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

After Effects CC (12.1): what’s new and changed in this October 2013 update

The After Effects CC (12.1) update is now available to all Creative Cloud members.

Among many other changes and fixes, this updates enables After Effects CC to run on Mac OS X v10.9 (Mavericks). This full update makes it unnecessary to install the previous After Effects CC (12.0.1) patch. Unlike the After Effects CC (12.0.1) patch, the After Effects CC (12.1) update can be used to update the trial version of After Effects CC (12.0).

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 (12.1)” update for your operating system. (IMPORTANT: The After Effects CC updates are not at the top of the page; scroll down to find them.)

NOTE: See this post on how to migrate settings (workspaces, preferences, etc.) from After Effects CC (12.0) to After Effects CC (12.1).

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

For details of what was new in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.

For details of all of the other updates for Adobe professional video and audio applications, see this page.

Please, if you want to ask questions about these new and changed features, 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.

top new features in After Effects CC (12.1)

  • mask tracker
  • Detail-preserving Upscale effect
  • improved performance for analysis phase for 3D Camera Tracker and Warp Stabilizer effects
  • property linking
  • HiDPI content viewers for Retina displays on Mac computers
  • improved snapping behavior, including snapping beyond layer boundaries and to internal wireframes
  • OptiX 3.0 library for GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer
  • improved Cinema 4D integration
  • Adobe Anywhere integration and an early preview of the Media Browser panel

resources for learning more about new features in After Effects CC (12.1)

videos by Steve Forde

other resources

(nearly) all new and changed features in After Effects CC (12.1)

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.

mask tracker

The mask tracker transforms a mask so that it follows the motion of an object (or objects) in a movie. The tracked object must maintain the same shape throughout the movie, though it may change position, scale, and perspective and still be effectively tracked; this is why the mask tracker is sometimes called the “rigid mask tracker”.

When a mask is selected, the Tracker panel switches to mask tracking mode, showing the much simpler set of controls that are relevant to mask tracking: controls for tracking forward or backward either one frame at a time or to the end of the layer Method, with which you can choose to modify position, scale, rotation, skew, and perspective for the mask. If the Tracker panel isn’t shown, you can show it in mask tracker mode by choosing Animation > Track Mask with a mask selected, or context-click a mask and choose Track Mask from the context menu.

The result of using the mask tracker is the application of keyframes for the Mask Path property so that the mask shape matches the transformations tracked in the layer, depending on which Method setting is chosen.

You can select multiple masks before beginning the tracking operation, and keyframes will be added to the Mask Path property for each selected mask.

The layer being tracked must be a track matte, an adjustment layer, or a layer with a source that can contain motion; this includes layers based on video footage and precompositions, but not solid-color layers or still images.

The search region for the mask tracking analysis is the region encompassed by the mask, considering its Mask Expansion property.

improved performance for analysis phase for 3D Camera Tracker and Warp Stabilizer effects

The background process that analyzes footage for the 3D Camera Tracker and Warp Stabilizer effects is now much faster, largely because of being converted to use multiple threads simultaneously. The increase in speed for the analysis (tracking) phase for the 3D Camera Tracker and Warp Stabilizer has been measured at 60-300%, depending on details of the footage, et cetera.

Detail-preserving Upscale effect

The Detail-Preserving Upscale effect is capable of scaling images up by large amounts while preserving details in the image, so that sharp lines and curves stay sharp. Scaling up from SD frame sizes to HD frames sizes, or from HD frame sizes to digital cinema frame sizes is well within the range in which this effect is intended to operate with good results. This effect is very closely related to the Preserve Details resampling option in the Image Size dialog box in Photoshop.

The controls for the effect are relatively simple:

  • Fit to Comp Width: sets Scale percentage so that the layer’s width matches the composition’s width, with pixel aspect ratio taken into account
  • Fit to Comp Height: sets Scale percentage so that the layer’s height matches the compositions’s height, pixel aspect ratio taken into account
  • Scale: Note that the minimum value is 100%, since this is just for scaling up.
  • Reduce Noise: Increase this value to apply noise reduction before the scaling calculations, so that noise is not mistakenly treated as detail to preserve.
  • Detail: The higher this value, the greater the sharpness/contract of edges, at the risk of introducing ringing/halo artifacts. Lower values are more smooth and natural.
  • Alpha: You can choose to process the alpha channel differently than the color channels, for performance reasons. The default is to use bicubic sampling.

This effect is slower than other scaling alternatives, such as using the layer’s native bilinear or bicubic scaling in the Transform property group.

bicubic sampling option in Transform effect

The Transform effect now has the ability to use bicubic sampling for all of its transformations.

Choose Bicubic from the new Sampling menu at the bottom of the Transform effect’s properties in the Effect Controls panel. Bilinear is still the default.

OptiX 3.0 library for GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer

After Effects CC (12.0) used the OptiX 2 library from Nvidia for the GPU acceleration of the ray-traced 3D renderer. After Effects CC (12.1) uses the new OptiX 3 library.

The new OptiX library has many advantages, with the most important being the following:

  • fixes a crash on Mac OSX v10.9 (Mavericks)
  • improved performance, including improvements with multiple GPUs

The new OptiX library requires CUDA 5.0 or higher.

OpenGL features enabled for all Intel GPUs

In previous versions of After Effects, the OpenGL features were enabled on Intel GPUs only if those GPUs were listed in a “whitelist” file (intel_ogl_supported_cards.txt). This was because early generations of Intel GPUs and their drivers had problems with OpenGL features, so we needed to test each individually and only allow specific known-good configurations to work. Recent Intel GPUs and drivers have been of high enough quality that we have removed this check, and there is no longer an intel_ogl_supported_cards.txt file.

For details of the OpenGL features relevant to this change, see this page: GPU (CUDA, OpenGL) features in After Effects

preference for bypassing whitelist for GPU acceleration of ray-traced 3D renderer

In After Effects CS6 (11.0) and CC (12.0), the GPU Information dialog box has a Ray-tracing menu from which the user can choose GPU or CPU. If the installed hardware is not on the list of tested and supported GPUs, the GPU menu item is disabled (grayed out) and below the menu is this text: “GPU not available – incompatible device or display driver”.

In After Effects CC (12.1), we have added a checkbox: “Enable untested, unsupported GPU for CUDA acceleration of ray-traced 3D renderer.”

Enabling this checkbox will do a couple of things:

  • After Effects will use the GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer with any GPU that meets minimum requirements (which include 1GB of VRAM and CUDA 5.0).
  • The text “GPU not available – incompatible device or display driver” will change to “Unsupported GPU enabled for CUDA acceleration” if the GPU meets the minimum requirements but is not on the whitelist. If the GPU doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, the text remains as the original.
  • In the CUDA section at the bottom of the GPU Information dialog box, “(unsupported)” is added to the Devices entry if the installed hardware isn’t on the whitelist but is enabled.

When the user enables this preference, a dialog box appears that tells the user that using an untested and unsupported GPU is something that they do at their own risk and that technical support is only provided for supported configurations.

cards added to CUDA whitelist for Optix (for GPU acceleration of ray-traced 3D renderer)

  • GTX TITAN (Windows)
  • GTX 780 (Windows)
  • GTX 770 (Windows)
  • GTX 760 (Windows)
  • GTX 680MX (Mac OS and Windows)
  • GTX 680 (added for Mac OS; was already on Windows list)
  • GTX 675MX (Mac OS and Windows)
  • GT 650M (added for Windows; was already on Mac OS list)
  • GTX 590 (Windows)
  • Quadro K6000 (Windows)
  • Quadro K4000 (Windows)
  • Quadro K2000 (Windows)
  • Quadro K5000M (Windows)
  • Quadro K4000M (Windows)
  • Quadro K3000M (Windows)
  • Quadro K5100M (Windows)
  • Quadro K4100M (Windows)
  • Quadro K3100M (Windows)
  • Quadro K2100M (Windows)

Let us know what other GPUs you want us to test and support with a feature request here.

property linking

You can select any property or set of properties and choose Edit > Copy With Property Links and then paste those properties on any layer in any composition. The result is that the pasted properties remain connected to the layer from which the properties were copied, such that any change made to the original property is reflected in all of the instances of the pasted property links.

One use case is to create one master effect controller and then paste property links to any number of controlled instances, so that changes can be made once and affect all controlled instances.

You can even copy an entire layer with property links and paste it to create duplicates that follow the changes made to the original.

The property links are established and maintained through expressions, but there is no need to write (or even see) the expressions that are created.

option when precomposing to trim precomposition duration to duration of selected layers

When you precompose, you have a new option: Adjust Composition Duration To The Time Span Of The Selected Layers. Choose this to create a new composition that has a duration that is the same as that spanned by the selected layers. If you deselect this option, then the duration of the newly created composition is the same as the duration of the original composition, without regard for the duration of the layers being precomposed; this has been the only option in previous versions of After Effects.

layers created immediately above topmost selected layer

In previous versions of After Effects, most commands that created a new layer would create the new layer at the top of the layer stack, regardless of whether any layers were selected.

In After Effects CC (12.1), most commands that create a new layer create the layer immediately above the topmost selected layer. If no layer is selected, then the new layer is created at the top of the layer stack. This new behavior should make many workflows more convenient, preventing you from needing to scroll to the top of the layer stack and drag a new layer down to the needed place.

Here is a list of commands to which the new behavior applies:

  • Layer > New > Text
  • Layer > New > Solid
  • Layer > New > Light
  • Layer > New > Camera
  • Layer > New > Null Object
  • Layer > New > Shape Layer
  • Layer > New > Adjustment Layer
  • Layer > New > Adobe Photoshop File
  • Layer > New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File

The new behavior also applies to the respective keyboard shortcuts for these same commands.

The behavior of scripting and AEGP plug-in commands that create new layers has not changed; they still create layers at the top of the layer stack. This is to prevent breaking existing scripts and AEGP plug-ins. (Of course, if your script is using the app.executeCommand(app.findMenuCommandId(...)) pattern to call the menu command, the behavior will be the new behavior of creating the layer above the topmost selected layer.)

user-defined location for Auto-save

In the Auto-save category in the Preferences dialog box, you can choose to either save the auto-saved projects next to the original project (the behavior in previous versions when Auto-save is enabled) or in a custom location.

improvements to keyboard shortcuts for showing properties with keyframes, expressions

The U keyboard shortcut now only shows properties with keyframes, not properties that have expressions but no keyframes. If a property has both keyframes and expressions, the U keyboard shortcut shows the property but leaves the expression field collapsed so that the expression itself is not shown. There is a new command in the Animation menu for this behavior: Reveal Properties With Keyframes.

The old behavior, of showing properties with keyframes and properties with expressions, is still available in the Animation menu as Reveal Properties With Animation. You can reassign the U keyboard shortcut to that command if you’d like to go back to the way things were before.

The UU keyboard shortcut for showing all modified properties is unchanged.

The EE (and Shift+EE) shortcut for showing properties with expressions is essentially unchanged.

command for moving anchor point to center of content

You can set the anchor point to be in the center of the layer content using the new command Layer > Transform > Center Anchor Point In Layer Content.

The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+Home on Windows and Command+Option+Home on Mac OS. You can also Ctrl+double-click (Windows) or Command+double-click the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool to invoke this command.

A few great uses for this new command:

  • setting the anchor point of a shape layer to the center of a single shape or to the centroid of a group of shapes in a shape layer
  • setting the anchor point for a text layer to the center of the text
  • setting the anchor point of a layer to then center of the visible area within a masked region

mask path drawn using color that differs from region in which first click to draw mask is made

In the Appearance category of the Preferences dialog box, there is a new preference: Use Contrasting Color For Mask Path. This preference relies on the Cycle Mask Colors preference being enabled, since the new feature is still cycling through the same label colors. If the Use Contrasting Color For Mask Path preference is on, After Effects analyzes the colors near the point where you first click to draw a mask and chooses a label color that is as different from the colors in that region as possible, while also avoiding the color of the last mask drawn.

improved Cinema 4D integration, with updated Cineware functionality

This version of After Effects comes with a new version of the Cineware effect. All features from After Effects CC (12.0) should behave the same, and several bugs have been fixed. This version also adds some new functionality.

There are two new settings in the Cineware effect’s Options dialog box, with which you can specify which instance of Cinema 4D to use with After Effects:

  • Cinema 4D Render Path: Choose which version of Cinema 4D (R14 or R15) for rendering while working in After Effects. For example, you can choose to use Cinema 4D Studio, Broadcast, Prime, or Visualize if you have it installed. The default is CineRender, which is installed by After Effects.
  • Cinema 4D Executable Path: Choose which version of Cinema 4D to use when opening a .c4d file with Edit Original or when creating a new Cinema 4D file from After Effects. The default is an installed full-featured edition of Cinema 4D (Studio, Broadcast, Prime, or Visualize), or Cinema 4D Lite if no other edition of Cinema 4D has been installed.

You must restart After Effects after changing these settings for the new settings to be used, and you should purge all memory and disk cache data (Edit > Purge > All Memory & Disk Cache) after changing the Cinema 4D rendering application. In some cases, you may need to reset your After Effects preferences after switching from one Cinema 4D rendering application to another Cinema 4D rendering application.

When you choose to use an edition of Cinema 4D other than Cinema 4D Lite, you can use new rendering capabilities within Cineware beyond the default renderer, including the Physical renderer and Sketch & Toon. You choose which renderer to use in Cinema 4D and save the .c4d file with those settings. Whichever renderer is specified in Cinema 4D is the one that will be used by the Cineware effect when the Renderer setting in the effect is Standard (Final). Most effects, including third-party plug-ins, should work within the Cineware effect when you choose to use Cinema 4D R15 (not R14 or the default CineRender) as the renderer for Cineware.

The versions of Cinema 4D that are compatible with this version of the Cineware effect are as follows:

  • R14.042 or above (Use the Cinema 4D online updater to install the current version.)
  • R15.037 or above

HiDPI content viewers for Retina displays on Mac computers

After Effects will now take advantage of a Retina display on a Mac computer 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 Retina/HiDPI display as on a non-HiDPI 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 Retina/HiDPI display to a non-HiDPI display, you’ll see the zoom value change, while the content occupies the same space on the screen.

This does not affects pointers, buttons, other panels, and various other aspects of the After Effects user interface. These are targeted at a later release, since HiDPI content viewers were deemed to be a higher priority.

snapping beyond layer edges, to align layers in 2D and 3D space along lines defined by layer features

There are two new options next to the Snapping checkbox in the Tools panel:

  • Snap Along Edges Extending Beyond Layer Boundaries: Enables snapping to lines outside of a layer’s boundaries (e.g., to the line defined by the extension of a layer’s edge in 3D space). This makes aligning layers in 3D space much easier.
  • Snap To Features Inside Collapsed Compositions And Text Layers: Turns on internal wireframes for layers inside of compositions with collapsed transformations and for individual characters in per-character 3D text layers. This can be useful, for example, for snapping a layer’s anchor point to the baseline of a specific text character.

rectified audio waveforms

By default, audio waveforms are shown as “rectified” audio waveforms, as in recent versions of Premiere Pro. This means that the magnitude of the audio is shown only in one direction from the horizontal axis, and the magnitude is shown on a logarithmic scale that makes it easier to see how loud a sound will be perceived to be. You can switch back to the old method of showing audio waveforms by deselecting Rectified Audio Waveforms in the panel menu of the Timeline panel.

added iris and highlight properties for camera layers to the expression language menu

  • irisShape
  • irisRotation
  • irisRoundness
  • irisAspectRatio
  • irisDiffractionFringe
  • highlightGain
  • highlightThreshold
  • highlightSaturation

new (additional) folder from which scripts are loaded, so that users without administrator privileges can install scripts

There is a new (additional) folder from which After Effects will load scripts, and it’s in the same location as preferences files:

  • Windows: \Users\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\12.1\Scripts
  • Mac OS: /Users/[user_name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/12.1/Scripts

These are in a folder that regular users have permissions to alter, so there is no longer a need for administrator permissions to install scripts.

automatically opening and closing folders in Project panel when dragging

If you pause with the pointer over a folder during a drag operation in the Project panel, the folder will open so that you can drop the items into a folder deeper within a hierarchy of folders.

default number of Undo operations available increased from 32 to 99, and preference removed from user interface

We have increased the default number of Undo operations available to 99 and removed the preference from the Preferences dialog box. The lower setting was needed in the past when computers typically had far less RAM.

commands for turning logging on and off and for revealing log files

To enable logging by the After Effects application, so that it records details of the session to a set of text files, choose Help > Enable Logging.

You’ll need to restart the application for logging to begin.

Logging has some negative effects on performance, so After Effects will disable logging after 24 hours if logging was enabled through this menu command.

To see the log files, choose Help > Reveal Logging File.

new Enable QuickTime Video Preview preference in Video Preview preferences category on Mac OS

We have isolated the recent problems with QuickTime files to a conflict with a QuickTime component distributed with the Apple video applications (Final Cut Pro, Motion, Compressor). Specifically, the problematic component is the Apple DVCPROHDVideoOutput QuickTime component, which is used for previews to an external video monitor. This problem with this QuickTime component makes the QT32 Server component crash when After Effects probes the computer system for QuickTime video preview devices. The QT32 Server component is needed for all QuickTime features in After Effects, so having it crash causes failures in QuickTime features in After Effects.

To prevent this crash of QT32 Server, we have disabled the automatic probing of the system for QuickTime video preview devices. To re-enable this feature, you can turn on the Enable QuickTime Video Preview preference in the Video Preview preferences category. Turning this preference on will allow After Effects to use QuickTime video previews to external devices, but it may also cause the crash in QT32 Server This preference is a temporary measure, meant to protect users from the failures in importing and exporting QuickTime movies while we work on replacing the QuickTime video preview system with a system based on Mercury Transmit that doesn’t have these problems. We are working toward having a better system in place in the near future.

better error message for duplicate plug-ins

In previous versions of After Effects, if there were duplicate plug-ins (with the same match names) installed, After Effects would show multiple error messages – one for each duplicate – but it didn’t identify where the duplicates were located on disk.

In After Effects CC (12.1), there is one consolidated error message for all duplicate plug-ins, and it shows the file path for each duplicate.

better expression error messages

The error messages that appear when an expression is disabled because an item (e.g., layer, composition, effect) is missing are now consolidated and more user-friendly.

removal of extraneous warnings regarding missing custom effects

If you used an animation preset based on a custom effect (such as those defined in PresetEffects.xml), you could get a warning that an effect was missing, even though nothing needed for the animation preset was missing.

This has been fixed, but it requires a specific action on the part of the person creating the animation preset: The matchname must be 31 characters or less and begin with the string “Pseudo/” or with another string that has been defined by After Effects. (At this time, other matchname strings are “Prolost_Burns”, “Prolost_Boardo”, “Prolost_Fader”, “Prolost_Oscillate”, “Vignette_Controls”, “Beautify”, “Typist”, “Wiggly”, “Mikey’s_Split”, “Mikey’s_Distress”, “Mikey’s_Flare”, “Mikey’s_Control”, “Mikey’s_Burn”.)

Be sure to increment your matchname any time that you make a change, or else you won’t be able to use both versions within one project.

Adobe Anywhere integration

After Effects CC (12.1) includes the first phase of After Effects integration with Adobe Anywhere.

miscellaneous new and changed features

  • The preference Write XMP IDs To Files On Import (in the Media & Disk Cache preferences category) is now disabled by default.
  • The Color Key effect and Luma Key effect are now in the Obsolete category. (In most cases, you should be using superior effects such as Keylight and the Extract effect.)
  • The Create Shapes From Vector Layer command works on multiple selected layers.
  • The Cycle Mask Colors preference is enabled by default.
  • The Viewer Quality preferences are set to More Accurate Except RAM Preview by default, rather than Faster (which wasn’t all that much faster and looked bad).
  • The kerning option in the Character panel persists so that you no longer need to set the kerning option in the Character panel to Optical every time you want to use this option.
  • In previous versions of After Effects, if you made a change to the composition while the composition view was not centered (e.g., because you used the Hand tool to look at another part of the composition), the composition view would become centered after the change. This forced you to drag again with the Hand tool to get back to the part of the composition that you were looking at. This is fixed. Of course, if the change made to the composition affects the size or aspect ratio of the composition, it will still be re-centered.
  • Freezing the segmentation for the Roto Brush & Refine Matte effect operates on all spans withing the entire composition duration, instead of only within the work area.
  • Wireframes for cameras and lights are shown by default, even when these layers not selected.
  • After Effects now gives a better message and an alert sound when you try to open a layer in the Layer panel that can’t be opened there (e.g., precomposition layer with collapsed transformations, continuously rasterized layer, shape layer).
  • Indexed-color PNG files and grayscale PNG files with transparency can be imported.
  • Photoshop Large Document (.psb) files can be imported.
  • CMYK JPEG files can be imported.
  • Dashes and gaps are now explicitly numbered (Dash 2, Gap 2, …) when adding multiple dashes and gaps to a shape layer stroke. (This makes referring to them with expressions easier.)
  • The Brightness & Contrast effect has been improved and now matches the filter in Photoshop. You can still choose to use the legacy algorithm, which allows HDR results.
  • You can now open a dialog box for editing values for 3D Point Control effect (by context-clicking and choosing Edit Value).
  • There are significant performance improvements in propagation for Roto Brush and Refine Matte effects.
  • The layer index number is now shown in the menu for choosing a target for motion tracking data (opened with Edit Target button in the Tracker panel).
  • The correct name of the 3D renderer is shown for third-party renderers (e.g., AtomKraft).
  • Added Center property for shape layer Twist path operation.
  • There is now an improved error message telling people to update their CUDA drivers.
  • When converting a layer based on an Illustrator file to a shape layer, the Video (eyeball) switch of the original layer is turned off only if the conversion is successful.
  • Improvements to Shift-parenting behavior when the target layer already has a parent layer.
  • Improved performance with imported DPX image sequence read over network.
  • Ability to use the RED Rocket-X and EPIC Dragon footage.

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:

  • Between clicking a menu to open it and the menu actually opening, several seconds could elapse on some computers. The same problem occurred for keyboard shortcuts. This is fixed.
  • Crashes using Timecode effect, Basic Text effect, and Numbers effect. These are fixed.
  • Crash with message “After Effects error: CT bad param: TrueType or CFF font expected (83 :: 2)”. This is fixed.
  • Custom output modules were ignored by aerender and lost when the full After Effects application was started. This is fixed.
  • Crash because of missing interface font, with message saying unable to load or unable to create font (Verdana or Arial). This is fixed.
  • Exported DPX files had wrong results when negative color values present in composition. This is fixed.
  • Performance with DPX files being read across a network was poor. This is fixed.
  • CC Force Motion Blur and CC Wide Time caused very long delays, making the application appear to hang. These are fixed.
  • Crash using Timewarp effect on Mac OSX v10.9 (Mavericks). This is fixed.
  • Error “Unable to invert matrix (17::45)” when using the snapping features. This is fixed.
  • scripting: The onClose callback wasn’t called when closing an embedded panel using the close (x) button on the panel’s tab. It works now.
  • scripting: Scrollbars in ScriptUI panels were drawn in the wrong place under some circumstances. This is fixed.
  • Many other causes of crashes and other errors and misbehaviors were fixed.

solutions for problems with QuickTime files in After Effects CC (12.0) because of conflict with DVCPROHDVideoOutput QuickTime component

[Important: If you have questions or comments, don't leave comments on this blog post; instead, come to this After Effects forum thread, where we can help. This article describes a specific behavior that causes this problem; if you are having a problem with QuickTime files in After Effects that is not solved by this article, read this article about troubleshooting QuickTime errors.]

We have received reports from several users who are unable to use (import, preview, or render and export) QuickTime files with After Effects CC (12.0) on Mac OS X. The error messages that appear include the following:

  • file ‘[file name].mov’ cannot be imported – this ‘MooV’ file is damaged or unsupported.
  • Error reading frame from file ‘[file path and name].mov’. (86 :: 2)
  • “[file path and name].mov”. An output module failed. The file may be damaged or corrupted. (-1610153464)

solutions regarding DVCPROHDVideoOutput QuickTime component from Apple

This problem occurs because QT32 Server, the process that After Effects uses to read and write QuickTime files, is crashing. One cause of QT32 Server crashing is a bad interaction with the QuickTime video out system when the Apple DVCPROHDVideoOutput QuickTime component is installed.

To work around this problem, do the following:

1. Go to [OS Drive]/Library/QuickTime.

2. Make a backup copy of DVCPROHDVideoOutput.component by dragging it to the desktop.

3. Now delete the DVCPROHDVideoOutput.component by dragging it from the Library/QuickTime folder to the Trash. Enter your password when prompted.

4. Empty the Trash. (This is an important step. Don’t skip it.)

Note: A couple of users have reported that, instead of the above instructions, installing the Apple ProApps QuickTime Codecs 1.0.2 update ( fixed the problem for them. You may try this solution first, though when we tested this it did not resolve the problem. We noted that the version numbers of the DVCPROHD component files were not incremented by this update.

deeper details and plans for longer-term solutions in After Effects

The After Effects team has investigated the cause of this problem and we have developed a plan to address it.

QT32 Server is crashing when it requests a list of video out (video preview) hardware from QuickTime, which it does so that After Effects can preview video through an external monitor, through such devices as those from Blackmagic Design and AJA. This request is made to the QuickTime video out system, a legacy 32-bit QuickTime API that Apple no longer supports.

Rather than continue to rely on an unsupported API, our plan is to do the following:

1. In After Effects CC (12.1), QuickTime video preview is disabled by default. You can choose to turn on the Enable QuickTime Video Preview preference to allow After Effects to preview video through external hardware on Mac OS X, at the risk of QT32 Server crashing. See this page for more information about After Effects CC (12.1).

2. In a release after that, we are planning to replace the legacy QuickTime video out system with a video preview system based on Mercury Transmit, related to that in Premiere Pro. We are also planning to extend the video preview system through Mercury Transmit to provide functionality beyond what is available through the current system.

We apologize for the frustration that this issue has caused. (It has been frustrating for us, too.) The QuickTime video out system is a black box to us: QT32 Server makes a request and receives data with no knowledge of what is happening inside QuickTime. The code that we use to do this in After Effects CC (12.0) is identical to that in older versions, such as After Effects CS6 (11.0), which aren’t experiencing this crash. Rather than trying to solve the puzzle of what is happening inside of a system that Apple no longer supports, we will put our energy into building a better, modern video out system in After Effects.

solution for a different issue regarding audio drivers

We have also seen cases in which QT32 Server crashes when conflicting audio drivers were installed and the Audio Hardware preferences in After Effects were set to use one of those devices.

If the above solutions do not work for you, set your Default Device in Preferences > Audio Hardware to the System Default or Built-in outputs.

If this works, then you should troubleshoot your audio devices: Completely remove the drivers for any audio-related devices, including capture cards and software that creates virtual audio devices (some screen capture and screen sharing software use SoundFlower, which has been implicated in this problem); and then re-install the latest drivers for these devices one by one and test for the problem in After Effects.

Adobe Media Encoder CC (7.0.1) update: several bug fixes for closed captions, H.264 exports, and more

Today, the Adobe Media Encoder CC (7.0.1) update was released.

If Adobe Application Manager hasn’t already told you about this, go ahead and check for new updates by choosing Help > Updates.

If you’re checking for updates in the Creative Cloud desktop application, and the updates don’t appear, restarting the application can force it to check for recent updates. In general, updates will appear in the Creative Cloud desktop application within 24 hours of being made available.

If you are not able to install the updates automatically by choosing Help > Updates, you can also directly download the update packages from the download page for Mac OS or Windows by choosing the “Adobe Media Encoder CC 7.0.1″ update for your operating system.

For information about updates for other Adobe professional video applications, see this page.

If you have difficulty with this update, please bring questions and issues to the Adobe Media Encoder forum. Don’t ask questions in the comments on this blog post, which fewer people will see.

bugs fixed in this update

bugs fixed in closed captions:

  • Timecode started from zero in closed caption sidecar files in some cases in which they should have had non-zero start times.
  • QuickTime movies with embedded closed captions had the wrong frame size in some cases.
  • STL or XML sidecar files for closed captions were not being written when closed captions were embedded in the source files.
  • Exporting and re-importing closed caption sidecar files deleted some characters.
  • Closed captions settings were not retained in Adobe Media Encoder (AME) when the source was a Premiere Pro sequence or a clip with embedded closed captions.

bugs fixed in H.264, MPEG-4, and MPEG-2 exports:

  • H.264 exports were of the wrong duration (longer or shorter) under various conditions.
  • When transcoding a clip to MPEG-4, the exported video frame rate was less than what was specified; the audio duration was correct. This makes the video portion longer than the original.
  • MPEG-2 and MPEG-2 Blu-ray exports failed with some settings.
  • Switching to NTSC from PAL didn’t show the proper frame rate options for some combinations of Profile and Level settings for MPEG-2.
  • When using the Match Source command, the matched Profile/Level values weren’t updated according to the current bitrate until reopening the Export Settings dialog box.
  • Changing the Key Frame Distance property was not recognized as a setting change if the box was checked/unchecked by clicking the text area rather than the box itself.
  • When creating the system encoding preset with Match Source enabled, bitrate sliders were not created with the full range of possible values for the given Profile and Level combination.

other bugs fixed:

  • Incorrect flavor of ProRes files were created because of an error in smart rendering.
  • Garbage characters appeared in Korean and Simplified Chinese on the OK button in the Preferences dialog box.
  • Improvement in inefficient code for RED (.r3d) importer.
  • A .m2v Blu-Ray file exported from Adobe Media Encoder didn’t work in Encore, failing with the error “reached end of stream before finding start code”.
  • Encoding from MPEG-2 source files failed the first time.
  • P2 AVC-Intra media exported from Premiere Pro with drop-frame timecode was imported into Adobe Media Encoder with non-drop-frame timecode.
  • AVC-Intra media exported from Premiere Pro was not being accepted by XTAccess system.
  • Incorrect audio was being encoded at the end of a file.
  • Smart-rendered QuickTime movies with the Animation codec contained video artifacts.

installing After Effects CC render engines with Adobe Creative Cloud

[Thanks for today's post go to Tim Kurkoski, who did the hard parts. Note: If you have questions, don't leave comments on this blog post; instead, come to this After Effects forum thread, where we can help.]

One of the changes in After Effects CC (12.0) regards when activation occurs, and this affects how you install render-only instances of the After Effects application, known as render engines.

The single-user retail license allows you to install and activate the full version of the After Effects application on two computers.

You can install After Effects CC render engines on any number of computers without consuming these two activations. You only need to activate the render-engine instances if you need to use the specific codecs for which our license agreements with the providers of these codecs require activation because of the payment of royalties. See this page for details about royalty-bearing codecs and how to use the render engine without these royalty-bearing codecs. This is all the same as in After Effects CS6 (11.0).

What has changed for After Effects CC (12.0) is that your software license is activated when you install Creative Cloud applications. Previous versions of After Effects activated when the software was started for the first time. This means that when you install a render-only instance of After Effects CC, you will want to sign out of Creative Cloud on that computer to avoid using one of your activations.

instructions for installing render engines with a single-user Creative Cloud Membership subscription

Follow these steps to ensure that your activations are not used by installing render-only instances of After Effects CC:

First, if you have installed Creative Cloud applications on two computers, sign out of one of them by opening any of the applications and choosing Sign Out from the Help menu. You can sign back into Creative Cloud on this computer after the render-only instances of After Effects are installed.

Then, on each computer on which you want to install a render-only instance of After Effects CC, do the following:

1. Go to the Creative Cloud download page to download and install After Effects CC.
2. When the installation is complete, start After Effects.
3. Choose Sign Out from the Help menu.
4. Quit After Effects.
5. Create and place the ae_render_only_node.txt file as described here.

Creative Cloud Packager for Creative Cloud Teams and Creative Cloud Enterprise

You do not need to follow the instructions above if you are deploying After Effects CC as part of a multi-seat license, Creative Cloud Teams or Creative Cloud Enterprise. Instead, use the Creative Cloud Packager (CCP) to deploy the software. In this case, create the ae_render_only_node.txt file before deployment:

1. Create the ae_render_only_node.txt file as described here, and use CCP to set the destination for this file.
2. Deploy After Effects CC using Creative Cloud Packager.

After Effects CC (12.0) is now live

It’s with great pleasure that we can release to you the amazing work that has gone into After Effects CC (12.0).

There are a ton of new features alongside the big ones (Cineware, Refine Edge, and Warp Stabilizer VFX) that have been covered quite bit. Snapping; EXR / DPX format updates; finding missing fonts, footage, and effects; Pixel Motion Blur… These are just a few that come to mind.

Check out several blogs posted by our team’s own Todd Kopriva to get the full and complete details:

Also, check out these fantastic tutorials for folks new to 3D using the new integration with Maxon Cinema 4D by Nick Campbell (Greyscale Gorilla).

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Just go to the Creative Cloud site to download it now or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

After Effects CC represents the first release of many for After Effects under the Creative Cloud banner. I have been watching and participating in a passionate debate from all points of view on this new method of releasing our software to you. To those of you currently (or about to become) subscribers, I thank you for your business. I firmly believe you won’t be disappointed.

To folks who are still considering your options, I look forward to hearing what you think, and how we can best earn your business. We as a team are just getting started taking advantage of a whole new way to develop, test and deliver software you depend on.

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

By the way, if you’re just getting started with After Effects for the first time… Welcome! You should start here to learn the basics of After Effects.



Refine Edge tool, Refine Soft Matte effect, and related new features in After Effects CC (12.0)

(For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.)

For the basics of the Roto Brush tool in After Effects CS5 and later, see these resources.

Chris and Trish Meyer provide an excellent overview and series of video tutorials about Refine Edge and related features on the Pro Video Coalition website.

introduction to the Refine Edge tool and improved Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect

The Roto Brush effect has been replaced by the new Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect, and a new Refine Edge tool has been added under the Roto Brush tool.

The Refine Edge tool and the associated properties in the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect provide the ability to improve an existing matte by creating partial transparency for areas of fine detail at the edges of a matte, such as for hair. These new features and their user interface elements are closely related to the Refine Edge features in Photoshop.

basics of using the Refine Edge tool

As with the Roto Brush tool, you use the Refine Edge tool in the Layer panel.

To use the Refine Edge tool, you must already have an alpha channel defined for the layer. You are not restricted to using the Roto Brush tool to define the initial transparency for the layer; you can also use any other method, such as color keying or conventional rotoscoping by drawing masks.

If you are using the Roto Brush tool or conventional rotoscoping to define your initial matte, you should complete this phase of matte creation before using the Refine Edge tool. For example, you should typically not create a Roto Brush stroke and then immediately create a Refine Edge stroke on that same frame; rather, you should make your initial Roto Brush strokes and corrective strokes on your entire clip before going back and refining the edge with the Refine Edge tool.

When you draw strokes with the Refine Edge tool, you draw strokes across or along the edges of a matte. If you draw your first stroke in an area of complete opacity or complete transparency, After Effects will tell you to instead draw your first stroke across or along the edge of a matte. If you draw a stroke with Refine Edge tool on a layer that does not yet have the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect, the effect is added with Fine-tune Roto Brush Matte disabled, since it is presumed that you are using the tool to refine another kind of matte, such as one created with masks. If you draw a stroke with the Refine Edge tool on a layer on which the Roto Brush tool has already been used, then Fine-tune Roto Brush Matte is enabled.

The edge refinement algorithm relies on the color immediately outside of the stroke on one side being the background color and the color immediately on the other side of the stroke being the foreground color. If your stroke is too broad, such that it covers a range of colors, make it narrower.

You can draw subtractive Refine Edge strokes (named Erase Edge Refinement in the Timeline panel) by Alt-dragging (Windows) or Option-dragging (Mac OS) in the Layer panel; these strokes tell the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect what regions to not apply additional edge refinement to.

properties of Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect

The Refine Edge features are very closely related to the Refine Edge features in Photoshop, so we tried to make the user interface match that of Photoshop as closely as possible. One outcome of this is that the names and user interface strings for various pieces of the Roto Brush and Refine Matte features needed to change to match Photoshop.

Here is a summary of the changes to match Photoshop, from After Effects CS6 (11.0) to After Effects CC (12.0):

  • Smooth became Feather.
  • Feather became Contrast (values inverted; different default range).
  • Choke became Shift Edge (values inverted).

There are a few other changes in property names and user interface strings that distinguish Roto Brush properties from the new Refine Edge properties, such as the change from Propagation to Roto Brush Propagation and the change from Matte to Roto Brush Matte as the name of the property group in the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect.

Here are the new properties for Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect:

  • Reduce Chatter: Note that this property defaults to 50% in the standalone Refine Hard Matte effect, 0% in the Roto Brush Matte portion of the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect, 50% in the Fine-tune Refine Edge Matte portion of the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect, and 50% in the Refine Soft Matte effect.
  • Render Refine Edge: Enable this to see the result of the entire effect, or disable it to see the intermediate result from the Roto Brush portion of the effect without the Refine Edge portion.
  • Base Refine Edge Radius: Setting this value to something other than 0 adds a uniform band along the entire segmentation boundary that behaves as if you had drawn a stroke with the Refine Edge tool along the entire edge on the base frame. This region can be propagated, corrected, and erased just as if it had been drawn with the Refine Edge tool.
  • Fine-tune Roto Brush Matte and Fine-tune Refine Edge Matte: These options enable or disable the property groups for refining the Roto Brush matte and Refine Edge matte. You may, for example, only want to fine-tune the Refine Edge matte if you are using the Refine Edge tool on an edge that was created using masks or color keying, not the Roto Brush tool.
  • Smooth: This new property in the Refine Edge Matte group reduces detail & noise in the matte edge to create a smoother outline.

In the standalone Refine Soft Matte effect and in the Refine Edge Matte property group of the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect, you can choose one of three Chatter Reduction options: Off (the default), More Detailed, or Smoother (Slower).

Keep in mind that the Roto Brush Matte property group and Refine Edge Matte property group affect different regions of the matte on the layer to which the effect is applied. The Refine Edge Matte refinements affect only the area defined by Refine Edge strokes; the Roto Brush Matte refinements affect only the area not defined by Refine Edge strokes.

Refine Soft Matte and Refine Hard Matte effects

The new Refine Soft Matte effect performs the same edge refinements as performed by the new Refine Edge Matte properties in the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect. The difference is that the Refine Soft Matte effect applies the edge refinements to the entire matte, at a constant width around the entire matte, whereas the edge refinements performed by the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect are performed within the regions defined by the Refine Edge strokes, which may be of varying widths and along only some parts of the matte edge. Also, since the Refine Soft Matte effect is simply drawing a uniform-width region around the alpha boundary (matte edge) rather than tracking and propagating strokes across time, it can be much faster than using the Refine Edge tool.

The effect that has been called Refine Matte in previous versions of After Effects is now called Refine Hard Matte. The Refine Hard Matte effect performs the same edge refinements as performed by the Fine-tune Roto Brush properties in the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect.

The properties of the Refine Soft Matte effect are very similar to the properties of the Refine Hard Matte effect, though the underlying algorithms for some identically named things are actually different between the two effects. Specifically, the Reduce Chatter property functions differently between these two effects.

The Refine Soft Matte effect has a few additional properties beyond those in the Refine Hard Matte effect:

  • Calculate Edge Details: Computes semi-transparent edges, pulling out fine details within the edge region.
  • Additional Edge Radius: The distance in pixels on either side of the matte edge to include in the edge region for finding fine detail and creating semi-transparency.
  • View Edge Region: Shows edge region as a yellow band.

behavior with Refine Edge, Roto Brush, and Refine Matte features across versions of After Effects

When using the Save A Copy As CS6 command, the following occurs:

  • Instances of the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect are dropped; i.e., they aren’t saved in the project.
  • Instances of the new Refine Hard Matte effect show as missing when the project is opened in After Effects CS6.
  • Instances of the Refine Soft Matte effect show as missing when the project is opened in After Effects CS6.

Projects created in previous versions of After Effects (CS5-CS6) with the Roto Brush effect are upgraded to use the new effect when opened in After Effects 12.0.

Projects created in previous versions of After Effects (CS5-CS6) with the Refine Matte effect will retain the old version of the Refine Matte effect, with the old property names and values, when opened in After Effects 12.0. If you apply a new instance of the Refine Hard Matte effect in After Effects 12.0, that instance of the effect will use the new property names and values.

When a project saved from After Effects CS5-CS6 is opened in After Effects 12.0, expressions referring to an instance of the Roto Brush effect are broken. Animation presets and scripts may also need to be updated.

changes in behavior of Feather properties

Refine Hard Matte: For existing After Effects CS6 and earlier instances, no change (because it’s still using v1.0). For existing After Effects 12.0 instances (i.e., projects saved in earlier prerelease builds), it gets reset to 2.0; if you want to use an equivalent feather, multiply the previous value by 2.71. new instances still default to 2.0.

Refine Soft Matte: For existing After Effects 12.0 instances, it gets reset to 0.0; if you want to use an equivalent feather, multiply the previous value by 2.71. New instances still default to 0.0.

Roto Brush & Refine Edge: For existing After Effects CS6 or After Effects 12.0 instances, the existing value gets upgraded automatically (multiplied by 2.71). For new instances, the Roto Brush Matte effect’s Feather property has a new default of 5.0 (approx. the old default of 2.0 times 2.71), and the Refine Matte effect’s Feather property still defaults to 0.0.

Aside from the standalone Refine Hard Matte and Refine Soft Matte effects (that get reset), you shouldn’t see any visually identifiable change in the result. If so, please submit a bug report.

tips and notes for using the Refine Edge tool and related features

When you draw a Refine Edge stroke, the Layer panel automatically switches to Refine Edge X-ray view mode. To turn Refine Edge X-ray view mode on or off, press Alt+X (Windows) or Option+X (Mac OS). This view mode is mutually exclusive with other Show Channels choices. You can also choose Refine Edge X-ray in the Show Channel and Color Management Settings menu at the bottom of the Layer panel.

Note: The Adjust Exposure control in a viewer panel is ignored when using the Refine Edge X-ray view mode.

To avoid unexpected propagation when resolution decreases temporarily, drawing Roto Brush or Refine Edge strokes will turn off Fast Previews adaptive resolution mode.

Drawing Roto Brush or Refine Edge strokes on time-reversed layers (time-reversed or negatively stretched) now draws a banner that says “Roto Brush & Refine Edge strokes can’t be added to a time-reversed layer.”

Note that the edge refinement features of the Roto Brush & Refine Edge effect and Refine Edge effect rely on color information being present even in areas of complete transparency. Most methods of creating transparency in After Effects preserve the color values even when the alpha channel is 0. One exception is the Keylight effect, which obliterates color information in areas of complete transparency. In such cases, you can use the Set Channels effect after the Keylight effect (or similarly behaving effect) to bring the color information back; just use the current layer as the source layer within the effect and set each color source to itself. You could also use Keylight alone if you set its View property to Intermediate Result instead of Final Result.

new commands for finding missing footage, missing effects, and missing fonts in After Effects CC (12.0)

(For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.)

There are three new commands for finding missing items:

  • File > Dependencies > Find Missing Effects
  • File > Dependencies > Find Missing Fonts
  • File > Dependencies > Find Missing Footage

Note: Other commands from the File menu have also been moved into the new File > Dependencies submenu: Collect Files, Consolidate Footage, Remove Unused Footage, Reduce Project.

You can also type any of the following into the search field in the Project panel to search for missing items:

  • Missing Effects
  • Missing Fonts
  • Missing Footage

When you have isolated a composition that contains references to a missing item, such as missing effects, simply double-click that composition in the Project panel to open the composition in the Timeline panel and automatically execute the search for the missing effects. This filters the layers in the Timeline panel to show only instances of missing effects.

Note that the search for missing footage doesn’t currently distinguish between missing footage and footage for which the importer plug-in is unavailable.

The search for missing fonts works in cases in which a text layer depends on multiple fonts, even if only a subset of them are missing.

snapping of layer features in the Composition panel, new in After Effects CC (12.0)

(For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.)

Beginning in After Effects CC (12.0), you can snap layer features to one another while dragging in the Composition panel.

Josh Weiss has a great video demonstrating the new snapping features on the reTooled website.

To snap features to one other, Ctrl+drag (Windows) or Command+drag (Mac OS) the layer in the Composition panel.

When you begin the drag operation, the layer feature nearest the mouse pointer at the time of the initial click becomes the snapping feature. For 2D layers, this feature can be the anchor point, the center of the layer, a layer corner, the layer handle at the midpoint of a layer edge, or any point on a mask path (not just mask vertices). For 3D layers, the snapping feature can also be the center of any face or the center of the 3D volume.

When you drag the layer near other layers, various features on the other layers will become highlighted, indicating that the snapping feature will snap to the highlighted feature of the other layer if you release the mouse button. The feature snapped to can be the anchor point, the center of the layer, a layer corner, the layer handle at the midpoint of a layer edge, or any point on a mask path (not just mask vertices). For 3D layers, the feature snapped to can also be the center of any face or the center of the 3D volume. Note that the feature snapped to can be a feature of a sublayer within a nested composition or text layer with per-character 3D enabled.

The determination of what features of other layers are nearest to the snapping point is made in screen space (i.e., according to the current view), but the snapping itself occurs in composition space. This means that the snapping of one 3D layer to another can cause a drastic shift in layer position.

By default, invoking this snapping behavior requires holding the Command (Mac OS) or Ctrl (Windows) key while dragging. To make the snapping behavior occur without the modifier key, select the Snapping option in the Tools panel. With this option selected, holding the Command (Mac OS) or Ctrl (Windows) key while dragging temporarily disables auto-snapping.

Layers must be visible to be snapped to.

3D layers can be snapped to 3D layers. 2D layers can be snapped to 2D layers.

You can also snap the anchor point of a layer to features of that same layer using the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool.

additions to Warp Stabilizer VFX effect in After Effects CC (12.0)

(For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.)

For the basics of the Warp Stabilizer effect in After Effects CS5.5 and later, see these resources.

In After Effects CC (12.0), we have made several improvements to the Warp Stabilizer effect, which is why it has the new name Warp Stabilizer VFX to distinguish it from the previous version and the version in Premiere Pro. The improvements include the ability to delete track points to isolate the tracking to relevant image data, the ability to preserve scale during stabilization, and the ability to apply effects to the image such that they follow the motion in the scene.

Preserve Scale

In the previous version of the Warp Stabilizer, the effect could become confused by point-of-view shots and would attempt to correct for movement of the camera forward or backward by changing the scale. This was especially bad for aerial fly-throughs. If you enable the Preserve Scale option, then the Warp Stabilizer will not attempt to correct with scale adjustments.

Auto-delete Points Across Time

Steve Forde demonstrates this aspect of the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect in this video.

In the Advanced section of the effect properties, there is a new option: Auto-delete Points Across Time. This functions very much like the same feature in the 3D Camera Tracker in After Effects CC (12.0).

If this option is on, when you delete track points in the Composition panel, corresponding track points (i.e., track points on the same feature/object) are deleted at other times on the layer, so you don’t need to delete the track points frame by frame to improve the quality of the track. For example, you can delete track points on a person running through the scene, whose motion should not be considered for the determination of how to stabilize the shot.

You can delete selected track points with the Delete key or by context-clicking and choosing Delete Selected Points.

Note: Even with the new Auto-delete Points Across Time feature, you may instead or additionally define an alpha channel for the layer to prevent the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect from considering a specific part of the image for the purpose of stabilizing the shot.


There are three primary ways to use Warp Stabilizer: for stabilizing a shot, for temporarily stabilizing to do visual effects work, and compositing a layer into a shaky scene. Each of these goals has a corresponding entry in the new Objective menu in the Advanced properties of the Warp Stabilizer:

  • Stabilize: This is the normal operation and default value for Objective.
  • Reversible Stabilization and Reverse Stabilization: To apply an effect to a region (including a moving object) in the scene: Use one instance of the Warp Stabilizer effect set to Reversible Stabilization to hold the subject steady, apply an effect (e.g., Paint, Liquify) following this instance of the Warp Stabilizer effect, and then duplicate the Warp Stabilizer effect and place it on the bottom of the effect stack, choosing Reverse Stabilization for this second instance of the Warp Stabilizer effect. (If you applied the Warp Stabilizer effect again rather than duplicating, the analysis would need to be repeated.) The end result will be an unstabilized clip with tracked effects.
  • Apply Motion to Target / Apply Motion to Target Over Original: To composite a layer into a shaky scene, use a single instance of the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect set to one of these two objectives and choose a layer in the Target Layer menu. Use the No Motion option. If you don’t use the Over Original option, the original shaky layer is not rendered; this is useful if you were only using the original shaky layer as a reference for the motion of the new layer.

Note that these new options benefit greatly from the new ability to delete track points and thereby focus the tracker/stabilizer on a specific region or object in the scene. For example, if you want to attach a layer or effect to a person’s face in the foreground, deleting track points in the background can improve the results.