Editor's Note: When we were briefed on the new features that would be incorporated in the latest version of Adobe's Creative Suite, we knew it would be tough to explain everything in our own coverage. (See our overview of new features in the CS6 versions of Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects here.) That's why we invited Adobe to give us their own version of the story, asking them to identify the top five ways CS6 would change the way editors work. We can tell Adobe had trouble sticking with just five answers, but the response sheds light on some of the ways Adobe expects users to approach CS6, and connects some of the dots between Premiere Pro and applications like After Effects, Audition, Prelude, and SpeedGrade.
CS6 Production Premium is a milestone release, and we at Adobe think it will change the way editors work. Why? CS6 pairs a major overhaul of the editing experience in Adobe Premiere Pro with the biggest release of After Effects in more than a decade. We’ve added a raft of new features to Adobe Audition, so it’s easier than ever to make your productions sound as good as they look. Plus, we’re adding key new tools to your kit: Adobe Prelude, which is designed to simplify logging and ingest of file-based media, and Adobe SpeedGrade, which adds professional grading capabilities. That’s a lot—and it adds up to a powerful suite of tools that help you work faster and deliver higher quality results. Let’s take a look at some of the specific ways we think CS6 Production Premium will change your workflow for the better.
1) Edit Your Way with Adobe Premiere Pro
We’ve overhauled the editing experience in Premiere Pro. Sound scary? It shouldn’t. We worked with top-tier professional editors to get feedback on the features we were adding. Hundreds of beta testers gave us incredibly valuable input that shaped every last detail. The result? A new user interface that’s sleek and highly customizable. Trimming tools that are fast and keyboard-driven. A streamlined multi-camera interface with support for an unlimited number of cameras. And dozens of other enhancements, from the new full-screen Cinema Display mode and adjustment layers to a redesigned Three-Way Color Corrector and hover-scrubbing in the Project and Media Browser panels.
Combined with the super-fast Mercury Playback Engine, these improvements make Premiere Pro the central hub for modern post-production. And speaking of the Mercury Playback Engine, if you have a recent MacBook Pro with an AMD graphics card, your GPU will provide awesome real-time effects performance. Plus, the new Mercury Transmit enables third-party I/O card vendors to deliver tighter-than-ever integration. One other improvement I especially love? We’re calling it “uninterrupted playback” because that’s what it does: in CS6 you can apply effects, resize panels, and even go check email without stopping playback.
Native format support has been expanded too: ARRIRAW is supported at a variety of resolutions and frame rates, and you can also work natively with footage from the new Canon EOS C300 and RED Epic and Scarlet cameras. If you prefer to transcode, you can use the powerful (and now faster) AME in the background to batch-render native footage into the format of your choice. Adobe doesn’t lock you into one workflow, so you can optimize for what is right for your particular production environment.
With CS6, Adobe Premiere Pro is moving into the limelight as the fastest and most flexible NLE available, designed by and for professional editors.
2) Radically Better Performance in After Effects, Plus New 3D Tools
This is the biggest After Effects release in a decade. Thanks to the new Global Performance Cache, which encompasses several new cache-related features, After Effects is now faster because it’s smarter: it doesn’t re-render anything unless you’ve made a change that requires it. Because more frames and intermediate results are cached, everything you do in After Effects is faster. We’ve been hearing from our beta customers that typical projects are taking 60 to 70% less time—which means that you get to spend more time playing with creative ideas, and less time waiting around to see how every little tweak looks. Dynamic Link is much faster too, so it’s easier to take a clip from a Premiere Pro sequence into After Effects to add some sizzle.
The new 3D Camera Tracker automatically analyzes the motion present in 2D footage; computes the position, orientation, and field of view of the real camera that shot the scene; and creates a new 3D camera in After Effects to match. It also overlays 3D track points onto the 2D footage, making it easy and intuitive for you to attach new 3D After Effects layers onto the original footage. It’s super-easy to use, and you can create really cool-looking designs quickly and easily, like the 3D text you often see in opening titles.
3D text? Yep, now you can use After Effects to make that too! After Effects introduces a full 3D environment, ray-traced rendering, and the ability to extrude text and vector shapes—which together open up a whole new set of creative possibilities for editors who need to make stuff look great on tight deadlines. Illustrator import has also been improved, so importing and extruding logos and other vector shapes is simple. And, because many projects require a full 3D modeling tool, we’ve worked with Autodesk to support the MediaSync feature, which allows data from either After Effects or 3ds Max to be updated in the other program at any stage.
3) Faster Audio with Adobe Audition CS6
Audition works hand in hand with Adobe Premiere Pro to give you a complete toolkit for making the audio in your productions sound great. If you haven’t tried Audition, you should—its noise-reduction tools are the best in the business, and it’s designed to make audio post straightforward. The workflow from Premiere Pro to Audition and back is smooth, and Audition also offers robust support for OMF.
The new features in Adobe Audition CS6 are focused on making it faster and easier to enhance the audio for your productions. Use the Automatic Speech Alignment command to quickly sync overdubs to original recordings, making ADR a much faster and easier task. New real-time clip stretching is handy if you need to extend a music bed to fit a slightly longer or shorter sequence. A host of other improvements, from the new Media Browser to clip grouping, precise clip spotting, and the ability to preview edits with Skip Selection mode, make basic editing faster on every project. New automatic and manual pitch controls are paired with an innovative Spectral Pitch Display that gives visual feedback as you make pitch changes. And we heard loud and clear that customers needed CD burning built into Audition, so we’ve added that as well.
4) Logging and Ingest for File-Based Media with New Adobe Prelude CS6
File-based cameras make it easier than ever to capture footage—but, as a result, shooting ratios are exploding and finding media is harder than ever. The new Adobe Prelude is designed to tackle this problem. It provides a dedicated interface for ingesting footage (including some great options for transcoding on ingest and support for partial ingest of long clips). Powerful heads-up keyboard-driven logging capabilities help identify the parts of a clip that matter, and you can assemble the subclips you create while logging into rough cuts that give craft editors using Premiere Pro (or other professional NLEs) a head start. Because all of your subclips and comments are stored as metadata, Prelude also makes your media easier to find down the road. We worked with leading broadcasters such as the BBC and CNN to design Prelude, and we think it’ll help producers and assistant editors play a bigger part in identifying the footage that best helps tell a story.
5) Modern Color-Grading with New Adobe SpeedGrade CS6
Also new to the suite is Adobe SpeedGrade, a powerful color-grading tool that’s optimized to work with high dynamic range footage. With CS6, SpeedGrade introduces a redesigned user interface that’s much more task-based; we’ve also made it easy to move a finished sequence from Premiere Pro into SpeedGrade for a final grading pass. The color controls in SpeedGrade are incredibly intuitive, and it’s fast and easy to transform footage from just OK to really eye-catching. SpeedGrade offers incredible depth and control, and it signals a new focus on color in the Adobe post-production toolset.
We’ve added dozens of great features across the suite, but what we think matters more is that we’re looking holistically at your workflow—and working with you to define and deliver innovations that help you deliver higher quality results in less time. Because I was limited to covering just five ways CS6 makes editors lives better, I didn’t even get to touch on the new scheduling capabilities you’ll find in Adobe Story. Or the fact that Adobe Encore is now a native 64-bit application. Or that Adobe Media Encoder is faster and has a super-slick new interface for working with presets. In fact, this article just scratches the surface of all the things we’ve done to make your work flow more smoothly from planning and pre-production through final delivery. With dozens of new features in every product, and all of the new excitement around the Adobe Creative Cloud, we can’t wait to get this release into your hands!
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