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For audio, Premiere Pro has added a new mixing panel that has real-time audio effects and also provides clip-by-clip control of gain in a more professional audio environment. Monitoring has also improved in both the Source and Program Monitor panels, which lets you switch between audio waveforms and video easily, and offers improved title- and action-safe guides. If you’re editing on a MacBook Pro Retina display like me, Premiere Pro has been updated with HiDPI support, so it looks crisp and clean.

A MORE REFINED AFTER EFFECTS

After Effects CC gives users a slew of new tools, especially for 3D, and offers better rotoscoping and stabilization tools. This past year, Adobe teamed up with Maxon (www.maxon.net) and their 3D graphics application, Cinema 4D. With the new Live 3D Pipeline with Cinema 4D, you can now insert 3D objects directly into After Effects compositions, which also reduces the time to move 3D objects within your scene.

CS5’s Roto Brush was a great tool to help create mattes, but it still lacked fine detail. Using complex spatial and temporal algorithms to create clean edges for content separation, AE’s new Refine Edge tool gives you far better results in separating foreground elements (unkempt hair or soft edges) from poorly lit or crowded backgrounds. Although I’m a novice when it comes to rotoscoping, the Refine Edge tool was simple to use, and I didn’t have to be exact in terms of painting the edge of a person’s hair or separating trees from a background. It’s a pretty amazing tool.

The Warp Stabilizer was one of the most popular tools in After Effects—so much so Adobe installed it in Premiere Pro CS6. AE CC’s new Warp Stabilizer VFX goes even further in smoothing out shaky handheld footage and adds the ability to stabilize an object within a frame while leaving the rest of the frame "shaky."

IN LIVING COLOR: SPEEDGRADE

SpeedGrade, which Adobe purchased from IRIDAS a few years back, is professional color-grading software that offers GPU-accelerated performance and a wide digital camera support, including RAW, HDR and 3D. At the heart of SpeedGrade is the Lumetri Deep Color Engine, which is a GPU-accelerated, 32-bit, floating-point image-processing technology that gives you greater control with high dynamic range content. Some of the new tools in SpeedGrade include film stock emulations (used on their own or as layers within grades), Luma Waveform display, Mercury Transmit support for external monitoring and more.

Perhaps the biggest upgrade to SpeedGrade is the newly designed UI, making it much more familiar to Premiere Pro users with familiar placement of screen elements like the media browser, a new autofit monitor, a new Look Manager, and integrated Grading and Mask panes. Although the UI to SpeedGrade is improved, there’s still a steep learning curve if you’ve never used a professional color-grading application.

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