Red Giant releases Knoll Light Factory 2.7

Lens effects are one of the most popular motion graphics elements. The popular Knoll Light Factory creates all kinds of creative lens flares, glints and highlights. Red Giant has just released version 2.7. This release is 64-bit compatible, which is great news for those of you who have been using or thinking of upgrading to CS5. In addition to the greater performance of 64-bit, Red Giant has also added an improved new lens designer interface. Looks like a good release. Check it out at the Red Giant web site.

New plug-ins: CameraTracker and Kronos

The foundry has released a couple of awesome new plug-ins for Adobe After Effects CS5.

First up, a match-moving plug-in called CameraTracker, which allows you to create After Effects cameras matching those a moving camera clip was shot with. This means you can then use any of the powerful tools and plug-ins available in Adobe After Effects CS5 to add motion graphics and visual effects which really integrate with the movement of the scene. If you’ve seen the Panic Room or Fringe titles, you know what I mean.

The second plug-in is called Kronos. Kronos is a CUDA-accelerated retimer. The results are similar to After Effects’ built in Timewarp effect and Pixel Motion frame blending option. However, if you have an NVIDIA card like those that accelerate the Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, then this new plug-in will take advantage of your card’s processing horsepower to speed up your creative slow motion and speed ramping effects.

The Foundry has posted some nice examples of CameraTracker and Kronos on their web site. Enjoy.

New RED Mysterium-X support

As many of you know, Production Premium CS5 includes built-in support for the RED camera format. In the past couple months, RED has been making a lot of changes, including introducing their new Mysterium-X sensor and the latest “Color Science”.

Today we are posting a significant update to our RED camera import plug-in for Adobe After Effects CS5 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. It includes support for the new camera sensor and a bunch of new features. Check out the full details at Todd Kopriva’s Region of Interest blog. You can always go directly to get the plug-in from Adobe Labs.

64-bit plug-ins for After Effects CS5

We know our customers love and rely on the plug-ins that come from our awesome 3rd party developers.

Since we’ve shipped After Effects CS5, a ton of 64-bit native plug-ins have become available. As plug-in developers release 64-bit versions of their plug-ins, we are adding them to a big list on the official After Effects pages. You can check out the most recent list at the After Effects plug-in page on

If you see a plug-in that missing from this page, let me know and we’ll find out what the status is.

Yanobox introduces Nodes


No, not those kind of nodes. Graphical nodes. Yanobox has announced a new effect that creates animated connections of lines and graphics that seems perfect for visualizing boring lists in creative ways. The samples on the web site are really beautiful. Information designers are going to love this one.

It runs on the FxFactory architecture, which is 64-bit native and compatible with After Effects CS5 on Mac OS. Check out the video at

Time for another fireside chat

Now that CS5 has hit the streets, it’s time for another fireside chat with the After Effects team.

Have a question for the After Effects team? Want to pitch a feature idea? Wondering what our take is on industry trends? We’ll be taking calls on Thursday May 20, from 9am to 10am PST.

We did something similar a few times last year, and it was a lot of fun–we get to hear what’s on your mind and learn more about what you’re doing. But many of you asked to be able to listen to other callers, and some folks expressed an interest in just listening in.

So, we’re trying something new. We’ve set up a conference call. You’ll call into the 800 number listed below, follow prompts to enter the ID and password, and then you’ll be able to listen in. If you want to ask a question, just press #71, and you’ll move into the queue. We’ll answer as many calls as we can in an hour, and if it seems like a good conversation, we’ll do it again.

We will also have a chat room set up: so you can provide feedback and ask questions. And if you want to propose some topics for us to chat about in between calls, feel free to comment on our Facebook page:

Last but not least, we’ll be recording the session and making it available later in the week in case you have to be at your job or something.

We’re looking forward to hearing what’s on your mind!

After Effects fireside chat: Thursday May 20, 9-10am PDT.
Call 877-220-5439, use ID 882164 and password 1223334444.

Introducing After Effects CS5!

Greetings from NAB 2010!

On behalf of my dedicated and hard-working teammates at Adobe, I’m very excited to introduce you to After Effects CS5!

This is a phenomenal release of After Effects and it significantly raises the bar in performance, productivity, creativity and quality. The early customer feedback is that CS5 is game-changing release. We agree.

Since October, we’ve been talking about the many benefits of being 64-bit native. It’s not easy to take a large, mature code base and simultaneously port it to native 64-bit on both Mac OS and Windows in the same release. It’s been a big investment of our time, but the payoff for you is enormous. It makes After Effects strong, solid and ready to continue as the go-to software for visual effects and motion graphics.

But if you’ve been reading this blog, you probably already know all about 64-bit. What else is new? A lot!

  • Roto Brush

Ever do any rotoscoping? Most people do. Do you love it? I didn’t think so. Only the truly twisted really love to rotoscope mattes for objects for days on end.

After Effects CS5 introduces a revolutionary new tool called the Roto Brush that will dramatically reduce the time you spend creating mattes for objects in your video. Revolutionary is a big word, but it fits. The Roto Brush borders on magic.

Instead of tediously drawing masks at the edges of your objects and painstakingly animating them, you make quick, gestural strokes to define foreground and background areas. Then After Effects does the hard part for you. It finds the edges and creates the transparency for you. It’s perfect for those jobs where you don’t have a green screen or consistent background.

Roto’ing a frame can literally take a few seconds now, but a single frame is just the beginning. By using advanced technology unique to Adobe, After Effects automatically finds the same object edges on subsequent frames. You might make a few small corrections as you go, but the amount of work saved is huge.

The quality is there, too. Mattes are properly motion blurred in direction of the object’s movement, foreground color is decontaminated, and you have additional anti-chatter controls.

The Roto Brush will change your life. I would have killed for this when I was doing post-production. It’s going to allow you to do accurate rotoscoping on jobs that didn’t have the time or budget before. If you think I’m too enthusiastic, don’t take my word for it: Independent, 3rd-party benchmarks are showing that rotoscoping jobs can be accomplished 10 times faster than before. Motionworks has a great in-depth tutorial of the Roto Brush.

  • mocha v2 for After Effects & more masking improvements

As useful as the Roto Brush is, we believe that you should have a range of tools for masking. This is why we are including mocha v2 for After Effects. The big improvements in mocha v2 are trackable masks and the ability to have variable-width mask feather,
These are wonderful time-savers when creating high-quality, animated masks. mocha v2 is also 64-bit native on Mac OS and Windows.

In addition, we are including the Mocha Shape plug-in (which is normally sold separately for US$99.) This allows you to very simply copy and paste mocha’s planar-tracked shapes into After Effects without rendering. It’s a simple and elegant workflow for combining the power of mocha with After Effects.

We also have some small but useful improvements in masking. For example, you may now adjust the size of the mask points and handles in After Effects. Make them as big as you like. This makes makes the masks seem less “fiddly” so you can work more quickly.

Some of my other favorite new features in After Effects CS5:

  • Includes Digieffects FreeForm effect (distort and warp layers in 3D space)
  • New Color Finesse LE 3.0
  • AVC-Intra file format support
  • Fully-integrated RED camera support with RAW processing control.
  • Ability to apply .cube and .3dl LUTs (look up tables) to layers
  • A new Refine Matte effect (use the Roto brush edge technology on any matte)
  • A “Preview” checkbox in many dialogs (allows you to see the effect of changes without leaving the dialog.)

The list goes on. There are numerous small things that add up to make a big difference. Check out Todd Kopriva’s Region of Interest blog for his take on the new features and links to educational resources.

The complete, exhaustive list of new features can be found in the After Effects CS5 Online Help which is already up on

Of course, Adobe is also announcing all-new versions of the other Creative Suite applications, including Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator — all your creative tools. The best way to see them is to stop by the Adobe booth at NAB. I would love to see you all in person.

If you can’t do visit us in Las Vegas, keep checking this blog for links to videos and tutorials about the new features.

CS5 is a must-have version of After Effects. When you get a chance to put it to the test, you’ll wonder how you got along without it. It’s a significant milestone release and I’m sure that when we look back at this release, there will be “before CS5” and “after CS5”.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter so you can get your straight dope in smaller hits. (My twitter ID is @motiongfx.)

Welcome to the future!


By now, I am sure that most of you have heard that CS5 is coming. I’m still required to hold my tongue about the full feature set, but there’s more very good news that I’d like to share with you today. It’s an exciting aspect of After Effects CS5 — it’s faster.

This is related to our 64-bit announcement back in October. In case you missed the announcement, After Effects CS5 will be native 64-bit. In previous posts, I’ve talked about the every-day advantages that CS5 has over its predecessors. When you have access to enough RAM:

  • Complex comps and high-resolution images are rendered smoothly.
  • Larger RAM previews allow you to view long comps in one pass. You’ll see much longer green bars.
  • Memory-intensive features like HDR and floating-point color are easier to use.
  • Your image caches can be much larger, which means less re-rendering.
  • Low-memory errors are virtually eliminated.

During the 64-bit conversion we also modernized a large portion of After Effects’ core, resulting in more efficient processing. So, even though this is a very welcome list of improvements, the big news today is that After Effects CS5 is faster.

We measure our improvement by rendering a wide variety of projects on the same hardware using different versions of After Effects. The CS5 results are very good. Nearly every rendering benchmark test that we perform has been improved in CS5.

Before I get into the gritty details, I have to say that these results are preliminary and based on prerelease software. Everybody uses the software in different ways. It is possible that your results will vary. However, the fact that I’m posting them here should illustrate my confidence that you will experience similar improvements with CS5.

So what’s improved?

Continue reading…

After Effects CS5 to be unveiled April 12th

I’m very excited to announce that After Effects CS5 will be unveiled on April 12th, 2010. If you’re going to be at the 2010 NAB trade show, stop by the Adobe booth to get up close and personal with CS5.

You probably already know that After Effects will be a fully native 64-bit application on Mac OS and Windows. But we have some other amazing features in After Effects. In fact, CS5 includes one of my favorite After Effects features to come along in its 20-year history. (Seriously — I would have killed to have this when I was making a living in post-production.)

That’s all I can say for now. The other Creative Suite applications will also be unveiled on the same day, so be sure to check in to see all the good stuff coming your way soon.

You can sign up for the CS5 launch event and watch this space for news. You can also follow #cs5 and #aftereffects on twitter for the latest news.

One giga-reasons why your workflow will change

I’ve once heard someone quip that Google is like a kid with a trust fund and no focus. It’s hard to argue with that interpretation. But yesterday, Google struck a chord with me when they announced an ambitious pilot program to provide 1 Gb per second connections to end customers in select communities. I sure hope my neighborhood in Seattle is one of them.

If Google has their way, we will live in a world where it only takes 5 minutes to transfer a full-length feature film across the internet. It’s fascinating to think how this will change film & motion graphics creation in the future.

The sheer size of video and audio files have always tethered video professionals to their high-powered computers and large storage systems. We seem to consume a near-infinite amount of these resources. These collections of computing power and file storage are so big, it’s not practical to use them from far away. It’s like they have their own gravity, literally pulling people closer and closer.

Immense bandwidth reverses this effect. The resulting efficiency and flexibility will be a huge win for creative people. It also has the power to change our existing tools, including products like After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Consider the implications of massive bandwidth on your workflow. Instead of storing your files in a particular geographic location, your files will effectively be in all locations.

Suddenly, you can live where you want to live, not where your clients are. You can reach more clients in other cities and countries. You can collaborate with your favorite director without moving to L.A for six months. And you can hire the best team, no matter where they live. Our software is going to have to change to reflect and exploit these new ways of working.

Many of today’s complex solutions will wind up as simple-to-use services. Think of your bank of hard drives becoming more like your account. After a dose of ultra-high-bandwidth steroids, it will be like having a wide-area SAN.

It’s not a stretch to envision an After Effects Render Queue that can pull in computing power from a massive render farm located in another state. And you could do this for a fraction of the cost of installing and maintaining your own hardware — particularly if you only occasionally need the extra resources.

Equally important, the complexity of video software and hardware deployment can also be reduced. In these conditions, you wouldn’t necessarily have to install software, and the computer doing the real work doesn’t have to be under your desk. This kind of flexibility allows creative business to quickly scale to the correct size for the project at hand.

Increasing internet bandwidth is certainly not a new trend. It’s given rise to the web app phenomenon. Most people don’t install email programs any more. There are also many hybrid applications which are installed locally, but now seem completely useless without the internet. iTunes is a great example of a well conceived, connected application.

Gigabit internet bandwidth provides the breathing room for video software to echo these examples and I’m intrigued by the possibilities.