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

Product Manager Steve Forde shares his thoughts on After Effects and the motion graphics/visual effects market.

After Effects CC 2014.1 update

Wow, what a year! The Adobe pro-video team has been working on making the Creative Cloud video applications better at managing media and projects as well as offers new features such as Consolidate and Transcode and Search Bins in Adobe Premiere Pro and curve adjustment improvements in SpeedGrade. All the apps, including After Effects, are sporting a refined user interface with HiDPI support.

In After Effects, this refined user interface has new icons and some customization tweaks. The goal of this update is to reduce the visual clutter that often comes with a 20+ year old product. Also, this new UI not only supports HiDPI monitors on the Mac but also on Windows. The cool thing is the new UI approach is just the first step with all our applications so you can be sure to expect more on this topic in the future.

Last year, we announced one of the biggest industry turns by partnering with Maxon and developing a Live 3D Pipeline with CINEMA 4D. This was a game-changer for so many in the industry. And, rest assured, we did not step back on development on how After Effects talks to C4D. In the Fall release, we’ve added Cineware 2.0 which offers enhanced layer support and R16 compatibility enabling users to work with 3D elements faster.

While many of you may not have experienced the power of Adobe Anywhere, we have a lot of customers in the broadcast space that have been asking for better collaboration between After Effects’ users. We are pleased to offer AE artists using Adobe Anywhere the ability to streamline the creation process without worrying about which .AEP file is being sent. With this new integration, Adobe Anywhere and your MAM will track which files you’re using and store them for you.

My colleagues, Todd Kopriva and Tim Kurkoski, have put together a detailed post on what’s new and changed in this version of After Effects.

The After Effects CC 2014 update (version 13.1) is available to all Adobe Creative Cloud members and is coming soon. When available, just go to the Creative Cloud download center or open the Creative Cloud desktop application to download the new updates for After Effects and many other applications.

For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, go here. For more information about other Adobe video tools in Creative Cloud, see our Creative Cloud blog and the Creative Cloud FAQ list.

If you can’t make it to IBC, please join us for a special Ask a Video Pro session on Friday, September 12 at 10 am PT (7 pm CEST). Live from Amsterdam, Jason Levine will present the new features coming to the CC video apps.


Siggraph 2014 is here!

When it comes to computer graphics, there really isn’t a better tradeshow to know what’s hot and coming in the world of graphics technology. The name itself implies innovation (Special Interest Group on GRAPHics) and is the perfect ‘geek-out’ week: August 12-14. 2014.

Adobe’s Presence & Partners
A bunch of Adobe folk will be participating in partner booths at Siggraph so come by and see what’s new in After Effects and Premiere Pro. Also, you may run into me and some After Effects engineers checking out the new technology that the show is sure to bring to us in the future.

read more…

The 2014 update to After Effects CC is available!

As David Wadhwani has just announced, today we have released the next major update to Creative Cloud applications, including After Effects CC.

The After Effects CC 2014 update (version 13.0) is available to all Adobe Creative Cloud members. Just go to the Creative Cloud download center or open the Creative Cloud desktop application to download the new updates for After Effects and many other applications.

For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, go here. For more information about Creative Cloud, see this overview video and the Creative Cloud FAQ list.

I’m really proud of what our team has developed for this release. Actually, I’m really proud of what multiple teams put into this release. This is because multiple teams focused heavily on creating workflows that allow technology from After Effects to be more directly accessible inside Premiere Pro, and vice versa. For the first time, you can now manipulate templates created in After Effects, directly in the Effect Controls panel in Premiere Pro.

Obviously that’s not all. There is a lot more for you to discover in this update.

I look forward to hearing from you about how much easier it is to limit the area of an effect’s result using the new effect masks–especially since you can import these masks from Premiere Pro. I also know that you’re going to see a lot of value out of the new Key Cleaner and Advanced Spill Suppressor effects, which will allow you to pull good keys from green screen and blue screen footage that you previously would have thrown away and reshot because of noise, artifacts, etc. And, of course, being able to use your external video monitor or second computer monitor for full-screen video previews through Mercury Transmit is huge. All that, plus new Sony RAW import, an improved OpenEXR importer, a better Curves effect, scripting control over render settings and output modules, and more…

My colleague, Todd Kopriva, has put together a detailed post on what’s new and changed in this version of After Effects.


Happy New Year! ~ and a question…

First off – Happy New Year to all! 2013 was a fantastic year in the world of After Effects, and I’m stoked about what could be done in 2014. With that – I wanted to share a new years resolution of mine. My blog has been really ‘announcy’, which although not even a word – 2013 was really a lot of announcements coming from yours truly.

Therefore – my resolution is to return my portion of the After Effects blog to being about conversations. My favorite thing about this job is talking with folks who use what we create. I like to hear what we did right of course, but I LOVE to hear what we haven’t done or did wrong.

To that end, my comrade in arms Todd Kopriva recently distributed a blog post showing the top feature requests of 2013. It’s a pretty extensive list, and I am super proud about how much we could knock off that list throughout the year.

That being said, I want to look into 2014 and ask you, our customer, a hypothetical question…

What if we did NOTHING else in After Effects during 2014 other than make it faster? I mean MUCH faster. I mean much faster without a specific hardware requirement (new CPU, GPU, disk, machine, etc., etc.)?

To be frank, that’s not what’s in the works currently for 2014.  A lot of our developer resources are going to focus on performance, but also on workflow and creative capability. I am curious though what your reaction would be if we ditched the workflow and creative stuff for 2014, and put ALL of our resources on nothing but making After Effects killer fast.  Great!, good, bad, ugly?

Have fun in the comments – I look forward to hearing from you.


[Update - Jan 13 2014, 8pm PST - Wow! Thanks to everyone for your comments.  Myself and the team have been pouring over your feedback and will have an update shortly.  Until then - we have heard loud and clear that not just raw rendering performance is the desire, but interactive performance is king (600 creative decisions instead of 100 because you don't have to wait for UI, frame update, etc etc).  Will continue the conversation in a new blog post. - S]


December 2013 updates: After Effects CC (12.2) and After Effects CS6 (11.04)

I think you are starting to notice a trend ;)

It is with great pleasure I get to announce a new feature-bearing update to After Effects CC (12.2) that we released today. Todd Kopriva has put together a detailed list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.2). Along with the update to After Effects CC, we have also updated After Effects CS6 with a couple of bug fixes. Todd also has a list of what’s changed in After Effects CS6 (11.0.4) here.

Back to the trend comment, though. I’m extremely proud about what we have been able to accomplish in 2013. This is our 3rd release this year. Our ability to execute and get you bug fixes AND new features in a rapid manner is proving in my mind the value of Creative Cloud to the media professional.

With that, I will also say that I am SUPER excited for 2014. We have set some VERY ambitious goals for ourselves here on the After Effects team, and I think that everyone on our team is really looking forward to seeing what you think of what After Effects will become.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Just go to the Creative Cloud site to download it now or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.


Announcing After Effects CC October 2013 update (v12.1)

It’s hard to believe we delivered After Effects CC (12.0) just this June. Here we are just a few months later, and we are about to deliver another feature-rich update to After Effects that I think you will find hugely beneficial.

Then again, this is the power of Adobe Creative Cloud. In fact, our job developing and shipping After Effects has changed dramatically from trying to solely create “whiz-bang” features in the hopes that users will upgrade, to retaining you as a satisfied Creative Cloud subscriber. Don’t underestimate the power of that previous statement.

We are now able to focus on things like performance, workflow improvements, and enhancements to features already in the application — which you ALREADY use but would like to work better. Our motivation is simple: If you, our customer, cease to be satisfied on a month-by-month basis in what you need from the tools that you depend on, then you can cancel at any time. We need to satisfy you, the current customer, every month.

Here are a few examples of this in the October 2013 update to After Effects CC, version 12.1:

  • 3D Camera Tracker and Warp Stabilizer VFX analysis of footage is a WHOLE LOT FASTER.  It’s now fully multi-threaded, and we’ve seen results going from a 60% speed increase to in some cases 8 times faster analysis depending on machine and footage.
  • snapping and property links: significant advancements to composition layout and layer control for complex projects
  • HiDPI content viewers for Retina display on Mac
  • new mask tracker for simple tracking of masks
  • Detail-preserving Upscale effect: This continues on the theme we started with adding Bicubic sampling in After Effects CC (12.0). We hear loud an clear from you that scaling (especially with 4K and ultraHD coming) is very important.
  • The Cineware effect now allows connection to Sketch & Toon as well as the Cinema 4D Physical renderer for customers of Cinema 4D Broadcast or Studio
  • media management enhancements with auto-opening of folders in the Project panel, as well as an early preview of the Media Browser panel, based on the Media Browser in Premiere Pro
  • new cards added to GPU list for CUDA acceleration of the ray-traced 3D renderer, as well as a preference to enable the use of untested, unsupported GPUs for this feature

This is a very condensed list.  For a complete list of all new features, as well as details of each, please check out Todd Kopriva’s blog.

I am massively proud of our team and our product for what we have worked on and delivered over the last couple of months. But we are just getting started. Keep in mind my statement above about keeping you satisfied. With Creative Cloud, our job is to retain you as a subscriber. Obviously, innovation is important and new creative features are always going to be worked on. What I am most excited about, however, is the opportunity to FINISH features that have already been developed–to modernize, optimize, and expand the creative powerhouse that is collectively known as After Effects.


If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects, so you’ll have access to this update as soon it’s released. Go to the Creative Cloud site to download applications or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

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


After Effects CC (12.0) is now live

It’s with great pleasure that we can release to you the amazing work that has gone into After Effects CC (12.0).

There are a ton of new features alongside the big ones (Cineware, Refine Edge, and Warp Stabilizer VFX) that have been covered quite bit. Snapping; EXR / DPX format updates; finding missing fonts, footage, and effects; Pixel Motion Blur… These are just a few that come to mind.

Check out several blogs posted by our team’s own Todd Kopriva to get the full and complete details:

Also, check out these fantastic tutorials for folks new to 3D using the new integration with Maxon Cinema 4D by Nick Campbell (Greyscale Gorilla).

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Just go to the Creative Cloud site to download it now or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

After Effects CC represents the first release of many for After Effects under the Creative Cloud banner. I have been watching and participating in a passionate debate from all points of view on this new method of releasing our software to you. To those of you currently (or about to become) subscribers, I thank you for your business. I firmly believe you won’t be disappointed.

To folks who are still considering your options, I look forward to hearing what you think, and how we can best earn your business. We as a team are just getting started taking advantage of a whole new way to develop, test and deliver software you depend on.

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

By the way, if you’re just getting started with After Effects for the first time… Welcome! You should start here to learn the basics of After Effects.



Introducing the new After Effects CC

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.

Todd Kopriva has a great breakdown of what we revealed in Las Vegas last month – as well as some new stuff we didn’t show that is part of the new After Effects CC.

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.


Revealed: The next version of After Effects

This year marks my 12th NAB. One thing that makes this time of year completely cool – it’s like new years eve for the production industry. I’ve been around for a few of these now – and I must say that this one is by far one of my favorite. This year we are doing a huge sneak peek and revealing what’s coming to the next versions of the Adobe professional video and audio tools.

After Effects CS6 was a gargantuan release. The 3D Camera Tracker brought complex camera tracking to everyone, and the global performance cache brought performance improvements where it mattered most – previews. We knew going into this next release that topping it would not be for the faint at heart.

I can say with complete confidence that not only did we top it with what’s coming to the next version of After Effects – we set a new standard I don’t know that we can match again – EVER. We listened to you intently and redesigned stabilization with the Warp Stabilizer VFX. We delivered a completely revamped approach to the previously mind-numbing task of rotoscoping, and made it not just fun to do, but made the technique work on footage that is just frankly ‘un-roto-able’. Look for the Refine Edge tool to see what I mean.

To top it, we saw that After Effects artists work with Cinema 4D as passionately as they do with After Effects. We looked at current workflows with our friends at Maxon and decided to integrate After Effects and Cinema 4D in a completely new way. I think the workflow advantages are not just dramatic, but completely empowering. Think 600 creative decisions in the new way of integration with no penalty – vs. 10 with the current workflow today.

Although the next version of After Effects isn’t available now, we’re offering a NAB Show special to get 40% off your first year of Adobe Creative Cloud membership (only $29.99/month), and you’ll automatically get these new features as soon as they are available.  You can check out upcoming top features coming to the next versions here.

Overall – I am extremely proud of this next release, and can’t wait to hear from you what you think. Happy NAB folks.


What’s Next in Rotoscoping in AE?

Roto work is typically an eye-bleeding task as it takes so much of your time to pull complex footage. Even with careful setup, if you shoot against a green/blue screen, you may have unevenness such as poor lighting, seams, wrinkles, markers or other auxillary objects that might introduce artifacts thus needing manual cleanup on each frame. For more general backgrounds, getting the alpha mattes could be extremely difficult.

Not so, in the next version of After Effects. Here’s a little peek as to what’s next in the world of rotoscoping in AE. And, for a little fun, we’ve decided to share the history of roto work in AE and give you a glimpse into the future using the next version of After Effects. 

After Effects, Motion Graphics & Visual Effects

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