Adobe: the tools we’ve had to take out of AE CC 2015
We expect updates to add new features to our software, not remove them. But for Adobe, the recent CC 2015 update to After Effects seems to have been a case of three steps forward, one step back.
To accompany the update, rolled out earlier this week, the company has posted on its blog a list of 10 features available in previous versions of After Effects that have now been removed or disabled.
Part of on ongoing update to the core code
Most of the changes result from Adobe’s ongoing overhaul of After Effects’ core architecture. In order to improve interactive performance, the firm has changed the way frames are rendered and returned for processing.
In some cases, that supersedes old functionality, which has now been removed. But in others, the overhaul simply hasn’t progressed far enough to make existing features work.
According to Adobe: “[Some features have] been disabled … because [they are] being rewritten for the new architecture, and that work is not yet complete. We intend to reenable some of these features in a future update.”
Workarounds for the issue
As far as we can see, none of the missing features should be complete showstoppers, and if you do need to use them, you can still run CC 2014 alongside CC 2015 after you upgrade, as set out in the blog post.
(Assuming you remember to disable the relevant option when you update, of course: by default After Effects is set to remove older versions of the software when it updates.)
It’s also important to remember that the code is being overhauled to a good end – being able to make changes to a project without interrupting previews, for example – and that CC 2015 has a lot else to commend it.
But this is clearly still something of an embarrassment for Adobe, which is effectively now in the position of asking its users which of the missing features break their workflow most badly.
In the words of the blog post: “We would appreciate you telling us on the After Effects forum which of these features is most important for you … so that we can best prioritise [their] rewriting or replacement.”
A sign of the times?
It seems to us that this is a situation that could only arise under a pay-as-you-go software rental agreement, such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscriptions.
Back in the days of perpetual licences, it’s hard to imagine a firm asking its users to pay for an update that removed features from an application, no matter how many others it added in their place.
With other developers in the CG industry moving to rental-only models, it will be interesting to see if After Effects CC 2015’s missing features are an isolated case, or one we’ll see more frequently in future.