We’ve just spent a hard eight days using the latest version of AfterEffects, v7.01. We decided to get to grips with the new version on a real job and chose what seemed to be a relatively straightforward one. A bit of 3D from 3dsMax, some newspapers flying in containing the customer’s stories and pictures flying out of the page to emphasize the people factor of the company. It was a slog, not for the new software but because we had so many pages and flyins to do within such a short time. We were surprised that not all of our plugins work any more, but decided only to use the Sapphire plugins. They worked as usual. The new 16bit plugins allowed us to play around a bit with graduations that looked better, but in the end we stuck to 8 bit colour throughout. Fusion allows you to change easily from 8 to 16 bit and back within a job, but AE7 still has the same all the way through, so rendering would have been longer. (Just buy a faster machine, I hear you cry!)
Compositing layers was business as usual. The facilities haven’t changed there. It was good to play around with the new tree diagram but that seemed to slow us down. We went back to the methods we knew so that we didn’t waste much time. We had to start animating before the soundtrack was laid down, so that caused much annoyance when changes had to be made after the music was put in. We always say never again when changes come along, but the customer always seems to be right, so I’m sure we’ll be doing it again soon.
Lots of version changes and more entries were the order of each day, as we went from one final version to the next. Eventually though, even the customer knew that we had to get it finished before the presentation, not after, so the deadline came and we cut the cloth to suit. A few font updates and we were ready to render again.
Final version came out well and it is getting so easy now to produce the correct version for output, versions for the Avid, version for the website showreel etc.The new Flash output options will come into their own when we do some more Flash as I find animating in AfterEffects is so much more intuitive and flexible than trying to do similar things within the Flash environment. I have been concentrating on programming Actionscript 3 for new Flash work if I can. We can specialize in automation jobs rather than compete with the hand animators that seem to be getting ever cheaper (and from more distant countries).
See the final result in the showreels.