New public beta ‘reimagines’ 3D workflows in After Effects
Adobe has released a new public beta of After Effects that it describes as “reimagining” 3D workflows in the compositing software, adding new camera navigation tools and transform gizmos for 3D layers.
The beta shipped alongside After Effects 17.1.4, the September 2020 release of the software, which extends support for GPU acceleration among the Channel effects.
New camera controls make it easier to navigate After Effects scenes in 3D space
Adobe describes the beta release as making working in 3D space inside After Effects “a lot more intuitive”, particularly for motion graphics, where 3D is now a “required skill”.
One key change is that it is no longer necessary to create a camera layer to begin navigating a scene in 3D space: the software now creates a scene camera by default.
Users can them move around a scene using “completely reimagined” Orbit, Pan and Dolly controls, each with a range of interaction modes and new keyboard shortcuts, as shown in the video above.
It is also now possible to create a new camera layer directly from the current camera view, effectively making it possible to bookmark and switch between viewpoints in 3D space.
New 3D transform gizmos use a design shared with Adobe Dimension
The beta also adds new gizmos for manipulating 3D layers: both a new universal transform gizmo, and individual gizmos for rotating, scaling or moving layers in 3D space.
The XYZ co-ordinates of the gizmos are displayed on screen, along with key information like angle rotated or distance moved, making it easier to make precise adjustments.
The design of the gizmos is shared with Dimension, Adobe’s 3D rendering and compositing software.
Adobe says that the new functionality is part of a cross-product development project that will lead to more new 3D tools within After Effects in future releases.
Pricing and system requirements
The new camera navigation tools and 3D transform gizmos are available as part of a public beta build of After Effects, available free to existing users of the software. New users can install a trial version.
The stable release, After Effects 17.1.4, is available for Windows 10 and macOS 10.13+, on a rental-only basis.
An annual Creative Cloud subscription for After Effects alone costs $31.49/month, while a subscription to all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud tools costs $79.49/month.