Makin’ Noise (Sound, Adobe and Program Consolidation)

Sound is a funny thing. We encounter it every day, whether it be to communicate, to warn us of danger, to entertain, or for any number of other functions. In animation, sound is perhaps one of the most important elements, as it adds most of the life and narrative to the piece. Even in the olden days, when cartoons were just beginning, music was used to convey action and the mood. Why then is sound relegated such a back seat in 2d and 3d animation programs such as Flash and Lightwave 3D?


One would argue that programs exist for post processing, such as Premiere, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, SoundBooth, and Pro Tools. While it is true that these are the most effective ways to edit and manipulate audio into an animation, wouldn’t it stand to reason that creating more robust in-program audio editing for a program like Adobe Flash would be a boon to digital animators everywhere? It could dramatically cut down on time spent transferring animation back and forth between programs, creating ease-of-use and a much smoother animation pipeline.


You might think that the limits of technology as it stands today may have something to do with why there isn’t an all-in-one program to create animation, edit audio, and cut film clips. I don’t think this is the case, however. If you look at Adobe’s Creative Suite line of products, you’ll see that they offer all these different programs that focus on different specialties. Illustrator for vector art. Flash for animation. Premiere for video editing and After Effects for special effects. Why not condense all of these into one program? It’s not like they haven’t already added the CS Bridge, an application that links files between programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. But what keeps them from making this all into one program? Simple; the fact that they make more money selling each license separately.


Until there is no more Adobe monopoly on media production software, however, I wouldn’t expect to see a change. Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily.Adobe has made some amazing advancements over the years with its various media production tools. Photoshop, their flagship image editing software, is easier than ever to use. Flash CS3 is coming up with new ways to integrate vector animation and 3D sprites (though people are still learning how to use it.) Even Premiere has evolved into something that doesn’t chase new users off screaming into the distance.


For now, we’ll have to continue on as we always have, transferring between programs to create media, losing that teeny bit of quality with each render. Well, I could have it worse, I guess. I could have to animate (*shudder*) on paper!