Adobe recently released a nice update to After Effects for Creative Cloud subscribers. Todd Kopriva of Adobe has provided an exhaustive list of what’s new in his blog. I’ve also added to my After Effects: Creative Cloud Updates course on lynda.com to demonstrate my favorites among the new features, including:
3D + Animation - Post archive
We’re proud to announce our very first 3D printing course: Ryan Kittleson’s 3D Printing on Shapeways Using Maya. 3D printing allows you to take almost any 3D object file and print it out in materials such as plastic, ceramic, and metal for use as prototypes, products, jewelry, or works of art. This technology has really caught on in the past few years, thanks to inexpensive 3D printers and online printing services.
Author Ryan Kittleson is an expert in 3D printing and his work has been featured in publications such as Boing Boing, Time, and others. His course covers the basic workflow needed to print 3D objects using the Shapeways online printing service, which can print objects in a variety of materials and colors. Using a 3D printing service is a great way to get your feet wet by creating a few models without the cost of buying a 3D printer.
One of our priorities in the creation of the After Effects Apprentice video series is that it be relevant for a large number of users. So last fall we gave it a major update for CS6 users, and the day after After Effects Creative Cloud was released we updated it again for CC users. This now makes the After Effects Apprentice series compatible with all After Effects versions since CS5. Premium subscribers using After Effects CC should download and use the CS6 version of the exercise files.
Better blurring, snapping, scaling, and more
In this final blog about some of the new features Adobe has revealed for an upcoming version of After Effects, I turn my attention to some small enhancements that fans have long been waiting for and that promise to save users a lot of time.
Some of the best new features in After Effects don’t necessarily affect the images you see on screen, but make life easier while you’re working with those images. One such feature is the new snapping behavior in After Effects. It lets you easily align an edge, corner, center point, or even mask vertex of one layer with a similar (or dissimilar) feature of another layer. It even works in 3D, including finding the center of an extruded 3D shape, and snapping to individual letters in a per-character 3D text animation. This will make building virtual worlds and objects much easier in After Effects.
Muybridge sequence courtesy Dover
Warp Stabilizer VFX and 3D Camera Tracker enhancements
Next in my review of significant new features that Adobe has revealed for an upcoming version of After Effects, let’s look at enhancements to the Warp Stabilizer and 3D Camera Tracker tools already available in After Effects.
Warp Stabilizer VFX
Many treat Warp Stabilizer as an apply-it-and-done stabilization effect. Now it looks poised to become a serious visual effects tool in its own right with the ability to take on many of the tasks you might have previously reserved for a motion tracker.
For example, in addition to stabilizing footage, you will now be able to reverse a stabilization. That means you can stabilize a shot for the sake of applying effects to it (including the After Effects Paint tool, which is rendered as an effect), and then reverse the stabilization to restore the original camera movement to the affected painted shot. The camera motion calculated in the original, unstabilized shot can also be applied to another layer to composite it onto the original.
Refine Edge: A new way to deal with hair
As you no doubt know by now, Adobe has started to reveal some plans for its next generation of pro video tools. I’ve had the privilege of working with a pre-release version of Adobe After Effects, and recorded two hours of lynda.com training about it. In this blog, I’ll give you an overview of the Refine Edge tool, an important addition to the Roto Brush technology that will make rotoscoping hair and other soft, detailed areas much easier than ever before.
Roto Brush and Refine Edge
The Roto Brush tool in After Effects has been significantly upgraded with the addition of a companion Refine Edge tool. To review, Roto Brush allows you to make a series of general paint strokes defining the foreground and background areas of an image (such as an actor over a complex background—in other words, not green screen). With this information, as well as judicious tweaking of its propagation parameters, Roto Brush then detects the edge between the foreground and background, and creates a matte. When used properly (as demonstrated in my course After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet), it can greatly reduce the labor involved in cutting elements out of video.
Adobe has started to reveal some plans for its next generation of pro video tools. Using a prerelease version of After Effects, I’ve recorded two hours of videos for lynda.com to keep you ahead of the curve. Over the course of a few blogs, I’ll fill you in on some of the interesting features that are on tap. First up, the new integration between After Effects and CINEMA 4D.
Live 3D pipeline between After Effects and CINEMA 4D
A couple of weeks ago, Adobe and MAXON issued a press release announcing a “strategic alliance … to bring creative professionals new levels of digital media content creation.” Buried inside that release was the intriguing statement that “As part of the alliance, both companies are expected to collaborate and engineer a pipeline between Adobe After Effects software and CINEMA 4D to give users a seamless 2D/3D foundation.” Now we can finally see what they were hinting at.
When I’m teaching Autodesk Revit to new users, I frequently get asked: “Why isn’t <fill in the blank feature> more like AutoCAD if both products are by the same company?” It’s a perfectly logical line of reasoning. Autodesk is the maker of both AutoCAD and Revit. But to understand why your favorite feature in AutoCAD isn’t in Revit, or is included but works differently, it’s helpful to understand the history and focus of these two products.
The history part is easy. AutoCAD is an original Autodesk product, developed and sold by Autodesk. A small start-up company created Revit and Autodesk acquired the software over a decade ago. Autodesk has since enhanced Revit in many significant ways, and along the way has even incorporated some features from AutoCAD when and where appropriate. However, there are vast differences between the functions and tools of AutoCAD.