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.

22 Responses to After Effects Mac PowerPC plans

  1. Milk the Macintosh says:

    You guys from Adobe just laughable …@Chris Cox: Leave Adobe and go to IBM (CELL/POWER6). That’s the place where real programmers are needed.

  2. humanbulk says:

    Bla bla bla it’s fine but… could CS4 team take out the annoying fx of fade on/off the tool bars, we wana work not to have especial fx on the toolbars men.

  3. John Warnock says:

    I heard that this is just in anticipation of Apple switching CPU architectures yet again: this time back to 68000. Can you confirm or deny?

  4. Grassy Knoll says:

    When is Photoshop dropping PowerPC? If not in CS4, does this undermine some of the arguments for doing so in AE?

  5. Lee Z says:

    Sounds great: moving forward!I have a couple PowerPC machines but CS3 is an excellent product and I have no issue with continuing to run it on these computers. Meanwhile, I’ve also got a superior Intel Mac and am eager to run superior software on it.Progress often means leaving the old behind, for better or for worse. In technology in general, and AE in specific, this is for the better IMHO.

  6. Michael Coleman says:

    @John. Ha. That’s funny. Will the real John Warnock please stand up?@Grassy: Photoshop is going to remain universal binary on the mac. Photoshop has to face similar tradeoffs, but with a different set of technical considerations and a very different customer pool to consider. It’s easy to see why the Photoshop team would choose differently than the After Effects team.

  7. Matt Ciaglia says:

    Just make it Fast Fast Fast. Less NEW features and more speed. Take a look at Apple and focus on making After Effects CS4 a new platform for all future versions of After Effects. Make it light, fast and powerful. We need to push HD around on a network with out a lag. We need to share projects and work with others and some might be freelancers new to a company workflow. Make the interface more plastic like in Maxon’s Cinema 4D where you can have user-data, tear off menu’s, more flexibility and a node based scripting. So people or TD’s can go in a make tools for advanced motion piece’s deep, VFX shots or interactive environments. I would dare say just make After Effects open source if that term is still being used by the kids today. Open up the 3D environment so people can link it up to a full 3D application or even a 3D Dept. So if you make a camera move change in AE it ripples back out to a 3D scene in C4D, Maya or XSI. Then the compositor can trigger a shot reRender or tell the 3D team to reRender it. AE needs to be the Bus Driver in a way for the rest of the team. Creating Proxy’s and Pre-Renders in a way that allows for quick changing and integration. But these are just hopes and dreams of one guy. I guess I should just say I am really looking for to the new version of Brainstorm (or how a Jr. Designer took my job)!

  8. jayse says:

    @Matt Ciaglia – You and me both. I’ve been asking for a faster AE since i began using AE. The developers tell me they’d have to start from scratch and rewrite all of the code. I say: Start Writing! The speed of Toxic and Motion are just baby examples of what has already began a take-over if AE doesn’t SPEED UP!And, haha, your sentence on Brainstorm couldn’t be MORE on the money. As that was being developed, reworked, bug tested, bla bla bla I was thinking… this is why important features are still on the drawing board?True node based layout – uber folder/comps expandable in the timeline – – on and on… Where are they?Still – The AE team is generally bad ass with new features – andI think this move is a great one – focus on the future not on the past. I have no problem investing in faster and better. But it better be BOTH of those. 😀

  9. Question, what kind ‘after effects’ will this have on existing PowerPC users going forward? Sorry, I just had to say it.

  10. eric says:

    please, AECS4 a real 3d engine…import or create 3d object and booleans also dynamics: gravityPlease take AECS4 to the next level!!!!drop pc support…make it fast!!!

  11. Paul says:

    While I read with ‘ a heavy heart’ that you’re dropping support for PPC (I still have a G5 running my CS3 Masters Suite PPC applications very nicely), I really don’t have a issue with this if it means a much better, speedier, After Effects. But if what you say is true in the post, why prolong the PPC support in the other applications?Surely Photoshop CS4, which is suggested to use the GPU- something I thought would require new code as it hasn’t been doing so before, should stop being PPC supported? In fact surely anything that could be described as an upgrade, is progress and therefore new, which is the point of upgrading?

  12. Bruce Allen says:

    Congrats on the move away from PowerPC.The features you mention (Flash and Photoshop integration) are of zero interest to me and most other After Effects users I know.We’d much rather you just made the interface more responsive and gave us a better graph editor. Pretty much any 3D program’s graph editor makes AE’s one look silly.It’d be awesome if you gave us a more responsive cache too. AE could be a Flame-killer if it offered better playback responsiveness.Even better would be if the render cache could be saved when you quit AE.Imagine if Premiere lost its renders every time I quit the program!Also, looking to the future, take a look at Nuke and Fusion to see how to elegantly allow for work on stereo 3D projects. Doing those in AE is driving me nuts.Bruce

  13. Arthur says:

    I recently had a look at nuke,and I wish to have some of the features in AE…I know you’re Adobe, but “smaller” company Software can have nice feature to looking at.Do you think we will have one day a button:Open comp in c4d….Any way,thanks for your great job

  14. Thomas says:

    Quote Michael Coleman: “one of the hardest things about making software is that there are always more ideas and hotly requested features than engineers and time.”AHA!? and on what you are sending money elsewhere after you have broke the $ 4 Billion Ladder?no lies and lame excuses! improvements please. or close down Adobe Fun Factorythanx

  15. DWalla says:

    And yet STILL no 64-bit version for the Mac… I’ve used After Effects since version 1.0 when it was owned by Cosa. So often I feel I’m tied down to Adobe’s bloated outdated products. No 64-bit… no real-time playback of ANYTHING in the timeline… no real-time audio. The only thing that has kept me on AE is the interface and the sheer number of 3rd party plugs. It is by far the most straight-forward motion graphics tool out there… but please Adobe… give us 64-bit and real-time elements inside AE!

  16. Pat Norman says:

    Sigh.If speedier AE means dropping another 3 grand on an Intel Mac, then I do take issue with it. While I will likely upgrade to a MacPro at some point in the future, having a two year-old powerhouse quad G5 that won’t be able to handle Apple’s OSX Snow Leopard and now future versions of CS is immensely frustrating.Used to be the wonderful thing about buying Apple was longevity…Just make it worth it and provide realtime playback.

  17. Jeff Foster says:

    Yea! The cat’s out of the bag officially – and with AECS4 so many of our wishes have come true in my opinion! I know it isn’t easy to try to implement all the beta tester’s wish list items, but you have totally addressed some big production concerns this time and it flat-out screams on my new Macbook Pro! THANKS for listening Adobe! 🙂

  18. shian says:

    I agree with nearly all the aforementioned improvements, 3D integration, SPEED, graph editor, preview saves, customization, etc…But I’d like to add to those better assets preview tools…Bridge is slow and clunky, I’d like to be able to double click to open and play/scrub all media in the project window including audio, or have a mini (playable) preview thumbnail (like Premiere) and real time playback on assets… and layers so revisiting an old project doesn’t require exhaustive research of the assets and layers to figure out what you did if the client wants a change a month or two down the road which always happens on every film.Another useful tool would be a pop-up final cut type asset window with waveforms, etc. where you could set in and out points on video or audio and add only the selected area to the comp. A hot keyable slip/slide tool. Better markers and marker navigation, an “add keyframe” at the current playhead/attribute hotkey during playback.Improved expression controls while using the levels effect (like say with using keyframes generated by audio waveforms)Okay so I’m greedy, but these things would sure speed up my workflow a lot. Not to mention rendering previews, and updating the comp after an value change, without having to lower the quality settings, or use proxies.I hear Mocha is being added, THANK YOU!!! But moving beyond 2.5D and adding a built in 3D tracker, true 3D functionality with extrusion, etc., and better 3D integration would save a lot of time…and translation issues coming from boojou and synth eyes.

  19. RISHIKAPOOR says:

    pleas after effect

  20. iAdmin says:

    Wooow alors apres quelques modifs perso , il est vraiment possible de faire tourner sur ppc toute la suite CS4 alors au lieux de forcer à faire acheter au gens les derniers mac revisez votre copie Power-pc is not dead ENJOY

  21. shayne says:

    come on guys i just spent 4 hours trying to install the master collections cs4 on my mac g5 ppc and then i find after effects cs4 doesnt work on a ppc based computer, which is what i bought the whole thing for. alot of people still use power pc macs dropping support for it was really stupid in my opinion, now i have to buy cs3 , if i can even get it anywhere.

    • mcoleman says:

      Sorry. Apple’s last PPC-based macs were introduced in 2005. We had to let the PPC go. Very few people still need it.

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