Adobe After Effects CS4 Review

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is the industry-standard tool for creating motion graphics and visual effects for film and video.


  • Full Version:¬†$999.00
  • Upgrades:¬†from $299.00


Adobe After Effects Features:

  • Industry-standard tool for creating motion graphics and visual effects for film and video
  • Innovative compositing and animation tools
  • New 3D compositing improvements
  • Import 3D models from Adobe Photoshop to composite them with other elements
  • Instantly give live footage the look of cell animation.
  • 2.5D planar tracking from Mocha for Adobe After Effects from Imagineer Systems
  • Comprehensive masking and keying tools
  • Dynamic Link between Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Soundbooth
  • XM metadata for asset intelligence
  • A new quick search feature to help you locate any element in a project
  • Export compositions as layered projects that can be opened in other Adobe applications
  • Improved performance and dozens of user-requested changes
  • Hundreds of effects to enhance your movie
  • Professional results for every media type
  • Versions available for Mac or Windows

Editor’s Verdict:

Adobe After Effects is a compelling application and definitely not for beginners unless they are prepared to put a lot of effort into learning how to use it properly. As with most Adobe products, the performance is excellent, and the interface offers the most intuitive ways to achieve complex tasks of any similar application.

Adobe After Effects CS 4 is aimed at professionals who want quality results and access to some of the most advanced techniques in the industry for creating visual effects. After Effects boasts some of the best compositing and keyframing tools around, and once you know what you are doing, the software will produce the best results possible with current technology. This isn’t a video editing tool as some of the other products in this category are, but rather an extra tool that features in the production workflow to add special effects and animation to your creation. It works best as part of the Adobe Production Suite of applications, which can actually be purchased for not much more (relatively) than the standalone version of After Effects.

The user interface remains largely unchanged from previous versions of Adobe After Effects as there were no real problems with it. However, Adobe has taken into account several user-requested changes and built them to improve its performance. The major new addition is the Shape Layer, which allows you to draw and animate vector graphics for your production. This has been described as having a full-motion version of Adobe Illustrator built into After Effects and is a brilliantly useful tool for all kinds of tasks. Many effects can be applied to the vector shapes you create so that you can easily create impressive-looking productions.

Another useful new tool in Adobe After Effects CS 4 is the puppet tool, which lets you easily animate still images. You simply select several points on the image that separate moveable parts and then click and drag to move independently. As you move the parts, the sequence can be recorded and played back to add to your production effect. With all these new assets you will be creating with the new tools, it is useful that Adobe has also included a new quick search box that allows you to locate different elements across multiple projects to reuse them easily.

Adobe After Effects CS 4 represents a huge improvement on an already excellent application. If you own a recent previous version, you can upgrade for a lot less than the full version’s cost, which makes it very cost-effective. However, the high price tag will put off beginners, and, as we have mentioned, you must be prepared to put a bit of effort into learning the ropes to get the best results.

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Shlomo Man
Shlomo Man

Shlomo Man is an internet marketer and a SEO specialist whos specializes in video editing and animation.

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