10 Features and Improvements from Recent Releases


Increase your workflow! Check out these ten new features and improvements added into recent releases from Adobe After Effects!

With the constant release of updates from Adobe Creative Cloud, it can be easy to overlook new features and improvements when they’re added to your favorite apps. Let’s take a look at ten features and improvements that have been added to After Effects in recent releases. These all should help improve your After Effects workflow!

1. Rotobrush 2.0

One thing that’s always time-consuming in After Effects is rotoscoping. To aid in this process, After Effects has the Rotobrush. However, it often required a lot of manual roto-cleanup, so the tool usually wasn’t ideal. Fast-forward to the updated Rotobrush 2.0 with an all-new propagation engine. The new engine enables more consistent tracking of your subject, even with drastic movements or shape changes. This makes using the Rotobrush a much more realistic option for speedy rotoscoping! Check out 5 Ways to Punch Up a Boring Shot with the Rotobrush.

2. Multi-Frame Rendering

If you have a multi-core processor, you can now take advantage of After Effect’s new multi-frame rending option in the Render Queue. This has been a widely-requested feature from After Effects users over the years. Depending on your system setup, you can see render speeds improve anywhere from 50% to 300% faster! You can dive into more of the fine details of Multi-Frame Rendering for After Effects on Adobe’s Blog.

3. New 3D Design and Space Tools

After Effects has also totally revamped the 3D design and space tools, allowing you to work with layers in 3D space much more easily. The 3D design and 3D camera tools now closely mimic those you’d find in a traditional 3D program like Cinema 4D or Blender. 3D layers now get a much more prominent “transformation gizmo,” allowing you to easily reposition, scale, and rotate a 3D layer with one tool. Previously, you’d have to use a different tool for each of these functions. The 3D camera tools also have new functionality, even allowing you to orbit around selected 3D layers in your composition.

4. Lumetri Scopes

Another function of After Effects that’s often overlooked is the ability to use color scopes for color correcting and grading. To see the color scopes, you need to open the Lumetri Scopes panel under the Window tab. From there, you can select the wrench icon at the bottom of the Lumetri Scopes panel to choose from different scope displays, presets, and color space options. Check out our tutorial on Color Grading Footage in After Effects with Lumetri.

5. Face Tracker

Tracking faces is another common task After Effects users frequently need—whether to add in some subtle emphasis or to totally blur a face for confidentiality. Face tracking is also frequently needed for things like blemish and cosmetic cleanup. This is why Adobe added in a tracking function specifically for faces. It works with any mask drawn around a face, and will conform to the face shape automatically and even track to the face’s position. You have the option to track just the mask or to do a detailed face track, creating several tracked points on the face. This is ideal if you need to track things to specific areas on a face.

6. Mask Feather Tool

Another small improvement that can really come in handy is the Mask Feather Tool. If you’ve created a mask and you want to add some feather to it, you can do this more efficiently using the Mask Feather Tool. It’s located in the Mask dropdown menu. You’ll see it at the bottom with a feather quill icon.

Mask Feather Tool
Selecting the Mask Feather Tool.

Simply select it, and then click on your mask and drag out the amount of feather you need. The visible feather indicator is much easier to see exactly how much feather you’re adding. This often-forgotten feature can save you from having to search out the mask feather settings in your composition.

Mask Feather Tool
Using the Mask Feather Tool.

7. Camera Shake Deblur

Motion blur can be quite jarring on footage that’s stabilized in post. This is because, even though the footage is stable, the original motion blur recorded with the shot is still present. To address this issue, After Effects now has an effect called Camera Shake Deblur. Once it’s applied to your footage, the effect will automatically detect which frames have an abundance of motion blur on them. Then, it’ll use optical-flow technology to replace those frames. It works in a similar way to pixel-motion frame blending.

8. Content Aware Fill

You’d have to be living under a rock to miss Adobe’s announcement of the Content-Aware Fill feature for After Effects. But, if you’re a brand new After Effects user, it can be easy to miss. Content-Aware Fill allows you to mask out unwanted areas or objects in your footage, while automatically filling in the area of the removal. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? That’s what makes this feature so jaw-dropping! It works in the same manner as Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop, but with video footage. Check out our full tutorial on Getting Started with Content-Aware Fill in After Effects.

9. Motion Graphics Templates

With every new update, Adobe seems to add new functionality for Motion Graphics Templates in After Effects (also known as .mogrt files). In recent releases, they’ve added the much-requested ability to change things like fonts and font sizes in Motion Graphics Templates that were created in After Effects. They’ve even added the ability to do full media replacement with images or video clips!

This opens up the door for a ton of easy template customization. If you haven’t revisited Motion Graphics Templates since they were first launched, you’ll definitely want to now. If you’re looking for a beginner tutorial for creating a .mogrt file, check out our tutorial on How to Make a Lower Thirds Template.

10. After Effects Public Beta

Finally, if you want to get a sneak peek at the newest features coming up for After Effects, you need to check out the After Effects Public Beta. To get access to the beta builds, launch the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop app. On the left-hand side, you should see Beta Apps listed under Categories. From there, you can download public betas of the most popular Adobe apps, including After Effects!

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