After Effects and Cinema 4D get married!

New features announced for After Effects CS7 include a 'live 3D pipeline' between Adobe's tool and Maxon's Cinema 4D. It's the start of something special for the two 3D tools...

After Effects CS7 teams up with Cinema 4D: screenshot

The new pipeline will shortcut the current 'round-trip' editing process

Adobe has previewed some of the features in the next version of After Effects, its software for 3D, motion graphics and visual design artists. And we're most intrigued by what they call a 'live 3D pipeline' between what we're expecting to be called After Effects CS7 and Maxon's Cinema 4D.

Up until now, you've been able to import your Cinema 4D creations into After Effects, but to make changes you'd have to go back to Cinema 4D, make your edits, re-render your scenes and re-import your renders into After Effects.

Adobe's preview, however, reveals that soon you'll be able to short-circuit this round-trip process. Magically, After Effects CS7 will enable your C4D scenes to sit 'live' within After Effects comps, allowing you edit them within Adobe's software.

After Effects CS7 teams up with Cinema 4D: screenshot

Any changes you make to a .C4D file will be automatically updated in After Effects

After Effects owners who don't already own a copy of Cinema 4D will get a new free version called Cinema 4D Lite. All in all, it's clear the two software tools are well on their way to a long and happy marriage. We wish them all the best in their new life together.

Other features announced for After Effects CS7 include:

  • The Refine Edge tool, which promises an end to old-school frame-by-frame rotoscoping:. The tool enables you to separate challenging foreground elements such as frizzy hair from poorly lit or complex backgrounds.
  • Warp Stabilizer VFX, which enables you to smooth handheld footage, lock a shot (or part of your frame) automatically, and more.

After Effects CS7 teams up with Cinema 4D: screenshot

Warp Stabilizer VFX is one of many new features in After Effects CS7
  • Track Optimization, which allows you to refine tracking
  • points over time for even more accurate 3D tracking in 2D space.
  • New search feature to help you find missing fonts, effects, or footage used in your comps.
  • Pixel Motion Blur, which enables you to create the photographic illusion of movement by adding motion blur to your frames or to elements within them.

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