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david van brink // Tue 2008.09.23 21:22 // {after effects}

After Effects CS4: Yawn?

Ok. Here’s my obligatory chime-in on CS4.

It’s too soon to tell. And I know I’ll upgrade anyway. But So far it looks pretty unspectacular!

When I first started After Effectsing (to verb a product) it was just after expressions were introduced, and just before scripting (scripting!) was added. Those were the days!

And then CS3, that was all right. Puppet tool is pretty cool. I haven’t much cottoned to shapes. The graph editor… there’s things about the old one I liked better.

And floating-point color was in there somewhere along the way too.

Great stuff!

Anyway, about CS4. Let’s see…

Adobe info here and here.

Let’s get bullety.

  • User interface change, window renamed from The Smoother to Smoother. Smoother than what? It had to be said.
  • Compositions for mobile devices. Ok.
  • Animate X, Y, and Z positions independently. Could already do this just fine with slider controls and expressions thanks.

Ok, here’s two I like:

  • Handle 3d photoshop files. This is a good direction! I certainly look forward to ever more 3d features!
  • XML file format. Ok. God I’m geeky, but this is really important! You can save to .aep or .aepx. The XML flavor can, of course, be edited (or maybe created from scratch). But the doc cautions against using .aepx as your primary file format. Also, not everything is rendered as text; much is hex-coded binary. So, overall, probably better to stick with scripting to modify your projects, for now.

I suspect that there’s been ongoing under-the-hood work being done, which will eventually manifest as the real new features.

But for this release, it seems, well, pretty LITE.

Still, can’t wait to try it out!

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