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My List of After Effects Feature Requests

1. Replicator:

Almost every app in the market has some sort of mass replication tool that not only replicates layers/group of layers, but also has additional options like bounding boxes, constraints etc., Even though shape layers implement very cool replicator functions they can’t replicate in 3D Space with in the layer.

2. Custom Expressions:

I just feel so stupid to type down many lines of code every time I need to make something move in a circular path. Can’t I just create my own library of user created expressions/functions, which will save me a lot of time? For example a user created expression like moveInCircle(radius,center,speed), would save a lot of time. I know there are Presets that somewhat do such type of work, but many times they just don’t cut it.

3. Particle Engine:

Even though there are many amazing Particle engines like Particular and Particle Illusion, I have always wanted a nice 3D Particle engine that is well integrated with AE in all aspects, like point caching (not just image buffer cache), import and export of data and if my wild dreams come true, integration with expressions and scripting. Well, the last feature might be a little too much.

4. More Pixel Bender:

I’m pretty sure, this is on Adobe’s high priority list. But to make it clear, I would love to see Pixel Bender more integrated into AE. GPU rendering, Metadata support, Audio data support for AE (that would be a killer), some kind of Time-Line support if possible. Once again, if my wild dreams come true, native AE camera support. I really hope to see a lot more Pixel Bender integration in the future.

5. Inverse-Square/Custom Light Falloff Curves:

As far as I know, AE supports only Inverse Linear Light Fall Off, which gives basic lighting and doesn’t create a natural light fall off when you move away from the layer. Even though DigiEffects has a cool little plugin that creates such an effect, it is definitely a huge pain to apply it for all layers of the composition and definitely not the best solution. Even better, if we can graph custom fall off curves.

6. Folders/Groups in the Composition:

This is a very popular request and I agree with the fact that Precomping gets tedious many times and is difficult to organize. It would be nice to see some sort of hierarchical organization within the composition. Out of all the applications I used so far, Cinema 4D has the best organizer in terms of usability and it will be nice to see something like that in AE.

7. 3D Reflections:

Then again, there are many plugins to create apple style pseudo reflections, but it would be nice to have reflections that are well integrated into AE. Even better, if they are true 3D reflections instead of 2d perspective warping.

8. XML File Format:

After Effects CS4 introduced an XML based file format, but the implementation is not complete and is not the default file format. If it is implemented completely and is the default file format, there will be a lot of scripting possibilities and I myself am dying to see a Mac OS X Finder Preview plugin that shows the contents of the file without having to open it.

These are the ones I could think of right now. Certainly there will always be endless requests from people all over the world. I know that many Video Editing folks complain about AE’s Pixel Aspect Ratios, Preset Resolutions and other video related issues, but that never really bothered me since I don’t work for broadcast with multiple video resolutions.