Autodesk Shifts Focus From Software Creation to Creating With Software

At last year’s NAB Show, Autodesk overhauled its Smoke professional video-editing software. This year, the focus has shifted away from major redesigns in favor of smaller, incremental changes — and, of course, exploring all the ways in which filmmakers and creatives are using the company’s signature software.

“You want to look professional,” said Mark Strassman, VP, Media & Entertainment Industry Strategy and Marketing, Autodesk, at the company’s preshow press conference on Sunday night. “It’s not just about taking video and putting it out there. It’s about editing, it’s about effects, it’s about having the right color grading and so forth. All sorts of new creators are out there creating professional videos. … It’s not just the big production houses that are making the videos and doing the effects and doing the editing.”

Prior to its December 2012 release, Smoke underwent an extended trial period that gave users time to experiment with the software, resulting in five iterations. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Smoke will feature enhanced visual effects and storytelling.

“We are moving towards a much more agile software-development capability internally,” said Chris Bradshaw, SVP, media and entertainment, Autodesk, “which means we’re releasing smaller, more incremental-type releases as we go forward that bring small change, absolutely innovative change, but more digestible for customers.”

Autodesk Flame, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, will feature a beta release of the next release of the software. Last month, Autodesk announced new features for its Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite 2014. The workflow includes 3D animation, visual effects and creative tools, Autodesk Maya 2014, Autodesk 3ds Max 2014, Autodesk MotionBuilder 2014, Autodesk Mudbox 2014, Autodesk Softimage 2014, and Autodesk Sketchbook Designer 2014, all of which have been updated to offer new workflow enhancements that help artists collaborate, manage complexity, and move data through their pipeline more efficiently.

Autodesk also announced a technical collaboration with Blackmagic Design. The two companies intend to collaborate on future integrations of Blackmagic Design technology and Autodesk technology, building seamless workflows for customers in the professional video, television, and commercial postproduction industries.

“In the post world, customers want the ability to mix and match the applications and hardware that work best for them,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, in a joint press release. “By developing tighter integration with Autodesk products and our desktop video products, we are creating a compelling workflow that both Autodesk and Blackmagic Design customers will benefit from.”

At Booth SL3316, Autodesk is highlighting its entertainment creative suites in film and television, as well as broadcast design and motion graphics. In shifting the focus from the Smoke software itself, Autodesk has devoted its space to showcasing how filmmakers and creatives are using Smoke. In perhaps the best visual representation of Smoke’s capabilities, Autodesk used the software to create the design of the booth.

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