Adobe After Effects

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Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects CS6 Icon.png
After Effects CS6.png
Adobe After Effects CS6 running on Mac OS X Lion
Developer(s)Adobe Systems
Stable releaseCC (2014) / June 18, 2014 (2014-06-18)
Written inC++[citation needed]
Operating systemWindows, OS X
TypeAnimation software
LicenseTrialware, software as a service
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Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects CS6 Icon.png
After Effects CS6.png
Adobe After Effects CS6 running on Mac OS X Lion
Developer(s)Adobe Systems
Stable releaseCC (2014) / June 18, 2014 (2014-06-18)
Written inC++[citation needed]
Operating systemWindows, OS X
TypeAnimation software
LicenseTrialware, software as a service

Adobe After Effects is a digital motion graphics, visual effects and compositing app developed by Adobe Systems used in the post-production process of filmmaking and television production. After Effects can also be used as a basic non-linear editor and a media transcoder.


Adobe After Effects is primarily used for creating motion graphics and visual effects. After Effects allows users to animate, alter and composite media in 2D and 3D space with various built-in tools and third party plug-ins, as well as individual attention to variables like parallax and user-adjustable angle of observation.

After Effects and some non-linear editing systems (NLEs) are layer-oriented, meaning that each individual media object (video clip, audio clip, still image, etc.) occupies its own track. In contrast, other NLEs use a system where individual media objects can occupy the same track as long as they do not overlap in time. This track-oriented system is more suited for editing and can keep project files much more concise. The layer-oriented system that After Effects adopts is suited for extensive effects work and keyframing. Although other compositing packages, especially ones that employ tree or node workflows, such as Nuke, are better suited to manage large volumes of objects within a composite, After Effects is able to counter the clutter somewhat by selectively hiding layers (using the Shy switch) or by grouping them into pre-compositions.

The main interface consists of several panels (windows in versions prior to After Effects 7.0). Three of the most commonly used panels are the Project panel, the Composition panel, and the Timeline panel. The Project panel acts as a bin to import stills, video, and audio footage items. Footage items in the Project panel are used in the Timeline panel, where layer order and timing can be adjusted. The items visible at the current time marker are displayed in the Composition panel.

After Effects shares many features with other Adobe programs, such as creating circles, squares and free form shapes that are defined by bezier curves. Like Photoshop and Illustrator, After Effects can import and manipulate many image formats, and filters and adjustments can be added.

After Effects integrates with other Adobe software titles such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Encore, Flash, and third-party 3D programs like Cinema 4D and Autodesk 3ds Max.


After Effects was originally created by the Company of Science and Art in Providence, RI, USA, where the first two versions of the software, 1.0 & 1.1, were released by the company in 1993. CoSA along with After Effects was then acquired by Aldus corporation in July 1993, which was then acquired by Adobe in 1994, and with it PageMaker. Adobe's first new release of After Effects was version 3.0.

The following is the list of versions of After Effects over the years, including the first two versions released by CoSA.

DeveloperDateVersionCodenameMajor features added
CoSAJanuary 19931.0Egglayered compositing with mask, effect, transforms, keyframes; Mac only
May 19931.1more effects
AldusJanuary 19942.0TeriyakiTime Layout window, image sequence support, motion blur, multi-machine rendering, frame blending, proxies
May 19942.0.1Power Macintosh version (PPC)[1]
AdobeOctober 19953.0Nimchowrender queue, bezier masking, time remapping, keyframe assistants (wiggler, motion sketch, smoother), multiple effects per layer, advanced keying, velocity graph, 1/2/4 point motion tracking, motion math, first Japanese version, layer transfer modes, continuously rasterize Illustrator files, Photoshop as comp import with layer/transfer mode/alpha channel support, 3:2 pulldown, non-square pixel support
April 19963.1file formats, multiprocessing; last Mac 680x0 version
May 19973.1 (Windows 95/NT)Dancing Monkeyfirst Windows version, contextual menus, first French & German versions; in November 1997, Path Text effect and Animated GIF output were released for free to registered users of 3.1[2]
January 19994.0ebeertabbed windows, movable time layout columns, multiple masks per layer, warping effects, particle playground, audio effects, transform effect, adjustment layers, align palette, rulers & guides, RAM preview, glows/blurs no longer clip at layer edge, Premiere import, Illustrator layers support, label colors in timeline; first simultaneous Mac & Windows release
September 19994.1Batnipflowchart view, watch folder, 3D channel effects, collect files command, auto deinterlacing, sequence layers, save favorite effects (.ffx), separate text fill/stroke, 30,000×30,000 image support
April 2001[3]5.0Melmet3D layers, 3D lights, dynamic previews, parenting, vector paint, expressions, pick whip, draw/edit masks in comp window, integration of Atomic Power plug-ins (foam, wave world, card dance, shatter, vegas), 16 bits per channel color, Illustrator transparency support, SWF export, mask colors, mask motion blur, mask expansion, RAM Preview region of interest, Photoshop 6 vector mask import, PDF import, solo switch, scrubbable property values, custom workspaces, effect reordering, PAR correction, reveal file on disk, reduce project, trim comp to work area, >2GB movie output
January 7, 2002[4]5.5Fauxfuadvanced 3D renderer, multiple 3D views, import camera data, colored shadows, projection layers, effects palette, post render actions, advanced lightning, adjustment layer lights, smart mask, looping via expressions, RealMedia output, expression controllers, Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator Classic bundled; first OS X version
August 20036.0Foodfitepaint, scripting, text layers and animators, editable Photoshop text layers, OpenGL support, new motion tracker, Rotobezier, Keylight, Liquify, Scribble, Dust & Scratches, background rendering of RAM Previews
June 16, 20046.5Chambantadvanced clone tool, presets gallery, grain management, integration of Cycore Effects plug-ins, Color Finesse bundling, disk caching, Firewire video output, interface light/dark controls, motion track with scale, Grain Surgery bundling, AAF & OMF support[5]
January 20067.0Clamchopnew unified window UI, timewarp, graph editor, OpenGL 2.0 support, 32 bpc HDR color, 32-bit audio, Adobe Bridge support, display color management, dynamic link with Premiere Pro, script editor, auto save, Photoshop file creation, smart blur, lens blur, per-character text blurring, first Spanish & Italian versions
July 2, 2007CS3 (8.0)Metaloafshape layers, puppet tool, brainstorm, clip notes, Photoshop vanishing point import, adaptive motion blur, per character 3D text animation, real-time audio playback, simultaneous multi-frame rendering, SWF vector import, 32-bit linear blending, full color management; first Universal Binary Intel Mac version
February 22, 2008CS3 (8.0.2)LoafdotPanasonic P2 support; last Mac PowerPC version
September 23, 2008CS4 (9.0)ChinchilladaQuickSearch in the project & timeline, mini-flowchart, breadcrumbs, live PSD 3D layer import, separate XYZ, Imagineer Mocha bundled, cartoon effect, XFL export, XML export, XMP metadata,
December 10, 2008CS4 (9.0.1)ChinchidottaRED R3D file support (via REDCODE v1.3 plugin)
May 29, 2009CS4 (9.0.2)Lottadottafixes several types of crashes, clip-level RED R3D support (via REDCODE v1.7 plugin), XDCAM HD (Avid-style MXF) support
October 6, 2010[6]CS4 (9.0.3)Yaddadottafixes "locking existing frames" message delay at start of RAM preview, decreased performance due to Wacom driver conflict, aerender not shutting down background processes, and miscellaneous crashes especially on Mac OS X 10.5 during drag-and-drop operations
April 30, 2010[7]CS5 (10.0)Esgocart64-bit native (mandatory) on OS X and Windows, Roto Brush tool, Refine Matte effect, mocha v2, LUT support, AVC-Intra import and improved RED (R3D) support, Align panel improvements, Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse 3, Digieffects FreeForm, auto-keyframe mode[8]
September 3, 2010[9]CS5 (10.0.1)Esgodotfixes several types of crashes and bugs (jumbled AIFF audio, .cube LUT channel swap, etc.), RED updates (color science v2, ROCKET, RMD metadata), improved LUT compatibility (.3dl with floating-point values or 3DMESH/Mesh keywords, or saved from ASSIMILATE SCRATCH systems), updates to bundled third-party plug-ins
April 8, 2011[10]CS5 (10.0.2)Esgodohfixes an "Unexpected data type" error opening project with missing effects, a crash with Directional Blur and other effects on computers with 16 or more logical processors, and a crash opening a composition created by Automatic Duck Pro Import AE.
April 11, 2011[11]CS5.5 (10.5)CodnameWarp Stabilizer effect, Camera Lens Blur and camera layer improvements for depth-of-field and bokeh, source timecode support and Timecode effect enhancements, stereoscopic 3D rig creation and improved 3D Glasses effect, light falloff, CinemaDNG import, expanded RED (R3D) features, XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD output, integration with Adobe Audition CS5.5, save project as CS5.
June 30, 2011[12]CS5.5 (10.5.1)Codotfixes for delay when typing in a text layer if mouse pointer was above the Composition panel, and inability to use an upgrade serial number.
April 23, 2012[13]CS6 (11.0)SpinalTapasGlobal Performance Cache, 3D Camera Tracker, ray-traced and extruded text and shapes, variable-width mask feather, Automatic Duck Pro Import for importing projects from other applications, including Final Cut Pro and Avid software, new and improved GPU acceleration features, Rolling Shutter Repair effect, Mocha for After Effects CS6, new and updated effects. Live PSD 3D layer import was removed.
May 25, 2012[14]CS6 (11.0.1)BigDottomsupport for Nvidia GeForce GTX 680, AtomKraft, bug fixes.
October 12, 2012[15]CS6 (11.0.2)NoneMoreDotsupport for more Nvidia cards and Intel HD Graphics, new memory handling preference allowing reversion to CS5.5 behavior, several bug fixes.
June 17, 2013[16]CC (12.0)SconehengeC4D Lite & Cineware integration, Refine Edge tool, Refine Soft Matte, layer snapping, Warp Stabilizer VFX
October 31, 2013[17]CC (12.1)Plabt Blue RibbonOS 10.9 & Retina support, mask tracker, Detail-preserving Upscale effect, property linking, improved snapping
December 13, 2013[18]CC (12.2)Pinot Butterautomatic creation of folders for image sequences, command to convert parametric shape layer paths to Bézier paths, more snapping improvements, lots of small "polish" improvements


After Effects has extensive plug-in support; a broad range of third party plug-ins are available. A variety of plug-in styles exist, such as particle systems for realistic effects for rain, snow, fire, etc.

With or without third-party plug-ins, After Effects can render 3D effects. Some of these 3D plug-ins use basic 2D layers from After Effects.

In addition to 3D effects, there are plug-ins for making video look like film or cartoons; simulating fire, smoke, or water; particle systems; slow motion; creating animated charts, graphs, and other data visualization; calculating the 3D movement of a camera in a 2D video shot; eliminating flicker, noise, or rigging lines; translating timelines from FCP or Avid; adding high-end color correction; and other workflow improvements and visual effects.

Comparable products[edit]

Competitors to After Effects include The Foundry’s Nuke; Autodesk’s Combustion, Toxik, and Smoke; Apple’s Motion; eyeon Fusion; Boris RED; FXHome's HitFilm products. While not dedicated to compositing, the open source software Blender contains a limited node-based compositing feature capable of basic keying and blurring effects, among other things.[19]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]