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Animate your ideas. Adobe ® After Effects ® 7.0 software delivers the flexibility and power you need to bring a new dimension to your film, video, DVD, and Macromedia ® Flash ® productions.
• Graph Editor
• High Dynamic Range (HDR) color support
• Faster mask rendering
• 32-bit audio support
• OpenGL rendering
• Expanded file format support
• Redesigned, unified user interface
• Real-time, high-fidelity OpenGL support
• Adobe Bridge
• Adobe Photoshop CS2 integration
• Photoshop file creation
• Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 integration
• Adobe Premiere Pro project export
• Integrated Script Editor
• Auto Save
• Adobe Help Center
• Timesaving Animation and Behavior Presets plus project templates
• Character-level blurs
• Creative blur effects
• Microsoft ® Windows ® XP Professional or Home Edition with Service Pack 2
• Intel ® Pentium ® 4 or AMD 64bit Sempron or Athlon (with SSE2 support)
• 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
• 500MB of available hard-disk space for installation (10GB for disk caching and 1GB for functional content recommended)
• 24-bit color display adapter
• DVD-ROM drive
• QuickTime 6.5 software recommended
• Internet or phone connection required for product activation
• For the Render Engine (Professional edition only): System requirements are the same as application system requirements.
• For OpenGL support: Adobe After Effects supported OpenGL 2.0 card (Nvidia recommended). For a current list, visit the OpenGL cards page.
The first thing that struck me was the overhauled interface. The new snap-tight docking palettes really appealed to me, as unlike v6.5, they do not allow for accidental overlaps, blocking access to either the composite view, or any tools, without a deliberate act by the user. The ability to undock your choice of windows and move them to another monitor allows for the perfect setup to suit any user, whether you want one whole screen for tools and the other for display, or a mix-and-match of tools that you use most to be on your main screen, and low-usage tools tucked off the main screen, it's up to you.
Another brilliant facility is the ability to spread rendering tasks over a number of networked 'dead-head PCs' by installing a relatively unlimited number of Render-Only engines on the networked machines allows for some amazing performance boosts and time-saving tricks. If you have a couple of old machines sitting around gathering dust, you might want to consider resurrecting them as a micro-renderfarm. However, be aware that for them to work, you MUST have at least one fully registered version of the complete package installed on the master terminal.
However, even expert users of previous versions of After Effects will find the 'feel' of the new interface somewhat awkward to get in to for a little while, however after a little tweaking, you'll be flying along with ease, as the new interface, once tuned to your preferences, will speed production and smoothen workflow to a degree that will blow your mind.
Memory utilisation is also a big factor. Don't ask me why, but the previous version would only allow me to render about 10 seconds worth whenever I hit the -spacebar- for a preview render-to-screen, however this version will quite hapily process the entire timeline, at least, up to 20 minutes, which was the length of our test project. This made it a LOT easier to get a fairly accurate 'thumbnail' of the presentation at various stages throughout it's development. If I discount all the other stunning benefits, this one made it all worthwhile for me if nothing else. Previously I had to do final renders of the various stages to get the feel of it all, and let's face it, that gets more annoying the further into a project you go.
Overall, whether you are an enthusiastic amateur flush with cash, or a professional looking to move up to some serious PC-based tools, this is certainly the highlight of the currently available tools. When paired up with Adobe Premiere, and especially the whole of the Video Production Suite and it's Dynamic Link system, you will have the top-notch video production package that will open any multimedia door you could dream of. It even comes with a section with ideas on how to improve your system performance, including a section entitled: Improving performance before starting After Effects"... now just how cool is that.
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