AFTEREFFECTS

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

known issues in After Effects CC 2015

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include issues fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update, the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update, the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update, and the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update. For details about what is new and changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), read this article.

The After Effects team is tracking several issues, listed below, that affect performance or usability in After Effects CC 2015. Many of these issues have been fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update, the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update, the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update, and the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update.

In addition to this article, you should also read about features not available in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5).


silent audio when you export a composition to AVI, AIFF, MP3, or WAV from the render queue


When you export to .avi, .aiff, .mp3, or .wav from the render queue in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1), the resulting file is the correct duration but the audio is silent. This will also happen with QuickTime if the audio output is set to mono.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update.


crash when motion tracking is stopped


When you start and then stop motion tracking, After Effects may crash. This is most likely to happen on large frames (approximately 4K or larger), but could happen on smaller frame sizes, depending on the memory requirements.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update.


horizontal panning with the hand tool does not work in the Timeline panel


When you use the hand tool, including holding the spacebar key, in the Timeline panel you can not pan the view left or right.

This problem only occurs under the following conditions:

1. You are using more than one computer monitor.

2. The Timeline panel is on a secondary monitor. This condition includes when the entire After Effects application window is on the secondary monitor.

3. That monitor is arranged in the OS display configuration to be to the left of the primary monitor.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update.


changes to shadow map resolution are not saved


When you open the Composition Settings dialog and change the value for Shadow Map Resolution (Advanced tab > Options button for Classic 3D renderer), the new value is not saved when you OK the dialog. The value always stays on Comp Resolution.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update.


keyframes or other objects continue to move after dragging and letting go


We have received reports from users experiencing a problem where keyframes, markers, or other objects in the Timeline panel keep moving for a short distance after you let go of the mouse button.

This problem appears most prevalent when a Wacom tablet is being used, but not all users with tablets experience the problem, and some users report this problem when only using a mouse.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update.


stopping a preview with spacebar continues playback of cached frames if not all frames have been rendered


When you start a preview with the spacebar key, if you press spacebar again to stop the preview before all frames are rendered and cached, preview does not stop. Only rendering is interrupted, and playback of the cached frames continues. Pressing spacebar again will then stop the preview.

This issue is addressed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update. By default, pressing spacebar to stop a preview now stops the preview immediately.

In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), we made significant changes to how previews work. Among those changes were new behaviors for caching and stopping previews with different keyboard shortcuts. We received clear feedback that users were unhappy with our choices for the spacebar shortcut.

In addition to changing the default stopping behavior of the spacebar shortcut, we have addressed this feedback with three modifications in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update:

  • Caching behavior is now unified for all previews. There is no longer a Preview Favors control; all previews use a single, optimized caching behavior.
  • Stopping behavior is now configurable per-shortcut, rather than being implied by the (now removed) Preview Favors control. You can choose whether interrupting a preview before caching is complete will stop the preview immediately or begin playback of the cached frames. (This is controlled by a new option labeled: If caching, play cached frames.)
  • When play cached frames is enabled, playback starts from the first frame of the range, instead of continuing from the frame where preview was interrupted. This behavioral change clarifies that After Effects has responded to your command to interrupt the preview.

multiple still image sequences from the same directory cause the wrong frame to appear


Multiple still image sequences from the same directory cause one of those footages to display the wrong image under the following situations:

  • If you change the Interpret Footage settings of one sequence and then remember and apply the settings to another sequence from the same directory, the second sequence displays the image of the first sequence.
  • If you duplicate a still image sequence footage item in the Project panel and then replace the duplicated footage item with a different still image sequence from the same directory, the second sequence displays the image of the first sequence.

These issues are fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update.


problems with camera raw sequence footage, including .dng


Multiple problems affect using camera raw sequence footage, including .dng sequences.

  • An error occurs after you change the settings of a camera raw sequence in the Camera Raw settings dialog: Photoshop file format error 3415 ( 45 :: 35 ). When you quit After Effects, you may also receive an error: Photoshop file format error 1 ( 45 :: 35 ). This error may not occur if you choose Edit > Edit Original to open the Camera Raw settings dialog instead of accessing the settings via the Interpret Footage dialog.
  • If you change the settings of a camera raw sequence in After Effects, only the first frame or a limited number of frames may reflect the changes. Purging the cache in After Effects (Edit > Purge > Image Cache Memory, or All Memory & Disk Cache) may load the changed settings.

The above two issues are fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.

  • If you change the settings of a camera raw sequence in another application, for example Photoshop or Lightroom, those changes may not be reflected in After Effects after reloading the footage. Purging the cache in After Effects (Edit > Purge > Image Cache Memory, or Edit > Purge > All Memory & Disk Cache) may load the changed settings. A more consistent workaround is to save, close, and re-open the project, then right-click on the footage and choose Reload Footage.
  • Under certain circumstances, choosing Edit > Undo after changing the camera raw settings via the Interpret Footage dialog either does not work will cause After Effects to crash with an error: “After Effects can’t continue: damaged I/O structure. ( 39 :: 101)”
  • Under certain circumstances, selecting a single camera raw image and choosing Edit > Edit Original does not work, the Adobe Camera Raw settings dialog box does not appear. To work around this, instead choose File > Interpret Footage and click on the More Options button.

The above three issues are fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update.


issues with plug-ins


Most plug-ins need to be updated for After Effects CC 2015. Older plug-ins may cause errors or fail to function properly. Updated plug-ins are now available from many vendors, you should check to see if updates are available for yours.

Issues with individual third party plug-ins in After Effects CC 2015 are being tracked in a different article. Please refer that article for up-to-date information.

Two plug-in related issues are worth mentioning here because they required fixes in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) update, not the plug-ins themselves:

  • Trapcode Sound Keys (from Red Giant) and similar plug-ins that process audio will not work.
  • Using any combination of two effects from certain categories will result in an error message:

    “After Effects error: internal verification failure, sorry! {Effect is I_MIX_GUID_DEPENDENCIES but did not call GuidMixIn in PreRender}”

    This will happen with effects from RE:Vision Effects, though they are not the only affected plug-ins.

Both of these issues are fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.


stopping an audio-only preview moves the CTI to the stop time


When you stop an audio-only preview with the Numpad-.(period) key in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) the current-time indicator (CTI) will move to the time where you stopped the preview instead of staying at the previous time, as it did in previous versions of After Effects.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.

In the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update, the Numpad-.(period) key and Option + Numpad-.(period) (Mac OS) or Alt + Numpad-.(period) (Windows) are now configurable shortcuts in the Preview panel. You can also now control whether the CTI moves on stop for each preview keyboard shortcut.


unable to stop a preview before rendering finishes or long delay before you can stop a preview 


Under specific circumstances, After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) doesn’t respond to mouse clicks or keyboard input while a preview is rendering and caching frames. Once the preview is fully rendered, After Effect will respond to input again. In some cases, After Effects will respond during the preview, but only after a long delay.

This problem occurs when the Warp Stabilizer VFX or 3D Camera Tracker effects are applied to any layer in the project, regardless of which composition you are previewing.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.


keyboard input is not recognized or delayed 


Under specific circumstances, After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) doesn’t respond to keyboard input, for example pressing a keyboard shortcut or typing into a text layer.

These issues are the same bug described above where After Effects does not respond to commands to stop a preview, caused by the same problem with the Warp Stabilizer VFX or 3D Camera Tracker effects being used in the project.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.


audio doesn’t play at the beginning of previews


When you start a preview in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), audio may not play for one or more seconds at the beginning of the preview.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.


scrubbing audio causes the CTI and PTI to disappear


After you scrub audio in a composition, i.e. you hold the Command (Mac OS) or Control (Windows) key and scrub the current-time indicator (CTI), the CTI and preview-time indicator (PTI) stop drawing in the Timeline panel for that composition until you restart After Effects.

This bug happens only when you release the mouse button before you release the Command or Control key when you are finished scrubbing.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.


scrubbing audio slowly will cause audio to loop around the CTI


When you scrub audio, i.e. you hold the Command (Mac OS) or Control (Windows) key and scrub the current-time indicator (CTI), if you move the mouse very slowly or hold it still, audio will play in a short loop around the CTI.

This behavior existed in previous versions of After Effects, however it only engaged after a short (1 second) delay if you held the CTI in the same position. In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), there is a bug that causes audio looping to ignore this delay.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.


unable to import .mxf files from Sony cameras


After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) is unable to import .mxf files generated by Sony cameras, such as the FS700, F5, F55, and F65. Trying to import such a file results in an error, “file ‘<file name>.mxf’ can not be imported – this .mxf file is damaged or unsupported”.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update.


preview image doesn’t update after Undo or making another change


In After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), the preview image doesn’t update after you use Undo, or sometimes after making another change like adding or deleting a keyframe.

This problem occurs because After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) could inadvertently put the image cache into a bad state that caused it not to update the image drawn on screen. This problem was most common on Windows. Using Edit > Purge > All Memory & Disk Cache or All Memory would clear the problem, as would closing and reopening the project or restarting After Effects.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update.


After Effects fails to start on computers with older processors


On computers with older processors lacking a specific instruction set (e.g., AMD Phenom II and Athlon processors), After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) would fail to start, with an error message, “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc000001d)” or “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000142)”.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update.


downsampling artifacts when using Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels


When the Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels option is enabled in Preferences > Display, and a viewer panel is set to 50% zoom and Full resolution, the image can show downsampling artifacts (ex., jagged, uneven edges on diagonal lines).

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update, and even more downsampling artifact issues were fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update.


error on preview when using expressions on audio effect properties


When you start a preview of a composition that contains an expression on an audio effect property, the preview fails to start, and After Effects displays an error: Effect cannot use “abort” callback when called with “unrecognized plug-in effect command” command. ( 25 :: 19 )

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update.


render progress indicator is slow to appear or doesn’t appear


We have received reports from users experiencing a problem where, in some projects with very long per-frame render times, the render progress indicator in the lower-right corner of the Composition panel does not appear or is very slow to appear after you make a change to the frame. This makes After Effects to appear unresponsive.

One cause of this problem was fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update, and some additional causes were fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update. We are continuing to investigate other cases of this problem for future updates.


cursor stays stuck in the down state after dragging panel borders with a tablet pen


In After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), when you try to resize a panel in the workspace when using a tablet pen (e.g. a Wacom tablet), the panel border either continues to drag after you lift the pen, or doesn’t appear to move at first and then moves when you click down with the pen again. After this, a single click with the pen will start a drag action.

To get out of this bad state, click on any single-click object in After Effects, such as an application menu.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update.


zooming with the scroll wheel only scrolls the first view in a multi-view Composition panel


In After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), when you place the mouse pointer over a multi-view Composition panel and use the scroll wheel on a mouse to zoom in or out, only the first view in the Composition panel zooms.

You can work around this problem by clicking to zoom with the Zoom tool, or by using the keyboard shortcuts to zoom in and out:

  • Zoom in: . (period) on main keyboard, or Command + = (equal sign) on Mac OS or Control + = (equal sign) on Windows
  • Zoom out: , (comma), or Command + – (hyphen) on Mac OS or Control + – (hyphen) on Windows

Tip: hold the Z key to temporarily switch to the Zoom tool; add Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) to modify the tool to zoom out.

This issue is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update.


audio drops out and preview frame rate slows down during interaction while previews are playing back


Certain actions can cause the preview frame rate to slow down while a preview is playing back in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). This, in turn, could cause audio to drop out.

Two causes of this problem have been fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update: placing markers or moving the mouse cursor over the previewing Composition, Layer, or Footage panel no longer cause the preview frame rate to slow down.

The most significant remaining cause of frame rate slow downs during previews is moving the mouse cursor over UI controls such as layer or effect property controls.

For the remaining problems, the Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-Time option is now disabled by default in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update. This will prevent the audio from dropping out, though it does not affect the remaining bugs that cause the preview frame rate to slow down.

Note that when Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-Time is disabled, and the preview frame rate drops below real-time, the audio will stutter. This stuttering is by design: in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), the audio playback clock was fixed so that audio always stays in sync with video; to account for cases where preview is slower than real-time, audio slows down by dropping samples (stuttering).

Audio drop out problems (not the stuttering described above) occur due to an interaction between the Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-Time option and the bugs:

  • The Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-Time option by design causes audio to stop playing when the frame rate of a preview drops below real-time. (This option is new to After effects CC 2015 (13.5), and was enabled by default, but it is now disabled by default in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update. You can still enable this option if you choose.)
  • Bugs that affect the ability of After Effects to play previews consistently at real-time frame rate once the frames are cached. When this happens, the Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-Time option causes audio to stop playing.

Remember that only previews of cached frames are expected to play back in real-time. If you modify a composition during a preview in a way that invalidates cached frames, After Effect will need to render and cache the new frames, which will slow down the preview frame rate. Once the new frames are cached, the preview frame rate should again be real-time.

You can monitor the frame rate of a preview in the Info panel.


compositions of 60fps or greater do not preview in real-time


If you preview a composition with a frame rate of 60fps or greater, on some computers After Effects CC 2015 may not be able to play back the composition at real-time speed. This is due to a change in how After Effects synchronizes playback with the video card.

In the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) bug-fix update, a new, experimental text preference has been added to disable OpenGL vertical sync. This allows After Effects to refresh frames to the video card as often as necessary, however it may cause tearing in the preview image if After Effects sends frames to be displayed faster than the video card is capable.

This preference is located only in the text preferences file, not in the After Effects user interface. To enable this preference:

1. In After Effects, choose After Effects CC > Preferences > General (Mac OS) or Edit > Preferences> General (Windows), then click the Reveal Preferences in Finder (Mac OS) or Reveal Preferences in Explorer (Windows) button. The After Effects/13.5 preferences folder will open.

2. Quit After Effects.

3. Open Adobe After Effects 13.5 Prefs.txt in a text editor. In the [“GPU Display Transform”] section, change the value for “DisableSyncToVerticalRetrace” to 01.

4. Save the file and then start After Effects and test previewing your composition.

IMPORTANT: If you enable this preference, tell us about it on the After Effects user-to-user forum. We need to understand better under what conditions After Effects is not syncing correctly with the video card. Include what operating system you are using, model of video card (and driver version if on Windows), and the playback frame rate of your composition before and after enabling this preference.


playback of cached previews is not real-time on Mac OS X 10.11


When you preview a composition, layer, or footage in After Effects on Mac OS X 10.11, playback of cached frames is not real-time.

We’ve been working with Apple on the main issue preventing real-time playback on Mac OS X v10.11, and we have a good understanding of the problem. Apple made a change to an API for drawing items to the screen in Mac OS X v10.11 (El Capitan). That change, coupled with some drawing changes for the Timeline panel that we made in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), causes the entire Timeline panel to be redrawn each time that only a subset of the Timeline panel should be redrawn (e.g., when the preview time indicator moves, the whole panel is being redrawn to the screen instead of just the part that has changed).

We are investigating this problem for the next update to After Effects.

You can work around the problem by hiding the preview time indicator (red line that moves across the Timeline panel during previews) during previews, such as the following:

  • close the Timeline panel
  • enable Full Screen the Preview panel, or press the accent-grave (`) keyboard shortcut while the mouse is over the composition panel
  • reduce the height or width of the Timeline panel, and/or twirl up layer properties to minimize the amount of screen space used by the Timeline panel
  • zoom in on the Timeline panel and move the current zoomed view up or down the composition to avoid showing the portion of the timeline you are currently previewing (thus hiding the preview time indicator)

modifying a camera view with the unified camera tool is slow


Using the Unified Camera Tool (UCT) to modify the view of a camera layer at the same time that camera is used for the view in the Composition panel causes the view to update slowly in Off (Final Quality) preview mode or downsample excessively in Adaptive Resolution preview mode.

This problem doesn’t occur with the individual camera tools: Orbit Camera Tool, Track XY Camera Tool, and Track Z Camera Tool.

We are investigating this problem for a future update.


no audio when using motion sketch or animating a puppet pin


When you use motion sketch to animate a layer’s position, or animate a puppet pin by holding the Command (Mac OS) or CTRL (Windows), audio does not play.

We are investigating these problems for a future update.

To work around these problems, you can open your project in After Effects CC 2014 (13.2), use the motion sketch or animate a puppet pin in that version, then save the project file and open it again in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5 or 13.6).


unable to import ARRIRAW (.ari) files on Mac OS


ARRIRAW (.ari) files are grayed out and not selectable in the Import dialog in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) on Mac OS.

Also, if you open an After Effects project that references ARRIRAW files, the files will be reported as missing.

This problem is new to the After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) update, and only occurs on Mac OS. On Windows, After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) can import ARRIRAW files as expected.

If your workflow allows, you can work around this problem by transcoding the ARRIRAW files to an intermediate format (such as the GoPro CineForm codec) using Adobe Media Encoder, or with After Effects CC 2014 (13.2). If you want to modify the ARRIRAW settings in Adobe Media Encoder before transcoding, right-click on the ARRIRAW file in the Queue panel and choose Source Settings.

We are investigating this problem for a future update.


licensing an Adobe Stock image does not automatically replace the watermarked preview image


When you import a preview (watermarked) Adobe Stock image from the Libraries panel to your project, and then later license that image, the preview image is not automatically replaced by the non-watermarked, licensed image.

This problem only affects still images; licensing an Adobe Stock video will automatically replace the (watermarked) preview video as expected.

To work around this problem and replace the use of a preview image in a composition: add the licensed image into your project, select the preview image in the composition, then hold the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key and drag and drop the licensed image from the Project panel onto the preview image layer in the Timeline panel.

We are investigating this problem for a future update.


PSD is cropped after changing document dimensions in Photoshop


When you edit a .PSD file in Photoshop that is used in your After Effects project, if you change the dimensions of the document After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) does not recognize the new dimensions. Any changes to the image are visible in After Effects but the image is cropped or padded inside of the old dimensions.

We are investigating this problem for a future update.

Adobe Character Animator (Preview 1) now available

Last month, within the halls of the Seattle office of Adobe, one could hear the bustling of people working hard on the first preview version of Character Animator. And all of that hustling has brought us to today, when I’m so excited to exclaim that it’s finally here! Install the most recent version of After Effects, and Character Animator will be installed with it.

Those that have used After Effects to do character animation will be pleasantly relieved that Character Animator is a complement to your workflow, because it avoids the tangle of expressions that you might have experienced when rigging characters or setting up lip synch in After Effects.

The Advanced Product Development and Creative Technologies Lab groups behind Character Animator include many of the people (or should I say characters?) who brought you After Effects.

“After Effects is very powerful — anything you can imagine as moving imagery you can probably create in After Effects if you spend enough time and you know the application,” says David Simons, principal scientist in the Advanced Product Development group and original developer of After Effects. “But creating a character that looks like it is alive is always a lot of work and it doesn’t need to be that way.”

David and his team were really drawn to the idea of creating an application that could take someone who knows how to draw in Photoshop or Illustrator and allow them to create a puppet that’s already alive the moment you place it on the stage. Thus Character Animator was born.

Check out these tutorials and other resources get started.

This version of Character Animator is being released as a “preview”, which means that we know that we have a lot of work left to do, but we think that it’s far enough along for you to use and give us feedback. We want to hear from you about what capabilities we need to focus on to make Character Animator most useful for you. Let us know what you think on our new Character Animator forum. Also, please, share your puppet creations on Twitter (#CharacterAnimator). We can’t wait to see what you produce!

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you have access to the latest version of After Effects and now Character Animator, as it’s available with After Effects and your Creative Cloud subscription. Download your update to After Effects now, and Character Animator will automatically be installed with it. From within After Effects, choose File > Open Adobe Character Animator, and you’re ready to play.

If you’re not a member yet, you can download the After Effects trial version or go to the Creative Cloud site 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.

plug-ins and After Effects CC 2015 (13.5)

After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) is now available. For details about what’s new and changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), see this page.

IMPORTANT: Before installing the new version of After Effects, please read this page about the default behavior of the updater, which is to remove all previous versions of the application, and this page about why you might not want to do that.

The biggest piece of work for After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) has been a complete re-architecture of how rendering occurs, specifically regarding separating the main render thread from the thread that controls the user interface. Because of this very large change to the fundamental workings of After Effects, most plug-ins needed to be updated; this includes the hundreds of plug-ins included with After Effects, as well as the thousands of plug-ins provided by various third parties. We have worked closely with the makers of all of the popular plug-ins for After Effects (and many of the makers of many not-so-popular plug-ins) to make sure that they were able to update their software for this new version of After Effects.

Please, check with the vendors of your third-party plug-ins for updates that are compatible with After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). Most are ready.

I said that most are ready. That is in part because we still have a few bugs to fix before some of the plug-in makers can finish their plug-in updates. I’m listing the bugs that we know about below, with some information about when each is expected to be fixed.

As usual, Toolfarm is doing an excellent job of tracking which plug-ins have updates, and where to get them.


Trapcode Sound Keys (Red Giant)

[UPDATE: This bug that affected Trapcode Sound Keys is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) update.]

This bug is our fault, not the fault of Trapcode or Red Giant. We have a fix in development now, and we are targeting a fix for next month (July 2015), after we have had a chance to fully implement and test the fix.

If you need to use Trapcode Sound Keys, we recommend running it in After Effects CC 2014 (13.2), saving the project, opening that project in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), and then continuing to work in the new version. The bug only affects the phase of the plug-in’s operation when the audio is analyzed, so the data from this analysis can be used in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) with no problem.


other Red Giant plug-ins

Image Lounge: In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), Red Giant’s Image Lounge plug-in will render black frames, and the UI may not work properly. Red Giant is currently working on this issue and will release an update soon.


RE:Vision Effects

[UPDATE: This bug that affected RE:Vision Effects plug-ins is fixed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.5.1) update.]

We have a bug that causes a problem when you use any combination of two effects from a certain category. The error message that is reported is this:
“After Effects error: internal verification failure, sorry! {Effect is I_MIX_GUID_DEPENDENCIES but did not call GuidMixIn in PreRender}”

Effect plug-ins from RE:Vision effects are not the only ones that trigger this problem, but they are notable in that several effect plug-ins from this one vendor do use the problematic programming interface element.

This bug is our fault, not the fault of RE:Vision Effects. We have a fix in development now, and we are targeting a fix for next month (July 2015), after we have had a chance to fully implement and test the fix.

If you need to use these effects, there is a rather simple workaround: Precompose the layer on which the first problematic effect is applied, and then apply the second effect to the precomposition layer. Or you could pre-render the intermediate result from the first effect and then apply the second effect.

Despite the existence of this bug, you should still update to RE:Flex v5.2, Twixtor 6.2, ReelSmart Motion Blur 5.1, and RE:Match v1.4 to work with After Effects CC 2015 (13.5).


Boris FX

Boris FX has release notes for their newly updated plug-ins here:
http://www.borisfx.com/bcc-9-aepremiere-pro-9-0-4/

Here’s an excerpt about the known issues:

BCC 9.0.4 AE contains extensive revisions required to fully support the plugin API changes made by Adobe in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). BCC 9.0.4 is fully compliant with the requirements of After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), with the minor exception of the known issues outlined below. (Note that versions of BCC prior to 9.0.4 are NOT compatible with After Effects CC 2015 (13.5).)

  • The obsolete BCC Degrain filter (which has been replaced by the more modern BCC Noise Reduction filter) will continue to render any projects in which the grain samples were previously locked. However Degrain will not support saving new grain samples going forward in CC 2015 and beyond. The Degrain filter is in the obsolete category and it is recommended that future projects use BCC Noise Reduction instead of Degrain.
  • The BCC Motion Tracker will continue to render previously saved motion tracker analysis passes and it will continue to support loading externally generated tracker data files, but conducting new motion analysis passes is temporarily disabled in BCC 9.0.4 for CC 2015. A revised (and improved) version of the BCC Motion Tracker which is fully compliant with AE CC 2015 will be released in BCC10.
  • When enabling the stabilization feature in BCC Motion Key you may sometimes experience a longer than expected pause while motion analysis data is recomputed after events such as saving a project or cloning a layer or an effect instance. This occasional performance delay will be eliminated in BCC10.

others?

If you encounter other plug-ins that cause problems with After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), please come to the After Effects forum and let us know. Be sure to note whether the problem is new with After Effects CC 2015 (13.5)—i.e., whether the same plug-in behaves correctly in After Effects CC 2014 (13.2).

After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) is now available.

After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) is now available. For details about what’s new and changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), see this page. And that also means that Character Animator (Preview 1) is available. For information about what’s new in all of the Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page.

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the new version by checking for updates through the Creative Cloud desktop application. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

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

IMPORTANT: Before installing the new version of After Effects, please read this page about the default behavior of the updater, which is to remove all previous versions of the application, and this page about why you might not want to do that.

keeping previous versions installed when installing CC 2015 applications

By default, when you install a CC 2015 version of an application using the Creative Cloud desktop utility, previous versions of that application will be uninstalled, leaving only the most recent version. For example, by default, installing After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) using the Creative Cloud desktop utility will uninstall After Effects CC 2014 (13.2) and After Effects CC (12.2).

If you want to retain these previous versions during the installation of CC 2015, then you need to deselect the Remove Old Versions option in the Advanced Options section of the updater interface. See this page for details and a screenshot of the relevant interface item.

You can choose to reinstall previous versions at any time by following these instructions.

Here are some reasons that you may want to keep the previous version around for a little while, with some tips for how to manage the migration to the new version:

  • plug-in compatibility: Because the interactive performance improvements for After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) required a complete re-architecture of the application, most plug-ins need to be updated to work with this new version. If you need to use a plug-in that has not yet been updated, then you may wish to use the previous version—After Effects CC 2014 (13.2)—for the parts of your work that require that plug-in until the updated version is available. For more details about plug-in compatibility, see this page.
  • need to work with collaborators or clients who have not yet upgraded: Of course, you should urge these folks to update as soon as possible, but you may need to keep a previous version around until everyone that you work with has caught up. Since you can save projects back one major version number from After Effects, you can still work with the most recent version for your creative work and then only save backward as occasionally needed. Note that you don’t even need to use the command to save backward one version when going between After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) and After Effects CC 2014 (13.2), since the project file format is unchanged, as indicated by the major version number (the part before the dot). For details about saving backward in After Effects, see this page.
  • need to use features not available in the version: With each new version, we take the opportunity to prune features that haven’t gotten much use or for some reason no longer make sense to keep in the application. And, as is the case with After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), we sometimes need to remove a feature because of a major architectural change. Even if you do need to use a feature not available in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), we encourage you to do the bulk of your creative work in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) and then open the same project in After Effects CC 2014 (13.2) for the part of your work that requires that feature. For details of features not available in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), see this page.

features not available in After Effects CC 2015 (13.7)

[For details of what’s new and changed in each version, see this article.]

In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), some features that were available in previous versions of After Effects were removed or disabled. All of these features are related to rendering or previewing frames. The interactive performance improvements in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) and later required re-architecture of the code for how frames are rendered and then returned for processing, i.e. previews or exporting.

In some cases, a feature has been disabled temporarily because it is being rewritten for the new After Effects architecture, and that work is not yet complete. We intend to re-enable some of these features in a future update to After Effects. Some such features have already been re-implemented in the After Effects 13.6, 13.6.1, and 13.7 updates. In other cases, the feature has been removed permanently.

If you still want to use these features with your project, you can open project files saved by After Effects CC 2015 (13.5-13.7) in After Effects CC 2014 (13.2). Project files are directly compatible between these versions; you do not need to save back a version. Both versions of After Effects can be installed on the same computer at the same time.

The After Effects team understands that the removal of features can be disruptive. We would appreciate you telling us on the After Effects forum which of these features is most important for you (and why) so that we can best prioritize the rewriting or replacement of these features.

The following features have been removed or disabled in After Effects CC 2015 (13.7):

  • Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously (Multiprocessing)

The Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously feature has been superseded by the new architecture in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). The new architecture will allow a future version of After Effects to utilize processor threads and RAM more efficiently than the Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously functionality ever could.

Options related to Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously have been removed from the preferences, and Preferences > Memory & Multiprocessing has been renamed to Preferences > Memory.

If you want to use Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously to speed up final rendering via the render queue, you can still do so by opening the project in After Effects CC 2014 (13.2).

  • Cache Work Area in Background

The Composition > Cache Work Area in Background command has been removed. It was dependent on the now-removed Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously functionality. Similar functionality utilizing the new architecture could be implemented in the future.

  • Brainstorm

Brainstorm has been removed.

  • Watch Folder rendering

Choosing File > Watch Folder in After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) will display a dialog with a link to this page.

Watch Folder rendering requires additional work to the new architecture.

You can use Watch Folder rendering in After Effects CC 2014 (13.2) with projects saved by After Effects CC 2015 (13.7).

  • Progress indicators on the After Effects icon in the Mac OS dock during previews and render queue rendering

The icon for After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) in the Mac OS dock does not display a progress bar, frame count, or render item count while previewing or render queue rendering. This functionality requires additional work to the new architecture.

  • Save Current Preview (formerly Save RAM Preview)

The Composition > Save Current Preview command is disabled. It requires additional work to the new architecture.

This command was previously named Save RAM Preview. It was renamed due to the removal of the term “RAM Preview”.

  • Alternate RAM Preview

The Alternate RAM Preview functionality and its options in Preferences > Previews have been removed. The new Play Around Current Time option in the Range menu in the Preview panel is intended to provide similar but more generally useful functionality.

  • Ping Pong loop

The Loop button in the Preview panel can no longer be set to Ping Pong mode.

all about previews in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5)

[Before you install After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), read this article. For details of what’s new and changed, read this article.]

How you preview compositions, layers, and footage has changed significantly in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). Previews are now easier to start, interactive, and configurable.

This article contains everything you need to know about what has changed with previews. If you don’t read the whole article, you should at least know this:

  • RAM Preview is dead, long live Preview: After Effects still caches frames in RAM for real-time playback, but starting such a preview is no longer a unique command in After Effects, so the term “RAM Preview” is no longer used. It’s just called “Preview” now.
  • Spacebar joins the club: Spacebar can now start a preview that optimizes frame caching for real-time playback, and that also plays audio. (Both are formerly unique features of what used to be called “RAM Preview”.)
  • Have it your way: You can configure the preview behaviors for each of the preview keyboard shortcuts: Spacebar, Numpad 0, and Shift + Numpad 0. If you want spacebar to start a preview with audio that also displays active layer controls, you can do that now.
  • Don’t interrupt me: In previous versions of After Effects, clicking anywhere during a preview stopped playback. In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) you can now continue to work in your composition or project at the same time that you preview a composition, layer, or footage. This necessarily changes the behaviors of starting and stopping previews. We will soon post an article with more detail about the architectural changes that mad this possible.

While a lot has changed, it’s important to also clarify what has not changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5):

  • Real-time playback still requires that rendered frames be cached to RAM. While simple compositions may render and cache faster than real-time, previewing always caches frames to RAM before playback regardless of the composition content.
  • There is no new use of the GPU during previews. The After Effects team is continuing to evaluate opportunities to optimize use of the GPU, but the changes in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) are all related to optimizing CPU resources.

Here is the full description of how previews have changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5):


modify projects and compositions during previews (uninterrupted preview)


You can now make changes to the open project while a preview is playing back in After Effects.

In previous versions of After Effects, after you started a preview in a composition, layer, or footage viewer, clicking anywhere in the user interface would stop playback of that preview. In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), preview will continue to play back until you take an explicit action to stop it, such as a keyboard shortcut like spacebar. Read “stop a preview” below for specific actions that will stop a preview.

When you preview a composition you can modify its layers in the Timeline, Layer, or Effect Controls panels. After Effects will immediately begin to cache the updated frames, which will cause the preview frame rate to slow down until the new frames are cached. However, you can not make modifications inside the previewing Composition panel because clicking in the panel will stop the preview.

Tip: To modify composition by clicking in the Composition panel during a preview, for example to modify a mask path, open a second viewer panel for the same composition and make modifications there. Changes in the non-previewing viewer will be reflected in the Composition panel where the preview is playing back.

You can make modifications during a preview in any non-previewing Composition, Layer, or Footage panel. More examples of what you can do:

  • Create new layers, including sub-compositions, and modify them.
  • Apply or remove effects and keyframes, and change the values of any property or keyframe.
  • Import footage and change interpret footage settings of any footage.
  • Add compositions to the render queue and modify settings or render item order. Note that starting the render queue will stop previews.
  • Rearrange the workspace, including opening new Composition, Layer, or Footage panels.
  • Change the view settings of a Composition, Layer, or Footage panel. e.g. Display the alpha channel, zoom in or out, switch from a single to a 4-up view, or change the 3D view.

As noted above, any time you make a change that affects the frames being previewed, the preview frame rate will slow down while the new frames are rendered and cached.


current time vs. preview time

With the ability to modify a composition during a preview, a distinction needs to be made between the current time and the preview time.

In After Effects, the current time in a composition is the frame at which many actions are recorded, such as where keyframes are added. The current time is indicated by the current-time indicator (CTI) and by the current time display in the upper-left corner of the Timeline panel.

During a preview, the CTI now draws a vertical blue line through the time graph area of the Timeline panel. This helps to identify what keyframes or other points of interest are at the current time.

The preview time of a composition is different from the current time. The preview time corresponds to the frame displayed in the Composition panel during a preview. The preview time is indicated by the preview-time indicator (PTI), the vertical red line through the time graph area of the Timeline panel which moves left-to-right during a preview, and also by the time display at the bottom of the Composition panel. (In previous versions of After Effects, neither the preview time nor the preview-time indicator had proper names.)

When preview is stopped, the current time and preview time are the same frame.


change the current time during a preview

As in previous versions of After Effects, the CTI in the Timeline panel does not move during a preview, and if you drag the CTI during a preview, playback will stop in order to display the frame at the new current time.

To move the CTI without stopping a preview, hold the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key while you either drag the CTI or click in the time ruler. If you also hold the Shift key while you drag, the CTI will snap to keyframes and other points of interest, as it would when preview is not playing back.

Other methods to change the current time will not stop a preview.


simplified and configurable preview behaviors


In addition to the ability to modify a composition during a preview, After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) changes how you can start and stop a preview. Preview behaviors for the preview keyboard shortcuts can be customized with new controls in the Preview panel. The spacebar key by default now starts a preview that caches for real-time playback and that plays audio.

Because these changes have dissolved the differences between the old RAM Preview and Standard Preview (spacebar) behaviors, those terms are no longer used in After Effects. Preview has been unified, with user-configurable behaviors.

Summary of the major changes to preview behaviors:

  • The term “RAM Preview” is no longer used to describe a separate preview mode. The RAM Preview button has been removed from the Preview panel.
  • Spacebar now starts a preview that plays audio and optimizes frame caching for real-time playback.
  • Preview behaviors for the spacebar keyboard shortcut can now be configured.
  • New controls in the Preview panel allow you to configure preview behaviors per-keyboard shortcut: audio, looping, caching, range, and layer controls.
  • New range option: Work Area Extended By Current Time.
  • When caching a preview, After Effects starts playback immediately. Audio will play, if enabled. When frames can be cached faster than real-time the playback speed will be limited to the real-time frame rate.
  • Audio can now play with all previews, regardless of how the preview was started.
  • When the preview frame rate is slower than real-time (e.g., during caching), audio is muted by default. A new preference allows you to choose whether to mute audio or to play audio. If you choose to play audio the audio will stutter in order to maintain sync when the preview frame rate is slower than real-time.
  • Explicit action is needed to stop a preview because previews are not interrupted while you modify a project or composition.

Note: Audio-only preview has not been incorporated into the unified preview behaviors. Pressing Numpad period (.) or Option + Numpad period (.) (Mac OS) or Alt + Numpad period (.) (Windows) will still engage an audio-only preview. These shortcuts are not configurable nor affected by the new Preview panel controls.


removal of RAM Preview terminology and button

The term “RAM Preview” is no longer used in After Effects, and the RAM Preview button in the Preview panel has been removed. The new preview behaviors have dissolved the differences between the old RAM Preview and Standard Preview (spacebar) behaviors. The term “preview” is now used to describe playing a composition, layer, or footage viewer in After Effects, regardless of the behaviors.

While the term “RAM Preview” has been removed, the behavior of caching frames until RAM is full still exists, although the underlying code has been completely re-written. This is now enabled by setting the Preview Favors control to Frame Rate. This and other behaviors associated with RAM Preview and Standard Preview, such as whether or not layer controls are shown during preview, are now user-configurable.


default behaviors when starting a preview with spacebar and numpad 0

Pressing spacebar now starts a preview with audio and caches the frames until available RAM is filled, so that real-time playback can occur. This will help both new and experienced users of After Effects feel comfortable with using spacebar to start previews.

In previous versions of After Effects, before new users learned about RAM Preview they would first reach for the spacebar key. The resulting preview probably wasn’t in real-time and never played audio, which caused confusion and generated many requests for help.

Experienced After Effects users working on a laptop or other keyboard without a numeric keypad will also appreciate the ease of starting a cached preview with the spacebar key.

Pressing Numpad 0 starts a preview that is substantially identical to RAM Preview in previous versions of After Effects.
The preview settings for both keyboard shortcuts can be configured in the updated Preview panel, including resetting spacebar to behave similarly to previous versions of After Effects.


new Preview panel controls

The Preview panel has been updated to allow you to configure the behaviors for any of the keyboard shortcuts that start a preview, including spacebar. To change the behaviors for a keyboard shortcut, first select it from the Shortcut menu, then change the options as desired.

Here is a description of all of the controls in the Preview panel:

panel height snap points: When you change the height of the Preview panel, it will snap to three different points to show:

  • transport controls only
  • transport controls and Shortcut menu
  • all controls

First, Previous, Next, and Last Frame: The behavior of these buttons has not changed.

Play/Stop button: Pressing the Play button will start a preview with the settings currently displayed in the Preview panel.

Note that this means the Play button’s behavior will change when you select a different Shortcut. For example, if Shortcut is set to Spacebar and Play From is set to Current Time, pressing the Play button will start preview from the current time. If you change Shortcut to Numpad 0 and this causes Play From to change to Start of Range, pressing the Play button will start preview from the beginning of the range.

When you start a preview with Preview Favors set to Frame Rate, the Play button will change to a “cache and play” icon while frames are being rendered and cached. Pressing the Play button in this state will interrupt rendering and caching and play back the cached frames, and the Play button changes to the Stop icon.

Click the Stop icon to stop a preview.

The Composition > Preview > Play Current Preview menu command is linked to the Play/Stop button. Choosing this menu command gives the same result as pressing the Play/Stop button.

Loop: The Loop control is now remembered for each keyboard shortcut. Ping-Pong loop mode is no longer available.

Mute Audio: The Mute Audio control is now remembered for each keyboard shortcut. Audio can be muted or unmuted during a preview by clicking this button; when you do so the state of the Mute Audio control is applied to the shortcut that was used to start that preview, and will affect the next preview you start with that shortcut.

Shortcut: Choose between the three different keyboard shortcuts that can start a preview to configure their behaviors: Spacebar, Numpad 0, and Shift + Numpad 0. The Play/Stop button uses the behaviors of the currently displayed keyboard shortcut.

The default configuration for the three keyboard shortcuts are:

Spacebar
  • Loop: on
  • Audio: on
  • Preview Favors: Frame Rate
  • Range: Work Area Extended by Current Time
  • Play From: Current Time
  • Layer Controls: Off
  • Frame Rate: Auto
  • Skip: 0
  • Resolution: Auto
  • Full Screen: disabled

When Spacebar is used to stop a preview (not configurable in the Preview panel):

  • CTI: moves to playback time
  • Interrupt caching: start playback

 

Numpad 0
  • Loop: on
  • Audio: on
  • Preview Favors: Frame Rate
  • Range: Work Area
  • Play From: Start of Range
  • Layer Controls: Off
  • Frame Rate: Auto
  • Skip: 0
  • Resolution: Auto
  • Full Screen: disabled

When Numpad 0 is used to stop a preview (not configurable in the Preview panel):

  • CTI: stays at current time
  • Interrupt caching: start playback

 

Shift + Numpad 0
  • Loop: on
  • Audio: on
  • Preview Favors: Frame Rate
  • Range: Work Area Extended by Current Time
  • Play From: Start of Range
  • Layer Controls: Off
  • Frame Rate: Auto
  • Skip: 1
  • Resolution: Auto
  • Full Screen: disabled

When Shift + Numpad 0 is used to stop a preview (not configurable in the Preview panel):

  • CTI: stays at current time
  • Interrupt caching: start playback

Reset: Click the Reset button to restore the default preview settings (above) for all of the shortcuts. Hold the Option key on Mac OS or Alt key on Windows and click the Reset button to change the settings of the keyboard shortcuts to closely match their behavior in previous versions of After Effects:

Spacebar (classic)
  • Loop: on
  • Audio: muted
  • Preview Favors: Length
  • Range: Entire Duration
  • Play From: Current Time
  • Layer Controls: Use Current Settings
  • Frame Rate: Auto
  • Skip: 0
  • Resolution: Auto
  • Full Screen: disabled

When Spacebar is used to stop a preview (not configurable in the Preview panel):

  • CTI: moves to playback time
  • Interrupt caching: stop playback

 

Numpad 0 (classic)
  • Loop: on
  • Audio: on
  • Preview Favors: Frame Rate
  • Range: Work Area
  • Play From: Start of Range
  • Layer Controls: Off
  • Frame Rate: Auto
  • Skip: 0
  • Resolution: Auto
  • Full Screen: disabled

When Numpad 0 is used to stop a preview (not configurable in the Preview panel):

  • CTI: stays at current time
  • Interrupt caching: start playback

 

Shift + Numpad 0 (classic)
  • Loop: on
  • Audio: on
  • Preview Favors: Frame Rate
  • Range: Work Area
  • Play From: Start of Range
  • Layer Controls: Off
  • Frame Rate: Auto
  • Skip: 1
  • Resolution: Auto
  • Full Screen: disabled

When Shift + Numpad 0 is used to stop a preview (not configurable in the Preview panel):

  • CTI: stays at current time
  • Interrupt caching: start playback

Preview Favors: Choose to optimize the caching and playback behavior for better Frame Rate performance or unlimited Length of preview. This control is similar to choosing between RAM Preview and Standard Preview in previous versions of After Effects; however, there are a number of differences in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5).

When Preview Favors is set to Frame Rate, After Effects renders and caches frames until the available RAM is filled and then plays the cached frames in real-time. During the rendering and caching phase, frames are rendered and cached as fast as possible. Playback of cached frames begins immediately, but no faster than real-time frame rate. If the cache fills available RAM before all frames in the range are rendered, only the frames in the cache are previewed. When the caching phase is completed, real-time playback will begin from the time defined by the Play From control, or simply continue if rendering was faster than real-time.

If you interrupt a preview started with Preview Favors set to Frame Rate before all frames in the range are rendered, playback of the cached frames will continue. Read “stop a preview” below for more information.

Frame Rate is the default setting for all shortcuts and is recommended for general use.

When Preview Favors is set to Length, After Effects begins playback by rendering and caching frames with only a small advance buffer, at no faster than real-time frame rate. The entire range will preview; if the cache fills available RAM before all frames in the range are rendered, the oldest frames in the cache are discarded. Real-time playback will only occur if the frames render faster than real-time, or after the first loop if the entire range fits in the cache.

Length is best used when previewing frames that render faster than real-time, which is often the case in the Footage panel, or when previewing a range too long to fit all of the frames in the cache.

For both Frame Rate and Length:

  • Playback begins immediately, simultaneous with frame rendering and caching.
  • Audio plays, if enabled. Also refer to “mute audio when preview is slower than real-time” below.

Range: Defines the range of frames that are previewed:

  • Work Area: Only the frames within the work area.
  • Work Area Extended by Current Time: This range dynamically extends the work area by the position of the current-time indicator (CTI).
    • If the CTI is placed before the work area, the length of the range is from the current time to the work area end point.
    • If the CTI is placed after the work area, the length of the range is from the work area start point to the current time; unless From Current Time is enabled, in which case the length of the range is from the work area start point to the last frame of the composition, layer, or footage.
    • If the CTI is placed inside the work area, the range is the work area with no extension.
  • Entire Duration: All frames of the composition, layer, or footage.

Play From: Choose whether to start playback from Start of Range or Current Time.

Layer Controls: Choose whether to display layer controls for selected layers and other viewer panel overlays during preview. When preview is stopped, layer controls and overlays return to their previous visibility.

Viewer panel overlays include guides, safe margins, grids, and 3D reference axes.

  • Off shows no layer controls or overlays during preview.
  • Use Current Settings shows the viewer’s layer controls and overlays during preview.

To choose which layer controls to show for the current viewer, open the View Options dialog (View menu > View Options). To choose which overlays to show for the current viewer, open the Choose Grid and Guide Options menu at the bottom of the viewer panel.

While a preview is playing back, you can dynamically show or hide layer controls or overlays by choosing the appropriate option from the View menu or the Choose Grid and Guide Options menu at the bottom of the viewer panel. Layer controls can also be shown or hidden during a preview by pressing the keyboard shortcut: Command + Shift + H (Mac OS) or Control + Shift + H (Windows).

Showing or hiding layer controls during a preview does not affect the state of the Layer Controls option in the Preview panel.

Frame Rate, Skip, Resolution, Full Screen: The behavior of these controls has not changed.


stop a preview

In previous versions of After Effects, taking almost any action during a preview would stop the preview.

In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), because you can now make changes to the open project during a preview there are fewer actions that will stop a preview. But as in previous versions of After Effects, different preview settings and how the preview is stopped still affect where the CTI is positioned after stop and whether interrupting frame rendering and caching will continue playback of the cached frames.

The following actions will stop a preview:

  • Press any of the preview keyboard shortcuts: Spacebar, Numpad 0, or Shift + Numpad 0.
  • Click the Start/Stop button in the Preview panel.
  • Choose Composition > Preview > Play Current Preview.
  • Press either of the audio preview keyboard shortcuts: Numpad period (.) or Option/Alt + Numpad period (.)
  • Press the Esc key.

Some other actions will also cause After Effects to stop a preview. Although not a complete list, here are the most common actions:

  • Click into the previewing viewer panel. Note that clicking on the tab of the viewer panel will not stop the preview.
  • Adjust a property of time, such as the Work Area bar or Time Navigator bar.
  • Drag the current-time indicator (CTI) or click in the time ruler, without the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key held down. This action also changes the current time.
  • Change the composition settings of a previewing composition.
  • Hide the previewing viewer panel behind another panel in the workspace. For example, click on a different panel in the same group or open a new viewer panel in the same group.
  • Start the render queue.

When you take an action to stop a preview, two different behaviors are considered:

  • Whether to stop preview immediately, or to only stop caching frames and continue playing back the frames already cached. The latter is only considered if two conditions are met: if the preview was started with Preview Favors set to Frame Rate, and if your stop action interrupts the preview before all frames in the range have been cached.
  • Whether the CTI stays at the current time or moves to the preview time (the time at which you stopped the preview).

Most of the above actions will stop a preview immediately and not start playback of cached frames, and the CTI stays at the current time.

Pressing the preview keyboard shortcuts (Spacebar, Numpad 0, or Shift + Numpad 0) results in different stop behaviors, depending on which shortcut you press:

  • Spacebar: CTI moves to the preview time. If frame rendering is interrupted, playback of the cached frames begins.
  • Numpad 0: CTI stays at the current time. If frame rendering is interrupted, playback of the cached frames begins.
  • Shift + Numpad 0: CTI stays at the current time. If frame rendering is interrupted, playback of the cached frames begins.

Important: The stop behavior for the preview shortcuts is a result of the shortcut you pressed to stop the preview, not the shortcut you used to start the preview.

Also, remember that the Play/Stop button in the Preview panel and Composition > Preview > Play Current Preview are linked to the shortcut currently displayed in the Preview panel. Using these actions to stop a preview will have the same result as pressing the currently displayed shortcut key.


mute audio when preview is slower than real-time

When the preview frame rate is slower than real-time, a new preference allows you to choose whether to mute the audio, or allow it to play.

In previous versions of After Effects, when the preview frame rater was slower than real-time, audio would continue to play in real-time and thus would slip out of sync. In After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), audio sync is maintained by stuttering the audio.

By default audio does not play during slower-than real-time previews. To enable audio during previews that are slower than real-time, open Preferences > Previews and disable Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Realtime. When this option is disabled, audio will stutter when the preview frame rate is slower than real-time so that the audio will stay in sync with the video.


primary viewer for audio and external video preview


You can now choose an open viewer panel or a view (e.g., a 3D view) in a panel to always be used for audio and external video preview. This primary view is independent of which viewer or view you are currently previewing and is separate from the viewer or view with Always Preview This View enabled. This is useful when you want a particular composition to always be displayed on your external video monitor while you work in other compositions.

The Primary Viewer button is located next to the Always Preview This View button in the lower left of the Composition, Layer, and Footage viewer panels. Primary Viewer functions similarly to Always Preview This View, except that Primary Viewer only defines which viewer or view is used for audio and external video preview.

Only one view can be set as Primary Viewer; enabling it for a viewer or view will disable it in any other viewer or view where it had previously been enabled.

When Primary Viewer is disabled, the most recently active viewer or view will be used for audio and external video preview. When you switch to a different viewer or view, that viewer or view will take control of audio and external video preview.

Andrew Kramer helps grow and inspire the VFX and motion graphics industry

Andrew Kramer started creating Adobe After Effects tutorials for fun, with no idea that his hobby would lead to an enormously successful and rewarding career. After starting his Video Copilot website when he was just 20 years old, he has become a highly respected professional in the visual effects and motion graphics industry. In addition to creating software and tools for professional designers, he also works in the film industry. No matter what he’s working on, he always finds time to train and inspire others in the community to realize their creative potential.

Andrew Kramer likes staying busy, and this past year was no exception. In addition to releasing a new 3D plug-in for Adobe After Effects CC, he’s been working with Bad Robot on a couple of new, top secret projects. He also created a new city destruction tutorial that highlights the use of 3D Camera Tracker in After Effects.

 

For the tutorial, he shot HD aerial footage of downtown Los Angeles, and broke up the city as if there was some type of monster invasion. He used the 3D Camera Tracker in After Effects to track the scene, identify the track points, and then place objects and layers in the 3D space. In one scene there is a hole punched into a skyscraper that shows the inside levels of the building in a completely photorealistic way.

 

After creating this tutorial, Kramer wanted to explore what it would be like to use this same effect on a human. He filmed an actor and used the same 3D tracking on his face. The tracker assumed the geography in the same way it would do in a landscape, added track points, and let him create the camera position for the compositing.

City_Destruction

“We’re trying to show tutorials that have deeper uses,” says Kramer. “Our city destruction tutorial shows an innovative way to use the 3D Camera Tracker in After Effects to create a popular effect. There are so many different things you can create once you have a good track on a scene or even on a person.”

 

To see more of Kramer’s work with the 3D Camera Tracker in After Effects, don’t miss his presentation at the 2015 NAB Show entitled “After Effects CC: Motion Tracking the Impossible” in the Adobe theater on Tuesday, April 14th at 2:00 pm.

 

Watch Andrew Kramer’s presentation at NAB 2014.

 

For more information on Creative Cloud, see this page for details or check out this overview video and the Creative Cloud FAQ list.

what’s new and changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5)

After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) is now available. For information about what’s new in all of the Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page.

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the new version by checking for updates through the Creative Cloud desktop application. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

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

IMPORTANT: Before installing the new version of After Effects, please read this page about the default behavior of the updater, which is to remove all previous versions of the application, and this page about why you might not want to do that.

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.


new features in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5)


  • re-architecture for interactive performance improvements
  • uninterrupted previews
  • unified, simplified, and customizable previews
  • Creative Cloud Libraries
  • face tracker
  • Adobe Character Animator (Preview 1)
  • improved expression error handling and added debugging information for rendering issues
  • user interface improvements, including customizability and panel tab redesign
  • Maxon Cineware v2.0.16
  • updated RED and OpenEXR importers
  • updated third-party effect plug-ins

resources for learning about these new and changed features



details of new and changed features


Read on for 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.


re-architecture for interactive performance improvements


When we asked you, our customers, a year ago what you’d like us to focus on in After Effects, the response was enthusiastic and nearly unanimous: You wanted us to focus on making After Effects respond more quickly and smoothly as you carried out your creative work. We listened. The great majority of the After Effects team has been hard at work for the past year on a fundamental re-architecture of the application that lays the groundwork for performance improvements of many kinds, and this major update that we will be releasing soon bears the first fruits of this effort.

The majority of improvements in the upcoming version of After Effects are the result of a major re-architecture that allows the user interface and image rendering to be processed separately by the CPUs. The user interface can now be much more responsive, as it no longer needs to wait for frames to finish rendering. Conversely, frames can continue to render while you work with the user interface.

New behaviors that do not fall into specific feature-like functionality include the following:

  • no more delays or beachballs during render requests
  • smooth interaction with the user interface at all times, even while frames are being rendered
  • the ability to interrupt or cancel frame renders by making a change to the composition
  • fast scrubbing (dragging of current-time indicator), even when the frames take a long time to render
  • faster image caching
  • more efficient evaluation of expressions
  • ability for previews to continue to process while After Effects is in the background

The changes to how After Effects plays previews, detailed below, were either a direct result of these interactive performance improvements or made possible by the architectural changes that were implemented.


uninterrupted previews


You can now make changes to the open project while a preview is playing back in After Effects.

In previous versions of After Effects, after you started a preview in a Composition, Layer, or Footage panel, clicking anywhere in the user interface would stop playback of that preview. In the upcoming version of After Effects, previews will continue until you either click inside the viewer panel or stop the preview with a keyboard shortcut.

When previewing a composition, you can, for example, modify that composition in the Timeline or Effect Controls panel. After Effects will immediately begin to cache the updated frames, which may cause the preview frame rate to slow down until the new frames are cached. You cannot make modifications inside the previewing Composition panel because clicking in the panel will stop the preview; however you can open a second viewer panel for the same composition to make modifications there, which will be reflected in the Composition panel where the preview is playing back.

You can make modifications during a preview in any Composition, Layer, or Footage panel. More examples of what you can do:

  • create, view, and modify other compositions or layers, including nested compositions
  • import footage, change interpret footage settings, or view footage in a Footage panel
  • change the project settings
  • change the view settings of a panel—e.g., show alpha channel, zoom in, or change 3D views

As noted above, any time you make a change that affects the frames being previewed, the preview frame rate may slow down while the new frames are rendered and cached.


unified, simplified, and configurable previews


After Effects has new behaviors for previewing compositions, layers, and footage. Preview behaviors can be customized in the updated Preview panel. New users to After Effects will find the default behaviors more intuitive because they will get real-time playback of cached frames and audio playback when they press the spacebar. Experienced After Effects users can customize the preview behaviors to their liking.

Because these changes have dissolved the differences between the old RAM preview and Standard preview (spacebar) behaviors, After Effects no longer uses those terms. Preview is now considered to be unified, with user-configurable behaviors.

New controls in the Preview panel allow you to configure preview behaviors for each keyboard shortcut: audio, looping, caching, range, and layer controls.

You can now use the Primary Viewer button to choose an open viewer panel or view in a panel to always be used for audio and external video preview, independent of which viewer or view you are currently previewing and separate from the viewer or view with Always Preview This View enabled. This is useful, for example, when you want a particular composition to always be displayed on your external video monitor while you work in other compositions.

For a full description of all changes to previews in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), read this article.


Creative Cloud Libraries


The Creative Cloud Libraries panel is now available inside of After Effects.

The Creative Cloud Libraries feature set makes various kinds of assets available to you anywhere. Create images, colors, color looks, and more in Photoshop, Illustrator, and mobile apps like Adobe Shape and Hue, and then easily access them across other desktop and mobile applications for a seamless creative workflow. Library sharing makes it easy to collaborate and maintain consistency across projects.

As a Creative Cloud subscriber you have access to thousands of ready-to-use, royalty-free assets in the Creative Cloud Marketplace, which can be added directly to your library.

Through Adobe Stock, you can search millions of royalty-free, high-quality photos and illustrations. Adobe Stock assets are added directly to your library. Click the Search Adobe Stock button at the bottom of the Libraries panel to get started.

In After Effects, the Libraries panel is open by default in the Standard and All Panels workspaces, grouped with the Effects & Presets panel on the right side of the workspace. You can also access the Libraries panel by choosing either of the following:

  • File > Import > From Libraries
  • Window > Libraries

Graphics assets are imported into your After Effects project, like any other asset you would import from your local disks. To import a graphics asset into your project, you can either drag it from the Libraries panel into the Project panel or right-click on a graphic in the Libraries panel and choose Import. PSD and AI assets from Photoshop and Illustrator behave just the same when imported from the Libraries panel as they do when imported by previous means, with all of the power and flexibility that implies. Changing the Drag Import Multiple Items As setting in Preferences > Import will affect how PSD and AI assets are imported from a library.

Looks from Premiere Pro CC 2015 and Adobe Hue CC are files that define color transformation based on color lookup tables. You can apply these color looks to layers in After Effects. Looks are an easy way to infuse a mood or give your project extra punch by affecting the image’s color, or to apply color grading done in another application like SpeedGrade. To apply a look from the Libraries panel, you can drag a look onto a layer or you can first select a layer, right-click on a look in the Libraries panel, and choose Apply Look. After Effects will add the Apply Color LUT effect and apply the look. If the Apply Color LUT effect is already present on a layer, applying a look from the Libraries panel will re-use the existing instance of the effect. This is handy for when you want to try out different looks on the same layer.

Tip: To apply a look to all of the layers in a composition, create a new adjustment layer at the top of the layer stack and apply the look to that layer.

Asset types in your library other than graphics can not be directly applied in After Effects, but they can be viewed and managed in the Libraries panel. You can use the eyedropper tool in After Effects to pick from your library colors, similar to the Adobe Color Themes panel.

After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) can not add assets to a library. The add buttons at the bottom of the Libraries panel are disabled.


face tracker


The Tracker panel now includes new Face Tracking methods for detecting a human face in footage and tracking facial features over time. You can use this feature to quickly track a face to blur it or attach other elements to facial features, or to extract tracking data on prerecorded facial performances for use in Adobe Character Animator.

The face tracker works largely automatically, but you can help it by starting the analysis on a frame showing a front, upright view of the face. Also, if there are multiple faces in a scene, you can draw a closed mask loosely around the face, enclosing the eyes and mouth, to tell the face tracker which face to concentrate on. This can be a very rough mask, since it is just telling the face tracker which face to pay attention to.

In the Tracker panel, there are two face-tracking options:

  • Face Tracking (Outline Only): Use this option if all you want to track is the outline of the face.
  • Face Tracking (Detailed Features): Use this option if you want to detect eye (including eyebrow and pupil), nose, and mouth locations, and optionally extract measurements of various features. This options is required if you want to use the tracking data in Character Animator.

The mask is fitted to the outline of the detected face, with an estimate of the forehead. If tracking Outline Only, you can use this mask with an effect such as Mosaic to blur out a person’s face; use of mask expansion and feather can also improve the results.

If using the Detailed Features option, a Face Track Points effect is applied to the layer. The effect contains several 2D effect control points with keyframes, each of which is attached to detected facial features (e.g., the corners of the eyes and mouth, locations of pupils, the tip of the nose).

Note: If a face cannot be detected within the closed mask on a given frame, or if an open mask is used, regular mask tracking (equivalent to the Position, Scale & Rotation method) is used.

If you have used the Detailed Features option, you can extract even more information in the form of parametric measurements of facial features: Move the current-time indicator to a frame showing a neutral expression on the face (i.e., the rest pose); measurements on other frames will be relative to this rest pose frame. Then click Extract & Copy Face Measurements. A Face Measurements effect is added to the layer, and keyframes are created based on calculations made from the Face Track Points keyframe data. The Face Measurements keyframe data is copied to the system clipboard for use in Character Animator.

Tip: Even lighting on the face can improve tracking results.


Adobe Character Animator (Preview 1)


Adobe Character Animator (Preview) is installed with the upcoming version of After Effects.

To open Character Animator, choose File > Open Adobe Character Animator. You can launch Character Animator independently from After Effects from the Start Menu on Windows or the Applications folder on Mac OS.

Adobe Character Animator was previously known as Project Animal.

For more information, see this post about Adobe Character Animator.


expression evaluation changes and improved error handling


Evaluation of expressions in After Effects has been significantly enhanced. Performance of expression evaluation is generally faster; the improvement will vary depending on the expression.

When an expression fails to evaluate, there are two major changes:

  • Expression errors appear in a warning banner at the bottom of the Composition panel instead of in a dialog box.
  • The expression is not disabled. The expression will continue to evaluate and will display the warning banner until the problem with the expression is fixed.

On the right side of the expression error warning banner are control buttons:

  • The Left or Right arrow buttons display the previous or next expression error when multiple expressions fail to evaluate.
  • The Reveal Expression button will expose the property with the failing expression in the Timeline panel.
  • The Expand Warning button increases the height of the warning banner to display the error text. Click the button again to reduce the height to a single row.
  • The expression error text is clipped to the width of the Composition panel. To see the full expression error in a dialog box, click on the yellow error triangle icon next to the expression in the Timeline panel.

To hide the expression error warning banner, open Preferences > General and disable Show Warning Banner When Project Contains Expressions Errors. Note that when this option is disabled, the warning banner will not appear in After Effects, even when new expression errors occur. Re-enable this option to view expression errors.

Frames that fail to render under certain conditions will display a red warning banner in the Composition or Layer banner banner with debug information about the failure.


user interface improvements, including customizability and panel tab redesign


In Preferences > Appearance there is a new Highlight Colors section in which you can adjust the appearance of interactive controls and focus indicators. This should help people who have had difficulty with the readability of the user interface following some color and contrast changes introduced last year.

Icons for compositions and image sequences in the Project and Timeline panels are now multicolored instead of monochrome.

When you move the pointer over the tab of a Composition, Layer, Footage, Effect Controls, Timeline, or Flowchart panel that is not the frontmost panel in its group, the “X” button to close that panel will appear and you can click it to close that panel without bringing it to the front.

When there are more panel tabs than can fit in the width of a panel group, instead of a scroll bar, a menu ( >> ) appears on the right side of the tab well, from which you can choose hidden panels in the group. When there are hidden panels to both the left and the right of the visible panels, a divider line separates the panels hidden on the left (above the divider) from the panels hidden on the right (below the divider).

Note that you can still scroll left and right through panel tabs when the mouse pointer is over a tab group and you scroll with a mouse scroll wheel or use scroll gestures on a track pad.

Panel Group Settings sub-menu: In panel menus, panel group commands have been moved to the Panel Group Settings sub-menu: Close Panel Group, Undock Panel Group, Maximize Panel Group.

Close Other Panels In Group: In panel menus, there is a new command to close other panels in the same group.


Maxon Cineware v2.0.16


Cineware 2.0.16 for After Effects includes the following bug fixes and enhancements:

CINEMA 4D Layers are no longer automatically synchronized: When adding multiple instances of a CINEMA 4D scene layer in a composition, including adding Multi-Pass layers, Cineware no longer automatically synchronizes CINEMA 4D Layers. You will see an on/off checkbox at the top of the Effect Controls panel that has been relabeled Synchronize AE Layer (to avoid confusion between Cinema 4D layers and After Effects layers). When this is enabled, the Render Settings and Camera options on all instances of the layer will automatically synchronize as before, but Cinema 4D layers can be set independently. If this checkbox is disabled for a specific Cinema 4D scene layer, then none of that layer’s settings will synchronize with the rest of the layers in the composition.

updated CINEMA 4D Layers dialog box: Non-Layer Items has been renamed Items Not On Layers. By unchecking it, all objects that are not associated with any Cinema 4D layers will be turned off.

resizable dialog boxes: The Cinema 4D Layers and Cineware Settings dialog boxes have been updated so they can be resized as needed.

other significant bugs fixed in Cineware v2.0.16:

  • multi-pass workflow with object buffers clipping in over-bright areas
  • failure of rendering a composition with a .c4d source through Adobe Media Encoder on Windows

updated RED and OpenEXR importers


RED camera raw (.r3d) file decoding has been updated with the newest RED SDK. New functionality includes Dragon Enhanced Blacks, REDcolor4, and DRAGONcolor 2.

OpenEXR, EXtractoR, and IDentifier plug-ins from fnord software have been updated.


updated third-party effect plug-ins


Third-party effect plug-ins included with After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) have been updated.

The CycoreFX HD 1.8.0 plug-in package includes the following changes:

  • Fixed an issue with version checking that caused the error: “This plugin is only for use with Adobe After Effects CC (13.x).”
  • CC Time Blend and CC Time Blend FX have been obsoleted and are no longer available.

The Foundry Keylight 1.2v17 includes the following changes:

  • Colour Balance wheels draw properly on Mac OS X.
  • The About dialog on Mac OS X now displays information.

Imagineer Systems mocha AE has been updated to version 4.0.2. Choose Help > Release notes in mocha AE to learn about what has changed.

Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3.0.11 for After Effects includes the following bug fixes and enhancements:

  • Fixes a bug on Mac OS X 10.10 that could cause Color Finesse and After Effects both to hang, particularly on systems with a large number of cores (Mac Pro 2013).
  • Fixes a Windows bug that could prevent saving of Reference Images if default location was invalid/non-existent.

Known issues in Color Finesse 3.0.11 in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5):

  • If external video preview is enabled in both After Effects and Color Finesse, the Color Finesse UI can not use the external monitor. Disable video preview in After Effects to allow Color Finesse to use the video preview monitor.
  • If Color Finesse is applied to more than one adjustment layer, clicking the Full Interface button on layers higher in the layer stack will cause After Effects to hang.