AFTEREFFECTS

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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.

After Effects good to go with Mac OSX v10.10 (Yosemite)

We have tested the following versions of After Effects on Mac OSX v10.10 (Yosemite) and found that they function normally on this operating system, with only a few known issues as noted below:

  • After Effects CC 2014 (13.0, 13.1, 13.1.1)
  • After Effects CC (12.2.1)
  • After Effects CS6 (11.0.4)

As long as you’re updating your operating system, be sure to also get the most recent updates for your Adobe applications. Details about the most recent updates for the Adobe professional video and audio applications are here.

If you encounter a problem with After Effects on Mac OSX v10.10, please let us know on the After Effects forum and with a bug report.

known issues:

  • We are aware of one issue regarding RAM preview in After Effects on Mac OSX v10.10: When a RAM preview begins to play, the first several frames of the video will not play the first time through; subsequent loops through the same RAM preview duration will play all frames. This bug with Mac OSX v10.10 (Yosemite) affects all versions of After Effects.
  • We are aware of one issue regarding RED (.r3d) files in After Effects CS6 on Mac OSX v10.10: RED files may not import, and if they do import they will stop displaying frames after a short time. This problem only appears in After Effects CS6; it does not happen in After Effects CC (12.x) or After Effects CC 2014 (13.x).
  • We are aware of one issue regarding Adobe Media Encoder (AME) on Mac OSX v10.10: Adobe Media Encoder can take an unusually long time (a couple of minutes) to start the first time on this version of Mac OS. After the first start of AME, subsequent starts of AME should happen in the normal amount of time.

See this page for information about other Adobe applications and Mac OSX v10.10 (Yosemite).

After Effects CC 2014.1.1 (13.1.1) bug-fix update

The After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1.1) bug-fix update is now available.

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. One way to check for updates is by closing all Adobe applications other than Adobe Bridge, and choosing Help > Updates in Adobe Bridge; this ensures that all processes related to Adobe video applications have been quit and can be updated safely.

We have also been working with several providers of plug-ins, codecs, and hardware devices to assist them in updating their software to fix some errors and crashes. Please take this opportunity to download and install updated codecs, plug-ins, and drivers from these providers, as relevant to your work.

For details of what was added, changed, and fixed in After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1), 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. If you’d like to submit feature requests (or bug reports), you can do so here.


summary of what’s fixed in the After Effects CC 2014.1.1 (13.1.1) update


  • If you applied an effect without properties or opened a project containing an effect without properties, then After Effects would give a long series of error messages: “After Effects error: internal verification failure, sorry! {unexpected match name searched for in group} ( 29 :: 0 )”. This bug is now fixed. Examples of effects that triggered this problem inlcude Knoll UnMult and BAO Mask Avenger.
  • Tooltips now appear correctly in the Timeline, Project, and Effect Controls panels.
  • The middle mouse button again works as expected for such purposes as activating the Hand tool in viewer panels, using the Unified Camera tool, or repositioning shape layers or masks.
  • Panels no longer flash red when resizing or rearranging panels.
  • The Graph Editor works correctly on Windows high-DPI systems. In the previous version (After Effects 13.1.0), clicks within the Graph Editor were registered in the wrong place on Windows high-DPI systems.
  • RED (.r3d) files no longer cause a 15-second delay when the resolution of the image being requested from the importer is less than 1/8. This could occur when the thumbnail was generated on import, when Adaptive Resolution was engaged, et cetera.
  • BridgeTalk is now set up correctly, so that scripting calls from ExtendScript Toolkit, Bridge, and Premiere Pro correctly target After Effects.
  • The installer cleans up stale components better, including updated Cinema 4D components.

We’ve created an Animal

Project Animal was shown in our sneak peek at MAX. If you missed it or want to see it again, check it out here.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Advanced Product Development team who work closely with the After Effects team has been working on a character animation product code-named Project Animal. While your character is the puppet, you are the one holding the strings. By accessing your computer’s webcam, Project Animal will track the movement of your head, mouth, and eyes—including your blinking, glancing, and eye-brow raising—and move your puppet accordingly. When you talk, your character talks. When you feign surprise, so does your character. When you’re grumpy, your character is too.

Project Animal is for two different types of After Effects artists: those who want to rig complex characters without creating a confusing tangle of expressions, and those who just want to create simple characters easily. Either way, once the character is set up, bringing it to life is just a matter of acting out your performance in front of your webcam.

The workflow starts with importing layered Illustrator or Photoshop files. If the layers are named to indicate which body part they correspond to, then there’s no further rigging required – you can immediately control your puppet with your face.

I know you’re excited. We are too. However before we can bring Project Animal to market, we need a few people that can really help us work out a few wrinkles. While we’d love to give everyone a chance to use Project Animal, we on the team can only handle so many people putting it through its paces. If you or your company can possibly use Project Animal immediately in your workflow and can commit to giving us feedback on a regular basis, we would love for you to submit your application to test Project Animal.

In the meantime, thanks for wanting to know more about Project Animal. We look forward to shipping it!

Michelle
Sr. Marketing Manager, After Effects

what’s new in mocha AE CC 2014

For details of the After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) update, see this page.

In the After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) update, mocha AE has been updated to mocha AE CC 2014 (version 4.0.1). This is a major version update that includes compatibility with mocha Pro 4 project files. For details about all that is new in mocha 4.0, see the Imagineer website.

Here’s a brief summary of what’s new in mocha AE CC 2014:

  • new project-based structure: Project settings in mocha AE can now be modified independently from the clip used to create the project. Choose File > Project Settings to modify the project settings. You can also now open a project file to view a layer’s content without relinking clips.
  • anchor point removed from Adobe After Effects Transform Data: To reduce confusion about how to use the tracking results, mocha AE no longer exports anchor point data. If your intent is to stabilize instead of matching motion, enable the Invert option in the Export Tracking Data dialog box.
  • keyboard shortcut customization: Keyboard shortcuts can now be customized for almost every tool, action and menu item in mocha AE.
  • streamlined, high-DPI interface: The mocha AE interface has been updated to streamline the workflow, reduce interface clutter, and take advantage of Apple Retina displays on Mac OS X.
  • RED Dragon import: RED Dragon 6K footage can now be used in mocha AE.
  • Linear Controls behavior enhancements: When Linear Controls is enabled in Preferences > System, dragging anywhere inside a parameter’s value field will change the value. Previously, this only worked when dragging over the number in the field. While dragging, you can now hold the Shift key to increase mouse sensitivity or hold the Command (Mac OS) or Control (Windows) key to decrease the mouse sensitivity.
  • edge width subtraction: The Edge Properties panel now has buttons to both Subtract (-) or Add (+) edge width.

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) update

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.

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.

The After Effects CC 2014 update (version 13.1) 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.

S.

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