Adobe ships After Effects 17.5
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Adobe ships After Effects 17.5

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker

Adobe released After Effects 17.5, the latest version of the compositing software.

The update marks the official debut of two highly anticipated features that were previously only available as beta versions: the AI-powered Roto Brush 2.0 tool and the new 3D Design Space.

A separate 3D feature – a new draft, real-time preview render mode – will be released in public beta.

The new versions were released under Adobe MAX 2020 together with Photoshop 22.0, Character Animator 3.4 and updates for Illustrator, Lightroom, the digital painting app Fresco and the AR authoring tool Aero.

Roto Brush 2.0: faster and more accurate rotoscoping with AI drive
Roto Brush 2.0 received a lot of positive online feedback when it launched in beta this summer. It is a faster, more accurate way to isolate foreground objects from backgrounds in video.

The workflow remains largely unchanged compared to the previous Roto Brush tool, which is still available in the software.

Users identify objects to be rotoscoped by drawing on a single frame. After Effects then generates a roto mask and automatically distributes it to the remaining frames.

However, since Roto Brush 2.0 was trained in real footage with Adobe's Sensei machine learning technology, it should generate masks faster and more accurately than its predecessor.

In particular, it is more robust against occlusion and continues to generate masks even after the object to be tracked has been partially covered by a foreground object.

New 3D Design Space reworks the 3D workflow in After Effects
After Effects 17.5 also marks the official debut of the new 3D Design Space, which Adobe describes as "completely changing the way people work in 3D in After Effects."

Main features include new 3D transform gizmos for moving, rotating and scaling layers in 3D space, as well as a revision of the Camea controls, including the "completely redesigned" Orbit, Pan and Dolly controls.

Both were originally released in public beta last month, so you can find more details in our original story.

In addition, a new public beta released alongside After Effects 17.5 offers a fast draft render mode.

Described as "a gaming engine built from the ground up by Adobe," it allows users to trade visual fidelity for interactive performance when previewing compositions in 3D.

It includes a built-in ground plane that makes it easier to align objects in 3D space by providing a horizon line and vanishing point. The grid that represents the ground plane can be switched on or off.

New 3D features aimed primarily at motion graphics, not VFX
Adobe describes the new 3D design space as primarily geared towards motion design, not visual effects.

"A third of users use After Effects for both 2D and 3D motion design and have to [often] switch between multiple applications to work in 3D," said Victoria Nece, senior product manager Greenscreen.

"The 3D Design Space should help to close this gap."

While Adobe expects the new workflow "to be used by all types of artists who need to work in Z-space," it is not intended to replicate the experience of using dedicated 3D compositing tools.

"Apps like Nuke and Fusion are more designed for VFX artists, and that's not the core workflow we're trying to address," commented Nece.

Pricing and system requirements
After Effects 17.5 is only available on a rental basis for Windows 10 and macOS 10.13+. In the online documentation, the release is also referred to as the October 2020 update.

After Effects subscriptions alone are $ 31.49 / month or $ 239.88 / year, while all apps subscriptions that provide access to over 20 creative tools from Adobe are $ 79.49 / month or $ 599.88 / year .

Read the full list of new features in After Effects 17.5 in the online Release Notes

Tags: 3D Compositing, 3D Design Room, 3D Gizmo, 3D Plane, 3D Transform Gizmo, Adobe, Adobe MAX 2020, After Effects, After Effects 17.5, AI-based, camera control, compositing, draft render mode, ground plane, interactive Preview, Isolate Foreground Object, Motion Design, Motion Graphics, New Features, October 2020, Public Beta, Roto Brush 2.0, Roto Mask, Roto-Form, Rotoscopy, Sensei, vfx, Visual Effects

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