AFTEREFFECTS

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

Region of Interest: Adobe weblog about After Effects and related stuff from the After Effects team

After Effects CC 2015 (13.7.1) bug-fix update available: fixes Mac OS X 10.11 real-time playback issue and more

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.7.1) bug-fix update is now available. This update fixes a small number of bugs, including a bug that caused After Effects to not be able to play back a cached preview in real-time on Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan).

Note: For Mac OS X only, a newer After Effects CC 2015 (13.7.2) bug-fix update has been released, which fixes a bug with RED (.r3d) files.

You can install the update through the Creative Cloud desktop application, or you can check for new updates from within any Adobe application by choosing Help > Updates. Please note that it can take 24 hours or more for all of our global data centers to receive the update; if the update isn’t available for you right now, please check back later.

For details of what was added, changed, and fixed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.7), see this page. For details of all of the other updates for Adobe professional video and audio applications, see this page.

Please, if you want to ask questions about this update, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum, rather than leaving comments on this blog post. (It’s much harder to have conversations in the comments of a blog post.) If you’d like to submit feature requests or bug reports, you can do so here.

The After Effects team is continuing to investigate other bugs for future updates, including problems that affect real-time playback of cached previews on all platforms. Please refer to this article for information about known issues.


bug fixes in After Effects CC 2015 (13.7.1)


The After Effects CC 2015 (13.7.1) bug-fix update addresses these significant bugs:

  • Real-time playback of cached previews on Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) is no longer slowed down by drawing the preview-time indicator (PTI) in the Timeline panel.
  • Advanced color profiles (e.g., profiles for ACES, ARRI Wide Color Gamut, etc.) that were installed by the After Effects 13.6 update but removed by the After Effects 13.7 update are restored.
  • On Mac OS X 10.10.0 and 10.10.1, when you start After Effects it will notify you to update to Mac OS X 10.10.5. After Effects will crash after launch on Mac OS X 10.0.0 and 10.10.1. To avoid this crash, update to Mac OS X 10.10.5.
  • Image sequences import much faster, especially from network drives. See below for a more detailed explanation.

about fast import of image sequences


In After Effects CC 2015 (13.7.1) image sequences now import much faster, especially from network drives.

Fast import of image sequences is controlled by a new option in Preferences > Import > Sequence Footage: Verify Individual Files.

Verify Individual Files is disabled by default. When it is disabled, After Effects skips a time-consuming secondary verification of individual image sequence files during import. This includes not resolving file paths of aliases or symbolic links (symlinks); aliases and symbolic link paths are still resolved when the frame is rendered. However, if an alias or symbolic link fails to resolve (e.g., drive is offline or the file has been moved), the frame will not be reported as missing at import.

If you encounter unexpected missing frames in an image sequence, enabling Verify Individual Files may avoid the problem at the cost of slower import speed.

volunteer to try a new rendering service for After Effects

We are seeking volunteers to try a new rendering service for After Effects. As a participant in this prerelease program, you will render your compositions using a rendering service and then tell us about your experience.

Click here to join the After Effects rendering service trial.

This trial is a private prerelease program. Everything in the prerelease program is confidential and may not be shared or discussed with anyone who is not part of the prerelease program.

Hello! After Effects has a new Product Manager

Hello, Victoria Nece here. I’m the new Product Manager for Motion Graphics and Visual Effects at Adobe, taking over for Todd Kopriva. Todd’s been a tremendous resource and a strong advocate for After Effects and this whole community. We wish him well on his new adventures.

Before joining Adobe, I was the Director of Animation at the Documentary Group in New York, as well as an independent author of scripts and extensions. I’ve been an After Effects user most of my life: I’ve been doing motion design, titles, maps, data visualizations, and all kinds of post production work for what feels like forever. In the last few years I’ve become a developer too, writing code for After Effects automation, motion capture, and workflow customization. After Effects has always been at the core of my creative work, and I’ll be bringing my perspective as a user to the job.

I’ve been joking that I talked about After Effects so much they decided to pay me to do it, but there’s more to it than that: my job is really to make your work life better. I know how After Effects can make some seemingly impossible tasks quick and easy and fun. I know how other things it does can make you crazy; they’ve frustrated me too, and I want to help ease some of those pain points.

Since I’ve come on board, it’s been exciting to see all the great things the After Effects team has in store for future releases. (More than a few “I’ve been wanting this for years!” features.) Character Animator is getting more powerful every day, too, and their roadmap promises lots of new ways to create fast, expressive animation.

I love this community. It’s full of creative, talented people with great ideas for the future of the industry, and I’m looking forward to meeting many more of you. I couldn’t be happier to have joined the team.

what’s new and changed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update is now available.

For details of the updates for all Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page. Also, in January 2016 Adobe Stock added over 100,000 4K high-quality video assets, which you can search for, download, and license in the Libraries panel in After Effects and Premiere Pro.

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the new version by checking for updates through the Creative Cloud desktop application. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

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. 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.


summary of what’s new in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update


  • Maxon CINEWARE 3.0
  • new preference to auto-save when starting the render queue
  • improvements to Cache Before Playback previews
  • … and many bug fixes

Maxon CINEWARE 3.0


Maxon’s CINEWARE plug-in for After Effects has been updated to version 3.0, and includes the following features:

  • Live Link, which synchronizes the timelines in After Effects and Cinema 4D (R17 SP2)
  • support for the Cinema 4D Take System (R17)
  • extract .c4d timeline markers
  • other enhancements and fixes

CINEWARE 3.0 also includes the following rendering improvements:

  • OpenGL renderer
  • renderer limitations have been removed: Physical, Hardware, and Sketch and Toon renderers will now render using CINEWARE
  • multi-pass alpha channels

You will need Cinema 4D R17 to use the Take System, and Cinema 4D R17.048 (SP2) to use Live Link. Even if you don’t have access to Cinema 4D R17, the rest of the new features can be used with After Effects and Cinema 4D versions R14-R16, including the version of Cinema 4D Lite R16 included with After Effects CC 2015.

Live Link

Live Link enables the timelines of Cinema 4D and After Effects to be synchronized. Live Link requires Cinema 4D R17.048 (SP2) or later. If the selected version of Cinema 4D does not support Live Link, the Enable button will be greyed out.

To use Live Link, ensure that the Cinema 4D paths in the CINEWARE Options dialog is set to a version of Cinema 4D that supports Live Link (Cinema 4D R17.048 or later). When you click the Enable button for Live Link (under the Show help button), the specified Cinema 4D version will open the current file. If Live Link has not been enabled in Cinema 4D, brief instructions will appear. To enable Live Link in Cinema 4D, choose Edit > Preferences > Communication > Live Link, then enable Live Link Enabled At Startup. The timelines will now be synchronized when switching between After Effects and Cinema 4D. When you select a different C4D layer in After Effects, press Enable to synchronize that layer.

Take System

The Cinema 4D R17 Take System has been integrated into CINEWARE. The Set Take button in the CINEWARE effect will be enabled if the .c4d file contains takes. If the current renderer does not support take selections then the main take will be used.

extract .c4d timeline markers

Timeline markers in .c4d files are now added to the C4D layer in After Effects when you click the Extract button.

Note: To avoid problems extracting scene data in After Effects, enable Save Polygons for Melange and Save Animation for Melange in Cinema 4D preferences.

OpenGL renderer

The CINEWARE renderer can now be set to OpenGL.

renderer limitations removed for Physical, Hardware, and Sketch and Toon

Renderer limitations have been removed in CINEWARE. When your .c4d file has been saved in a full retail (e.g., Studio) version of Cinema 4D with Render Settings set to the Physical or Hardware renderer, it will render with those settings when the CINEWARE renderer is set to Standard (Final) or Standard (Draft). Sketch and Toon will render when the CINEWARE renderer is set to Standard (Final).

Note that this limitation is only removed for CINEWARE. The version of Cinema 4D Lite included with After Effects CC 2015 is not affected by this change and still has limitations on which renderers it can use.

multi-pass alpha channels

Multi-pass layers are now created with an alpha channel.

Synchronize C4D Layers

When the Cinema 4D Layers option is enabled, a new option to Synchronize C4D Layers becomes available when there are multiple instances (including extracted passes) of the C4D layer in the composition. All instances of the same layer with Synchronize C4D Layers enabled will synchronize changes made when enabling or disabling Cinema 4D layers by clicking Set Layers.

Note the difference between the two synchronize options in CINEWARE:

  • Synchronize AE layer: Render Settings and Camera options are synchronized on all instances of the C4D layer.
  • Synchronize C4D Layers: Cinema 4D Layers settings are synchronized on all instances the C4D layer.

other changes in CINEWARE

The No Pre-calculation option is now enabled by default. This disables pre-calculations for computing motion dynamics or particle simulations. You may need to disable No Pre-calculation for final rendering, depending on the animation used in the .c4d file.


new preference to auto-save when starting the render queue


In Preferences > Auto-Save, you can now control whether After Effects automatically saves the project when you start the render queue. The new Save When Starting Render Queue option is enabled by default.

This new option is a separate control from auto-saving at intervals (“Save every X minutes”). The Auto-Save options have been modified to make it clear that you can choose to save at intervals, save when starting the render queue, or both.

Starting in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), auto-saving does not occur while the render queue is rendering. In After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), if Automatically Save Projects was enabled in Preferences > Auto-Save, projects were always auto-saved when you started the render queue; After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) now allows you to control whether or not this auto-save occurs.


improvements to Cache Before Playback previews


When the Cache Before Playback option is enabled in the Preview panel, After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) now previews frames as they are rendered. As the frames are rendered, only newly rendered frames are previewed; previously rendered frames are skipped. Audio is not previewed during this caching phase of the preview.

After all frames are rendered, preview of the cached frames begins (with audio, if enabled).


notable bug fixes


  • Resizing a panel by dragging panel borders with a tablet pen (e.g. a Wacom tablet) no longer causes the pointer to continue to drag the panel border the next time you touch the pen down, or to unexpectedly begin dragging after a single click.
  • Zooming with the mouse wheel in a Composition panel set to multiple views will again zoom the view under the pointer as expected, instead of only zooming the first view.
  • Audio is no longer silent for the first 2 seconds of real-time playback of previews after the composition has been fully cached, if the Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-time preference is enabled. Important: This fixed bug addresses a specific problem in which audio did not engage when the playback frame rate is real-time; we are continuing to investigate a similar bug some users are experiencing where the preview of a cached composition starts out slower than real-time, and ramps up to real-time after a similar delay (~2-3 seconds). In this case, if Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-time is enabled, you will not hear audio during until the preview frame rate is real-time; you can work around this bug by disabling Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-time.
  • Audio no longer plays out of sync if the frame rate of the comp or footage is different than the Frame Rate option in the Preview panel.
  • Visual artifacts no longer occur in layers that use time remapping with frame blending set to Pixel Motion, or with Timewarp, Rolling Shutter Repair, and other effects that use the Pixel Motion (optical flow) method.
  • Antialiasing in viewer panels (Composition, Layer, Footage) is improved when downsampling (e.g., viewer resolution is set to full and zoom is set to 25%) and the Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels option is enabled in Preferences > Display.
  • Layers draw their contents as expected, instead of a wireframe, when you hold the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key while dragging the anchor point with the Pan Behind tool.
  • Fixed several cases where the render progress bar in the Composition panel failed to appear or update as expected after modifying a composition.
  • Resetting a workspace to its saved layout no longer opens empty Timeline panels.
  • The Paint workspace now opens the Paint and Brushes panels instead of the Character and Paragraph panels.
  • Audio-only previews no longer restore the workspace when the Timeline panel or other non-viewer panels are maximized.
  • Choosing Replace With After Effects Composition in Premiere Pro no longer fails with an error, “Importer reported a generic error”, if the Premiere Pro sequence is set to greater than 99fps. Note that while the new composition in After Effects will be at the expected frame rate, changing that composition’s settings will reduce its frame rate to 99fps. (99fps is the maximum value allowed by the Composition Settings dialog. This bug fix behaves similar to dragging footage that is greater than 99fps to the New Composition button at the bottom of the Project panel in After Effects.)
  • Previews now play the composition, layer, or footage only once when the Loop control in the Preview Panel is set to Play Once, even when the playback requires frames to be cached and causes it not to play in real-time. Note that when Cache Before Playback is enabled, the caching phase is separate and not considered to be playback; once all frames are cached, then the single playback loop begins.
  • Scrolling in the Render Queue panel during rendering works again.
  • Previewing with Full Screen enabled no longer causes an error message: internal verification failure, sorry! {no current context}
  • After Effects no longer crashes when you select multiple keyframes, then open the Keyframe Velocity dialog and enable Continuous.
  • Executing After Effects via the command line no longer fails if the file path to a project file or script contains “-ep”.

If you’d like to let us know what you’d like to see addressed in a future update, let us know with a bug report or feature request here. You can also talk with us on the After Effects user-to-user forum. Please, do not leave comments on this blog post, since the blog comment system is not set up well for bug reports or conversations.

After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update available: fixes stale image cache and more

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update is now available. This update fixes multiple bugs, including a bug that caused After Effects to not update the preview image in the Composition panel, which happened most commonly after using Undo.

You can install the update through the Creative Cloud desktop application, or you can check for new updates from within any Adobe application by choosing Help > Updates.

For details of what was added, changed, and fixed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), see this page. For details of all of the other updates for Adobe professional video and audio applications, see this page.

Please, if you want to ask questions about this update, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum, rather than leaving comments on this blog post. (It’s much harder to have conversations in the comments of a blog post.) If you’d like to submit feature requests or bug reports, you can do so here.

The After Effects team is continuing to investigate other bugs for future updates. Please refer to this article for current information about known issues.


tell us what we should work on next


The After Effects team is currently planning our releases for the upcoming year, which will focus on quality and performance. We would like to hear from you about what specific areas we should work on next.

Please fill out a short survey, which will help us learn what you consider most important to the development of After Effects. We appreciate you taking the time to do this.


bug fixes in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1)


The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update addresses these significant bugs:

  • The preview image in the Composition panel no longer fails to update in certain cases after you make a change to the composition. This fix prevents After Effects from putting the image cache into a bad state, which most commonly occurred on Windows after using Undo, but could also occur after other changes once the project had entered the bad state.
  • Previewing a composition with audio will no longer fail to start when a layer has an audio effect with an expression, and display an error: Effect cannot use “abort” callback when called with “unrecognized plug-in effect command” command. ( 25 :: 19 )
  • Viewer panels (Composition, Layer, Footage) no longer show downsampling artifacts when the viewer zoom is set to 50% zoom, the viewer resolution is set to Full, and the Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels option is enabled in Preferences > Display.
  • After Effects no longer fails to start on computers with older processors lacking a specific instruction set (e.g., AMD Phenom II and Athlon processors). The error message given for this specific issue was “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc000001d)” or “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000142)”. Note: A similar issue affects Premiere Pro CC 2015 (9.1), for which the fix is somewhat more involved. An upcoming Premiere Pro update is intended to address this issue. Thank you for your patience.
  • After Effects no longer generates the wrong image for layers using some plug-ins in 16-bpc or 32-bpc (bits per channel) color mode. Affected plug-ins included Digital Film Tools Film Stocks and Digital Anarchy plug-ins.
  • Creative Cloud account names that use non-ASCII characters (e.g., Japanese and Chinese characters) no longer cause an error “could not convert Unicode characters” when you start After Effects.

Avoid crashes. If you use After Effects on Mac OS X v10.10 (Yosemite), update to Mac OS X v10.10.5.

If you use After Effects on Mac OS X v10.10 (Yosemite), update to Mac OS X v10.10.5.

We can see in our crash reporter data that a lot of folks are experiencing crashes when using After Effects on Mac OS X v10.10 (Yosemite). These crashes are nearly all occurring on old versions of Mac OS X v10.10, previous to the current v10.10.5.

Apple made a lot of great fixes in the Mac OS X v10.10.5 update to fix issues regarding GPU usage by many applications, so it’s a good idea to update to this version of Mac OS X v10.10 even aside from the impact that it has on After Effects.

Because of some additional GPU work done for After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), this version of After Effects is especially affected by the issues in the versions of Mac OS X v10.10 before v10.10.5.

A specific crashing problem with After Effects that is fixed by updating Mac OS X v10.10 to v10.10.5 is one that gives the message “<GPUManager> <2> Sniffer Result Code: 7” when trying to start After Effects. This same problem can also occur on Windows 7 if you have not yet installed Windows 7 Service Pack 1.

To discuss this issue or others, please come to the After Effects user-to-user forum. Please, don’t leave comments on this blog post, since the blog commenting system just isn’t set up to have conversations and engage in troubleshooting.

Please submit bug reports here.

Stay tuned to this blog for news next week about a bug fix update that we are currently working on to address a few issues in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6).

After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) and Character Animator (Preview 3) updates now available

After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) is now available. For details about what’s new and changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), see this page. That also means that Character Animator (Preview 3) is available.

This update brings many advances to After Effects, including performance and user interface improvements for previews, multi-touch gestures, optimizations for small and high-resolution screens, improved color fidelity, new importers, scripting additions, the ability to search and license stock video from within After Effects, and streamlined Creative Cloud Libraries workflows. For details, see this page.

The Character Animator (Preview 3) update adds “sticks” to control rigidity of the puppet mesh, multi-touch gestures to control character limbs, the ability to share rigged puppets, increased recording flexibility, performance improvements, and much more. For details, see this page.

For an overview of what’s new in all of the Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page. For details of the updates for all Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page.

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the new version by checking for updates through the Creative Cloud desktop application. 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.

IMPORTANT: The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update will update and replace After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). This updater will not modify instances of After Effects CC 2014 (13.2) and earlier; however, before installing the new version of After Effects, please read this page about the default behavior of the Creative Cloud installation system, which is to remove all previous versions of applications, and this page about why you might not want to do that.

Welcome Victoria Nece to her new role.

I am quite pleased—thrilled, actually—to announce that Victoria Nece has accepted a job at Adobe as “Product Manager for Visual Effects and Motion Graphics”. This job includes the primary responsibility of being product manager for After Effects and Character Animator. As a veteran professional user of After Effects, both as an animator and as a creator of extensions for After Effects, Victoria is perfectly suited to represent the needs of After Effects users and lead the development of this application through its next phase of life.

Of course, some of you may recognize that this job that she’s moving into is my job. Yep. I’ve decided to tackle some very different challenges, so I’ll be stepping away from software development. I’m sure that I’ll still be using After Effects a lot, so I’m glad that I’m leaving this valuable tool in the hands of someone who will be serving the needs that I’ll have as a user.

Victoria will be starting in this new role in January 2016, and we’ll work together for a few months to get her ramped up before I move on. I’m still the right person to contact for After Effects product management questions and concerns through January 2016, but after that I’ll be passing more of these responsibilities on to Victoria until the hand-off is complete in March 2016.

As I’ve said before, finding the After Effects team meant finding the best possible place for me within the software development industry. Thank you, again, to the entire After Effects team for taking me in. And thank you, members of the After Effects community of users, for being such an engaged, creative, nerdy, helpful group of people. You’ve given me a lot over the past 11 years.

After Effects and Character Animator ready for Mac OS X v10.11 (El Capitan)

We have tested the following versions of After Effects on Mac OS X v10.11 and found them to work with this operating system:

  • After Effects CC 2015 (13.5-13.7.1), including Character Animator (Preview 3, Preview 2)
  • After Effects CC 2014 (13.2)
  • After Effects CC (12.2.1)
  • After Effects CS6 (11.0.4)

We recommend you install the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7.1) bug-fix update, which fixes a bug that caused the Timeline panel to be redrawn too often during previews on Mac OS X v10.11 (El Capitan), which could slow preview playback speed to less than real-time.

All versions of After Effects that use Mercury Transmit for video previews encounter an issue with the base version of Mac OS X v10.11 that prevents video previews from being re-enabled when switching back to After Effects if the Disable Video Output When In The Background preference (in the Video Preview preferences) is enabled. Install the Mac OS X v10.11.2 update to fix this issue.

Note that After Effects CS6 requires the 11.0.4 update to work on any version of Mac OS X from 10.9 forward because of an incompatibility between newer versions of Mac OS X and a GPU library used by After Effects.

Also, After Effects CS6 has a known issue regarding Motion Sketch on versions of Mac OS X v10.9 and later. To use Motion Sketch with After Effects CS6, you must use Mac OS X v10.8 or earlier. After Effects CC versions do not have this issue.

For information on updates to After Effects and other Adobe professional video applications, see this page.

If you want to report a bug, please do so here. You can bring issues to the After Effects forum for discussion. Do not leave comments on this blog post to report bugs.

what’s new and changed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update is now available.

For an overview of what’s new in all of the Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page. For details of the updates for all Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page.

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the new version by checking for updates through the Creative Cloud desktop application. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

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. 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.


summary of what’s new in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update


  • improvements to default preview behaviors and additional customization options for previews
  • multi-touch gestures
  • stacked panels
  • workspace bar
  • improved color management, with new ICC profiles
  • Lumetri Color effect
  • new importers for HEVC (H.265), DNxHR, and Dolby Vision PQ codecs and formats
  • scripting improvements: access to text baseline and new method for random numbers
  • streamlined workflow for using assets from CC Libraries
  • video and graphics assets from Adobe Stock searchable and usable from Libraries panel
  • automatic replacement of watermarked assets with licensed assets when using Adobe Stock
  • new Cycore effects
  • updated OptiX library for ray-traced 3D renderer
  • improved Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, And Footage Panels option
  • … and many bug fixes

Karl Soule shows several of these new and changed features in this video.


updated preview behaviors and Preview panel options


Since the release of After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), the After Effects team has been listening closely to user feedback about the changes to preview behaviors and the Preview panel controls. Several changes were made in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update to accommodate that feedback.

previews can be nearly twice as long for same content (compared with previous versions)

We have optimized how frames are cached and how frames are transformed for screen display such that only about half as much memory is required for typical content. Though this change is primarily about memory efficiency, it also contributes to rendering and playback performance.

improved caching behaviors and controls

The Preview Favors control has been removed. This option did not clearly express its intent of changing the caching behavior, and it received very little use. There is now a single caching behavior. The new caching behavior is a hybrid of the former Preview Favors Frame Rate and Preview Favors Length behaviors:

  • Like Preview Favors Frame Rate, After Effects will render and cache frames until the cache is full, and then caching stops. There is no longer an option for After Effects to extend a preview past the cached frames by discarding the oldest frames in the cache, as Preview Favors Length would have done.
  • Like Preview Favors Length, the new caching behavior only stores the screen display cache (a secondary cache used for transforming the frames for screen display) for a short duration ahead of the Preview Time Indicator. In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), the Preview Favors Frame Rate mode kept the screen display cache for all cached frames, which was inefficient and could result in an unexpectedly short preview duration.

A new Cache Before Playback option has been added. When this is enabled, After Effects will cache frames before starting playback. This behavior is similar to how RAM Preview behaved in past versions of After Effects. However, note that frames are not displayed to the Composition, Layer, or Footage panel as they are cached. This option is not enabled by default for any of the preview shortcuts. If you Option-click (Mac OS) or Alt-click (Windows) the Reset button in the Preview panel, Cache Before Playback will be enabled for Numpad-0.

audio preview changes

The Audio Preview Duration control in Preferences > Previews has been removed. This option conflicted with the Range option in the Preview panel. When audio must be rendered for a preview, it is now rendered for the duration defined by the Range control. The new Play Around Current Time range option can be used to emulate the behavior of the Audio Preview Duration preference.

Regardless of the range, longer audio durations require more memory to store the rendered audio for playback. This could result in shorter overall preview durations and also a longer pre-preview delay to prepare the audio (the Info panel will display “Mixing audio for preview”).

The Composition > Preview > Audio Preview commands have been removed. These menu commands, Audio Preview (Here Forward) and Audio Preview (Work Area) described behaviors that can now be modified in the Preview panel, now that the audio-only preview keyboard shortcuts can be configured in the Preview panel (see below). To reduce confusion, they have been removed. The remaining Composition > Preview > Play Current Preview command can still start an audio-only preview, if that is the current state of the Preview panel.

The Mute Audio button at the top of the Preview panel mutes or unmutes audio during playback. It will also enable or disable the Include Audio button for the keyboard shortcut that you used to start that preview.

To change whether audio is played when you start a preview, use the new Include Audio button, described below.

new controls for determining what happens when you stop a preview

In previous versions of After Effects, including After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), the behaviors that occur when you stopped a preview were dependent on what type of caching was being used by the preview and what keyboard shortcut you used to stop the preview. These behaviors were not user-configurable.

With the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update, you can configure the stop behaviors for each keyboard shortcut using new controls at the bottom of the Preview panel. In the On (shortcut name) Stop section (e.g., On (Spacebar) Stop), you can enable the following options:

  • If caching, play cached frames: When this option is enabled and you use this keyboard shortcut to stop a preview before caching has completed, only caching is stopped; playback of cached frames will restart from the beginning of the range. When this option is disabled, stopping a preview with this keyboard shortcut will stop both caching and playback.
  • Move time to preview time: When this option is enabled and you use this keyboard shortcut to stop a preview, the current-time indicator will move to the position of the preview time (the last frame previewed). When this option is disabled, the current-time indicator stays at its previous position.

The spacebar shortcut now has “If caching, play cached frames” disabled by default. In After Effects CC (13.5), this behavior was enabled for the spacebar shortcut and caused confusion among some users.

new Include buttons for video, audio, and overlays and layer controls

Below the Shortcut control are three buttons that control whether any keyboard shortcut starts a preview that plays video, plays audio, or shows overlays and layer controls. You can now configure any preview shortcut to start a preview with or without video, audio, or overlays and layer controls.

  • Include Video is new with the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update. When this option is enabled, the preview will play video. When disabled, the preview will not play video.
  • Include Audio replaces functionality that was previously assigned to the Mute Audio button. When this option is enabled, the preview will play audio. When disabled, the preview will not play audio.
  • Include Overlays & Layer Controls replaces the Layer Controls option in the Preview panel. When this option is enabled, the preview will show overlays (e.g., grids and guides) and layer controls for selected layers as defined in the View > View Options dialog. When disabled, the preview will not show overlays. Note that this can be enabled regardless of whether or not Include Video is enabled.

You can not disable all three of the Include buttons simultaneously, at least one button must remain enabled. If you try to disable the third button, one of the other buttons will become enabled.

new configurable keyboard shortcuts for previews

  • Audio-only preview shortcuts: The keyboard shortcuts for audio-only previews, Numpad-.(decimal) and Option/Alt+Numpad-.(decimal), are now configurable in the Preview panel.
  • Shift+Spacebar: A new keyboard shortcut, Shift+Spacebar, has been added to the Preview keyboard shortcuts. By default, Shift+Spacebar is configured similarly to Numpad-0, except that Play From is set to Current Time.

new range options, including option to play around current time

The Audio Preview Duration preference in the Previews preferences category has been removed. This option conflicted with the Range option in the Preview panel. When audio must be rendered for a preview, it is now rendered for the duration defined by the Range control. The new Play Around Current Time range option (see below) can be used to emulate the behavior of the Audio Preview Duration preference. Regardless of the range, longer audio durations require more memory to store the rendered audio for playback. This could result in shorter overall preview durations and also a longer delay before preview began, to prepare the audio (the Info panel will display “Mixing audio for preview”).

The Range control includes a new option, Play Around Current Time. This option behaves similarly to the Play Around command in Premiere Pro. When you start a preview with Play Around Current Time enabled, the preroll value is subtracted from the current time, the postroll value is added to the current time, and the frames in between are previewed.

To set the preroll and postroll values, choose Play Around Current Time from the Range menu. Set your desired preroll and postroll values in seconds, then click OK.

Play Around Current Time is enabled by default for the Numpad-.(decimal) audio-only preview keyboard shortcut, with a preroll value of 0 seconds and a postroll value of 30 seconds. This emulates the default cache duration defined by the Audio Preview Duration preference that was removed.

current-time indicator color change

The current-time indicator (CTI) now draws as blue through its entire length at all times, including when preview is stopped. This resolves a consistency issue between the CTI and the red preview-time indicator (PTI) that appears only during previews to show which frame is being previewed.


user interface improvements for touch screens, multi-touch devices, and small screens


As more and more people use After Effects on small laptops and tablet devices—many of which have touch screens and multi-touch input devices—it is increasingly important for After Effects to work well on such small screens and take full advantage of these touch input systems.

stacked panel groups

Stacked panel groups give you one-click access to panels while keeping your workspace clean and uncluttered. Stacked panel groups function similarly to the panels in Adobe Lightroom.

Panels in a stacked panel group are minimized to their panel tabs and stacked vertically. Clicking on a panel tab will expand that panel, and by default will solo that tab by simultaneously minimizing the other panels in the group.

Stacked panel groups are best used to quickly show and hide panels that typically appear along the right side of the After Effects workspace, such as the Character, Paragraph, Paint, Brushes, Tracker, and other panels that you do not use all the time.

To create a stacked panel group, click the panel menu on the tab of any panel in the panel group choose Stacked Panel Group from the Panel Group Settings menu.

To restore the stacked panel group to a non-stacked panel group, disable the Stacked Panel Group option.

You can reorder and resize panels within a stacked panel group.

When you click on a panel in a stacked panel group, other panels in that stacked panel group will minimize to their tabs (solo mode). To allow more than one panel in a stacked panel group to be expanded simultaneously, disable Solo Panels In Group in the Panel Group Settings menu for that panel group.

Regardless of the solo setting, you can simultaneously expand or minimize all panels in a stacked panel group by Command-clicking (Mac OS) or Ctrl-clicking (Windows) the tab of a panel in that group.

workspaces and the workspace bar

The new workspace bar gives you one-click access to default or custom workspaces. It functions similarly to the Workspaces panel in Premiere Pro CC 2015. Please read this article in Premiere Pro Help to learn how to modify, arrange, and choose workspaces in the workspace bar.

In previous versions of After Effects, workspaces were available through the Workspace menu on the right side of the Tools panel. This has been replaced by the workspace bar, which occupies the right side of the Tools panel. Workspaces that do not fit in the available space are displayed in the overflow menu (>>) on the right side of the workspace bar.

When the Tools panel is moved from its position at the top of the workspace, the workspace bar is replaced by the Workspace menu.

Workspaces and the new Edit Workspaces dialog box can also be accessed through the Window > Workspace menu.

New workspaces have been added to take advantage of stacked panel groups and the workspace bar, and the order of the workspaces has been rearranged. By default, the workspace bar shows three workspaces: Essentials, Standard, and Small Screen. Other workspaces are available in the workspace bar’s overflow menu.

  • Essentials is now the default workspace. The layout is similar to Standard, except that panels on the right side of the workspace are in a stacked panel group.
  • Standard is the same workspace as in previous versions of After Effects.
  • Small Screen is optimized for use on devices with small screens, including small laptops, projectors, and touch notebook computers.

Important: Due to the changes to workspaces, custom workspaces are not migrated from previous versions of After Effects.

other panel and tab improvements

Panel tabs can be set to a larger size for easier selection on a touch device. To enable this for all tabs in a panel group, click on the panel menu for any tab in the group, choose Panel Group Settings, then disable Small Tabs.

When you rearrange panels in a tabbed panel group, other panels now automatically move out of the way to make room for the dragged panel. This includes automatically scrolling hidden panels when you drag to the end of a full panel group.

The overflow menu for tabbed panel groups now shows all panels in that group.

multi-touch zoom, pan, and scroll gestures

When using a multi-touch input device—such as a touchscreen display (e.g., Microsoft Surface or Wacom Cintiq Touch) or multi-touch trackpad—you can zoom, pan, and scroll in the Composition, Layer, Footage, and Timeline panels using multi-touch gestures.

  • zoom: Using two fingers, pinch your fingers closer together to zoom out or move your fingers farther apart to zoom in. In viewer panels, this behaves very much like zooming in while holding the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key to zoom centered around the mouse pointer.
  • pan and scroll: drag with two fingers to pan or scroll up, down, left, or right in the panel’s current view. This gesture behaves very much like panning with the Hand tool.

improved color fidelity


Several changes were made with the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update to extend the After Effects color management feature set and to improve the ability to bring in assets from many different sources while preserving color information at the highest possible fidelity. There’s more information about the improvements that we’re making across our applications for ultra-HD and high-dynamic-range (HDR) color on the Premiere Pro blog, here.

Among the small changes to color management, automatic interpretation of color data has been improved in a few ways: e.g., linear color pixel formats are now recognized automatically, and half-resolution HD footage is no longer tagged with SD color profiles.

Lumetri Color effect

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update includes the Lumetri Color effect, which is being added so that color grading work performed in Premiere Pro can be preserved in After Effects when copying clips from Premiere Pro to After Effects, importing a Premiere Pro project into After Effects, or using the Replace With After Effects Composition command in Premiere Pro.

IMPORTANT: The intent of the Lumetri Color effect in After Effects is to preserve color adjustments on clips brought from Premiere Pro into After Effects. Refer to the Premiere Pro color workflows documentation for a description of the different controls. You can apply the Lumetri Color effect to any layer in After Effects, but note that not all controls are fully replicated.

For best results, set the project color depth to 32 bits per channel if you enable the High Dynamic Range option in the Lumetri Color effect.

additional ICC profiles for color management

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update includes several new ICC profiles for correctly interpreting colors from a variety of sources—including ARRIRAW footage—as well as new profiles for simulating color output and for choosing a working color space for the project:

  • HDR profiles using the SMPTE 2084 PQ EOTF (Dolby Vision)
  • ARRI Log wide color gamut profiles
  • HDTV and UHDTV Display profiles, replacing the older 709 camera profile
  • DCDM and DCI P3 profiles, with more white points, replacing older inaccurate profiles
  • ACES and ACEScg working space profiles
  • SDTV Display profiles, recommended for use in place of the older Rec. 601 profiles

new importers for additional formats and codecs


The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update can natively import HEVC (H.265) footage, QuickTime (.mov) files encoded with the Avid DNxHR codec, and Dolby Vision PQ color data in MXF files encoded with the JPEG2000 codec.


streamlined workflow for using CC Libraries and Adobe Stock


Graphics and video assets can be dragged from the Libraries panel directly to the Composition and Timeline panels. The asset will automatically be imported into your project; you no longer have to import and add to the composition as separate steps.

At the top of the Libraries panel is a new search field; from the drop-down menu you can choose to search either your libraries or Adobe Stock. When you search Adobe Stock, results will be displayed in the Libraries panel.

When you mouse over the results, buttons for Buy and Save Preview appear over the image or video. Buy will purchase a license for that asset and save it to your libraries, and Save Preview will add a watermarked preview of that asset to your libraries. From here you can add the assets to your After Effects project.

If you want to license a preview image or video after adding it to your libraries, right-click on the asset in your library, then choose Buy Image or Buy Video. The preview image or video will automatically be replaced with the non-watermarked, licensed version.

IMPORTANT: In After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), licensed still images do not automatically replace preview still images. This will be fixed in a future release. If you have used a preview still image in a composition for which you’ve purchased a license, you can work around this: Add the now-licensed image to your project, then hold the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key and drag the licensed image from the Project panel onto the preview image in the composition to replace it.

When you add an Adobe Stock video to your After Effects project, the video will initially appear as a placeholder (color bars) while the video file is downloaded. Once the download completes, the placeholder will be replaced with the video file. You can monitor download progress in the new Progress Panel (Window > Progress Panel). When you license a preview video that was used in your project, the licensed video will also need to download before the preview video is replaced.


scripting access to text baselines


You can read the baseline (x,y) locations for a text layer using scripting with the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update. The new sourceText.value.baselineLocs attribute for TextDocument objects returns an array of floats indicating the starting position of each line of text’s baseline x and y value.

Line wraps in a paragraph text box are treated as multiple lines.

The array returns float values in the form of: line0.start_x, line0.start_y, line0.end_x, line0.end_y, line1.start_x, line1.start_y, line1.end_x, line1.end_y … lineN-1.start_x, lineN-1.start_y, lineN-1.end_x, lineN-1.end_y

Note: If a line has no characters, the x and y values for start and end will be the maximum float value (3.402823466e+38F).


new scripting method to generate random numbers


There is a new scripting method to generate random numbers, generateRandomNumber. We recommend that you use this function instead of Math.random when you want to generate random numbers that will be applied as values in a project (e.g., when using setValue).

This new method avoids a problem where Math.random would not return random values in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.x) due to a concurrency issue with multiple CPU threads.

Sample use of the generateRandomNumber method:


// change the position X of all layers with random number

var myComp = app.project.activeItem;
var x = 0;

for(var i = 1; i <= myComp.numLayers; i++){

// If you use Math.random(), this does not work
// x = 400*(Math.random()) – 200;
// use new generateRandomNumber() instead

x = 400*(generateRandomNumber()) – 200;
currentPos = myComp.layer(i).property(“Position”).value;
myComp.layer(i).property(“Position”).setValue([currentPos[0]+x,currentPos[1]]);
}


CycoreFX HD 1.8.1 effect plug-ins


The CycoreFX HD 1.8.1 plug-in package includes the following new effects:

  • CC Vignette: Remove or add vignetting. Includes an option to preserve (pin) highlights for more realistic behavior.
  • CC HexTile: A honeycomb pattern generator. It repeats a hexagonal pattern, with several options including a unique “smear” control. It can be considered as an extension to the CC Kaleida effect, generating dynamic and exciting backgrounds and effects.

Adobe Media Encoder improvements


Though not in After Effects, per se, the improvements coming in the next version of Adobe Media Encoder include several that are of great interest to After Effects users, including the ability to use image sequences in watch folders, the ability to directly publish to Facebook (as well as Vimeo and YouTube), and the ability to export HEVC (H.265) video. See this page for details.


Character Animator (Preview 3) improvements


Character Animator (Preview 3) adds much new functionality and improves performance and usability in several areas. See this page for details.


miscellaneous new and changed features


  • The Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels option in Preferences > Display is now enabled. This was disabled during the performance re-architecture work begun in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5).
  • The frame being rendered in the render queue is also displayed in the Composition panel. This was disabled during the performance re-architecture work begun in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5).
  • The OptiX library from Nvidia is being updated on Windows, which adds the ability for Maxwell-architecture GPUs (e.g., GTX 970, GTX 980) to be used for the ray-traced 3D renderer on Windows.
  • The Trim Comp To Work Area command now has a keyboard shortcut: Command+Shift+X (Mac OS) or Ctrl+Shift+X (Windows).
  • The New Comp From Selection command now has a keyboard shortcut: Option+\ (Mac OS) or Alt+\ (Windows).
  • The MXF OP1a format has been removed from the After Effects render queue. To export to MXF OP1a, use Adobe Media Encoder.
  • Files can now be dragged from the Finder (Mac OS) or Windows Explorer (Windows) directly to the Composition and Timeline panels. The file will automatically be imported into your project and a layer will be created based on the footage item; you no longer have to import the file and add a layer based on the footage as separate steps.
  • Current Time Indicator (CTI) now draws as blue through its entire length at all times, including when preview is stopped. This resolves a consistency issue between the CTI and the red Preview Time Indicator (PTI) that appears only during previews.
  • Roving keyframes use a new, easier-to-distinguish icon.
  • updated Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse plug-in (3.0.14) with several bug fixes

notable bug fixes


  • Audio tracks are no longer silent when you export from the Render Queue.
  • Tracking motion (2D motion tracker) no longer causes After Effects to crash under certain conditions, most commonly with large resolution frames (e.g., 4K).
  • ScriptUI panels now display and resize correctly on high-DPI displays on Windows.
  • Horizontal panning in the Timeline panel works again when the panel is on a secondary monitor arranged to the left of the primary monitor.
  • Dragging keyframes or layer in and out points in the Timeline panel should now not experience a delay on mouse up in complex compositions.
  • The render progress bar in the Composition and Layer panels is more responsive during long frame renders.
  • Changing the source text of a text layer no longer causes expressions to fail when the name of the text layer was referenced.
  • When a file in use by the open project becomes missing, After Effects now only warns the user once about the problem, not twice.
  • N-up views in the Composition panel now display focus triangles in blue instead of yellow.
  • Pan Behind tool can again grab 3D axes on a 3D layer.
  • Shape layer path direction buttons in the Timeline panel now have distinct highlighting and contrast, to enhance the difference between selected and unselected states.
  • Undo after using Edit Original on camera raw files no longer causes After Effects to crash.
  • DNG sequences created by Magic Lantern firmware for Canon cameras now update correctly when you edit the camera raw settings via the Interpret Footage dialog box.
  • Reloading a camera raw sequence after editing that sequence’s camera raw settings in another application (e.g., Photoshop) now loads the updated camera raw settings as expected.
  • Edit Original again works as expected for single (non-sequence) camera raw files.
  • Applying remembered Interpret Footage settings on a still image sequence that uses XMP sidecar files (i.e., camera raw formats) no longer fails to apply the settings to the first frame of the sequence.
  • A {no current context} error message is no longer displayed when you set a footage layer as a guide layer, if you had changed its Interpret Footage frame rate.
  • Applying an animation preset that contains the obsolete Lightning effect no longer causes After Effects to crash.
  • Replacing duplicated footage no longer displays the cache for the footage that was replaced.
  • Applying the Color Range effect to a nested composition for which Collapse Transformations is enabled and that contains a layer with scale set to 0% no longer causes After Effects to crash.
  • Applying the Color Range effect to an adjustment layer for which Continuously Rasterize is enabled no longer causes After Effects to crash.
  • The effect controls for the Levels, Extract, Linear Color Key and Color Range Key effects now update correctly during interactions.
  • Clone stamp strokes no longer offset in time unexpectedly.
  • Using the copyToComp scripting method no longer causes After Effects to crash when the layer has a parent.
  • The valueAtTime(time, false) scripting method now waits for time-intensive expressions, like sampleImage, to finish evaluating before it returns the result.
  • After Effects no longer crashes when you click OK or Cancel buttons in a scriptUI dialog with tabbed panels.
  • Symbolic links in the After Effects scripts folder on Mac OS no longer fail to load.
  • After Effects no longer fails to start if left or right double quotation characters are used instead of the non-directional double quotation character the Interpretation Rules.txt file. (Common occurrence when TextEdit is used to edit the file without disabling the Smart Quotes feature.)
  • Shadow Map Resolution is no longer reset to Comp Size after clicking OK in the Classic 3D Renderer Options dialog.
  • After Effects no longer crashes when the graph editor is displayed while processing an time remapping expression.
  • Export to QuickTime Photo-JPEG codec no longer introduces a color shift. A similar problem was solved for the QuickTime Motion JPEG A and B codecs. In both cases, the correct pixel format for the codec (i.e., YUV Rec.601 or Rec.709) is used.
  • Premultiplied alpha channels in Apple ProRes 4444 codec footage now render as expected.
  • Audio is no longer rendered when a preview is started with audio muted. You will no longer see “Mixing audio for preview” in the Info panel if audio is muted. If audio is unmuted during a preview, audio rendering will begin.
  • The cursors for adjusting the work area in and out points are no longer offset.
  • Fixed a problem where, when a plug-in causes After Effects to crash, the cause of the error is not reported and the user is not given an opportunity to save the project.
  • Non-square pixel aspect ratios in DPX files are now recognized.
  • Pasting mocha AE shape data applies the mocha shape effect as expected.
  • The tooltip on the Play/Stop button in the Preview panel now updates to Play/Stop Rendering/Stop Playback if the “If caching, play cached frames” option is enabled.
  • Half-res HD video footage is no longer automatically tagged with an SDTV color profile.
  • Improved performance of expressions on time-remapped layers. This also reduces rendering time for audio on time-remapped layers with expressions.
  • Duplicating items in the Project panel no longer causes compositions to render the wrong result.
  • Fixed a problem where previews slow-to-render frames could not be interrupted.
  • Improved the performance of applying the Exponential Scale keyframe assistant to multiple keyframes.
  • Mercury Transmit no longer fails to display on a second monitor when you switch to a different application and then back to After Effects on Mac OS X v10.11 (El Capitan).
  • Scrubbing time in the Footage panel no longer incorrectly attempts to downsample using adaptive resolution.

If you’d like to let us know what you’d like to see addressed in a future update, let us know with a bug report or feature request here. You can also talk with us on the After Effects user-to-user forum. Please, do not leave comments on this blog post, since the blog comment system is not set up well for bug reports or conversations.

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