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Adobe After Effects 5.5 Ships for OS X

Update includes workflow enhancements, new effects By Dave Nagel
The good news from Macworld so far is coming mostly from a surprising source: Adobe. Aside from announcing the imminent arrival of Photoshop 7, LiveMotion 2 and GoLive 6, the company also started shipping After Effects 5.5 for Mac OS X (as well as Windows XP) today.

The new release isn't just about compatibility with the new Mac and Windows operating systems though. It also adds a host of new features, as well as productivity enhancements. In terms of creative control, the new version includes colored shadows and projection layers; adjustment lights; the full release of the Advanced 3D renderer, which had previously been in beta; multiple comp views; masking enhancements; eight new effects; and some improvement to Expressions, the scripting language introduced in AE 5.0.

For productivity, the new version offers an enhanced effects palette, prerendering and automatic proxy creation and asynchronous processing in the render queue.

The new release supports advanced Real Media output and additional 16-bit per channel formats. It also allows users to import Flash files, RPF files, MPEG-1 and camera data from Alias|Wavefront Maya and Discreet 3ds max. Other new features include:

  • The ability to copy and paste keyframes on multiple layers;
  • The ability to maintain track mattes when duplicating layers;
  • Five new layer transfer modes;
  • Support for some Photoshop keyboard shortcuts;
  • The ability to manipulate multiple mesh points.

The latest release also includes Zaxworks 3D Invigorator Classic in the Production Bundle. The full version costs $1,499 for the Production Bundle and $649 for the Standard version, which lacks some of the features listed above. Upgrades run $99 for either version, and an upgrade from the Standard edition to the Producction Bundle now runs $899. A Digital Video collection including AE 5.5 Production Bundle is available for $1,999. For more information visit

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. You can reach him at

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