Adobe?s After Effects is a post production video tool, a product used to create motion graphics and visual effects. Adobe is showing off its latest release C6S at the GPU Technology Conference. After Effects was originally created by the Company of Science and Art in Providence, Rhode Island, and released in 1993. After a couple acquisitions, Adobe obtained and released After Affects as Version 3.0. The primary enhancements to CS6 include Global Performance Cache, the 3D Camera Tracker, built-in text and shape extrusion and new mask feathering choices.

Global Performance Cache lets you keep your previews instead of waiting for frame updates. The 3D Camera Tracker gives you control over depth of field, shadows, and reflections. You can also automatically analyze and place 3D track points onto 2D footage in the background while you work. By adding virtual cameras, you can insert new or modified objects into your sequences. To be believable, those elements must respond to light and shadow the same as other elements in the image. Shadow catchers take care of that for you with the new 3D Camera Tracker providing realistic looking additions.

Steve Forde, Adobe Senior Product Manager for After Effects told us what could be done with CS6
Steve Forde, Adobe Senior Product Manager for After Effects told us what could be done with CS6

First we had 2D, then 3D, now Ray Traced 3D. At the GPU Technology Conference this week in San Jose, we listened to Steve Forde, Senior Product Manager for After Effects, describe the new 3D ray-traced rendering engine based on NVIDIA Optix technology. The GPU acceleration is up to 50x faster than a CPU alone. After Effects now adjusts to the maximum GPU that is installed, such as the Kepler GPU architecture.

Ray Traced 3D - the next generation
Ray Traced 3D – the next generation

After Effects delivers simple and quick designs of realistic geometric text and shapes in 3D space. Physically accurate scenes with beautiful reflections, transparency, soft shadows, and depth-of-field blur are possible directly in After Effects. Forde says that GPU-accelerated ray tracing drastically improves the workflow by enabling motion graphics artists to develop these 3D effects entirely within After Effects.

The changes with After Effects CS6

Adobe?s Creative Cloud provides download and installation of any of the CS6 desktop apps. For an annual contract of $49.99 a month, you can access and share your work anywhere, get new features and apps as soon as they come out, and publish to websites and iPad.

You can instantly convert Adobe Illustrator vector art, AI and EPS format, into shape layers. It lets you animate the vector art in 2D or extrude to 3D. CS6 provides the means to import and work with files that were created in Apple Final Cut Pro 7 and earlier versions. You?ll be able to work with Avid AAF and FCP 7 XML files from Avid Media Composer and Symphony.

After some consternation regarding which previous versions could be upgraded to the new CS6 and what the pricing structure would be, Adobe announced that CS3, CS4, & CS5 are all upgradable to CS6.