OpenEXR Support in After Effects CS4

A little-heralded improvement in AE CS4 will be of interest to high-end effects houses.

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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Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, HBO, PBS, and TLC; in opening titles for several movies including Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley; at trade shows and press events for corporate clients ranging from Apple to Xerox; and in special venues encompassing IMAX, CircleVision, the NBC AstroVision sign in Times Square, and the four-block-long Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. They were among the original users of CoSA (now Adobe) After Effects, and have written the numerous books including “Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects” and “After Effects Apprentice” both published by Focal Press. Both Chris and Trish have backgrounds as musicians, and are currently fascinated with exploring fine art and mixed media in addition to their normal commercial design work. They have recently relocated from Los Angeles to the mountains near Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.