Smoke 2013 Tutorials and Tips

Learning how to use Autodesk Smoke 2013

Autodesk Smoke 2013 is now available (download it here) so to learn how to get started with it, check out this extensive round up of tutorials, tips and (mostly) free resources…

There are a plethora of ‘How To’ videos on the new Smoke Learning channel on youtube. Each one is a few minutes long and explains a specific detail of the Smoke system from media ingest to the different types of editing operation that are possible within Smoke 2013.

There are also a tonne of Smoke Tutorials and tips on the Autodesk community site and a further Smoke Masterclass available on the Autodesk University site (you need to sign up for free membership to access these though)

Switching from FCP7 to Smoke on a Mac

David Jahns has written a fairly detailed article on Creative Cow sharing some of his experiences with switching from Final Cut Pro to Smoke on a Mac. His experience is one of moving from early workflow frustrations and a steep learning curve to looking forward to the ”infinitely more approachable Smoke 2013″….

Larry Jordan – First Look & Video Tutorials

Now that the Smoke trial is now available Larry Jordan offers his thoughts and a few ‘getting started’ tips on Smoke 2013. The advice here is good mix of practical pointers – installing the program correctly, and philosophical comment: The interface maybe more accessible but its still a steep learning curve.

Larry has also created a series of introductory tutorials in association with Autodesk which are freely available on their youtube channel.

Smoke 2013 Tips & FAQS has just released some in depth training to get you started with Smoke 2013 which can be downloaded for $99 from their site. They also offer a 5 top tips when working with the pre-release free trial which are: (link above has explanations)

  1. Don’t use H.264 sources
  2. Don’t “Create Project Media” when importing footage
  3. Use ProRes sources
  4. Move Media Storage to a faster drive
  5. Smoke is RAM hungry. Turn on the 64-bit kernel and use more

If 5 tips aren’t enough for you then check out these 101 burning questions answered from Brian Mulligan, whose site has an extensive amount of Smoke info. Here are some selected questions to give you a flavour of the depth of Brian’s FAQ…

6. Is it compatible with Thunderbolt storage?
Yes. The Promise Pegasus arrays work quite well with Smoke 2013 and were used at NAB during the demos. Any other Thunderbolt storage like G-Raids would also work.

35. Unlike FCP where a single project file is created, Smoke creates a bevy of project-related files. What’s the advantage of your system of multiple files?
Although it may seem as a disadvantage to create multiple folders as part of the project folder structure, it is advantageous in that saved effects setups are easily located as they will be saved in their named folder by default. For example, Color Warper effects will be saved in a Color Warper folder. So that when you go to load a saved effect, the node goes to it’s default location and only shows you the Color Warper saved effects. This folder structure also makes it easy for you to find saved effects in another project to use it in your current project.

97. Is it hard to learn Smoke?
Smoke 2013 has been redesigned to allow existing NLE users form FCP or Avid or Adobe to get started editing right away. Many editorial and workflow functions will be familiar concepts. For most users coming from other NLE’s, ConnectFX and the node based compositing will be the biggest learning curve.

Even More Smoke Tutorials…

As if this post wasn’t chock full enough already check out these free tutorials on for more Smoke 2013 learning.


  • Great resources, Jonny… I’ve also been extremely excited about the power and potential Smoke 2013 has to offer, and have been trying to get the word out. Many fcpro users I’ve talked to don’t even know about the free pre release download.

    Thanks for the tips!

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