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Adobe's next Premiere Pro update might make video editors cry with joy

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Adobe is announcing a slew of upcoming product updates today ahead of the NAB video conference, including an animation tool, a new mobile app, and some updates to Premiere Pro that may leave editors very happy. The highlight is a new panel in Premiere that's meant to make color correcting videos as easy as Lightroom makes color correcting photos. In fact, the new panel, called Lumetri Color, looks and works pretty much exactly like the correction tools in Lightroom. You can drag sliders left and right to save highlights and shadows, tint and saturate colors, sharpen and brighten your image, and so on. Curves and basic grading tools are there, too.

Lightroom-style color correction is a huge improvement

Lumetri Color won't replace dedicated coloring tools, nor will it necessarily even replace add-ons like Magic Bullet Looks. But from the demo Adobe showed The Verge over a screencast, it appears to be a dramatic improvement over the app's existing color tools, which aren't very accessible to new users. Of course, the tools will have to work well in practice for this to be the dramatic improvement that it appears to be, but it's a sign of Adobe streamlining its sometimes disparate collection of apps around a common — and simple — way of working. Adobe says that it's heard plenty of requests over the years to have color correction in Premiere work just like Lightroom; this is apparently much easier said than done, but it's finally just about done.

project candy screenshots
Project Candy screenshots.

The color panel actually comes with one other particularly cool trick. Adobe is working on a new iPhone app called Project Candy that takes a photo, analyzes its color makeup, and then applies that to a photo or video like a filter. The idea is that you can take a photo of a scene that has the tone you like and then have Adobe automatically figure out how to give another image or video the same vibe. In the demo Adobe showed, it seemed to work about as well as any other filter — which is to say, the effect was generally too strong until it was toned down. Nonetheless, the combined effect should make editing how a video looks in Premiere Pro much easier for new and inexperienced users than before. Candy's filters will also work in After Effects and the mobile app Premiere Clip.

The other particularly interesting feature being added to Premiere Pro may actually make editors cringe. It's called Time Tuner, and Adobe says that it can be used to increase or decrease the length of a project by 10 percent, supposedly without making a noticeable difference. The goal is to automate what some TV networks have been doing with reruns, like Seinfeldspeeding the show up so that more commercials can be squeezed in. It's not something that'll make viewers very happy, but it's interesting to see Adobe building this in for the networks.

Another tool lets you animate cartoons using a webcam

Adobe is also announcing an upcoming preview release of Character Animator today. Character Animator is a new desktop app, first demoed last year under the name Animal, that's supposed to make it easy to animate cartoon characters. The app can analyze basic character art pulled in from other apps and then animate it based on what the app sees an actor doing over a webcam, turning side to side as the actor does, speaking when the actor speaks, and so on. It's not clear how powerful the tool will be for existing animators, but Adobe is pitching it as an efficient option.

Character Animator in use.

That's not everything that Adobe is announcing today — it also has updates for After Effects, Audition, SpeedGrade, and more — but those are some of the biggest highlights. Unfortunately, you're going to have to wait to use them. Adobe says that the updates being announced today likely won't be available until late spring or early summer. Nonetheless, they seem like updates worth checking out when they arrive.