Steve Kilisky's Dynamic Media Blog

February 1, 2006

Mactel & After Effects

Given the timing of the release of AE7 and the impending release of the first Mactel machines from Apple, I've seen quite a bit of discussion and speculation about what this means for After Effects users.

John Nack beat me to the punch with his blog entry today on the official Adobe FAQ about our Mactel plans.

While I encourage our Macintosh customers to read the FAQ, to summarize the key points for After Effects users:

1. We plan to release a Universal version of After Effects.
2. We are not planning to release a Mactel version of After Effects 7.0
3. The transition requires a major development effort, not just for us, but our 3rd party partners (plug-ins as an example).
4. We are not aware of any known issues running After Effects 7.0 using Rosetta, however in most cases user will not see any performance improvements and are likely to see performance degradation.

While it would be nice to see the performance of a Universal version of After Effects on an iMac or MacBook when they ship, for most of our users the real benefits won't be realized until Apple releases their desktop line of products and the entire ecosystem of tools our users rely on is available on Mactel.

While not exactly the same thing, anyone else feel like it is deja vu all over again (OS9 to OS X transition or for Windows customers going from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95)?

Posted by Steve Kilisky at 7:34 PM on February 1, 2006


Ken Broomfield — 10:09 AM on February 2, 2006

And one major snag that most people seem to have missed is that any plug-ins you want to use need to be ported to Macintel to run under Macintel AE, Photoshop, etc. If you need to use even one PowerPC plug-in, you have to run AE under Rosetta. This is different from the transition to PowerPC, in which 68000 plug-ins could work (if slowly).

And especially since Rosetta doesn't support Altivec, the PowerPC SIMD extensions for multimedia, the performance of AE under Rosetta will probably be very poor, though I haven't seen benchmarks.

I also wonder how big the development effort is for apps that already run on Wintel, like AE and Photoshop. Byte order issues and assembly language code will have already been taken care of.

Peter Kahn — 12:53 PM on February 3, 2006

Thanks for this information. It is VERY helpful in planning next steps. I DO have to buy more hardware and soon. My guess is that Apple is going to release new versions of ProApps at NAB that, while PPC capable, have blazing performance and "gotta have" features only available under the new architecture. That's when the stress factor will get multiplied for folks like me. Its not the PowerMac that's the issue. Handled for now. The issue, as most Mac pros know, is the laptop. I bought mine in 2002 (TiBook Rev 3) with notion of holding for 2 years. Then came the G5 announcement,,,wait, wait, wait,, then came the MacIntel announcement, wait, wait, wait. Now there's something to touch. But, I can't imagine living on a platform that has a highly optimized FCP Studio with Adobe apps being hindered by software emulation. At the same time, I have a hard time believing that if I move to MacIntel on the laptop, the PowerMac has to go soon after. You're right about that sinking "migration" feeling that we went through going from Classic to X. How long will it take and how much will it cost. Regarding plugs, its a great point but I don't see AE moving to UB dependent on 3rd party plug migration. Heck, it seemed like years between the time AE for X came out and some of my favorites like Composite Wizard and Knoll Lens Flare finally would run in X. I still go backward to Classic to get a good flare (yes, I know I can upgrade). So, its expense, time, and energy to move once again. However, I think Mac users are more tolerant and able to change. We've had to. We're often forced to. And that's okay,,,its part of the price of being on the bleeding edge of Steve's sword. So, either you put up with it or you bail to something that evolves at a much slower pace. As soon as i can, I am ready to move on. So, AE team, thanks for a great 7.0 release,,,now get busy, please.

David Chartier — 4:59 PM on March 11, 2006

What I'd really like to know is how well AE 7 would perform on a MacBook Pro when compared to a PowerBook.

I currently have the latest-model 15" PowerBook 1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB RAM. I'd love to know if AE 7 would perform any better or at least similarly on a MacBook Pro when compared to this machine. Any thoughts are much appreciated.

steve kilisky — 11:51 AM on March 15, 2006

I'm still waiting for my MacBook Pro order to be delivered (I ordered one the day they were announced).

In general I don't think you will find running AE under Rosetta to perform better than your current PowerBook and in most cases it will run slower.

Brooks Andrus — 8:33 PM on May 28, 2006

Steve, I just recently purchased a macbook pro and have had zero success in getting AE to install--any thoughts? I'd love to do a couple of screencasts showing off AE on the mac, but looks like its not to be.

Sean pirtle — 9:55 PM on September 24, 2006

Steve- Trying to install on any new Intel Mac doesn't work. The ONLY work around is to install on an old machine and transfer all 2+gigs over. Even after that ordeal, AE running in Rosetta is abysmal. I ended up selling my AE Pro 7.0 upgrade on eBay as it is utterly UNUSUABLE! On what date will Adobe have a Universal version!!

Steve Kilisky — 1:01 PM on September 25, 2006

Hi Sean,

Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear that you couldn't install. I'll ask our tech support folks about it. AE7 installed and is running on my Macbook Pro while I wouldn't characterize my experience as abysmal, it is certainly less than ideal.

Regarding timing of the universal version, all I am permitted to say is that we are hard at work on it.

Terrill — 1:17 AM on January 5, 2007

Same problem as Sean. AE7 will not install at all on my new 17" Core 2 MacBook Pro. The problem is that I had planned on using AE7 for the multimedia class I'm teaching this quarter. Now it looks like I'll have to buy Motion and switch the entire class over. Hope you guys find a fix, or release a universal soon.

Thanks - Terrill

Hi Terrill,

I'll poke around to see if I can offer some suggestions to solve your issue. This could be a tricky one as I know this is not a generic issue for everyone. AE7 installed fine on my 15" MacBook Pro. But I agree we need to release a universal version as soon as possible.


steve kilisky — 1:59 PM on January 5, 2007

Hi Terrill,

Here is what I was able to come up with as possible causes/solutions for the installation issue you are experiencing:

These 2 docs are not Mactel specific but might help:

There was an issue a while ago with QT 7.1, that was resolved with a QT update.

There have been some reports that pre- installed OS images might cause some havoc on Mactels for some apps (not just AE) so you may want to consider reinstalling OS X from scratch if this is applicable to you.

hope this helps,


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