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Todd Kopriva

a very important question for every After Effects user

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Uber twirl would be a nice addition

 

Not sure how you would get rid of RAM preview as it is such an integral part but all for it

 

Would personally love to see CUDA pushed to the limit... support SLI and GPU rendering like 3D is going.

 

Do not spend any time on Cinewang.. Use a 3D program for real work. It only seems helpful for boards and not much else. Its a pro-sumer/hobbyist tool at best

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But, RAM previewing feels like... something from the 90s that was left behind in the app. I understand why it's been needed for so long, and the new caching scheme from a couple years ago does help, but it would be fantastic if people could spend a minimum of time waiting for previews and tweaking preview settings when things slow down, and a lot more time experimenting in real time with various looks. I realize when you're playing back high-res footage with effects, that becomes problematic (as compared to a bunch of vector graphics, particles, and lights bouncing around the scene) but to the degree you can make the motion graphics workflow real time, I'd consider that to be the best feature you could add.

 

Being able to forget about RAM and previewing and caching and all that stuff (or being able to set it up once and forget about it), and just iterate a design on the fly... make a few changes and bam! instant playback... that would be so helpful from an artistic perspective. And from the perspective of mastering all elements of the app (because every day you're trying more stuff and seeing what works).

 

 

 

It is frustrating that for many years all of the editing apps have been able to play back multiple layers of high resolution footage in real time, but in AE you have to RAM preview a single footage layer. I'm always thankful that I never have clients in my studio so I don't have to explain why they can easily do something in iMovie that my "professional" app can't handle. The explanation used to be that AE and the various editing apps are optimized for different jobs, which I get, but come on. Someone needs to go across the hall when the Premiere guys are at lunch and steal whatever they are using to make this work. What? It's not as easy as that?

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RAM previews in one form or the other won't go away or AE would no longer be a "resolution-independent compositing and motion graphics program". Decoding footage and optimizing its blitting to the screen as a static video overlay is completely different from pushing around layers that may have mask operations, motion blur and all that. You can optimize the hell out of something whose parameters you know, but you never know what people throw at AE. That said, there would be some use in AE inheriting some existing stuff from Premiere to that effect, of course. And I at least agree with Zmotive - all of AE's thread and memory management should be automatic, not like the current stuff where you have to take out the calculator just to determine the MP parameters. The only option I ever want to see for this is a on/off toggle button in the comp viewer.

 

Mylenium

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Would personally love to see CUDA pushed to the limit...

If it ends up like the 3D raytracer probably not. And CUDA being a specific nVidia tech, I'd rather see OpenCL or all that rage like frustrated Mac users not being able to use GPU stuff will happen all over again.

 

Do not spend any time on Cinewang.. Use a 3D program for real work. It only seems helpful for boards and not much else. Its a pro-sumer/hobbyist tool at best

Quoted for agreement. Just a bad replacement for Adobe's own failed bad 3D attempt.

 

Mylenium

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RAM previews in one form or the other won't go away or AE would no longer be a "resolution-independent compositing and motion graphics program". Decoding footage and optimizing its blitting to the screen as a static video overlay is completely different from pushing around layers that may have mask operations, motion blur and all that. You can optimize the hell out of something whose parameters you know, but you never know what people throw at AE. That said, there would be some use in AE inheriting some existing stuff from Premiere to that effect, of course. And I at least agree with Zmotive - all of AE's thread and memory management should be automatic, not like the current stuff where you have to take out the calculator just to determine the MP parameters. The only option I ever want to see for this is a on/off toggle button in the comp viewer.

 

Mylenium

Of course, there's no way to "real time playback" everything. It would just be nice to have a base of simpler tasks that can play back in real time, like footage playback, basic text over footage, etc. While we're at it, how about ripping off Cinema 4D's picture viewer, so you can play back rendered frames in real time while the rest of the animation is still cooking?

 

+1 on automatic configuration of memory, multiprocessing etc.

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RAM previews in one form or the other won't go away or AE would no longer be a "resolution-independent compositing and motion graphics program". Decoding footage and optimizing its blitting to the screen as a static video overlay is completely different from pushing around layers that may have mask operations, motion blur and all that. You can optimize the hell out of something whose parameters you know, but you never know what people throw at AE. That said, there would be some use in AE inheriting some existing stuff from Premiere to that effect, of course. And I at least agree with Zmotive - all of AE's thread and memory management should be automatic, not like the current stuff where you have to take out the calculator just to determine the MP parameters. The only option I ever want to see for this is a on/off toggle button in the comp viewer.

 

Mylenium

 

Aside from speeding things up in a big way, the user transparency you speak of is very important. I'm reminded of the great web design book: "Don't Make Me Think!" Not that AE should be a tool for the lazy but instead one that doesn't require a lot of head-scratching and experimentation to set up properly, for a given task. In fact, once the process for previewing a variety of common use-cases is handled (i.e. once they've optimized the previewing speed for said cases), Adobe could make progress by following the thinking behind Workspaces.

 

Examples: Use a "Performance Profile" menu in the Comp panel, where it gathers the relevant system info on the fly, the relevant project info (resolution, fps, etc), and we use the pop-up menu to set the use-case per project. "Motion Graphics (Vector)", "Motion Graphics (Bitmap)", "Motion Graphics (Mixed Media)", "HD/2K Video Effects", "Video Stabilization & Tracking","4K (anything)", etc

We set the use case, AE figures out the rest based on available cores, RAM, GPU, connected cache.

 

If it ends up like the 3D raytracer probably not. And CUDA being a specific nVidia tech, I'd rather see OpenCL or all that rage like frustrated Mac users not being able to use GPU stuff will happen all over again.

 

 

Quoted for agreement. Just a bad replacement for Adobe's own failed bad 3D attempt.

 

Mylenium

 

Yes, let there be an end to frustrated Mac (read: AMD) users. Haha.

 

First time I've heard the term Cinewang. :lol: I don't know. To me it has potential but it's far from reaching it. I would like to see some type of valuable and seamless integration with Cinema. Not sure what Adobe's intention / vision for this thing is, or if it was just a patch to put in place for bundling C4D "LE", so people could play with it.

Edited by Zmotive

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> If it ends up like the 3D raytracer probably not. And CUDA being a specific nVidia tech, I'd rather see OpenCL

 

 

 

quoting myself:

"When we on the After Effects team look at how we can improve performance, we look at technologies that can be used on a broad array of hardware, including OpenCL and OpenGL."

http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2013/12/top-after-effects-feature-requests-2013.html

 

It was a big mistake for us to build even a single feature that depended on CUDA. We have acknowledged that mistake publicly dozens (if not hundreds) of times.

 

> I would like to see some type of valuable and seamless integration with Cinema. Not sure what Adobe's intention / vision for this thing is, or if it was just a patch to put in place for bundling C4D "LE", so people could play with it.

 

 

 

The intention/vision is to put more 3D functionality into After Effects as well as to have better integration with an existing established 3D application. What we released in After Effects CC (12.0) was a first step. There were some small improvements in 12.1. There will be more improvements this year. And so on.

 

Basically, we %$*&ed up with the ray-traced 3D renderer, and we learned a lot of lessons. During that time, a _lot_ of people said that we should "just do 3D like Cinema 4D". We took that to heart, and now we are doing 3D "like Cinema 4D" by doing 3D _with_ Cinema 4D.

 

The first step is useful for some people, and it will get more useful as we and Maxon have more time to make the integration tighter and more seamless (and faster).

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And holy crap do I love the c4d to ae integration. I imagine it can only get better.. but still. Kudos to that effort.

 

 

Basically, we %$*&ed up with the ray-traced 3D renderer, and we learned a lot of lessons. During that time, a _lot_ of people said that we should "just do 3D like Cinema 4D". We took that to heart, and now we are doing 3D "like Cinema 4D" by doing 3D _with_ Cinema 4D.

 

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quoting myself:

"When we on the After Effects team look at how we can improve performance, we look at technologies that can be used on a broad array of hardware, including OpenCL and OpenGL."

http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2013/12/top-after-effects-feature-requests-2013.html

 

It was a big mistake for us to build even a single feature that depended on CUDA. We have acknowledged that mistake publicly dozens (if not hundreds) of times.

 

 

 

The intention/vision is to put more 3D functionality into After Effects as well as to have better integration with an existing established 3D application. What we released in After Effects CC (12.0) was a first step. There were some small improvements in 12.1. There will be more improvements this year. And so on.

 

Basically, we %$*&ed up with the ray-traced 3D renderer, and we learned a lot of lessons. During that time, a _lot_ of people said that we should "just do 3D like Cinema 4D". We took that to heart, and now we are doing 3D "like Cinema 4D" by doing 3D _with_ Cinema 4D.

 

The first step is useful for some people, and it will get more useful as we and Maxon have more time to make the integration tighter and more seamless (and faster).

 

Todd thanks for providing extra info into how the AE team now approaches things. All jokes about names aside (meant no disrespect by my reaction to same -- just one of those things you laugh at when not expecting it), developers are faced with an imperfect group of technologies at any given cycle, and they use whatever they think will work best. Most of the time it works out, sometimes it doesn't.

 

It's good to see Adobe's attitude towards CUDA-only features has changed in favor of solutions that work on either GPU platform. I'm not a beta tester and only catch the blog occasionally, so wasn't aware of any prior comments from Adobe about the "mistake". Also a relief to know OpenCL (and hopefully dual GPU support where practical) is on the horizon.

 

FWIW if there's anything about OpenCL that makes it harder for you guys to use and support, things that Apple could remedy via better support, etc? OpenCL 2.0 was just released as a spec I think; hopefully they've addressed some of the shortcomings we've read about in recent reviews. As an end-user and a new Mac Pro buyer, I got no problems whatever letting Apple know about stuff like that. I want my investment to last and reach its potential and if developers have reasons not to use OpenCL, that's a barrier that I want to disappear ASAP. I'm sure I'm not alone. So if there's something we can constructively send (about a missing feature, poor documentation, etc) to let them know it's important to developers and therefore to us, by all means...

Edited by Zmotive

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> FWIW if there's anything about OpenCL that makes it harder for you guys to use and support...

 

It's not that OpenCL is harder or us to use now; it's that it was not as far along in its development as CUDA when we were making our choices.

 

When we started looking at the GPU for Premiere Pro, OpenCL wasn't ready, but CUDA was. Now, a few years later, OpenCL has had a chance to mature, and we're using it more.

 

For After Effects, the choice was even more strongly in favor of CUDA at the time, since Nvidia already had a 3D rendering library written that we could take advantage of.

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It's not that OpenCL is harder or us to use now; it's that it was not as far along in its development as CUDA when we were making our choices.

 

When we started looking at the GPU for Premiere Pro, OpenCL wasn't ready, but CUDA was. Now, a few years later, OpenCL has had a chance to mature, and we're using it more....

 

 

That's encouraging. Hopefully Apple gives you guys the tools and dev support you need to make OpenCL work for your customers.

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The intention/vision is to put more 3D functionality into After Effects as well as to have better integration with an existing established 3D application. What we released in After Effects CC (12.0) was a first step. There were some small improvements in 12.1. There will be more improvements this year. And so on.

 

Basically, we %$*&ed up with the ray-traced 3D renderer, and we learned a lot of lessons. During that time, a _lot_ of people said that we should "just do 3D like Cinema 4D". We took that to heart, and now we are doing 3D "like Cinema 4D" by doing 3D _with_ Cinema 4D.

 

The first step is useful for some people, and it will get more useful as we and Maxon have more time to make the integration tighter and more seamless (and faster).

 

I'm really happy to hear this. Cineware for me is a frustration more than anything. Not because it doesn't work, but because it's not yet developed to the point where it's very useful to me. It's so close to being amazing, yet not close enough for me to use. I'm primarily a 3D guy doing finishing work in AE, so I'm working in the full C4D app then moving to AE. With more time to develop I can see the C4D -> Cineware -> AE connection being a killer workflow for 3D motion graphics.

 

And thanks again Todd for talking directly to us end users. For me to pay my CC sub it's great to know AE is going to keep developing in a way that will be genuinely useful to the way I work.

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Examples: Use a "Performance Profile" menu in the Comp panel, where it gathers the relevant system info on the fly, the relevant project info (resolution, fps, etc), and we use the pop-up menu to set the use-case per project. "Motion Graphics (Vector)", "Motion Graphics (Bitmap)", "Motion Graphics (Mixed Media)", "HD/2K Video Effects", "Video Stabilization & Tracking","4K (anything)", etc

We set the use case, AE figures out the rest based on available cores, RAM, GPU, connected cache.

I don't think you need to overthink/ overstructure this. If at all, there should at most be 2 options. The first "realtime everything" as in a) the drawing area being limited to the comp bounds and B) the comp consisting of footage mostlay. This can be optimized for any standard resolutions from HD to 4k and will do just fine in many cases. The second will simply be "give me all options", but of course still be much smarter than today's dumb performance settings. Everything else would be too confusing and overwhelming. Also let's not forget that that there will be optimizations in otehr areas, anyway, like e.g. Illustrator getting a GPU-accelerated rasterizer/ renderer not to far away and that will ripple through to AE as well.

 

Mylenium

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We took that to heart, and now we are doing 3D "like Cinema 4D" by doing 3D _with_ Cinema 4D.

...and alas, AE's own 3D space still sucks. I still think you misunderstood that part completely as no doubt even "those people" would probably want AE to have better 3D navigation, a decent graph editor and all that, which, irony mode on, by not being there in AE thwarts a lot of potential Cineware uses.

 

Mylenium

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I don't think you need to overthink/ overstructure this. If at all, there should at most be 2 options. The first "realtime everything" as in a) the drawing area being limited to the comp bounds and B) the comp consisting of footage mostlay. This can be optimized for any standard resolutions from HD to 4k and will do just fine in many cases. The second will simply be "give me all options", but of course still be much smarter than today's dumb performance settings. Everything else would be too confusing and overwhelming. Also let's not forget that that there will be optimizations in otehr areas, anyway, like e.g. Illustrator getting a GPU-accelerated rasterizer/ renderer not to far away and that will ripple through to AE as well.

 

Mylenium

 

Fair points. I don't know exactly what the options should be, or how granulized the optimizations would need to be from a programming standpoint. My thinking is to give users something more intuitive, that allows Adobe to hide the rest of the minutia (setting number of cores used, amount of RAM per core, etc). The user's job, ideally, could be as simple as setting 3 things: zoom level, detail quality they want at that zoom level, and telling AE what kind of project it is. AE computes the rest because it already knows your hardware and the project's resolution and frame rate.

 

If it could be as simple as 2 or 3 options and one of those options would mean all types of projects up to 2K are previewed real-time (whether it's more graphic animation + effects or video + effects, that would be... nice. Real nice.

 

As for modern GPU-based vector/raster engines, that would be useful to have Photoshop, Illustrator and AE all using the same tech and speaking the same language so media usage is just a "drop it in and forget about it" type of experience that allows quality to be maintained through all kinds of experimenting with transforms, effects, etc... and all done on the fly without having to think about quality settings and the like. I think we'll get there; hopefully 2014 provides some big steps.

 

...and alas, AE's own 3D space still sucks. I still think you misunderstood that part completely as no doubt even "those people" would probably want AE to have better 3D navigation, a decent graph editor and all that, which, irony mode on, by not being there in AE thwarts a lot of potential Cineware uses.

 

Mylenium

 

To echo this sentiment (as long as we're talking about efficiency of operations and intuitiveness of setup), trying to position and orient cameras, lights, and other objects in a 4-up view, using AE's 2.5D space, is frustrating at times. Especially if you walk away from the program for a couple months and you come back after using C4D that whole time... that's not fun trying to re-train the eye-hand memory.

 

I'll tread lightly here because I'm not the AE expert most of you probably are. I don't fully understand the technical reasons why AEs "space navigation metaphor" is the way it is, but the ability to make the "space navigation" more of a sure thing, would be in my Top 5. Real-time preview performance for motion projects (or something close) is easily #1, but among all the uber-twirls and cineware type enhancements, improved navigation / placement is definitely in that top list.

 

Goes to reinforce the sentiment most people had responding to the blog post: more efficiency and workflow improvements should take priority over brand new features.

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I still think you misunderstood that part completely as no doubt even "those people" would probably want AE to have better 3D navigation...

 

No, we don't misunderstand that. Better 3D navigation is on our backlog of items to tackle.

 

Don't think that the fact that something hasn't happened in After Effects means that we don't want it. Keep in mind that we have fewer people building this software than most people realize. We can't do everything at once.

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Nobody expects you to fix "everything at once", just the important stuff. *lol* And by your own admission you've wasted a cycle with that CUDA nonsense in CS6 and well, I personally think you wasted another one with the initial CC release and Cineware. If your resources are really that limited, then you should squander them in such a manner...

 

Mylenium

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Yes, I've already granted that the CUDA ray-traced 3D renderer was a mistake.

 

But the Cineware work is not wasted effort. It is step one. It is useful to many people, and steps two, three, and so on will be more useful to more people.

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Nobody expects you to fix "everything at once", just the important stuff. *lol* And by your own admission you've wasted a cycle with that CUDA nonsense in CS6 and well, I personally think you wasted another one with the initial CC release and Cineware. If your resources are really that limited, then you should squander them in such a manner...

 

You have to keep in mind the politics that must be in play over there at Adobe. I wouldn't focus blame toward the development team.

 

Having worked in a software development environment for few years at a large corporation, many moons ago, I know what the developers / users want and what the higher ups at the company want are usually two totally different things. Trust me... Developers and product managers want to make the best product possible, but sometimes the gods that be steer them in a different direction.

 

I believe, without any evidence to support it, that the "big" feature additions such as CUDA acceleration, cineware, etc was an order handed down to the AE dev team to boost sales and marketing of the product. They were probably under the gun, forcing them to take shortcuts (cuda) so features that demo well were in place in time to rake in upgrade purchases. Now the "must convince users to upgrade" mindset is gone since the adoption of the CC model.

 

The updates to 12.1 and 12.2 were really assuring to me, leading me to believe that they can update the product as they get a collection of updates the hardcore users want without the suits asking why their requests aren't in each update to maximize the amount of upgrade orders.

 

I have confidence in the new model, and suspect it actually grants Todd & team a little bit more freedom to listen to the users and react in a timely manner. Give it a little bit of time, and I am sure all woes of premature features will be forgotten.

Edited by AromaKat

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The updates to 12.1 and 12.2 were really assuring to me, leading me to believe that they can update the product as they get a collection of updates the hardcore users want without the suits asking why their requests aren't in each update to maximize the amount of upgrade orders.

 

I have confidence in the new model, and suspect it actually grants Todd & team a little bit more freedom to listen to the users and react in a timely manner.

 

I'm glad that you see it that way, since that's how we on the After Effects team see it, too. I'm also glad that the 12.1 and 12.2 improvements were appreciated. I was the "product owner" for those two releases (and one more to come), meaning that I was the one setting the development priorities. That is a rotating role, and I'll be handing the baton to a new person in the middle of this year. My very explicit priority has been to "remove customer pain"... not to make new whiz-bang features. I would never have gotten away with that under the old model, under which we had to have a few whiz-bang features each release to drive upgrades. Also, above me, people like Steve Forde (our product manager) have made the right decisions to put a large fraction of our team onto infrastructure/architecture projects that will pay off in performance improvements... some in ways that are going to be dramatic and innovative. The response to the question that started this thread makes us think that we can and should go even further in that direction, dedicating much of our resources to performance and stability, with most of the rest going to improvements that remove common pain points.

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Agree the quality of updates that have been arriving during the last six months (substantially more than just bug fixes like in the past), have been high quality for both AE and Photoshop. Haven't checked out the other updates but I perceive some benefit the subscription model as far as more frequent (substantial) updates, as well.

 

Time will be the judge. If the price starts going up or the updates become more infrequent, then Houston we have a problem, but for now I say "on with it".

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Todd -- on the thought of speed in AE, has anyone ever brought up the idea or possibility of caching layers in stead of precomps. The cache in background IMO has been one of the best advances in AE in recent years, but sometimes it would be sweet to cache a particular layer or lens flare without having to precomp it. I know we could simply just pre-render to QT or image seq but this would be really helpful. Again just my opinion.

 

Also.. a senior level Adobe tech finally fixed my CC issues. Awesome... it took 3 months so not so awesome but excited to see what the future holds.

 

If Open CL will work then awesome.

 

I honestly.. knock on wood here... have not had very many stability issues in the last few years but now that software can open. Yes please SPEED.

 

Another amazing feature would be a more user friendly version of Set Matte. In the broadcast world I frequently find myself using a ton of matte layers. It would be sweet if there was a way to set a layer in the comp to be turned off and apply an effect that you could select the layers that it matted and not have to do multiple Set Matte effects.

 

Thanks for your (and your team's) hard work to improve AE

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Having worked in a software development environment for few years at a large corporation, many moons ago, I know what the developers / users want and what the higher ups at the company want are usually two totally different things. Trust me... Developers and product managers want to make the best product possible, but sometimes the gods that be steer them in a different direction.

No need to rationalize and explain. I know all too well, but that's still not the point. The 3D raytracer should not have left the building. Period. It's just bad decision making and considering how it blew up in Adobe's face there was no value there technically nor marketing wise and had just the opposite effect, actually. It frustrated users like hell and gave AE a bad rep, not quite undersevedly so. And well, if you must cite the big con-glo-mo system as a reason then perhaps for faltering quality management and internal miscommunication considering the latest 12.2 update with all its ridiculous bugs and cross-app compatibility issues. It should never have left the building, too. Unfit for release.

 

I believe, without any evidence to support it, that the "big" feature additions such as CUDA acceleration, cineware, etc was an order handed down to the AE dev team to boost sales and marketing of the product.

Don't think so. That's all homegrown. Adobe may not always be smart about such things, but generally the actual feature decisions are made at a specific level and well, that's the product managers' job. This probably makes it a certain Steve F.'s responsibility. As you should know from your own past, until a feature is actually ready to be shown (with a dummy UI and some buttons to click and producing a result), based on experimental code/ pre-Alpha versions, the higher-ups likely don't ever get to see it nor should they probably care beyond allocating resources and finances for its development. There's a difference between the tech side of things and marketing and management. A business manager in the upper circle usually knows very little about what a program does specifically, he just needs to know/ be convinced that this could in any way be "good for the company's growth", as the favorite platitude goes...

 

Mylenium

Edited by Mylenium

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Agree the quality of updates that have been arriving during the last six months (substantially more than just bug fixes like in the past), have been high quality for both AE and Photoshop.

Not really. The 12.2 update now has what? - Like about 5 bigger known issues that Adobe already admitted (and were totally unnecessary and "bite in your face" obvious) plus a ton of tiny annoyances and the usual issues with footage handling changes?! I don't call that high quality. There's a reason why Mr. Kopriva wrote just yet another one of his "ass-covering" posts (http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2014/01/known-issues-workarounds-after-effects-cc-12-2.html). Same for Photoshop 14.2. Sure, you may not experience any of these issues or they may not be relevant to you, but I seriously think Adobe needs to take a step back and re-evaluate their current release model. There was no point in rushing the AE 12.2 update out of the door shortly before Christmas. You as a user would never have known that it comes and had been more happy to have this update only now in February with all those problems fixed and the devs would not be under pressure perhaps to relase an intermediate bugfix update that they hadn't planned. Again, a completely ridiculous and unnecessary slip-up.

 

Mylenium

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