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Software Review: Adobe Master Collection – After Effects CS6 From Adobe Systems

This is the fourth of a series of reviews that will cover what is contained in the Adobe CS6 Master Collection. Adobe releases CS6 with four separate suites of products. They are Design Standard, Design & Web Premium, Production Premium, Master Collection. Add to that, they a have also have the Creative Cloud – a subscription based suite that gives you access to all of the individual products for a $49.99 per month subscription fee. You can go online to compare what is contained in each version. The goal of this series is to define what each product does and provide information of what the new version brings to the table.

 After Effects CS6

 

Adobe After Effects is digital motion graphics and compositing software that is used by motion graphic designers, visual artists, and video editors. It can be used in both film and video post-production. It uses a system of layers organized on a timeline to create composites from still images and motion footage such as from video files.

It has become the industry standard for visual effects and motion graphics because it offers flexible tools that can be used to prepare dynamic media. It integrates well with other tools used in the industry. You can find imagery created in After Effects in everything from motion pictures to cell phones to websites.

So what is new with After Effects CS6?

 After Effects CS6

 

• Global Performance Cache – takes the form of improvements that are “under the hood’. These changes make Adobe After Effects more responsive than ever before. By taking advantage of the improved hardware capabilities as well as through the use of a global RAM cache, a persistent disk cache, and a new graphics pipe line, After Effects gives you the ability to continue to work while other portions render. It now contains a vastly improved frame caching system that allows you to reuse elements or play “what if” with various ideas without having to wait for a previously created frame to re-render. If you want, you can now try a new idea, and then undo if you don’t like it, without any penalty in productivity. What really happens is that – with some bearing on the amount of memory in your system, any frame of a composition or layer inside of an After Effects project that has not changed, is not re-rendered. Through the use of a persistent disk cache, when you reopen a project, the previously rendered cache is still intact. Finally, through the use of a new graphics pipeline, After Effects CS6 is better able to harnesses OpenGL and the video card in your computer when drawing images to the screen resulting in overall speed increase of 1.5 to 2.5 times.

• 3D Camera Tracker – effect automatically analyzes the motion present in 2D footage then computes the position, orientation, and field of view of the real camera that shot the scene and then will create a new 3D camera in After Effects to match. What this means is that 3D layers have the same movement and perspective changes as the original footage, allowing you to insert new objects into existing scenes with relative ease. This is great for both augmenting reality with visuals as well as when creating new realities with motion graphics. The 3D Camera Tracker can also make intelligent decisions about analyzing your footage unassisted, or you also have the option to enter data about the original shot for even more precise results. This works in a similar way that Warp Stabilizer worked in CS5.5.

 After Effects CS6

 

• Fully ray-traced extruded text and shapes – gives you new capabilities when working with renders. There is a new ray-traced 3D rendering engine that allows you to simply and quickly design fully ray-traced, geometric text and shape layers in 3D space. These enhanced 3D capabilities include the ability for beveled and extruded text and shape layers, adding depth to graphic designs without compromising animations, bending of footage and composition layers, adding dimension and yielding more interesting lighting effects for otherwise flat content, environment map support, for photorealistic reflections of virtual imagery in addition to the layers included in a composition, and more. It is available as an alternative to the scanline-based “Classic” 3D composition renderer that has been available for several versions.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.