The Next Shoe Drops: Autodesk Announces Smoke 2013

Posted on by Larry

This afternoon, at a press event just before the start of the 2012 NAB Show, Autodesk announced a major revamp of Smoke – titled “Autodesk Smoke 2013.” The new version drops the price to $3,495, adds a Timeline interface, and allows it to play extremely well with others. Autodesk is actively encouraging editors to view Smoke as their all-in-one edit and finishing tool.

Autodesk recognizes that the face of post-production is changing. While its effects and finishing tools are world-class, its node-based design is intimidating to many editors. With the addition of a timeline-based editorial workflow, Autodesk is encouraging more editors to do their rough-cut in the same tool they use for finishing.

Or, if editors want to continue using their existing tools, it is easy, using XML, to flow projects from Final Cut Pro, or other editing software, into Smoke. In fact, at their press event this afternoon, Autodesk said that they “built the application for editors that know Final Cut Pro and other NLEs.”

NOTE: Apple, in fact, highlighted the new Smoke in my meeting with them this morning. Apple stressed how easy it is to edit in FCP X and finish in Smoke.

Marc Hamaker, Senior Director Product Marketing and Creative Finishing for Autodesk Media & Entertainment, took the stage at the AutoDesk presentation this afternoon to showcase the new all-in-one Smoke with a unified editing and effects workflow. He pointed out that Smoke can help editors simplify their workflow, centrally manage their media, and work interactively with high-res media throughout a project to deliver high-end content.

He stressed that Smoke does far more than just edit:

They also said, in a fascinating eyebrow-lifter, that Smoke has been retooled to run on the most recent generation Apple iMac and MacBook Pro systems. Though a Thunderbolt storage system, or other high-speed storage,  is highly encouraged, editors are no longer forced to run this system only on high-end MacPros.

The powerful node-based compositing that Smoke is justifiably famous for is not gone, it is now combined with a highly-efficient timeline to create a highly-connected, highly-integrated editing and effects system.

“The new Smoke is a content creator that helps your work stand out,” said Hamaker at the press event. “We asked editors what they wanted most and they told us they wanted to save time.”

Autodesk says that Smoke is scheduled to be released later this fall; however, even better news is that they will offer a free beta version in June.

As always, let me know what you think.


13 Responses to The Next Shoe Drops: Autodesk Announces Smoke 2013

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  1. T.A. Franks says:

    Node-based compositing provides features that a timeline can’t.
    I hoping to see this in Apples Motion, intact I was hoping to see a revamp of Shake from Apple plus the editing features from Final Cut Pro. Well I guess Autodesk has delivered this.

  2. Russtafa says:

    My daughter has a student edition copy of Smoke and loves it.
    Have noticed around here in London more and more places seem to be using Smoke as a “one-stop” editing and finishing tool of the highest quality. It does seem to “produce-that-look” thus setting you apart from everyone else.
    Autodesk are very proactive with the student community and when I got Smoke and 3DS Max for my daughter found they were very good to deal with.
    They are very very proactive getting videos up on Youtube as well.
    But I have been using Autocad mainly for my engineering stuff for many years, so I have always rated them as a great company.
    Larry..Are you going to do an interview with Marc Hamaker?

  3. PJ Smith says:

    This must mean that Autodesk has done away with the requirement of using a discreet NVIDIA graphics card to run Smoke? iMacs only have NVIDIA chips.

  4. PJ Smith says:

    Sorry, I meant iMacs only have AMD chips. Duh…

  5. Lou Borella says:

    Now wouldn’t it be great if Apple released a tower with enough horsepower to run a Smoke system efficiently!!

    Asking people to pay top dollar for 2 year old hardware is outrageous.
    Apple needs to get in the game and upgrade the pro hardware or license the OS to a company that will provide high end workstations for those of us that need it!!!

  6. Lou Borella says:

    Has anyone ever really held Apple’s feet to the fire when it comes to getting an answer on whether or not they are going to update the Mac Pro?

    Or are we just supposed to get the hint like an ex-girlfriend that never returns a phone call?

    This is really irresponsible on their part. They really need to provide an answer. But I feel that all the pundits and evangelists that are in contact with Apple know they are going to run into the wall of secrecy so they don’t bother to press for an answer. Is it really that hard for them to say “We are not upgrading the MacPro anymore. We suggest you look elsewhere for high end hardware or buy a high end iMac”?

    Companies and freelancers do not take this decision lightly. Switching to another tower means switching to a different OS. (Unless you want to build a hackintosh. Which I don’t think facilities would consider). It also means investing a lot of money in crossover software applications and plugins. These decisions have to be made ahead of time to allocate proper funding. And I believe Apple deserves to give an answer to the faithful that have held out hoping for a refresh.

    As a freelance editor I usually upgrade my laptop and desktop every two years. The resale value of the equipment is usually very high at that point and over the long haul my total spent winds up being the same as upgrading every three or four years. But my current MacPro is 4 years old!! With the new version of the Creative Suite hitting in a few months and the benefits of the new CUDA cards my current machine is really starting to show its age.

    If Apple has bigger plans like licensing its OS to a server manufacturer like HP or DELL (which I think makes perfect sense for them at this point) I can understand the secrecy. But can someone get them to please give us some idea of how much longer we should wait. Or tell us to stop waiting altogether.
    I’m hoping some of the secrecy died when Jobs passed and maybe Tim Cook will be a little more sympathetic to the loyalty of some of his core users.

    Lou …

    • Larry says:

      I was having this exact same conversation this morning with ProMax. I have specifically asked Apple. They have specifically declined to answer. There is a LOT of speculation but no answers.

      I agree the MacPro is vital and needs to be refreshed. Whether Apple will do so remains to be seen.

  7. Lou Borella says:

    I just don’t get why they will not answer.
    There is no benefit to their secrecy. I haven’t bought anything from them either way. If I know that they are not going to refresh the line then I have to consider an iMac, a Hackintosh or a Windows box. If they are going to refresh the line then I will wait and make another MacPro purchase. But not telling me doesn’t benefit them either way. Because my money is still sitting in my pocket.
    This strategy only makes me angry. And I can imagine what its doing to facilities managers that try to anticipate future purchases. People are going to jump ship out of spite. CS6 looks promising but not on my 4 year old hardware. FCPX is getting better but I don’t see companies investing in the 2 year old MacPro that Apple is currently offering. Especially at that price point.

    They need to give us an answer. How do we start a movement to get them to give us an answer? Can we draft a letter that we can all send to Tim Cook at one time?

    Im Serious …

    Lou …

  8. Stef says:

    Dear Larry,

    Great article! I’m currently checking out different edit suites to move to (form FCP7 of course). I’m thinking Avid, but Smoke sounds like the ultimate post-production tool for me! I’m a director and editor, but I know my way around in compositing and visual effects. Since Smoke seems to combine the best of both worlds, I might reconsider.

    Thank you!


  9. Andrew says:

    i love the idea of a cheaper Smoke, $15K for a 1 one shop was a little silly. Can’t wait to try it out.

    As for the MacPro, I think people should turn eyes toward Intel and look at the rather sparse looking Xeon roadmap. Apple needs something to get beyond Nehalem, and there isn’t much in the Intel Sandy Bridge pipeline.

  10. Russtafa says:

    You would be better of sending a “draft letter” to Intel.
    As per Andrew’s comment above Intel IS the company who are the reason for delays re: any new Mac Pro that may/or may not come out sometime 2012.
    As for Smoke at last we may? be heading towards a “one-stop” solution.
    Smoke 2012 was good but they should do really well if they have made the interface more intuitive.

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