5 new features added to After Effects

When it comes to 3D and video tools, today's big announcement from Adobe has been a massive update to Premiere Pro. But After Effects CC users haven't been left empty-handed either. Here we list the five biggest updates coming to the motion-graphics and animation software in 2015...

01. Integrated libraries

The integration of the Creative Cloud Libraries panel into After Effects means you'll be able to access assets such as graphics, colour swatches and colour Looks, within After Effects, from Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, mobile applications like Adobe Shape and Project Candy, and web services such as the Adobe Creative Cloud Marketplace.

You'll also be able to share libraries with friends and coworkers, and between your own computers and applications.

02. More responsive performance

The After Effects team have spent the past year working on a fundamental re-architecture of After Effects to improve performance in terms of speed and responsiveness. And one of the more obvious ways you'll notice this is that previews can now continue as you make changes that modify the item being previewed. In other words you'll be see an uninterrupted preview as you tweak a layer property, add a new item to a composition, etc.

03. Unified and simplified previews

Adobe has also been working on simplifying the preview system in After Effects, as well as making previews more customizable. This means it will be easier to define the behavior of each of the preview shortcut keys, and the default behavior for previewing with the spacebar key will be more intuitive.

04. Adobe Character Animator

Strictly speaking Adobe Character Animator is a preview version of totally new Creative Cloud app. But it's worth mentioning here, as it will be installed along with After Effects and can be started from within After Effects.

Using clever facial capture technology, Character Animator takes your facial expressions captured using a camera and microphone and uses them to bring still image artwork from Photoshop or Illustrator to life.

05. Face Tracker effect

Adobe has also taken the face-tracking technology from Adobe Character Animator and integrated it into After Effects as a way to generate masks to isolate faces or, in detail mode, generate effect control points for every major feature of the face. This promises to make attaching effects, layers, or other objects to specific facial features easy and precise, streamlining workflows such as digital makeup and creative eye replacement significantly.

Other enhancements in the new release of After Effects include a more adaptable user interface, support for using touch controls to navigate between panels within the app and Adobe Media Encoder improvements, including the ability to perform high-quality re-timing with Time Tuner controls.

Right now, we don't yet have a release date: Adobe's best guess is late Spring/early summer. But the moment the new version is available we'll let you know – so stay tuned to Creative Bloq!

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.