Product Watch: Motion, Motion Everywhere And Adobe's Got Your Drink!
Adobe has upgraded After Effects to version 4.1 giving this motion graphics and visual effects software additional features and performance enhancements that allow the user to focus more on the creative process, rather than time spent in production.
New features include: support for enhanced media exchange, workflow refinements and extended creative options and control.
Adobe has expanded the After Effects application programming interface giving third party software developers and video hardware solution providers the ability to write new types of plug-ins and to integrate their products move effectively with After Effects. This should make the program much more customizable and adaptable as third-party solutions come on board. Current vendors supporting version 4.1 include ICE, NothingReal, HEURIS and Softimage.
Adobe has expanded the range of media that users can incorporate into projects further enhancing After Effects compatibility. You can now import and export files as large as 30,000 x 30,000 pixels - not for the faint of heart! In version 4.0 you were limited to 4,000 x 4,000. Support has been added for 3D file formats RLA and Softimage PIC. A new 3D Channel Pack (available in the Production Bundle) allows users to integrate 3D elements into 2D composites shaving time off the compositing process. Also supported is QuickTime 4.0 export components, allowing users to prepare streaming audio and video for the Web.
Creative control is enhanced by the addition of a flowchart view for visualizing the organization of projects, the ability to save favorite effects, masking enhancements and the ability to apply fill and stroke to text separately.
Those in a networked environment will appreciate the new unlimited network render engine license which is included with the Production Bundle. It allows users to render their projects more efficiently using a Collect Files command to gather project files and information for rendering or archiving. A "Watch Folder" automatically triggers a network to render a project placed in the waiting Watch Folder. Progress of the project can be checked by accessing an automatically generated HTML file using any Web browser.
After Effects is tightly integrated with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere.
There are two versions of After Effects 4.1, the Standard Version and the Production Bundle. The Production Bundle includes all the features of the Standard Version but also includes the unlimited network render engine licence and the 3D Channel Pack.
A recent Macworld review gave After Effects 4.1, 4 mice out of a possible 5, and said this about the software:
"After Effects has long been the benchmark motion graphics program for the Mac OS, and version 4.1 only strengthens that position. Don't let Adobe's conservative version numbering fool you; After Effects 4.1 packs enough goodies to make it a must-have upgrade."
After Effects 4.1 Suggested Retail Price: Standard Version, $699; Production Bundle, $1,499; upgrade from 4.0, $49.95; upgrade from After Effects 3.0, $299 .......... Check for the lowest price on all Adobe After Effects Products
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