After Effects CC 16.1 | Release

Adobe released After Effects CC 16.1, an update to compositing and 2D animation software, adding a Content-Aware Fill for video, enhanced GPU acceleration support, and a new Expressions Editor.

The release will be revealed on NAB 2019 in Las Vegas next week, along with other Adobe updates of their video tools, including Character Animator 2.1, Premiere Pro 13.1 and Audition 12.1.

Content-Aware Fill automatically removes objects from the video sequence

The long-awaited new feature in After Effects CC 16.1: Content-Aware Fill, a version of the same-name toolset for deleting objects in Photoshop, adapted for use on video.

The After Effects version automatically replaces objects in the video sequence with background pixels collected from other frames in a sequence or from a clean reference place. Users can manually mask key frames around the frame to be replaced, or use the built-in After Effects tracking tools. For objects and logos, there are various removal modes for better quality.

The content-dependent fill works with both locked-off frames, both in the video above, and with frames taken with a moving camera, for example, when shooting from a helicopter. The results from the demo look good in relatively simple scenes, but it is not yet clear how well this tool will work on more complex frames or where it is necessary to remove large areas.

In a pre-NAB press briefing, Adobe product manager Victoria Nece commented that “there are places where it’s just magic, and places where it needs a little more polish”.


New Expressions Editor, GPU acceleration and small improvements in workflow

Other changes include a new editor for the JavaScript expressions engine added in After Effects CC 16.0. It supports line numbering, matching parenthesis highlighting, code folding, and automatic completion for common syntax. You can customize the appearance of the editor and the parameters of autofill.

Adobe's work on accelerating graphics processors for key After Effects features is also ongoing. This update adds support for the Roughen Edges and Change Color effects at 16-bit and 32-bit color depths. Disconnecting RED materials using GPU acceleration is now also “functioning” on macOS.

Workflow improvements include automatic font synchronization using Adobe Fonts when switching from one computer to another, as well as the ability to export guide settings for reuse between projects or in Premiere Pro.

There are also a number of small changes: one convenient setting is that when you apply motion blur to a layer, you can now automatically turn it on for the entire composition.

Price and Availability

After Effects CC 16.1 is available for Windows 10 and Mac OS X 10.12+ on a rental-only basis. A Creative Cloud annual subscription for After Effects only costs $31.49/month, and a subscription to all Adobe Creative Cloud tools costs $79.49/month.

For cool animations of complex environments in After Effects, you can download free scripts and watch the tutorial from artist Anthony Possobona.

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