After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1): what’s new and changed in this update

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[UPDATE: Be sure to install the After Effects CC 2014.1.1 (13.1.1) bug-fix update.]

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) is available.

If you have a Creative Cloud membership, you always have access to the latest version of After Effects. You can install this update by choosing Help > Updates within any Adobe application or by opening the Creative Cloud desktop application. Go to the Creative Cloud site to download applications or to sign up for Creative Cloud.

For more information about Creative Cloud, see this overview video and the Creative Cloud FAQ list.

For information about updates for all of our professional video and audio applications, see this page.

For details of what was new in After Effects CC 2014 (13.0), see this page.

Please, if you want to ask questions about these new and changed features, come on over to the After Effects user-to-user forum. That’s the best place for questions (and, if you follow that link, you’ll find more information about how to communicate with us). Questions left in comments on a blog post are much harder to work with; the blog comment system just isn’t set up for conversations. If you’d like to submit feature requests (or bug reports), you can do so here.

top new features for After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1)


  • high-DPI content and UI (Mac OS, Windows)
  • refreshed user interface design
  • Copy With Relative Property Links command
  • color management for Dynamic Link
  • Adobe Anywhere for Video improvements
  • Maxon Cinema 4D Lite R16 and Cineware 2.0
  • Collect Files for Cinema 4D assets
  • native GoPro CineForm codecs
  • scripting improvements for text layers
  • improved Adobe Media Encoder watch folders
  • mocha AE CC 2014, based on mocha 4.0
  • many bug fixes

details of all new and changed features in After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1)

Here is a virtually comprehensive list of changes, with detail beyond the summaries of the top items listed above. We’ll be posting a lot more detail over the coming weeks, and the outline below will be populated with links to in-depth articles and tutorials, so bookmark this page and check back.

high-resolution (high DPI) content viewers and user interface elements on Mac OS and Windows

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) displays content and user interface items at the appropriate resolution on high-resolution displays (sometimes called “high-DPI” or “HiDPI”) on both Windows and Mac OS. This makes After Effects easier to use on high-pixel-density monitors, like Apple Retina displays and Microsoft Surface Pro devices.

In content viewers, After Effects will take advantage of the pixel density of the display to show each pixel of content in a viewer as a single pixel on the display. This affects the contents of the Footage panel, Layer panel, and Composition panel, including both your video content and some UI overlays and widgets within the content area.

Note that for a given piece of content to appear the same on a high-DPI display as on a non-high-DPI display, the zoom value for the former needs to be twice that of the latter, since the points are half the size. If you drag a panel from a high-DPI display to a non-high-DPI display, you’ll see the zoom value change, while the content occupies the same space on the screen.

User interface elements such as icons, text labels, pointers, buttons, etc. will now scale according the operating system display DPI setting. Mac OS computers with a Retina display will scale to 200%. Windows computers with a high-DPI display will scale to 150% or 200%.

refreshed user interface design

The user interface (UI) of After Effects, as well as Premiere Pro and other Adobe professional video and audio applications, has been updated with a new design. Pointers, icons, text, controllers, and button styles have all been refreshed.

The layout of the interface has not changed significantly, but some simplification has been made to panel functionality.

The icon for the panel menu has been moved from the upper-right corner of the panel to the panel tab, making the panel menu easier to discover.

The panel grabber and frame grabber icons have been removed; you can still drag panels using the panel tab.

The close button (x) has been removed from all panels except the Timeline, Composition, Layer, Footage, Effect Controls, and Flowchart panels. In these panels the close button has moved to the left side of the panel tab. To close a panel without the close button, open the panel menu or right-click on the panel tab and choose Close Panel, or use the keyboard shortcut, Command+W (Mac OS) or Ctrl+W (Windows).

The range of the Brightness slider in the Appearance preference category is more limited than in previous versions; there is no longer a “light” mode for the interface. The default brightness setting is darker than in previous versions.

Because some scripts that create ScriptUI panels have not been updated to accommodate the new user interface design, some of these scripts may appear wrong with the new UI skin. If this occurs with a script that you use, you can make an individual ScriptUI panel appear using the old UI skin by enabling the Use Legacy UI option in the panel menu for the ScriptUI panel.

Copy With Relative Property Links command

A new command in the Edit menu, Copy With Relative Property Links, works like the existing Copy With Property Links command, except that it creates expressions that do not reference the source composition by name. This maintains a relative link between the layer with the expression and the composition containing that layer. This can be useful when, for example, you want to move expression-rigged layers from one composition to another but let the layers reference a control layer only in the same composition. The expressions created using the Copy With Relative Property Links command are identical to those created using the expression pickwhip.

For copying a layer’s Position property, the result would be this:

The existing Copy With Property Links command will specifically reference the layer’s source composition in the expression:

color management for Dynamic Link

When color management is enabled for an After Effects project, compositions viewed or rendered over Dynamic Link will be transformed using the HDTV (Rec. 709) color profile. This prevents color or gamma shifts in the appearance of these compositions in Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder.

Dynamic Link always assumes that all incoming frames are in the HDTV (Rec. 709) color space. Prior to After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1), compositions in a color-managed project were sent to Dynamic Link in the project’s working color space; they were not adjusted for Dynamic Link’s assumption of HDTV (Rec. 709). This mismatch resulted in a noticeable color or gamma shift when the project’s working color space was significantly different from HDTV (Rec. 709) or when Linearize Working Space was enabled.

In After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1), a color transformation is applied to the composition as a last step before the images are passed to Dynamic Link for use in Premiere Pro or Adobe Media Encoder. This corrects the composition image to the color space used by Dynamic Link, similar to how the View > Enable Display Color Management option in After Effects corrects the image for your monitor.

Maxon Cineware 2.0 plug-in and CINEMA 4D Lite R16

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) includes a version 2.0 of the Cineware plug-in, which serves as the primary interface for integration with Cinema 4D.

After Effects CC 2014.1 (13.1) also includes version R16 of Cinema 4D Lite, which provides several new features, such as the new Reflectance channel. (For details about each edition of Cinema 4D, see the Maxon website.)

John Dickinson summarizes the changes in Cineware 2.0 in a video on the Motionworks website.

  • Automatic Cineware effect settings synchronization: When adding multiple instances of a CINEMA 4D scene layer in a composition, including adding Multi-Pass layers, you will see an on/off checkbox at the top of the Effect Controls panel labeled Synchronize Layer. It is on by default, meaning that the Cineware effect settings on all instances of the layer will automatically synchronize. If this checkbox is disabled for a specific CINEMA 4D scene layer, then that layer’s settings will not synchronize with the rest of the layers in that composition. The Apply To All button from previous versions of Cineware has been removed.
  • Default Layer: The CINEMA 4D layers dialog box now shows a Default Layer option if the renderer supports it. Objects that have not been assigned to an explicit layer in the .c4d project file will be visible with Default Layer enabled.
  • Content Browser: When using a full retail version of CINEMA 4D R16 as the renderer, textures applied via installed content libs (.lib4d files) will render in After Effects using Cineware.
  • region of interest: If you use the region of interest feature in After Effects to constrain the preview to a subset of the frame, the Cineware effect will respect this setting and limit rendering to the area within the region of interest. This only applies when the Renderer control is set to Standard (Final).
  • Purge Memory: This option only works when the CINEMA 4D render path in Options is set to the default render server Cineware R16, or a full retail version of CINEMA 4D R16 or later. For complex scenes, the render server may use memory for internal caches. To free up that memory click “Purge Memory” in order to extend the length of previews in After Effects.

Collect Files for Cinema 4D assets

The Collect Files command in After Effects now collects assets associated with .c4d footage items, such as textures.

automatic encoding of compositions in After Effects project files in Adobe Media Encoder watch folders

If you place an After Effects project (.aep) file in a watch folder that is being monitored by Adobe Media Encoder, the compositions at the top level in the project (i.e., those not in folders in the Project panel) will automatically be added to the Adobe Media Encoder encoding queue.

For more information about what’s new and changed in Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014.1 (8.1), see this page.

native encoding and decoding of movies using GoPro CineForm codecs

After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Media Encoder can natively decode and encode QuickTime (.mov) files using the GoPro Cineform codecs on Mac OS and Windows, meaning that you do not need to install additional codecs to use and create such files.

At the higher quality settings, this codec is an excellent choice for intermediate files—i.e., files that you create from one application in a post-production pipeline to pass to the next application in the pipeline. Movie files encoded with the GoPro Cineform codec at the higher quality settings include an alpha channel.

To use the GoPro CineForm codec for output, choose QuickTime as the format in the Output Module Settings dialog box, click the Format Options button, and choose GoPro CineForm as the video codec.

For details about quality and pixel format settings for the GoPro CineForm codec, see this page.

scripting improvements for text layers

You can now read additional information through scripting about the font and style used in a text layer, including the location of the font file on disk.

The new read-only attributes for the textDocument object are these:

  • fontLocation: returns string with path of font file, providing its location on disk (not guaranteed to be returned for all font types; return value may be empty string for some kinds of fonts)
  • fontStyle: returns string with style information — e.g., “bold”, “italic”
  • fontFamily: returns a string with the name of the font family

The value returned is for the first character in the text layer at the current time.

mocha AE CC 2014, based on mocha 4.0

mocha AE has been updated to mocha AE CC 2014 (version 4.0.1). This is a major version update that includes compatibility with mocha Pro 4 project files. For details, see this page

miscellaneous new and changed features

  • The Anchor Point icon on selected layers has been enhanced for better contrast and visibility, and it is now easier to select and use.
  • The application title bar now shows the full path to the project file.
  • The Welcome Screen dialog box will automatically close when you open a project by double-clicking it in Finder or Explorer.
  • While tracking an effect mask, the mask mode no longer temporarily changes to None. This preserves the appearance of the masked effect during tracking.
  • The motion tracker (point tracker) no longer offers a pre-processing Blur control. This option never worked as designed.
  • There is now a Render And Replace command in Premiere Pro for replacing a Dynamic Link After Effects composition with a rendered movie.
  • Use the new Browse Add-ons command in the File menu to go to the new Adobe Exchange, from which you can download and install animation presets, scripts, template projects, et cetera.
  • The new Adobe Color Themes panel replaces the panel previously named “Adobe Kuler”. Choose Window > Extensions > Adobe Color Themes to open this panel.

a few choice bug fixes

We fixed a lot of bugs in this update. Here are a few that I think are especially worth calling out:

  • memory leak when scrubbing to preview audio
  • slow rendering of After Effects compositions used in Premiere Pro through Dynamic Link when the main After Effects application is open
  • errors when using the Create Stereo 3D Rig
  • errors when using and creating custom (pseudo) effects
  • mismatch in interpretation of layer bounds for imported .psd files in projects from previous versions of After Effects
  • incorrect rendering of vector objects from Photoshop
  • pixelation and and other problems with RED (.r3d) files
  • incorrect VRAM amount reported for some AMD GPUs on Mac OS
  • crash when copying and pasting layer styles from one layer to another
  • problems with effect eyedropper control
  • incorrect date when using Current Date option in Numbers effect
  • many other causes of crashes and errors

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