It’s been quite some time since I played around with Adobe After Effects, perhaps several years. And yet even with version 4 and on and on….it was quite “complete” in its features. It had and still has the widest range of plugins available. The latest incarnations, the CS series, currently the Adobe After Effects CS5 mainly adds native 64-bit OS support over CS4 along with Roto Brush tool and the mocha plugin.
Now I was always curious why so many raved about Eyeon (eyeonline website) FUSION years ago when it had no sound/audio support, and apparently years later it still doesn’t. The same thing can be said for D2/thefoundry’s NUKE or NukeX, again absolutely no support for audio, not even playback, forget about keeping it in the final render. Some would have you think that’s not a big deal….which is ludicrous.
Sure it isn’t ‘bad’ to own Nuke, NukeX or Fusion but my recommendation is if $10k is a lot of money to you, stick to Adobe After Effects. Its an unbelievable bargain for the power within it, and you won’t have to go through headaches of manually synchronizing audio clips. (frame numbering never agrees between applications with certain encoders like Divx etc and when you base it on time its not as accurate and forget about effects that change the timeline since then resyncing your audio will have you pulling your hair out and then jumping off a cliff.)
So why don’t these so called “high-end” FILM video compositing systems support audio? Adobe After Effects does, and does it well, which allows for easy usage of such great fx such as Trapcode Sound Keys and others. The music, audio/sound effects in a movie or a commercial are just as important as the video and there is no doubt being able modify one without having to redo the other is a very huge time saver.
So no, not having audio support doesn’t make those programs “cool” and “high-end” and not “bloated”, it makes them incomplete, a work in progress, beta software, at least not something that can be used without crutches.
I say this out of disappointment, because I really do prefer the NODE based workflow. I really enjoyed Silicon Grail, Rayz and also NothingReal Shake (then bought by apple to be cannabilized).
I’m now very curious about Autodesk TOXIK (it seems to borrow a lot from the ultimate Autodesk/Discreet FFI, Flame, Fire, Inferno along with their great keyers which used to be SGI only back in the days), which has been renamed Autodesk Maya Compositor and is included with Maya 2010. It also has a nice nodal based workflow reminiscent of SHAKE and I bet it probably can handle AUDIO, because Autodesk is a ‘real’ company