Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Adobe unveils After Effects CC 2015.3

Adobe has announced the new features due in the next update to After Effects, including ‘enhanced video and audio playback’, further GPU-acceleration of key effects, and updates to the Cinema 4D exporter.

The update – still officially unnamed, but it will be After Effects CC 2016 if Adobe follows the same naming convention as last year – was announced at NAB 2016.

The company has also announced updates to Premiere Pro CC and Media Encoder CC.

Continued updates to playback and rendering
It isn’t every day that you see “real-time playback of cached frames with synced audio” advertised as a key new feature in an application that is, essentially, all about playing back video and audio.

However, that’s presumably Adobe’s way of saying that it’s continuing to update After Effects’ core architecture to overhaul the way the software previews and renders frames.

The work, begun in After Effects CC 2015, broke a number of existing features in the software, and created other problems, with audio playback cited as a key issue in some reviews.

Adobe’s blog post doesn’t state whether all of the features disabled in CC 2015 have now been reinstated, but it is at pains to describe CC 2016 as “more reliable”.

According to the blurb, “scrubbing the timeline, working with complex masks, and editing large numbers of keyframes is now more fluid” thanks to the new architecture, although it doesn’t put any figures on that.

GPU-accelerated Gaussian blur and Lumetri Color correction
In addition, support for GPU acceleration – present but incomplete in previous releases – has been extended to “some of [the] most commonly used effects, including Lumetri Color and Gaussian Blur”.

This time, Adobe does put a figure on the performance boost, with testers reporting “up to 5x speed increases”.

The Lumetri Color grading toolset – a focus in both After Effects and Premiere Pro last year – has also been updated, including HSL Secondaries and new Looks presets.

Updates to Cinema 4D export, image sequence import and Character Animator
The Cinema 4D exporter has also been updated to support text, which can be exported in either editable or pre-extruded form – although the latter option looks fairly jaggy in the video above.

Workflow with Adobe Stock and Creative Cloud libraries has also been improved, with better search filters and the option to licence stock assets from directly within After Effects.

And image sequences now import “up to 10 times faster”.

Other than that, there isn’t a lot new in After Effects itself, although Character Animator – Adobe’s work-in-progress 2D animation toolset, still bundled free with AE – gets a useful-looking update.

Pricing and availability
After Effects CC 2016 – or whatever the update ends up being called officially – is due out later this year: probably around June, if Adobe follows the pattern of previous years.

Updated: The release is now officially After Effects CC 2015.3, not CC 2016.

After Effects is only available via a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. New subscriptions cost $19.99/month for AE alone; Complete subscriptions to all of Adobe’s creative tools start at $49.99/month.

Read a full list of new features in the next release of After Effects