My After Effects CS6 Wishlist


Recently, I found an unlicensed copy of After Effects 3.1 in cleaning out our storage room and I began to delve into the confusing world of the Adobe upgrade process. A morning glass of Orange Juice, a few mouse clicks and a new version of CS5.5 would soon reside on my drive. I had a mission.

Half the day later, my mission in flames and my sent box littered with emails, I found myself communicating with Steve Forde, product manager for After Effects via the forums. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I immediately abandoned my upgrade quest and asked the most relevant question I could think of, “What is planned for the next release of Ae?” Steve pointed me over to Todd Kopriva’s blog article discussing the same. The article which covers the most talked about request from the forums is more of a People’s Choice edition of have’s, must have’s and suggestions. Todd spends a great deal of time explaining that to ask for a feature is nice and encouraged, but specifics are what they need to give the request wings. He compiled the feature request based on popularity as following;

  • import of AAF files:
  • keyboard shortcut editor:
  • Vector Paint effect:
  • grouping layers in the Timeline panel:
  • variable-width mask feather:
  • saving projects backward so that they can be opened by a previous version of After Effects:
  • scopes (waveform and vector):
  • better handling of image sequences:
    • ability to see each image sequence as a separate item, not as a gazillion files
    • report showing exactly which frames are missing from an image sequence
    • auto-creation of a folder to hold each exported image sequence
  • extrusion of vector graphics:
  • GPU/CUDA acceleration:
  • scaling: better algorithms and ability to choose:
  • nodal compositing:
  • custom zoom values:
  • import of 3D objects:
  • After Effects for Linux:
  • bones and inverse kinematics within Puppet effect:

A good list, but as anyone who has followed After Effects for any significant time knows, a lot of the items above were addressed in CS5.5 or dropped in the 64bit port and would eventually be included back in (Ability to go back to Cs4 projects for example). To read Todd’s comments or to view the whole document go to (Steve Simmons also writes about this on his article for Studio Daily this week)

So what are my request for After Effects? My list includes some of the above (Scopes, CUDA Acceleration), but I’ll be more specific in my wish list and say for instance Scopes, specifically RGB-YUV Parade with realtime update and a ability to adjust sensitivity equal to the plugin from Test Gear (or port the technology over from Speedgrade). Here’s my list:

  • Integrate every cool thing from Speedgrade (RAW Support, HDR Support, Scopes, Multiple Timelines, Ability to play 4K Clips from timelines from GPU (even without RED Rocket)
The interface for Speedgrade NX
Interface for Speedgrade NX
  • Dynamic linking with upcoming new Adobe Speedgrade Product for Color Correction, specifically sequence import with color descision list (CDL) intact and ability to port plugins across the product (example: Sapphires show up in Speedgrade, provided you have license of course)
  • Mercury Engine Playback (or Speedgrade Engine) in Ae (Please!)
  • Vector Graphic Extrusion of Illustrator objects and Text into 3D space with Bevel and material and texture assignment. (This last feature could be done in Illustrator and imported)
  • Grouping of layers using an Uber-Twirl
  • Nodal Compositing of Adjustment Layers, Plugins and Mattes: This gives the user the ability to assign a plugin to an Adj Lyr then node connect only the layers they wish to the layer, so say goodbye to sitting layers at top of timeline and having to re-order to disconnect influencing layers below
Nuke Interface using Nodal Compositing feeding multiple Lyrs
Nuke Interface using Nodal Compositing feeding multiple Lyrs into one Mask
  • Matte Layers: Ability establish a matte on an Adj Layer and then connect layers to it via nodes noodles (like Fusion and Nuke)
  • Variable width mask feathering or just ability to read those attributes from programs such as Silhouette or Mocha
  • Python scripting for creating gizmos (Similar to Nuke) or applications containing both Plugins and Scripts that can be saved as gizmos or such (For example someone who does Keying might want a Key App that contains a sequence ready for keying but contains all the scripts also) This app can be pluged in, instead of opened
  • Better handling of RED Metadata by making the dialog box more accessible and including feedback in Project bin in a column. Also more integrated reading of RED Time of Day, and Absolute Timecode.
  • Better handling of Canon Color Science
  • Bring back AAFs support
  • Changing workspace to Display LUTs to be more in line with industry
  • Add CUDA support to Render Engine (Free up the CPU) This would allow you to buy one low cost PC, stock it full of  Nvidia Cards and use it a GPU Render Farm!
  • And finally, let users with RED Rocket engines enjoy realtime playback of RED clips

There’s my list, feel free to comment and I’d love to see yours, maybe I can compile all our list and send to Steve for his thoughts, and post here in future. Or better yet see some of them in April integrated into the next version of After Effects!

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