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Adobe's 3D Workflow - Victoria Nece

By Victoria Nece

Experience New Ways to Design in 3D in After Effects

Adobe's Creative Cloud has long been an industry leader for motion designers. With the cross-compatibility of multiple programs, and an intuitive workflow, they have staked their place as a 2D powerhouse. Now, they're making some huge additions to their 3D workflow. The 3D Design Space offers new features that help you navigate and design in 3D better and faster.
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This week is Adobe MAX, a showcase of new features, new collaborations, and keynotes from some of the biggest names in the motion design industry. Yesterday, Adobe announced major innovations to their After Effects 3D workflow. With new tools and capabilities, it certainly piqued our interest.
We had a chance to sit down with Victoria Nece, Senior Product Manager for Motion Graphics and Visual Effects at Adobe, to discuss how this new workflow will affect the Motion Design community. More than that, we had a chance to discuss Adobe MAX, building a MoGraph career, and staying ahead of the competition. Slip on your VIP badge and come on down!

Adobe's After Effects 3D Workflow - Victoria Nece

Show Notes

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Transcript

Joey Korenman:
Victoria, it's about time we had you on this podcast. I'm really excited to talk to you about all the neat stuff that is being announced at Adobe Max this year and find out what's going on with After Effects. So, thank you very much for coming on.
Victoria Nece:
Thanks for having me. It's great to be here. I know we've tried to make this happen for a while.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, well, we're both very busy, important people. So, this episode is coming out on day two of Adobe Max 2020. I've been honored to be able to speak at it again this year. There's a lot of neat information coming out. You're probably right in the middle of all of it like in the epicenter of the storm, but I actually wanted to start a little bit before today and find out how you ended up in the role you're in. So, I thought maybe we could just start by introducing you to everybody. What were you doing before you were Victoria Nece, Senior Product Manager for Motion Graphics and Visual Effects?
Victoria Nece:
So, I was a motion designer. I was a motion designer for about a decade in New York. I worked on a lot of documentaries in particular, focused on factual animation, explaining how things work, lots of stuff with archival imagery and video, and restoring media shows like Frontline. I did several episodes of that. So, mostly long form serious news and filling in the holes when there's nothing to put on the screen. So, also, lots of things like data visualizations and creating ways to visualize stuff that isn't very visual.
Joey Korenman:
It's funny, I've did the exact same job on a few TV shows. I thought I was coming in to help develop a visual style, but really, what you're doing is you're filling in areas where they don't have any B roll, right? It's like, "Give it to Victoria."
Victoria Nece:
The visual style is actually, "Don't draw too much attention to this, because if it feels like it's from a totally different world than the rest of the film, you actually haven't done a good job." That's part of the challenge, but it's also you get access to really amazing materials to work with. You have source materials. You have a lot of things to spark your creativity. So, you're not trapped by that actually. I think it's cool thing to get to work with that stuff. Part of what I always enjoyed is figuring out how to tell a story.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, and on those types of shows too, would you have to become a temporary expert in different topics?
Victoria Nece:
I used to say it was like being in college forever. Every few months, I just pick up a whole new topic and go super deep on it. And then we'd be done, and I'd pick up a totally different topic.
Joey Korenman:
That's amazing. Yeah, I worked on this animal planet show called Dogs 101. So, I knew everything about dogs for like a year and a half. I could tell you which ones get hip dysplasia, and all that stuff. So, right before we started recording, you actually mentioned to me that you're from Clearwater, Florida. I live in Florida. I'm curious, how did you end up going from Florida to New York?
Victoria Nece:
I went to New York for college at NYU. I've visited New York once for one day, was like, "Yup, this is what I want to do." Did NYU's film program, which let me actually do animation and a bunch of other things around it, television, took a lot of journalism classes. So, it's a build your own... What's a good way of putting this?
Joey Korenman:
It's like choose your own adventure major feeling?
Victoria Nece:
Yeah, yeah, the film program, it's really open ended in terms of what classes you can take. A lot of them are you get an editing track, you get a director of track. And then NYU's like, "Take some film classes. We'll see you in a couple of years."
Joey Korenman:
Right. That's great. So, were you always interested primarily in the post side of things? Did you like production too?
Victoria Nece:
I've always been on the post side. I've been using After Effects actually since I was 13. Growing up in Florida, I was really lucky to get to go to a high school that had... I got access to these tools as part of a television production program. We did a daily live news broadcast every day. So, I've been used After Effects now most of my life.
Joey Korenman:
That's amazing. Do you remember what version it was?
Victoria Nece:
I started with what I think was the very first Windows version when they had just come out. I still remember when After Effects got the very first 3D layers, because that was I think still the biggest upgrade you can possibly have because you added a whole new dimension.
Joey Korenman:
Exactly.
Victoria Nece:
If we add another one, that'll be interesting.
Joey Korenman:
So, you're in New York, you finished film school. You get a job and you're doing motion graphics on... It would have been called motion graphics back then, no one was saying motion design. That was not a thing yet. You're doing this for like Frontline and documentary style stuff. Now, I actually heard an interview, I think it was the one on Motion Hatch with Haley. You said that you like making After Effects do things it wasn't supposed to do. That struck a chord with me. I want to know what you mean by that.
Victoria Nece:
This is actually one of my favorite things to ask users whenever I'm on customer visits is, "What's the weirdest thing you've ever done with After Effects?" Everyone has a different answer. It's so open ended that you can push it in a million different directions. I'd actually just saw a really fabulous short documentary about a guy who's using... He's a fine artist who's a sculptor. He builds kinetic animated sculptures. He's using After Effects to prototype them. People use it for all kinds of unexpected things. We have an incredibly diverse user base. That's one of the things that's so fun about it. But it's also from a product management side, one of the things that can be a challenge is it's so open ended.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. So, it's interesting. I think it's making a little more sense why you ended up in the role you're in, because I felt exactly the same way when I really got After Effects that it's like the ultimate Lego set for computer nerds or something, right? It's got all these tools. You can piece them together. You can do all these crazy things. And then on the other side of that, I worked with a lot of artists that the technicality of After Effects and the power of it was what they fought the most. They just wanted to make pretty stuff, right? They were amazing at that.
So, I'm wondering if you ever felt like torn between two worlds. Obviously, you're very technical and you've even developed scripts and things like that. But in the end of the day, we're still designing, we're still animating and making art. I always felt a little bit torn. I enjoy this geeky stuff a little more than I should maybe.
Victoria Nece:
I found the further I got into it that I really enjoyed the scripting and automation side of things. That's actually part of how I got to Adobe. When you're working in documentary, very often, you're the only person working on, say, a feature length film. You've got 80 to 100 lower thirds to make, but also all the graphics illustrating some key points in the film. You want to spend your time on the fun ones. You want to spend your time on the interesting story building stuff. You don't want to spend your time copying and pasting and typing a new text.
So, a big part of how I got into the scripting was to get rid of the repetitive work, to get rid of all the things I had to do over and over again. If I could just push a button and have that happen, that gave me time back to focus on the much more creative part of the job. So, I don't think they're in conflict with each other. I think one can actually give you the opportunity to do the other.
Joey Korenman:
I love it. So, how did you actually end up becoming a Product Manager and now Senior Product Manager over at Adobe?
Victoria Nece:
So, here's the best part of the story. I didn't know what I was interviewing for. Everyone thought someone else had told me. So, part of it is with the community of people who build scripts and extensions for After Effects was incredibly close knit. I just got to know folks through that as a lot of networking and becoming friends with people in that space. Through that, I got to know some folks on the team, managed to join the private beta program there, it was active at the time. I was very vocal in that, and also for Character Animator, which is really, really early days back then.
At that point, I was working on some open source motion capture tools for After Effects with a friend. That meant that I had a lot of opinions about how Character Animator worked. I was pretty vocal. That meant that they were looking for someone to do documentation for the press, for the first launch of Character Animator. Michelle Gallina, who's our marketing manager, found me on the pre-release forum and offered me a little contract gig. That's how I got to know the Adobe folks.
Joey Korenman:
Oh, that's so cool. It must have been really cool. At this point, you've been with Adobe for years. You're in the inner sanctum at this point. But for everyone listening, I mean, it's amazing how tight knit I think the After Effects team is, especially with the developer community that pitches in so much.
As I've gotten to know you and the rest of the team through some of the projects and things we've done over the last few years, I have to say that from the outside, having never met anyone previously, I was like, "Oh, it's Adobe. It's this huge company. They must have these massive teams, and it's going to be very, very corporate." The After Effects team is the opposite of that. It's just all very friendly, down to earth, brilliant people. I just think it's really cool that like something that is so big and so widely used is actually built by normal people.
Victoria Nece:
Yeah, we're all humans. It's a tiny team. It really is like. I think people think Adobe has what, 25,000 employees at this point. People assume that 24,000 of them must be working on After Effects, but it's-
Joey Korenman:
Of course.
Victoria Nece:
... not true at all. There are advantages to being part of a huge company in terms of things and just being able to scale the platform that we work on. We share a lot of code with the other Creative Cloud apps. I think every Creative Cloud app has pieces with the others in it. We use Photoshop's library to do Photoshop stuff. Premiere uses After Effects as a library to do motion graphics templates. We all share a ton of foundational components, but the core team that just works on After Effects is only a few dozen people, a couple dozen. We're little.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. So, you are bringing up a really good point. So, After Effects, even if it existed in a vacuum all by itself, is already the app that you use for motion design. I mean, obviously, there's other things out there. There's Cinema 4D, and there's Houdini. There's Blender, and there's plugins and Flash, things like that. But I think, I can't really put my finger on exactly when this happened, but there was a point in time where After Effects, all of a sudden, it was almost like there was this moat around it, because it integrates with everything else so perfectly.
Nothing else integrates with Photoshop the way After Effects does, and nothing else integrates with Premiere the way After Effects does. So, in your role as a Product Manager for After Effects, are you also managing other apps? You mentioned Character Animator, but are there other ones? Are you working with other product managers to make sure that there's hooks that the apps can talk to each other?
Victoria Nece:
So, there's a lot of product managers across Adobe. My role is After Effects working in partnership with a couple other folks. And then I also have motion graphics templates under my remit. But I work with product managers across the rest of what we call DVA, Digital Video and Audio, which is our umbrella within Adobe After Effects, Premiere, Audition, Character Animator, Rush, Media Encoder. We work really closely together. But then I also work with people across the rest of Creative Cloud and even outside Creative Cloud, a lot of shared technology teams as well. So, we all work together, but it is a complex organization with a lot of moving parts.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, I can't imagine. So, I'm curious a little bit about how these features, like some of the ones you're about to tell us about, the ones that are being revealed right now, Max, how do these actually go from idea to feature? Obviously, you and the rest of the team are listening to feedback, talking to users. There's a website, and we'll link to it in the show notes, where you can go and submit feature requests and all these kinds of things. But then a lot of times, there's these technology-driven things.
The clone stamp video tool that came out last year, that's driven by the Sensei technology, which is like this crazy AI machine learning thing Adobe's invented. That's the kind of thing where it's a new technology that then opens up and unlocks a feature that you could make. So, I'm curious how do you juggle those two things as a product manager?
Victoria Nece:
It's really more than two things. There's input coming from all sides. There's very much a combination of what we're listening to our users tell us they need. A big part of my role is to be the user advocate in the room, to be their voice, to stand up and say, "This is what our users need." It's not just about the dollar number of us doing something. It's also about, "Can we make someone's day better? Can we make them more effective at their job? Can we make them faster at their workflow?" So, we spent a lot of time on that side of things on the actual, "What is the user need? Where is their pain point that we can solve?" But then we also have really cool stuff coming in from our research organization.
Again, that's one of the big advantages of being part of a large company is we have this amazing team of researchers that come up with things like Content-Aware Fill, or this year, Roto Brush 2 came out of research and is a really cool tool. But it's a lot of back and forth. A lot of the things that come in as research take quite a lot of iteration to get to the point where they're ready for us to give them to users, because it's not just about pure technology and search of a problem to solve. It's about, "How can we take this technology and really make it valuable, really make it fit someone's workflow in the right way?" That takes a couple years sometimes.
Joey Korenman:
Probably. That is a huge advantage of Adobe's scale. I mean, I'm thinking of like Pixar does the same thing. Every year at SIGGRAPH, there's these research papers of some very esoteric rendering thing that they've been working on. It doesn't make its way into a consumer facing thing for two years, but when it does, it can be pretty revolutionary. So, do you ever get to see what that brain trust is working on, or does it just trickle out like, "Oh, now we've invented Content-Aware Fill for video"?
Victoria Nece:
Sometimes you see things fully formed. Sometimes you see things in really early stages. Max Sneaks is honestly one of the best ways to get a sense of what folks are working on. Internally, it's actually a juried thing. You get to vote on which things you'd like to see on the Sneaks stage. There's a much bigger range of presentations that are pitched for that. So, behind the scenes, we get to see as many of those as we'd like to watch. I hope people got a chance to watch that this year, because Max is actually free and available to everyone. Just really nice, because I know how expensive it is to go normally. But Sneaks is probably the best look you can get into what research is up to. We've definitely seen things that Sneaks and gone, "We need that in the app."
Joey Korenman:
I love it. So, okay. So, I want to get into some of these new features, but I have a couple of questions that I've always wanted to ask you, because you know these things and you're one of the few people on earth that I could ask this to. So, our audience is primarily motion designers, right? There's also like video editors that want to incorporate motion design into what they're doing. There's traditional graphic designers that are adding motion, but for the most part, people are focused on motion design. But After Effects is used by lots of different types of creatives. So, I'm curious, do you have any sense of the buckets? Who are the types of people that use this program?
Victoria Nece:
So, the interesting thing about where we're positioned in the market is that we straddle the line between design and video. So, you have video editors who need to add motion to their videos or VFX to their videos. You have graphic designers who need to make their stuff move, doing animated illustrations, things like that. And then you have the motion designer that crosses that boundary. There's a much wider range of people that use After Effects beyond that, but those are the big core groups.
What we tend to see is video editors who get more and more into motion design become a motion designer, and graphic designers who get more and more into motion become a motion designer. It's almost 50/50 that feeds into that, but we're at that intersection. It's an interesting place to be, because we're also at the intersection between animation and compositing. That's why After Effects is the tool for motion design. It's because we do both. That intersection, again, it's worth the middle of a lot of different Venn diagrams.
Joey Korenman:
That's a really good way to put it. You alluded to this earlier, but I was a mad scientist with After Effects. When I was using it every day and doing client work, I mean, I prided myself on how ridiculous my precomp setup could be and the expressions tying it all together. I mean, it really is if you're into that, it is the ultimate erector set. I'm curious if you're ever surprised with how After Effects gets used? Have you ever talked to a user and you're like, "I can't believe you're doing that with this thing"?
Victoria Nece:
Oh, yeah, all the time. It's amazing what people do with it. The tools people build on top of it, we spend a lot of time making sure that it's extensible and extendable. It's a platform for all of this creative exploration even beyond the core toolset, which is substantial in itself. So, there's so many directions that it goes. I remember once somebody released a script, and one of our core engineers said, "I didn't know you could do that in After Effects." So, we see a ton of really amazing explorations out there. Unfortunately, some of the most interesting ones I've seen, I'm not allowed to tell you about.
Joey Korenman:
Interesting. Well, I can probably guess what they are. Just so people listening aren't left totally hanging, my guess would be something along the lines of companies that do really high-profile product launches and things like that, but then make you sign an NDA. So, you can never say you worked on it.
Victoria Nece:
Well, also things like product prototyping or installations at an event or a theme park, things like that. Really wild stuff where you go, "Yeah, I guess that is video." There's all kinds of things that After Effects, you'd never guess it's what's happening behind the scenes.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, some of the things that have really impressed me over the last couple of years are just the way people are automating it, using MOGRTs obviously. But even past that, using tools like DataClay to there was something the Foo Fighters did, where I think they had to render out 10,000 videos or something like that. It's all driven by a Google Sheet. All of a sudden, you're doing this at scale. It's like, "Oh, I didn't really think about doing that. That's really brilliant." So, let's get into some of the features. We can start with I guess some of the ones that are more recent over the last two, three years. You've been the Product Manager I think now for four or five years. What are some of the features that have come out that you're most proud of? I think I know one of them that you're going to say.
Victoria Nece:
I'd say the two that I would love to talk about is really just motion graphics templates as a whole. I think it's a transformative workflow, and it really-
Joey Korenman:
It is.
Victoria Nece:
That's good to hear.
Joey Korenman:
It definitely is. Yeah, it is.
Victoria Nece:
But so many people have adopted them and pulled them into their workflow, just streamlined things. Also, to make it, so you don't have to hand something off to an editor and then have them come back to you for a spelling change. They can just take care of that themselves. They can make creative decisions in their timeline. Whereas you're making the decision about the look and feel of something and how much control they have versus how much you want to lock things down and keep them on brand. It actually helps build trust in a team and makes it easier to collaborate, which is super cool.
And then my personal favorite recent feature is Master Properties, which I use constantly, I love them. It just makes it so much simpler to build really complicated things without having to do a ton of manual duplication and changes. I'll make one layer into a precomp and then use that to feed into a whole bunch of different instances, just for things like say a bunch of labels on a chart. They can all just be a single precomp, and then when I need to make one change, propagates across all of them. It's a massive time saver.
Joey Korenman:
I'm thinking previous Victoria working on a Frontline documentary with 60 lower thirds in Manhattan probably would have appreciated this feature.
Victoria Nece:
Yeah. Not just that, but when you're working in news, things change to the very last minute and being able to make tweaks and build in the ability to make changes quickly and take feedback quickly is super important.
Joey Korenman:
Right. So, I think it was this year in March, all of the sudden, there was this new button on our Creative Cloud app, Public Beta. I'm curious if you can talk a little bit about the decision to have a Public Beta, because to me, that was a pretty big change. In the past, I've also been able to be part of betas. There's a lot of secrecy around them, obviously. But now there's a Public Beta. It seemed like, "Wow, this is a different Adobe we're seeing."
Victoria Nece:
It was a big process to get that in place. It took a lot of people pushing for it. It's a very complex transition, but those are actually our daily developer builds. We update almost every day. We push the same build to the public that our QEs are using to test the product. So, you're really seeing what we're seeing. That took a lot to get that in place. There's still complexity. There's times when you're working on something that has to stay confidential for various reasons. But now we have the ability to get things out to a much wider array of users on a much wider set of hardware, which means that when things do ship in the release, they're going to be a lot more stable and a lot more reliable, which is a big part of why we did it.
We've made a renewed commitment to stability and performance. That's been our highest priority over the last couple of years now. This is one of the first big public pieces of that that you can see. We've actually had people report a bug and gotten a fix into the very next day's build. Being able to give someone a fix right away and not say, "Actually, you got to wait six months for the next release," there's a huge advantage to that. I mean, we've also been releasing more frequently. We've released monthly this year. That means that when we need to make changes, when we need to make fixes, we can do it with a much shorter turnaround time.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, that's interesting. I don't think that's an obvious benefit. I think most users of After Effects probably think, "Oh, that's really cool. I guess I can try out the new features a little bit earlier." But I think it's actually way cooler that by giving users access, you're also beta testing these things and making sure that it works on a PC that's six years old and has this graphics card and all of those things. So, that's amazing.
I've definitely noticed that, like you mentioned, you've got this commitment to stability and to performance. I know that the motion design community has been just foaming at the mouth for that. I felt it. I have definitely felt the difference in the releases that we've been seeing. I know you can't say too much, but I'd love to know are there any concrete things that that may turn into versus just this incremental, "We're constantly making it faster and better"?
Victoria Nece:
So, the big thing we've been working on for quite some time now is true multi-frame rendering. I'm allowed to tell you that's in progress. I'm not allowed to tell you when that's coming, but I can say please stay tuned to our Public Beta. So, it's something that we know we're going to need, a ton of user feedback on, because everybody's projects different. Everybody's machine is different. We need to know that we're doing the right thing for your hardware and your work.
Joey Korenman:
Multi-frame rendering, so, that's big. Actually, it's interesting too, because I know there's a developer on the After Effects team named Andrew and I'm blanking on his last name right now. He created a plugin many years ago called Nucleo. This was before After Effects had a previous life multi-frame rendering. He figured out how to do it through a plugin. Now he's working on the app and adding it. It's like this weird full circle. I think that's really cool that that experience is coming back. Yeah, for everyone listening, if you haven't been using After Effects that long, this will be a new feature whenever it comes out, but it actually was in the app for a while. And then it was pulled out, right, because it wasn't stable enough?
Victoria Nece:
It was actually not very efficient. The way that things used to work... It's not the way that things are going to work in the future. The way it used to work was it just spun up a whole copy of After Effects on every one of your course, which definitely used more of your computing power, but may not have done it in the most efficient way possible. So, what we're doing now is something very different than that and we're really excited about it, but it's got to stay a little bit secret for a little bit longer.
Joey Korenman:
Got you. Okay, well, everyone, with these, like 16 Core Threadrippers are probably starting to get excited about that. So, let's talk about things we actually can't talk about. So, at this year's Adobe Max... By the way, everybody, it's free, so watch it. I know a lot of the content will be available for replay. Not all of it, though. So, you should watch it.
Victoria Nece:
Not all of it.
Joey Korenman:
Not all of it.
Victoria Nece:
Especially all the famous people, all the big celebrity talks, those are only live during Max.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Do you know that I just found this out like two days ago, Victoria? So, I have a session that it did for this year's Max. To be honest, I think that one will be available for replay, but I'm also on this virtual panel, I guess, with Zach Braff from Scrubs. I was like, "What? That's amazing." So that won't be available for replay. So, make sure you check that out. So, let's talk about the features that are being announced for After Effects. What are you excited about?
Victoria Nece:
So, the thing I'm really excited about, and this is another big thing that's been in the works for a long time, is our new 3D design space. This is going to be shipping in a mix of our release build and a few things coming into our Public Beta, so that you can give us feedback and help us make them awesome. What's shipping in the release has actually been in Public Beta for some time now.
We have new camera tools totally redesigned. You no longer get stuck orbiting only around the middle of the screen. You can actually like click anywhere on a layer, orbit around a point in space. They're keyboard driven as well. So, hold down option or the one, two and three keys jump right to the camera tools without even having to switch tools. It's way faster way to work. It's way more intuitive. You don't get stuck constantly swapping tools getting lost in 3D space, just to try to frame your shot. So, this is a really big update for 3D camera navigation. There's actually a default camera now built into every composition. So, it's there behind the scenes.
As soon as you make a layer 3D, it's ready to go. You don't have to create a layer for your camera. And then when you do want to start animating the camera, there's a new command, Create Camera From View, which will let you turn that default scene camera or actually any of the camera views into a new camera layer for animation purposes. So, there's a lot more camera flexibility.
And then on top of that, we have a totally redesigned 3D Gizmo. We have a unified gizmo shared with Adobe Dimension. So, it may look a little familiar. That lets you do rotation, scale, and position all in one. Plus, what are we calling precision modes for the gizmo that let you do things like moving a plane in 3D space, as well as in just one axis directions. So, there's precision modes for each of position, scale and rotation, plus that main unified Gizmo. So, that's all-
Joey Korenman:
That's amazing.
Victoria Nece:
... shipping. But wait, there's more. So, all of this was part of this larger 3D experience update. The stuff that's coming in Public Beta is... Well, the really big thing. We are building in a real-time gaming engine for 3D draft previews. This is an engine that is shared with Aero, shared with Dimension. Adobe has this huge 3D org now, which is fantastic. When we acquired Substance, the Substance folks actually came into the lead of that side of the company. So, this is, again, that advantage of us being part of something bigger. That means that we now have this engine that's built from the ground up. It's a new engine built for your creative workflows. We're building it into replace the fast draft engine for now. I'm really excited about possibilities there. So, that's going to be coming in Public Beta.
Joey Korenman:
You can't say more, but I want to ask you more. You probably can't say more about that. So, just for everyone listening, so the new 3D space and the new camera tools and the new gizmos, they've been in the Public Beta for a little while. I played around with them, and it's so much easier to navigate. It works a lot like Cinema 4D. If you're used to moving around in there, you very quickly become comfortable. This is the first I'm hearing about this real time. I'm knocking my socks off a little bit. Yeah, I mean, obviously, and I can just speculate on behalf of our audience. I mean, I would love to think that that performance finds its way into lots of areas.
Victoria Nece:
This is another big piece of the performance initiative. When we talk about performance, there's actually three kinds of performance. I think a couple of people are listening to this probably heard this speech from me already. But there's rendering performance, which is when you talk about multi-frame rendering, it's how fast can we get the pixels onto your screen. But you've interactive performance, which is where this comes in. You're designing something, you're iterating. You need to make a change, see what it looks like before you decide whether to keep that change or keep making changes or make a different change. That creative loop of make a change and preview, that's interactive performance.
You need instant feedback to see what you're actually doing. So, that's where this comes into play. And then the third kind of performance is what we call workflow performance. That's where you get things like Roto Brush 2. Can we make you faster as a user? But I'm really excited about where this is all headed. The engine is super-fast. One of the cool bonus pieces of it is there's a ground plane that's going to be built in. So, that's been a top request for a really long time with 3D and After Effects. So, we're really trying to make it a lot easier to get started in 3D, to know where you are in space, and to work quickly in that space.
Joey Korenman:
I love it. Okay. So, I really cannot wait to play with that. That sounds like a lot of fun. It sounds like it's one of those things that eventually could really crack open a lot of creative uses.
Victoria Nece:
We're excited.
Joey Korenman:
Exactly. That's awesome. Okay, cool. I mean, that's pretty big. So, is that it? Is that all that's new?
Victoria Nece:
Well, I mentioned Roto Brush 2. That's the other really big thing that's coming in Max. That's been in Public Beta for now for a few months, and people have gone crazy with it. It's been amazing to see what people have done. I'll be the first one to say I was a user when Roto Brush 1 came out. The promise of it of being able to really quickly do Roto, especially for the job I had, where I was working with a ton of archival footage, that was such an amazing promise. But I often found that correcting it, getting it exactly right, constantly doing the cleanup that it took, it was actually often slower than masking by hand. I'd say that is very much no longer the case.
The new Sensei powered machine learning driven propagation in the new Roto Brush is so much better. It's night and day. It actually opens up possibility for you to do Roto in jobs where it wouldn't have been possible before, where you would have said, "Oh, I don't have time for that." There are things where instead of it being hours or even days, it's now down to just a couple of minutes. It really is amazing how well it works.
Joey Korenman:
Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, we have a class. Actually, it's called VFX for Motion. It's taught by Mark Christiansen. We originally made that class with the first version of the Roto Brush. There's a whole lesson on Roto. I like Mark's take on it. haven't used version two very much. So, we're going to have to update that lesson. But even with version one, it was like, "Yeah, it doesn't always take less time than just doing it by hand." But when it does, it saves days, right? It saves hours and days of time. So, even if it only worked on 10% of shots, it's still worth it. So, anything better than that, it's basically just free time. We all know that time is money, Victoria. So, this is [crosstalk 00:33:58].
Victoria Nece:
That's true. People who made a ton of YouTube tutorials for it, which is awesome. There was a commenter. He was like, "I don't believe you, this can't be that good." And then half an hour later posted in responses on comments, something like, "Wait, it is that good."
Joey Korenman:
That's pretty funny. I mean, if you're doing any kind of compositing... I mean, this is one of the things I always love lurking in the student group for that class. Because I think when people get into compositing, especially now because there's tools like Roto Brush that are like this magic trick, but doing effects in compositing, there's still just a ton of manual labor. So, it's expected you're going to be Roto-ing a lot. So, I mean, anything to make that process less painful is much appreciated.
Now, so a feature like that, I guess that's a good example of one where I'm assuming that there's not much... How involved are you in something like that, because a lot of the improvement in it is coming from this very high-level computer science-y stuff? Are you just seeing what the research is doing and then trying to direct it? How does that work?
Victoria Nece:
Well, product management is all about setting priority. It's about balancing user need, business need, and engineering reality to deliver something. This is a case where we knew from our users and from our business metrics and all of that that Roto something people need to do. It's a really painful process most of the time. It's something that a lot of people have a lot of pain around, because it's so time consuming. So, we knew there's a need there from our users. We also knew a lot about how people were using the existing Roto Brush. This is one where we actually had a lot of data going in.
And then at the same time, we saw engineering saying, "Hey, we think we can speed this up. We think we can make this a lot more reliable." It becomes this partnership. And then it also becomes about design, and design is another key piece of the development process of testing. Does this work in a way users expect? Is this meeting their needs? Is the workflow consistent? Does it make sense? So, we have to balance a lot of different things in order for something to go from engineering ideas to reality. There's a lot of different people who are involved in that. So, product is, in some cases, the referee, but it's not us going, "Go make Roto Brush 2." Very much not that at all.
Joey Korenman:
Go type the code faster. Yeah. So, okay.
Victoria Nece:
So, definitely, not how it works.
Joey Korenman:
Exactly, right. It's just like on TV, right? So, we've talked about the 3D design space. You've hinted at this real-time engine that will get seen a Public Beta. Also hinted that down the road, we're going to get multi-frame rendering. Now we just talked about Roto Brush 2. Are there any other quality of life improvements, anything else that you're excited about?
Victoria Nece:
Yeah, there's one tiny feature in the Max release that I really like. It's something I think you'll really like specifically, because of the fact that you do training, especially for newer users. This is a tiny little feature, but I think it's still important. A lot of times the small stuff is what really matters. That is that we have new cursors for when you're drawing a mask or a shape that shows you whether you're drawing a mask or a shape, because no matter how long you've been using After Effects, you always screw that up. Everybody screws that up.
Especially new users get super confused. They've drawn a shape, and then they're, "Wait, why am I getting another layer?" or "Wait, now I've drawn a mask when I meant to draw a shape." So, in essence, it trips people up constantly. So, there's just a little visual indicator that's going to tell you which one you're actually doing.
Joey Korenman:
That's actually really nice. It reminds me of... I don't remember what release it was, but there was one release where there was some gigantic new feature, but then also you made it so that when you turn motion blur on for layer, it automatically turns it on for the comp too because most people forget. I was like, "That's really nice."
Victoria Nece:
Those little things make such a difference. Those cursors actually came out of members of the team going to Adobe Max last year and being teaching assistants in the labs and seeing that this was the thing that tripped everyone up. So, those kinds of things where we can actually observe people working are incredibly valuable.
Joey Korenman:
That's awesome. Is there anything with motion graphics templates or MOGRTs? I just like to say MOGRTs. Is there anything happening with them this round, or is that something down the road?
Victoria Nece:
We have some really big things coming with MOGRTs. They're very close to my heart. The biggest thing that people have been asking for forever is the ability to replace media, being able to insert your own images and videos. So, that is a thing that is hopefully available now in Public Beta, I think I'm allowed to talk about this.
Joey Korenman:
If not-
Victoria Nece:
If not, oops.
Joey Korenman:
... then this will be edited out.
Victoria Nece:
But that's another thing is we have a lot of things that it might have actually seemed like we're being a little bit quiet for the last year. Now it feels like all the big stuff is finally coming. We're finally allowed to talk about it, because we've been hard at work on some really big long-term projects. This is another one of those. It's one that I think it's really going to open up all kinds of new templates that you can't do right now and things where you'd have to go to After Effects just because you need to insert your own image or your own video or drop something into it. Now you're going to be able to do that in your timeline in your edit.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, actually, I think that's actually a much bigger deal than you just made it to be, because here's the thing. Here's one of the coolest things that that I've been paying attention to over the last couple years. Everybody's a content creator. Everybody wants to have a YouTube channel, TikTok, Instagram. There's these content creators making content about absolutely everything and the production value keeps going up. People who are not video editors are getting pretty good at video editing.
Part of that is because the tools are accessible. So, there's this market for cool transitions and cool effects. ,If you follow like someone on Instagram that cooks a lot, you'll see these really cool camera transitions, going from the coffee maker to the coffee cup. This now allows a motion designer to create that stuff as a MOGRT. You just drag this drag clip A in, drag clip B in, and now you have this instant bespoke transition that someone made for you. It opens up possibilities for graphics packages, specifically, that did not exist before. So, actually, probably out of all of the things we've talked about, that thing might be the thing I'm most excited about.
Victoria Nece:
I'm really excited about where that's going. We're going to talk about that a lot more in the future. That one's again, a little further from release Public Beta. We want to give things a longer time in Public Beta to make sure that they're really ready. That's one where we'll need to have people actually building and testing templates. So, there's definitely this necessary lead time there, but it's what I'm really excited about. I also think one of the things that's important to know about MOGRTs is that they're a revenue opportunity. You can sell them on Adobe Stock. You can make them available elsewhere. But also, there's something that a lot of clients want now. They can be a deliverable in their own right.
Joey Korenman:
It's true. Yeah, there's a really great studio out in Los Angeles called Kill2Birds. They do a lot of network branding and stuff like that. I think in the past, they've built these scripts, basically for After Effects and you've probably seen some of these, Victoria, where you can pick one of three layouts. And then you pick your color palette. This is what the type says, and this is what time the show is and drop your image here. Now you're getting to the point where you don't need any of that. You can do almost all of that with a MOGRTs.
And then once a few more features get added, that's the deliverable. I mean, that is really cool. I've always thought that that has to be a revenue opportunity. I don't know too much about how people are doing that on Adobe Stock. If there's any MOGRT millionaires out there, but maybe we have to find one, have them on the podcast. I hope that name isn't trademarked. I just came up with that. I really like it, MOGRT millionaires. I'm writing that down.
Victoria Nece:
It's catchy.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. So, first of all, I want to say thank you for sharing all of this. I know that you can't just tell everybody what's going on all the time, because stuff being developed, it's not coming out. I really appreciate you sharing this stuff with our audience. But I was wondering if I can ask you to just ideate here, because there's a lot going on, but you're an After Effects enthusiast, you're a Professional After Effects Product Manager, but also, you were a user. I'm assuming you still use it. So, if you could snap your fingers, and all of a sudden, you have the version of After Effects that will be available for five years, what's the killer feature that that you'd add to it?
Victoria Nece:
That's a tough question. There's also the balance here of my own thing that I want and the thing that I think is right for After Effects as a tool. It's not always the same thing, because I know I have my own personal feature list. I wish as Product Manager, I could just say, "Let's build the stuff I want." But that's not the way it works. I think one thing that I just come back to again and again is everyone needs more time, more time to work, more time to be creative.
One of the things we see in our research is that most artists spend more than half their time on non-creative tasks, on the boring stuff, on admin, on file management, on moving things around, creating copies, creating versions, all of that stuff, managing clients. I'd love to see a version of After Effects that automates all of the boring stuff. So, that when you're in the tool, it's because you're actually there to do design.