My Top 5 favorite keyboard shortcuts for Smoke

This Modern VideoFilm online editor shares some hot-key tips that make the job a bit easier.

By Barry Goch

I’ve been using Autodesk Smoke on Linux and Mac for many years… on features like Stretch and Tell to high-profile TV shows like Madam Secretary. In my experience, and when training new users to Smoke, I’ve found that using “hot-keys” or keyboard short-cuts really improves your speed on the system.

Every time you can reduce a multi-step process to a simple keyboard combination, you get your work done faster. Also, since your hands are on the keyboard, you save time mousing around the application to find a button to press with you mouse or pen.

So here are my Top 5 favorite hot-keys. Enjoy!

Alt +1 This is a custom keyboard mapping to restore how the old Axis Soft Effect worked in the pre-anniversary edition of Smoke worked. In the past, there was a strip to the left of the timeline where you could click on a button to add this effect. The number next to the effect also corresponded to the keyboard shortcut associated with that effect. The axis soft-effect was replaced by the much more powerful Action timeline effect. I use the Action effect in the timeline all the time. So I went backward to go forward. Another quick way to add an effect is to right-click on the shot in the timeline and choose add effect then pick the Action effect, but that takes more steps.

2D transform short cut

2D transform short-cut

Shift + T This is another custom shortcut I use all the time to apply the new 2D Transform effect to a shot in the timeline. I use the 2D transform effect to do the basic transformations, scale and x/y position changes. It also has a stabilizer built into the effect which I use all the time.

Cut shortcut

Cut shortcut

Shift + C This is another custom keyboard setting. I use this shortcut on my laptop because I’m missing the “end” key on my Macbook Pro that you get on a full-size keyboard. The end key is the cut feature that I use all the time to cut a clip down. Then I use the gestural edit of dragging the unneeded cut portion out of the timeline.

Hide shortcut

H key This is used in the Action compositor. I use this key all the time when comping to hide and then show elements of a composite to see how the comp is working. It’s a fast way of turning on and off a layer, so to speak.

Alt + F (Smoke) Alt + Shift + Control (Flame) will pull a single frame out of a sequence. Essentially it creates a freeze frame. I tend to need still frames, especially when needing to paint a clean plate for a composite.

The Action shortcut — Alt +1 — is our main image.

Barry Goch is a senior editor at Modern VideoFilm (@modernvideofilm) in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @gochya.

Barry Goch

Barry Goch


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