Learn about new features and enhancements in the April 2019 release of After Effects (version 16.1.)

Repair videos when you remove unwanted objects from your video with the Content-aware fill tool

Remove unwanted objects from footage, such as boom mics, distracting signs, and people. Powered by Adobe Sensei, Content Aware Fill for video makes it easier to cleanly remove unwanted elements, saving hours that used to be spent erasing or replacing objects, sometimes frame by frame.

Expression Editor Improvements

The expression editor field in the Timeline panel now provides a full code editor interface. Navigate expressions visually with line numbers, matching brace highlighting and code folding. Customize your coding environment with syntax highlighting themes. Identify and fix problems with in-line error messages and matching brace highlighting.

Performance improvements

Preview your work quickly with hardware-accelerated previews using Metal, OpenCL and CUDA. Experience faster rendering times when applying GPU effects such as Roughen Edges. When working with Team Projects, work faster when using multiple assets between team members.

Save Guides to share with editors

You can now load and save guide setups for reuse in new projects and share with Premiere Pro editors who need it to set parameters for their sequence.

Adobe fonts automatic sync

When you open a project in After Effects that contains a missing font, if the font is available from Adobe Fonts as part of your Creative Cloud subscription, Creative Cloud will automatically sync the font.

After Effects introduces RED and Sony camera raw format support improvements, and Hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding improvement for improved video and audio performance.

After Effects introduces new Home screen and Home button preferences. The existing preferences related to scripting and expressions have been moved from the General preferences pane to the new Scripting & Expressions panel.

A new script Update Legacy Expressions.jsx is installed with After Effects that analyzes all the legacy syntax in expressions and updates them to be compatible with the new JavaScript expressions engine.

When you enable or disable frame blending or motion blur for a layer, After Effects automatically enables or disables them in the Timeline panel.

After Effects has added multiple scripting capabilities to the following features:

  • Essential Graphics panel item names and count
  • Guides and Rulers

With better search navigation, and parity in Team Projects UI in After Effects and Premiere Pro, you can save time and get streamlined workflows in Team Projects.

Find information about other enhancements in this release such as the Edit Original command has been added to the Open sub-menu of the layer context menu.

Best Practices for updating

Adobe recommends backing up all of your projects and media before updating.

To avoid compatibility issues, install the new version alongside your existing After Effects installations. This allows you to migrate projects to version 16.1 at your own pace. Creative Cloud allows for auto-updates of the Adobe apps but this feature is not recommended for video users.

Check the System Requirements to confirm that your hardware supports the latest version of After Effects.

Remove unwanted objects from your video with the Content-aware fill tool

Content-Aware Fill in After Effects enables you to repair holes in video created by removing unwanted areas or objects. After Effects analyzes frames over time to synthesize new pixels from other frames.

Remove unwanted objects from a video clip by creating a mask or cutting out an object and clicking Generate Fill Layer. Content-Aware Fill uses optical flow technology, and references the surrounding frames of the object, and fills the transparent area with the neighbouring pixels for a seamless frame.

For more information, see Remove objects from your videos with the Content-Aware Fill.

Expression Editor Improvements

The new integrated Expressions Editor replaces the existing editing experience with a modern, flexible editor with features such as line numbers, syntax highlighting, code folding, and auto completion. The entire editing experience is flexible and can be adjusted through preferences to meet your exact needs.

For more information, see Expression Editor.

Performance improvements

This release introduces the following performance improvements:

  • During playback of previews, certain low-priority UI regions in the Composition, Layer, Footage, and Timeline panels refresh less often. This improves overall playback performance and resolves specific problems related to playback not being able to achieve real-time in certain situations.
  • The following effects are now rendered using your computer GPU when the Project Settings > Video Rendering and Effects > Use option is set to Mercury GPU Acceleration:
    • Change Color
    • Roughen Edges

Save Guides to share with editors

You can now import guide lines in the Composition, Layer, and Footage viewer panels and export them using the new Import Guides and Export Guides commands in the View menu.

When you export guides, it creates a template file (.guides) that you can share or import into different projects, or a different composition, layer, or footage view. A guides template file contains JSON data that records the guide attributes. When you export, all the guides in the current view are exported.

You can also import guide files created by After Effects into Premiere Pro 13.1 and vice-versa. This workflow has a few limitations such as After Effects does not currently support all of the guides functionality that Premiere Pro allows, such as individual guide colors.

For more information, see Import and export guides.

Adobe fonts automatic sync

When you open a project in After Effects that contains a missing font, if the font is available from Adobe Fonts as part of your Creative Cloud subscription, Creative Cloud automatically syncs the font.

Video and audio import support enhancements

RED and Sony format support improvements

After Effects includes improved support for importing video files in the following camera raw formats:

  • RED (.r3d) footage can now be debayered on the GPU when the project is set to use Mercury GPU Acceleration (Metal) on macOS. Previously, RED debayering was only functional for OpenCL and CUDA.
  • Sony VENICE V3 X-OCN (.mxf) footage recorded by VENICE cameras with the early 2019 firmware update can be imported.

For more information, see Supported file formats.

Hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding improvements

  • HEVC playback on Windows is smoother with new 10-bit hardware decoding
  • Hardware decoding improvements for H.264 and HEVC on macOS means better performance when working with those formats.

Preferences changes

Home screen and Home button preference

The option in the General preferences panel to show the home screen when After Effects starts is retitled to Enable Home Screen. It remains enabled by default. Disabling this option now also hides the Home button in the Tools panel. Both changes take effect the next time you start After Effects.

For more information, see General preferences.

Scripting & Expressions

The following existing preferences related to scripting and expressions have been moved from the General preferences panel to the new Scripting & Expressions panel:

  • Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network
  • Enable JavaScript Debugger
  • Expression Pick Whip Writes Compact English
  • Show Warning Banner When Project Contains Expression Errors

The Scripting & Expressions panel also contains options related to the new Expression Editor.

For more information, see For more information, see General preferences, and Expression Editor enhancements.

Update Legacy Expressions script

A new script, Update Legacy Expressions.jsx, is installed with After Effects and is available from the File > Scripts menu. This script finds legacy syntax in expressions and updates them to be compatible with the JavaScript expressions engine.

Specifically, this script searches compositions, layers, or properties for syntax in expressions that was functional with the Legacy ExtendScript expressions engine but which is not compatible with the JavaScript expressions engine, and modifies them to be compatible:

  • Single-line if...else statements are modified to include a line break before the else statement.

  • Function blocks are moved to the top of the expression (matched via regex).

  • Shorthand this layer references are changed to thisLayer.
  • Source text array-index references, ex. sourceText[n], are appended with .value.
  • Snake_case properties and methods are replaced with camelCase equivalents (matched via key:value pairs).

For more information, see Expressions: JavaScript Engine.

Frame Blending and Motion Blur composition switches automatically enable and disable

When you enable frame blending or motion blur for a layer, the Frame Blending and Motion Blur composition switches in the Timeline panel are now automatically enabled (if disabled). With this feature, you do not have to click a second switch in order to render previews of frame blending or motion blur. You can still enable or disable the composition switch manually.

Similarly, when you disable frame blending or motion blur on all layers, the Frame Blending and Motion Blur compositions switches in the Timeline panel are now automatically disabled (if enabled).

To restore the previous behavior (composition switches are not automatically enabled or disabled), disable the new Automatically Enable Frame Blending and Motion Blur Rendering option in Preferences > Previews.

For more information, see Frame Blending.

Scripting Changes

This release of After Effects introduces scripting capabilities to the following features:

  • Essential Graphics panel items and count: You can now count the number of items in the Essential Graphics panel for a given composition, get or set the item names, or set an item's name at the same time an item is added.
  • Guides and Rulers: You can now set the visibility of guides and rulers, or enable or disable guide locking and snapping in viewer panels. You can also add, remove, or change the value of guides.

Team Projects Improvements

  • The Manage Team Projects dialog now has a search field in each of the three tabs.
  • In Premiere Pro, the Edit Original command now works to open a composition in After Effects.
  • In Premiere Pro, the File > Adobe Dynamic Link > New After Effects Composition command now works to create a composition in After Effects.

For more information, see New features summary | Team Projects.

More features

  • The Reveal sub-menu has been added to the Layer menu. This menu is identical to the Reveal sub-menu in the layer context menu - right-click on a layer in the Timeline menu. You can also now assign keyboard shortcuts to the commands in the Reveal sub-menu, including Reveal Layer Source in Project.
  • The Edit Original command has been added to the Open sub-menu of the layer context menu - right-click on a layer in the Timeline menu. This is the same command as in the Edit menu > Edit Original.
  • In the Curves effect, the alpha curve is now drawn as a dashed stroke instead of a solid black stroke, which makes it easier to see against the UI background color.
  • Several commands in the text layer context menu in the Composition menu (i.e., right-click on a text layer with the Type tool) now work when multiple text layers are select: Convert to Paragraph Text or Convert to Point Text, Horizontal or Vertical orientation (all selected text layers must be the same orientation), and Reveal Source Text in Timeline.
  • JSX and JSXBIN files can now be selected at the same time in the File > Scripts > Install Script File and Install ScriptUI Panel dialogs.

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