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!
Sr. Marketing Manager, After Effects
The After Effects CC 2014.1 update (version 13.1) is now 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.
My colleague, Todd Kopriva, put together a detailed post a few weeks ago on what’s new and changed in this version of After Effects. Check it out.
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.
Talented artist uses Adobe After Effects to create fitting typographic animation for parody video
On Tuesday, July 15, 2014, the most shared video on YouTube and Facebook was “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Word Crimes,” a parody of Robin Thicke’s popular “Blurred Lines” single. With more than 12 million YouTube views and climbing, the song is both clever and catchy. But what really brings it to life is the video’s impressive typographic animation. Jarrett Heather, a software developer with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, spent 500 hours over three months working with Al Yankovic on the project, which relies heavily on Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
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.
[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 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)
- 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:
The existing Copy With Property Links command will specifically reference the layer’s source composition in the expression:
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
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.
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.
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
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: Average Trackers
rd: Batch Layer Converter
rd: Batch Vector to Shape
rd: Composition Renamer
rd: Composition Setter
rd: Comp Sheet
rd: Copy Markers
rd: Count Markers
rd: Divvy Up
rd: Edit Text
rd: Expression Tweaker
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: New Parallax Null
rd: New Project From Comp
rd: Picker Switcher
rd: Que Es Span Null
rd: Remove Keys
rd: Remove Markers
rd: Render Layers
rd: Reverse Masks Order
rd: Script Launcher
rd: Shapes to Masks
rd: Simple Console
rd: Snap Decisions
rd: Solid Renamer
rd: Split Render