9 Replies Latest reply on Jan 11, 2017 4:08 PM by Kevin-Monahan

    MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?

    tipsyfreelancer

      Has there been any word from the AE team regarding plans/timeline for TouchBar support for the new 2016 MacBook Pros?

      I know that Photoshop has support already.  Would be great to have a slider bar pop up when you select something.

        • 1. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          There has not been any official word that I recall hearing.

           

          I got really excited about that idea too when I first heard about the TouchBar, but I never really gave it much thought. Let's think about it! This'll be fun!

           

          It'd be really nice to have a quick slider for zooming in and out of the timeline! Although, the keys to do that are right there by the touchbar area anyway, so it really wouldn't help much. Never mind.

           

          Changing values with a slider on the TouchBar could be handy. Hmmm. Say I have a keyframe for opacity selected, but my CTI is not parked on that keyframe. If the TouchBar shows an opacity slider, is it changing the opacity for the keyframe I have selected or adding a new keyframe at the point of the CTI with the new value?

          And, if it changes the value of the selected keyframe (the most logical and useful option), great! But what if multiple keyframes are selected? Is it snapping all of those keyframes to the value I'm putting in with the TouchBar slider or is it adding/subtracting whatever value I input? Eesh. I don't know how to make this intuitive. It'd need a lot of work.

           

          Pretty useless for position values because that needs x and y (and sometimes z). You'd need them separated to make use of the TouchBar and I don't see that really helping much.

           

          Color values might be handy. You could have hue/saturation/lightness sliders or maybe RBG sliders? That might be handy for certain quick changes.

           

          I'm definitely going to want the F4 key (toggle between columns) available all the time regardless of if I have anything selected or not. Working on a laptop screen, space is going to be at a premium, so I'm going to have stuff collapsed into each other as much as possible.

           

          Wow. The more I think about this, the more complicated it seems. It would take me a week or two at least to work out all of the different options for how the TouchBar could be used and what it might affect.

           

          Honestly, now that I've given it a lot of thought, if I were in charge of the AE team, I probably wouldn't do anything with the TouchBar except for making it as much like a normal MacBook function row as possible. If AE brings in the keyboard shortcut editor that the new version of Premiere has (which I expect they are planning to do), it would help every user of AE and not just those with the newest generation of MacBook Pros. The AE team is really small and the amount of work it would take to make TouchBar customization useful (SO MANY VARIABLES in AE!) compared to how many people even have a TouchBar would not be worth it.

           

          A lot of creative video professionals are leaving Apple products right now. There is a rumble in the community that's been building for a while, but the announcement of these latest MacBook Pros seems to have sent a lot of people over the edge. All of the bad stuff that people used to hate about Windows is gone; Windows 7 and 10 are both great! And, at the same time, Apple seems to be ignoring the high-end professional market. Apple's stuff is still great for Photoshop/Lightroom and many other Adobe apps (if I were a photographer, I'd probably get an iMac), but when you start getting into video and especially motion graphics and 3d animation (the stuff I do every day), the offerings from Apple are rather lackluster compared to what you can get from Windows machines. So, as fewer motion graphics people use MacBook Pro's, the less reason there is to spend time on a feature that would only be used by a tiny minority of people.

           

          I should point out that, as I type this, my workhorse for when I travel is a MacBook Pro. (But it's from 2011 and I am not likely to replace it with another MacBook if it ever dies unless Apple does something very different in their next "Pro" release.)

          • 2. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
            tipsyfreelancer Level 1

            You're downplaying the usefulness or just not being that imaginative. People already use midi controllers with sliders and buttons for After Effects. You can already set up the touch bar to show regular function buttons.

             

            If would be useful/more precise if you could adjust any SELECTED property with a touchbar slider, instead of dragging the mouse.

            Would also be useful to have multiple sliders on the touch bar that you could map to specific properties for a selected layer (opacity, scale, X position, y position, z position. This would let you adjust properties without having to twirl open the layer. Just like the volume and brightness sliders, they would expand when you touch them (you could fit at least 14 of them on the touch bar).

            Obviously you should be able to map any keyboard function to a touch bar button (f4 in your case).

             

            Whether Adobe has the resources to do it, and thinks it's worth it for the user base is another question. But they seemed to think it was worth adding touch bar support for Photoshop.

             

            I've been using Macs for broadcast commercials and features for 20+ years. I'm not super happy about Apple's lack of dedication, and I've been looking at PC's as an alternative, but that doesn't really have anything to do with my question.

            • 3. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              I understand it would be cool & handy to use a slider, but I think it's just asking for trouble.   Adobe has a hard enough time just getting its new versions of AE to WORK, to say nothing of incorporating a new kind of control surface.

               

              Considering the dismal state of AE software development, what would seem to be a logical thing to do for you is a major deal for them.  Cripes, they can't get new software out the door without breaking features that previously worked just fine.

              • 4. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
                Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                tipsyfreelancer wrote:

                 

                You're downplaying the usefulness or just not being that imaginative. People already use midi controllers with sliders and buttons for After Effects.

                I didn't mean to downplay the usefulness at all. I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I think it would be really useful! I've been looking at some of those kinds of gadgets myself (from Palette Gear, etc.).

                 

                tipsyfreelancer wrote:

                 

                If would be useful/more precise if you could adjust any SELECTED property with a touchbar slider, instead of dragging the mouse.

                Yes, but we can't downplay the complications I mentioned in my previous post. I'm not saying this shouldn't be worked on; I'm just pointing out that it would take a not-insignificant amount of work.

                 

                tipsyfreelancer wrote:

                 

                Would also be useful to have multiple sliders on the touch bar that you could map to specific properties for a selected layer (opacity, scale, X position, y position, z position. This would let you adjust properties without having to twirl open the layer. 

                You don't have to twirl open the layer for that now; just press P or S or T and it reveals the property. But, I agree that it would be nice to have some of those commands handy with a slider. Again, though, you have the complications i mentioned in the previous post with multiple selections. What if more than one layer is selected and they have different values? What about layers with multiple keyframes? These aren't road blocks; they are just things that need to be worked through.

                 

                It would be very handy to just <touch> <slide> to adjust the opacity of a layer. As it is now, the fastest you can do is press T, move your mouse down to the value, and slide it. The TouchBar would save having to bring the mouse across (potentially) the full length of the screen. Which may not seem like much, but over the course of a long day, it would save a lot of effort! (Of course, having a touch screen instead of the TouchBar would be a lot better because then you could just press T and start dragging on the value. It would eliminate the complications because it would behave exactly the way dragging the value with the mouse behaves now. But that's neither here nor there when discussing Apple products.)

                 

                tipsyfreelancer wrote:

                 

                 

                Obviously you should be able to map any keyboard function to a touch bar button (f4 in your case).

                This is where I see the TouchBar being the most useful. If nothing else, we should be able to set our own shortcuts to it (it'd be great if it could be kind of like ft-Toolbar but more built-in).

                 

                tipsyfreelancer wrote:

                 

                Whether Adobe has the resources to do it, and thinks it's worth it for the user base is another question. But they seemed to think it was worth adding touch bar support for Photoshop.

                Yeah, that's pretty much what I was saying. The Photoshop user base is massive compared to After Effects and the Photoshop user base are not having the same issues with Apple that video professionals are having.

                Something I didn't mention is that Photoshop is also not nearly as complicated as After Effects. Color, position, opacity, etc. aren't keyframeable. Time adds exponential levels of complexity.

                Also, the Photoshop team at Adobe is huge compared to the AE team (especially considering how much more complex AE is). I could see there being a whole group at Photoshop dedicated to the TouchBar, but AE doesn't have anybody to spare from getting the new architecture working. (At least, I hope they're all working on that! )

                 

                tipsyfreelancer wrote:

                 

                I've been using Macs for broadcast commercials and features for 20+ years. I'm not super happy about Apple's lack of dedication, and I've been looking at PC's as an alternative, but that doesn't really have anything to do with my question.

                It does have to do with whether it's worth dedicating resources to it or not. I was not trying to make an argument here one way or the other. I was just pointing out reasons I doubt the AE team would be putting much effort into it.

                 

                Again, I'm not trying to say this the TouchBar is pointless. I would LOVE for it to be useful in AE (if I were to be buying a new MacPro, that is).

                 

                I mean, if someone can port the original version of Doom to the TouchBar, anything is possible!

                • 5. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                  If would be useful/more precise if you could adjust any SELECTED property with a touchbar slider, instead of dragging the mouse.

                  I'm sure it would, but there's the rub: AE's internal structure doesn't allow to identify these contexts. For example we wouldn't have to put up with many expression errors if AE was smart enough to handle that in some way instead of relying on fixed layer names and indices. We long could have a perfect 2D game engine in AE that way. As you see, that will take a lot more under the hood work than just popping on a few things on the touch bar. I'm sure, though, that it can be put to use in some way and options are already being considered. On the other hand I'm also with Dave here - as long as Adobe struggle with massive bugs in every new release, it's probably not productive to ponder these things. No point in having a fancy icon on your touch bar when more critical things like correct audio handling, DynamicLink rendering or even realtime playback of a single plain file in the timeline are not working reliably. and of course cross-platform considerations play a part. Nobody is going to built a whole new infrastructure that can't be used everywhere. So the way I see it, this will always be limited to what the already busy programmers "can squeeze in" without causing more damage in other areas. Perhaps one day when there's a generic support for touch operations and such strips are common even on cheap PCs or AE generally becomes a touch-friendly app that could run on A surface Studio PC just as well... One can always dream.

                   

                  Mylenium

                  • 6. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
                    tipsyfreelancer Level 1

                    Szalam wrote:

                     

                    You don't have to twirl open the layer for that now; just press P or S or T and it reveals the property. But, I agree that it would be nice to have some of those commands handy with a slider. Again, though, you have the complications i mentioned in the previous post with multiple selections. What if more than one layer is selected and they have different values? What about layers with multiple keyframes? These aren't road blocks; they are just things that need to be worked through.

                     

                    Yeah, I'd imagine that you'd have dedicated TouchBar buttons for each property. Just like there's a volume slider, brightness slider, keyboard brightness slider on the TouchBar now. For example, the Opacity slider would behave like dragging the Opacity property (so it would ignore/deselect other properties). If you had multiple layers selected, they'd all be affected. Basically the same behavior as AE has now.

                     

                    I had no clue about Adobe's programming team, but based on the comments I'm seeing, it's a pretty sad state of affairs.

                    • 7. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Mylenium wrote:

                      DynamicLink rendering or even realtime playback of a single plain file in the timeline are not working reliably.

                      Both of these are significantly improved in the recent versions, by the way.

                      In the CC 2017 release, you can play back footage with no effects in real time without having to wait for it to render, Dynamic Linked AE comps in Premiere seem to go about twice as fast compared to older versions (often real time for text animations), and the awful real-time playback of cached previews issue that has plagued many folks on Macs since the first CC 2015 release was fixed in the recent 14.0.1 update to CC 2017.

                       

                      So...it's getting better! But, yes, more stability and more speed are still be needed in the new core for sure.

                      • 8. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
                        Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        tipsyfreelancer wrote:

                         

                        I had no clue about Adobe's programming team, but based on the comments I'm seeing, it's a pretty sad state of affairs.

                        Actually, it's not a sad state of affairs anymore. At least, I don't think so. It was pretty rough in the first year or so when CC 2015 released and some users have some bad feelings from that whole thing (which is understandable), but it's improved a lot since then!

                        As you may or may not know, there is a new person in charge of After Effects (Victoria), the team has expanded, and I had a pretty encouraging discussion with some of the AE team at Adobe MAX; it seems like the whole team is in pretty good spirits. The fruit of all of that has started to come through in the CC 2017 release. They've fixed some major issues, really sped up some of the regular workflow areas of the software, and are setting the stage for future improvements.

                        • 9. Re: MacBook Pro TouchBar Plans?
                          Kevin-Monahan Adobe Employee

                          Hi tipsyfreelancer,

                          Create a feature request for that item here.

                           

                          Thanks!
                          Kevin