Last week at the Adobe CS6 Roadshow, we had a suite of Adobe evangelists (their term, but apt) showing off the goodies across the suite in this latest release. I went to the video tracks to see what Premiere Pro and After Effects could do in the hands of these guys and certainly learnt plenty. The big theatre at Darling Harbour’s Exhibition Centre is a grand venue and in here we had the keynote covering the whole suite, where Adobe is headed with the cloud and so forth. There was a focus on the world being changes, that digital media is pervasive and Adobe is at the heart of that. Things are also movign very very fast, when CS5 came out there was no iPad now there are zillions of them. We got to see several videos and projects by professionals and students showing that creation happens across a large spectrum of users. The whole group (thousands) also came together at the end for Photoshop (who doesnt love Photoshop).

The Photoshop demo showed off some very nice controls for Camera Raw which we can now use on any file to do some much smarter tonal and contrast controls. The crop tool now has the addition of guides like the ‘rule of thirds’ and nice rotation controls. Brushes can even wear down if you like that even more realistic way and we get more video, tilt-shift and content-aware fills/moves/etc.

Video was where most of my time went on the day and that meant I got to see lots of the Mercury Playback Engine, while they mentioned this many times in the demo they didnt flaunt it as much as I though they could have. Maybe that was because the majority of the demo machines they were using were still Mac and so the full firepower wast there (plus it came out in CS5 I guess). The demo guys were still doing live playback of 11 videos while editing on the fly and adding effects and adjustment layers at will = laptops are cool.
There was a fair bit of focus on the improvements to the UI and giving more realestate to video and less to controls. Moving the ‘play’ button means the tool is really targeting the pros and I am nervous about newbies being able to use the software at all without knowing all those keyboard shortcuts and alt-shift-ctrl modifiers.
Some of the changes make for some very fast workflows indeed, the warp stabiliser is here in PPro as well as After Effects. There was so much shown, not just for Premiere Pro, but also After Effects, Audition, Speed Grade and more – really a very powerful suite of video production tools.

Definitely one of the key changes in CS6 across all the apps was speed, speed of rendering, saving and loading but also workflow streamlining – these are all good things.