After Effects CS4 now comes with the ProEXR plug-in set from fnord software (available free for CS3 from fnordware.com). This offers enhanced support of the OpenEXR format commonly used by high-end effects houses. ProEXR's benefits include:
- Support for all the OpenEXR compression options, including B44 compression.
- Output as RGB or Luminance/Chroma channels.
- Retention of EXR color space information.
- Support for both 32-bit and 16-bit floating point.
- Full control over alpha channel processing.
The ProEXR package contains the EXtractoR and IDentifier plug-ins, which allows access to the additional non-image channels in an OpenEXR file - including Object and Material IDs. This will be of particular interest to hardcore 3D users who have been looking for more sophisticated ways to further manipulate their renders inside After Effects. Lutz Albrecht has written a pair of articles for Adobe Developer Connection that goes into more detail on this procedure.
For more information, download the ProEXR manual and jump to the ProEXR in After Effects section, which starts about halfway in.
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