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Will Adobe buy The Foundry? Why it could be great for After Effects users but terrible for Nuke

Neil Bennett | April 29, 2015
The Foundry and Nuke would be a great asset to Adobe and, specifically, After Effects users – but the move could do real damage to the VFX industry.

More important is the tech. Adobe could reskin and reengineer Modo to build a 3D suite that looks and works like (and with) the rest of Creative Cloud much more easily than building its own.

There are many features and workflows within Nuke that could benefit After Effects. The Foundry's relentless pursuit of the needs of the best VFX houses in the world has lead to some truly groundbreaking creative tools. The benefits could flow both ways too. Adobe develops innovative technology of its own — and buys more in — and Nuke could benefit from the likes of the facial recognition and tracking tech it's adding to the next version of After Effects (perhaps more than AE itself could).

Why Nuke users will worry

If Adobe does buy The Foundry, Nuke users have a reason from history to be worried. Nuke supplanted the VFX industry's previous compositing software of choice — Shake, which was bought by Apple in 2002 to use Nothing Real's technology and developers to bolster Final Cut Pro and Motion. Apple stole Shake's best assets for is own tools and then left it to die.

Would Adobe do the same? Perhaps not intentionally — having a tool dedicated to the highest ends of the visual effects industries is a source of both great PR and R&D, exactly what Adobe would be buying The Foundry for. However, this is ignoring the penguin in the room.

Most of the high-end VFX industry has standardised on Linux and Adobe doesn't really do Linux (at least for Creative Cloud's software tools). This was the industry's biggest problem with Shake's acquisition by Apple: its core users didn't want to move to change their IT platform, so moved to the increasingly popular Nuke. Business issues caused by developing Nuke on a platform that isn't used by Adobe's other tools could damage Nuke's long-term future on Linux — and by that its usefulness to VFX studios.

Adobe could try to coax the industry over to Windows to access the rest of its Creative Cloud tools — but those in charge of IT at the big VFX firms are fixed on Linux. Even the mooted 'transformation' of the industry moving from big workstations under desks to virtualised set-ups with thin clients on artists, modellers and animators' desks and the real power sitting in datacentres — helping deal with Soho's problems of lack of space and limited power — has been held back by the lack of support for Linux desktops by the main virtualisation software provides like VMware (though VMware released a Linux-support beta of its VMware Horizon desktop virtualisation software suite last month).


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