New format support – Finally AVCHD will be supported, along with P2, XDCAM EX/HD. All these will see native support, a long overdue feature that should have really been included in CS3. Some (like myself) have had to resort to work arounds, like expensive 3rd party AVCHD plugins, these will now be rendered redundant with CS4.
The current Adobe Flash Encoder has been expanded to become the Adobe Media Encoder. This should be great for podcasters and video producers in general that provide their content in multiple formats. A set and forget (likely overnight) background task will batch render jobs. Ideally this would be complimented by allowing FTP uploads on completion for the ultimate unattended render job.
If you’ve ever tried to find a specific section of the audio during the editing process, you’ve likely spent a long time srubbing through the audio, assuming this feature works as advertised, you’ll now be able to search for a word and the location(s) in the audio track will be identified. Effectively reducing editing time. Any improvements in this area are most welcome.
If you like to apply the same effect to multiple clips, let’s say a dissolve at the start and end of each clip, this has been a very manual task of dragging the effect to the top and tail of each clip. Something very time consuming when u have elements numbering in the hundreds. CS4 ads the ability to apply a default transition to multiple selected clip with a single command, another great time-saving addition.
This provides the ability to work on multiple tracks separately, so if your working with vocals, music, etc and want to apply effects and adjustments, these can now be done per layer in CS4. While SoundBooth is the baby brother of Adobe Audition, one of the key features that was left out of SoundBooth was multi-track editing, CS4 remedies this.
Adobe have created a new file format to support the new multi-layer / multi-track audio format. Adobe Sound Document or ASND for short.
This works as outlined above in Premiere CS4.
Audio editing and especially exporting the final product is very much a trial and error process. CS4 allows users to preview how the MP3 compression will sound before exporting, saving time.. I’m detecting a common theme among these improvements – saving time.
New to CS4 is support to paint 3D objects directly inside Photoshop. While details on format support is currently lacking, it’s listed as ‘common 3D formats’. Take from that what you will.
This actually fairly impressive technology that lets you stretch images without distorting important elements in the photo. The example shown is people on a beach, the sand and sea are stretched to widen the image, yet the people are not. This lets the image scale, perhaps to fit a specific area, without visibly distorting the people (which would be very noticeable).
Adobe Flash CS4
Objects can now be rotated in the 3rd dimension. A natural evolution to being able to create and animate objects in the X and Y co-ordinates, Adobe Flash CS4 ads the Z axis. I’m assuming this can also be accessed via ActionScript. While much of the functionality of Director has been replaced by Flash, the single point of difference has been Flash’s lack of 3D tools, could this spell the end for Director completely ?
Inverse Kinetics (or kinematics) relates to the intelligent connection of joints on 2 or more objects. A simply example would be the limbs of the human body. Elbows and Knee joints for example can’t rotate past a certain point, to bend the arm or leg further, rotation of another joint needs to occur. IK respects this and applies motion based on these restrictions. A great addition for those animating people or equipment.
Another efficiency-focused feature, Motion presets allows commonly created animations to be applied to objects quickly, currently this requires creating the same effect each time from scratch. Created motion presets can also be shared with others.