wed 18 nov 1992 12:00:00 salem, ma
aftereffects beta testing
s g collins 18 nov 1992 to david h
thanks for sending me ae 1.0b2. i've had a little time to play with it. here are some things that have occurred to me.
the “go to time ...” command is great. i wish it had a hot key, like command-g. even better if i could type a number onto the counter of the timenav floater.
things you've heard before: i wish the program would remember where i left all the windows last time. i wish when i make a new composition of a certain size, the window would automatically open to the size i spec.
some of my remarks have to do with my own perception and confusion process, rather than if or how something really works. for example: when i clicked my step-frame button on the timenav, i went back 3 frames instead of one, and my mind went boing. at first i thought there was some preference that automatically set the stepframe value to a default of 3. but later i found the default “frames per second” was ten. in any case, it caused me a little confusion. i didn't understand why the default frames per second wasn't thirty, and why the default stepframe value wasn't one.
i understand that redraws will now be interruptible — hallelujah. to me this was a priority because you are now in the phase where you are encouraging people to play with the program .
i was very happy that you are now measuring “position” of an object instead of “offset.” this makes a lot more sense than the way it was before. for one thing, it allows me to center a shrunken object without having to do any offline arithmetic, which is very important.
the torch i continue to carry is about the need for flexible appointment of mattes. you are steadily improving the usefulness of “masks,” being simple shapes with featherable edges, within whose boundary something happens (do i have that right?). therefore what you're calling “mask” is functionally the same as what we call “matte.” i won't be using these masks per se. but i keep hoping that the technology by which you are doing masks can somehow be extended to include the arbitrary specification of grayscale files. the usefulness of the software would then exponentiate.
in essence i want to be able to tell the software to perform an action (paste an image, and/or perform this combination of effects) using:
• no matte
• alpha channel (of what i'm pasting)
• channel ___ of file ____________________________
• aftereffects comp _____________________
by the way: currently, if i bring in a pict file which just happens to have a matte in its alpha channel, it is automatically pasted using the matte. if i want to paste the whole picture, i'm required to return to photoshop and make a matte-free copy of the file. i wish it gave me the option. infini-d, for example, makes you choose, upon importing an image, whether to use or ignore its alpha channel.
as we talked about on the phone, the big question for me is still, what shall i do with these movies once i make them? aftereffects definitely will enable me to do things i can't do with other software, which will be useful as soon as i discover an easy way to put them out over video. as i mentioned, it feels like the quicktime barrier is still standing between you and a significant slice of the video market.
as concerns plug-in export modules, it's a splendid idea for you to pursue the research and build specialized modules to deal with popular existing equipment and software. in the meantime, the simplest thing for us is a beeping frameflipper. i guess the universal solution would be a beeping quicktime frameflipper — especially if you could bundle it with your software.
putting out numbered picts — yes, halelujah. why not pics as well? and how soon? as i mentioned, for the dec project we started with numbered picts, then used a thing called pics compiler and a thing called projector to beep our frames out to the a62. i understand there is also a program that allows direct mac control of an a62, but it costs some extraordinary coin.
anyway, i think that's all i wanted to talk about for now. keep up the good work!