AFTEREFFECTS

News, Information & Workflows from Users & the Adobe Ae Team

After Effects CC 2014.2 (13.2): what’s new and changed in this update

After Effects CC 2014.2 (13.2) is available.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Ideally, you should install the updates automatically through the Creative Cloud desktop application or by choosing Help > Updates, but you can also directly download the update packages from the download page for Windows or Mac OS by choosing the “Adobe After Effects CC 2014.2 (13.2)” update for your operating system.

For more information about Creative Cloud, see this overview video and the Creative Cloud FAQ list.

For information about updates for all of our professional video and audio applications, see this page.

For details of what was new in After Effects CC 2014 (13.0), see this page.

For details of what was new in After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1), see this page.

Please, if you want to ask questions about these new and changed features, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum. That’s the best place for questions (and, if you follow that link, you’ll find more information about how to communicate with us). Questions left in comments on a blog post are much harder to work with; the blog comment system just isn’t set up for conversations. If you’d like to submit feature requests (or bug reports), you can do so here.


top new features for After Effects CC 2014.2 (13.2)


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  • scripting improvements for text layers
  • expression access to dynamic layer bounds
  • new keyframe icons
  • many bug fixes

details of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC 2014.2 (13.2)


Here is a virtually comprehensive list of changes, with detail beyond the summaries of the top items listed above. We’ll be posting a more detail in the coming weeks, and the outline below will be populated with links to in-depth articles and tutorials, so bookmark this page and check back.

scripting improvements for text layers

You can now read additional information through scripting about the properties of a text layer, including the layer coordinates and additional character properties.

These new attributes for the textDocument object are read-only. The value returned is for the first character in the text layer at the current time.

The following attributes return a boolean value:

  • fauxBold
  • fauxItalic
  • allCaps
  • smallCaps
  • superscript
  • subscript

The following attributes return a float value:

  • verticalScale
  • horizontalScale
  • baselineShift
  • tsume

The following attributes return an array of ([X,Y]) position coordinates for paragraph text layers only:

  • boxTextPos: returns the layer coordinates from the text layer anchor point
  • sourcePointToComp(): converts layer coordinates, such as boxTextPos, to composition coordinates
  • compPointToSource(): converts composition coordinates, such as sourcePointToComp, to layer coordinates

Example usage:

For a text layer with fauxBold enabled and horizontalScale set to 50%:

var isFauxBold = myTextLayer.sourceText.value.fauxBold; // returns true
var valOfHScale = myTextLayer.sourceText.value.horizontalScale; // returns 0.5

For a paragraph text layer:

// Returns [x,y] position from layer anchor point in layer coordinates.
// e.g. approximately [0, -25] with default character panel settings.
var boxTextLayerPos =  myTextLayer.sourceText.value.boxTextPos;

// Converts position in layer coordinates to comp coordinates.
var boxTextCompPos = myTextLayer.sourcePointToComp(boxTextLayerPos);

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expression access to dynamic layer bounds, including text layers

You can now read the rectangle bounds of a layer’s content, including the corrected bounds of a text layer, for any time in a composition. The sourceRectAtTime() method from the After Effects scripting API is now accessible in expressions as a read-only layer object attribute.

The values returned are calculated before effects and layer styles are applied.

layer.sourceRectAtTime(t = time, includeExtents = false)

  • t: the time index, in seconds. A floating-point value.
  • includeExtents: true to include the extents, false otherwise. Extents apply to shape layers only, increasing the size of the layer bounds as necessary.

Returns a JavaScript object with four attributes: [top, left, width, height]

Example usage for a text layer named myTextLayer:

// Returns width value at the current time as a number
var textLayerWidth =  myTextLayer.sourceRectAtTime().width;

new keyframe icons

We received a lot of feedback that keyframe icons in After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) are difficult to visually distinguish in the refreshed user interface design. In After Effects CC 2014.2 (13.2) all keyframe icons have been updated to address this feedback. The new icons are a little bit brighter overall and have bright edges instead of dark edges so that they stand out better against the background.

The icons for roving keyframes and summary keyframes (displayed when a property group is collapsed) have been updated but are changed to the dark dot that appeared in After Effects CC 2014 (13.0) and previous, instead of the bright dot that appeared in After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1).

We will be making additional improvements to the user interface for all Adobe applications based on user feedback in updates scheduled for the coming year. We’ll publish details of our plans in this area in a post on this blog later this week.


a few choice bug fixes


We fixed a lot of bugs in this update. Here are a few that I think are especially worth calling out:

  • Applying animation presets from Bridge works as expected and no longer results in an error message.
  • Color management no longer causes a color or gamma shift in rendered images when multiprocessing is enabled.
  • Warp Stabilizer effect has been updated to fix a cause of crashes on the late 2013 model Mac Pro.
  • A cause of poor Dynamic Link performance when the main After Effects application is open has been fixed.
  • The sampleImage expression method no longer causes multiprocessing to disable.
  • The cursor icon changes immediately when you press a keyboard shortcut to change the active tool.
  • Layers now highlight as expected in the Composition panel when you roll over the layer in the Timeline panel.
  • Dragging an instance of an After Effects text template composition in Premiere Pro from the Project panel to the Timeline panel no longer causes a delay before the composition can be dropped.
  • Creating shape layers from Illustrator layers no longer creates the shapes at the wrong coordinates if the Illustrator artboard uses a video preset and the layer was imported at layer dimensions (instead of document dimensions).
  • Layers in a .c4d file in an After Effects CC (12.x) project retain their visibility state in the Cineware effect when the project is opened in After Effects CC 2014.2 (13.2).
  • Windows high-DPI displays now correctly draw layer controls (anchor point, mask path, layer handles, etc.).
  • Multiple fixes for Mac OS Retina displays: layer wireframes now draw correctly; setting the ruler origin in viewer panels no longer has an offset.
  • The color of all characters are now the same in the value of a property with an expression. For example, the % symbol in Opacity values is now red instead of blue.
  • Rolling over the value of a property with an expression no longer changes the value’s text color to yellow.
  • A cause of crashes on startup if the Adobe preferences directory is set to read-only was fixed.
  • A cause of crashes on quit after Video Copilot Element 3D is used was fixed.
  • A cause of crashes when effects make certain OpenGL requests was fixed.
  • Aliases to files and folders on Mac OS 10.10.1 and later are now resolved correctly.

using the Enter key with the eyedropper tool to sample colors outside of After Effects

Here’s a tip that may save you a couple of clicks while working in After Effects: when you use the eyedropper tool in After Effects and you want to sample a color that is outside of the After Effects user interface, press the Return or Enter key on your keyboard instead of clicking the mouse button.

The benefit of doing this is that since you don’t use a mouse click, the operating system won’t switch to the application you sampled the color from, and you won’t have to click back into After Effects to continue working.

Pressing the Return or Enter key works on both Windows and Mac OS, whether you’re sampling a color inside or outside of After Effects.

I admit that I didn’t know about this myself until I investigated a related bug report: in After Effects 2014.1 (13.1) on Mac OS only, clicking with the mouse outside of the After Effects user interface does not sample the color, it will only switch you to the other application. We intend to fix this bug in a future release of After Effects, but thought you might want to know about the useful alternative of using the Return or Enter key when sampling colors with the eyedropper tool.

error (21::31) when you start After Effects on Mac OS 10.9 and later after editing the keyboard shortcut file

If you use TextEdit on Mac OS 10.9 or later to edit the After Effects keyboard shortcuts file, you may receive an error similar the following the next time you start After Effects:

After Effects error: preferences file "Adobe After Effects 13.1 Mac en_US Shortcuts.txt"
contains an unexpected value on line 142, " "Twirl" = ,Äú(macControl+`),Äú". (21::31)

To solve this issue, open the keyboard shortcuts file in TextEdit again, choose Edit > Substitutions and disable Smart Quotes. Then edit the same line you edited previously to replace any left or right double-quotation mark characters (“ or “) with the non-directional double-quotes character (“). Just press the quotation mark key on your keyboard, this should now create the non-directional double-quotes character.

On Mac OS 10.9 and later, Smart Quotes are enabled by default in TextEdit. This causes the double-quotes character (“) to be automatically replaced by the left or right double-quotation marks (“ or “). After Effects does not recognize the left or right marks as the correct delimiters for entries in the keyboard shortcuts file. In general, using Smart Quotes or other smart character replacement is not useful when editing application scripts like the keyboard shortcuts file.

You can disable Smart Quotes and other substitutions on a document-by-document basis by using the Edit > Substitutions menu, or you can disable this for all documents in the preferences for TextEdit.

Other typos or incorrect syntax in the keyboard shortcuts file will generate a similar error message. If Smart Quotes do not solve the issue, double-check your entry for correct spelling and formatting.

tip: writing to the disk cache during renders through the render queue

One thing that makes After Effects work much faster is the persistent disk cache, which makes it so that After Effects can retrieve rendered items from disk rather than re-rendering items each time they are needed. (For details about the RAM cache and persistent disk cache, see this video by me on Lynda.com.)

One thing that many people don’t realize, though, is that the disk cache is not written to by default for final renders through the render queue. This is because when we created the disk cache, disks were not typically fast enough for us to be confident that these disk writes during final renders wouldn’t degrade performance significantly during the first render. In other words, we didn’t want the default to make subsequent renders fast at the expense of making the first renders slow.

Now that people typically have much faster disks than only a few years ago, we are considering changing that default behavior.

In the meantime, we recommend that you try enabling the disk cache in the render queue by changing the Disk Cache setting in the Render Settings dialog box to Current Settings, rather than Read Only. You may want to even go so far as to edit your render settings templates to make this change, as I have done with mine. (I then used the Sync Settings feature to send my render settings templates to the Creative Cloud servers so that I could pull them down on my other computers.) With the Disk Cache value in the render settings set to Current Settings, the disk cache will be written to during renders through the render queue as long as you have Enable Disk Cache checked in the Media & Disk Cache preferences.

See this page for much more information about making After Effects work faster.

GoPro CineForm codec settings in After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014.1

The CC 2014.1 releases of After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Media Encoder can natively decode and encode QuickTime (.mov) files using the GoPro CineForm codecs on Mac OS and Windows, meaning that you do not need to install additional codecs to use and create such files.

When encoding GoPro CineForm movies, two different pixel formats and five different compression methods are available. To change how the GoPro CineForm movie is encoded you need to set the color depth or the quality, respectively. This is a guide for how these settings map to the encoded results.

GoPro CineForm compression quality settings

The GoPro CineForm codec offers five levels of compression quality:

1. Low
2. Medium
3. High
4. Film Scan
5. Film Scan 2

In After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Media Encoder the compression quality is controlled by the Quality slider in the Export Settings dialog. The range of this slider is 1-5, and the values map to the compression quality settings above. The default value is 4.

For more information about the differences between these compression quality options, read GoPro’s Understanding CineForm Quality Settings article.

GoPro CineForm pixel format settings

The GoPro CineForm codec can encode pixels in YUV 4:2:2 at 10 bits per channel, or RGBA 4:4:4:4 at 12 bits per channel.

The encoded pixel format is based on the color depth and alpha channel settings you choose in the Output Module Settings dialog in After Effects or the Export Settings dialog in Premiere Pro or Adobe Media Encoder.

In After Effects:

  • Setting Channels to RGB or Alpha will encode to 10-bpc YUV. Depth can be only set to Millions Of Colors.
  • Settings Channels to RGB+Alpha will encode to 12-bpc RGBA, regardless of the Depth setting.

Note that After Effects renders the composition at the color depth specified in the Project and Render Settings, and the GoPro CineForm encoder will re-sample the frames to 10-bit YUV or 12-bpc RGBA as appropriate.

In Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder:

  • Setting Depth to 24-bit (8-bpc) will encode to 10-bpc YUV.
  • Setting Depth to 32-bit (8-bpc with alpha) or 64-bit (16-bpc with alpha) will encode to 12-bpc RGBA.

Note that the frames may be rendered at a higher or lower quality by Premiere Pro or Adobe Media Encoder, depending on the sources in use and whether the Maximum Bit Depth option is enabled. The GoPro CineForm encoder will re-sample the frames to 10-bpc YUV or 12-bpc RGBA as appropriate.

regarding previous guidance and presets

In previous guides, the pixel formats for GoPro CineForm were described as being 8-bpc YUV, 8-bpc RGBA, or 16-bpc RGBA. There are three encoding presets in Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder that reflect this.

This information was incorrect. The presets will be updated in a future release of Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder. Until then, use the preset labeled “YUV 8bpc” to encode as 10-bpc YUV, and either the “RGB 8bpc” or “RGB 16bpc” presets to encode as 12-bpc RGBA.

For more information about working with the GoPro CineForm codec in After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Media Encoder, read GoPro CineForm Codec Support in Premiere Pro Help and Rich Young’s CineForm in Creative Cloud on Pro Video Coalition.