Adobe After Effects

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Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects CS6 Icon.png
After Effects CS6.png
Adobe After Effects CS6 running on Mac OS X Lion
Developer(s) Adobe Systems
Stable release CC 2015.0 ( / June 15, 2015 (2015-06-15)
Written in C++[citation needed]
Operating system Windows, OS X
Type Visual effects, Motion graphics, Compositing, Computer animation
License Trialware, software as a service

Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application developed by Adobe Systems and used in the post-production process of filmmaking and television production. Among other things, After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, rotoscoping, compositing and animation. It also functions as a very basic non-linear editor, audio editor and media transcoder.


Adobe After Effects is primarily used as a software for video editors, to create motion graphics and also visual effects. It allows users to animate, edit, and compose media 2D or 3D space with many different built-in tools and third party plug-ins which can be downloaded from the Internet depending on what type of plug in the user is looking for. It also provides individual attention to variables like parallax and also user adjustable angles of observation.

Adobe After Effects is a layer-oriented program software. Each individual media object like video clips, still images, audio clips, etc. runs on its own. In contrast, other Non-Linear Editing Systems use a system where individual media objects can occupy the same track as long as they do not overlap at the same time. This track-oriented system is more suitable for editing and can keep project files more simple. The layer oriented system that Adobe After Effects has is suitable for extensive video effects work and also key framing. Other compositing packages, especially the ones that employ tree or node workflows, such as Nuke Software, and eYeon Fusion, are better suited to managing larger volumes of objects within a composite. Adobe After Effects is capable of countering the problem somewhat by selectively hiding layers or by grouping them into pre-compositions.

The main interface of Adobe After Effects consists of several panels. Three of the most commonly used panels are the Project Panel, Composition Panel, and the Timeline Panel. The project panel acts as a bin to important still images, videos or audio footage items. Footage files in the Project Panel are used in the Timeline Panel, where layer ordering and timing can be adjusted according to the user. The items visible at the current time marker are displayed in the Composition Panel.

Adobe After Effects shares many of the same features with other Adobe programs, such as creating shapes, that are defined by Bézier curves. Like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, After Effects can import and manipulate many image formats, filters, and adjustments.

Adobe After Effects integrates with other Adobe Software Programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Encore and Adobe Flash. Additionally, it works with third party 3D programs like Cinema 4D, Light wave 3D, and Autodesk 3D MAX.


After Effects was originally created by the Company of Science and Art in Providence, Rhode Island, where the first two versions of the software, 1.0 (January 1993[1]) & 1.1, were released by the company. CoSA along with After Effects was then acquired by Aldus corporation in July 1993, which was in turn 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)[2]
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[3]
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[4] 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] 5.5 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[6]
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[7] 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[8] 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[9]
September 3, 2010[10] 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[11] 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[12] 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[13] 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[14] 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[15] CS6 (11.0.1) BigDottom support for Nvidia GeForce GTX 680, AtomKraft, bug fixes.
October 12, 2012[16] 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[17] CC (12.0) Sconehenge C4D Lite & Cineware integration, Refine Edge tool, Refine Soft Matte, layer snapping, Warp Stabilizer VFX
October 31, 2013[18] CC (12.1) Plabt Blue Ribbon OS 10.9 & Retina support, mask tracker, Detail-preserving Upscale effect, property linking, improved snapping
December 13, 2013[19] 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[20] CC 2014 (13.0) Goatmeal Stout[21] 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[22] CC 2014.1 (13.1) Hefe Marathon 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
Dec 16, 2014[23] CC 2014.2 (13.2) Finish Lime more scripting improvements for text layers, expression access to dynamic layer bounds, new keyframe icons, various bug fixes including creating shape layers from Illustrator layers.
June 15, 2015[24] CC 2015.0 ( Mussel Car Uninterrupted playback, new Adobe Character Animation (Preview 1),[25] Creative Cloud libraries, face tracker, Maxon Cineware v2.0.16, smooth experience and interaction for the user even when rendering is in progress.[26]


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.

Similar products[edit]

While not dedicated to compositing, the open source software Blender contains a limited node-based compositing feature which, among other things is capable of basic keying and blurring effects.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simons, David (Mar–Apr 2013). "Adobe After Effects Turns 20". Computer Graphics World 36 (3). Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ * Jeff Glasse. "Free Plug-ins from Adobe Fill After Effects Holes". 
  4. ^ After FX. Retrieved 11/15/2009.
  5. ^ * David Nagel. "Adobe After Effects 5.5 Ships for OS X". 
  6. ^
  7. ^ After Effects CS4 9.0.3 update. Adobe Blog.
  8. ^ Shankland, Stephen (April 30, 2010). Cash cow out of the barn: Adobe shipping CS5. CNET. Retrieved 5/17/2010.
  9. ^ Adobe Effects CS5. Retrieved 4/15/2010.
  10. ^ After Effects CS5 10.0.1 Update. Adobe Blog. September 2010.
  11. ^ After Effects CS5 10.0.2 Update a few big bug fixes. Adobe Blog. April 2011.
  12. ^ After Effects CS5 Whats new and changed. Adobe Blog. April 2011.
  13. ^ After Effects CS5 update fix for text entry bug and serial number problem. Adobe Blog. June 2011.
  14. ^ After Effects CS6 whats new and changed. Adobe Blog. April 2012.
  15. ^ After Effects CS6 11.0.1 update bug fixes and added gpu and 3D renderer support. Adobe Blog. May 2012.
  16. ^ After Effects CS6 11.0.2 update bug fixes and added gpus for ray traced 3D rendered. Adobe Blog. September 2012.
  17. ^ [1]. Adobe Blog. June 2013.
  18. ^ announcing the After Effects CC (12.1) update, one of several October 2013 updates for Adobe professional video applications. Adobe Blog. October 2013.
  19. ^ After Effects CC (12.2): what’s new and changed in this December 2013 update. Adobe Blog. December 2013.
  20. ^ [2]. Adobe Blog.
  21. ^ Nece, Victoria (10 April 2014). "NAB 2014: What I Learned". Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  22. ^ [3]. Adobe Blog.
  23. ^ [4]. Adobe Blog.
  24. ^ [5]. Adobe Blog.
  25. ^
  26. ^ [6] What's New and Changes in Adobe After Effects CC 2015.0
  27. ^ "Blender features page". Retrieved March 19, 2011. 

External links[edit]