After Effects Mac PowerPC plans

I’m sure that it will come as no surprise that the After Effects team is hard at work, creating loads of great new features for the next version After Effects. What are we up to? I can’t mention any specifics just yet, but we’ve added some great new creative options, streamlined workflows, and thrown in a bunch of small refinements that add up to make a big difference.

From my point of view, one of the hardest things about making software is that there are always more ideas and hotly requested features than engineers and time. This means that we’re always making trade-offs about what goes into a release. These trade-offs get harder as you support more platforms, different CPUs, graphics cards, and versions of an OS. Even something as simple as an OS update can soak up a lot of engineering and testing time. It adds up to a large part of the overall effort.

As we planned this release, we had to decide between a bunch of great new features and keeping support for PowerPC Macs. Should we continue to invest in PowerPC or should we add cool new Photoshop integration? How about a new way to work when taking your After Effects projects to Flash Professional? Hard choices, indeed.

Our research data and our customers tell us that the adoption of Intel-based Macs is happening at a very quick pace. The vast majority of our professional Mac customers will already be using After Effects on a Intel-based mac by the time we ship the next version. Not surprising, really. The performance advantage of multi-core Intel Macs is impressive. There are plenty of reasons for this trend to continue.

After considering all the information, we decided that the benefits of the new workflows and features outweigh the downside of dropping PowerPC support. As a result, After Effects CS3 will be the last universal binary Macintosh version and the next version of After Effects will be Intel-only on the Mac. Premiere Pro, Encore, and Soundbooth are already Intel-only in CS3, so Production Premium Suite users will already be accustomed to this requirement.

By focusing on Intel Macs, we save a huge amount of engineering and testing time. This means that we will be able to complete more features for a larger group of customers and deliver the best release possible. Plus, some recently added technology is so new that it never existed on PowerPC Macs.

Adobe has always supported prior versions of our software and this will remain the case with After Effects CS3. I should also mention that this decision only applies to After Effects and not to other Adobe applications such as Photoshop.

If you must have a universal binary version for your PowerPC Mac, After Effects CS3 is the way to go. Keep in mind, however, that we will no longer sell After Effects CS3 after we have shipped the next version.

This wasn’t an easy choice, and I recognize that that this may cause concern for some customers. I wanted to make this decision known as early as possible to give our customers as much time as possible to adjust their plans with as little disruption as possible. In the end, this gives our team the ability to focus on innovation, advanced workflows, and modernizing the engine that powers After Effects. We think these are good things.