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

what’s new and changed in the 2014 update to Adobe Media Encoder CC

As David Wadhwani has just announced, today we have released the next major update to Creative Cloud applications, including Adobe Media Encoder (AME) CC.

The Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014 update (version 8.0) is available to all Adobe Creative Cloud members. Just go to the Creative Cloud download center or open the Creative Cloud desktop application to download the new updates for After Effects and many other applications.

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

One of the first things that you’ll notice about this version of Adobe Media Encoder is that it is available for download and installation separate from other applications—i.e., you can install Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014 on a computer without also installing After Effects or Premiere Pro or another client application on that same computer. This makes it much simpler, for example, to set up a computer to be used as a dedicated system for transcoding master output files to various final delivery formats.

For broadcast we’ve added AS-11 functionality, specifically catering to the requirements for the UK using the DPP specifications. The AS-11 workflow starts in Premiere Pro, where you can add all required metadata and add markers for segmentation. In AME, you can choose from suitable options for producing AS-11 output. AME will automatically take care of choosing the correct codec, the frame rate, and everything else that’s required to get your work ready for prime time.

The second packaging technology we’re adding is licensed from one of the leaders in Digital Cinema Package (DCP) technologies. The Wraptor DCP exporter by Quvis is a fast and easy way for taking your project to a theater at 2K with 24 fps and up to 5.1 audio.

Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014 also provides fault-tolerant rendering, which tracks issues and heals red-frame and black-frame issues without holding up your render queue.

Additionally, there are lots of other improvements like a wider range of GPU-accelerated tasks, enhancements to the overall AME user experience, and expanded features related to a number of new UltraHD and 4K standards, such as XAVC.

Patrick Palmer shows a few of these new features in Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014 in this video on Adobe TV.

scripting changes in After Effects CC (12.0-12.2)

This article describes the changes to the After Effects scripting interface implemented in After Effects CC (12.0). You can use this article together with the most recent full version of the After Effects scripting guide (for After Effects CS6), which you can find on the After Effects Developer Center page.

There were no significant changes in the scripting interface for After Effects CC (12.1) or After Effects CC (12.2).

ScriptUI Drover adpapter

ScriptUI is now based on the same controls as the main application.

The scripting reference for ScriptUI is in the Adobe Creative Cloud JavaScript Tools Guide (PDF).

access to effect’s internal version string

Added: Application effects object’s version attribute to get an effect’s internal version string. This value might be different than the version number the plug-in vendor decides to show in the effect’s about box.

ability to get and set preview mode

Added: ViewOptions fastPreview property to access the state of the Fast Previews menu with the scripting interface. This is a read/write attribute using an enumerated value:

Value Fast Previews menu option
FastPreviewType.FP_OFF Off (Final Quality)
FastPreviewType.FP_ADAPTIVE_RESOLUTION Adaptive Resolution
FastPreviewType.FP_DRAFT Draft
FastPreviewType.FP_FAST_DRAFT Fast Draft
FastPreviewType.FP_WIREFRAME Wireframe

If you try to get or set the attribute’s value in the Layer or Footage panel, you’ll get an error message.

The Draft preview mode is only available in ray-traced 3D compositions. If you try to use it in a Classic 3D composition, you’ll get an error: “Cannot set Draft fast preview mode in a Classic 3D composition.”

access to layer sampling method

Added: layer.samplingQuality and LayerSamplingQuality enum to set/get layer sampling method (bicubic or bilinear):

// Set layer to bicubic sampling

app.project.activeItem.layer(1).samplingQuality = LayerSamplingQuality.BICUBIC;

// Set layer to bilinear sampling

app.project.activeItem.layer(1).samplingQuality = LayerSamplingQuality.BILINEAR;

changed preference and settings methods

Preferences and settings methods now take a third argument to specify the target preferences file if Section/Key is not in “Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs.txt”. If the third argument is not passed, default value (PREFType.PREF_Type_MACHINE_SPECIFIC) is used and After Effects tries to save/get from the “Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs.txt” preferences file. The third argument is enum PREFType value.

You can now pass the preference type with a script with new PREFType enum:

    Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs.txt
    Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs-indep-general.txt
    Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs-indep-render.txt
    Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs-indep-output.txt
    Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs-indep-composition.txt
    Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs-text.txt
    Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs-paint.txt

// Section ["Settings_test_section"] is saved in "Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs.txt" without third argument

app.settings.saveSetting("test_section", "test_key1", "test_key1_value");

if (app.settings.haveSetting("test_section", "test_key1"))
var current_set = app.settings.getSetting("test_section", "test_key1");

// Section ["Settings_test_section2"] is saved in "Adobe After Effects 12.x Prefs-indep-general.txt"

app.settings.saveSetting("test_section2", "test_key1", "test_key1_value", PREFType.PREF_Type_MACHINE_INDEPENDENT);

if (app.settings.haveSetting("test_section2", "test_key1", PREFType.PREF_Type_MACHINE_INDEPENDENT))
var current_set2 = app.settings.getSetting("test_section2", "test_key1", PREFType.PREF_Type_MACHINE_INDEPENDENT);

alert(app.preferences.getPrefAsString("Text Style Sheet", "Font Family Name", PREFType.PREF_Type_MACHINE_SPECIFIC_TEXT));

Maxon Cinema 4D importer plug-in updated, fixes “Unexpected FunctionBlock5 flags” error

Maxon has fixed a bug in their plug-in for exchange of data with After Effects CC that caused some errors when the plug-in was loaded.

To get the new plug-in, go to this page on the Maxon website and click the “Download” link next to the “Plugins for After Effects CC CINEMA 4D R14/R15 connection” heading.

With the previous version of the plug-in, you might see the following error messages when After Effects started and loaded the plug-in:

“After Effects error internal verification failure, sorry! {Unexpected FunctionBlock5 flags for FunctionBlock4} (5024 ::53)”

“AEGP Plugin SDK_IO: Could not register file type. (5027 :: 12).”

“AEGP Plugin SDK_IO: There was an error registering the plugin. (5027 :: 12).”

You can tell whether you have the current version of the plug-in by looking at its modification date in the file system, which is February 28, 2014 for the new version.

Nvidia CUDA driver update fixes crashes for After Effects and other applications

We are seeing reports that the Nvidia CUDA 5.5.47 update released today addresses crashing problems introduced by the CUDA 5.5.43 update.

So, if you have an Nvidia GPU, please update your drivers to use the most recent version of the CUDA driver.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT install CUDA drivers on computer systems that do not have an Nvidia GPU! If you have done so, then you must uninstall the CUDA framework from your system. If you have CUDA software installed on a computer that does not have Nvidia CUDA-capable hardware, bad things happen, including crashes.

On Mac OS, you can update your version of the CUDA driver from the CUDA panel, available from the Mac OS System Preferences. For CUDA downloads, see the Nvidia website.

Feel free to let us know on this forum thread whether or not this update is working for you.

Also, make sure that you have installed the most recent updates for your Adobe video applications.

After Effects CC (12.2.1) bug-fix update

The After Effects CC (12.2.1) 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.

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 (12.2.1)” update for your operating system.

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.

Updates are cumulative, so this update includes all of the features and bug fixes in the After Effects CC (12.2) and After Effects CC (12.1) updates.

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 After Effects CC (12.2.1)

  • Dragging a folder of source items into the Project panel did not import the source items. This is now fixed.
  • The output audio sample rate was reset to the lowest value (often 8kHz) in the Output Module Settings dialog box. This is now fixed.
  • QuickTime output files had extra frames at the end when exporting with audio to certain codecs, including ProRes. This is now fixed.
  • Purging of the disk cache using the commands in After Effects did not function on systems that use comma as decimal separator. This is now fixed.
  • After Effects crashed when attempting to read temporal XMP metadata from files created by Illustrator 17.1 (as well as files from other applications based on those Illustrator files). This is now fixed for After Effects CC (12.2.1), but the same badly formed files can cause problems in previous versions of After Effects; see this page for details of a workaround for previous versions of After Effects.
  • We also fixed several bugs related to output file name and location templates.

We previously published a list of these known issues and workarounds for them here.

IMPORTANT: Additionally, the new version of the Creative Cloud desktop application fixes a major issue regarding the setting of permissions for folders during installation that caused many applications to crash or behave incorrectly. Be sure to follow the instructions here to update the Creative Cloud desktop application, since this patch fixes several issues related to After Effects, too.

known issues and workarounds for After Effects CC (12.2)

[UPDATE: These issues are addressed in the After Effects CC (12.2.1) bug-fix update. ]

Since we released After Effects CC (12.2), we have found some bugs. We are working on fixing these bugs, of course, and we’ll be releasing a bug-fix update soon (within a couple of weeks if all goes well) that addresses many of them. Stay tuned to this blog for details of the upcoming bug-fix update. In the meantime, we wanted to make sure that you knew of these issues and how to work around them.

Dragging a folder of source items into the Project panel does not import the source items.

The After Effects CC (12.2) update broke the ability to import a folder of source files into a project by dragging the folder into the Project panel.

We’re testing a fix for this bug right now. In the meantime, you can still import files using the File > Import commands and by double-clicking in an empty area of the Project panel.

Output audio sample rate is reset to lowest value (often 8kHz) in Output Module Settings dialog box.

Beginning in After Effects CC (12.2), when you interact with the Output Module Settings dialog box, the audio sample rate is changed to the lowest value acceptable for the format and the codec selected. For example, with QuickTime the lowest value is 8kHz, and for MXF OP1a the only acceptable value is 48kHz. This causes some outputs to mistakenly be created with the wrong audio sample rate.

See this article by Chris and Trish Meyer and this forum thread with Tim Kurkoski for more details and a simple workaround.

QuickTime output files have extra frames at the end when exporting with audio to some codecs.

Some QuickTime movies created by After Effects using certain video codecs (e.g., ProRes, DVCPROHD) contain extra frames at the end if the output includes audio.

See this forum post by Tim Kurkoski for details about this bug and how to work around it for now.

Purging of the disk cache using the commands in After Effects does not function on systems that use comma as decimal separator.

If the computer system’s locale settings specifies that the decimal separator is a comma (,)–as is common in many locales–then the commands in After Effects for purging the disk cache fail.

To work around this bug, you can either manually delete the cache files or switch your locale settings in your OS to use the dot (.) as the decimal separator.

For more information, see this forum thread with Will Lockwood.

In some cases, output file name and location templates are not used on the first try.

In some cases, when you attempt to use an output file name and location template, the change is not applied on the first try. The workaround is simple: If the output file name and location template that you want to use is not applied when you choose it, just choose it again.

After Effects crashes when attempting to read temporal XMP metadata from files created by Illustrator 17.1 and Photoshop 14.2.

(This isn’t actually an issue specific to After Effects CC (12.2); it affects every version of After Effects.)

The new version of Adobe Illustrator (17.1) creates files (.ai, .eps, .pdf files) that contain XMP metadata in a format that caused After Effects to crash when reading that metadata. The same problem exists for some files created by Photoshop 14.2, including JPEG and PNG files, though this may be limited to Photoshop files created with assets originating from Illustrator 17.1.

To avoid this problem, disable the Create Layer Markers From Footage XMP Metadata preference, which prevents After Effects from scanning the imported file for temporal XMP metadata when its footage item is added to a composition.

For more information, see this post on the After Effects team blog.

After Effects fails to start on Mac OS with warning message about not being about to rename or move a file.

(This, too, isn’t actually an issue specific to After Effects CC (12.2); it affects every version of After Effects and a lot of other applications.)

In some cases, After Effects fails to start, giving a warning message like this:
“After Effects warning: Could not rename the file ‘/Users/USERNAME/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/12.2/Workspaces.numbers.xml’ to ‘workspaces.xml’.”

The warning might be about something somewhat different, but any message that says that a file can’t be written, overwritten, or renamed is likely caused by the same root issue:

This happens because Mac OS has incorrectly set the permissions for some files, preventing After Effects from writing and moving the files that it needs to operate.

One common cause of this problem is that when you upgrade a Mac OS (as opposed to installing the new version fresh), Mac OS will often set permissions of folders and files incorrectly.

To fix this in the case of After Effects, go to the preferences folder and set the entire preferences folder ( Users/USERNAME/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/12.2/ ) and all of its contents to be writable, not read-only.

Note that Apple hides the Library folder by default, so you’ll need to show the Library folder. See this page on the Apple website for instructions on setting permissions.

opening After Effects projects from previous versions and saving back to previous versions

opening and importing projects from previous versions of After Effects

Each version of After Effects can open and import projects made with that version and several other versions, but only going back a limited number of versions:

  • After Effects CC 2014 (13) can open projects from After Effects 7 through After Effects CC 2014 (13).
  • After Effects CC (12) can open projects from After Effects 7 through After Effects CC (12).
  • After Effects CS6 (11) can open projects from After Effects 7 through After Effects CS6 (11).
  • After Effects CS5.5 (10.5) can open projects from After Effects 6.5 through After Effects CS5.5 (10.5).
  • After Effects CS5 (10) can open projects from After Effects 6 through After Effects CS5 (10).
  • After Effects CS4 (9) can open projects from After Effects 5 through After Effects CS4 (9).
  • After Effects CS3 (8) can open projects from After Effects 4 through After Effects CS3 (8).
  • After Effects 7 can open projects from After Effects 3.0 through After Effects 7.

There are two main reasons for us incrementing the oldest version that can be imported or opened from one version to the next: 1) this limits the amount of testing that we need to do and 2) sometimes there are conversions from one project format to another that are very difficult or buggy or otherwise problematic.

Note that we haven’t incremented the oldest version that can be opened or imported in the past several versions. This is in part because our automated testing has improved, so the testing burden is less of a problem, and it’s in part because we haven’t had any technical limitations that would cause the conversion to be too tricky. We’re trying to keep the backward support as long as possible so that you can still easily use your old projects as needed.

saving backward

In After Effects CS5.5, we added the ability to save a copy of a project backward so that it could be opened by the previous major version.

  • After Effects CS5.5 (10) has the command Save > Save As > Save A Copy As CS5.
  • After Effects CS6 (11) has the command Save > Save As > Save A Copy As CS5.5.
  • After Effects CC (12) has the command Save > Save As > Save A Copy As CS6.
  • After Effects CC 2014 (13) has the command Save > Save As > Save A Copy As CC (12).

If you need to save back from, say, After Effects CC (12.2) to After Effects CS5 (10), you’ll need to go through a multi-step process, saving back one version at a time.

Or, if you don’t mind spending a few dollars on a very handy script, pt_OpenSesame, you can save to a text-based format that preserves much (though not all) of a project’s information and can be opened in any version of After Effects from CS3 (8) onward. This script is also terrific for automated workflows when you want to be able to edit a project file without opening After Effects to do so, such as when just replacing a little bit of text.

preventing crash in After Effects when using Illustrator files

The new version of Adobe Illustrator (17.1) creates files (.ai, .eps, .pdf files) that contain XMP metadata in a format that causes After Effects to crash when reading that metadata. The crash occurs when you add a footage item from Illustrator to a composition.

We have released a bug-fix update for After Effects CC (12) to prevent this crash, but the crash still affects After Effects CS6 (11.0) and earlier.

The workaround is rather simple: You can prevent After Effects from reading the XMP metadata from the file from Illustrator by turning off the preference Create Layer Markers from Footage XMP Metadata in the Media & Disk Cache preferences category. This will only prevent temporal metadata in footage items from being converted to markers in After Effects, which is not a feature that you would be using with files from Illustrator, anyway.

By the way, thank you to all folks who submit crash reports. Those crash reports are how we found this problem only days after the new version of Illustrator that creates these files was released.

avoiding crashes and other problems with Red Giant software and After Effects

The folks at Red Giant have recently been releasing updates that help with crashes and other problems.

We strongly recommend that any users of Red Giant software go to this page and download and install the most recent versions of their software.

While you’re at it, this would be a good time to check for and install the most recent updates for your Adobe software, too.

If you continue to have problems, be sure to submit bug reports and crash reports so that we can isolate and fix these issues.