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After Effects 9.0.2 update: RED (R3D) support and a lot of bug fixes

Today, the After Effects 9.0.2 update was released.

If Adobe Update Manager hasn’t already told you about this, go ahead and check for new updates for After Effects CS4. (Choose Help > Updates, or go to the download pages for Windows or Mac OS and click the “Adobe After Effects CS4 9.0.2 update” link.)

There are a lot of fixes and tweaks in this update. You can read about them in the After Effects 9.0.2 release notes. I’ll mention a few here, though, since some of these are important enough that I really want to make sure that people see them.

If you’re updating from 9.0.0, you might want to read about the changes that were made in the 9.0.1 update, too. The 9.0.2 update is cumulative, so you’ll get the 9.0.1 fixes with it.

You can skip to the last section of this post if you just care about the RED (R3D) support update.

new and changed features

  • Well, there’s the whole RED thing. See the last section of this post for details.
  • XDCAM HD footage as Avid-style MXF files can now be imported.
  • There’s now a preference (in the preferences text file) to control the interval checking done while rendering QuickTime movies through the render queue. By default, when using the render queue to render a QuickTime movie, After Effects flushes the rendered frames to disk every 10 minutes. This is done to preserve as much of a completed render as possible in case the application crashes unexpectedly. However, incompatibility with certain versions of QuickTime can cause the render to stop at this 10-minute mark. If this occurs, you can change the following new setting in the Adobe After Effects 9.0 Prefs (Mac OS) or Adobe After Effects 9.0 Prefs.txt (Windows) file to 0 to turn off this check:

    ["Misc Section"]
    "Flush RQ Rendering Every X Seconds (0 = off)" = "0"

    Note: Turning off this check (by setting to 0) will no longer preserve a portion of the completed render, but can allow the render to complete without stopping. Also, this setting will not appear in the preferences file until you render with this version of After Effects 9.0.2, but you can add it manually before launching After Effects.

  • I’ve made many additions and corrections to After Effects CS4 Help, many of them based on your feedback and contributions. Please, continue to share your knowledge with others by adding comments to the pages of After Effects Help on the Web.

bug fixes

Here’s a partial list of things that we fixed. (Note that we were able to find and fix a lot of these problems because of the great feedback that we got when we asked people to use the Adobe Crash Reporter. Please keep doing so. And don’t hesitate to file bugs and send feature requests.)

  • Crash on quit if the active workspace when After Effects starts includes a ScriptUI Panel.
  • Several memory corruption issues; fix should improve overall application stability
  • Crash on startup on computers with very old OpenGL drivers, or unsupported video card manufacturers.
  • Crash on startup due to a corrupt XML file in the preferences directory, such as used by workspaces, dialog boxes, and Pixel Bender. Now, the corrupt file will be appended with a .old extension so that startup can proceed.
  • Crash on startup due to unsupported codec. Now, a warning message will identify the unsupported codec and associated file name.
  • When a PDFL crash occurs during startup, more information is now provided, indicating that a bad font may be causing the crash.
  • (Windows only) Drawing surface errors and short RAM previews due to exhaustion of GDI resources (handles). Now, you should have better memory usage, resulting in longer RAM previews and improved performance.
  • Cannot open DPX file that can be opened in Photoshop CS4; file converted from Phantom .cine to DPX using Glue Tools.
  • “After Effect error: internal verification failure, sorry! {fill me in}” error trying to import multi-image element DPX footage, such as from a Northlight Film Scanner.
  • Audio conforming failure when importing certain FLV files.
  • Crash when using Pixel Bender effects, GPU-accelerated effects, and Cartoon effect in low-memory situations. Instead of being marked invalid, Pixel Bender effects can be reapplied when memory becomes available.
  • Crash in the Puppet effect when generating the mesh on a complex shape (possibly when Expansion is zero).
  • (Mac OS only) Crash in the Puppet effect when pasting keyframes into a non-keyframed Puppet pin Position property.
  • “could not convert unicode characters (23::46)” error applying CC RepeTile effect in Chinese OS, or crash using CC Particle World on Mac Pro 8-Core i7 (Nehalem) machines.
  • Crash trying to interrupt rendering (e.g., dragging to adjust values) for the Fog 3D, Depth Matte, or ID Matte effect when placed after other effects; for Fractal Noise and Turbulent Noise effects; and for EXtractoR and IDentifier effects when placed after other effects.
  • Crash when deleting the Tone effect from one composition, when that composition is used (nested) in another composition.
  • (Mac OS only) Incorrect Mac type/creator codes for OpenEXR, PICT, PNG, TIFF, and Cineon rendered files, which made them unrecognizable by Final Cut Pro.
  • Crash on quit or close of project after multiple layers with various video/audio states (active, solo) are copied.
  • Crash on quit with layers on the clipboard that are adjustment layers with effects with points or collapsed layers.
  • Incorrect dimensions of a multiple-layer Photoshop file imported as a composition with cropped layers and merged layer styles.
  • (Mac OS only) “invalid file location specification (must include name) (3::45)” error on quit if you create or open a project containing Particle Playground effect.

known issues with installation of update

There’s a known issue with a specific update scenario:

If you downloaded the After Effects 9.0 trial, then updated to After Effects 9.0.1, and then activated the application with a serial number after purchasing a license (all in exactly that order), then the After Effects 9.0.2 update will fail to update your third-party content, like the Cycore (CC) effect plug-ins. It appears that uninstalling the third-party content and then restarting the application will cause the updated third-party content to be installed correctly.

If this doesn’t work for you, please let us know on the After Effects user-to-user forum, and we’ll try to help you through it. There’s also contact information for Adobe Technical Support on the home page of that forum, and you can get free assistance with many installation issues.

See the After Effects 9.0.2 release notes for other known issues.

updates for RED (R3D) footage and new REDCODE plug-ins

You can get the new REDCODE importer plug-in from the RED website. You need version 1.7 of the REDCODE importer plug-in to take advantage of the new features for RED (R3D) footage in After Effects 9.0.2.

The good folks at RED provide a set of release notes and a pretty detailed document (RED Plugin Workflow Guide.pdf) with the installer for version 1.7 of the REDCODE importer plug-in. You really should read the whole thing, but here are some important things that bear reiteration:

  • The big change that comes with After Effects 9.0.2 is the fact that RED settings are now like any other footage interpretation settings. I.e., you can interpret footage differently for each footage item, rather than have one set of global settings that applies to every asset/clip/item identically. As I said, this is a big change; now all of the things that you’re used to doing with footage interpretation settings work as you’d expect. Click the More Options button in the Interpret Footage dialog box to open the RED R3D Source Settings dialog box. The parameters in the RED R3D Source Settings dialog box are described in the aforementioned workflow guide on the RED website.
  • You must not interpret RED R3D files as if their colors are in a linear color space—i.e., don’t interpret them as “linear light”. Because the default is for 32bpc colors to be interpreted as linear light, check the interpretation settings in the Color Management tab of the Interpret Footage dialog box to make sure that Interpret As Linear Light is set to Off. The aforementioned workflow guide has instructions for making this automatic.
  • If you’re using color management, interpret RED as HDTV (Rec. 709). The aforementioned workflow guide has instructions for making this automatic.
  • The RED R3D Source Settings color adjustments don’t currently preserve overbright values (values above 1.0, where 1.0 is pure white). Color adjustments done within After Effects, on the other hand, can and do preserve brighter-than-white colors when you work in 32bpc (bits per channel) color. What’s the upshot? To avoid clipping, manipulate things like exposure in After Effects using effects, rather than in the footage interpretation stage in the RED R3D Source Settings dialog box. (See “Color depth and high dynamic range (HDR) color” for more information.)
  • If you copy and paste footage items or layers between After Effects and Premiere Pro, the settings set in the RED R3D Source Settings dialog box come along for the ride.
  • The RED workflow for After Effects 9.0.1 with version 1.3 of the REDCODE importer plug-in required you to manually install REDSettingsPal.plugin in the Plug-ins/Format directory. After Effects 9.0.2 with version 1.7 of the REDCODE importer plug-in doesn’t require this file. In fact, you should manually uninstall this file by removing it from your Plug-ins directory. If you don’t, then you’ll get an error when using version 1.7 of the REDCODE importer plug-in and After Effects 9.0.2.

For more information about RED and the Premiere Pro 4.1 update, see the Adobe Premiere Pro training blog.

David Helmly provides an overview of new features in Premiere Pro CS4 (4.1) and After Effects CS4 (9.0.2) in a video on Adobe TV. The RED stuff starts at about 14:35, and the After Effects stuff starts at 20:55. He’s also got an overview that concentrates on the Premiere Pro features here.

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