(Originally published on Blogcritics.org)
If creativity glowed like nuclear radiation, the Los Angeles Convention Center and the adjacent LA Live could have been seen from Mars last week, October 5-7, as artists, graphic designers, photographers, filmmakers and computer experts converged from around the world for Adobe Software’s annual conclave, AdobeMAX. The conference covered Adobe’s extensive line of software including Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Acrobat, and many new apps.
The keynote session on Monday, October 5 introduced attendees to the newest Adobe software with an emphasis on community, design, and mobility. Some of the biggest gains have been made in video editing technology.
A few years ago, Adobe was an also-ran in the area of video editing. That’s no longer the case. The newest Marvel superhero to hit the screen in Deadpool, scheduled for release in February 2016, was created with Adobe products, as was the upcoming Coen brothers film, Hail, Caesar!, now in post-production, and last year’s hit by director David Fincher, Gone Girl.
Deadpool director Tim Miller joined Adobe’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, Bryan Lamkin, on stage at LA Live to discuss his experiences with Premiere Pro. “I got into animation software because I wanted to tell stories,” Miller said, “and because I was a comic book nerd.” Miller was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 for his animated short, Gopher Broke. He also was creative director for the opening sequence of Thor: The Dark World.
“It’s always been about storytelling,” Miller continued. “For the less smart people, of which I’m a representative, the computer is the most powerful art tool ever created. And comic books are the perfect combination of story and art. At our studio we have a giant two story wall and it’s covered with my comic book collection from 30 years.”
Lamkin asked how Miller moved from animation to directing a film starring Morena Baccarin and Ryan Reynolds. “I was talking with a studio exec,” Miller explained, “and he said, ‘It looks like you kind of know super hero stuff.’ There were a lot of hoops to jump through but that’s what started it.”
“How did you come to use Premiere Pro?” Larkin asked.
“David Fincher convinced me,” Miller said. Miller had done the title sequence for Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Miller admitted to having a love-hate relationship with Premiere Pro. “Years ago I punched the screen many times when trying to use it,” he said. “But when I came back to it I could see it was becoming the finest film editing tool of all time. Everything else seemed like it was dying and Premiere seemed like tomorrow and I wanted to be a part of that. As a first time director I really didn’t know what I was doing and every day I could see what I had done the day before and had time to fix it.”
Community, Design, and Mobility
Adobe’s world of creativity goes way beyond film. The biggest change over the last few years was the introduction of Creative Cloud. As a twenty year user of Adobe software, I was somewhat skeptical when I heard that Adobe was going to a monthly subscription model for their products which would be downloaded through the Internet. However, it was more than just a change to distribution and pricing, and that’s what Lamkin explained during the keynotes.
“Since the launch of Creative Cloud we have had hundreds of updates,” Lamkin said. “We have created a community so you can share and learn. In nearly 3 years we have attracted 5.3 million members. What I find most exciting is that about 20 percent of you are new to the creative community. We are investing in creative cloud so that it is a one-stop shop for all your creative needs.”
Lamkin introduced a series of other speakers who explained innovations Adobe was making.
Adobe Capture CC is representative of the new variety of app being introduced by Adobe. From your mobile device, it allows a user to capture from a single photo, a color or pattern and turn these into color themes, brushes or backgrounds. These can be shared through Creative Cloud and used in Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator or other Adobe software. You can also use it to turn a photo into a vector for further editing in Illustrator.Connected workflows allow artists to collaborate and share. A graphic created on a mobile device will be uploaded to the cloud and become editable on a desktop. A logo or other standard piece of formatted art can be shared from a desktop to all the users in an organization, regardless of their location or hardware. Adobe aims, according to the presenter, to enable artists to focus on the design, rather than the hardware or software.
For example, you can take a photo of a sunset, and then later apply this color palette to a video or photo. The video below contains a demonstration of this software.
Adobe has also launched services for displaying your portfolio, sharing fonts and provides a stock photo service which can be searched, and images licensed, from within Adobe programs.
The new tool which I found most impressive was the Enable Remix function available through Adobe Audition. This allows a user to send music and video from Premiere to Audition. If the musical piece is longer than the video, remix can solve the problem. Remix analyzes the music, and creates a seamless remix, the exact same length as the video.
If this wasn’t enough “Adobe magic”, they promised a major enhancement to this product was under way, which would be unveiled in a couple of days at the Adobe Sneaks presentation, where attendees are given a look at tools still under development. Stay tuned for more.