months back that compared the keying abilities of After Effects and Motion 5 is still flying around the internet.
Well it seems that I’ve gotten Adobe’s attention or at least the attention of the After Effects team. One of the engineers that works on After Effects is also a member of my Mac Pro Facebook page. I’m not sure if he became a member of the Facebook page because he was sympathetic to our new Mac Pro campaign or because he wanted to defend some of the criticism I’ve leveled at Adobe and Ae. Maybe the bosses at Adobe asked him to keep an eye on my writings NSA style!! (HA!)
Here is a copy of an email that I sent to Adobe early last week containing (what I believe to be) a hard hitting list of questions concerning Adobe, After Effects, Premiere, OSX and the new Mac Pro.
Thanks for giving me your email.
I find it a bit curious that after every critical blog post or video someone from Adobe seems to initiate a conversation with me!! 🙂
You recently posted a snippet from Steve Forde on the Facebook page about making AE faster.
Is this going to happen? Is it possible that Adobe will finally focus on allowing Ae to take advantage of many of the software technologies that are in today’s modern operating systems?
Will Ae finally get a rewrite that takes FULL advantage of multiple cores and multi-threading throughout the entire program and not just rendering?
Since Apple has set the new standard for multiple GPU workstations with the release of the new Mac Pro, will we finally see a more widely adopted (dare I say standardized) approach to GPU implementation in After Effects and other programs across the Adobe suite?
Adobe’s commitment specifically to Apple tech is has been sorely lacking. OSX software technologies like Cocoa, Quicklook, Spotlight, Core Audio and Video and others seem to be completely ignored in the Adobe suite of applications. I don’t feel like After Effects CS2 would run much faster than Ae CC on the same hardware. I remember replacing the Nvidia 8800GT with the Radeon 5970 and comparing the render times in Ae CS5. Much to my disappointment there was no gain at all. I will go out on a limb and say that my render times in Ae on the same hardware would be very close to the same as they were two versions ago. Many of Ae’s speed gains come from faster processors and advances in storage speeds and not from new coding libraries that allow for direct access to the hardware. 64-bit is nice but it hardly seems to have made the program noticeably faster. Background disk-caching is also nice but is a far cry from true multi-threading or direct access to the GPUs.
So what is the plan? Steve Forde teased the idea of ONLY making Ae faster. Looking at the comments on that blog post this seems to be a well received idea. People are buying workstations with tremendous hardware power. This power should not sit idle while compositing in Ae.
Let me also say that I really have no idea what Adobe’s corporate structure looks like. I’m sure the programmers are chomping at the bit to incorporate all the new hardware and software technologies. I’m sure that the programmers sit around at lunch and bitch about decisions that are made in the ivory towers just like all of us button pushers (editors bitch all the time!!). I know it was stated that Ae was completely re-coded for CS5.5 (I think it was 5.5). I’m sure the programmers poured all of their brain power into this task and every other feature that ultimately makes it into the software. Thank you for that!!! I’m also sure that its a huge undertaking to bring a software package like Ae up to modern standards. I just wonder why, if the entire program was re-written, why wasn’t the speed issue addressed? I would have to assume that the corporate execs believe that bringing Ae up to spec is too large of an undertaking and would rather keep the status quo while adding new features.
Let me say that I love After Effects. But it is really starting to show its age. There aren’t any new features that can be added at this point that would impress me more than bringing the interface and the efficiency into the modern era. I understand that pulling a “FCPX” blunder is always in the forefront of every software developers mind. But even worse than changing directions as drastically as Apple is becoming almost complacent or completely stagnant. There are ways to accomplish the robust changes that are needed to Ae without alienating your user base. Backwards compatibility needs to be maintained. Education and communication needs to be established and ongoing. The call from the user base is going to continue to get louder. People are starting to notice and are starting to wonder about complacency. They are starting to wonder because there has been a drastic change in Adobe’s pricing model. For all the tweaks and changes that have been made since the subscription plan has started, many feel like they could have been just as productive with Creative Suite 5.5 while avoiding the $53 ongoing monthly charges. When is the software that we use and pay for on a consistent basis going to take advantage of all the hardware that costs us so much money?
P.S. Tell the Premier guys I coming after them next!! 🙂 HA!
Also, Please let me know your exact role at Adobe.
I’m going to post these questions and any answers on my blog. Also, let me know If Adobe has any official statement about upcoming plans that they would allow me to share. I would be more than willing to tease any tidbits that would help the user base get excited for the future.
Thanks for your time. Hopefully this is an ongoing conversation about these products. They are all very important to our ability to make a living. I’m sure I speak for many when I say I want them to be as good as they can possibly be.
Please feel free to correct any inaccuracies.
I don’t think I’m wrong in most of my assessments but sometimes I only know enough to be dangerous.
My time in the Public Relations world tells me that the Adobe PR department is wordsmithing any response. I originally sent this email on January 21st and I sent a follow up today, January 30th. I’ll also post the response as soon as it comes.
P.S. I completely forgot to mention Spaces (Mission Control) as one of the OSX technologies that Adobe fails to take full advantage of. I’m a huge fan of Spaces and needless to say some of the apps in the Creative Cloud don’t play as nicely with this tech as they should.
Introducing THE PRO MAC BLOG Next Post:
While waiting for Adobe’s response, along came Pixelmator …