Design vector graphics, create more organic movements, and expedite delivery with new integration and collaboration features. Create motion graphics and visual effects with the industry standard. After Effects CS3 Professional
If you are considering an upgrade then my guess is that you really want to know about the new features:
Easily create and animate vector graphics with new Shape Layers. Add and animate strokes, fills, gradients, and vector effects. You can convert text into shapes and animate them just like any other shape type.
This new, fast, and intuitive animation tool lets you squash and stretch images or text to bring it to life as an animated character. Use Motion Sketch to record the position and speed of your puppet movements, the Starch tool to stiffen areas of the character, and the Overlap tool to control the depth of elements of your puppet.
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended integration
Enjoy a streamlined workflow with support for importing layered Adobe PhotoshopÂ® images including video layers. Sophisticated Photoshop Layer Styles can be easily modified or animated within After Effects. Import Vanishing Point data from Photoshop into After Effects to build 3D compositions automatically.
Tight integration with Adobe Flash CS3 Professional
Work more efficiently to create and edit animations for playback on Adobe FlashÂ® Player software. Preserve vectors from animations created in After Effects for lean and clean delivery, and encode FLV files more easily. Import SWF files as vectors with alpha channels preserved and batch render FLV files with embedded cue points.
Per-character 3D text animation
Explore new text animation possibilities by making individual characters in your text â€” or an entire phrase â€” move and rotate in 3D space.
Jump-start animations with Brainstorm, a new user interface that offers variations based on selected design and animation parameters. Choose which properties and effects you want to explore, and Brainstorm will propose animated variations.
Complete color management workflow
Enable color management simply by selecting a Project Working Space. Doing so maintains the color accuracy of imported files as they are displayed and rendered and allows you to preview how footage will look on other devices.
Adobe Clip Notes
Streamline the review and approval process. Render your work into an Adobe PDF file that enables anyone with Adobe ReaderÂ® software to make timecode-accurate comments. When you import the comments into After Effects, they appear as markers on the Timeline.
Harness your computer’s processing power with new multicore and graphics acceleration plus disk caching so you can spend less time waiting and more time creating. Distribute rendering across your entire network to maximize output performance.
Video for mobile
Use new rendering options and preview in Adobe Device Central CS3 to help ensure your video will look great on an array of supported mobile devices.
There is a useful Feature Improvement History chart that you may want to read as well.
First Time Users
I am a first time user, and I suggest that the first thing you do is take a look at the Feature Tour. Next? Find a dark room and lie down to try and comprehend a) the power of the application and b) the journey ahead. If you have a solid working knowledge of other Adobe products then you will be comforted to know that you have the basics in place as the interface, terminology, way of working etc will be familiar to you.
After that? A clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it – one small step at a time in my case.
Prior to looking at After Effects I didn’t really know much about it, but I did look on in awe at some of the content that I saw around me and wonder “How do they do that?”. Well know I have the answer and at the same time a new question, “Will I be able to do that?” Today? No. Tomorrow? A little better. One day? Sure – it will take time and patience but I feel that I am in really good hands right the way though from the application, to the online help, via the forums, seminars, workshops etc.
Upgrade from $299
Also available as part of Creative Suite 3