May, 2004

This file contains late-breaking product information, updates to the Adobe After Effects documentation, and troubleshooting tips. Please print this document for future reference.

Note that Keylight, 3D Assistants Lite, and 3D Invigorator Classic (included in the Professional edition), Cycore Effects, and Color Finesse, have their own installers and are not installed with After Effects automatically. 3D Invigorator Classic is on a separate CD included in the Professional edition. 3D Invigorator Classic and Color Finesse require their own serial numbers which are included in the product box.

The Help menu in After Effects provides access to the entire User Guide. The online version of the User Guide has additional technical information and examples not found in the printed documentation. For your convenience, printable PDF versions of the documentation are located on your CD in the “AE6.5 Documentation” folder.

For further troubleshooting and information, see the User Guide, online Help, or

This ReadMe is divided into the following sections:


Please complete your registration card and mail it today or register on-line (Help > Registration... from within After Effects or You must register in order to receive technical support and important product update information.





After Effects 6.5 uses new serial numbers, and numbers from previous versions will not work with After Effects 6.5. You can find your serial number on the back of the Adobe After Effects CD case. Use this number to initialize the program. If your serial number does not work, please contact Adobe Customer Support:

If you are installing an upgrade, you will need both the new 24-digit serial number that was included with the upgrade and the serial number from your previous version.


You must have administrator permissions to run the Windows installer on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

On some systems with Windows XP, having System Restore enabled during installation causes the installation to take an extremely long time. The computer may appear to be locked up. To avoid this, turn off System Restore before installing (Start > Control Panel > System > System Restore). Disabling System Restore will cause all restore point to be lost.

Direct X 8.1 is required for After Effects to support DV-compressed movies and MPEG import. While After Effects may run with earlier versions of Direct X, it is strongly recommended that you install Direct X 9.0b or later. For the latest version of Microsoft DirectX go to

If you work with QuickTime movies (.mov files), be sure to install QuickTime for Windows version 6.5 or later. For best results, select the Recommended install option. QuickTime is not included as part of the After Effects installation. You can download it at

If you have problems running the After Effects installer from a network volume, copy the After Effects 6.5 installer folder to a local drive then run the installer from there. For best results, install After Effects on your boot drive.


The full install of After Effects 6.5 is a superset of the Render Engine. There is no need to install both on any one system. You can install the Render Engine to as many additional computers as you wish.

Make sure that your computer meets the system requirements for After Effects 6.5. The system requirements are listed on the After Effects box and in this ReadMe file.

The installer requires that you enter the serial number for After Effects 6.5. If you purchased an upgrade, you must also provide the serial number for the product that qualified you for the upgrade. The serial number is located on the back of the application CD cover or, if you downloaded the software from the Web, on the receipt page that confirms your purchase (a copy of the receipt page is also e-mailed to you). For software downloads, you can also view the product’s serial number in your Order History section of the Adobe Web site if you purchased the software through Adobe.

To install After Effects 6.5:

Quit all Adobe applications.

Do one of the following:

Note: The installer folder must be on the computer onto which you want to install the application.

Follow the on-screen instructions to install the application until the dialog box reaches one of the following screens:

Installing the Render Engine to additional computers
The Professional edition of After Effects provides the Watch Folder feature and the command- line renderer ‘aerender’, which speed up the rendering process on a network. If you have a full licensed copy of the Professional edition, you can set it up to work with render-only versions of After Effects to take advantage of these features. Your license entitles you to install as many copies of the render engine as you want on your network, as long as one licensed copy of the Professional edition is installed on that network. (See After Effects Help for more information on the Watch Folder feature. See the Scripting Guide PDF file on the application CD for more information on the command-line renderer.)

To install only the Render Engine:

Follow the procedure for installing the After Effects 6.5 application, except do the following:

Removing After Effects 6.5 and the Render Engine

To remove the After Effects 6.5 Render Engine from additional computers, use the same procedure for removing the After Effects 6.5 application.

To remove After Effects 6.5 (Windows):

  1. Quit After Effects 6.5.
  2. In the Windows Control Panel, double-click Add or Remove Programs.
  3. Select Adobe After Effects 6.5, and then click Change/Remove.
  4. In the Adobe After Effects 6.5 Setup dialog box, select Remove, and then click Next.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove Adobe After Effects 6.5.

To remove After Effects 6.5 (Mac OS):


Third-Party Compatibility
On Windows, plug-ins designed for After Effects 6.0 and earlier should also work with After Effects 6.5.

Media 100’s Final Effects Complete 4.0 (OS X only) plug-ins crash when used in After Effects 6.5. The 4.01 update is available from Media100 that addresses this issue.

Primatte versions before 1.5.1 are incompatible with After Effects 6.5.

BigFX FilmFX 2.5 is incompatible with After Effects 6.5. Contact the manufacturer for a new version.

For technical support on Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator Classic, contact Zaxwerks at, or 1-626-309-9102 or talk to a pro on their user forum at:

For technical support on Keylight, please read the Keylight User Guide or check out the support page at If you still require assistance please email The Foundry at

For technical support on 3D Assistants Lite or to upgrade to the 3D Assistants Pro, please contact Digital Anarchy at or call 1-415-621-0991.

Technical support for Color Finesse is provided through the Adobe User to User Forum.

For Cycore Effects technical support, send e-mail to Go to the web site for updates and tutorials.

For GridIron X-Factor technical support, the X-Factor web site at provides you with access to a detailed support section, which includes further information about using and troubleshooting X-Factor. You can submit questions to GridIron Support by e-mail, and responses will be posted to the X-Factor Support Forum in the support area of the X-Factor web site. Direct support can be purchased at the web site for $39 per incident or $159 for unlimited annual support.

Unless you do a custom install, all four language versions (English, French, German, & Japanese) are automatically installed. The appropriate language is chosen at launch time based on your system settings.

On Mac OS X your preferred language order is set in System Preferences > International > Language. You may also choose to exclude specific languages for After Effects by selecting the application icon in the Finder, and choosing File > Get Info > Languages.

On Windows XP you can choose your language version in Settings > Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Advanced. You can also choose to run any language by opening its shortcut in Program Files > ... > After Effects 6.5 > Languages.

Some of the sections below refer to a “text-preference” setting with a name in quotes. To modify the named setting you must first quit After Effects, find the preferences file (see the Mac & Windows information section below), open it in a text editor, and then search for the named setting. Save the changes and close the file before re-launching After Effects.

Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts
There is a keyboard shortcuts file next to the preferences file that can be used to customize keyboard shortcuts. This is not officially supported, however it may be useful for users of non-English/French/German/Japanese keyboards, more information and examples may be found at:

By default OpenGL is enabled if you have an apparently compatible OpenGL card installed. In the Previews preferences dialog, click the OpenGL Info... button for information on your card. For up to date information on compatible cards, see the After Effects support site:

When dragging in the comp window or scrubbing values in the timeline or effect controls windows, the Fast Previews button turns green if OpenGL is operational. The OpenGL-rendered image will not match the software-rendered image exactly, so you may see differences on mouse-up. If you see rendering flaws (e.g. noisy pixels) or very slow performance with using OpenGL you may need to lower the maximum texture size. Change "Auto Downsample Textures Larger Than (pixels)" text-preference from 800 to 512 (or smaller).

Video Preview does not operate while interacting with OpenGL enabled. Video Preview updates after releasing the mouse button in this case.

For full color fidelity, some ATI OpenGL cards need to be set to high quality in the control panel.

Using both an AGP and PCI OpenGL card to drive two monitors is not recommended, and may cause intermittent crashes when using OpenGL.

Some OpenGL cards have drastically reduced performance when dragging the current time indicator in large compositions. If you have this problem, try reducing the Preferences "Max Cached Frame Dim" text-preference to 1024 or lower.

If you experience white flashing while using OpenGL, reduce your image cache preferences to their defaults.

Use File.decode(<file_object>.name) to display file name that contains non-ASCII characters.

Cache Indicators
If After Effects becomes sluggish, try turning off cache indicators by unchecking Show Cache Indicators in the Timeline window menu. This setting will be remembered across application sessions.

Illustrator 10/CS
Illustrator 10/CS files will display blank or with a warning message unless they are saved with the Create PDF Compatible File option selected in the AI 10/CS save dialog.

Illustrator Clipboard Support
In order to use the Adobe Illustrator Clip Board (AICB) function for copying paths between Illustrator 10/CS and After Effects, you need to turn this preference on in Illustrator, with the option for Preserve Paths selected.

Illustrator 8.x & 9.x files
Layers in EPS files saved in Illustrator 9.x may rasterize incorrectly or incompletely. Import the file as Illustrator AI format instead. AI 8 files saved with layer visibility turned off will display with blank layers in After Effects. The workaround is to save the files with the visibility turned on.

Maya Camera Import
In addition to the features described in the documentation, the Maya Camera Import feature will also import "locator" nodes. These are useful for tracking objects from your Maya scene as it is translated into After Effects. After Effects creates a Null layer with the relevant transformations applied if a Maya locator node's name contains the word "Null", "NULL", or "null". Avoid parenting locator nodes to each other in Maya -- parent the locator nodes to geometry instead. Note that "World" or "Underworld" coordinates in the LocatorShape are not observed. Instead, use a transform node to place them.

Sometimes Maya (.ma) camera import may take a while if the project is complex (for example, if there are many keyframes to import). To speed up Maya camera import, include just camera data in the Maya (.ma) file. Note that After Effects does not read 3-node cameras.

When applying FilmFit use either horizontal or vertical FilmFit, not fill.

Multiple Views
To show and hide tab area of a window, double-click the slider bar that appears above the tabs.

Advanced 3D
Non-intersecting planes sometimes render as intersecting when the layers almost touch. When that happens, you will see the rear layer visible through the front before it actually intersects. To avoid this, move the layers slightly apart.

When a shadow-casting layer intersects another layer, sometimes there is a small gap behind the intersection that is supposed to be shadowed. To decrease the size of the gap, increase the shadow map resolution by going to Composition>Composition Settings>Advanced Options.

RAM Preview
In order to use the Save RAM Preview feature, the active Composition Window view must be set to Active Camera (even if there are no 3D layers in the composition).

Avoid using high-ASCII or other extended characters in filenames to be used cross-platform, especially with Watch Folder rendering.

Photoshop filters
After Effects no longer supports Photoshop plug-in filters.

Tip of the Day
To step to the previous Tip of the Day, Shift-click the "Next Tip" button.

MP3 Audio Files
MP3 audio files produce audible clicks or pops in rendered output. Later versions of QuickTime or Direct X may fix these problems. To work around the problem for Make Movie, set the Audio Block Duration in the Output Preferences to longer than the length of your output movie. This will increase your memory requirements. Scrubbing MP3 files does not work, but RAM Preview with Audio does.

Adobe Premiere® Projects
When importing Adobe Premiere (v5-6.5) projects into After Effects, Adobe Premiere transitions and titles will appear only as solids, and will not render the original content. Importing Adobe Premiere Pro projects (Windows only) will properly convert motion, After Effects effects, and some transitions. Titles and unsupported transitions will still appear as solids.

3D Compositing
Setting a light to be the parent of the camera will cause the camera to jump if it has Auto-orient enabled.

3D co-planar layers' rendering order is determined by layer order in the Timeline window, even when looking at the layers from behind.

Auto Levels, Auto Color, Auto Contrast and Shadow/Highlight
Auto Levels, Auto Color, Auto Contrast, and Shadow/Highlight may fail when used in a composition that is time-remapped in another composition. The work-around is to turn off temporal smoothing in the effect or apply the effect to the time-remapped layer itself.

Grain Effects
The Add Grain, Match Grain, and Remove Grain effects have been updated since their Grain Surgery versions. The film stock presets have changed and the Noise Softness controls are improved.

Motion Tracker/Stabilizer (Professional edition only)
The Motion Tracker/Stabilizer's start/end controls in the layer window start out matching the layer's in/out points, but are independent.

Watch Folder (Professional edition only)
When you are rendering sequence output with a Watch Folder to a Windows 2000 or XP Server, some of the rendered frames might not be visible from a Mac OS client. When you import these sequence files, you'll get a missing file alert on the Mac. This is apparently a bug in Windows 2000 and XP Services for Macintosh.

When you are running After Effects on a Japanese, Chinese, or Korean system, if you want to use a Web server to see your HTML progress files, make sure that the project name, the output folder name, and the watch folder name don’t contain any double-byte characters. This is necessary to avoid double-byte URLs, which most Web servers do not support.

AAF/OMF (Professional edition only)
AAF import has only been tested with AAF files exported from Adobe Premiere Pro. Importing AAF files from other applications may work. However, importing AAF files from other applications is not tested and not supported.

There are many types of OMF files that AE can not read. For example, project-type OMF files are not supported; media-type OMF files are supported.

AAF import does not support double-byte file paths.

For additional information and troubleshooting AAF/OMF, see the After Effects Support page at and the AAF/OMF forum on the Adobe User to User Forum on the Web at

The interpret footage option for anti-aliasing Illustrator footage (Faster vs. More Accurate) and Cineon interpretation options are not retained when using Remember Interpretation and Apply Interpretation.

Launching the English version of After Effects may fail if the path to the application contains double-byte characters.


Many Mac 3rd party plug-in installers incorrectly identify After Effects 6.5. Some may install their plug-ins into the Mac OS X Package for the After Effects application. To reveal these plug-ins, control-click on the After Effects application icon in the Finder and select “Show Package Contents.” You can then move the plug-ins into the plug-ins folder.

After Effects Preferences File
On Mac OS X the “Adobe After Effects 6.5 Prefs” file is located in /Users/<username>/Library/Preferences.


Playing a 16bpc QuickTime movie may hang After Effects on multiprocessor machines. This is a QuickTime issue and may be fixed in a future version of QuickTime for Windows.

Installing Bluefish444 software on a machine without the accompanying hardware may cause After Effects to crash when creating a composition. Contact Bluefish for an update.

After Effects does not support audio in Type1 DV AVI files. Attempting to scrub audio in these files may cause a long delay.

Third-party video mirroring plug-ins, such as those from Canopus or Matrox, may require an update to work in After Effects 6.0 or later. See or for updated information. You may be able to get older versions to run by editing AfterFX.ini (found next to the preferences file): change UseLegacyMainWindowClassName=0 to UseLegacyMainWindowClassName=1

Systems with an ATI FireGL video card and that have greater than 2GB of RAM may crash. Contact ATI for updated video card drivers.

AE may have problems using protected AAC files such as those from the iTunes music store. Use an unprotected format instead.

When writing MPEG2 format video, After Effects creates an additional file with extension .xmpses. This file contains meta-data about the render that can be used by other applications, such as Adobe Encore.

Video preview over FireWire may be garbled on systems that use the n-Force2 chipset. This may be fixed in future versions of DirectX.

If you experience out-of-memory or other errors using .WAV files, disable or uninstall any third-party DirectShow components such as DivX.

When attempting to use a FireWire preview device which is unavailable, such as when it is being used by Adobe Premiere Pro or any other application, After Effects will erroneously state that the device type doesn’t match.

Not all effects present in After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro, such as the Transform effect, will translate pasted from After Effects to Adobe Premiere Pro.

Layers whose source footage format is not supported by Premiere Pro (e.g. 16-bpc Photoshop CS files) will paste as off-line clips.

After Effects Preferences File
You can neither search for nor reveal the After Effects preferences file within Windows Explorer if the Do Not Show Hidden Files folder option within Explorer is checked. This is the default option for Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

To find the file, search for “Adobe After Effects 6.5 Prefs.txt” or look in \Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Adobe\After Effects\Prefs.

Movies exported from Macromedia Flash
QuickTime movies exported from Macromedia Flash 4 and 5 can cause other applications (including After Effects) to crash on Windows.

Footage Window
Normally, opening the footage window for Video for Windows (AVI) files opens the AVI footage window. Certain AVI files are not supported by this window, and automatically open in the After Effects footage window (for example, AVI files created using Microsoft's DirectX DV Codec and AVI files over 2GB). If the AVI footage window appears blank, use Alt-double-click to open an After Effects footage window instead.


Visit the After Effects page on the Adobe Systems Inc. Web site:

You will find links to tutorials, user forums, third-party plug-in developers, Adobe Customer Support, and more.

Also, sign up for our free Support Announcements -- timely e-mails that will keep you up-to-date with technical how-tos, patches, and plug-ins for After Effects:

Please send feature requests to, ranked in order of importance.

May 2004

Copyright (c) 2004 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Adobe, Illustrator, Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, and After Effects are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft Windows and Windows XP are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in The United States and/or other countries. Macintosh is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.