Last week, Adobe released version 13 of After Effects as part of the Creative Cloud 2014 update. This week on #mochat, several members from the After Effects team at Adobe joined us to answer questions about the update. For a lengthy description of what’s new and changed, see Todd Kopriva’s extensive writeup on the After Effects blog.

Some of the top features called out in the chat are:

  • Effect Masks/Compositing – Opacity settings and masks per effect (even third party). Combined with the mask tracker, this is a pretty powerful feature.
  • Editable Text Templates for Premiere Pro – Unlocked text layers are editable in Premiere Pro through Dynamic Link. More on AE/Premiere Pro integration. And with expressions, editable text templates can provide some unexpected functionality.
  • New Curves UI/Functions – Larger UI in three sizes, new auto-settings. The new UI is the result of feature requests (so make sure you submit yours). The new auto settings are the result of user research.
  • HTML5 Panels – New UI panels built around HTML and Javascript. ExtendScript is still used for control over AE. SDK and more info is available at the Adobe Developer Connection.

When upgrading, it’s pretty easy to migrate settings, plugins, and scripts. Very few changes were made to the plugin architecture. The only notable incompatibility seems to be Element 3D.

A few interesting tidbits arose during the chat. The most notable might be that the raytrace renderer is EOL. 3D efforts will be instead focussed on Cinema 4D and supporting 3D plugins. No major changes to Cineware were made in this release. Also, pseudo/custom effects are not actually supported by Adobe. Though there’s a lot of interest on the user side of officially implementing something like this. Lastly background rendering can be accomplished in Adobe Media Encoder, which now supports 32-bit and alpha channels. It still does not support color management, but a workaround is to use an adjustment layer with Color Profile Converter inside of AE.

And direct from Adobe, these are the sites to keep an eye on: After Effects Blog, After Effects Forum, After Effects FAQ, and of course the Feature Request Form.

Read on for the full transcript of the chat.