Adobe CS5, Cuda, Mercury, and What’s in the Kool-Aid?

By Tom Womack

Adobe Creative Suite 5 is here with promises of lightning speed, real time edits, and drastically reduced render time. With Cuda, Mercury, and Nvidia on board, just what is in the Kool-aid?

Last summer you began to see releases about lightning fast render speeds with Cuda technology offered by Nividia. Nividia is one of the most popular video cards along with ATI Raedon. In a pc climate of high resolution and home gaming machines, headlines like ‘reduce your render time by up to 80%’… is an attention getter.

You can contact a representative at Nivida to get more education about these cards, Cuda technology and exactly how that falls into place with this new release of Creative Suite 5.

‘Cuda’ is Nivida’s technology. Wikipedia will tell you that: CUDA is an acronym for Compute Unified Device Architecture, a parallel computing architecture developed by Nvidia. CUDA is the computing engine in NVIDIA GPU’s that is accessible to software developers through industry standard programming languages.

GPUs are ‘Graphics Processing Units’, specialized processors first developed by NVIDIA in 1999. Graphics Processing Units is a good way of thinking of this resource. When you think about the dramatic increase in media in our Web resources, movies, high resolution imagery, these graphical processing units handle that part of the processing taking a large load off the main processor and in the simplest terms, make the experience much faster.

GPU’s originally appeared for rendering three-dimensional graphics, in engineering, and CAD (computer aided drafting) applications. However, with the onset of high media content in so many of our Web topics and categories, graphic processing has become a standard component in any new pc.

GPU’s have been around for some time gravitating from research environments to our homes but Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 has been re-written in 64 bit to take full advantage of the addressing capability of Nvidia Cuda GPU’s. Adobe has also introduced the Mercury Playback engine. You will see and hear a lot of claims about Nvidia and Mercury being written to work together but at the heart of this new technology is the ability to address enormous amount of memory, RAM. Offloading main processor tasks that are handled by the graphics card free up the main processor while having graphic related tasks handled much more quickly.

For all the technical talk, perhaps the best way to evaluate these enhancements is to take a test drive. If you have worked with high definition video, AVCHD/MTS formats and have become used to slowly reviewing your scene, try it with Premiere Pro CS5. This is a great promotional video showing just what a difference you can expect: Adobe Genesis Project.

It peaks with the placement of four different hi definition videos on the timeline simultaneously. There is no noticeable delay.

It is exciting to be able to view your hi definition takes in real time, add special effects, apply real time editing and review your work on the fly but ultimately it comes down to that most valuable asset for any of us that is… your time. You’ll have a lot more of it.

Full Moons, Dogcreek, think globally, act locally.

Web Designer Tom Womack uses Adobe Design Suite creating dynamic sites with rich media.

Adobe After Effects is my application of choice having endless possibilities. I use Premiere Pro for video editing, Flash for final Web compatible movie. I am on a constant learning curve and regularly update my media page.

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