AFTEREFFECTS

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After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1): what’s new and changed in this update

[UPDATE: Be sure to install the After Effects CC 2014.1.1 (13.1.1) bug-fix update.]

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) is available.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. You can install this update by choosing Help > Updates within any Adobe application or by opening the Creative Cloud desktop application. Go to the Creative Cloud site to download applications or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

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.

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 2014.1 (13.1)


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  • high-DPI content and UI (Mac OS, Windows)
  • refreshed user interface design
  • Copy With Relative Property Links command
  • color management for Dynamic Link
  • Adobe Anywhere for Video improvements
  • Maxon Cinema 4D Lite R16 and Cineware 2.0
  • Collect Files for Cinema 4D assets
  • native GoPro CineForm codecs
  • scripting improvements for text layers
  • improved Adobe Media Encoder watch folders
  • mocha AE CC 2014, based on mocha 4.0
  • many bug fixes

details of all new and changed features in After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1)


Here is a virtually comprehensive list of changes, with detail beyond the summaries of the top items listed above. We’ll be posting a lot more detail over 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.

high-resolution (high DPI) content viewers and user interface elements on Mac OS and Windows

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) displays content and user interface items at the appropriate resolution on high-resolution displays (sometimes called “high-DPI” or “HiDPI”) on both Windows and Mac OS. This makes After Effects easier to use on high-pixel-density monitors, like Apple Retina displays and Microsoft Surface Pro devices.

In content viewers, After Effects will take advantage of the pixel density of the display to show each pixel of content in a viewer as a single pixel on the display. This affects the contents of the Footage panel, Layer panel, and Composition panel, including both your video content and some UI overlays and widgets within the content area.

Note that for a given piece of content to appear the same on a high-DPI display as on a non-high-DPI display, the zoom value for the former needs to be twice that of the latter, since the points are half the size. If you drag a panel from a high-DPI display to a non-high-DPI display, you’ll see the zoom value change, while the content occupies the same space on the screen.

User interface elements such as icons, text labels, pointers, buttons, etc. will now scale according the operating system display DPI setting. Mac OS computers with a Retina display will scale to 200%. Windows computers with a high-DPI display will scale to 150% or 200%.

refreshed user interface design

The user interface (UI) of After Effects, as well as Premiere Pro and other Adobe professional video and audio applications, has been updated with a new design. Pointers, icons, text, controllers, and button styles have all been refreshed.

The layout of the interface has not changed significantly, but some simplification has been made to panel functionality.

The icon for the panel menu has been moved from the upper-right corner of the panel to the panel tab, making the panel menu easier to discover.

The panel grabber and frame grabber icons have been removed; you can still drag panels using the panel tab.

The close button (x) has been removed from all panels except the Timeline, Composition, Layer, Footage, Effect Controls, and Flowchart panels. In these panels the close button has moved to the left side of the panel tab. To close a panel without the close button, open the panel menu or right-click on the panel tab and choose Close Panel, or use the keyboard shortcut, Command+W (Mac OS) or Ctrl+W (Windows).

The range of the Brightness slider in the Appearance preference category is more limited than in previous versions; there is no longer a “light” mode for the interface. The default brightness setting is darker than in previous versions.

Because some scripts that create ScriptUI panels have not been updated to accommodate the new user interface design, some of these scripts may appear wrong with the new UI skin. If this occurs with a script that you use, you can make an individual ScriptUI panel appear using the old UI skin by enabling the Use Legacy UI option in the panel menu for the ScriptUI panel.

Copy With Relative Property Links command

A new command in the Edit menu, Copy With Relative Property Links, works like the existing Copy With Property Links command, except that it creates expressions that do not reference the source composition by name. This maintains a relative link between the layer with the expression and the composition containing that layer. This can be useful when, for example, you want to move expression-rigged layers from one composition to another but let the layers reference a control layer only in the same composition. The expressions created using the Copy With Relative Property Links command are identical to those created using the expression pickwhip.

For copying a layer’s Position property, the result would be this:
thisComp.layer("control_layer").transform.position

The existing Copy With Property Links command will specifically reference the layer’s source composition in the expression:
comp("source_comp").layer("control_layer").transform.position

color management for Dynamic Link

When color management is enabled for an After Effects project, compositions viewed or rendered over Dynamic Link will be transformed using the HDTV (Rec. 709) color profile. This prevents color or gamma shifts in the appearance of these compositions in Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder.

Dynamic Link always assumes that all incoming frames are in the HDTV (Rec. 709) color space. Prior to After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1), compositions in a color-managed project were sent to Dynamic Link in the project’s working color space; they were not adjusted for Dynamic Link’s assumption of HDTV (Rec. 709). This mismatch resulted in a noticeable color or gamma shift when the project’s working color space was significantly different from HDTV (Rec. 709) or when Linearize Working Space was enabled.

In After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1), a color transformation is applied to the composition as a last step before the images are passed to Dynamic Link for use in Premiere Pro or Adobe Media Encoder. This corrects the composition image to the color space used by Dynamic Link, similar to how the View > Enable Display Color Management option in After Effects corrects the image for your monitor.

Maxon Cineware 2.0 plug-in and CINEMA 4D Lite R16

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) includes a version 2.0 of the Cineware plug-in, which serves as the primary interface for integration with Cinema 4D.

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) also includes version R16 of Cinema 4D Lite, which provides several new features, such as the new Reflectance channel. (For details about each edition of Cinema 4D, see the Maxon website.)

John Dickinson summarizes the changes in Cineware 2.0 in a video on the Motionworks website.

  • Automatic Cineware effect settings synchronization: When adding multiple instances of a CINEMA 4D scene layer in a composition, including adding Multi-Pass layers, you will see an on/off checkbox at the top of the Effect Controls panel labeled Synchronize Layer. It is on by default, meaning that the Cineware effect settings on all instances of the layer will automatically synchronize. If this checkbox is disabled for a specific CINEMA 4D scene layer, then that layer’s settings will not synchronize with the rest of the layers in that composition. The Apply To All button from previous versions of Cineware has been removed.
  • Default Layer: The CINEMA 4D layers dialog box now shows a Default Layer option if the renderer supports it. Objects that have not been assigned to an explicit layer in the .c4d project file will be visible with Default Layer enabled.
  • Content Browser: When using a full retail version of CINEMA 4D R16 as the renderer, textures applied via installed content libs (.lib4d files) will render in After Effects using Cineware.
  • region of interest: If you use the region of interest feature in After Effects to constrain the preview to a subset of the frame, the Cineware effect will respect this setting and limit rendering to the area within the region of interest. This only applies when the Renderer control is set to Standard (Final).
  • Purge Memory: This option only works when the CINEMA 4D render path in Options is set to the default render server Cineware R16, or a full retail version of CINEMA 4D R16 or later. For complex scenes, the render server may use memory for internal caches. To free up that memory click “Purge Memory” in order to extend the length of previews in After Effects.

Collect Files for Cinema 4D assets

The Collect Files command in After Effects now collects assets associated with .c4d footage items, such as textures.

automatic encoding of compositions in After Effects project files in Adobe Media Encoder watch folders

If you place an After Effects project (.aep) file in a watch folder that is being monitored by Adobe Media Encoder, the compositions at the top level in the project (i.e., those not in folders in the Project panel) will automatically be added to the Adobe Media Encoder encoding queue.

For more information about what’s new and changed in Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014.1 (8.1), see this page.

native encoding and decoding of movies using GoPro CineForm codecs

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.

At the higher quality settings, this codec is an excellent choice for intermediate files—i.e., files that you create from one application in a post-production pipeline to pass to the next application in the pipeline. Movie files encoded with the GoPro Cineform codec at the higher quality settings include an alpha channel.

To use the GoPro CineForm codec for output, choose QuickTime as the format in the Output Module Settings dialog box, click the Format Options button, and choose GoPro CineForm as the video codec.

For details about quality and pixel format settings for the GoPro CineForm codec, see this page.

scripting improvements for text layers

You can now read additional information through scripting about the font and style used in a text layer, including the location of the font file on disk.

The new read-only attributes for the textDocument object are these:

  • fontLocation: returns string with path of font file, providing its location on disk (not guaranteed to be returned for all font types; return value may be empty string for some kinds of fonts)
  • fontStyle: returns string with style information — e.g., “bold”, “italic”
  • fontFamily: returns a string with the name of the font family

The value returned is for the first character in the text layer at the current time.

mocha AE CC 2014, based on mocha 4.0

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, see this page

miscellaneous new and changed features

  • The Anchor Point icon on selected layers has been enhanced for better contrast and visibility, and it is now easier to select and use.
  • The application title bar now shows the full path to the project file.
  • The Welcome Screen dialog box will automatically close when you open a project by double-clicking it in Finder or Explorer.
  • While tracking an effect mask, the mask mode no longer temporarily changes to None. This preserves the appearance of the masked effect during tracking.
  • The motion tracker (point tracker) no longer offers a pre-processing Blur control. This option never worked as designed.
  • There is now a Render And Replace command in Premiere Pro for replacing a Dynamic Link After Effects composition with a rendered movie.
  • Use the new Browse Add-ons command in the File menu to go to the new Adobe Exchange, from which you can download and install animation presets, scripts, template projects, et cetera.
  • The new Adobe Color Themes panel replaces the panel previously named “Adobe Kuler”. Choose Window > Extensions > Adobe Color Themes to open this panel.

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:

  • memory leak when scrubbing to preview audio
  • slow rendering of After Effects compositions used in Premiere Pro through Dynamic Link when the main After Effects application is open
  • errors when using the Create Stereo 3D Rig
  • errors when using and creating custom (pseudo) effects
  • mismatch in interpretation of layer bounds for imported .psd files in projects from previous versions of After Effects
  • incorrect rendering of vector objects from Photoshop
  • pixelation and and other problems with RED (.r3d) files
  • incorrect VRAM amount reported for some AMD GPUs on Mac OS
  • crash when copying and pasting layer styles from one layer to another
  • problems with effect eyedropper control
  • incorrect date when using Current Date option in Numbers effect
  • many other causes of crashes and errors

what’s new and changed in Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014.1 (8.1)

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of Adobe Media Encoder. Go to the Creative Cloud site to download applications or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

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


overview of what’s new in Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014.1 (8.1)


refined user interface with high-DPI functionality

Like most professional applications, Adobe Media Encoder provides a wealth of controls and options, so one of our priorities is to simplify and streamline the user interface, so that video professionals can focus on tasks with a minimum of distraction. With an updated color scheme, cleaner icons, and a subtly sleeker look, this release is an important first step in that direction. In addition, the new user interface scales to appropriate resolutions on high-DPI displays, including Retina displays on Mac computers and high-resolution displays on computers running Windows 8.1.

ame

destination publishing

Render and deliver your work in one fell swoop. Add destination options to encoding presets, including FTP sites and your Creative Cloud folder. Send to multiple locations and track rendering and upload from the same panel.

rendering and encoding of items from projects in watch folders

Automate rendering and encoding of sequences and compositions in project files by placing After Effects projects, Premiere Pro projects, and Final Cut Pro XML projects into your watch folder. And remember, you can create and customize as many watch folders as you need to automate common rendering and encoding tasks.

extended Match Source functionality
In response to requests from our users, Match Source functionality has been extended to include QuickTime.

rewrap functionality for MXF OP1a formats

MXF OP1a formats, including those using DNxHD codecs, now include encoding presets that allow you to quickly rewrap your source video in an MXF wrapper. If your source media is already in an MXF wrapper, you can use those presets to take the guesswork out of smart rendering.

multiplexing during encoding

For faster results, multiplexing (MUXing) video and audio components into a single MPEG-2 file will occur while encoding instead of as a separate process at the end.

extended DCP (Digital Cinema Package) functionality

Now, you can also output 25-fps content in Digital Cinema Package format for European standards.

extended Sony XAVC functionality

Options for XAVC export now include both VBR (variable bit rate) and CBG (constant bit rate GOP) for 2k and higher resolutions.

native decoding and encoding using GoPro CineForm codecs

Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014.1 (8.1) can encode and decode movies using the GoPro CineForm codecs on both Mac OS and Windows. Options include 8-bpc (bits per channel) and 16-bpc color precision and alpha channels.

16-channel AS-11 export
You can now export AS-11 content with 16 channels of audio.


notable bug fixes


  • Fixed: Dolby exports were not able to run in parallel.
  • Fixed: When projects were imported, there was no progress status during the conforming process.
  • Fixed: YouTube HD presets had a level that was too low for high framerate sources.
  • Fixed: The “Use Previews” option wasn’t available when creating presets in the Preset Browser.
  • Fixed: Timecode in timecode overlay would drift slightly when using OpenCL.
  • Fixed: Advanced XDCAM settings in the Export Settings dialog were missing.
  • Fixed: Smart rendering some sources would result in black or red frames.
  • Fixed: Captions options were unavailable even though a source file had valid captions.
  • Fixed: Issues where smart rendering spanned CanonXF media would fail.
  • Fixed: Captions options were unavailable even though a source file had valid captions
  • Fixed: Some effects were not being consistently applied to exports

 

50 free scripts from Jeff Almasol, with a strong encouragement to donate to your favorite cause

#devforacause

Jeff Almasol has graciously made a bundle of 50 After Effects scripts freely available on his website.

Please, read and heed Jeff’s request to consider donating to your favorite cause. He spends his spare time developing utilities like these to help others, and I think that it’s only fair that he ask the beneficiaries of this generosity to consider how they can be generous in return. He’d also like to hear about what scripts you find useful and what donations you’re making; use the hashtag #devforacause to let him know on Twitter. When I read Jeff’s request, I sent a donation to my favorite non-profit theater organization, since I know that I certainly have gotten a tremendous amount of value from Jeff’s work.

Other script authors are also participating in the #devforacause project, including Sébastien Perier, Christian Lett, and Lloyd Alvarez—each of whom are giving a portion of the proceeds from the sales of scripts on aescripts + aeplugins to their chosen charities. See Jeff’s website for an up-to-date list of who is participating in the #devforacause project.

Details of the scripts in Jeff’s script bundle are available on his website.

Here is a list of the 50 scripts included in the bundle:

rd: Approximate
rd: Average Trackers
rd: Batch Layer Converter
rd: Batch Vector to Shape
rd: Commentron
rd: Composition Renamer
rd: Composition Setter
rd: Comp Sheet
rd: Copy Markers
rd: Count Markers
rd: Divvy Up
rd: Donate
rd: Edit Text
rd: Expression Tweaker
rd: Fumes
rd: Get Smart
rd: Gimme Prop Info
rd: Gimme Prop Path
rd: Gimme Props
rd: Guess What
rd: Key Markers
rd: Kinda Sorta
rd: Map Text File to Markers
rd: Marker Navigator
rd: Masks to Shapes
rd: Movement
rd: New Parallax Null
rd: New Project From Comp
rd: Notation
rd: Partial
rd: Picker Switcher
rd: Pre-compose
rd: Preservation
rd: Que Es Span Null
rd: Rampart
rd: Remove Keys
rd: Remove Markers
rd: Render Layers
rd: Reverse Masks Order
rd: Scooter
rd: Script Launcher
rd: Shapes to Masks
rd: Shifter
rd: Simple Console
rd: Slicer
rd: Snap Decisions
rd: Solid Renamer
rd: Split Render
rd: Statesman
rd: Watermark

warning “RAM Preview needs 2 or more frames” after scrubbing audio in After Effects CC 2014 (13.0)

[UPDATE: Note that this bug is listed as fixed in the upcoming After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) update.]

The After Effects team are investigating a bug in After Effects CC 2104 (13.0) where a memory leak occurs while scrubbing audio (holding down the CTRL or Command key while scrubbing). This memory leak can eventually consume all free RAM, which can lead to the warning message “After Effects error: RAM Preview needs 2 or more frames to playback” when you try to initiate a RAM preview.

While we investigate this problem, you can avoid the bug and memory leak by not scrubbing with audio. When the problem occurs you can resolve it by closing and restarting After Effects.

Using the Edit > Purge commands do not affect this problem, as the leaked memory is not tracked by the image cache. Leaked memory is memory that an application consumes but does not return to the operating system as free memory when it is finished with it, preventing re-use of that memory. In Activity Monitor on Mac OS or Task Manager on Windows, you can track the amount of free memory on your system and memory in use by After Effects.

The “RAM Preview needs 2 or more frames” warning means that After Effects can not build a RAM Preview because it can’t build a second frame.This may because your composition or work area is only one frame long, or as in this case it can happen when there is not enough free RAM to build the second frame. High resolution compositions and 16bpc or 32bpc color have higher memory requirements and therefore may experience this warning more frequently.

To discuss this bug, please post in this thread in the After Effects User to User forum.

removal of FLV and F4V export features from Adobe Media Encoder, After Effects, and Premiere Pro

After Effects CC 2014 (13.0), Premiere Pro CC 2014 (8.0), and Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014 (8.0) do not include exporters for creating FLV and F4V files.

You can still import videos in FLV and F4V formats into After Effects and Adobe Media Encoder. You can still import videos in the F4V format into Premiere Pro.

If you want to create a video to play in Flash Player, then you should generally be using H.264 (.mp4), not the obsolete FLV or F4V formats. This has been the recommendation from the Adobe Flash team for quite some time already (as far back as Flash Player 9).

We removed the exporters for FLV and F4V files from the Adobe video applications (Adobe Media Encoder, After Effects, and Premiere Pro) because maintaining these obsolete exporters was a large amount of work, and we could better spend that effort on developing new features and fixing bugs in areas that are used by more people.

We are still committed to creating video files that play well in Flash Player, and that is why we are focusing our efforts on the H.264 (.mp4) exporter, which is what is currently recommended by the Adobe Flash team.

If you do still have a need to create FLV or F4V files for some legacy workflows, then we recommend that you keep the previous versions—Adobe Media Encoder CC (7.2) and After Effects CC (12.2.1)–installed alongside the current versions. Then, whenever you need to transcode or export a file in one of these legacy formats, you can just start the previous version of the application for this specific purpose.

using Adobe Media Encoder to create H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV videos from After Effects

After Effects CC 2014 (13.0) does not include exporters for creating H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV videos directly from the render queue. To create videos in these formats, you should use Adobe Media Encoder.

You can still import videos in these formats into After Effects.


How do you create H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV videos using Adobe Media Encoder with After Effects?

You have two primary options for using Adobe Media Encoder with After Effects to create videos in H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV formats:

  • Render and export a losslessly encoded master file out of After Effects to a watch folder monitored by Adobe Media Encoder.
  • Send the composition directly to Adobe Media Encoder from After Effects (Composition > Add To Adobe Media Encoder Queue).

Here’s some more detail about these options, including pros and cons of each:

The fastest way to create videos in these formats using Adobe Media Encoder with After Effects is to use the After Effects render queue to export a losslessly encoded master file (e.g., using the PNG video codec in a QuickTime .mov container file) to a watch folder that Adobe Media Encoder monitors. You can assign encoding presets to a watch folder in Adobe Media Encoder so that it automatically encodes using whichever settings you have specified. One advantage of using this method is that it uses After Effects performance features for rendering (such as GPU acceleration and multiprocessing where applicable) and Adobe Media Encoder performance features for encoding (such as parallel encoding). The disadvantage of using this method is that it occupies the main After Effects application for the entire rendering operation, during which time you can’t use After Effects for anything else.

Another method to create videos in these formats using Adobe Media Encoder with After Effects is to directly add the composition from After Effects to the Adobe Media Encoder queue. This method has the advantage of allowing you to continue working in After Effects while the rendering and encoding takes place, since the rendering is performed by a background instance of After Effects. The rendering phase may be slower in some cases, compared with using the After Effects render queue, because the headless version of After Effects rendering in the background does not have access to GPU acceleration and multiprocessing features.


Why were these exporters removed from the After Effects render queue?

The reason that we removed the H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV exporters from the After Effects render queue is simple: Maintaining these exporters in After Effects took quite a lot of work, and fixing several significant bugs in these exporters would take even more work. We could have done this work, but it would have subtracted a lot from the resources that we had available to develop other features and fix other bugs. Since Adobe Media Encoder already had superior H.264, MPEG-2, and WMV exporting capabilities, it was more prudent to rely on Adobe Media Encoder for export of these formats. This allowed the After Effects team to focus our efforts on animation, motion graphics, compositing, and digital imaging features—our core areas.

One thing that makes Adobe Media Encoder so much better than After Effects for creation of files in final delivery formats is its Preset Browser and easy-to-use system for creating, saving, sharing, and applying encoding presets. Another is the assortment of features in the Effects tab with which you can automatically add watermarks, timecode overlays, et cetera.


What if I still need to create these kinds of videos from the After Effects render queue?

If you still need to be able to create videos in these formats from the After Effects render queue for some reason, you can still do so by leaving After Effects CC (12.2.1) installed alongside After Effects CC 2014 (13.0) and using the previous version for these specific output tasks.


What’s next?

We intend to continue working closely with the Adobe Media Encoder team to make the workflow between After Effects and Adobe Media Encoder better. Please, don’t hesitate to send in feature requests and bug reports to tell us what we need to improve in this area.

For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC 2014 (13.0), see this page.

fixing permissions problem that impedes start of Adobe applications

I’ve noticed several cases of applications either failing to start or taking a long time to start because the permissions for the Adobe preferences folders have been set incorrectly.

In one case, this manifests as After Effects taking several minutes to start, eventually reporting that QuickTime is not installed. This is because After Effects is failing to establish communication with the component that it uses to communicate with QuickTime (Adobe QT32 Server) because this component is having a hard time starting due to a permissions issue. The same problem affects the Dynamic Link Manager component in much the same way.

So, what do you do? Simple. Set the entire Adobe preferences folder and its contents to be read/write, not just read-only. I’m referring to this folder:

  • Mac OS: [drive]/Users/[user_name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe/
  • Windows: [drive]\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\

Note: Apple hides the Library folder by default. See this page for instructions for showing it.

If, after setting the preferences folder to be read/write, you’re still getting messages about QuickTime not being installed, or After Effects is taking a long time to start, then go through the troubleshooting steps in these articles:

migrating settings and plug-ins for After Effects CC 2014 (13.0)


migrating preferences, keyboard shortcuts, and other settings


At the bottom of the General pane in the After Effects Preferences dialog box is a Migrate Previous Version Settings button. If you have After Effects CC (12.x) installed on the same computer, then clicking that button will give you a dialog box with an option to migrate settings from that version to After Effects CC 2014 (13.0). If you choose to migrate settings, then you need to restart After Effects for the new settings to be loaded.

The settings that are migrated include preferences, keyboard shortcuts, output module templates, composition settings, render settings, and interpretation rules.


plug-ins and scripts


Important: There have been few significant changes to the effect plug-in API for After Effects CC 2014 (13.0), so you should not need new versions of most plug-ins for After Effects CC 2014 (13.0), if you already have plug-ins that work for After Effects CS5, CS5.5, CS6, or CC.

Separate from the issue of updates to the effect plug-ins themselves, there is the issue of their installers: Some plug-ins come with installers, and these installers may need to be updated to install plug-ins into the correct location. This is needed in far fewer cases for this version than for previous versions, for reasons described below.

After Effects CC 2014 loads plug-ins from a couple of locations: the MediaCore folder and the After Effects Plug-ins folder.

The MediaCore folder is where the majority of the large third-party plug-in vendors install their plug-ins, in part because this is a common location from which After Effects and Premiere Pro both load plug-ins. We did not increment the version number on this folder between After Effects CC (12.x) and After Effects CC 2014 (13.0). This means that you do not need to reinstall most third-party effect plug-ins if you already had them installed for After Effects CC (12.x). Of course, test to see that this works for you, and follow instructions from your specific third-party effect plug-in vendor.

On the other hand, effect plug-ins installed in the After Effects Plug-ins folder do need to be installed again or copied or loaded with a shortcut/alias from the old folder. This is a very simple process, in general, because most effects that are installed in this folder are not the ones with specialized installers and other surrounding infrastructure. But, again, follow any specific instructions from the vendors of your third-party effects if they say otherwise.

Here are the locations on Mac OS and Windows for the After Effects Plug-ins folder:

  • (Mac OS) Applications/Adobe After Effects [version]
  • (Windows) Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects [version]\Support Files

One thing that I do that works for most plug-ins is to create a shortcut/alias in the new plug-in folder that points to the old plug-in folder, so the new version of the application loads plug-ins from the old location. If you do this, you need to be careful to put the alias/shortcut at the right, lower level—i.e., not at the top level of the plug-ins folder—so that you’re only loading specific plug-ins from the old location; otherwise, you’ll get warnings about duplicate plug-ins.

I do the same thing for my scripts folder: just put a shortcut/alias in the new scripts folder that points to the old scripts folder, and all of my old scripts are loaded by the new version of the application.

I’ll keep this list up to date with links to websites of plug-in vendors who have updates for After Effects CC 2014 (13.0):

A great place for information about plug-ins for Premiere Pro and After Effects is the Toolfarm website, which provides an online store as well as tutorials, a forum, and other supporting resources for using plug-ins. Toolfarm has been updating a list of plug-ins that have updates for After Effects CC 2014 (13.0).

In addition to listing the plug-ins provided by each company, this page provides links to the companies’ websites, so that you can purchase these plug-ins or find how to contact them for technical support or customer service.


Why a new major version, not just a minor version update?


One important technical fact about After Effects (and many other applications) is that the project file format needs to be incremented to a new version when we make certain kinds of changes to the data that is stored in it. For example, we needed to increment the project file format for After Effects CC 2014 (13.0) to accommodate the changes in the data model that effect mask and effect opacity compositing options features introduced. We tend to plan our feature work so that we do things that necessitate changing the project file format somewhat seldom, all at once.

Between minor versions (e.g., from After Effects 12.1 to After Effects 12.2), the project file format stays the same, and this allows people with any minor version of After Effects 12.x to open project files created by any other minor version of After Effects 12.x.

Similarly, we tend to plan changes to the plug-in API (the interface for creating plug-ins) so that folks creating plug-ins don’t need to make changes very often. In fact, as I mentioned above, we were able to keep the changes in this area to a minimum so that we didn’t even need to increment the number of the MediaCore folder, which is what allows the same plug-ins to be loaded from the same location for After Effects CC (12.x) and After Effects CC 2014 (13.0).

Another benefit of having a new major version that is installed alongside the old version is that it gives you a chance to try the new version out without needing to worry about whether there are any unwelcome changes. If there is something in the new version that you don’t like or need some time to get used to, you can bounce back to the old version to get some work done and then come back to the new version when you’re ready. If the new version just replaced/updated the old version, you couldn’t do that (at least not easily).

Julieanne Kost also has an informative post about this topic on her blog, which tends to focus more on Photoshop and Lightroom.

After Effects and Mac OSX v10.10 (Yosemite)

[UPDATE 3: Now that Mac OSX v10.10 (Yosemite) has been released, we can report that After Effects is supported on this operating system. See this page for details.]

[UPDATE 2: Apple has released OS X 10.10 Developer Preview 3.1.0, which solves a launch problem with multiple versions of After Effects. See James Landy’s recent forum post for more detail.]

[UPDATE: See James Landy’s post on this thread for some more details.]

Apple made Mac OSX v10.10 (Yosemite) available as a developer preview build yesterday, and already we are seeing some reports that After Effects and other Adobe applications may have some issues with this operating system.

Now that we have access to the developer preview build, we can begin testing and developing with this new operating system. We can then communicate with Apple about any problems that may have been introduced and how we may go about fixing them.

Last year, when Apple released Mac OS X v10.9 (Mavericks), we released bug-fix updates for After Effects CS6 (11.0) and After Effects CC (12.0) that coincided with the public release of Mavericks.

If you encounter bugs with After Effects and Mac OS X v10.10 (Yosemite)—or any operating system—please let us know with a bug report.

details of video preview with Mercury Transmit in the 2014 update to After Effects CC

NOTE: This article is about new functionality in the 2014 update to After Effects CC, which is one of the many Creative Cloud updates announced today. For more details about this release of After Effects, read the complete list of what’s new and changed.
 

After Effects has for a long time had the ability to send frames to a video device for preview, for example on a broadcast monitor. In the 2014 update to After Effects CC, the underlying architecture for that functionality has been replaced with the same Mercury Transmit technology used by Premiere Pro.

This is an important change for After Effects because it removes a dependency on fragile, deprecated operating system components. Aside from that, Mercury Transmit allows for new functionality and enhancements with video preview:

  • Full-screen display on a monitor connected to your computer’s video card. This includes the HDMI port built into recent models of MacBook Pro.
  • 10-bit color output in 16-bpc and 32-bpc projects when using devices from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, and Matrox.
  • RAM preview frame rate performance is improved for memory-intensive compositions when video preview is enabled.
  • Simplified controls that no longer require you to specify the output video mode; After Effects and the device negotiate to set the video mode.

In addition to the above changes provided by Mercury Transmit, in the 2014 update to After Effects CC, the video preview image is color managed in the Rec. 709 color space.

Below are details about how video preview works in the 2014 update to After Effects CC, including known issues and limitations. If you have questions about these changes, please post to this thread in the After Effects user-to-user forum.

 


what is Mercury Transmit?


Mercury Transmit is a software interface that Adobe digital video applications use to send video frames to external video displays. Video device manufacturers AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, and Matrox provide plug-ins that route the video frames from Mercury Transmit to their hardware. The same Mercury Transmit plug-ins work in Adobe Premiere Pro, Prelude, Speedgrade, and After Effects.

Mercury Transmit can also use monitors connected to your computer’s video card and FireWire-connected DV devices without an additional plug-in.

IMPORTANT: Mercury Transmit does not use GPU acceleration. It is a different technology from the Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere Pro.

 


how to set up video preview using Mercury Transmit in After Effects


To enable video preview with Mercury Transmit, open Preferences > Video Preview, choose Enable Mercury Transmit, and choose a video device from the list.

  • Devices named AJA Kona 3G, Blackmagic Playback, or similar represent a video device connected to your computer.
  • Adobe Monitor devices are the computer monitors connected to your video card.
  • Adobe DV requires a DV device connected to a FireWire port on your computer.

To change the options for your video device, click the “Setup” text next to the device name. More options may be available in the device’s control panel or management application.

To toggle external video preview on or off without opening the Preferences dialog box, press the forward slash (/) key on the numeric keypad. On a Mac keyboard without a numeric keypad, such as on a MacBook, use Control+Shift+/.

 


using color management with video preview


When you choose a color working space for the project, the image sent to the video preview monitor is transformed from the working color space to the Rec. 709 color space. The gamma curve of the image is linearized (gamma = 1.0) if the Linearize Working Space option is enabled.

If you use a monitor with a color profile other than Rec. 709, please tell us more about your workflow in this forum thread.

 


general notes about using video preview


In the Composition, Footage, and Layer panels:

  • Overlays such as safe margins, guides, mask paths, and effect controls are not sent to the video preview monitor.
  • Viewer settings such as magnification (zoom), color and alpha channel views, transparency grid (checkerboard), pixel aspect ratio correction, and exposure do not affect the video preview image.
  • When the region of interest is enabled, or when mask views are enabled in the Layer panel, the visible image will be scaled up to the size of the composition on the video preview monitor.
  • Fast Draft preview mode does not interactively update the video preview image. The video preview image will update when the mouse button is released.
  • Wireframe preview mode does not update the video preview image. Switch to a different preview mode to update the video preview image.

When rendering a composition using the render queue, After Effects will update the image on the video preview monitor. To disable this, turn off the Video Preview During Render Queue Output option in Preferences > Video Preview.

After Effects will stop sending the video preview image to the video preview monitor if you switch to a different application. To allow After Effects to continue to use the video preview monitor when it is not the frontmost application, turn off the Disable Video Output When In The Background option in Preferences > Video Preview. Note that After Effects will stop updating the image when it is not the frontmost application. RAM previews and render queue output will continue to render, but the image on the video preview monitor will not be updated until you return to After Effects.

 


performance of RAM preview playback when video preview is enabled


Video preview from After Effects requires additional processing power, which may cause RAM preview playback speeds to be less than real-time for memory-intensive compositions. This was true in previous versions of After Effects and remains true for video preview using Mercury Transmit, although Mercury Transmit provides better performance than the previous technology.

RAM preview frame rate performance is affected by a combination of your computer’s capabilities and the memory requirements of the composition. If you do not get real-time performance during RAM preview, try the following:

  • Reduce the resolution in the Composition or Preview panels.
  • Reduce the RAM preview frame rate in the Preview panel.
  • Reduce the project color depth to 16-bpc or 8-bpc, if applicable.
  • Disable color management (set the project’s working space to None).

 


notes about using video preview with AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, and Matrox devices


Download the latest drivers and Mercury Transmit plug-ins for your device. While After Effects uses the same Mercury Transmit plug-ins as Premiere Pro, the plug-ins need to be updated for compatibility with After Effects.

AJA: The AJA Preview plug-in will conflict with Mercury Transmit for control of the monitor. Either disable Mercury Transmit (Preferences > Video Preview) or disable the AJA Preview plug-in (Window > AJA Preview).

Blackmagic Design: Blackmagic devices will not output compositions that do not match the device’s supported video modes. (ex. 720p59.94) Refer to the documentation for your Blackmagic device for a list of supported video modes.

Bluefish444: Check the Bluefish444 web site for up-to-date documentation.

Matrox: Uninstall previous drivers and install the latest drivers for your Matrox device. The driver installation will detect which versions of After Effects are installed on your computer and install the Mercury Transmit plug-in and/or the Matrox WYSIWYG plug-in that is appropriate for each version.

 


notes about using video preview with a computer monitor


The monitors connected to your video card appear as Adobe Monitor 1 or 2, etc. in the Video Preview preferences. These monitors will only be available when there is more than one monitor connected and the desktop is extended across these monitors. Desktop mirroring must be disabled.

Video preview using Mercury Transmit does not work on the same monitor that is being used by the After Effects application frame. Move or resize the application frame so it does not stretch across the monitor that you want to use for video preview. Panels can be undocked and placed on that monitor, but they will not be visible when Mercury Transmit is enabled.

The Full Screen option in the Preview panel is not compatible with Mercury Transmit. Disable it when using a monitor connected to your video card.

The video preview image is displayed full-screen on the computer monitor, with letterbox or pillar-box bars as appropriate, regardless of the size of the composition or the resolution of the monitor.

The video preview image may not display correctly if you plug in the monitor cable while After Effects is running. Quit and restart After Effects to get a correct preview.

 

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