smokefxguideWe haven't been able to say anything up until now as we strongly respect our Non-Disclosure agreements as beta testers, but the rumors are true: there is definitely smoke for mac in Autodesk's future. According to Autodesk, they will be "showing a technology preview of its industry leading Autodesk Smoke editorial finishing software running on the Mac OS X platform" at the Inter BEE 2009 conference in Tokyo. Inter BEE is a high-end post production conference in Japan, similar to NAB in the United States and IBC in Europe. "This will be the first time an Autodesk finishing product has been designed to run on the Mac platform," says Autodesk.

At Inter BEE 2009, Autodesk will show several workflow presentations:

- Technology Preview of Autodesk Smoke 2010 for the Mac OS X platform
- Twice daily presentations of Smoke running on this new platform. See how the Smoke integrated toolset for editorial finishing can help post-production and broadcast facilities be more efficient. Limit 80 attendees per session. Limited advance registration available at www.autodesk.co.jp/interbee2009/specialevent

Rest assured that at fxguide we're on top of this story and will presenting full coverage when we're able to do so....


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  • Yunsik Noh

    Great! I guess time has come.
    Anyone know about specs and price?
    I hope Flame and Flare are following to Smoke on OSX.

  • David Sallak

    Well now, this has been cooking at Autodesk R&D for quite some time now… good to know you were part of the invite list to evaluate it. I expect a comprehensive review, warts and shiny bits and all!

  • kevin

    The question is, what will it be missing? Unlike flare which is a companion to Flame (and a flame is required), I hope they don’t cripple it with either 1) requiring a Smoke 2K license, 2) stripping necessities like batch and I/O. There is a reason it is $100K cheaper, and it’s not the hardware.

  • i think thats awesome and a good new for many people, i hope know more about this surprise from autodesk.

  • -k

    I still don’t see the point. If you chuck out the money for a smoke does it matter what OS it runs on? It did not bother me when it was IRIX, now its Linux. It could be OS/2 and I would not care as long as it hooks up to the network and interoperates with everything else.
    I used to spend less than 1% of my time in the OS when working on IFF… Maybe I am missing something. The koolaid?

    -k

  • mehtna

    Great news ! The point is : Hopefully they will offer it as a software only option and reduce drastically the price. They would make a total takeover of the desktop editing/finishing. Same for Flare eventually and grab the high-end desktop compositing as well.

  • Miltos

    I also don’t see the point… So it can run on MAC now? So what? Does it make it a better product?

    I don’t even know anybody using this line of products anymore! Everybody seems to have moved to Nuke and Fusion by now.

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  • kid

    Does this mean I could work from home?

    Miltos, how well does Nuke and Fusion hold up in client supervised sessions?
    Have you done it using Nuke? Is Nuke/Fusion good at versioning? I don’t know,
    just curious.

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  • Zac

    Hopefully Autodesk will continue to expand there m&e products to Mac… Lustre!!!???

  • My guess on the price is ~$30K maybe a bit less.

  • kid

    My guess… 10K with limited tool set.
    Autodesk still has to sell the gear for those of us in big school.

  • Yunsik Noh

    Probably just like the first linux version
    which was SD only. So my guess is Smoke HD for OSX with limited feature
    Maybe they are testing Lustre, too. Definitely good news for Mac users.

  • mehtna

    Lustre was running on osx from the beginning, Autodesk did market it at some point like a feature for DP on set. I saw it at NAB few years ago. But they give it up, I guess, as they find out that DP are not interested in the colorist job “on the go” . Before it became a Discreet/Autodesk Product it was running on OS X.

    They should make sure Smoke has all the feature set and sell it 5000$ They could potentially sell 1 million copy . . . . Like FCS . instead of what 800 copy -Max- at 120 K ?

    They have to face it , whatever you use Final cut, Avid, Premiere most of editing are done on OS X on Mac Pro or Macbook Pro .

    Good news for Autodesk and the mac platform

  • We will address a bunch of these questions very soon… we are under NDA/embargo for the moment but rest assured John will do a full run down soon and I think you guys will be really pleased with his coverage.

    Mike

  • andrew wilks

    I’m not too excited yet as it’s autodesk so they are bound to mess things up as usual, wonder if it comes with all the bugs as well, the software would probably fit on a floppy if it was not for all the bugs.

    My guess is +100K and you can only buy 40 seats at a time on a blue moon while whistling the stars spangled banner when it’s snowing in the Sahara (which is not that uncommon) between 19.00 and 1901 UTC on a Wednesday night.

    And it’ll probably only run on a G3.

    Just my thoughts, cheers.

  • Matt

    Good luck using your unix mentality to describe how to use Smoke to a Mac user. I would think Smoke would be far too complicated a shift. It’s kind of strange to bring a overly complex, vertical market app to a consumer/social platform. Smoke will be a tinker toy at best – also, No Mac user will pay that kind of money for software.

  • Dave

    I don’t know, I think Autodesk’s starting to come to grips with the fact that they own a whole lot of software with similar features… and these programs are already written with the development costs covered. I mean, think about it, they’ve become the one company in the industry that can offer end-to-end solutions.

    So you’re a compositor and interested in Toxik. Well, you get Maya for free! Or you’re into 3D, look you get Toxik and Matchmover. Expanding on these ideas seems like a great way to increase market share. Something like, “For $15k you get a copy of Smoke, and we’ll throw in Toxik and Maya for free!”

    At this point (and yes I realize their systems customer service is very high, hence the price) the only people they have to upset by lowering Smoke and Flame prices are the people who own Smoke and Flame… bring it to the masses and I’m sure customers will line up for it, and keep the higher cost customer service for those who need it.

  • rohit

    which means that apple is gonna kill FCP just like they killed shake .. ?

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  • Sinan Vural

    Why release the news now?

  • Dale Boyce

    Well, I just hope they include “Pro” somewhere in the title, so there’s no confusion about the quality of the product. 🙂

  • Art

    That’s great and all, but…when is 3d max for OS X coming up?

  • john

    I have been waiting a long time for this and I’m very happy. When I worked for discreet I remember saying we needed a scaled down version of smoke (less expensive) which would to get more people trained on smoke and help capture a growing market. Bring the technology within everyones reach. 🙂

  • S O

    the price will be $17k for the software

    SINGLE stream of video – no RT FX

    no word on if it talks to AJA or anyone else’s video I/O, but that would be a safe bet

    “resolution limited” – whatever that means. HD ? 2K ? we’ll see

    no word on the :”service contract” or anything else yet, guess we’ll just have to wait

    its not a bad idea, but it sounds pretty crippled too. its not like a 8core mac doesn’t have the hp to fly along. not sure if this is a 1.0 limitation, or if ts a marketing driven one to get you to buy into a “real” system. also expect that they will try to sell it with VERY overpriced storage that will easily double the price, and expect you’ll need a new loaded mac + q4800 card, and easy $5k machine. so I think it will total out towards $50k, which is still overpriced. OTH avid DS is up there, so we’ll see how this works out. certainly they have felt the economic pinch over the last two years and have to do something to open up new markets as a bunch of upper end post houses have gone away 🙁

  • Wendy

    In reference to the comment #5 about OS versions. In comparison, Linux is the professional operating system, and is more powerful than OSX. I think of it as a stick shift sport car, compared to an automatic car. Snow Leopard may be able to finally take advantage of 64 bit, but as someone who has worked in software development, my observation is that programs that run on Linux are still faster, and more protected from viruses than anything else out there.
    Performance comparisons between systems, everything included (storage, OSX, and software) will be very interesting.

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  • Matt Riley

    I think many are missing the possibilities this opens up for smoke development.

    I’m thinking that autodesk can now leverage a full and proper QuickTime API for smoke. So, supporting new codecs (such as prores) won’t require reinventing the wheel. There isn’t support for this from apple under Linux. And what about that little RED thing people keep talking about… I’m guessing it might be an easier foundation to develop with on the mac since RED seems to favor the Mac for software dev.

    Also, this allows a smoke op. access to the ultimate set of “plug-ins” all o. The same box: the Adobe applications. No need to purchase/maintain a separate workstation just to have access to Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, etc. Ditto for the Final Cut apps.

    Networking, SAN setup, working with external disks – all of this is easier on a mac. I’d rather be building a nice batch comp than referencing notes on how to mount/unmount disks from the command line. OS X makes that stuff simple so that I can get to the task at hand, which would be making that impossible deadline with all of the last minute revisions typical of most client-driven edit sessions.

    I don’t understand why people are assuming this will be some sort of cripple-ware compared to a present-day smoke system. The hardware (hp vs. apple) is already the same, as are the I/O components (AJA Kona3, nvidia gpu). There is no longer anything exotic about a smoke except for the smoke software itself. All of the hardware is essentialy commodity pc parts that van be found in anything, really. Stones aren’t special, either – it’s just a fast and expensive RAID unit. No magic to be had there. The stone FS is proprietary but is clearly on its way out as newer hp workstations running redhat enterprise 5 don’t support stone FS. Standard FS configs seems to be the way autodesk is going these days (and I’m thankful for it!).

    I’ll be watching this development from autodesk with great interest as I think it opens up a lot of good things for smoke.

    -Matt

  • andrew wilks

    Hello Matt, I don’t think anyone here is missing the possibilities, it’s just Autodesk keeps missing opportunities, and know doubt they will miss this one.

    cheers.

  • I’ve waited many years for this. Finally, desktop users can get their hands on the best conform tool ever made. If this pushes Apple to kill FCP like they did Shake, the world will be a much better place.

  • Zac

    Matt and Andrew-

    I think Apple is in the same boat as Autodesk with ‘Missing Opportunities’. Or is at least close.

    A huge plus to apple if they can use it to keep and generate more MGFX/Film Clients by broadening there hardware support (NVidia SDI Cards anyone…).

  • Joe

    Don’t know who raised the “Smoke to Nuke/Fusion” switch point, but doing editorial work in both Nuke or Fusion is for crazy people.

    Smoke it’s a great system but aside the advantage of not needing a assist station to fire up a After Effects, PS or something like that I see no point of having Smoke running on OSX unless a drastic price drop becomes a reality.

    In turnkey systems like these the OS in which they are running are the least important bit of the equation in my opinion. As long they are able to talk with the rest of your pipeline it shouldn’t matter too much if it’s Irix, Linux, Windows, OSX or Chrome OS 😛

    I also bet that Smoke will become more unstable since it will now start to run in a system where people usually have way more apps installed and being run simultaneously.

    Anyway… let’s see how that rolls.

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  • wiretap on a mac too? better quicktime workflow.

  • Joejoe

    It sounds like it’s finaly possible to build a nice smooth VFX workflow without #%&@! quicktime files on a mac..

    smoke -> Nuke -> smoke -> HDSR

    cheers

  • Alan

    Comment from Matt:

    “I

  • Waske

    comment from Alan:

    “Because this is Autodesk we

  • Xavier

    @Joejoe: Re: smoke -> nuke -> smoke -> HDSR…

    Dude, Nuke runs on Linux already. That potential workflow isn’t new.

  • -k

    Well I too wished

  • Joe

    I wouldn’t say on Combustion’s price range, but 10-30k range would be ok I think.

    It’s a shame tho that no one had the guts to develop a standard container format along the lines of what OpenEXR became to replace QuickTime. Being a hostage of Apple isn’t cool at all. Everybody complains about Microsoft but Apple is just as bad.

    Now… over the Flare topic I would say it’s a pretty cripple down software only solution for it’s price and conditions. Not to mention that the dumbest time one can spend in a Flame is doing I/O and yet Flare doesn’t solves that. You leave your full fledge seat of Flame doing the I/O while comping on a laptop in the cripple down mini-flame version… doesn’t make much sense.

    Also 40k for a single license of a app that ends up becoming a assist seat that you can only buy after you already paid for a full Flame is kind of a outrageous. 12k would be way more than enough.

    Bottom line is Flame, Inferno and Smoke only make sense if you deal with really tiny deadlines and commercial work that demand quick turnarounds. Anything that has a gestation period superior to a month, involves loads of passes and 32bit float processing can be accomplished using other tools that are far cheaper and deliver the same results (or better).

  • Waske

    Well Joe,

    I said that Flare is working on laptop not because you should use it only that way. You can take a new HP Z800 or Z600 with a quadro fx 1800 and you will have an extra seat fast as your main Flame for a fraction of cost. And you can double the speed of work if you have two artist working in same time on same project. So that’s why they put Flare on market. It don’t compete with any software, it is just extra power for who need it.

    About I/O, there is a lot of ways to free your Flame of it if you have to. There is a Backdraft Conform ( a Smoke without effects) with full library and project sharing, so it can ingest and playout while Flame and Flare do their magic. A new Smoke on Mac will be another way of freeing your Flame of I/O if you really need it. Or you could use tether or stonegate to access your Flame storage for import and I/O from low cost Macs or PCs.

    And you are right, If you have a lot of time you can work on something cheaper, but a week or two of fcp + ae + c4d + shake could cost more than a day or two in smoke or flame suite, and it wouldn’t be always better when done cheaper.

    I’d like to see what will happen when all that talented artist who had to juggle between fcp, ae, c4d, shake and motion put their hands on smoke on Mac. And when tutorials websites start to help us learning it.

  • Paul

    Joe, I’m assuming you’ve not used a Flare, right?
    We are in the middle of a huge delivery of shots for a major film, and I have to say that for this kind of work, (film work) Flare rocks!
    My colleague, who is using it, loves it and I have to say, barring editing work,(which we don’t do), I really wouldn’t miss the desktop,(apart from the warper!), image import/export is there, (good for us), I haven’t used video IO in over a year, so that’s not an issue, the only downside is the lack of archiving, but with good working practices, you can work around that, however I would LOVE bgd archiving.

  • Deke Kincaid

    People have made opensource replacements for qucktime but the trouble is none of the editing packages(avid, apple, adobe) or the camera manufacturers are going to jump on that bandwagon except for the very highend of both which makes up a very small percentage of the market.

  • alanS

    Nuke + VFXDesktop, nothing else needs to be said.

    A.S.

  • Joe

    Hey Paul, hey Waske!

    I do understand that Flare is great and all, but it’s price tag is a bit to salty for my taste, not for what it does, but for where it fits. It’s a great app that justifies it’s price if you work with commercials with really short deadlines that at some stage get centralized in one person/station during comp stages. For feature films or films with longer deadlines where things tend to run in parallel and rely on more people I really don’t see a point in using Flare. For it’s price (software alone) you can deploy two workstations running Nuke and do more with a much lower maintenance cost.

    In those type of scenarios the integration with a Flame means little (to not say nothing), specially if you’re dealing with things that Flame doesn’t cope that well like loads of passes in OpenEXR (half/float) coming from 3D, etc.

    In the end it’s all a matter of how you work and how the market is evolving. Things are getting cheaper and cheaper, clients want to pay less and less while works keep getting more complex in higher definitions demanding more people. So Autodesk is just responding to that in their own way. Not perfect but at least they are stepping out from the pedestal that they like to see them selves.

    Price wise I still think they need to do a reality check. If they want to keep that old price they need to deliver more and start to implement stuff that most have been requesting for the past decade.

    @alanS:

    VFXDesktop looks great but from what I heard it’s really, really far from being comparable to Flame’s desktop, Scratch’s Construct or the likes in terms of stability and being ready for prime time. If it’s development keeps at the current pace it will reach it’s maturity in two/three years. Not to mention that for it to be largely adopted it will have to be ported over to Linux and OSX as well.

    But the guy behind VFXDesktop did indeed tackle into a long standing hole for lower price software only solutions, and I’m really looking forward to see how that goes.

  • Joe

    @Deke:

    That’s a real shame, because we shouldn’t have to rely on QuickTime or Apple’s will to get things done. Apple is worst than Microsoft when it comes to certain things, and their lack of respect for other platforms and people that have to deal with mixed environments is pretty mind boggling.

  • SMOKER

    i really dont think this as a good news….
    smoke linux ships with hardware support
    is smoke on mac going to b shipped with mac system or just the software ?
    if we would only have to install the software on mac like fcp then there will b cracked versions out in market n those will spread everywhere …
    evey tom dikk n harry will work on cracked smoke on his laptop n that would just ruin a smoke artist career ..
    WHAT WILL AUTODESK DO TO PREVENT A CRACK SOFTWARE ?????
    IF IT WILL B CRACKED THEN WE WILL C IT WORKING ON EVERY SYSTEM N LAPTOP N SMOKE WOULD LOOSE ITS GLORY N EQ WOULD EMERGE AGAIN….
    PLZ DONT MAKE IT FREE ACCESSIBLE…..

  • Smoke on OSX for $14995!!

    Smoke+Nuke Win, im so happy !!

  • by autodesk twitter (@autodesk)
    http://twitter.com/autodesk

  • Joel

    if people crack the smoke it will just be a bunch of people with illegal copies of software that they dont know how to use, if anything making the smoke available for osx is going to ensure its future

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  • Tim

    @SMOKER

    Those using cracked version aren’t really clients of autodesk from start, I don’t think they would get more copies sold if it couldn’t be cracked. Those who affords it buys it, those who doesn’t afford it don’t buy it, they might crack it, and yes that could mean that there would be more smoke artists in the world(which is a good thing, isn’t it?), but what does autodesk really loose on it? Sounds like you concider smoke artists being presidents, or are you just jelous if more people use it?

    • Daddy

      Word. I don’t know how to use Smoke… Yet. But I know a lot of software and techniques. This will just be a new, more powerfull set of buttons to press. Hell yes I will use a crack, to learn it, to get more gigs. People writing that “they won’t know how to use it” guff are deluded. It’s like all the Avid editors who talk about how FCP isn’t professional. Yes it is and I cut on both and make more money. Software = buttons; that’s it. You have to know how you want the project to look, know techniques to achieve the desired look, and then how to get your software to do it: in that order. Don’t be scared Smoke artists.

  • skk.

    Let’s see what Scratch will do then…

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  • Pablo

    Autodesk can not prevent cracked software anymore than Bush can read a newspaper. Cracked versions of Flame have existed since the early days of SGI hardware. It is a fact of life, and like a leaked version of Wolverine, they don’t have much impact on the bottom line. Any company doing real business will not get away with using cracked software for long (this town really is quite small). If Autodesk is smart, they will have a EDU version with limited I/O capabilty and plenty of tutorials online.

    As far as more Smoke artists, I’ve heard this often from other Smoke artists. They all think that that if one more person learns Smoke, they will be out of work. While the laws of supply and demand are correct, it is the demand that will increase with the introduction of more Smoke seats. The Smoke artists who are talented will usually rise to the top. They may even make good money. The rest will make less.

    Wishing away the realities of the new economy won’t make it go away. Change is innevitable, and no, life is not fair. If you are a Smoke artist because you think you can make a lot of money, then you are in it for the wrong reasons. Your reality check is in the mail.

    @SMOKER – Stop yelling and buy some vowels.

  • Regardless of the price, talent is everything, shake is $495, so is combustion, everybody still uses After effects which is $795. The talented users are still making all the big money simple as that. At the end of the day creativity remains king. Smoke will change compositors perceptions initially but when they realize Nuke, shake and AE are easier to use they will realize how important the original smoke users are and why they shelled out $120,000 to buy the system. Using the current version of smoke is like piloting a fighter plane. Smoke on a mac would be like flying a twin engine.

  • The smoke artists whining about their job being in jeopardy really crack me up. Have some confidence people, if you think the only reason you’re working is that more competent and talented people simply haven’t been able to get their hands on your systems then you need to get better at what you do. Welcome to the real world, welcome to what every Maya, MAX and After FX user has to deal with. Long story short, if you’re good you will be working. I still have a hard time finding available *talented* After FX people for projects at my company. While talented people have to deal with layoffs and downturns…at the end of the day talent always wins out. If you’re talented you will find work – a lot of it. If there’s more smoke systems out there (and people are investing tens of thousands in them) then you can bet they would *love* to have a talented smoke artist available and working on their projects. It takes a couple of years to truly master these systems, think of the head start you have. This is a good thing for everybody.

    -Greg

  • Having a finishing system is like having a printing press. it does not make you a good writer. Its a specialty industry.
    Smoke needs to be able to use mac ofx and photoshop plugins, now that would be a game changer.

  • Alan Maiden

    I’m a Smoke operator who was made redundant18months ago. I’m now freelancing and making a living. I think smoke on MAC will just increase the amount of companies I am able to work for, which is a good thing. Like everyone keeps saying, “if you’re good at your job then you will only get more work from more machines being available” alanmaiden”hotmail.com

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  • Jean-Marc Laurin

    I am currently testing smoke on a 2.93GHz macBookPro It seems to be working fine, but when I upgraded my finalcutstudio to version 3, conflicts seem to arise. I have an eSATA ProAvio 4x diskdrive running with an addonics XpressCard/34, and I can get 24fps HD playback if cropped at 2:35. FullRez HD drops frames after a few seconds. Will upgrade to sonnet xpresscard soon. They claim I can get 200Mbs out of the expresscard slot so I will give this a try since 24fps8bitHD requires between 180/190 Mbs.

    I can access a remote stone on a ip network so that when working in my linux suite, i can actually use my laptop as a remote working station side-by-side, or on any table with an ethernet connection nearby. Sort of like a killer backdraft/burn/precomp station. I actually completed a whole national commercial spot with comp/tracking/paint using media on a remote stone running another live session with clients while I was upstairs in another room. When those clients left, my clients walked right in and i did my presentation as if I had been in my suite all day.

    You can actually use any GUID partitioned disk as a stone. Archiving material to USB disk is easy, and I actually finished my HD session on the train with a 350G usb drive. I did everything in 720×405 proxy rez since no HD RTplayback and refresh was slow, but still managed to get an hours’ work done without power supply. Almost missed my stop. Tweaked everything after my kids went to bed and presented to clients the next morning in studio.

    Seemed to render soft FX just fine, but again, updating FinalCutStudio2 to FinalCutStudio3 may create some conflicts. 10bit HD multilayered SoftFX renders crash after a few minutes. (Remote stone via Ethernet) Probably has to do with the NVIDIA 9600G memory allocation limits. Local stone renders through eSATA seem fine. SmokeMac Crashes when i load an action with several different resolutions in the source clips, but had no problem with my old FinalCutStudio2 setup. Console now gives me an adobelivetype conflict message.

    After testing extensively with actual HD production footage in a real studio environment, I would’nt recommend using smoke/mac on a laptop as a main production tool, unless you have FinalCutStudio for IO and audio playback and presentation using the publish/DPXtoQT workflow. But for precomps, rotos, keys, paint, dusting, stabilising, archiving, RED XML conforming and parallel session work, it is a fabulous idea, and has saved me from doing any overtime (!). Can’t wait for CORE Audio support.