AFTEREFFECTS

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

avoiding crashes and other problems with Red Giant software and After Effects

The folks at Red Giant have recently been releasing updates that help with crashes and other problems.

We strongly recommend that any users of Red Giant software go to this page and download and install the most recent versions of their software.

While you’re at it, this would be a good time to check for and install the most recent updates for your Adobe software, too.

If you continue to have problems, be sure to submit bug reports and crash reports so that we can isolate and fix these issues.

Happy New Year! ~ and a question…

First off – Happy New Year to all! 2013 was a fantastic year in the world of After Effects, and I’m stoked about what could be done in 2014. With that – I wanted to share a new years resolution of mine. My blog has been really ‘announcy’, which although not even a word – 2013 was really a lot of announcements coming from yours truly.

Therefore – my resolution is to return my portion of the After Effects blog to being about conversations. My favorite thing about this job is talking with folks who use what we create. I like to hear what we did right of course, but I LOVE to hear what we haven’t done or did wrong.

To that end, my comrade in arms Todd Kopriva recently distributed a blog post showing the top feature requests of 2013. It’s a pretty extensive list, and I am super proud about how much we could knock off that list throughout the year.

That being said, I want to look into 2014 and ask you, our customer, a hypothetical question…

What if we did NOTHING else in After Effects during 2014 other than make it faster? I mean MUCH faster. I mean much faster without a specific hardware requirement (new CPU, GPU, disk, machine, etc., etc.)?

To be frank, that’s not what’s in the works currently for 2014.  A lot of our developer resources are going to focus on performance, but also on workflow and creative capability. I am curious though what your reaction would be if we ditched the workflow and creative stuff for 2014, and put ALL of our resources on nothing but making After Effects killer fast.  Great!, good, bad, ugly?

Have fun in the comments – I look forward to hearing from you.

S.

[Update - Jan 13 2014, 8pm PST - Wow! Thanks to everyone for your comments.  Myself and the team have been pouring over your feedback and will have an update shortly.  Until then - we have heard loud and clear that not just raw rendering performance is the desire, but interactive performance is king (600 creative decisions instead of 100 because you don't have to wait for UI, frame update, etc etc).  Will continue the conversation in a new blog post. - S]

 

top After Effects feature requests of 2013, plus a peek at what we’re thinking about for the near future

I want to thank everyone who submitted a feature request (or bug report) this year. We put a lot of stock in the feedback that comes in through this channel. I think that a lot of you have gotten that message, since the number of feature requests and the amount of specific detail in the requests have both gone up quite a lot over the past year. Thank you.

I just finished going back through all of the feature requests that we received in 2013, as well as reviewing the list of top requests from last year, 2012. I thought that it might be useful to reflect on what we accomplished in 2013 based on these feature requests and then also share some of what we’re thinking about for the near future.

Please, do not start a conversation or add feature requests in the comments on this blog post. It is very cumbersome to track requests and conversations with several people in a comment thread on a blog article. The best thing to do is to use the feature-request form to add your own requests. If you want to have a conversation, let’s do it on the After Effects forum; start a thread there, and we’ll see it.

You can also talk with Steve Forde, the After Effects product manager. You can most easily contact him through his Twitter account. For ways to communicate with the After Effects team, see this page.

For complete lists of what is new and changed in After Effects CC, see these pages:


top feature requests from 2013 that we were able to address in After Effects CC (12.0, 12.1, 12.2) in 2013

Note that last year, I did a summary of feature requests from 2011 that we were able to address in 2012. This year, because of our greater ability to respond quickly through Adobe Creative Cloud, I am listing top requests from 2013 that we were able to address in the same year.

  • Make it faster: We don’t get all that many feature requests that use the exact words “Make it faster”, but a large number of requests do ask for essentially this in more specific terms.

    In After Effects CC (12.0), we improved performance when working with imported OpenEXR image sequences, improved the automatic defaults for memory settings (Memory & Multiprocessing preferences), and made it easier to manage the disk cache.

    In After Effects CC (12.1), we greatly improved the performance of the Warp Stabilizer and 3D Camera Tracker effects, extended OpenGL functionality to all Intel GPUs, integrated the new OptiX 3.0 library for better GPU performance with the ray-traced 3D renderer, added 21 entries to the CUDA whitelists for tested and supported GPUs for the ray-traced 3D renderer, opened the GPU acceleration to untested and unsupported GPUs, and improved performance when importing DPX image sequences.

    One common category of requests asks that we test and support a specific GPU for CUDA acceleration of the ray-traced 3D renderer. The four most commonly requested GPUs in 2013 were the GTX TITAN, GTX 680, GTX 675MX, and GTX 680MX. We tested and added all of them (and many more) for After Effects CC (12.1), as well as adding a mechanism for you to try untested and unsupported GPUs at your own risk if you wish to do so.

    There’s more commentary regarding “making it faster” in the section below about plans for the near future.

  • import of 3D objects and better integration with Cinema 4D: Now that After Effects includes Cinema 4D and can import .c4d files, importing 3D objects into After Effects is as easy as importing them into Cinema 4D and bringing the .c4d scene files into After Effects. With each incremental update to After Effects CC, the integration with Cinema 4D is getting tighter and better.
  • conversion of parametric shape paths to Bezier shape paths: You can convert a parametric path to a Bezier path after the parametric path has already been created by context-clicking the property group for the parametric path and choosing the Convert To Bezier Path command from the context menu. See the “command for converting a parametric shape layer path to a Bezier path” entry on this page for details. This request was likely so common because people didn’t realize that they could create shapes as Bezier paths to begin with (by holding the Alt or Option key), so we also made that much more obvious by adding a Bezier Path checkbox in the Tools panel.
  • option when precomposing to trim precomposition duration to duration of selected layers: When you precompose, you have a new option: Adjust Composition Duration To The Time Span Of The Selected Layers. Choose this to create a new composition that has a duration that is the same as that spanned by the selected layers. This was added in After Effects CC (12.1).
  • shortcut for showing only properties with keyframes: The U keyboard shortcut now only shows properties with keyframes, not properties that have expressions but no keyframes. See the “improvements to keyboard shortcuts for showing properties with keyframes, expressions” entry on this page for details.
  • ability to send composition directly to Adobe Media Encoder from After Effects: See the “commands for sending composition to Adobe Media Encoder (AME) encoding queue” entry on this page for details of the closer integration between Adobe Media Encoder and After Effects.
  • better scaling: We made two big strides forward in this area, with bicubic scaling in After Effects CC (12.0) and then with the Detail-Preserving Upscale effect in After Effects CC (12.1).
  • report of which images are missing when importing image sequence: If you had missing frames in an image sequence, previous versions of After Effects would say something like this “After Effects warning: The sequence has 3 missing frames.” In After Effects CC (12.0), the message was made much more useful: “After Effects warning: Animal[1-6].psd is missing 3 frames (2, 4-5).” Also, there is now a preference, Report Missing Frames, that allows you to turn this warning off if it is annoying.
  • user-defined location for Auto-save, plus turning Auto-save on by default: In the Auto-save category in the Preferences dialog box, you can choose to either save the auto-saved projects next to the original project (the behavior in previous versions when Auto-save is enabled) or in a custom location. This was added in After Effects CC (12.1).

    In After Effects CC (12.2), due to popular demand, we made the default settings such that Auto-save is turned on.

    Note: An even better approach than relying on auto-save is to use the File > Increment And Save command regularly and habitually. The Increment And Save command has a couple of advantages: it allows you to determine exactly when to save, and it does not overwrite previous saved versions. Once you have developed that habit of using Increment And Save, you may choose to turn off auto-save. That’s what I do.

  • effect instances: This is an example of where we took a somewhat narrow feature request (for effect instances) and created a much more powerful and general solution: copying properties with property links. You can select any property or set of properties (including effects, of course) and choose Edit > Copy With Property Links and then paste those properties on any layer in any composition. The result is that the pasted properties remain connected to the layer from which the properties were copied, such that any change made to the original property is reflected in all of the instances of the pasted property links. There’s more detail in the “property linking” entry here.
  • preference to create new layer above selected layers, not at top of layer stack: In versions of After Effects before After Effects CC (12.1), most commands that created a new layer would create the new layer at the top of the layer stack, regardless of whether any layers were selected. In After Effects CC (12.1), most commands that create a new layer create the layer immediately above the topmost selected layer. If no layer is selected, then the new layer is created at the top of the layer stack. The original request asked for a preference to do this, but we realized that we should just change the behavior without a preference because the new behavior was nearly always the right one. There’s more detail in the “layers created immediately above topmost selected layer” entry here.
  • creation of a containing folder upon output of image sequence: This is another example of a narrow feature request that we decided to implement as part of a much broader, more general, and more powerful feature. We extended the output file name template feature to allow you to specify output file locations in a general fashion, including (optionally) automatically creating new folders for output. See the “file name and location templates, plus automatic creation of folders for image sequences” entry on this page for details.
  • ability to find where effects are missing: In After Effects CC (12.0), we added new commands for finding where there are instances of missing footage, missing effects, and missing fonts.
  • features for collaboration with other After Effects users: We get a lot of feature requests in this area, sometimes phrased as asking for Dynamic Link between instances of After Effects. I’m listing this among the features that we implemented in 2013 entirely because of the collaboration features made possible by the After Effects integration with the Adobe Anywhere platform. This is in its early days, though. Stay tuned.
  • option to center anchor point in shape layer: The requests for this only ever mentioned shape layers, but we decided to make this a bit more general, so that you can set the anchor point to be in the center of the visible layer content (e.g., to the center of the masked area) for other kinds of layers, too. See the “command for moving anchor point to center of content” entry on this page for details, including the keyboard shortcuts.
  • HiDPI for Mac computers with Retina displays: After Effects will now take advantage of a Retina display on a Mac computer to show each pixel of content in a viewer as a single pixel on the display. This affects the contents of the Footage panel, Layer panel, and Composition panel, including both your video content and some UI overlays and widgets within the content area. For more details, see the “HiDPI content viewers for Retina displays on Mac computers” entry on this page.
  • creation of shapes from multiple selected vector layers: The Create Shapes From Vector Layer command works on multiple selected layers, beginning with After Effects CC (12.1).

top feature requests for After Effects in 2013 that we have not yet implemented

First, a very important disclaimer: This blog post is not a promise, and I can’t see into the future. If I suggest here that we are considering working on something in the near future, it means just that: we are considering it, and we may be working on it. This does not mean that we will certainly release any specific feature at any specific time. (I had to say that, lest someone yell at me a year from now when something mentioned here didn’t happen the way that I guessed that it might.)

Also, the following is by no means a complete list of things that we’re thinking about for the future. It’s just a list of the top requests. We are cooking up some very big things that are outside of the incremental improvements that common feature requests tend to encompass. Progress is both incremental improvement and surprising innovative leaps. I’ll leave it to our product manager, Steve Forde, to talk about the surprising innovative leaps when the time is right.

  • onion skinning: For those of you who aren’t aware, “onion skinning” refers to a feature that overlays a previous or subsequent frame’s imagery onto the screen so that you can use it for reference when drawing the current frame. This is a terrific feature of many animation programs, and it’s clearly a feature that would benefit many After Effects users. We’re currently thinking that we’d like to tackle this in the near future, while we’re working on some other features that are especially useful to character animators. This was a feature within the Vector Paint effect, which has been missed by many folks, but the requests for onion skinning go far beyond that and into all manner of animation workflows.
  • ability to access individual vertices of masks and shapes with expressions: I’m pleasantly surprised by how many people have been requesting this. If you could attach layers (e.g., a null object layer) to the vertices of a mask or shape path, then you could do so many interesting things with motion tracking, linked animations, programmatic animations… The possibilities are endless. We are considering a lot of improvements to how you use and control masks and shapes. If you want this feature sooner rather than later, be sure to submit a feature request and tell us exactly how you’d use it. Do you want/need to be able to control the mask or shape path with a linked item, or is it enough to be able to “read” the vertex positions from these paths and use them to drive the animations of other items?
  • ability to open a precomposition in the Timeline panel of the containing composition: Our internal jargon for this feature is übertwirl, referring to the ability to “twirl” a precomposition layer open in the Timeline panel and gain access to the layers within the nested composition, without leaving the Timeline panel of the composition in which it’s nested. This is a feature that we’ve been wrestling with for years, since it is a) obviously useful and b) really hard to do well. Compounding the difficulty is the fact that this feature is one of two rather different solutions to the same problem. The other solution is…
  • layer folders: A lot of folks ask for the ability to add layers to folders to tidy up their Timeline panels. We get it. So why haven’t we done it? Because we know that merely doing this would be a half-solution. As soon as we create a feature that allows you to put layers into folders in the Timeline panel, many people are going to want/expect to be able to apply, say, effects to just the layers in a folder. That starts to sound like a precomposition, right? So the conversation nearly always ends up getting back to the previous request, übertwirl. Similarly, once you’ve got folders, people will want/expect to be able to put non-adjacent layers into folders. Now this starts to sound like labeling/tagging. I’m not sure how we’re going to solve this, but I think that 1) we will solve this and 2) it’s not just going to be with simple layer folders. We get more requests to implement übertwirl, and it seems to us to be the more robust and useful solution. Personally, I use Zorro to manage my layers, and I strongly recommend that you try it yourself. Also, you can get rather far toward tidying up your Timeline panel and managing layer sets by using label colors and using the commands to select label color groups.
  • GPU acceleration of rendering other than ray-traced 3D renderer: Premiere Pro has done an excellent job over the past few years of showing how powerful the GPU can be for improving performance throughout an image-processing pipeline, and folks are reasonably asking us when After Effects is going to follow suit. We already use the GPU for some things, but not for many of the core image-processing tasks in After Effects. One thing that we are very wary of is creating a dependency on specific hardware for basic tasks when many of our users may not have access to that specific hardware. We are currently attacking this problem from a few different angles, and I hope to be able to share details with you next year. I think that you’re going to like what you see.

    A related request is that we add OpenCL acceleration for the ray-traced 3D renderer. That’s not going to happen. The ray-traced 3D renderer in After Effects is built using the OptiX library from Nvidia, which depends on Nvidia’s CUDA technology. However, this should not be interpreted to mean that we are opposed to OpenCL. Quite the opposite. When we on the After Effects team look at how we can improve performance, we look at technologies that can be used on a broad array of hardware, including OpenCL and OpenGL. There is just this one narrow, current instance in which we are dependent on a third party (Nvidia) for one feature, the ray-traced 3D renderer. Keep in mind that the ray-traced 3D renderer has a rather limited feature set compared with the 3D capabilities of Cinema 4D (now included with After Effects), which does not depend on any specific GPU technology at all.

  • painting in the Composition panel: This one is rather self-explanatory. It certainly would be useful to be able to paint on a layer in context in the Composition panel, where you can see all of the other layers in the composition, as opposed to the current state in which you must paint on a layer in the Layer panel without such context. If all goes according to plan, I think that we’ll be able to add this in the near future.
  • keyboard shortcut editor: Yes, we need a keyboard shortcut editor that is more user-friendly than the current solution of directly editing the keyboard shortcuts text file. That said, I do want to make sure that everyone is aware that that solution does exist. It’s a little cumbersome, but it does work. The easiest way to find the keyboard shortcuts file is to open the Preferences dialog box and click the button at the bottom to Reveal Preferences In Finder/Explorer. The keyboard shortcuts file is named something like “Adobe After Effects 12.2 Win en_US Shortcuts.txt”, depending on your version, language, and operating system. Creating a more user-friendly means of editing keyboard shortcuts is on our prioritized list for the near future, along with several other features regarding a more approachable user interface, including…
  • resizable user interface text: As people use After Effects on larger and larger monitors, on which the size of each pixel is smaller and smaller, the single size for the user interface text becomes a problem. We’re looking into a variety of user interface “skin” improvements for the near future, and this one is near the top of the priority list.
  • animated Camera Raw effect: You’ve been able to import camera raw files using the Camera Raw importer plug-in in After Effects for many versions, but it has always been tedious to try to animate the values for the adjustments. The best that you’ve been able to do is to import the same image with multiple static adjustments and then blend and fade between them. The Photoshop and Lightroom teams have been doing some good work in this area lately, and I am hopeful that we will soon be able to incorporate the Camera Raw adjustments as an effect in After Effects.
  • color coding and grouping of keyframes and markers: This feature is another that is rather self-explanatory. It would surely be useful to be able to select a group of layers with a single command to make manipulating them as a unit easier. We’re looking into this for the near future.
  • import of Motion 5 projects: For After Effects CS6, we added the ability to import Motion projects through the Pro Import After Effects command (integrated from Automatic Duck). Since then, Apple has released Motion 5, and we have received some requests for the ability to import Motion 5 projects. This is not a trivial amount of work, since Apple has significantly changed the Motion project format, but we are investigating this.
  • ability for an effect to refer to a layer with the results of its effects, without precomposing: When an effect (e.g., the Set Matte effect) uses a layer as an input, it is the original layer that is used as input, not the layer with the results of the effects on it. If you want the Set Matte effect to use the layer with the results of its effects, then you need to precompose the layer and point the effect at the new precomposition layer. This creates a hierarchy of nested compositions that may be more difficult to work with and decipher. A request that we often get is for an effect like the Set Matte effect to be able to use the layer with all of its effects without the need to precompose. This would keep composition hierarchies cleaner and clearer. This is something that is high on our priority list, and I am hoping that we can implement it in the near future.
  • per-mask transformation property group: If each mask had its own property group, then you could move a mask within a layer without moving the layer. This would make many tasks easier and reduce the need to use a track matte for such simple tasks as animating a mask. This, along with several other mask improvements, is high on our priority list for the near future.
  • ability to lock a specific property: When you’re working on one aspect of a layer, you often want to prevent accidental changes to another aspect. For this, people often request the ability to lock a specific property or set of properties. We’re looking into this possibility.
  • crop tool: The current means of cropping in After Effects is roundabout and imprecise. A dedicated crop tool with the ability to precisely set cropping marks would be most welcome. A question for all of you: Which application do you think does this best? Answer with a feature request telling us how you want a crop tool in After Effects to work.
  • inverse kinematics with the Puppet tools: As mentioned above, we have some character animation work brewing, and I think that we might be able to integrate some improvements to the Puppet tools as part of that work, including bones and inverse kinematics.
  • arrowhead line ends for shape layers: When I saw that this was one of the top feature requests for this year, I went and talked to the software engineer who does a lot of work on shape layers. He suggested that he should be able to do this without too much difficulty, but he wondered what parameters for arrowheads you would want to specify. Answer with a feature request telling us what properties of arrowheads you want/need to control.
  • resizable interface for the Curves effect: We’re looking at various improvements to the Curves effect. This one, having the ability to resize the interface for the effect to be larger, is currently the most commonly requested improvement. The second most common request regarding improvements to the Curves effect is for histogram overlay, like in Photoshop. Agree? Disagree? Let us know with a feature request.
  • keyboard shortcuts to show shape layer properties: We get this request a lot, but not with any specifics. Tell us exactly what you mean by this.
  • per-effect masks: Instead of needing to add an adjustment layer with an effect and then draw a mask on the adjustment layer, many folks want to be able to draw a mask on a layer but only use that mask to constrain the result of a specific effect. That would be much tidier, doing away with the need for an adjustment layer for each such isolation of an effect. This may fit very well with the various masking improvements mentioned above that we’re considering for the near future.
  • wiggly and variable-width strokes: One of the limitations of shape layer stokes is that they have a constant width, so you can’t make them taper or have irregular, variable width. Illustrator has some nice features in this area. We’re looking into what we can borrow from them to improve this area.
  • color swatch panel: The main problem with this feature is that as soon as we start talking with folks about it, the conversation explodes into a huge variety of feature requests regarding saving, loading, selecting, matching, harmonizing, and suggesting colors. We know that we want to address the common need to load and save sets of colors, but we’re not sure what subset would satisfy your needs in the near term (while we tackle the larger sets of features in the long term). Please, help us out with a feature request that describes the minimal set of features in this area that you need and want us to add. We promise not to stop at the minimal set, but we need to start somewhere.

Of course, we got many more requests than this. These are just several of the most-requested items. If you made a request but you don’t see it on this list, that just means that not as many other folks requested the same thing that you did. If you think that we need to add or change something, submit bug reports and feature requests and let us know. Don’t hesitate to enlist your friends and colleagues to do the same; we very strongly consider how many requests we get for a change when deciding what to work on next.

5 new and changed features in After Effects CC (12.2) that resulted from visiting users in Vancouver, BC

As often as possible, the After Effects team visits artists at their work site. Talking face-to-face not only gains us direct feedback and criticism about After Effects but also allows us to observe how they work in a way not possible from our offices.

One such recent trip to Vancouver, British Columbia resulted in 5 small but significant changes that were made to After Effects CC (12.2), which was released on December 13th. These features make After Effects more approachable and take some of the everyday frustrations out of working with After Effects.

After Effects team members Amir Stone, Seth Monger, Steve Forde, Todd Kopriva, and Tim Kurkoski (me) traveled north to visit with artists at Vancouver Film School and Blink Media Works in November 2013. We opened the trip by inviting After Effects users to talk shop over beers in Vancouver’s Gastown district. More people showed up than we could keep track of and we enjoyed chatting with as many of you as we could. We apologize sincerely to those we couldn’t say hello to because we left early for a hockey game.

The next morning the After Effects team visited the Digital Design program at Vancouver Film School. Big thanks to Lizzie Hudson, Kyle Norby, and Myron Campbell for hosting us there. The students and instructors at VFS all asked great questions and gave us valuable perspective on both how they use After Effects and their workflows with Cinema 4D and Premiere Pro.

We made the following three changes in After Effects CC (12.2) based on what we learned at VFS:

  • Auto-save is enabled by default. After watching students work for 20 minutes, we noticed that none of them had saved their project yet, and none had auto-save enabled. This made the point to us that auto-save is only useful when it is turned on, so in After Effects CC (12.2) we have turned it on by default. If you prefer not to use auto-save or use an alternate workflow such as Increment And Save, you can disable auto-save in the Auto-save section of the Preferences dialog box.
  • The region of interest (ROI) area has a minimum initial size of 25×25 pixels. Kyle told us that he has helped multiple students who got confused after they accidentally enabled the ROI and then clicked in the Composition panel, causing the contents of their composition to disappear behind a tiny, near-invisible, 1×1-pixel ROI. In After Effects CC (12.2), the minimum initial ROI size is 25×25 pixels, no matter how small of a box you drag with your initial click, so that it is still visible and obvious that the ROI is enabled.
  • A new toolbar option to create shape layer paths as Bezier paths and a new command to convert parametric shape paths to Bezier paths. We asked one student why she was using masked solid layers instead of (more efficient) shape layers to create her character animation. Her response was that she needed custom paths, which (at that time) she didn’t know was possible with shape layers. We talked about this with Kyle, an experienced After Effects user and instructor, and he was also unaware that shapes can be created as Bezier paths. It was now apparent to us that we needed to expose this functionality better, so in After Effects CC (12.2) you can now do the following:

A. Draw a shape as a customizable Bezier path by enabling the new Bezier Path checkbox in the toolbar options for the shape tools (rectangle, ellipse, etc.).

B. Convert a parametric shape to a Bezier path: in the Timeline panel, twirl open the shape layer properties and right-click on the shape’s path to choose Convert To Bezier Path. (See the important caveats about this feature here.)

 

(L to R) Steve Forde, Tim Kurkoski, Todd Kopriva, Peter Quinn, Seth Monger, Amir Stone, Nigel Williamson

The After Effects team visited Blink Media Works in November 2013.

After saying goodbye to VFS, the After Effects team walked over to Blink Media Works where we had a long, fruitful conversation with Peter Quinn, Nigel Williamson, Robyn Haddow, and their crew. In particular, Peter walked us through a long list of frustrations he’d recently had in After Effects. We addressed two of his complaints with the following changes in After Effects CC (12.2):

  • The hex code field is highlighted when you open the color picker. Peter works very quickly and often has his color values memorized, so moving his hand to click into the color picker’s hex code field slows him down. We agreed that this is annoying, so now when you enter the color picker in After Effects CC (12.2) you can start typing a hex value immediately and then hit Enter to accept the entry and close the dialog box without needing to click anything. This also makes copying and pasting color values from one place to another easy even if you aren’t the sort to memorize the hex values.
  • The Reload Footage command attempts to reload items that were previously missing. Blink has several network storage servers; when Peter opens a project, the footage may be on a volume that he hasn’t mounted yet. Peter rightly pointed out that After Effects doesn’t make it easy to relink the missing files; the Reload Footage command only looks for non-missing files that have changed, not missing items. So we fixed it: in After Effects CC (12.2), the Reload Footage command will check again for a missing item’s presence and will load it and any other items missing from the same volume.

These five new changes in After Effects CC (12.2) came from a long list of good ideas that we compiled from users during our trip to Vancouver. We hope to implement even more features and fixes based on this feedback in future versions of After Effects. These are the sort of daily annoyances that we only hear about when users take the time to tell us, and we need to hear from you, too.

Please let us know when something bothers you in After Effects, no matter how small the problem, by filling out this form. I promise that every submission is read by a human being on the After Effects team. And let us know if you’d like to have the After Effects team come to visit you. We always have a lot of fun talking with users and learning more about how you use After Effects.

One last thing: I need to give a shout-out to the new Vancouver Motion user group. Peter Quinn and some of the other artists we met on our trip to Vancouver are banding together to share their experiences and ideas about motion graphics and digital design. If you’re a motion graphics designer or other kind of digital artist in the Vancouver area, join their Facebook group, sign up for their newsletter, and mark your calendar for their next meet-up.

December 2013 updates: After Effects CC (12.2) and After Effects CS6 (11.04)

I think you are starting to notice a trend ;)

It is with great pleasure I get to announce a new feature-bearing update to After Effects CC (12.2) that we released today. Todd Kopriva has put together a detailed list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.2). Along with the update to After Effects CC, we have also updated After Effects CS6 with a couple of bug fixes. Todd also has a list of what’s changed in After Effects CS6 (11.0.4) here.

Back to the trend comment, though. I’m extremely proud about what we have been able to accomplish in 2013. This is our 3rd release this year. Our ability to execute and get you bug fixes AND new features in a rapid manner is proving in my mind the value of Creative Cloud to the media professional.

With that, I will also say that I am SUPER excited for 2014. We have set some VERY ambitious goals for ourselves here on the After Effects team, and I think that everyone on our team is really looking forward to seeing what you think of what After Effects will become.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Just go to the Creative Cloud site to download it now or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.

S.

After Effects CS6 (11.0.4) update: bug fixes for ray-traced 3D renderer and Spanish version on Windows

The After Effects CS6 (11.0.4) bug-fix update is now available. We also released the After Effects CC (12.2) update today.

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. One way to check for updates is by closing all Adobe applications other than Adobe Bridge, and choosing Help > Updates in Adobe Bridge; this ensures that all processes related to Adobe video applications have been quit and can be updated safely.

Ideally, you should install the updates automatically through the Creative Cloud desktop application or by choosing Help > Updates, but you can also directly download the update packages from the download page for Windows or Mac OS by choosing the “Adobe After Effects CS6 (11.0.4)” update for your operating system.

We have also been working with several providers of plug-ins, codecs, and hardware devices to assist them in updating their software to fix some errors and crashes. Please take this opportunity to download and install updated codecs, plug-ins, and drivers from these providers, as relevant to your work.

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 these new and changed features, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum. If you’d like to submit feature requests (or bug reports), you can do so here.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Just go to the Creative Cloud site to download it now or to sign up for Creative Cloud. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.


summary of what’s fixed in After Effects CS6 (11.0.4)


  • Fixed crashes on application startup caused by OptiX library for ray-traced 3D renderer. This update has additional fixes in this area, including better handling of VRAM.
  • Fixed failure of the Spanish version of the application to start on Windows 8.1.

After Effects CC (12.2): what’s new and changed in this December 2013 update

The After Effects CC (12.2) update is now available to all Creative Cloud members. We also released the After Effects CS6 (11.0.4) update today.

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. One way to check for updates is by closing all Adobe applications other than Adobe Bridge, and choosing Help > Updates in Adobe Bridge; this ensures that all processes related to Adobe video applications have been quit and can be updated safely.

Ideally, you should install the updates automatically through the Creative Cloud desktop application or by choosing Help > Updates, but you can also directly download the update packages from the download page for Windows or Mac OS by choosing the “Adobe After Effects CC (12.2)” update for your operating system. (The After Effects CC updates are not at the top of the page; scroll down to find them.)

We have also been working with several providers of plug-ins, codecs, and hardware devices to assist them in updating their software to fix some errors and crashes. Please take this opportunity to download and install updated codecs, plug-ins, and drivers from these providers, as relevant to your work.

For details of what was new in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page. For details of what was new in After Effects CC (12.1), 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 these new and changed features, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum. If you’d like to submit feature requests (or bug reports), you can do so here.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Just go to the Creative Cloud site to download it now or to sign up for Creative Cloud. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.


summary of what’s new in After Effects CC (12.2)


  • Auto-save enabled by default
  • file name and location templates, plus automatic creation of folders for image sequences
  • settings migration
  • snapping improvements: shape layers, cameras, and lights
  • option for creating shape layers based on Bezier paths
  • command for converting a parametric shape layer path to a Bezier path
  • new version of OptiX library and new behavior of OptiX library loading and initialization
  • plus many miscellaneous new and changed features and bug fixes, detailed below

details of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.2)


Here is a virtually comprehensive list of changes, with detail beyond the summaries of the top items listed above.

Auto-save enabled by default

The Automatically Save Projects preference in the auto-save category is now on by default.

Note: An even better approach than relying on auto-save is to use the File > Increment And Save command regularly and habitually. The Increment And Save command has a couple of advantages: it allows you to determine exactly when to save, and it does not overwrite previous saved versions. Once you have developed that habit of using Increment And Save, you may choose to turn off auto-save. (That’s what I do.)

file name and location templates, plus automatic creation of folders for image sequences

The output file name templates feature has been extended to now include output paths. As part of setting up an output module, you can specify a folder in which to place the output file(s), and this can be a folder that After Effects will create at output time.

There is a new preset output file name and location template, called ‘Comp Folder and Comp Name’.

There is a new projectFolder element in the Add Property menu in the File Name And Location Template dialog box. Adding the projectFolder element to a file name and location template specifies that that output file should be placed in the same folder as the one in which the project is saved.

For example, the following template specifies that the output file file should be placed in a folder named ‘output’ inside the project folder, and that the name of the output file should begin with ‘final_’ and end with the composition name followed by a dot and the file-name extension:

[projectFolder]/output/final_[compName].[fileextension]

You can also use the .. operator to go up one level in a path. For example, the following template specifies that the output file file should be placed in a folder named ‘output’ that is next to the project folder, and that the name of the output file should begin with the composition name, followed by ‘_matte’, followed by a dot and the file-name extension:

[projectFolder]/../output/[compName]_matte.[fileextension]

Also, when you are specifying an output file name and location through the Output Movie To dialog box, you can choose the Save In Subfolder option to create a new subfolder at output time.

Image sequences and movie files have different defaults for output file name and location templates, with the primary difference being that image sequences will be placed into subfolders. When you choose an image sequence output module template, if your current file name and location template is the default, then After Effects will switch to using the ‘Comp Folder and Comp Name’ template, which will create a new folder for the image sequence.

settings migration

You can migrate settings from a previous minor version of After Effects. For After Effects CC (12.2), you can migrate settings from After Effects CC (12.0) or After Effects CC (12.1).

To initiate the settings migration at any time, click the Migrate Previous Version Settings button at the bottom of the Preferences dialog box (in the General category).

When you initiate the settings migration, After Effects checks to see whether there are settings folders on the computer for 12.0 and 12.1. For each version for which a settings folder is found, After Effects presents a button with the respective version number, as well as a Do Not Migrate button. If you click one of the buttons corresponding to a previous version, then After Effects will copy and process the appropriate settings files from the previous version’s settings folder into the 12.2 settings folder. To complete the process and load the migrated settings, you need to restart After Effects, so After Effects prompts you to quit and restart.

When you start After Effects CC (12.2) for the first time with default settings, After Effects will automatically initiate the settings migration process.
Settings that are migrated include the following:

  • preferences
  • interpretation rules
  • workspaces
  • render settings templates
  • output module settings templates
  • composition settings templates
  • keyboard shortcuts (migrated from version 12.1, but not from version 12.0)
  • user scripts (i.e., scripts saved in the Scripts folder in the user’s settings folder)

snapping improvements: shape layers, cameras, and lights

Beginning with After Effects CC (12.0), you have been able to snap various layer features to one another by dragging in the Composition panel.

After Effects CC (12.2) adds shape layer paths, bounding boxes for shapes within shape layers, cameras, and lights to the list of items that you can snap together by dragging in the Composition panel.

When you click near a shape layer path, After Effects will use a point on that path that is nearest to where you clicked as the snapping point, very much as with masks.

You can snap a shape in one shape layer to a shape in another shape layer, but you can’t snap shapes within one shape layer to one another. If you need to snap two shapes together, they must be in separate shape layers.

One quick and useful trick is to snap a light layer to a camera layer, so that you can effectively “look through” a light or simply illuminate wherever your camera is pointing.

new version of OptiX library and new behavior of OptiX library loading and initialization

After Effects CC (12.2) integrates a new version of the Nvidia OptiX library, which fixes some crashes related to the ray-traced 3D renderer. Also, this library is now loaded and initialized when the ray-traced 3D renderer is used for the first time, rather than when the application starts. This reduces the time that the application takes to start, as well as preventing users who don’t use the ray-traced 3D renderer from being exposed to any problems that might remain with this renderer.

option for creating shape layers based on Bezier paths

When a shape tool (Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Polygon, Star, or Ellipse tool) is active, you can use the new Bezier Path option in the Tools panel to create a new shape based on a Bezier path, as opposed to the default of creating a new shape based on a parametric path. Holding the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key while drawing a shape causes the opposite behavior—i.e., if the Bezier Path option is enabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a parametric path; if the Bezier Path option is disabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a Bezier path.

command for converting a parametric shape layer path to a Bezier path

You can convert a parametric path to a Bezier path after the parametric path has already been created by context-clicking (right-clicking or Control-clicking on Mac OS) the property group for the parametric path (e.g., Rectangle Path 1) and choosing the Convert To Bezier Path command from the context menu. If the parametric path is animated (keyframed), the converted Bezier path is a static path based on the parametric path at the current time; keyframes are lost.

IMPORTANT: When you use the Convert To Bezier Path command to convert a parametric shape path to a Bezier shape path, the Bezier path that is created does not animate well (i.e., interpolation between paths behaves strangely and unpredictably). This is related to path direction and how transformations are stored. For now, you should not use these converted paths for animated paths (interpolation between paths); but, if you do want to try, you may be able to work around the issues by reversing the path before conversion.

miscellaneous new and changed features

  • The Reload Footage command now attempts to reload items that were previously missing (e.g., because a drive volume needed to be mounted).
  • The Channel Mixer effect is now a 32bpc effect.
  • If you drag and drop a script (.jsx or .jsxbin) file onto the Project panel, it will be placed in the user’s Scripts folder. (Note: The standard Scripts folder in the Applications or Program Files directory is still a better place to install scripts, since scripts in the user’s folder can be deleted when clearing preferences, et cetera.)
  • Layer names are not forced to be unique. When using the Copy With Property Links command or using the expression pick whip, layer names are still made to be unique.
  • You can move effect control points in the Mesh Warp effect using the arrow keys.
  • The Brush Size properties in the Stroke effect and in the Write-on effect now have a maximum value of 200, rather than the previous maximum value of 50.
  • Purging the disk cache for the current version also purges the disk cache for other minor versions within the same major version (e.g., purging from within After Effects 12.2 also purges After Effects 12.0 and 12.1 disk caches).
  • The default value for the Zoom Quality preference in the Viewer Quality section of the Previews preferences is now More Accurate, rather than the previous value of More Accurate Except RAM Preview.
  • The minimum size at which the region of interest (ROI) can be drawn with an initial click or drag is 25×25 pixels. This prevents accidental creation of a hidden ROI box.
  • When you open the color picker dialog box, the text field for the hexadecimal color value is selected. This enables rapid copying, pasting, and manual entry of color values.
  • Negative times can now be used in composition settings, and negative times can be represented in the Timeline panel.
  • The Auto-keyframe button has been removed from the default state of the Timeline panel. You can enter auto-keyframe mode by choosing Enable Auto-keyframe from the Timeline panel menu.

a few choice bug fixes


We fixed a lot of bugs in this update. Here are a few that I think are especially worth calling out:

  • Red frames in renders for preview or final export when using ProRes media. This is fixed.
  • Cycore (CC) effect plug-ins have been updated to fix a bug with the CC Power Pin effect’s UI drawing incorrectly.
  • The Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse plug-in has been updated to address several bugs, as well as to make installation and activation easier on render-only systems.
  • Fixed Three-Way Color Corrector effect exchange with Premiere Pro.
  • Fixed cause of crashes when using Auto Contrast effect or Auto Levels effect.
  • Fixed crashes on application startup caused by OptiX library for ray-traced 3D renderer. This update, like the After Effects CC (12.1) update, includes a version of the OptiX library that allows After Effects to start on Mac OS X v10.9 (Mavericks) without crashing. The After Effects CC (12.2) update has additional fixes, including better handling of VRAM.
  • The Detail-Preserving Upscale effect would sometimes render transparent frames or crash with very large scale values. This is fixed.
  • After Effects would hang when conforming audio from a sequence served by headless Premiere Pro over Dynamic Link. This is fixed.
  • After Effects hung when importing a Premiere Pro sequence containing a universal counting leader. This is fixed.
  • If you had certain fonts disabled, After Effects would fail to start, giving the error ‘Unable to load font “^0″ “Helvetica Neue”‘. This has been fixed.
  • After Effects CC (12.1) had problems with zooming with the scrollwheel on Mac OS. These problems are fixed.
  • After Effects would give the error message “Unable to allocate 0.000 MB of memory” or “Unable to allocate 0.003 MB of memory” (or similar) when there was plenty of RAM available. This has been fixed.
  • Changing the file format to After Effects Template in the project save dialog box on Mac OS did not correctly change the file-name extension to .aet. This is fixed.
  • A custom value for Starting Number in Output Module Settings was not saved; always reset to zero. This is fixed
  • Fixed several other causes of crashes and errors.

After Effects updates

After Effects CC (12.2) and After Effects CS6 (11.0.4) updates are now available. Click the links in the previous sentence for details, including instructions on how to install these updates.

Be sure to update all of your other Adobe video applications to take advantage of all of the fixes and improvements that they have to offer.

Adobe Media Encoder CC (7.2): what’s new and changed in this December 2013 update

Adobe Media Encoder CC (7.2) update is now available to all Creative Cloud members.

Adobe Media Encoder CC (7.2) is focused on improving performance and stability to ensure that your projects are done efficiently and with the highest quality.

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. One way to check for updates is by closing all Adobe applications other than Adobe Bridge, and choosing Help > Updates in Adobe Bridge; this ensures that all processes related to Adobe video applications have been quit and can be updated safely.

Ideally, you should install the updates automatically through the Creative Cloud desktop application or by choosing Help > Updates, but you can also directly download the update packages from the download page for Windows or Mac OS.

For details of all of the other updates for Adobe professional video and audio applications, see this page.

If you want to ask questions about these new and changed features, come on over to the Adobe Media Encoder user-to-user forum. If you’d like to submit feature requests (or bug reports), you can do so here.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. Just go to the Creative Cloud site to download it now or to sign up for Creative Cloud. For information about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription, see this page about plans and this page with current promotional offers.


what’s new

  • Dolby Digital Plus support using SurCode plug-in: Adobe Media Encoder now supports Dolby Digital Plus audio encoding through SurCode in any H.264 and MPEG-2 transport streams.
  • MPEG and Dolby audio support for H.264: Mux MPEG and Dolby audio in addition to AAC audio.
  • Updated Vimeo encoding presets: Vimeo encoding presets now use 48 kHz audio, following Vimeo’s recommendations.
  • Creative Cloud icon for synchronized encoding presets in the Preset Browser: Encoding presets synchronized with a Creative Cloud account show a Creative Cloud icon in the Preset Browser to distinguish them from encoding presets that are saved locally.

fixed bugs

  • Blu-ray files exported from Adobe Media Encoder needed to be transcoded in Encore. This is fixed.
  • The default output file destination wasn’t being honored in native Premiere Pro sequence import. This is fixed.
  • Changes to the Source Range setting did not get applied to all of the selected outputs. This is fixed.
  • Native Premiere Pro project import didn’t use the sequence In/Out by default. This is fixed.
  • Adobe Media Encoder hung when queuing some sequences with VST effects.
  • Adobe Media Encoder hung when using some projects queued from Premiere Pro. This is fixed.
  • Adobe Media Encoder hung when reading XMP metadata when rendering a sequence containing universal counting leader. This is fixed.
  • XMP metadata failed to be passed onto Adobe Media Encoder from Premiere Pro. This is fixed.
  • Smart-rendered AVCI‐200 files had blocky artifacts. This is fixed.
  • Red frames appeared when using some assets. This is fixed.
  • Adobe Media Encoder did not have a way to delete the synchronized settings through creative.adobe.com. This has been added.
  • There were significant delays loading projects or exporting projects that use the Warp Stabilizer effect. This is fixed.
  • The “same as source” setting for H.264 exports was not respected when changing the profile. This is fixed

notes on troubleshooting common issues

ISSUE: Adobe Media Encoder either crashes on start or does not start at all.
CAUSE: corrupted preferences
SOLUTION: Hold the Shift key while starting Adobe Media Encoder to clear the preferences.

ISSUE: Adobe Media Encoder appears to hang at the end of encoding to an MPEG format.
CAUSE: If you selected an option that requires the audio and video to be multiplexed, the multiplexing step at the end of encoding can take a long time. It can appear from the status bar that Adobe Media Encoder is hung. This is not in fact the case.

ISSUE: Red frames show during playback and in exported video.
CAUSE: bad or corrupted frames in the source file
SOLUTION: Red frames indicate that there was a problem decoding the source video. Check your source files for decode problems in Premiere Pro.

If you experience performance issues, please report them here.