fxphd fastforward: Smoke Fundamentals

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Smoke Fundamentals is intended to quickly get you up and running on the public beta of the new OS X Smoke 2013. Taught by John Montgomery and Mike Seymour, this all-new course contains over five hours of training covering the fundamentals you need to know to get most out of this new software.

Unlike our standard fxphd membership, once you buy the course, you can immediately download all class instruction videos.

The course, intended for users who have never worked on Smoke or Flame, starts out by working through an example edit. This includes reinforcing core editing techniques and workflow by editing a variety of footage, graphics, audio, and more — exactly the kind of standard tasks you would do for finishing a project. The course then dives into looking at many different tools and tasks such as Colour Correction, Keying, and Connect FX.

Smoke Fundamentals also includes an in-depth look at working on graphics design in Action, providing an overview of techniques that push the intermediate and even advanced level. It’s designed to wet your appetite for what can be done in the application. We also look at how to use FBX Camera data for a screen replacement shot in Action and finish up with XML workflow and dealing with a multitude of footage formats that are common in today’s post production workflows.

The fast forward program is standalone instruction with immediate download and does not include access to our discussion forums or VPN software. Also, to keep costs low, we do not include project files or footage with this training.

For a listing of the individual classes, click the “Read More” link…

Smoke Fundamentals
Price: $99.00
Smoke Fundamentals is intended to quickly get you up to speed on the new OS X Smoke 2013. This all-new course contains over five hours of training covering the fundamentals you need to know to get most out of this new software.

Smoke Fundamentals Course Outline

Class 1: Editing in Smoke 2013

Setting up a project and changing preferences, John explains how Smoke 2013 handles media and render files and some tips for setting up your project. Then begins the project, starting with audio editing in the timeline and finishes up the class with bringing in footage.



Class 2: Editing in Smoke 2013 Part 2

Continuing the editing on the project from class 1. John discusses how Smoke 2013 interprets embedded alpha channel media files as well as resize



Class 3: Editing in Smoke 2013 Part 3

Finishing up the edit on the project. John discusses animation in the timeline using keyframes and looks at different techniques for applying effects in the timeline including colour correction, masks and repositions. John then gives an introduction to Connect FX.



Class 4: Color Grading

Working with the colour correction module, Mike explains the interface and different strategies for colour grading. Then looks at colour grading in Connect FX using gradients, garbage masks and other colour tools. Mike then gives an introduction to Action



Class 5: Intro to Action

Mike takes us through the channel editor. Then opens up Action and creates an animation using footage, text and lights.



Class 6: Graphic Design in Action Part 1

Intermediate to advanced techniques for 3D graphic design in Action. John takes us through a project created entirely in Action and shows tips and tricks for working in this environment.



Class 7: Graphic Design in Action Part 2

John continues the graphic design project in Action, taking a closer at lights and how they interact in 3D space.



Class 8: Keying

Working through various keying strategies, Mike shows the different tools and how to use them in a variety of different situations.



Class 9: FBX Cameras and 3D Screen Replacement

Using Action to replace the images on our screens, Mike takes us through a screen replacement workflow from tracking, to generate the FBX camera, to how we use that data in our screen replacement Action schematic.



Class 10: XML and file format workflow

Mike takes us from Final Cut Pro to Smoke using XML workflow. He then looks at a variety of proprietary file formats, such as Red R3D with HDRx, ARRIRAW and others to discuss the tools that are integrated into Smoke 2013.

Smoke Fundamentals
Price: $99.00
Smoke Fundamentals is intended to quickly get you up to speed on the new OS X Smoke 2013. This all-new course contains over five hours of training covering the fundamentals you need to know to get most out of this new software.

21 Responses to fxphd fastforward: Smoke Fundamentals

  1. Thank you for this class, it looks great!
    Does it include the project files so i can work along with the instructor?

    • Hey Frank — thanks for posting here to help out. I didn’t notice the comments, but someone asked us on Twitter so I added that today. The others might have checked out the site before that.

  2. 99% love your great stuff that actually INCLUDE project files.

    Without them… I wouldn’t buy because Smoke Youtube channel have very similar video content…

  3. Looks like an interesting series; fxphd always does a great job with their lessons. I will be glad though when Autodesk makes Smoke available for Windows 7 or 8, as it’s quite apparent that Apple is no longer interested in the future of professional editing. You have to remember the current 2012 desktop market share for Mac is still a very small 6.4%, while Windows remains dominant at 92.5%.


  4. I’ve bought it and love supporting you guys, but would really have loved the project files or footage.

    My 2¢

    • Thanks, James, for the feedback. We always try new things around here and wanted to keep the cost a bit lower so we tried this. We’ll keep your thoughts in mind for the future.

  5. I understand about keeping cost low, but for someone new looking to get into Smoke, having the assets to follow along with the tutorials is a huge help. Even if the cost were an add on cost separate from the tutorials. Unless there is the issue of rights to the content.

    • Hey Jacob — we’re thinking maybe we do two packages in the future….one with and one without assets.

      That way there’s something for everyone.

  6. Great idea making this “99-bucks-one-course”!!!!
    You should add lots of courses to this module!
    With and without assets, like you guys said.
    I’d buy them all.
    Cheers mates!

    • Have you had a look at “FLM102: Introduction to Flame” on the fxphd vault?

      It’s slightly old now – but still relevant.

      There’s also:

      FLM203: Flame in Production II
      FLM204: Flame, Smoke, Expressions and More
      FLM205: Flame on Red Dwarf

      • To,
        Chris Hocking


        You are right. I saw ‘ FLM102: Introduction to Flame ‘ in detail.
        I am really interested to buy this course.
        But I can afford up to 100 usd only.
        Is there any possibility.
        Please let me know.

        Thanks and regards

  7. When I’ve tried to work from my laptop MBP,17, 2.3Ghz, 16GB Ram, AMD 1GB, SSD, Smoke was very slow and couldn’t play realtime HD footages from h.264 and ProRes, so I decided to wait for final release to try it again. What do you think about productivity? Can I use Smoke from laptop to edit HD?

    • I’m using it on a similar setup (MacBook Pro / 2.5GhZ i7 / 8GB RAM / SSD) and it works pretty well. Funnily enough in some cases I’ve found that my laptop can actually “out render” our Smoke Advanced box!

      Smoke HATES H.264, so convert it to ProRes or DPX before you start working in Smoke to keep your sanity. If you’re working with just ProRes media, then all should be good.

      I’d also recommend using a Thunderbolt Drive as your Media Storage.

      From what I’ve been told, Autodesk pretty much did the majority of their testing on MacBook Pro’s and iMac’s anyway! I think they’ve almost given up hope on the MacPro.

  8. For anyone who’s interested…

    I’ve just finished all ten classes, and overall I was very impressed.

    The first three classes are definitely a stand out – personally I just find John’s method of teaching really easy to follow and learn from. Mike’s classes are also very informative, but I find he tends to skip over some things, and tends to ignore bugs in the application, whereas John highlights them and explains any workarounds.

    Given this I think the “SMK208: Intermediate Smoke 2013″ course will be a standout at fxphd this coming term.

    I’ve recently completed an older Smoke on Mac 2012 course on fxphd, and have been trying to get up to speed with Smoke Advanced on Linux – and I found this Fast Forward series much more useful and informative than the older classes. Funnily enough, despite Smoke 2013 being a beta it actually crashes less in these videos, than it does in the 2012 training!

    I would lean towards calling these Fast Forward classes a “Quick Overview” rather than a “Crash Course” in Smoke. After watching all the classes, you definitely get a really good idea of what Smoke is capable of, and how to open the application and get started – however it doesn’t go into any great detail in each of the areas, so you definitely still need to do a lot of experimentation and searching through the manuals to get things done in the real world.

    For the price – I think this course is fantastic, and I would HIGHLY recommend it to ANYONE who wants to learn not only Smoke 2013, but also older versions of Smoke as well. It’s funny – there’s some things in Smoke Advanced 2012 that I couldn’t wrap my head entirely around until watching these videos, even though the functionality between the old apps and the new is quite different.

    I’m a massive fan of fxphd, and also really enjoy these “fastforward” classes having also completely the Resolve Fundamentals course.

    If I was to offer any advice to Mike & John if they were to run a similar course again, I would make it more production orientated, and concentrate on one 30sec spot, from beginning (i.e. importing EDLs/ALEs/XMLs from Avid/FCP) to end (rendering out of Smoke). John’s use of the fxguide opening video was great – but it would have been really useful to use that project as an example right the way along the course. Having one complex project with mixed media, multiple effect shots, lots of colour correction, etc. seems more useful in a “real world” scenario.

    Overall though – I’m happy and impressed! Nice work!

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