Buzz’s Blog: On Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web

Aug 7 2011   12:00AM GMT

The new generation of simple, elegant apps

Roger King Roger King Profile: Roger King

Mega media apps.

I teach 3D animation at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  I use Autodesk Maya, the dominant 3D modeling, animation, and rendering application.  It is the most complex application I have ever used, with a vast, many-layered interface and tools that can be extremely difficult to learn to use effectively.

It is these two things that mark the old class of mammoth media applications that create and massage images, manipulate sound and video, and support the development of animated videos and games.  These applications have massive interfaces, with multiple layers of long menus, highly context-sensitive menu selections, myriads of floating palettes, etc., etc. They are also packed with tools that are geared toward professional users who demand tools that simulate sophisticated manipulations of media and give them highly detailed control over their workflow.

Newer, elegant and intuitive apps.

But especially in the Mac world, there is a new generation of media applications that are finding deep niches with sophisticated non-professional users.  Pixelmator is pushing aside Photoshop, Sound Studio and Amadeus are pushing aside Adobe Soundbooth and Bias Peak Studio.

Making a dent in the professional world.

Now there are applications emerging that are trying to win professionals over the “simple is better” philosophy.  I am not a professional photographer, sound editor, or video editor, but it seems like things are beginning to change in the professional world, as well.  The new Final Cut Pro video editing application from Apple is being met with stiff resistance from many users of older releases of the application who call it a hopped up version if iMovie.  The new one, called Final Cut Pro X, has what at least amateur users find a more natural and intuitive interface, and there are many tools that come loaded with presets that remove many fine grained decisions.

Professionals are beginning to take note

Professionals are also writing good things about Final Cut Pro X, however.

Traditional 3D modeling tools like Maya are phenomenally unwieldily, to the point of often seeming to behave randomly.  But there are newer modeling apps, like Silo that have clean interfaces and simple tools that can be learned in days and not years.  Professionals use it.

Sometimes these apps like Final Cut Pro X and Silo are call “prosumer” because they are seen as being somewhere between consumer and professional applications.  But maybe this new generation of apps will push aside the traditional big boys in both the amateur and professional worlds.

More later…

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