Adobe After Effects Standard 5.0 beta

While the program doesn't attempt to do 3D modelling, it does allow you to create a 3D space in which different two-dimensional objects or video clips can be arranged in front of a virtual camera. You can zoom the "camera" among graphics and light sources, which can also be positioned at will, giving some effects which can't be achieved using conventional techniques.

New interface features include property value settings that can be changed using an innovative virtual slider that's hard to describe but very easy to use. This saves a lot of screen space while making complex adjustments, but doesn't limit your ability to type in exact numerical values.

Perhaps the most interesting change is the ability to make the properties of objects depend on other objects through relationships you can create either visually or by editing JavaScript. This, combined with other new features such as parenting, enables quite complex animations to be created quickly. For example, you can specify that an object will rotate at twice the speed of another object, or that parts of an arm will appear to move in a realistic relationship to each other, without having to animate them manually.

Other additions include the ability to export to Macromedia Flash format for Web use, more effects, improved preview performance, and vector paint tools for animation (in the advanced version). After Effects 5 also has all the standard capabilities of previous versions.

Adobe After Effects Standard 5.0 beta

Price: $1669; Upgrade $538; Phone: 1300 550 305; URL:

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