News, Information & Workflows from Users & the Adobe Ae Team

Product Manager Steve Forde shares his thoughts on After Effects and the motion graphics/visual effects market.

Revealed: The next version of After Effects

This year marks my 12th NAB. One thing that makes this time of year completely cool – it’s like new years eve for the production industry. I’ve been around for a few of these now – and I must say that this one is by far one of my favorite. This year we are doing a huge sneak peek and revealing what’s coming to the next versions of the Adobe professional video and audio tools.

After Effects CS6 was a gargantuan release. The 3D Camera Tracker brought complex camera tracking to everyone, and the global performance cache brought performance improvements where it mattered most – previews. We knew going into this next release that topping it would not be for the faint at heart.

I can say with complete confidence that not only did we top it with what’s coming to the next version of After Effects – we set a new standard I don’t know that we can match again – EVER. We listened to you intently and redesigned stabilization with the Warp Stabilizer VFX. We delivered a completely revamped approach to the previously mind-numbing task of rotoscoping, and made it not just fun to do, but made the technique work on footage that is just frankly ‘un-roto-able’. Look for the Refine Edge tool to see what I mean.

To top it, we saw that After Effects artists work with Cinema 4D as passionately as they do with After Effects. We looked at current workflows with our friends at Maxon and decided to integrate After Effects and Cinema 4D in a completely new way. I think the workflow advantages are not just dramatic, but completely empowering. Think 600 creative decisions in the new way of integration with no penalty – vs. 10 with the current workflow today.

Although the next version of After Effects isn’t available now, we’re offering a NAB Show special to get 40% off your first year of Adobe Creative Cloud membership (only $29.99/month), and you’ll automatically get these new features as soon as they are available.  You can check out upcoming top features coming to the next versions here.

Overall – I am extremely proud of this next release, and can’t wait to hear from you what you think. Happy NAB folks.


What’s Next in Rotoscoping in AE?

Roto work is typically an eye-bleeding task as it takes so much of your time to pull complex footage. Even with careful setup, if you shoot against a green/blue screen, you may have unevenness such as poor lighting, seams, wrinkles, markers or other auxillary objects that might introduce artifacts thus needing manual cleanup on each frame. For more general backgrounds, getting the alpha mattes could be extremely difficult.

Not so, in the next version of After Effects. Here’s a little peek as to what’s next in the world of rotoscoping in AE. And, for a little fun, we’ve decided to share the history of roto work in AE and give you a glimpse into the future using the next version of After Effects. 

After Effects and CINEMA 4D

I am super excited about this one – it’s been in the works for quite some time, and I finally get to share a few details.

Today, Adobe announced it is entering into a strategic alliance with MAXON, the makers of CINEMA 4D.

Here’s why we’re doing it:

  • After Effects works really well with CINEMA 4D. CINEMA 4D works really well with After Effects. The current interoperability exists between these two applications but, at a fundamental level, don’t really talk to each other in a way that’s super productive.
  • I’m a HUGE believer in a simple philosophy – ‘do what you know, and be the best at it’. Hand in hand with this idea means that you DON’T do a whole lot of stuff you don’t know. With this relationship announcement you have two companies who focus on being the very best at what they do.

The alliance between Adobe and MAXON allows us to be very creative in how After Effects and CINEMA 4D work together now and in the future. Both MAXON and Adobe care very deeply about our respective users and see great opportunities in terms of workflow, time savings and creative flexibility.

I wish I could go into more detail right now – but stay tuned. This area is about to get very exciting.



After Effects 20th Anniversary Party


After Effects is in its 20th year and the team had a bash in celebration. It wasn’t the red carpet event that you’d imagine. It was in a hole-in-the-wall bar in Seattle with beer and other non-exotic cocktails, a cake (for Trish Meyer’s birthday, not ours) and a lot of smiles and high-fives. We had guests come from all over the world and as far as Germany and Sweden! Long-time gurus, Chris and Trish Meyer and Mark Christiansen, traveled to Seattle just for the party. And, for added fun, Brian Maffitt skyped in for the occasion. Thank you for honoring us and celebrating a major milestone with us.

read more…

After Effects celebrates its 20th year!

It’s been twenty years since After Effects was created by a small start-up company in Providence, Rhode Island. Some of those brilliant minds who brought After Effects into this world are still here at Adobe and some have moved onto other ventures. But one thing that remains true–from the first day the Company of Science and Art (CoSA) showed a promising animated graphics in 1993 to today, After Effects has impacted the lives of so many. And it is those people we find insanely great.

The theme of the 20th anniversary is “Ae & Me.” It is our goal to get users, employees and the partner community to answer this simple question: “How has After Effects impacted you and your career?”

After Effects is more than motion graphics/visual effects software; it is a catalyst that helps propel careers. These are the stories that need to be told. These are the stories that our After Effects community wants hear. So what’s your story? Submit your story so we can share it to inspire others.

Additionally, throughout the next three months, the celebration continues with Ask a Video Pro eSeminars featuring users and employees that have worked with After Effects throughout its 20-year history. Employees and users will participate in #MoChats to discuss After Effects, and, on February 19th, users will be invited to participate an online scavenger hunt where they can win valuable prizes donated by partners. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified of these activities.

Also, we have a little surprise for you. Open up After Effects CS6 and check it out!

  • Hold down Alt/Option while opening the About box (i.e., Alt while choosing Help > About After Effects on Windows, Option while choosing After Effects > About After Effects on Mac) to open the credits.
  • Open the “TV” composition, which is downstream from the “After Effects CS6″ one that appears. You can simply click the “TV” comp button in the Composition Navigator bar at the top of the Composition panel to get to it easily.
  • Go to the last frame in the composition, which is one-frame beyond the last frame of the work area. (i.e., you would not see it if you did a RAM preview).

Comments on Top Feature Requests of 2012

The After Effects team’s own Todd Kopriva put a great post on the team blog about the top feature requests we hear from folks and some context to things that have already been shipped in After Effects. Here’s the link: Top Feature Requests for After Effects in 2012

I thought I would add a little colour to the conversation around a few specific things.

1: When is After Effects going to get ‘nodes’ – like Nuke.

I hear this from folks who use both applications.  Folks are passionate about which tools they use to accomplish creative tasks, and as some move between different applications like After Effects and Nuke, they tend to ask one tool to become more like the other.  Here’s my opinion on the matter (remember – just my opinion!) – After Effects is a CREATIVE motion graphics and VFX tool (strength = timeline). Nuke is a procedural compositor (strength = nodes).  Frankly – the Foundry has done some great work with their tools IMO and did so because they focus on their strengths.

Therein lies the point.  After Effects is strong because we continue to focus on its strength (animating / compositing elements and movement over time).  In fact, it’s why I believe that the applications could work even better together in the future vs. one application trying to become the other.  By taking this approach, After Effects has a ton of innovation to offer in the future with the timeline being its core.

Now this isn’t to say that we can’t improve organizational capabilities within After Effects in support of the timeline, but our view will always be to ‘go from idea to comp as quickly as possible’ with a focus on creativity.

2: After Effects on Linux – When?

My colleague Todd has written on this topic in many places recently, but thought I would throw in my $0.02 on the subject as well.  First – we realize and understand that there are a few VERY passionate individuals who feel we (Adobe) should be porting our software to Linux, After Effects included.  Obviously there are development, testing, support and delivery ramifications of doing so.  I will also state that I have NEVER seen any evidence to support some of the crazy accusations I have seen on the interwebs that we (Adobe) are somehow paid to NOT deliver on Linux.  (Sorry zealots – it just ain’t so)

Frankly, not porting After Effects to Linux is a business decision – pure and simple.  There is no data (rants on the interwebs don’t count as data) to support that porting to linux would be a sound business decision.  I realize other companies that provide software on linux have data that supports their development, testing, delivery, support AND business model.  From our perspective and how our business operates, it just doesn’t add up.

That isn’t to say we are saying ‘never’, but it does say that until it becomes a sound business decision (and real data proves it) – it’s not very likely.

I truly believe in transparency and open debate (civil discourse please), and wanted to give you some idea of how we prioritize.


SNL and CS 6

Oh blog – how I have ignored thee.  Been slammed over the fall with some exciting new stuff that I can’t share right now – but suffice to say, me poor blog was feeling a little attention starved.

Well, to start my salvation – thought I would post about this cool article over at studio daily.  Short story – HEAVY Ae workflow that switched over to Pr from Final Cut.  Cool stuff.


Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) Compatibility

Mountain Lion has been released and many like myself will be doing the upgrade.  We haven’t found any major issues, but have provided this FAQ:


New DPX + Plugin for Ae

Kudo’s to Brendan Bolles for providing a new DPX plugin for Ae free of charge.  DPX Plus allows for 8, 10, 12 or 16 bit DPX files + Alpha to work within Ae.  There are a few things to consider – so check out Brendan’s blog for details.


A User group near you…

Just a quick note that we will be showing off Ae and Pr CS6 at user groups in both NYC and LA over the next month.

Los Angeles – May 15th:

NYC  – May 31st:

Please come up and say hello if you can make it to one of these events!



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