New Adobe Installer Blog

From time to time customers ask me about installer, deployment and licensing issues. Adobe has a team dedicated to the out-of-the-box experience and these folks are often the source of my answers. In the past, they have made guest appearances on John Nack’s blog. But now you can skip the middleman and go directly to the source by checking out the new Adobe Installer and Licensing Blog. I’m sure it will be a great way to get the latest information and to provide feedback about the some of the issues that are important to you.

Paint shortcuts we might have forgotten to tell you about

Getting into the flow while painting or rotoscoping is all about the ergonomics of moving quickly. We have a bunch of single key shortcuts to make this easier, but it seems that we forgot to mention a couple shortcuts in the usual place. These are available while you have a paint tool selected:

  • 1 — Step forward by the number of frames indicated in the Paint panel
  • 2 — Step backward by the number of frames indicated in the Paint panel
  • 3 — Choose clone preset #1
  • 4 — Choose clone preset #2
  • 5 — Choose clone preset #3
  • 6 — Choose clone preset #4
  • 7 — Choose clone preset #5

Of these, I think the 1 & 2 keys are particularly useful for right-handers because you don’t have to reach across the keyboard to the Page Up/Page Down keys. And since they move the current time indicator by the amount indicated in the paint panel, you can easily paint "on twos", or whatever increment you need.


Comments Are Enabled Again

I thought things were a bit quiet. Due to operator error, the commenting feature was turned off for my last few posts. It’s on again, so if you have something to say, have at it!

The Orphanage Closes Its Doors

I read this news with sadness today.

Rarely do people and organizations function so well as “multipliers” — those who raise others around them to new levels. The Orphanage is one such place. So I’d like to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who has worked at the Orphanage over the past decade. You are a positive influence on the After Effects team at Adobe. There’s more than a little bit of your blood, sweat and tears in After Effects today.

The Orphanage might shuffle off this mortal coil, but you can’t kill the ideas and skills it has unleashed upon the world. I can’t wait to see what becomes of the new orphans.


Adobe Crash Reporter Privacy

As some of you have probably noticed, we have integrated some new Adobe technology into After Effects CS4: the Adobe Crash Reporter.

Paul Uusitalo describes the details in a guest appearance on Todd Kopriva’s Region of interest blog.

I received a question about customer privacy when using the Adobe Crash Reporter. Adobe is not monitoring your activity. After Effects detects the crash and we don’t know anything about it until you send the report to Adobe. The report originates on your computer. If you choose to submit a report (and we very much appreciate if you would) only non-personally-identifiable information is sent to Adobe. This includes information such as which part of the software encountered an issue.

Adding more information, such as what you were doing when the error occurred, is very helpful in diagnosing the problem. If you choose to provide your contact info such as your e-mail address, it will only be used in case we want to contact you about your crash. It will not be used for marketing purposes. You can send the report anonymously if you wish.

The reports are often submitted with a colorful expletive or two. 🙂 While this is understandable and we take no offense, just remember that if you are inspired to express your frustration, throw in some details about what you were doing at the time of the error.

These reports go directly to your friends on the After Effects team and it’s a tremendous resource for you to help us improve the product. It’s my hope that you’ll take advantage of it.

Frischluft Fresh Curves

Good news for people who like to color correct with curves: The folks at Frischluft have released a new After Effects plug-in called Fresh Curves. It has a great user interface and adds controls such as additional channels, histogram view, bezier curve drawing. Graphs are scalable and drawn in color — a nice upgrade from the standard, small black and white curves editor. The two plug-in package includes a separate plug-in for “relative curves” which makes it easy to accomplish tasks like increasing saturation for a particular hue. So making your washed out sky look more interesting is now just a few clicks away.

After Effects 9.0.1 Released

The After Effects 9.0.1 update is available now, free of charge, to all After Effects CS4, CS4 Production Premium and CS4 Master Collection customers, through the Adobe update manager (accessed through the Help menu in the application). This update includes quality improvements and support for the RED camera plug-in, which allows customers to use RED Camera R3D files directly in After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Dear After Effects…answered

Some call it gripes, but we on the After Effects team prefer the term ‘feedback’.

That’s what’s going on over at A gripe is just something that goes into thin air, unheard by the real target of the criticism. But we’re listening, even when we’re too busy to pick up the phone and call.

I downloaded the top 25 After Effects gripes and the considerate folks at have published my response to each one. Many suggestions were already in the shipping version of After Effects, or soon to be addressed in After Effects CS4. Of course, there were also some great feature requests in there. You have to know we want to do these as much as you need them. You can check out the official After Effects comments on their blog.

Of course, the more direct route for your feedback would be to comment here, or simply use the Adobe feature request and bug submission form. This form goes directly to After Effects team members, so don’t worry about your feedback going into thin air, and don’t let those good ideas and questions turn into gripes!

After Effects CS4 Announced Today!

It’s official! CS4 is announced today!

The Adobe website has been updated with all the info about the release. I’ll have more to say here shortly, but I wanted to make a quick post to point you all towards the After Effects CS4 info. A new After Effects is very exciting by itself, but be sure to also check out the whole Production Premium suite — there’s some unbelievably cool features throughout the suite that will save you time and expand your creative possibilites! More to come later…

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.