Adobe has released an 8.0.2 update for After Effects CS3. Its headline new features are support for Mac OS 10.5, as well as for P2 media. There are also the expected array of bug fixes. What’s been getting less press than it deserves is a change in the way it handles color management with respect to QuickTime files.
The Mac and Windows platforms have different display gammas. This means content would look different as you moved it between platforms. Adobe attempted to fix this in After Effects CS3 by taking advantage of a gamma tag available in QuickTime files. Unfortunately, Adobe’s use of the gamma tag – however correct it may have been – was different than the way Apple treated it in their own applications, including QuickTime Player and Final Cut Pro. The result was gamma shifts between After Effects and these applications. And as it turned out, more users moved between AE and these apps than between AE on different platforms.
The solution has been to enable the Legacy Gamma checkbox in the Project Settings. With the 8.0.2, Adobe has made this the default in some situations, and also altered how and where they use the gamma tags in QuickTime files. (For more information, visit this very useful page on Adobe’s web site.)
This is not the end of the story. Eventually, all applications – including Apple’s, as well as other Adobe apps such as Encore and Premiere – have to support color management and manage gamma correctly, as it’s really the way to go to ensure we’re seeing the true colors of the many different sources we combine these days when creating content. But for now, some of the pain has been lessened – thank you, Adobe.
(By the way, we cover color management in depth in Chapter 25 of Creating Motion Graphics 4th edition. It’s really not that scary once you understand what’s going on. It’s the other applications which aren’t managed that are causing headaches right now…)
Just to clarify the differences between different versions of After Effects CS3:
- 8.0.0 = no OpenGL on Mac (fine under Windows)
- 8.0.1 = OpenGL now works on Mac; issues with Mac OX 10.4.x (particularly in the area of Dynamic Link with other Adobe Production Premium applications)
- 8.0.2 = works with OS 10.5.x
And as long as we’re being complete:
- QuickTime 7.4 = render problems with After Effects
- QuickTime 7.4.1 = render problem fixed
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