After Effects Feature Requests?

UPDATE: Make your features come true, File a Feature Request with ADOBE!

Our buddy Todd Kopriva at Adobe just posted an article outlining top feature requests from the After Effects community in 2012 and while you browse the comprehensive list, do you see your top features there?

Here are a few of my top features that should be on that list!

Improve Expressions Speed:
As I outlined in 2010, expression run-time should be much faster! This feature is still high on my list because expressions are very powerful but can weigh down a project if they get too complex. I notice major speed hits when using complex expression like those generated from using Sure Target 2!


Duplicate Layer Instances:
The option to make a copy of a layer with effects like Particular or Element 3D and have the effects sync throughout the project when edited. So if you change one instance, they will all change, but at anytime you can disconnect it from the group and customize individually. Basically when you repeat certain effects it can be cumbersome to go through the entire project and update the effects for each copy. This would save time and avoid forgetting about a rogue copy.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Copy option called “Copy as Instance” then when you paste it, the parameters have a highlight color so that you know it is connected to other parameters. Then maybe an icon next to the effect name that can be clicked to disconnect an instance and make it independent.

Must we pre-compose everything!?
It would be great if pre-composing wasn’t required every time you want to reference a layer from a plug-in.  We all have been there, you want a plug-in to use a layer but it won’t work until you pre-compose or flatten that layers effects. So you pre-compose it even though you really don’t want to! This problem is even worse when you have 3D layers, because then you need to copy the camera into the pre-comp as well and keep updating it every time you want to change the camera.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Have a layer switch like the 3d or motion blur switch on the layer that is called “Render First” or “mimic precomposing”. This way you can mimic pre-composing when you need to.

Render Output in folder:
Having just completed graphics for a trailer that needed to be translated into 8 languages, it would be nice if I didn’t have to create a folder for every single output sequence.  It would be nice if there was an output setting to “Place in Folder” that could be saved into a template. Then whatever you name the files will be the name of the folder. Saving precious minutes!!!

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Output option check-box “Place in folder”. I know there are scripts for this but C’mon!

Improved Light options:
AE lights could use some upgrading now that 3D is becoming more common. Here are a few suggestions:

– Controllable Light range. Not just falloff but cutoff.
– Ambient Light with distance range. Instead of ambient light everywhere, it would be cool to have a radial range for things to illuminate objects evenly without the specularity from a point light.
– Better Light icons and representation in the viewer
– Exclude specific layers from Lights. Maybe.

Bonus Feature: Kill shape layers! Well at least disconnect them from the mask tool.

What are your top feature requests for After Effects?

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