Here’s another summary of recent news on Adobe After Effects – with more on CS6 and updates, raytracing (or not), hardware requirements, integrating muzzle flashes, looks, assorted tutorials, and plug-ins new and old.
After Effects CS6 has been updated to version 11.0.1, with bug fixes and added GPU and 3D renderer support. Todd Kopriva has the details. Also popping up were Additional Scripts for After Effects CS4-CS6 by Jeff Almasol and After Effects template projects from Todd Kopriva. BTW, according to @KarlSoule, “Dynamic Link now works even if you purchase Premiere Pro and AE CS6 separately.” The full suite no longer required.
Todd also explained GPU (CUDA, OpenGL) features in After Effects CS6. The mixed requirements for various new 3D features, and the complexity of advanced GPU tech, makes finding a happy medium tricky (discussion). Driver upgrades can’t be assumed to work better and more expensive graphic cards may not always improve things — although render times for ray-tracing might be quite painful without serious GPU power. This issue was discussed quite adeptly by Stu Maschwitz in Ray Tracing in After Effects CS6. Here’s an intro to tech issues by Todd (see Steve Forde too) and an impressive render from Stu:
Adobe subscriptions may provide a more predictable stream of income for the company, but details seem to have some worried; see Adobe Creative Cloud: Is this Ship on the Rocks Already? at Streaming Media, Adobe changes tune on CS5 updates, won’t seek paid CS6 upgrade to patch vulnerabilities at Engadget, and Are Software Subscriptions A Good Idea? at Notes on Video. Todd Kopriva noted relevant resources on Creative Cloud, activation, licensing, and such for CS6, and Danny Prinz posted the good news on old version access in Adobe Creative Cloud may be the future, but what happens when we need to go back?
fxguidetv #145: AE and Adobe CS6 has a bunch of interesting new details from the AE team on recent tech.
While there may have been few significant changes to the plug-in API for AE CS6, new versions of most plug-ins are trumpeted upon release, so we can’t assume that we can use the same filters from previous versions. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the drop of Pixel Bender support in CS6 will orphan many fine tools. Among the latest updates is a new free filter from Fnordware Software, OpenColorIO, “the highly-nerdy visual effects color management system.”
Adobe is taking Creative Suite 6 Production Premium demos on the road in the US, June 5 – 30. There’s hardware and software partner demos and usually prizes too. Space may be limited, so reserve your seat. If you’re not in an area that’s part of the tour, there are plenty of online seminars; see for example “Innovation in Motion: After Effects CS6? with Steve Forde, seminar recording and notes from Todd Kopriva.
Todd Kopriva collected free 3D material options project and tutorials for After Effects CS6. You may also want to read over the intro by Chris and Trish Meyer, and their video on Targeting Properties in the new Ray-Traced 3D Engine. By the way, Aharon Rabinowitz noted that in CS6, “3D handles the color of the side of 3D extrusions differently for Text vs. Shape Layers.” Here’s an excerpt from Chris Meyer:
Mettle reminds us that FreeForm is not bundled with CS6, and it might well be well worth the $99 depending on what you expect of 3D in CS6. Mettle also has several new tutorials, including Crystal 3D Logo Tutorial by Tim Harris Using ShapeShifter AE:
In After Effects Bench, 2012: Sad Mac Pro, D. Eric Franks noted that his new overclocked Windows workstation “is more than twice as fast as a Mac Pro in After Effects at a quarter of the price.” The Nvidia options are also greater for Windows. Adobe does allow you to freely switch or even split licenses among platforms. If you are moving things around, ProDesign Tools has an intro on How to Move or Upgrade Adobe CS6 from One Computer to Another, including switching languages or platforms.
3D to 2D ScreenSpace, from Julian Herrera and AE Scripts, “takes a 3D position and creates an animated 2D null in it’s relative 2D screen-space. Select a 3D Layer and press ‘Link’ to tie a new null to the 3D point with an expression or press ‘Bake’ to convert the expression to keyframes straight away:
Red Giant posted several interesting tutorials:
- QuickTip #65: Automated Gun Muzzle Flash Effects (with free presets)
- Episode 79: Soylent Screen – The Secret Ingredients for a Filmed Computer Screen Look
- Episode #78 – Web Line Escape: Spider-Man Web-Slinging Effect
- Episode #77 – Keeping the Streets Safe with VFX (and actors)
- Episode 76: Promethe-esque Security Sweeper
The French tutorial website Mattrunks is now available in English, in both free and premium versions. Some tutorials have free projects or preset, like this Organic particles and Cell Shading with Particular (related preset). Here’s the render:
MotionRevolver posted Achieving Faster Render Times With After Effects, which is embedded below. See also Improve performance in After Effects Help (hard to find with Google), (among several by Todd Kopriva) After Effects & Premiere Pro Performance Workshop (free) at Video2brain, and How to Optimize After Effects CS6 for High Performance by Steve Forde.
Eran Stern has Two new training products in After Effects in Hebrew; here’s a demo:
Marker Shingleton shares tips for muzzle flashes in After Effects Expression: Use the luminance of one layer to drive another layer. VinhSon Nguyen followed with a video explaining the idea in Automated Light Spills with Muzzle Flashes & Expressions, embedded below. See also QuickTip #65: Automated Gun Muzzle Flash Effects (with free presets) from Harry Frank and Muzzle flash tutorials in After Effects.
BorisFX posted Episode #149: Transform an Average-Looking Shot with Boris Continuum Complete, embedded below. There are numerous other tools to generate looks in AE: in major tools like Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks or products by Digital Film Tools, with Speedgrade LUTs that load in AE CS6, and with techniques noted in Bleach bypass, cross-process, and other looks for After Effects.
Motionworks posted After Effects: Creating an alien meteor storm, After Effects: Quick Vignette, After Effects: Boris Film Looks 2, and Unplugged 33: Zax Dow – Zaxwerks, which covers what the introduction of 3D ray-traced features in AE means to Zaxwerks products like 3D Invigorator.
Nick Fox-Gieg, author of KinectToPin (used by Victoria Nece in tutorials on Kinect MoCap Animation in After Effects), released AEwriter to “write After Effects keyframe data from Processing. Outputs a JSX script that generates solids and keyframes in AE (where you replace the solids with whatever you want). [Flocking] Demo here: http://fox-gieg.com/stuff/tweets/2012/vnboidstest.mp4.” In addition, check out the free new preset by Victoria Nece in Get the look of Trapcode’s 3D Stroke with no plugins!. For similar looks, see the mini-roundup Colored Light Strokes and Streaks.
A Simple Puzzle Animation With The Shatter Plug-in by Tibor Miklosis a text-based tutorial, the latest in a long line of Shatter tutorials. Among other interesting tutorials at AE Tuts is Create Your Own Custom Effects!, a Windows-oriented tutorial from Momcilo Stojkovic. Here’s Tibor’s Shatter result:
YY_Ramp+, from AE Scripts, is a fuller-featured gradient effect with added parameters such as opacity and blend modes, and in a recent update adds additional blend modes, shapes, and a midpoint slider:
Please note that these roundups are for quick review and comparison. There is almost always vital information from the originating authors at the links provided-and often free presets, projects, or stock footage too.