Interview: Adobe Australia with Michael Stoddart & Jon Barrie.

We had the great pleasure of being able to interview Michael Stoddart the Director of Digital Media Enterprises along with Jon Barrie, Strategic Development Manager Creative Cloud, Adobe A/NZ.

We got some interesting answers to our questions as you will read

AV:In the current climate (COVID etc), how important is the world of creativity?

Michael StoddartMS: Adobe believes that creativity is a key differentiator – in business, education and life in general. The last few months during COVID has shown just how much creativity is essential – from personal expression by recreating famous paintings, making personal videos for social media – right up to business and brands creatively reaching out to their customers and users, and social causes creatively raising awareness

Adobe has seen an explosion of people exploring creative tools – watching online tutorials, engaging streaming creative artists, testing out new media

AV: What medium does Adobe consider the most important influential at this time (print, video, audio etc.) and why?

MS: We’ve seen people increase output in all media – social awareness posters, lip synching to audio – but the largest would be the use of video to creatively express themselves, especially with our Premiere Rush. Video has become the go to form for quickly and effectively speaking out. And not just standard phone video – effects, edits, titling – sophisticated video tools are now on your phone including high quality output and rapid distribution

AV: What is Adobe’s main strength in the creativity workplace?

MS: Creativity should be possible for everyone. Adobes main strength is that while we obviously have a platform for creative professionals who live 24/7 in a creative space, more and more people are being creative using our mobile and cloud applications – Spark, Rush, PS Camera, Aero – easy to engage, fast to get a great result, and the scale to go further should you want to explore even greater creative expression

AV: The smartphone particularly has turned the way we create and consume media on its head. What future developments does Adobe see in this space to even further enhance the experience?

MS: As the smart phone increased in power, we see it becoming an even more relevant tool for creating, not just consuming. For example, we’ve had Adobe Capture for a long time – allowing anyone to grab colour, textures, patterns from real life whenever inspiration strikes. And Photoshop Lightroom on a mobile has the same power as the desktop

But a rapidly emerging creative process is Augmented Reality. Not just consuming it on a mobile, but using the mobile phone as an integral part of the creation and delivery process. Adobe Aero powerfully lets anyone place, edit, animate, record and share 3D AR experiences

AV: 4K is moving quickly to 8K. Does Adobe see this as important or simply that it allows hardware vendors particularly to sell more gear as 4K plateaus? If 8K is an important steppingstone, why does Adobe think that way and what is it working on to take advantage of the extra resolution and actually make it beneficial? And assuming this is valid, is the next logical step 16K? Or is this then just getting out of hand?

Jon BarrieJB: 8K media provides unparalleled quality and promises to change the video industry. 400 percent higher resolution than 4K video, allowing greater flexibility in creative decisions – even if final output is lesser resolution. The Tokyo Olympics are planned to still be broadcast in 8K

In 2008 Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 was the first NLE to support 4K and native R3D files keeping in-line with Adobe’s mission to “Enable Creativity for All”

In the early days of 4K/UHD camera’s FullHD was still considered more than enough for consumers. In 10 years, 4K is now a consumed resolution and there is a race to make 8K a standard acquisition format.

16K would be the logical next acquisition once 8K finds its niche, such as large format projection or large video walls where the resolution equates to immersion.

Premiere Pro has limited users to 16K projects for some time, with the appetite for 8K growing and video decode hardware maturing that limit will be addressed in time too.

AV: How important are the Dimension, Fuse and Character Animator product lines when such apps as iClone and Character Creator “appear” to be far more advanced and accepted?

MS: Extremely important as these tools allow our creative customers to expand their capabilities into new areas. For example – Dimension is filling the need for ‘synthetic photography’ in these times when product shoots are challenging, and the demands of content velocity requires images of multiple versions of products.

As an example, Adobe Dimension also allows long term Adobe Illustrator designers to move into the new content areas of 3D and augmented reality – placing flat artwork packaging design into 3D products and placing them in the ‘real world’ as an AR experience

Character Animator also had great success both in live to air – Our Cartoon President for example – as well as in Education where it allows students to present content using their cartoon avatars

AV: Is physical print (ie paper) still a valid medium now and into the future?

MS: Definitely. Print as a medium for news is being supplanted by digital, but there’s more to print than newspapers. The ‘lean back’ experience of long form printed content is still widely sought out. The explosion in “long tail” magazines – high quality, beautifully designed, luxurious stock – that express highly creative layout, design and typography, will always prove the value of print

Further, the highly expressive packaging market is another area where print is proving itself. Quality brands, luxurious packaging, new print technologies are coming into their own and allow graphic designers new means of expression

AV: Arguably, audio is as important as visuals, but Adobe does not appear to be “blazing any trails”: in this area eg 3D audio as Sennheiser etc are doing? Or is there stuff in development or partnership are the way to go longer term?

MS: Audio is often more important that visuals. As radio effectively communicates without any vision, low quality video and clear audio keeps an audience longer than high quality video and a terrible mix or distorted audio.

Recently, Adobe Audition had grown in popularity with Podcasters, especially where they provide a video of the podcast as part of their distribution channels.

For several cycles the Audition team have been working on improving launch speeds, playback responsiveness, session (project) scalability, overall stability and improved post-production pipeline integration.

In the CC 2018 release cycle Audition support for native Premiere Pro project files provided post-production pipeline efficiencies in time to delivery. Audition can open a .prproj file and open a desired sequence with all of the non-destructive audio clip and track effects applied in Premiere Pro. The video layer is imported as a dynamic link to Premiere Pro while connecting to the same original source files that Premiere Pro used in the edit. This expedites multiple stages and steps of the hand over. Primarily there is no exchange file and perfect fidelity. No time or space wasted on making new audio files with handles or rebuilding the audio filters from scratch. On central storage an Editorial and Audio team can edit in place with the one copy of assets and finally, Audition also has direct connections with Media Encoder and the full engine of export formats allowing Audition to provide the final export without needing an editor to load the mix or stems to export in a tight deadline.

AV: What does Adobe see as the “Next Big Thing? Supplementary questions for my own interest and not necessarily for print

MS: The next “Big Thing” will be based on remote creative efficiency and accuracy. Machine Learning (ML) was already being developed in these directions, but COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the multi-layered importance of cloud-based services, workflows and speed improvements with smarter software. We began our focus on ML technology and branded it as Adobe Sensei a few years ago with recent examples in features such as AutoDucking music when it overlaps a voice track in both Audition and Premiere Pro and AutoReframe to auto-pan and scan to reframe a wide video to square or vertical in Premiere Pro and Premiere Rush.

AV: Will the “lite versions” of say Photoshop, Premiere etc be continued as consumer products?

JB: The Elements tools are full rich applications with many of the features of the Creative Cloud counterparts. In fact, our AI technology often ships first in these tools, and they are well loved for anyone working with images or video.

The latest 2020 release of Premiere Elements / Photoshop Elements has been getting rave reviews as the best consumer applications

AV: Is Adobe going to enter the “serious” 3D workspace , for example Cinema 4D etc?

MS: We provide Cineman4D Lite for our After Effects users, allowing them to investigate and support complex 3D capabilities.

Adobe has also purchased Medium – to accelerate creative production of 3D and immersive creativity. Coupled with the purchase of Algorithmic Substance, Adobe is definitely supporting the serious 3D creative market



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