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 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:
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:
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.
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:
- interpretation rules
- 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.