[Please, respond to this request for feedback on this forum thread. Don't respond in the comments on this blog.]
One of the top feature requests for After Effects is a keyboard shortcut for showing only properties with keyframes. The keyboard shortcut U shows all animated properties, which means properties with keyframes and/or expressions. There isn’t a shortcut for showing only properties with keyframes.
We’re working on improving this for a future version of After Effects, and we want your input. The After Effects keyboard is already very crowded, so we need to either find a keyboard shortcut that is not currently in use or reassign one. For reference, here’s the list of keyboard shortcuts that show properties in the Timeline panel.
One idea that we had is to change the U key to show only properties with keyframes, not properties with expressions but no keyframes. (You would still be able to show properties with expressions by pressing EE.)
Another idea that we had is to expand the use of the U key to three levels:
- U: Show properties with keyframes (new behavior).
- UU: Show properties with keyframes and/or expressions (currently assigned to U).
- UUU: Show all modified properties (currently assigned to UU).
The problem with either of these approaches is that they change how an existing feature in After Effects works, which means you may need to retrain yourself on how to use the keyboard shortcuts. It also will make some training materials and tutorials obsolete.
Please tell us what you think on this forum thread (not in the comments on this blog post). Do you like either of these ideas? Is there another keyboard shortcut that you want it to use? A single key or a key with modifiers? (ie., Shift, Control/Command, Opt/Alt)
Sync Settings features in After Effects CC for sharing keyboard shortcuts, preferences, and other settings
When we originally published the list of new and changed features in After Effects CC, we left out one major feature so that we could have a surprise to show today during the Adobe MAX conference. So, here it is: Sync Settings.
The Sync Settings feature gives you the ability to upload settings files from your local computer to Creative Cloud and then download your settings files from Creative Cloud to any other computer from within After Effects. The Sync Settings features work very much the same in After Effects as the same features in Premiere Pro.
The settings files that can be synchronized in this way correspond to the entries in the Sync Settings category in the Preferences dialog box:
- synchronizable preferences (a subset of all preferences, excluding the ones that are machine-specific; details at the end of this article)
- keyboard shortcuts
- output module settings templates
- render settings templates
- composition settings presets
- interpretation rules
Do let us know with a feature request if there are other settings that you’d like to see synchronized.
basics of using Sync Settings features
When you start After Effects, the Welcome Screen gives you your first opportunity to synchronize settings. You have two options under the Sync Settings With Adobe Creative Cloud heading:
- Sync Settings Now: Click this to begin the synchronization process for the user with the Adobe ID shown.
- Use Settings From A Different Account: Click this to begin the process of switching to a different account and using its settings.
You have access to the same commands from the Edit menu (Windows) or the After Effects menu (Mac OS), from the menu entry directly beneath the Preferences menu entry. The menu name will either be Sync Settings or your Adobe ID, depending on whether you’ve enabled the feature by choosing to synchronize settings.
Also in that Sync Settings menu are a few other commands:
- Clear Settings: Restores all settings to their default values; also clears the user information from the application (if you chose the Use Settings From Different Account Feature). You can also choose to enable the Automatically Clear User Profiles On Quit preference in the Sync Settings category. This is a good idea if you are working temporarily on a shared computer.
- Manage Sync Settings: Opens the Sync Settings pane of the Preferences dialog box.
- Manage Creative Cloud Account: Takes you to the Creative Cloud web page.
The Sync Settings menu can also be opened by clicking the button to the left of the Workspace control in the Tools panel. The tooltip for this button is the most convenient way of seeing which account’s settings are in use.
Any time that you switch users or load settings from Creative Cloud, you must restart After Effects. This is in part because After Effects needs to restart to load preferences and other settings from the newly downloaded files. When you upload files from the local computer to Creative Cloud, a restart is not necessary.
When you choose to synchronize settings, you will either get a message telling you that “Settings are already in sync” or a Sync Settings dialog box. In the Sync Settings dialog box, you can choose whether to upload/save your current files from the computer to the Creative Cloud server (Upload Settings) or download and apply the files from the Creative Cloud server (Download Settings). If you know that you will always want to do one or the other, you can check the Remember My Preference box. A good example for using this setting is when you want to treat your primary office computer as the gold standard, so you only ever upload its settings to Creative Cloud, whereas the computers that you freelance at are only consuming those settings, so you only ever download to them. You can change your mind about this setting and choose a new value from the When Syncing menu in the Sync Settings category in the Preferences dialog box.
When you initiate a synchronization operation, you can see its progress in the Info panel, including how many files were modified and when.
details of Sync Settings features
By default, five of the six settings files are uploaded or downloaded during a synchronization operation: keyboard shortcuts, synchronizable preferences, composition settings presets, interpretation rules, and render settings templates. You can modify this in the Sync Settings category of the Preferences dialog box.
Tip: Because it is possible for collisions to occur between output modules of the same name (e.g., Lossless), be cautious of synchronizing output module settings between Mac OS and Windows unless you’ve renamed the output module templates to have distinctive names. This potential collision is the reason that the output module settings templates are not synchronized by default.
As mentioned above, only a subset of preferences are uploaded or downloaded when you use the Sync Settings feature and have chosen the Synchronizable Preferences option in the Sync Settings category of the Preferences dialog box.
The primary reason for most of the items that aren’t synchronized is that they are machine-specific or environment-specific, so they have a good chance of not behaving correctly when transferred to another computer that may have a different configuration or be on a different network.
Here is a complete list of the preferences, with indication of which are in the synchronizable preferences set:
- Levels Of Undo: yes, synchronized
- Path Point Size: yes, synchronized
- Show Tool Tips: yes, synchronized
- Create Layers At Composition Start Time: yes, synchronized
- Switches Affect Nested Comps: yes, synchronized
- Default Spatial Interpolation To Linear: yes, synchronized
- Preserve Constant Vertex Count When Editing Masks: yes, synchronized
- Pen Tool Shortcut Toggles Between Pen and Mask Feather Tools: yes, synchronized
- Synchronize Time Of All Related Items: yes, synchronized
- Expression Pick Whip Writes Compact English: yes, synchronized
- Create Split Layers Above Original Layer: yes, synchronized
- Allow Scripts To Write Files And Access Network: no, not synchronized
- Use System Color Picker: yes, synchronized
- Use System Shortcut Keys (Mac OS only): yes, synchronized
- Dynamic Link with After Effects Uses Project File Name with Highest Number: yes, synchronized
- Play Sound When Render Finishes: yes, synchronized
- Opening Layers With Double-Click: yes, synchronized
- Adaptive Resolution Limit: no, not synchronized
- Show Internal Wireframes: yes, synchronized
- Viewer Quality (Zoom Quality and Color Management Quality): yes, synchronized
- Alternate RAM Preview: yes, synchronized
- Audio Preview Duration: yes, synchronized
- Motion Path: no, not synchronized
- Disable Thumbnails In Project Panel: no, not synchronized
- Show Rendering Progress In Info Panel And Flowchart: no, not synchronized
- Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, And Footage Panels: yes, synchronized
- Show Both Timecode And Frames In Timeline Panel: no, not synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
- Segment Sequences At, Segment Movie Files At: no, not synchronized
- Use Default File Name And Folder: no, not synchronized
- Show Deprecated Formats In Output Module Settings: yes, synchronized
- Audio Block Duration: no, not synchronized
Grids & Guides preferences
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
Media & Disk Cache preferences
- Enable Disk Cache and Maximum Disk Cache Size: no, not synchronized
- Conformed Media Cache: no, not synchronized
- Write XMP IDs To Files On Import: no, not synchronized
- Create Layer Markers From Footage XMP Metadata: yes, synchronized
Video Preview preferences
- all settings in this category: no, not synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
Memory & Multiprocessing preferences
- all settings in this category: no, not synchronized
Audio Hardware and Audio Output Mapping preferences
- all settings in these categories: no, not synchronized
Today at our Adobe MAX conference we officially launched the next iteration of Creative Cloud that will be available June 17th. Although we have been talking about the next version since NAB – we can now give you the complete details.
What we also announced is that we are moving fully behind Creative Cloud as we release all new features in our creative tools.
To be clear – all new features are part of Creative Cloud that each member gets as part of their subscription. For those who still prefer the traditional model, CS 6 is still be available for you, today and in the future.
I talk to After Effects users constantly. I hear loud and clear what works, what doesn’t and where people want to see After Effects go.
One thing I heard VERY consistently was the positive impact Creative Cloud made when we introduced it just over a year ago.
1 – Economics
Many After Effects artists use After Effects to make a living. Getting access to After Effects , Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc., without large cash outlays are a very big deal.
2 – Access
How we update is about to dramatically change. We love to hear what you want and need in After Effects. In the past we had to prioritize features based on our yearly cadence and many features just never got done due to other priorities.
Now we can make updates many times per year with new features and improvements without having to wait for the ‘launch’ once per year.
This means the relationship between those who build the tool (us) and those who use it (you) can get a whole lot closer.
3 – More than tools
It’s community and collaboration. In the past you had to be where the work was. Not anymore. More artists are doing work for clients without any regard to geographic location. Peers help each other in ways they have never done before.
After Effects has been successful because of the community around it. Our goal is to make Creative Cloud the centre of the creative community. It’s not just tools – it’s how you do what you do, who you do it for and with.
Check out Behance as part of Creative Cloud to get an idea. I’m completely blown away with the sheer volume of motion graphics work currently on Behance.
4 – Breaking down barriers
As Todd mentions in his blog post – check out how we use Creative Cloud to remove barriers as you move from workstation to workstation – even a machine you don’t own. This is just a first step – expect to see many more.
For any questions about Creative Cloud – please check out this FAQ.
This is a very big deal. I’m really proud what we accomplished with After Effects CC – and we’ve only just begun.
In our list of what’s new and changed in the next version of After Effects, we mentioned that there are several significant improvements to mocha AE, the version of the mocha planar tracker that is included with After Effects.
Here’s what’s new in mocha AE:
- ability to import and track RED Digital Cinema (.r3d) footage
- new layer tree system and layer groups for handling large groups of layers
- dope sheet for moving, copying, and pasting keyframes
- bounding boxes for splines
- multi-spline selection and modification
- enhanced link tool to join points of separate layers
- ability to customize color for mattes and splines
- ability to see individual pixels when zooming
- export of colored shapes based on layer color (mocha Shape effect)
- many bug fixes
Of course, you can get far more detail by reading the documentation accessible from the mocha AE application. Just choose Help > Online/Offline Help in the mocha AE application.
You can also learn much more about mocha with the videos on the Imagineer Systems website.
In our list of what’s new and changed in the next version of After Effects, we gave an overview of what’s included with regard to CINEMA 4D and its integration with After Effects. Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty details.
First, here’s a list of resources that demonstrate and discuss these features in even more detail than I’m going to provide here (as well as being much prettier than the current plain-text blog post from a words guy):
- beautiful graphical demonstration from Maxon
- John Dickinson’s overview of the CINEMA 4D integration
- Rick Barrett’s two-hour video series on Cineversity, which is a great, simple introduction to CINEMA 4D, with the last video being about the After Effects CINEWARE features
- introduction to CINEMA 4D integration from Lynda.com in Chris & Trish Meyer’s overview of the new version
- two videos from Mathias Möhl in his overview of the new version
- Josh Weiss’s overview of the CINEMA 4D integration
- Nick Campbell (Greyscale Gorilla) giving two overviews, one for After Effects folks and one for CINEMA 4D folks
- Nick Campbell’s FAQ list about the new integration
- Video Copilot’s Andrew Kramer talking about how amazing this all is, including reminding everyone that the Element 3D model and shader packs will work quite nicely with this new integration.
Now, on to the details.
inclusion of CINEMA 4D application in After Effects installer
CINEMA 4D is installed by the After Effects installer. The version of CINEMA 4D included with the After Effects installer is CINEMA 4D Lite R14, which is comparable to CINEMA 4D Prime R14; CINEMA 4D Lite has some features not in CINEMA 4D Prime, and vice versa. Here’s a comparison between all of the CINEMA 4D versions. (updated)
You open the version of CINEMA 4D that is installed with After Effects using the New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File command or the Edit Original command in After Effects. You will not see this version of CINEMA 4D installed in the Start menu on Windows or in the Applications directory on Mac OS. (If you have another version of CINEMA 4D installed in addition to the CINEMA 4D Lite version, these commands will open the other version.)
ability to open CINEMA 4D to create new CINEMA 4D scene layers from within After Effects
When you choose New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File from the File menu, the Layer menu, or from a context menu, CINEMA 4D opens and creates a new .c4d file. A new footage item is added to the project, based on the new .c4d file. When you save the .c4d file in CINEMA 4D and return to After Effects, the After Effects footage item is updated with the changes.
ability to use Edit Original on .c4d scene layer in After Effects to open and edit the file in CINEMA 4D
When you choose Edit > Edit Original with a .c4d footage item selected or with a layer with the CINEWARE effect selected, CINEMA 4D opens and loads the .c4d file.
When you are finished editing the file in CINEMA 4D, save the file and return to After Effects. If you have the preference set for automatic reloading of footage, the changes will appear automatically in After Effects.
Ability to import and render .c4d files (CINEMA 4D scene files) in After Effects
The new integration between CINEMA 4D and After Effects allows you to import a .c4d file from CINEMA 4D (version 12 or later) into After Effects and use the 3D scene and its elements directly within After Effects by using the new CINEWARE effect.
When you import a .c4d file into After Effects, the file appears as a footage item in the Project panel. When you add the footage item to a composition (e.g., by dragging the footage item to the Create A New Composition button at the bottom of the Project panel), a layer is created based on that footage item, and the CINEWARE effect is automatically applied to the layer. In the background, a CineRender renderer is started for CINEMA 4D scene data.
The CINEWARE effect on a layer is used to tell the background CineRender renderer what elements of the scene to render for the layer, and how to do so.
The Render Settings properties are largely a matter of trading off between speed and quality.
- Standard (Final) provides the highest-quality output, but takes the longest time. This option uses the settings for the Standard renderer as described in the .c4d file. You can open the .c4d file with CINEMA 4D by using Edit Original in After Effects. You can change the render settings in CINEMA 4D, save the file, and then switch back to After Effects to see the render changes.
- Standard (Draft) uses the same renderer as Standard (Final), but with some slower features disabled. For example, antialiasing and most of the options in the Render Settings – Options dialog box in CINEMA 4D are disabled. Standard (Draft) also reduces the level of MoGraph Cloner detail so that it renders faster; e.g., if you have a cloner object with a count set to 10, you’ll see only every other clone (5).
- Software enables the selection of Current Shading, Wireframe, or Box from the Display menu. Wireframe and Box modes are very fast, simplistic representations of the scene.
If the renderer is set to Standard (Draft), choosing the No Textures/Shader option causes the scene to be rendered as if the textures were disabled in the Render and View settings in CINEMA 4D. If the renderer is set to Software, this checkbox also disables shaders.
Choosing the No Pre Calculation option disables the pre-rolling in the CINEMA 4D animation system, which can give a very large speed improvement but should never be used in the final render (because particle systems, some MoGraph functions, Dynamics, and Cloth won´t be displayed correctly).
The Keep Textures In RAM option caches textures where they can be accessed more quickly, but this consumes memory. Enabling this option can greatly reduce final render time in some projects. If you edit textures in CINEMA 4D, they will not update in After Effects until you save the .c4d file or purge the RAM and disk cache in After Effects (Edit > Purge > All Memory & Disk Cache).
Click the Apply To All button to use the settings in the current instance of the CINEWARE effect to all other instances of the effect in the composition for layers that refer to the same .c4d source.
Choose the CINEMA 4D Camera option to use the camera that is defined as the render view camera in CINEMA 4D, or the default camera if none has been explicitly defined. To instead choose a different camera from the CINEMA 4D scene, choose Select CINEMA 4D Camera, which enables the Set Camera button. Click that button and choose a camera from the dialog box that opens.
Choose the Comp Camera option to use the After Effects active camera (first enabled camera layer in the composition). Of course, you need to have an After Effects camera layer in the composition to use this option.
To use the After Effects camera and recalculate CINEMA 4D scene coordinates to adapt, choose Centered Comp Camera. Note that CINEMA 4D and After Effects use different origins (points from which transformations are calculated). An object modeled at the CINEMA 4D origin of 0,0,0 and then rendered using the After Effects camera may not render centered in the After Effects view, or the view may be blank. The Centered Comp Camera option offsets the After Effects camera used in CINEMA 4D so that the CINEMA 4D render is centered in the After Effects composition in these cases.
Use Centered Comp Camera when manually adding a camera to a composition (at composition center, by default); use Comp Camera after extracting CINEMA 4D cameras (since these cameras were created in a coordinate system with a different 0,0,0 reference).
CINEMA 4D Layers:
If you enable CINEMA 4D Layers and click the Set Layers button, you can choose which CINEMA 4D layers to render.
Note that the term ‘CINEMA 4D layer’ may be somewhat confusing to an After Effects user. In CINEMA 4D, the term ‘layer’ refers to a grouping of items into one element.
Click the Apply To All button to apply the camera and CINEMA 4D layer settings in the current instance of the CINEMA 4D Settings effect to all other instances of the effect in the composition for the same footage item. This can be very useful if you have several instances of the effect on multiple layers (such as when working with multiple passes) and you want to have settings match.
Multi-Pass (Linear Workflow):
The Multi-Pass features are only available when using the Standard renderer, not the Software renderer. For results to be correct, you must be working in a project in which colors are blended in linear light (either in a color-managed linear working space or with Blend Colors Using 1.0 Gamma set in the Project Settings dialog box).
If you enable CINEMA 4D Multi-pass and click the Set Multi-pass button, you can choose which pass to render, rather than rendering the entire image.
Click the Create Image Layers button to create a complete set of After Effects layers, one for each pass in the multi-pass set, to recreate the image. To specify the set of layers created to be those in the multi-pass set defined in the Multi-Pass Render Settings in CINEMA 4D for the scene, choose the Defined Multi-Passes option.
Comp Camera Into CINEMA 4D: Click the Merge button to modify the .c4d file to include the camera data from After Effects. For example, this is especially useful for transferring camera data created by the 3D Camera Tracker effect. Note that the active camera is merged with ‘AE’ prepended to the camera name. Merging the same camera again merges another copy of the camera; it does not update a previously merged camera.
CINEMA 4D Scene Data: Click the Extract button to create camera, light, and solid (or null) layers in After Effects corresponding to cameras, lights, and animated objects in CINEMA 4D. Before using this feature, enable the Save Polygons for Melange and Save Animation for Melange preferences in the Files section of the CINEMA 4D Preferences dialog box.
notes about CINEMA 4D features
In CINEMA 4D, ensure that the Linear Workflow option is selected (Edit > Project Settings) before saving a .c4d project. (This is the default since R12.)
In After Effects, enable color management by choosing a working color space (e.g., sRGB IEC61966-2.1) in the Color Settings section of the Project Settings dialog box. Select the Linearize Working Space option. Use a color bit depth of 16 bpc or 32 bpc to avoid banding.
TIP: If you change render settings or camera settings on some layers but not on others (i.e., don’t use the Apply To All commands), this can substantially increase render time, because each unique set of settings for a footage item will be treated as a separate CINEMA 4D render. You may also want to turn off CINEMA 4D layers you aren’t using for this same reason.
The current version of the CINEWARE effect in After Effects doesn’t use the OpenGL renderer.
Setting a region of interest (ROI) doesn’t limit the area of rendering for CINEMA 4D scene layers.
In the current implementation, a CINEMA 4D scene layer is expected to stay in place, without transforms and without the setting of the 3D switch. If such behavior is required, precompose the scene layer without collapsing transformations for the precomposition layer.
Collect Files does not collect items on which a .c4d file may depend, such as textures.
This version of the CINEWARE effect only uses the CINEMA 4D Standard render for final rendering (not Physical or Toon).
Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing is disabled when using .c4d layers.
Depending on your computer’s security settings, you may see some warnings about TCP communication; this is because After Effects and the background CINEMA 4D renderer are communicating using TCP, which some security software may interpret as dangerous malware communication. For example, Mac OS will ask you to confirm if you want to run this software “downloaded from the Internet”. Go ahead and accept the communication between these applications. If you can import a .c4d file, but it fails to render, check your security settings to see if Mac OS Gatekeeper or your firewall are blocking the background CINEMA 4D renderer from functioning and communicating with After Effects. In Mac OS, check the General tab of the Security & Privacy system preferences, and make sure that Allow Applications Downloaded From is set to Anywhere. (Note that the TCP port used is defined in the Options in the CINEMAWARE effect, and the choice is stored in the After Effects preferences file.)