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After Effects CC Review and New Features

  • Published on September 1, 2020
After Effects CC 2017 Review and New Features

Adobe has released After Effects CC  which is a software app used for creating video effects, motion graphics, and compositing video. As American Graphics Institute teaches After Effects classes and the educators at AGI write books on how to use it, we’ve crafted this After Effects review and explanation of new features. The latest version of After Effects emphasizes collaboration and workflow, fixes some bugs, and includes a number of new capabilities.

The biggest addition to the latest version of After Effects is a functionality called Team Projects. Other new options also focus on working more efficiently including real-time revisions on extruded 3D objects in the timeline, as well as an increasing use of computer’s Graphic Processing Unit (GPU). If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud already, it makes sense to upgrade to After Effects CC. If you have the last perpetual license version of After Effects, which was version CS6, you may find the efficiencies and capabilities added over the past several years may be worth the upgrade. Most users may want to wait until the first round of bug fixes is available, as Adobe frequently pushes Creative Cloud updates and then discovers major bugs which are fixed within a few months of the initial release.

After Effects CC plug-in compatibility

If you use many After Effects plug-ins, you will want to confirm that they remain compatible with the latest version, and make sure to manually migrate as the installation process does not move Acrobat Plug-ins

After Effects CC includes Character Animator CC

One big addition to After Effects CC is that it now automatically installs the Adobe Character Animator as part of the app.  This tool makes it possible to create animations using your webcam. Character Animator scenes are able to be imported as a live connection in both After Effects and Premiere Pro, allowing for updates in Character Animator to reflect in these other apps.

After Effects for Groups

If you work with other animators and motion graphics artists on After Effects projects, the newly added Team Projects provides an online collaborative environment. Think Google Docs but for After Effects users who have either the team or enterprise subscriptions. Using Team Projects makes it possible for a group of After Effects users to work on the same project simultaneously. This capability also extends to Premiere Pro as well.

After Effects CC speed improvements

After Effects CC makes it faster to both make as well as render extruded objects, including 3D text as well as motion graphics in the timeline. The Maxon CINEMA 4D composition renderer does this without using a dedicated GPU and offers easy-to-access quality settings to determine the preview quality necessary for your work, allowing you to balance speed of the render against the quality of the preview.

After Effects CC GPU Benefits

Regular users of After Effects already know that it uses a dedicated GPU rather inconsistently. With more computers offering dedicated GPU, Adobe is now offering After Effects GPU benefits with acceleration provided for more effects. This provides for quicker rendering. Effects such as Glow, Hue and Saturation now benefit from a dedicated GPU, leading to faster rendering.

While not related to a GPU, the playback speed for video footage is now real-time before effects are applied, eliminating the need for video to cache prior to playback.

After Effects Integration with Premier Pro and other Creative Cloud tools

Live text templates can now be shared with Premiere Pro CC 2017 as one packaged file with all assets needed for the composition. Additionally, TypeKit fonts can be automatically added to a Creative Cloud account and synchronized with the computer on which you are using After Effects. Of course this requires licensing the font if it is not part of a package of fonts to which you already have access.

Project Templates for After Effects CC

After Effects can start with a project template when starting a new project. Templates can be placed in the shared CC Files folder so that multiple users can all access the same template.

Minor changes include the ability to set the duration of both composition and layer markers. This is done by Alt-clicking (Windows) or Option-clicking (Mac) the markers as well as the automation of time remapping to freeze layers until the end of a composition.

After Effects CC Windows 10 and Mac OS Sierra

After Effects CC runs on both Windows 10 and MacOS version 10.12 or later along with earlier versions of these operating systems.

After Effects CC bugs

While Adobe indicates that this version fixed many bugs, it is worth testing copatibility on projects before any major deadlines as we have reports of some clients seeing After Effects freeze at startup or simply stop running.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.