Adobe recently released the latest version of its Creative Suite, amid much hoopla. The hoopla I read was centered largely around speed improvements and the new Rotobrush tool in After Effects, which is what I use for creating motion graphics and animations. The rotobrush tool basically allows you to define and remove the background of a moving image with a few strokes of the mouse. It is an ingenious and intriguing looking tool and one that I could certainly use in a TV campaign that I am currently posting. So after a brief consultation with our Ultimate Principal – which consisted of the following exchange:
“Well, the CS5 suite has a new tool that allows you to define and remove a background with a few mouse strokes, so we could take this guy out of one shot and composite him onto this background shot fairly easily…maybe…”
“Why don’t we have it yet?”
“Uh…because I haven’t talked to you yet? And it just came out last Friday?”
“Just get it, please.”
I ordered the CS5 Production Premium suite directly from Adobe, with the option to download rather than pay the shipping and environmental cost of the packaging and media. First thing I noticed, which should have warned me away, was that the Adobe store uses a Flash interface for its e-commerce. Flash for e-commerce? Seriously? Was there a great clamor from the Internetizens that e-commerce applications are lacking the crucial factor of superfluous animation to make the online shopping experience complete? After ordering the software, I was prompted to download the software, from a page that looked and behaved just like html…but in Flash. For a company that makes such excellent software, they really don’t have a clue about User Experience. Or Customer Relations, as you will soon see.
In order to download software from the Adobe Store, you have to use the Akamai Downloader, which I believe uses a P2P protocol to speed the download process. I mean, it’s an 8Gb download, so that sounds appealing. I checked and my computer meets Akamia’s minimum requirements (although I didn’t see a prompt to check for that before I ordered the software with the download option, which is another example of poor UX.) Anyway, so I tried to install their downloader app, and I received a prompt that said “An irrecoverable error has occurred.” That sounded serious! Further attempts to download were met with a blank page. Seriously. That and their downloader link kept resizing my browser, which was extremely annoying. I tried it on Safari next, with the same result.
So, finally I called customer service to get a direct link that bypasses the annoying Akamai Downloader, with its poor error feedback and terrible User Experience, and reached Manesh.
Manesh is clearly not a native English speaker, nor does he possess adequate communication skills that often compensate for the lack of linguistic mastery. Manesh spoke over me when I tried to explain what was happening, and apparently wasn’t listening when he wasn’t interrupting me. He asked me three different times what software I bought, then asked me if I was trying the trial software, then expressed surprise that I had bought the software, then suggested that I try to reinstall the software that he had forgotten that I couldn’t download. Finally, he put me on hold for 10 minutes, then came back on the line with a supervisor directing him. I know this, because I could hear the supervisor prompting him. He had me install Acrobat Connect and initiate a session that gave him access to my desktop. He then started closing all my windows and tried to quit out of programs that I needed open.
“NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! Do NOT do that!” I shouted in exasperation.
“You can save them!” he exclaimed.
I quickly terminated the session.
“Can you reconnect me please?”
“No. Let me speak to the guy you’re talking to.”
“There is no one here. Can you reconnect me please?”
“What do you mean? Dude, I can hear him talking to you right now, telling you what to say!”
Pregnant pause while Manesh nimbly comes up with an alibi.
“No, that is another man at the desk beside me. Can you reconnect me please? I won’t close your windows.”
After a full hour of this shenaniganizing, Manesh took me painfully step by step through the process of downloading the trial software. The trial software! That was the end of this shaggy dog story – when the Akamai Download Manager gives you the irrecoverable error, get the trial software instead. It’s a full version and allows you to enter in your serial number. Or better yet, don’t buy directly from Adobe.
We use After Effects expressions for all of our video graphics. It’s a very versatile tool that allows anyone with a passing understanding of Photoshop