There is an old proverb that warns us against the temptation to “run before you learn to walk”. This occurs in all aspects of our lives, and I guess that is what makes us human.
As a senior trainer at Autodesk, I am always guiding people back to the basics. I’ve seen this temptation to leap right into the deep end with new software from people involved in all aspects of post production. And regardless of which software people are trying, they inevitably skip the basics and want to do the mind-blowing stuff right away. Smoke is certainly not the exception to this rule. In fact, the power of Smoke and the depth of its creative toolset can make it seem even more daunting than your typical application that does only one or two things.
To this end, before you jump into Smoke and end up going through the full range of emotions from frustration to anger, I’ve gathered my go-to list of great resources for anyone learning Smoke. Below you will find everything from getting started videos, to hands on tutorials to advanced training from industry professionals. While I can’t guarantee you’ll be an expert on Smoke after checking out these resources, I can assure you a much better overall experience with Smoke if you start here.
Watching this video will give you a good introduction and overview to Smoke. This was part of a “Hands-On Experience” and it covers quite a bit of the software.
These step-by-step videos cover the basics in greater detail that may have been missed in the “Hands-On Experience”. These will take you through a few examples and give you some practical experience using Smoke.
The Smoke Learning Blog is filled with approximately 20 hours of training videos. I suggest you start by reviewing media management, timeline basics, desktop effects, Action and finally the Modular Keyer. You can pick and choose what you want to watch through my regularly updated video Index.
Fancy trying your hand in a classroom environment? Classroom training tackles subjects head on with an official curriculum taught by Autodesk Certified Trainers. Check here for the latest classroom schedules.
As a nice little helper, you can download a summarized version of the Autodesk Smoke keyboard shortcuts. Go grab the PDF now!
Smoke forums can be found on Autodesk’s community website AREA. The Smoke forums are moderated by experiences Smoke artists and monitored by Autodesk staff, so be sure to take advantage of it for questions about Smoke or even general questions on post production.
The entire Smoke user manual is available as a Wiki resource from Autodesk. This Wiki is a living document and is always being updated with the latest information as well as tips and tricks.
fxphd is a great resource for advanced training on Smoke. It offers numerous courses in visual effects and finishing conducted by experienced industry professionals.
fxphd currently offer three Smoke courses:
SMK104 – Introduction to Smoke on Mac
SMK206 – Intermediate Smoke/Flame 2012
SMK207 – Creative Editing and Graphics with Smoke on Mac
That should get you started, and please don’t forget to follow my Smoke Learning blog. I update it at least once a week, so you can always find new videos and tutorials all about Smoke.
Don’t forget that you can download a free trial of Smoke @ www.autodesk.com/smokeformac, and good luck learning Smoke!