Autodesk has unveiled Smoke 2013, reworking its Mac-only finishing tool as an all-in-one editing-and-effects ‘super app’ and slashing the price from $14,995 to just $3,495.
The developer clearly expects big things from the upcoming release, suggesting at a pre-NAB briefing that Smoke 2013 could become a “disruptive technology” to rank alongside RED cameras or the original Final Cut.
Integrated editing and effects
Intended to integrate editing and visual effects seamlessly, Smoke 2013 connects editing, colour correction and compositing in a single timeline.
Effects created with the new ConnectFX toolset – a true node-based 3D compositor – can be applied to individual timeline segments, or across multiple segments as an adjustment layer.
The application is designed to handle standard camera and application-specific formats natively. Assets and metadata can be previewed rapidly via the new drag-and-drop MediaHub browser.
Autodesk is targeting Smoke 2013 at creative editors currently using a combination of tools in their work: principally, those using After Effects in conjunction with a standalone editing package.
“I think there are a lot of people out there for whom this [will be] a brand new experience,” said Marc Hamaker, Autodesk’s senior product marketing manager for creative finishing. “We think we can offer a superior workflow to the multi-app solutions they use.”
As such, Smoke 2013 features a new UI designed for editors already familiar with Apple’s Final Cut or Avid’s Media Composer.
“We’re not trying to reinvent editing,” said Hamaker. “We’re trying to take the best of [existing] Mac apps.”
Cheap and scalable
Autodesk has also cut the price of Smoke – already radically reduced from its original incarnation as a turnkey Linux-based system on its move to OS X – to just $3,495, placing it on a par with 3ds Max.
System requirements have also been reduced. The Autodesk website is currently still only listing the specs for Smoke 2012, but Hamaker estimates that the new release will cut the cost of the hardware required to run Smoke in production from around $20,000 to just $7,000-8,000.
Autodesk believes the price cut will make Smoke accessible to a new range of users, including independent film-makers and those working in the web and corporate video markets.
“We think this is going to take our technology into places we’ve never been before,” said Hamaker. “We’re not dumbing down technologies: we’re taking professional products and making them usable broadly.”
Smoke 2013 for Mac is scheduled for release in open beta in June, with a full commercial release to follow this fall. The price cut applies immediately to new sales of Smoke 2012.