Originally posted on 5 April 2013. Scroll down for updates.
Adobe has announced the feature list for After Effects CS7, including a bundled ‘Lite’ edition of Cinema 4D and the new Cineware live link between the two software packages.
[Note: this story was originally posted before Adobe had announced the rebranding of the old Creative Suite tools to the Creative Cloud editions. See the update at the end of the story for more details.]
The update is the first product of Adobe and Maxon’s new strategic alliance, announced last month.
Working with C4D files in After Effects
After Effects CS7 will feature the option to import C4D files directly. Once imported, the files are treated as footage items, and may be rendered directly inside After Effects using either the native or Cinema 4D cameras.
Render passes are generated as separate passes inside After Effects, and Cinema 4D scene data like lights, cameras or compositing tags may also be extracted directly within After Effects.
The new workflow should make it much faster to work with rendered CG imagery inside After Effects, virtually eliminating the need to re-render or export new AEC files from Cinema 4D in order to update a composite.
So what is Cinema 4D Lite anyway?
We can’t find a detailed feature comparison between Lite and other editions of Cinema 4D, but it seems to be a fairly heavily cut down version of the software.
Adobe’s blog describes it as “comparable to Cinema 4D R14 Prime”, but the (unofficial) video above mentions that it doesn’t include polygonal modelling, a full set of deformers.
Perhaps more significantly, like Prime itself, it doesn’t include key features used in motion graphics work, including the MoGraph toolset, advanced rendering options, and the Physical and Sketch and Toon renderers.
However, if you use another version of Cinema, you can simply launch that within After Effects; and if you use another 3D package entirely, you can use Lite as a bridge between After Effects and your tool of choice.
Other new features in After Effects CS7 include an update to the Warp Stablizer, now renamed Warp Stablizer VFX. The upgrade should provide more creative control over shots, including reverse stablisation.
The rotoscoping toolset has also been upgraded, adding a new Refine Edge tool and Refine Soft Matte effect. The new features enable users to separate complicated foreground elements like hair, vegetation or motion-blurred edges from poorly lit or complex backgrounds.
The 3D Camera Tracker also receives an overhaul, adding the option to set the origin and ground plane or manually edit tracking points to improve the accuracy of the solve.
And as if that wasn’t enough, there are also a long list of smaller changes and fixes.
Updated 20 June: Adobe has now begun shipping the new version of After Effects, now renamed After Effects CC as part of its controversial new online-only subscription policy.
To coincide with the release, Maxon is offering a 40% discount to anyone upgrading from Cinema 4D Lite to a full edition of the software before 30 August: you can find more details here.
Imagineer Systems, developer of the mocha AE planar-tracking toolset included in After Effects has also posted an FAQ about what the Creative Cloud update means on its website.
And finally, Nvidia has posted on its blog about support for GPU accleration in the Creative Cloud releases, including acceleration of raytrace rendering in After Effects CC.
(Note: some of the other features mentioned in the blog post, including acceleration in Premiere Pro and the Mercury Graphics Engine in Photoshop, support OpenCL, so work equally on AMD GPUs.)
Tags: Adobe, After Effects, After Effects CS7, camera tracker, Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, Cineware, compositing, live link, Maxon, motion graphics, new features, Refine Edge, roto, Warp Stablilizer VFX, Warp Stablizer