Friday, April 12th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

After Effects’ latest beta lets you import animated 3D models

Adobe has released a new beta build of After Effects, adding the option to import and play back animated 3D models, including animated characters, inside the compositing software.

Other current beta features include the option to copy and paste keyframes across multiple layers of a composition, and a new-look UI based on Adobe’s Spectrum 2 design system.

Import animated 3D models and incorporate the animations in After Effects compositions
The new beta continues Adobe’s ongoing overhaul of 3D workflows in After Effects, which has made it possible to import 3D models and render them with the new Advanced 3D Renderer.

Although Adobe’s blog post about the beta makes it sound as if the entire 3D workspace is new, most of the features mentioned were actually introduced in After Effects 24.1 and 24.2.

What is new in the latest beta is that you can import 3D models with embedded animations, as well as static assets, and incorporate that animation in an After Effects comp.

That includes animated characters, although since After Effects currently only imports 3D assets in OBJ and glTF/GLB format, you’re restricted to glTF and GLB files.

Workflow improvements and interface changes
Other features in the current beta include the option to copy and paste keyframes across multiple layers, currently only available via third-party scripts.

To do so, users marquee-select groups of keyframes, then choose a point on the timeline at which to paste them, with the option to paste in reverse order to create loops.

The beta also features new keyboard shortcuts for jumping between in and out points, and performance improvements to Roto Brush.

The interface has also been updated to match Adobe’s new Spectrum 2 design system.

The main change so far is the option to switch to a light UI theme without having to use the console, with an additional setting to reduce tonal contrast between UI elements in both light and dark themes.

Price and system requirements
Beta builds of After Effects are available to subscribers via the Creative Cloud desktop app.

The current stable release, After Effects 24.3 is available for Windows 10+ and macOS 12.0+ on a rental-only basis. Single-app After Effects subscriptions cost $34.49/month or $263.88/year.

Read a full list of the new beta features in After Effects

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