A brief overview of new features in After Effects CS6. Adobe unveiled the other products in the Production Premium suite, including Premiere Pro CS6 and new shot logging and transcoding tool Prelude, at NAB.
Adobe has unveiled its CS6 Production Premium suite at NAB, promising “major updates” for After Effects and Premiere Pro, and adding new products SpeedGrade and shot logging and transcoding tool Prelude.
After Effects CS6: better performance, some new tools
To judge by the teaser videos, the update to After Effects is focused more on productivity than new features: After Effects CS6 gains a new global RAM cache and a persistent disk cache, both designed to enable the software to reuse previously rendered frames or layers rather than re-rendering, speeding up previews.
There is also a new GPU-accelerated graphics pipeline – although in this case, GPU-accelerated means ‘better use of OpenGL’ rather than CUDA or OpenCL. Adobe is citing a speed boost of 1.5-2x for common tasks.
Actual new features include a new 3D tracker and better integration with Imagineer Systems’ mocha planar tracker; a raytraced render engine for 3D logos and text; variable feather width for masks; and automatic rolling shutter repair for video footage captured on cameras with CMOS sensors.
Premiere Pro CS6: new UI, OpenCL support, unlimited multicam editing
Premiere Pro gets quite an extensive update, including a new UI created “by and for editors” – for which read “familiar to users of Avid Media Composer”; the Warp Stablizer introduced in After Effects CS5.5; and a range of smaller features, including improved trimming tools and gesture support on touchscreen devices.
Significantly, the GPU-accelerated Mercury Playback Engine introduced in Premiere Pro CS5 has been updated to support OpenCL as well as CUDA, making the performance boost available to users of AMD graphics cards as well as Nvidia GPUs. According to the documentation, the performance of the engine has also been improved – although here, Adobe doesn’t seem to be quoting specific figures.
Support for multi-camera editing has been improved, raising the limit on the number of cameras supported from four to as many as your system can handle. In addition, Premiere Pro now has native support for ARRI Alexa, RED SCARLET-X, RED EPIC, and Canon Cinema EOS C300 footage.
New products in the suite
There are also two new products in the Production Premium suite: colour-grading tool SpeedGrade, acquired from Iridas last year, and Prelude, a Lightroom-like tool for ingesting, transcoding and logging shots.
Prelude seems to be a straight replacement for direct-to-disk recording and logging package OnLocation, which has been dropped from the CS6 bundle.
The Production Premium suite also gains scriptwriting tool Adobe Story CS6.
Other applications in the Production Premium suite
We covered the new features of Photoshop CS6 when the beta was released last month, while detailed feature lists for the other Production Premium products – Audition, Encore, Media Encoder, Flash, Illustrator and Bridge – can be found on the Adobe website.
CS6 Production Premium is due for release “in the first half of 2012″. No word on pricing yet.