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Get up to speed quickly with the new features in After Effects CS6. Join veteran After Effects user Chris Meyer as he explores the key enhancements to this industry standard visual effects and motion graphics software. Chris shares creative ideas and important production advice while covering the strengths of features such as memory optimization with the new global performance cache, 3D motion tracking with the 3D Camera Tracker, and the new 3D rendering engine for ray-traced 3D rendering.
(music playing) Okay, time for the big bottom-line question: Should you upgrade to After Effect CS6? Well, there are both pros and cons. For example, if you're a Photoshop user who really relied upon Photoshop's video layers or the 3D objects you can create inside Photoshop using Repousse, or, say, the 3D model import, none of those are supported in After Effect CS6. There are some big changes to both Photoshop and After Effects this cycle.
They couldn't get compatibility together in time, unfortunately, and even though the ray tracer is cool in After Effects CS6, it doesn't have the beveling options that Repousse does. It doesn't have the 3D model import. So you might look elsewhere for those features. Another reason not to upgrade is if you rely upon custom Pixel Bender effects. Pixel Bender's not supported in CS6 either. That's another thing to watch out for. Another reason is, if you've not already upgraded to After Effects CS5.5, do know that even though After Effects CS6 can save back to a 5.5 project, it cannot save all the way back to CS5 project.
So there might be a reason to try to upgrade at the last moment or hold out until you and your clients are ready to all go up to CS6 at the same time. On other hand, there's a lot of really good features in CS6 that I do think make it well worth upgrading. For example, the Global Performance Cache makes it a lot faster, by remembering your previously cached RAM previews, both while working inside the program and from projects you saved earlier. I do like the ray-traced 3D renderer. I think it's going to be very useful for creating text, logos, other similar objects.
Do know, however, though, that you do want to have a CUDA-enabled video card to take full advantage of it. If you've a laptop with, say, an ATI chipset, you're going to find the performance very disappointing. The new 3D Camera Tracker is very cool and very powerful, both for visual effects and for motion graphic tasks of integrating 3D objects into already-shot 2D footage. Variable-mask feathering is a feature we've been asking for for ages. It's really nice to be able to change the amount of softness around the edge of a mask. It's nice to have Pro Import After Effects bundled with After Effects now, as well as CycoreFX HD. And there's a bunch of other little features, such as the ability to convert vectors to shape layers right inside After Effects.
No longer do you need to copy and paste paths from Illustrator into After Effects. So overall, I do think CS6 is worth upgrading to. It is a major release, with a lot of new capabilities. There are a few special cases where you may not want to upgrade right away, but in general, I think I'm going to really enjoy using this new release, and I hope you do too. So, have some fun. I'll see you later.
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