Adobe has released After Effects 23.0, the latest version of the compositing software.
The release overhauls workflow for matte layers, making it possible to use any layer as a track matte, and adds native, hardware-accelerated H.264 encoding, plus 50 new animation presets for motion graphics.
The latest beta build of the software, released in parallel with the stable version, get support for OpenColorIO colour management, and the option to import 3D models directly into After Effects.
The update was one of several to Adobe’s Creative Cloud tools announced at Adobe MAX 2022, including Character Animator 23.0 and Photoshop 24.0, along with the official release of Substance 3D Modeler.
Use any layer of a composition as a track matte
After Effects 23.0 reworks the way that matte layers work, with a new Track Matte drop-down menu in the Timeline panel making it possible to define any layer as a track matte.
Rather than having to create individual mattes for each layer than needs to be matted, users can now apply a single matte layer to multiple target layers.
Other new features: native H.264 encoding and new animation presets
Other changes include the option to encode videos using the H.264 codec directly from the After Effects render queue, rather than having to use Media Encoder. Encoding supports hardware acceleration.
There are also 50 new animation presets for motion graphics work, and workflow improvements to timeline navigation and the Composition Presets lists.
Direct import of 3D models and OpenColorIO support now in beta
However, for many users, the more significant changes will be the ones to the beta version of the software, released in parallel with After Effects 23.0 itself.
New beta features include the option to import 3D models in OBJ, glTF and GLB format directly into After Effects, rather than having to use a third-party plugin like Element 3D.
The beta also introduces support for OpenColorIO (OCIO) colour management and the ACEScg colour space, both now standard in movie and visual effects workflows.
Pricing and system requirements
After Effects 23.0 is available for Windows 10+ and macOS 11.0+ on a rental-only basis. In the online documentation, the release is also referred to as the October 2022 update.
Subscriptions to After Effects cost $31.49/month or $239.88/year, while All Apps subscriptions, which provide access to over 20 of Adobe’s creative tools, cost $82.49/month or $599.88/year.
Read a full list of new features in After Effects 23.0 in the online release notes
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