Adobe After Effects
|Original author(s)||Company of Science and Art|
|Initial release||January 1993|
2022 (22.5) / June 21, 2022
|Operating system||Windows 10 (x64 only) v1703 and later, macOS 10.12 Sierra or later|
|Type||Visual effects, Motion graphics, Compositing, Computer animation|
|License||Trialware, software as a service (SaaS)|
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 film making, video games and television production. Among other things, After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation. It also functions as a very basic non-linear editor, audio editor, and media transcoder. In 2019, the program won an Academy Award for scientific and technical achievement.
After Effects was originally created by David Herbstman, David Simons, Daniel Wilk, David M. Cotter, and Russell Belfer at the Company of Science and Art in Providence, Rhode Island, where the first two versions of the software, 1.0 (January 1993) and 1.1, were released by the company. CoSA, whose CEO was William J. O'Farrell, 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||Icon||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 and 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 and guides, RAM preview, glows/blurs no longer clip at layer edge, Premiere import, Illustrator layers support, label colors in timeline; first simultaneous Mac and 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 and 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 and 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)||Darkling||QuickSearch in the project and 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)||Darkling||RED R3D file support (via REDCODE v1.3 plugin)|
|May 29, 2009||CS4 (9.0.2)||Lottadotta||Clip-level RED R3D support (via REDCODE v1.7 plugin), XDCAM HD (Avid-style MXF) support|
|October 6, 2010||CS4 (9.0.3)||Darkling||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, animated GIF export functionality removed.|
|September 3, 2010||CS5 (10.0.1)||Darkling||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)||Darkling||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.|
|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.|
|June 17, 2013||CC (12.0)||Sconehenge||Maxon Cinema 4D Lite and 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 and 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, many small "polish" improvements|
|June 18, 2014||CC 2014 (13.0)||Goatmeal Stout||Key Cleaner effect and Advanced Spill Suppressor effect, After 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|
|September 7, 2014||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|
|December 16, 2014||CC 2014.2 (13.2)||Finish Lime||More scripting improvements for text layers, expression access to dynamic layer bounds, new keyframe icons.|
|June 15, 2015||CC 2015.0 (220.127.116.117)||Mussel Car||Uninterrupted playback, new Adobe Character Animator (Preview 1), support for Creative Cloud libraries, face tracker, Maxon CINEWARE v2.0.16, smooth experience and interaction for the user even when rendering is in progress.|
|November 30, 2015||CC 2015.1 (13.6.0)||Currant Time||Character Animator (Preview 3), refinement of playback performance and interaction, multi-touch gestures, stacked panel groups, new Lumetri Color effect, additional ICC profiles, two new Cycore FX plugins.|
|January 27, 2016||CC 2015.2 (13.7.0)||Fibonachos||Maxon CINEWARE v3.0 (R17) (including support for the Take system, OpenGL renderer, and syncing timelines between After Effects and Cinema 4D), option to auto-save when starting Render Queue, improvements to Cache Before Playback previews.|
|June 21, 2016||CC 2015.3 (13.8.0)||Abbacore||New playback architecture, Maxon Cineware 3.1, export 3D text and shape layers to Maxon CINEMA 4D, GPU accelerated effects (Lumetri Color, Gaussian Blur, and Sharpen), improved caching and playback of image sequences, send compositions from Render Queue to Media Encoder, Character Animator (Preview 4)|
|November 2, 2016||CC 2017 (14.0)||Codfather||CINEMA 4D rendering engine for 3D compositions, Creative Cloud Team Projects (Beta), Real-time playback of unaltered source media, more GPU accelerated effects, Live Text Template improvements, Date & Time Tokens, Also includes: Better UI retina support, improved markers, scripting enhancements, Adobe Media Encoder export improvements.|
|January 18, 2017||CC 2017.1 (14.1)||The Codfather Part Tuna||Ability to save Team Projects as local projects.|
|April 19, 2017||CC 2017.2 (14.2)||Plabtjacks||Essential Graphics panel and Motion Graphics Templates feature introduced, Lumetri Scopes, Effect Input Layer Options, Camera-shake deblur, multiple GPU optimizations.|
|June 13, 2017||CC 2017.2 (14.2.1)||Blueberry Plabtjacks||Performance improvements and bug fixes.|
|October 18, 2017||CC (15.0)||Darth Tater||Data-driven animation and JSON import, expression access to path points, immersive/360 VR tools (formerly Mettle Skybox), GPU accelerated motion blur, new font menu, font ligature support, keyboard shortcut editor, Maxon CINEMA 4D Lite R19.|
|January 22, 2018||CC (15.0.1)||Tater Dots||ARRI ALEXA Mini MXF/ARRIRAW format support, HEVC (H.265) QuickTime support, variable frame rate footage audio sync improvements, GPU memory optimization for VR, and bug fixes.|
|April 3, 2018||CC (15.1)||Annivercelery||Master Properties for nested compositions, Advanced Puppet Engine, Data-driven animation .CSV and .TSV support, Property Link pick whip, Adobe Immersive Environment (VR head-mount display support), new Video Limiter effect, improved video camera raw format support (RED IPP2, Canon Cinema RAW Light, Sony Venice X-OCN).|
|April 24, 2018||CC (15.1.1)||Marching Ants on a Log||Bug fixes.|
|July 16, 2018||CC (15.1.2)||Peanut Dotter||Improved raw video format support and bug fixes.|
|December 10, 2018||CC (16.0.1)||Macchidotto||Export Apple ProRes on Windows, import HEIF files, import ProRes HDR footage, and bug fixes.|
|April 2, 2019||16.1||Cloak-o-nut||Content-Aware Fill for video, customizable Expressions Editor, import/export guide lines, automatic Adobe Font sync, and bug fixes.|
|January 24, 2020||17.0||KoalaTea||Preview and playback performance improvements, enhanced EXR Workflows, faster shapes, graphics and text enhancements, expression improvements, expanded format and better playback support, new Cineware renderer and Cinema 4D Lite R21, content-Aware Fill for video improvements.|
|May 19, 2020||17.1||Hummingbread||Tapered shape strokes, Concentric shape repeater, ProRes RAW import support, Minimax effect GPU acceleration, Set Channels effect 32-bpc color support, Team Projects copy media to shared location, Automatically update audio devices (macOS only).|
|October 20, 2020||17.5||Quarantuna||Roto Brush 2, 3D design space with improved cameras and 3D transform gizmos.|
|March 10, 2021||18.0||Media Replacement in Motion Graphics templates and Essential Properties, Real-Time 3D Draft Preview, 3D Ground Plane, Improved Composition Toolbar, Team Projects performance improvements|
|October 26, 2021||22.0||Cores on the Cob||Multi-Frame Rendering for previews, render queue export, and Adobe Media Encoder export; Render Queue UI improvements; Render Queue notifications; Composition Profiler; Speculative Preview; hardware-accelerated decoding for 10-bit 422 HEVC; tetrahedral LUT interpolation; version number unified with Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder. After Effects 22.3 is the first macOS release to run natively on Apple silicon.|
Third-party Plug-ins, Scripts, and Extensions
After Effects functionality can be extended through a variety of third-party integrations, the most common integrations are: plug-ins, scripts, and extensions.
After Effects Plug-ins
Plug-ins are predominantly written in C or C++ and extend the functionality of After Effects, allowing for more advanced features such as particle systems, physics engines, 3D effects, and the ability to bridge the gap between After Effects and another application.
After Effects Scripts
After Effects Scripts, unlike plug-ins, can only access the core functionality of After Effects. Scripts are often developed to automate repetitive tasks, to simplify complex After Effects features, or to perform complex calculations that would otherwise take a long time to complete.
Scripts can also use some functionality not directly exposed through the graphical user interface.
After Effects Extensions
After Effects Extensions offer the ability to extend After Effects functionality through modern web development technologies like HTML5, and Node.js, without the need for C++.
After Effects Extensions make use of Adobe's Common Extensibility Platform or CEP Panels, which means they can be built to interact with other Adobe CC apps.
- Nuke – The Foundry
- Flame – Autodesk
- Motion – Apple Inc.
- VSDC Free Video Editor
- Boris RED – Boris FX
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.
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