After Effects Features

Over the past 10 years animation has changed dramatically. However, the very foundation of how After Effects works has remained mostly unchanged. People all over the world are stretching the limits of the program to create next-level animations. 

after-effects-feature-wishlist

I spend countless hours in After Effects, solving complicated Visual Effects problems and creating 2D animations. Traveling over the world—collaborating with some of the best artists—I’ve started to observe and listen how other people work—and like to work.

These suggestions are meant to spur a public discussion that can lead to solutions that will benefit all current and future animators. I hope these ideas can then in turn inform the After Effects team on how we work and what steps to take next—making After Effects an even better tool than it already is today.
 

Please vote for the features you'd like to see implemented. And comment when you have ideas that can make a feature even better. 

When you comment, please start with the feature index number and use your illustration and animation skills to show us how this feature could work—and why this is important to you. Language can only do so much, Animate!

How to, Vote and Comment

Vote on features in each chapter and vote for chapters here when you've read the entire article.

This way we filter out what is priority. You can also suggest features by using the "Other" text field, When there is a significant amount of the same requests, we can start to explore how it should work and finally add it to the list.

Comment if you have ideas on how to improve the suggested features.

Comments will be moderated by a team of  animators to keep the list from getting to big to read. Please be short and specific when you comment. Come with ideas and solutions.

1. Timeline

1.1   Restructure Design
1.2   BPM grid in Timeline
1.3   “Work Area” crop shortcut and length
1.4   Move Anchor to the Basic Menu
1.5   Graph Editor Show Selected Properties by default

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2. Layers

2.1   Parent in time
2.2   Lock Keyframes to In and Out Points

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3. Keyframes

3.1  Unify Look
3.2  Connection
3.3  Keyframe Duration
3.4  Color Keyframes
3.5  Velocity in Timeline
3.6  Option Duplicate
3.7  Simplify Easy Ease
3.8  Loops in Bezier Spatial Interpolation
3.9  Exponential Scale

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4. Mattes

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5. Effects

5.1  Effect Controls to Property Controls
5.2  Instance Effect
5.3  Amount of Fill
5.4  Include Unmult

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6. Shape Layers, Solids & Masks

6.1  Merge Solids and Shape layers
6.2  Taper Shape Layer strokes
6.3  Stroke Gradients
6.4  Animate individual Mask & Path Points
 

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7. Expressions

7.1  Faster Interface
7.2  Set global variables
7.3  Option Pick-whip
7.4  Value before and after Expression
7.5  Code editor window

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8. Project

8.1  Expand Mini-Flowchart to Flowchart Panel
8.2  Pre-comps, Folders, Groups
8.3  Prompt Frame Rate
8.4  Multiple instances of After Effects
8.5  Redesign Project Panel
8.6  Guidelines
8.7  Proxies
8.8  Background Layer

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9. Render

9.1  Send Renders to the Terminal
9.2  Render / Export to JS

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VFX & 3D + Progress

VFX & 3D:

A lot of feature requests I came across have to do with visual effects and 3D, Instead of moving After Effects towards becoming a duplicate of other great VFX programs. I suggest to strengthen the things After Effects is good at and no other program can provide. AE could focus on how to make the collaboration between 3D and VFX programs better.

 

Progress:

Some people also have the impression that the updates to After Effects are slow and nothing gets updated in every release. One thing you have to realize is that the After Effects Team just re-wrote some of the key components of After Effects. So even when It might look like nothing changed, After a couple bug fixes the programs should be more stable and ready for new features.