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First Look: After Effects 7.0 Pro

Latest update gets new look By Stephen Schleicher

What better way to kick off the New Year than with an update to your favorite compositing and application software?  Adobe After Effects 7 delivers with the same power youve come to expect, and does it all with a new look and new features.  

A New Look
The first thing youll notice when you first launch After Effects 7 is the redesign of the user interface.  By default the floating panels and palettes are gone, replaced with an interconnected workspace that fills your screen.  This is useful for Mac users who for years could still see the desktop behind their work.

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You are able to resize the windows in the workspace by clicking and dragging on the border.  Adobe has included numerous workspace presets for specific tasks.  These are accessible from the Workspace drop-down menu and give you presets for working with Effects, Motion Tracking, Paint, and Text Tools.

Using the Text Workspace, the user has access to all of the Text panels of After Effects.


This puts it in line with the other Adobe products.   But, if you are someone that still loves working in the old floating panel workspace, Adobe does give you the option to undock the panels.  While this will cause the main panels to float, the Comp Window, Project Panel, and Timeline Panel remain connected.  With some further manipulation, you can recreate the classic 6.5 feel.

I like the fact that you can resize these presets, as any change will remain the next time you start the application.  If you accidentally close a panel, or mess up your workspace, you can reset it to the default.

When I first began working with After Effects 7, I was not totally thrilled with the new interface.  But after a few days, it grew on me to the point where I cant stand the older After Effects 6.5 look.  The interface will grow on you quickly.  The interface style is being adopted by many other applications including other products in the Adobe Studio line.

Old V. New ? Winner: New

The other thing users will notice is you are no longer constrained to sizing your Comp Window by set increments.  It was always troublesome to have a small screen and have to constantly jump between 50% and 100% trying to get the best fit for your work.  Now After Effects 7.0 allows you to fit the Comp up to 100%.  This means it will fill the Comp Window at 84%, 96%, or any other size that works best for you.

If you need to maximize a particular panel like the Render Queue to improve render speeds, all you need to do is press the ~  (tilde) key.  This is a handy and useful addition that improves workflow.


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