Adobe After Effects is a digital motion graphics and compositing software published by Adobe Systems, used in film and video post-production. Its main uses are the origination of 2D and 2.5D animation, visual effects compositing and finishing (image adjustement, color correction etc.). After Effects can also be used as a basic non-linear editor and a media transcoder.
Adobe After Effects is primarily used for creating motion graphics and visual effects. After Effects allows users to animate, alter and composite media in 2D and 3D space with various built-in tools and third party plug-ins, as well as individual attention to variables like parallax and user-adjustable angle of observation.After Effects and some non-linear editing systems (NLEs) are layer-oriented, meaning that each individual media object (video clip, audio clip, still image, etc.) occupies its own track. In contrast, other NLEs use a system where individual media objects can occupy the same track as long as they do not overlap in time. This track-oriented system is more suited for editing and can keep project files much more concise. The layer-oriented system that After Effects adopts is suited for extensive effects work and keyframing. Although other compositing packages—especially ones that employ tree or node workflows, such as Apple Shake—are better suited to manage large volumes of objects within a composite, After Effects is able to somewhat counter the clutter by selectively hiding layers (using the Shy switch) or by grouping them into pre-compositions. The main interface consists of several panels (windows in versions prior to After Effects 7.0). Three of the most commonly used panels are the Project panel, the Composition panel, and the Timeline panel. The Project panel acts as a bin to import stills, video, and audio footage items. Footage items in the Project panel are used in the Timeline panel, where layer order and timing can be adjusted. The items visible at the current time marker are displayed in the Composition panel. After Effects integrates with other Adobe software titles such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Encore, Flash, and third-party 3D programs like Cinema 4D.
After Effects was originally created by the Company of Science and Art in Providence, RI, USA. Version 1.0 was released in January 1993. Version 2.1 introduced PowerPC acceleration in 1994. CoSA along with After Effects was then acquired by Aldus corporation in July 1993; this company was then acquired by Adobe in 1994, and with it PageMaker and After Effects. Adobe's first new release of After Effects was version 3.0.
After Effects has extensive plug-in support; and a broad range of third party plug-ins are available. A variety of plug-in styles exist, such as particle systems for realistic effects for rain, snow, fire, etc.'With or without third-party plug-ins, After Effects can render 3D effects. Some of these 3D plug-ins use basic 2D layers from After Effects. Illustrator graphics can also be loaded and rendered in 3D using plug-ins such as Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator Pro. Some well-known plug-in vendors are Automatic Duck, BorisFX, Conoa, Cycore Effects, Digieffects, Digital Anarchy, Digital Film Tools, Digital Trove, The Foundry, FXhome, GenArts, GridIron Software, Noise Industries, Vision Effects, Red Giant Software, Synthetic Aperture, Trapcode, Video Copilot, and Zaxwerks.'In addition to 3D effects, there are plug-ins for making video look like film or cartoons; simulating fire, smoke, or water; particle systems; slow motion; creating animated charts, graphs, and other data visualization; calculating the 3D movement of a camera in a 2D video shot; eliminating flicker, noise, or rigging lines; translating timelines from FCP or Avid; adding high-end color correction; and other workflow improvements and visual effects.
Competitors to After Effects include The Foundry's Nuke; Autodesk's Combustion, Toxik, and Smoke; Apple's Motion; eyeon Fusion; Sony Vegas Pro; Boris RED; and the entry-level FXHome. As far as open-source alternatives go, only CineFX exists as a dedicated package but its feature set suffers in comparison with that of After Effects. While not dedicated to compositing, the open source software Blender contains a limited node-based compositing feature capable of basic keying and blurring effects, among other things.
Note: This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Adobe After Effects , which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.