January 2018 (15.0.1) and October 2017 (15.0) releases of After Effects CC

The January 2018 (15.0.1) and October 2017 (15.0) releases of After Effects roll out exciting new features for visual effects artists, graphic editors, and animators. Read on for a quick introduction to the list of new features and enhancements.

For a summary of features introduced in earlier releases of After Effects CC, see Feature summary | Earlier releases.

New features in the January 2018 release

Import support for more video formats

 New in the January 2018 release

After Effects can now import the following video formats:

  • ARRI ALEXA Mini MXF/ARRIRAW: You can import footage shot by ARRI ALEXA Mini camera in MXF/ARRIRAW format (ARRIRAW codec in an MXF container file) into After Effects.
  • HEVC (H.265) QuickTime: You can import HEVC codec footage in QuickTime (.mov) format such as footage shot by iPhone or iPad with iOS 11 into After Effects.

Audio sync improvement with variable frame rate footage

 New in the January 2018 release

After Effects maintains audio sync when you play or export a footage recorded with a variable frame rate such as a video shot on mobile phone.

If there is a significant difference between the video and audio frame rates, maintaining audio sync could cause variable frame rate footage to stutter. If you want smooth playback, you can choose if After Effects preserves audio sync with the following steps:

  • Select footage in the Project panel.
  • Select File > Interpret Footage > Main.
  • Click More Options.
  • In the dialog, set Variable Frame Rate Mode to Preserve Audio Sync (default) or Smooth Video Motion.
  • Click OK.

The Variable Frame Rate Mode options are only available for variable frame rate footage in an MPEG-4 (.MP4) container. If you use variable frame rate MPEG-4, H.264, or HEVC/H.265 footage inside a QuickTime (.MOV) container, you can sync audio by importing the footage as an MPEG file:

  • In the Import dialog, set Enable to All Files, and set Format to MPEG.
  • Select the QuickTime file and click Open (macOS) or Import (Win).

Bug fixes

 New in the January 2018 release

This release provides fixes to a host of issues. For more information, see List of bug fixes in the After Effects CC 2018.0 (January 2018) Release.

Other enhancements

 New in the January 2018 release

  • The Create VR Environment and Extract Cubemap tools reduce GPU memory use by generating the intermediate cubemap in 3:2 format instead of 4:3 format. When Use Edge Blending option is enabled, the memory optimization can not be used.
  •  After Effects assigns the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color profile when you enable color management. This is applicable to JPEG, PNG, PSD, TIFF, and other still-image format footages if there is no color profile embedded in the footage.
  • The Set Poster Frame button in the Essential Graphics panel is now named Set Poster Time. You can use the button to set the time of the composition from which the poster frame renders. The poster frame renders when you export the Motion Graphics template.

New features in the October 2017 release

What's New in After Effects CC (October 2017)

What's New in After Effects CC (October 2017)

Data-driven animation

 New in the October 2017 release


Import JSON data files into After Effects to drive interactive animations inside the application. The JSON file format is flexible and can contain static data easily represent database such as election statistics, survey results, or weather reports. MGJSON can be created and imported for time-based sampled data from data sources such as fitness trackers, telemetry, and motion capture. These data files can be used as footage, to create animations, pie charts, sliders, or create high-quality motion graphics in After Effects.

To learn more, see Data-driven animation.

Data-driven animation
Data-driven animation

Visual keyboard shortcut editor

 New in the October 2017 release

Change the way you work with keyboard-driven editing with the new visual keyboard shortcut editor. You can assign shortcuts to keys to suit your requirement and simplify the keyboard-driven editing process.

Visual keyboard shortcuts
Visual keyboard shortcuts

Expressions access to path points on masks, shapes, and brush strokes

 New in the October 2017 release


You can now use expressions to read and write the x and y coordinates of path points, or vertices, for Layer masks, Bezier shapes, Brush strokes on the Paint, and Roto Brush & Refine Edge effects.

Create Nulls From Paths panel

 New in the October 2017 release


Create Nulls From Paths panel enables you to create expression-driven animations without having to write expressions yourself. The panel creates nulls for each path and shape point. This script automates the linking of these nulls using the new expression access to paths points and creates interactive animations.

To learn more, see Create Nulls From Paths panel.

Animate nulls with Create Nulls From Paths panel
Animate nulls with Create Nulls From Paths panel

360/VR transitions, effects, and titles

 New in the October 2017 release


After Effects offers a cutting-edge line-up of tools for 360/VR editing. Create high-quality VR productions, effects, titles, and seamless transitions to enhance the Immersive video experience.

360/VR support
360/VR support

Performance enhancement

 New in the October 2017 release


The following effects are now GPU accelerated in After Effects:

  • Layer transforms (position, rotation, opacity, etc.)
  • Layer motion blur
  • Bicubic sampling
  • Transform effect
  • Directional Blur effect
  • Immersive video VR effects
  • Third-party effects that use Premiere Pro's Mercury GPU acceleration API

Performance enhancements in After Effects

Performance enhancements in After Effects

Motion Graphics templates improvements

 New in the October 2017 release

Premiere Pro does not require After Effects to be installed on the same computer to render most Motion Graphics templates exported from After Effects. However, there are certain requirements to render without After Effects. You can confirm on export that your template meets the requirements.

Motion Graphics templates now have scripting access.

To learn more, see Motion Graphics templates.

Team Projects 1.0 support

 New in the October 2017 release


Support for Team Projects 1.0 includes various improvements to auto-save functionality and other improvements.

Auto-save improvements:

  • You can now browse through the auto-save versions of your project in Team Projects.
  • You can change an earlier auto-save version to the current version of a Team Project.
  • You can create a Team Project from an auto-save version.

Other improvements:

  • Team Projects in After Effects now includes Sync status.
  • You can now assign collaborator badges from the Toolbar.

To learn more, see Team Projects New features summary.

Maxon CINEMA 4D renderer and CINEWARE render engine update

 New in the October 2017 release


Maxon CINEMA 4D Lite, which is included with After Effects, has been updated to version R19. Changes include:

Viewport OpenGL enhancements, BodyPaint 3D now uses OpenGL for painting, Updated Spline Tools, Live Link, Take System, Parallax Effect, Vertex Color tag support, and Import Alembic 1.6.1 and FBX 2017.1 files.

To learn more, see Cinema 4D and Cineware.

Maxon CINEMA 4D Lite R19

 New in the October 2017 release


The render engine used by the Maxon CINEMA 4D renderer and the CINEWARE plug-in has been updated to version R19.

Text input improvements

 New in the October 2017 release


You can use the new text input improvements to enter text in text layers more efficiently. The text improvements include:

  • Switch between right-left and left-to-right text direction
  • Font ligature and Hindi digits support
  • Simplified Text Engine options to support the new character and paragraph options

Font previews and other improvements to the Font menu

 New in the October 2017 release


The Font menu in the Character panel now includes a preview of the fonts. Along with the preview, the new Font menu also allows you to:

  • Set fonts as favorites, and show only your favorite fonts.
  • Show only fonts downloaded from Typekit.
  • Choose the style for the font family such as Regular, Italic, Bold, Light, and Oblique.

To learn more, see Font menu.

New getting started experience

 New in the October 2017 release


After Effects has made it easy to get you started with your first project with the new getting started experience. A new Start screen helps you speed through the project setup process so you can start animating right away. The Composition panel now displays buttons for creating a composition; or creating a composition from footage. You can directly click one of the buttons to get the work going.

The Import Footage dialog has a new Create Composition option, which automatically adds the footage you import to a new composition.

New getting started experience
New getting started experience

Other enhancements

 New in the October 2017 release

  • The After Effects UI uses a new Adobe Clean font.
  • After Effects offers easy identification of shy layers (layers with shy switch enabled). Shy layers are represented by a bold line in between visible layers when the Hide Shy layer option is enabled.
  • Mercury Transmit video preview in After Effects supports 10-bits per channel color output when using 10-bit capable preview hardware, like the AJA Io 4K. On Windows, you can also use a secondary monitor for 10-bit color preview if the GPU and monitor of the machine support that color depth.
  • The Show Start Screen When Opening a Project option in General menu has been removed.
  • Video footage from ARRI, RED, or Sony cameras once again retains custom source settings when exchanged with the latest version of Premiere Pro CC.
  • After Effects no longer automatically installs Character Animator CC. You can install Character Animator from the Creative Cloud desktop application along with other desktop applications.