Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects CS6 running on Mac OS X Lion
|Stable release||CC 2014.1.1 / October 15, 2014|
|Written in||C++|
|Operating system||Windows, OS X|
|Type||Motion graphics, Animation software, Visual effects|
|License||Trialware, software as a service|
Adobe After Effects is a digital motion graphics, visual effects and compositing app developed by Adobe Systems used in the post-production process of filmmaking and television production. After Effects can also be used as a basic non-linear editor and a media transcoder.
Adobe After Effects is primarily used for creating motion graphics and visual effects. After Effects allows users to animate, alter and composite media in 2D and 3D space with various built-in tools and third party plug-ins, as well as individual attention to variables like parallax and user-adjustable angle of observation.
After Effects and some non-linear editing systems (NLEs) are layer-oriented, meaning that each individual media object (video clip, audio clip, still image, etc.) occupies its own track. In contrast, other NLEs use a system where individual media objects can occupy the same track as long as they do not overlap in time. This track-oriented system is more suited for editing and can keep project files much more concise. The layer-oriented system that After Effects adopts is suited for extensive effects work and keyframing. Although other compositing packages, especially ones that employ tree or node workflows, such as Nuke and eyeon Fusion are better suited to manage large volumes of objects within a composite, After Effects is able to counter the clutter somewhat by selectively hiding layers (using the Shy switch) or by grouping them into pre-compositions.
The main interface consists of several panels (windows in versions prior to After Effects 7.0). Three of the most commonly used panels are the Project panel, the Composition panel, and the Timeline panel. The Project panel acts as a bin to import stills, video, and audio footage items. Footage items in the Project panel are used in the Timeline panel, where layer order and timing can be adjusted. The items visible at the current time marker are displayed in the Composition panel.
After Effects shares many features with other Adobe programs, such as creating circles, squares and free form shapes that are defined by bezier curves. Like Photoshop and Illustrator, After Effects can import and manipulate many image formats, and filters and adjustments can be added.
After Effects was originally created by the Company of Science and Art in Providence, RI, USA, where the first two versions of the software, 1.0 & 1.1, were released by the company in 1993. CoSA along with After Effects was then acquired by Aldus corporation in July 1993, which was then acquired by Adobe in 1994, and with it PageMaker. Adobe's first new release of After Effects was version 3.0.
The following is the list of versions of After Effects over the years, including the first two versions released by CoSA.
|Developer||Date||Version||Codename||Major features added|
|CoSA||January 1993||1.0||Egg||layered compositing with mask, effect, transforms, keyframes; Mac only|
|May 1993||1.1||more effects|
|Aldus||January 1994||2.0||Teriyaki||Time Layout window, image sequence support, motion blur, multi-machine rendering, frame blending, proxies|
|May 1994||2.0.1||Power Macintosh version (PPC)|
|Adobe||October 1995||3.0||Nimchow||render queue, bezier masking, time remapping, keyframe assistants (wiggler, motion sketch, smoother), multiple effects per layer, advanced keying, velocity graph, 1/2/4 point motion tracking, motion math, first Japanese version, layer transfer modes, continuously rasterize Illustrator files, Photoshop as comp import with layer/transfer mode/alpha channel support, 3:2 pulldown, non-square pixel support|
|April 1996||3.1||file formats, multiprocessing; last Mac 680x0 version|
|May 1997||3.1 (Windows 95/NT)||Dancing Monkey||first Windows version, contextual menus, first French & German versions; in November 1997, Path Text effect and Animated GIF output were released for free to registered users of 3.1|
|January 1999||4.0||ebeer||tabbed windows, movable time layout columns, multiple masks per layer, warping effects, particle playground, audio effects, transform effect, adjustment layers, align palette, rulers & guides, RAM preview, glows/blurs no longer clip at layer edge, Premiere import, Illustrator layers support, label colors in timeline; first simultaneous Mac & Windows release|
|September 1999||4.1||Batnip||flowchart view, watch folder, 3D channel effects, collect files command, auto deinterlacing, sequence layers, save favorite effects (.ffx), separate text fill/stroke, 30,000×30,000 image support|
|April 2001||5.0||Melmet||3D layers, 3D lights, dynamic previews, parenting, vector paint, expressions, pick whip, draw/edit masks in comp window, integration of Atomic Power plug-ins (foam, wave world, card dance, shatter, vegas), 16 bits per channel color, Illustrator transparency support, SWF export, mask colors, mask motion blur, mask expansion, RAM Preview region of interest, Photoshop 6 vector mask import, PDF import, solo switch, scrubbable property values, custom workspaces, effect reordering, PAR correction, reveal file on disk, reduce project, trim comp to work area, >2GB movie output|
|January 7, 2002||5.5||Fauxfu||advanced 3D renderer, multiple 3D views, import camera data, colored shadows, projection layers, effects palette, post render actions, advanced lightning, adjustment layer lights, smart mask, looping via expressions, RealMedia output, expression controllers, Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator Classic bundled; first OS X version|
|August 2003||6.0||Foodfite||paint, scripting, text layers and animators, editable Photoshop text layers, OpenGL support, new motion tracker, Rotobezier, Keylight, Liquify, Scribble, Dust & Scratches, background rendering of RAM Previews|
|June 16, 2004||6.5||Chambant||advanced clone tool, presets gallery, grain management, integration of Cycore Effects plug-ins, Color Finesse bundling, disk caching, Firewire video output, interface light/dark controls, motion track with scale, Grain Surgery bundling, AAF & OMF support|
|January 2006||7.0||Clamchop||new unified window UI, timewarp, graph editor, OpenGL 2.0 support, 32 bpc HDR color, 32-bit audio, Adobe Bridge support, display color management, dynamic link with Premiere Pro, script editor, auto save, Photoshop file creation, smart blur, lens blur, per-character text blurring, first Spanish & Italian versions|
|July 2, 2007||CS3 (8.0)||Metaloaf||shape layers, puppet tool, brainstorm, clip notes, Photoshop vanishing point import, adaptive motion blur, per character 3D text animation, real-time audio playback, simultaneous multi-frame rendering, SWF vector import, 32-bit linear blending, full color management; first Universal Binary Intel Mac version|
|February 22, 2008||CS3 (8.0.2)||Loafdot||Panasonic P2 support; last Mac PowerPC version|
|September 23, 2008||CS4 (9.0)||Chinchillada||QuickSearch in the project & timeline, mini-flowchart, breadcrumbs, live PSD 3D layer import, separate XYZ, Imagineer Mocha bundled, cartoon effect, XFL export, XML export, XMP metadata,|
|December 10, 2008||CS4 (9.0.1)||Chinchidotta||RED R3D file support (via REDCODE v1.3 plugin)|
|May 29, 2009||CS4 (9.0.2)||Lottadotta||fixes several types of crashes, clip-level RED R3D support (via REDCODE v1.7 plugin), XDCAM HD (Avid-style MXF) support|
|October 6, 2010||CS4 (9.0.3)||Yaddadotta||fixes "locking existing frames" message delay at start of RAM preview, decreased performance due to Wacom driver conflict, aerender not shutting down background processes, and miscellaneous crashes especially on Mac OS X 10.5 during drag-and-drop operations|
|April 30, 2010||CS5 (10.0)||Esgocart||64-bit native (mandatory) on OS X and Windows, Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte effect, mocha v2, LUT support, AVC-Intra import and improved RED (R3D) support, Align panel improvements, Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, Digieffects FreeForm, auto-keyframe mode|
|September 3, 2010||CS5 (10.0.1)||Esgodot||fixes several types of crashes and bugs (jumbled AIFF audio, .cube LUT channel swap, etc.), RED updates (color science v2, ROCKET, RMD metadata), improved LUT compatibility (.3dl with floating-point values or 3DMESH/Mesh keywords, or saved from ASSIMILATE SCRATCH systems), updates to bundled third-party plug-ins|
|April 8, 2011||CS5 (10.0.2)||Esgodoh||fixes an "Unexpected data type" error opening project with missing effects, a crash with Directional Blur and other effects on computers with 16 or more logical processors, and a crash opening a composition created by Automatic Duck Pro Import AE.|
|April 11, 2011||CS5.5 (10.5)||Codname||Warp Stabilizer effect, Camera Lens Blur and camera layer improvements for depth-of-field and bokeh, source timecode support and Timecode effect enhancements, stereoscopic 3D rig creation and improved 3D Glasses effect, light falloff, CinemaDNG import, expanded RED (R3D) features, XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD output, integration with Adobe Audition CS5.5, save project as CS5.|
|June 30, 2011||CS5.5 (10.5.1)||Codot||fixes for delay when typing in a text layer if mouse pointer was above the Composition panel, and inability to use an upgrade serial number.|
|April 23, 2012||CS6 (11.0)||SpinalTapas||Global Performance Cache, 3D Camera Tracker, ray-traced and extruded text and shapes, variable-width mask feather, Automatic Duck Pro Import for importing projects from other applications, including Final Cut Pro and Avid software, new and improved GPU acceleration features, Rolling Shutter Repair effect, Mocha for After Effects CS6, new and updated effects. Live PSD 3D layer import was removed.|
|May 25, 2012||CS6 (11.0.1)||BigDottom||support for Nvidia GeForce GTX 680, AtomKraft, bug fixes.|
|October 12, 2012||CS6 (11.0.2)||NoneMoreDot||support for more Nvidia cards and Intel HD Graphics, new memory handling preference allowing reversion to CS5.5 behavior, several bug fixes.|
|June 17, 2013||CC (12.0)||Sconehenge||C4D Lite & Cineware integration, Refine Edge tool, Refine Soft Matte, layer snapping, Warp Stabilizer VFX|
|October 31, 2013||CC (12.1)||Plabt Blue Ribbon||OS 10.9 & Retina support, mask tracker, Detail-preserving Upscale effect, property linking, improved snapping|
|December 13, 2013||CC (12.2)||Pinot Butter||automatic creation of folders for image sequences, command to convert parametric shape layer paths to Bézier paths, more snapping improvements, lots of small "polish" improvements|
|April 1, 2014||CC 2014 (13.0)||Goatmeal Stout||Key Cleaner effect and Advanced Spill Suppressor effect, text templates created in After Effects editable in Premiere Pro, compositing options for each effect including ability to confine the area affected by each effect with masks, import of Sony RAW footage (raw files from F5, F55, and F65 cameras), import of MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile) Sony SR MXF files, video preview on external monitor using Mercury Transmit|
|Sept 7, 2014||CC 2014.1 (13.1)||.||high-DPI content and UI (Mac OS, Windows), refreshed "blue" UI, Copy With Relative Property Links command, color management for Dynamic Link, Maxon Cinema 4D Lite R16 and Cineware 2.0, Collect Files for Cinema 4D assets, native GoPro CineForm codecs, scripting improvements for text layers|
After Effects has extensive plug-in support; a broad range of third party plug-ins are available. A variety of plug-in styles exist, such as particle systems for realistic effects for rain, snow, fire, etc.
With or without third-party plug-ins, After Effects can render 3D effects. Some of these 3D plug-ins use basic 2D layers from After Effects.
In addition to 3D effects, there are plug-ins for making video look like film or cartoons; simulating fire, smoke, or water; particle systems; slow motion; creating animated charts, graphs, and other data visualization; calculating the 3D movement of a camera in a 2D video shot; eliminating flicker, noise, or rigging lines; translating timelines from FCP or Avid; adding high-end color correction; and other workflow improvements and visual effects.
Competitors to After Effects include The Foundry’s Nuke; Autodesk’s Combustion, Toxik, and Smoke; Apple’s Motion; eyeon Fusion; Boris RED; FXHome's HitFilm products. While not dedicated to compositing, the open source software Blender contains a limited node-based compositing feature capable of basic keying and blurring effects, among other things.
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- After Effects CS5 10.0.2 Update a few big bug fixes. Adobe Blog. April 2011.
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- After Effects CS5 22.214.171.124 update fix for text entry bug and serial number problem. Adobe Blog. June 2011.
- After Effects CS6 whats new and changed. Adobe Blog. April 2012.
- After Effects CS6 11.0.1 update bug fixes and added gpu and 3D renderer support. Adobe Blog. May 2012.
- After Effects CS6 11.0.2 update bug fixes and added gpus for ray traced 3D rendered. Adobe Blog. September 2012.
- . Adobe Blog. June 2013.
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