After Effects 5
at a Glance

Maker: Adobe
Price: $1,499 Production Bundle/$649 standard edition
Platforms: Macintosh and Windows
URL: http://www.adobe.com

Overall Impression: Adobe After Effects is an absolutely essential component in any effects and compositing workflow. After Effects 5 takes this essential suite to the next level with incredibly powerful new tools. It's a pleasure to work with, and, of course, its features make it one of the all-time great applications for video professionals, whether you're new to After Effects or thinking of upgrading from version 4.1, whether you use the standard edition or the Production Bundle.

Key Benefits: AE 5 is a dramatic improvement over AE 4.1, which wasn't at all bad to start with. The new 3D compositing, parenting and expressions features make it a truly valuable tool for the most complex work. For the Production Bundle, the new effects alone justify the $800 difference in price from the standard edition, but you get a whole host of other advanced features included in the deal: keying tools, time displacement, rendering and particle simulation tools, motion tools and, of course, 16-bit per channel color.

Disappointments: Render times can be excruciatingly long, but we hope this will be rectified with the next release of the ICE accelerator board for AE. The Advanced Renderer is still in beta. And the Render Engine (for network rendering) supports only image sequences.

Recommendation: Must Buy

 

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REVIEW JULY 11, 2001
Adobe After Effects 5 Production Bundle
[Page 6 of 8]

Adobe After Effects 5 Layer Intersection
The layer turned into a 3D layer and intersecting
with a text layer (also 3D).

You can also specify material properties that define how a light affects the surface of a layer, as well as how layers interact with lights. You can define and animate Ambient, Diffusion, Specular and Shininess values.

Adobe After Effects 5 Depth of Field
The layer with depth of field turned on

On the camera side, you can create multiple cameras, each with their own individual properties, such as a wide-angle 15 mm preset or a 200 mm lens. In addition to standard preset lenses, you can create and save custom camera presets. The cameras themselves can be animated, as well as their properties, and you can cut to different cameras at any time.

Adobe After Effects 5 Focal Length
Depth of field affects all of the layers in a camera's view so
that any content outside the primary focus area is blurred.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.
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