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

Hello! After Effects has a new Product Manager

Hello, Victoria Nece here. I’m the new Product Manager for Motion Graphics and Visual Effects at Adobe, taking over for Todd Kopriva. Todd’s been a tremendous resource and a strong advocate for After Effects and this whole community. We wish him well on his new adventures.

Before joining Adobe, I was the Director of Animation at the Documentary Group in New York, as well as an independent author of scripts and extensions. I’ve been an After Effects user most of my life: I’ve been doing motion design, titles, maps, data visualizations, and all kinds of post production work for what feels like forever. In the last few years I’ve become a developer too, writing code for After Effects automation, motion capture, and workflow customization. After Effects has always been at the core of my creative work, and I’ll be bringing my perspective as a user to the job.

I’ve been joking that I talked about After Effects so much they decided to pay me to do it, but there’s more to it than that: my job is really to make your work life better. I know how After Effects can make some seemingly impossible tasks quick and easy and fun. I know how other things it does can make you crazy; they’ve frustrated me too, and I want to help ease some of those pain points.

Since I’ve come on board, it’s been exciting to see all the great things the After Effects team has in store for future releases. (More than a few “I’ve been wanting this for years!” features.) Character Animator is getting more powerful every day, too, and their roadmap promises lots of new ways to create fast, expressive animation.

I love this community. It’s full of creative, talented people with great ideas for the future of the industry, and I’m looking forward to meeting many more of you. I couldn’t be happier to have joined the team.

Territory Studio & The Martian: The Creative Process with Adobe After Effects CC

Having worked together with Director Ridley Scott and Production Designer Arthur Max on Prometheus, Territory, a design studio that works on a range of motion projects including feature films, brand work, and popular video games, was asked to create the screen graphics for The Martian, recently nominated for an Oscar® for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Although both films are set in space, The Martian is predicated on real science, and ‘authenticity’ was key to the creative.

DF-07969_Giles-Keyte_sizedCredit: Courtesy of Giles Keyte

When Territory’s team, led by Creative Director David Sheldon-Hicks and Ar Director Marti Romances, broke down the script, they realized that story-led motion graphics would be a constant presence in every scene, helping to explain, clarify, or direct the dialogue and the action.

Here, Marti takes us behind the scenes, sharing the creative process so we can understand how Creative Cloud and After Effects CC helped the team achieve the stunning graphics that feature in the film.

Project overview
There were 8 key sets, including Mission Control, the Hermes spaceship, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Mars Ascent Vehicle (M.A.V.), HABitat facility on Mars, Mars Rovers, NASA offices, Pathfinder, and smaller projects for the Space Suit Arm Computers and Crew personal laptops.

Each set featured hundreds of screens, most of which needed to be animated, and I created visual design languages to help differentiate each set. From there, my team of designers, animators, and 3D artists began to create content.

Adobe Creative Cloud was with us every step of the way, with Illustrator CC, Photoshop CC and After Effects forming the backbone of our creative tools, helping us to bring our concepts to life and make our time more effective.

Overcoming challenges
The biggest challenge we faced was to find the best ways to combined real science, stunning design, and dramatic storytelling. Our graphics had to represent complex scientific information very clearly so that the audience could understand and keep up with plot twists. At the same time, we had to make sure that the science was still credible and met with NASA’s approval.

My approach to a project of this scale is to create all the user interfaces in Adobe Illustrator first, and then animate all the windows and widgets in After Effects. Building the graphics in a non-destructible mode (being able to scale it up and down without losing pixel quality) was key, as we knew we were going to be repurposing lots of the graphics in different aspect ratios.


CREDIT: Territory Studio

We also knew that many of the screens required interactions or animations to tie into story points, so we designed the graphics with movement in mind. We looked carefully at the UX of the interfaces that we ‘reimagined’ for the story to make sure that the choreography felt right in terms of ease of use and expected function.


CREDIT: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

An authentic Mission Control
Mission Control was the biggest set and featured around 100 screens, including a bank of LED monitors 18m x 6m. Ridley and Arthur were very clear that the Mission Control screens (NASA and JPL) needed to look real and work authentically.


CREDIT: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

One of the film’s key scenes plays out in Mission Control so it was essential that we got the balance right between factual screen content and visual design. Each screen has a real purpose in that context and we needed to make sure that our work reflected that. And it was important to give a unique identity to the set, which features a lot of information, including realistic video feeds and telemetry data for the actors to react to and interact with.

Creating a visual language
To be able to create a visual language to wrap those realistic elements in, I researched NASA’s current data and interface conventions, and how data was prioritised and when, how that was organized and depicted on screen and in the Mission Control space, how crew interacted with it, what commands were given, and how that changed the data display. We also talked to NASA about how they think that will evolve over the next 20 years.

I then began to visualize how to bring all that data, which in real life is displayed in a mix of styles, formats and screens, together. I applied information architecture principles to the interface designs, and thought about data priorities and the user experience. I wanted to achieve a consistent UI design that could work for NASA in real life.


CREDIT: Territory Studio

Out of the possible routes we suggested, Arthur chose the combination that was very true to the data requirements and the spirit of NASA’s current Mission Control, and yet pushed 20 years forward.


CREDIT: Territory Studio

The backgrounds were black and dark blue with white fonts and light blue indicators. Red was used to highlight mission critical data and indicate warning status. The overall look of the interface is serious and authoritarian, but the hierarchy of information is clearly readable to tie in with story points.

Animation ref: Martian NASA Mission Control 02

With hundreds of animations playing concurrently, After Effects played a key role in bringing the UI to life within the context of the action. I would say the best thing was the ability to export every single layer from Illustrator to After Effects and animate them as we wanted to. They were couple designs and having everything organised was key.

Martian_Sc153-154-155-160-165_NMC_IrisProbe-ALL_03_MR_141114-copy_sizedCREDIT: Territory Studio

The 2D graphs on the right hand side were also Illustrator paths transformed into After Effects paths so we could animate the bezier points in After Effects. The “Numbers” native effect was very useful when replicating timecodes like the countdown for the missions or (again) for the amount of running numbers in the left hand side.

Designing for The Hermes spaceship
The Hermes space ship was another key set. For the Hermes screens, UI Art Director Felicity Hickson wanted a twist on the typical spacecraft avionic designs. Again, NASA’s reference material for the relevant technology and science led the design of the console screens, but as we were designing for a ‘near future’ spaceship, we also looked at what SpaceX are doing to push the designs a bit further.

We ended up with a good set using different dark tones on the backgrounds (dark blues, purples and greens) and very vivid and bright colours (mainly whites and bright screens) for the data and buttons on those screens.

Martian HERMES Purnell Orbits 01

Again, the Hermes screens were all displaying mission critical status information, be that engineering schematics of the Hermes itself, or of operations performed by its equipment.


CREDIT: Territory Studio

After Effects really stood out for its ability to help us achieve the simplicity of the main graphs for the orbits, such as the ones in the top left corner of the above screen, plus all the rest of the running numbers animated using the “Numbers” effect native from After Effects. The Posterise Time effects helped a lot too when trying to replicate a slightly delayed update of information from the satellites, receiving information not instantly but a bit phased (by 15 or 20 frames per second). So we could animate everything smoothly and later on apply the Posterise Time effect to down the time of the refresh on the animation by the same values for the rest of animations on that screen (i.e., numbers, graphs etc.).


CREDIT: Territory Studio

Insights from Designer and Animator Daniel Højlund
Expressions offer a great way to establish a lot of extra animation control in After Effects, and we used it occasionally to help drive certain animation like number values and relationship between different layer properties. Building a rig with Expression controls linked up to multiple layer properties, also help us ensure certain animation patterns and feel to stay consistent across screens. It was a very time efficient way to generate some of the more generic animation elements for quick turnarounds with the use of fairly simple expressions.

Also, the pipeline between Illustrator and After Effects is much improved and very useful. Designing the graphic elements in Illustrator and importing them into After Effects, made it easy to go back into Illustrator to make design adjustments, and then have those elements live update in After Effects. It is a much faster and sufficient way of working with Illustrator layers, which was very handy for us on more than a few occasions.

The fact the screens were not just set dressing but ‘mission critical’ and necessary to both story and credibility added to the pressure, but ultimately the satisfaction. And once the screens were programmed by Compuhire, our on-set playback partners, they really brought the sets to life and it was great to see the actors performing with live screens on-set.


what’s new and changed in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update is now available.

For details of the updates for all Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page. Also, in January 2016 Adobe Stock added over 100,000 4K high-quality video assets, which you can search for, download, and license in the Libraries panel in After Effects and Premiere Pro.

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the new version by checking for updates through the Creative Cloud desktop application. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

Please, if you want to ask questions about these new and changed features, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum. That’s the best place for questions. Questions left in comments on a blog post are much harder to work with; the blog comment system just isn’t set up for conversations. If you’d like to submit feature requests or bug reports, you can do so here.

summary of what’s new in the After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) update

  • Maxon CINEWARE 3.0
  • new preference to auto-save when starting the render queue
  • improvements to Cache Before Playback previews
  • … and many bug fixes

Maxon CINEWARE 3.0

Maxon’s CINEWARE plug-in for After Effects has been updated to version 3.0, and includes the following features:

  • Live Link, which synchronizes the timelines in After Effects and Cinema 4D (R17 SP2)
  • support for the Cinema 4D Take System (R17)
  • extract .c4d timeline markers
  • other enhancements and fixes

CINEWARE 3.0 also includes the following rendering improvements:

  • OpenGL renderer
  • renderer limitations have been removed: Physical, Hardware, and Sketch and Toon renderers will now render using CINEWARE
  • multi-pass alpha channels

You will need Cinema 4D R17 to use the Take System, and Cinema 4D R17.048 (SP2) to use Live Link. Even if you don’t have access to Cinema 4D R17, the rest of the new features can be used with After Effects and Cinema 4D versions R14-R16, including the version of Cinema 4D Lite R16 included with After Effects CC 2015.

Live Link

Live Link enables the timelines of Cinema 4D and After Effects to be synchronized. Live Link requires Cinema 4D R17.048 (SP2) or later. If the selected version of Cinema 4D does not support Live Link, the Enable button will be greyed out.

To use Live Link, ensure that the Cinema 4D paths in the CINEWARE Options dialog is set to a version of Cinema 4D that supports Live Link (Cinema 4D R17.048 or later). When you click the Enable button for Live Link (under the Show help button), the specified Cinema 4D version will open the current file. If Live Link has not been enabled in Cinema 4D, brief instructions will appear. To enable Live Link in Cinema 4D, choose Edit > Preferences > Communication > Live Link, then enable Live Link Enabled At Startup. The timelines will now be synchronized when switching between After Effects and Cinema 4D. When you select a different C4D layer in After Effects, press Enable to synchronize that layer.

Take System

The Cinema 4D R17 Take System has been integrated into CINEWARE. The Set Take button in the CINEWARE effect will be enabled if the .c4d file contains takes. If the current renderer does not support take selections then the main take will be used.

extract .c4d timeline markers

Timeline markers in .c4d files are now added to the C4D layer in After Effects when you click the Extract button.

Note: To avoid problems extracting scene data in After Effects, enable Save Polygons for Melange and Save Animation for Melange in Cinema 4D preferences.

OpenGL renderer

The CINEWARE renderer can now be set to OpenGL.

renderer limitations removed for Physical, Hardware, and Sketch and Toon

Renderer limitations have been removed in CINEWARE. When your .c4d file has been saved in a full retail (e.g., Studio) version of Cinema 4D with Render Settings set to the Physical or Hardware renderer, it will render with those settings when the CINEWARE renderer is set to Standard (Final) or Standard (Draft). Sketch and Toon will render when the CINEWARE renderer is set to Standard (Final).

Note that this limitation is only removed for CINEWARE. The version of Cinema 4D Lite included with After Effects CC 2015 is not affected by this change and still has limitations on which renderers it can use.

multi-pass alpha channels

Multi-pass layers are now created with an alpha channel.

Synchronize C4D Layers

When the Cinema 4D Layers option is enabled, a new option to Synchronize C4D Layers becomes available when there are multiple instances (including extracted passes) of the C4D layer in the composition. All instances of the same layer with Synchronize C4D Layers enabled will synchronize changes made when enabling or disabling Cinema 4D layers by clicking Set Layers.

Note the difference between the two synchronize options in CINEWARE:

  • Synchronize AE layer: Render Settings and Camera options are synchronized on all instances of the C4D layer.
  • Synchronize C4D Layers: Cinema 4D Layers settings are synchronized on all instances the C4D layer.

other changes in CINEWARE

The No Pre-calculation option is now enabled by default. This disables pre-calculations for computing motion dynamics or particle simulations. You may need to disable No Pre-calculation for final rendering, depending on the animation used in the .c4d file.

new preference to auto-save when starting the render queue

In Preferences > Auto-Save, you can now control whether After Effects automatically saves the project when you start the render queue. The new Save When Starting Render Queue option is enabled by default.

This new option is a separate control from auto-saving at intervals (“Save every X minutes”). The Auto-Save options have been modified to make it clear that you can choose to save at intervals, save when starting the render queue, or both.

Starting in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), auto-saving does not occur while the render queue is rendering. In After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), if Automatically Save Projects was enabled in Preferences > Auto-Save, projects were always auto-saved when you started the render queue; After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) now allows you to control whether or not this auto-save occurs.

improvements to Cache Before Playback previews

When the Cache Before Playback option is enabled in the Preview panel, After Effects CC 2015 (13.7) now previews frames as they are rendered. As the frames are rendered, only newly rendered frames are previewed; previously rendered frames are skipped. Audio is not previewed during this caching phase of the preview.

After all frames are rendered, preview of the cached frames begins (with audio, if enabled).

notable bug fixes

  • Resizing a panel by dragging panel borders with a tablet pen (e.g. a Wacom tablet) no longer causes the pointer to continue to drag the panel border the next time you touch the pen down, or to unexpectedly begin dragging after a single click.
  • Zooming with the mouse wheel in a Composition panel set to multiple views will again zoom the view under the pointer as expected, instead of only zooming the first view.
  • Audio is no longer silent for the first 2 seconds of real-time playback of previews after the composition has been fully cached, if the Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-time preference is enabled. Important: This fixed bug addresses a specific problem in which audio did not engage when the playback frame rate is real-time; we are continuing to investigate a similar bug some users are experiencing where the preview of a cached composition starts out slower than real-time, and ramps up to real-time after a similar delay (~2-3 seconds). In this case, if Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-time is enabled, you will not hear audio during until the preview frame rate is real-time; you can work around this bug by disabling Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-time.
  • Audio no longer plays out of sync if the frame rate of the comp or footage is different than the Frame Rate option in the Preview panel.
  • Visual artifacts no longer occur in layers that use time remapping with frame blending set to Pixel Motion, or with Timewarp, Rolling Shutter Repair, and other effects that use the Pixel Motion (optical flow) method.
  • Antialiasing in viewer panels (Composition, Layer, Footage) is improved when downsampling (e.g., viewer resolution is set to full and zoom is set to 25%) and the Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels option is enabled in Preferences > Display.
  • Layers draw their contents as expected, instead of a wireframe, when you hold the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key while dragging the anchor point with the Pan Behind tool.
  • Fixed several cases where the render progress bar in the Composition panel failed to appear or update as expected after modifying a composition.
  • Resetting a workspace to its saved layout no longer opens empty Timeline panels.
  • The Paint workspace now opens the Paint and Brushes panels instead of the Character and Paragraph panels.
  • Audio-only previews no longer restore the workspace when the Timeline panel or other non-viewer panels are maximized.
  • Choosing Replace With After Effects Composition in Premiere Pro no longer fails with an error, “Importer reported a generic error”, if the Premiere Pro sequence is set to greater than 99fps. Note that while the new composition in After Effects will be at the expected frame rate, changing that composition’s settings will reduce its frame rate to 99fps. (99fps is the maximum value allowed by the Composition Settings dialog. This bug fix behaves similar to dragging footage that is greater than 99fps to the New Composition button at the bottom of the Project panel in After Effects.)
  • Previews now play the composition, layer, or footage only once when the Loop control in the Preview Panel is set to Play Once, even when the playback requires frames to be cached and causes it not to play in real-time. Note that when Cache Before Playback is enabled, the caching phase is separate and not considered to be playback; once all frames are cached, then the single playback loop begins.
  • Scrolling in the Render Queue panel during rendering works again.
  • Previewing with Full Screen enabled no longer causes an error message: internal verification failure, sorry! {no current context}
  • After Effects no longer crashes when you select multiple keyframes, then open the Keyframe Velocity dialog and enable Continuous.
  • Executing After Effects via the command line no longer fails if the file path to a project file or script contains “-ep”.

If you’d like to let us know what you’d like to see addressed in a future update, let us know with a bug report or feature request here. You can also talk with us on the After Effects user-to-user forum. Please, do not leave comments on this blog post, since the blog comment system is not set up well for bug reports or conversations.

After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update available: fixes stale image cache and more

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update is now available. This update fixes multiple bugs, including a bug that caused After Effects to not update the preview image in the Composition panel, which happened most commonly after using Undo.

You can install the update through the Creative Cloud desktop application, or you can check for new updates from within any Adobe application by choosing Help > Updates.

For details of what was added, changed, and fixed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), see this page. For details of all of the other updates for Adobe professional video and audio applications, see this page.

Please, if you want to ask questions about this update, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum, rather than leaving comments on this blog post. (It’s much harder to have conversations in the comments of a blog post.) If you’d like to submit feature requests or bug reports, you can do so here.

The After Effects team is continuing to investigate other bugs for future updates. Please refer to this article for current information about known issues.

tell us what we should work on next

The After Effects team is currently planning our releases for the upcoming year, which will focus on quality and performance. We would like to hear from you about what specific areas we should work on next.

Please fill out a short survey, which will help us learn what you consider most important to the development of After Effects. We appreciate you taking the time to do this.

bug fixes in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1)

The After Effects CC 2015 (13.6.1) bug-fix update addresses these significant bugs:

  • The preview image in the Composition panel no longer fails to update in certain cases after you make a change to the composition. This fix prevents After Effects from putting the image cache into a bad state, which most commonly occurred on Windows after using Undo, but could also occur after other changes once the project had entered the bad state.
  • Previewing a composition with audio will no longer fail to start when a layer has an audio effect with an expression, and display an error: Effect cannot use “abort” callback when called with “unrecognized plug-in effect command” command. ( 25 :: 19 )
  • Viewer panels (Composition, Layer, Footage) no longer show downsampling artifacts when the viewer zoom is set to 50% zoom, the viewer resolution is set to Full, and the Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels option is enabled in Preferences > Display.
  • After Effects no longer fails to start on computers with older processors lacking a specific instruction set (e.g., AMD Phenom II and Athlon processors). The error message given for this specific issue was “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc000001d)” or “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000142)”. Note: A similar issue affects Premiere Pro CC 2015 (9.1), for which the fix is somewhat more involved. An upcoming Premiere Pro update is intended to address this issue. Thank you for your patience.
  • After Effects no longer generates the wrong image for layers using some plug-ins in 16-bpc or 32-bpc (bits per channel) color mode. Affected plug-ins included Digital Film Tools Film Stocks and Digital Anarchy plug-ins.
  • Creative Cloud account names that use non-ASCII characters (e.g., Japanese and Chinese characters) no longer cause an error “could not convert Unicode characters” when you start After Effects.

Toddler Fun Learning brings 2D characters to life with Adobe Character Animator

Experts in animation and illustration create more fun and engaging 2D characters for growing YouTube channel

When Christian Hughes couldn’t find educational video content on YouTube for his toddlers that appealed to him, he decided to create it himself. As the Founder and CEO of a successful video production company, he used his background in animation and video to establish Toddler Fun Learning, a successful YouTube channel for the younger set.

The channel is a family affair, with Christian serving as Creative Director and his wife Amalie as Marketing Director. They also employ talented freelance animators, including Chay Hawes, who work with them to improve the quality of animated content with new tools in Adobe Creative Cloud. Most recently, they started working with Adobe Character Animator, which is available with a download of Adobe After Effects CC, to create charming 2D animated characters.

Toddler Fun Learning










Adobe: Why did you decided to start making educational YouTube videos for kids?

Hughes: I have a video production company, Curly Productions, which specializes in online video content, promotional videos, and motion graphics for clients. After I had kids, educational video content became important to me, yet I couldn’t find anything on YouTube that reminded me of the content I watched when I was young. A lot of the content was hyperactive and used clipart style graphics, yet still got millions of views.

I decided to take a crack at creating some animated videos myself, hearkening back to what I remembered as a kid, but with a modern YouTube twist. I created some animations, posted them on YouTube, and they got more and more views. Today, we have more than 100 videos and 40 million views on Toddler Fun Learning.

Hughes Family












Adobe: How long have you used Adobe software?

Hughes: I’ve been using Adobe software since I was 14 years old. I taught myself Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, and to a lesser extent Photoshop and Illustrator. I’ve implemented Creative Cloud across Curly Productions and also use it for the Toddler Fun Learning videos.

Adobe: How did you first start creating animated video content for Toddler Fun Learning?

Hughes: I created the first 10 videos myself. I came up with the idea for Number Zoo when I was on a flight to South Africa and immediately started drawing it using Adobe Ideas, which is now Adobe Draw. I’m not an illustrator by trade, but I thought kids might like drawings that looked like they were drawn by kids.

Number Zoo














I synced the artwork to Creative Cloud, opened them in Illustrator to refine the drawings, separated them into layers, and created the arms and legs. Next, I moved into After Effects for animation and then used Dynamic Link to bring the animations into Premiere Pro where I added the music.

We release one animation each Friday. The software enables us to achieve this schedule. We just started releasing a second video on Tuesdays that is a partnership with Penguin Books. Filmed at the YouTube studio in London, Story Time for Children features live action of celebrities reading storybooks to kids.

Story Time










Adobe: Who is the team behind the Toddler Fun Learning videos and how do you work together?

Hughes: In addition to me and my wife, we have three trusted animators, all with full-time jobs during the day. They enjoy spending some time on weekends and evenings doing something creative. Our channel doesn’t have a distinct style. I just tell the animators and illustrators that the content is for kids and they can be as creative and off the wall as they want. They come up with ideas, create storyboards and character designs, then we’ll create an animatic followed by the full video. It’s a quick process, and Creative Cloud makes it easy for all of us to work together.

Hawes: I initially started working with Toddler Fun Learning on a few nursery rhyme animations, and then we created the Puppy Park series together. At the time, I was starting my own animated YouTube series called Daisy and Fluff. This began as another narrated animation, but when I saw Adobe Character Animator I decided to expand it to include elements of character acting and lip sync to interact more with the audience. Christian and I agreed to do the same for our next Toddler Fun Learning series.

Puppy Park










Adobe: How is Character Animator significant to the work you do?

Hughes: Animation can be quite time consuming and costly, so all of the money we make on the channel is reinvested into new content. We’re always trying to find new ways to create higher quality content on a really tight budget. Character Animator gives us the opportunity to try on-screen character animation with our new series Gecko’s Garage at a much lower cost than traditional character animation, which is really exciting.

Geckos Garage










Hawes: Before Character Animator, we could only do very basic on-screen animations such as adding a wiggle or an expression, waving an arm, or making the mouth move a bit. With Character Animator we can create all of the character’s movement and speech using a webcam. It was easy to get set up with the basic character for Gecko’s Garage. After creating the character in Photoshop I imported it into Character Animator. From there, Christian recorded the voiceover while I generated the puppet’s movements.

Adobe: What are your favorite Character Animator features?

Hawes: Lip sync in Character Animator is huge. After I put the initial time into making the mouth shapes and the character I did the lip sync in just a couple of minutes. Instead of going back and recreating the entire animation whenever we needed to make a change, we just did takes to update features such as the eye movements.

Geckos Garage 2














I also like how I can just move around in my seat and bring life to the character so easily. The breathing tool is also great. Even if the character isn’t doing something on screen, they can still be breathing, which is a simple motion to add that doesn’t require keyframing.

Adobe: What feedback have you gotten on Gecko’s Garage?

Hughes: Our kids are our biggest critics, and we often tweak characters depending on their response. In the case of Gecko’s Garage, their feedback led us to speed up the intro so you meet the characters right away. We’ve also looked at the YouTube analytics and the audience retention for the show is really good, with a 70% watch time and more than 30,000 views to date.

Adobe: What are the future plans for Toddler Fun Learning?

Hughes: We have eight episodes of Gecko’s Garage planned at the point, with a different educational slant for each one. Overall, we want to create more character oriented videos and we have a new series with aliens coming up. Eventually we’re looking at creating content for older kids as well.

Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud

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Avoid crashes. If you use After Effects on Mac OS X v10.10 (Yosemite), update to Mac OS X v10.10.5.

If you use After Effects on Mac OS X v10.10 (Yosemite), update to Mac OS X v10.10.5.

We can see in our crash reporter data that a lot of folks are experiencing crashes when using After Effects on Mac OS X v10.10 (Yosemite). These crashes are nearly all occurring on old versions of Mac OS X v10.10, previous to the current v10.10.5.

Apple made a lot of great fixes in the Mac OS X v10.10.5 update to fix issues regarding GPU usage by many applications, so it’s a good idea to update to this version of Mac OS X v10.10 even aside from the impact that it has on After Effects.

Because of some additional GPU work done for After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), this version of After Effects is especially affected by the issues in the versions of Mac OS X v10.10 before v10.10.5.

A specific crashing problem with After Effects that is fixed by updating Mac OS X v10.10 to v10.10.5 is one that gives the message “<GPUManager> <2> Sniffer Result Code: 7” when trying to start After Effects. This same problem can also occur on Windows 7 if you have not yet installed Windows 7 Service Pack 1.

To discuss this issue or others, please come to the After Effects user-to-user forum. Please, don’t leave comments on this blog post, since the blog commenting system just isn’t set up to have conversations and engage in troubleshooting.

Please submit bug reports here.

Stay tuned to this blog for news next week about a bug fix update that we are currently working on to address a few issues in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6).

After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) and Character Animator (Preview 3) updates now available

After Effects CC 2015 (13.6) is now available. For details about what’s new and changed in After Effects CC 2015 (13.6), see this page. That also means that Character Animator (Preview 3) is available.

This update brings many advances to After Effects, including performance and user interface improvements for previews, multi-touch gestures, optimizations for small and high-resolution screens, improved color fidelity, new importers, scripting additions, the ability to search and license stock video from within After Effects, and streamlined Creative Cloud Libraries workflows. For details, see this page.

The Character Animator (Preview 3) update adds “sticks” to control rigidity of the puppet mesh, multi-touch gestures to control character limbs, the ability to share rigged puppets, increased recording flexibility, performance improvements, and much more. For details, see this page.

For an overview of what’s new in all of the Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page. For details of the updates for all Adobe professional video and audio applications and services, see this page.

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can download the new version by checking for updates through the Creative Cloud desktop application. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers. For more information about Creative Cloud, see this overview video and the Creative Cloud FAQ list.

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Welcome Victoria Nece to her new role.

I am quite pleased—thrilled, actually—to announce that Victoria Nece has accepted a job at Adobe as “Product Manager for Visual Effects and Motion Graphics”. This job includes the primary responsibility of being product manager for After Effects and Character Animator. As a veteran professional user of After Effects, both as an animator and as a creator of extensions for After Effects, Victoria is perfectly suited to represent the needs of After Effects users and lead the development of this application through its next phase of life.

Of course, some of you may recognize that this job that she’s moving into is my job. Yep. I’ve decided to tackle some very different challenges, so I’ll be stepping away from software development. I’m sure that I’ll still be using After Effects a lot, so I’m glad that I’m leaving this valuable tool in the hands of someone who will be serving the needs that I’ll have as a user.

Victoria will be starting in this new role in January 2016, and we’ll work together for a few months to get her ramped up before I move on. I’m still the right person to contact for After Effects product management questions and concerns through January 2016, but after that I’ll be passing more of these responsibilities on to Victoria until the hand-off is complete in March 2016.

As I’ve said before, finding the After Effects team meant finding the best possible place for me within the software development industry. Thank you, again, to the entire After Effects team for taking me in. And thank you, members of the After Effects community of users, for being such an engaged, creative, nerdy, helpful group of people. You’ve given me a lot over the past 11 years.

Jayse Hansen helps movie audiences suspend reality

Fictional UI designer and animator adds stunning details to fantasy worlds in major motion pictures using Adobe Creative Cloud

Jayse Hansen is a sought-after fictional UI designer and animator who learned his trade not in school, but through books and from other great designers. After working in print and web design, he taught himself Adobe After Effects and set his sights on a career in the film industry.


Ten years later with a string of blockbusters under his belt, including XMen Origins: Wolverine, Iron Man 3, Ender’s Game, and Robocop, he still enjoys the unique challenges each project presents. He now also consults with companies exploring augmented reality and virtual reality technologies that may someday make his amazing fictional creations available for real-world applications.

Adobe: How did you get your start in the film industry?

Hansen: I was doing motion design and commercial work when a friend of mine showed me his reel. It was full of film UI work and I thought that would be the most awesome job. A while later I booked a commercial for Intel and pitched the idea of including futuristic interfaces. I shared that work with my friend and he started referring me for jobs. It took a while to break into the film industry, but I eventually made it!


Adobe: How does your early love of design apply to what you do today?

Hansen: I’ve always liked drawing and photography—design is a combination of the two. When I was young I would create engineering drawings and blueprints that broke down the inside structure of things. Through photography I learned all about composition, color, and lighting. Both of those early explorations apply to the work I do now.

For example, when I’m compositing a holograph, such as a part of the Iron Man suit, it is transparent so I’m designing the inside structure and showing the breakdown of how it works. When I’m putting that into a shot and compositing, I’m thinking about the lighting, contrast, and composition. I put everything to work in After Effects and it is both artistic and technical at the same time.


Adobe: What were some of your first projects?

Hansen: Trust is very important in the film industry. Everyone who is hiring is on the line, things move at a fast pace, and artists can sometimes be flakey. So I was very grateful when Gladys Tong at G-Creative took a chance and gave me a job working on XMen Origins: Wolverine and 2012. I created a few hero screens, which display full screen and tell a part of the story. It was cool that my first job was creating hero screens instead of something in the background that would get blurred out.


Along the way, I met Stephen Lawes and Sean Cushing at Cantina Creative. We struck up a friendship and that led to my working with them on Avengers and many other films. I still work with both studios today.

Adobe: Tell us about your work on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 with Cantina Creative.

Hansen: I was involved on set in Atlanta while they were filming, using Adobe Illustrator and After Effects to create the graphics that played on the computer screens while they were filming. I talked to some old-school hackers to get ideas of what to show on some key analysis and hacking screens in the film.


We also did the post work on the film, replacing screens with more story-specific versions, as well as creating all of the holographic effects using After Effects and CINEMA 4D. I used to always create temp or slap comps using Illustrator and Photoshop to show the screens and comps with the actors. I’ve now started going straight from Illustrator to After Effects where I’ll do a quick mock up. If it gets approved, we can just hand it off to artists and they have all of the settings to begin animating, tracking shots, and rotoscoping right away.

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Adobe: Have you worked on projects on your own as well?

Hansen: I love working with companies and being part of teams, so there are only a few films that I’ve done on my own. One example is Big Hero 6, which is probably the film I’m most proud of because it’s Disney and it was so good! I was contacted by Paul Felix, a legendary Disney Art Director. He said they were working on a new film, had stuff from my website on their inspiration boards, and were big fans.

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I never thought I’d work on an animated film because most of my stuff is so realistic. But when I found out that they wanted me to work on holograms and UI screens it was perfect. They knew I worked in After Effects and Cinema 4D so they had me concept out a ton of stuff and deliver a kitbash that they could take modules from to use throughout the film. Bruce Wright was the visual effects artist who took what I created and gave it a Disney look.

Adobe: What did you do with Cantina Creative for the film Pixels?

Hansen: The filmmakers wanted us to put Easter eggs into the military interface that referenced Galaga, Pac-Man, or other old-school video games while still maintaining a hard-core, no-nonsense look. I recreated all of the Galaga icons and made them more military looking and designed controllers for their video feed that were shaped like old school video game controllers.

Adobe: What do you like about working with After Effects CC?

Hansen: I love being able to go to JavaScript writers, tell them what I need, and have them write a script or develop a plug-in for it. I also love how After Effects can work with graphics and animation of graphics so well, and then become a compositor at the same time. It is definitely my bread and butter, my main program. If I had to cut out everything else and I only had one program, After Effects would be it. It’s really one of those great tools.

Adobe: How are you starting to work with augmented and virtual reality?

Hansen: There are few companies that have reached out to me. One that is really intriguing is called Meta. They are being super ambitious, wanting to do transparent, which is a lot harder than virtual reality. They want to make it possible to reach out and grab digital data and move it around. It’s a lot like how we’ve been designing stuff for Iron Man and Enders’ Game, but they’re looking for real-life applications.


I’m consulting with their design teams, doing concepts and mock ups in After Effects and Cinema 4D that their development team can replicate. Digital holograms are going to be a big new thing. Just imagine a doctor having access to a patient’s heart rate and other digital data without using a screen or needing to touch anything. It’s very surreal.

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