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After Effects CC, Flash CC and PhoneGap

Creative CloudTM offers new and improved features for After EffectsR CC, FlashR Professional CC and PhoneGap Build. After Effects has been around for a while but with the Creative Cloud we see new live integration between CINEMA 4D, 3D objects and After Effects CC. Creative Cloud also makes creating apps with PhoneGap Build much easier and the Toolkit for CreateJS extension is now built into Flash Professional CC.

After Effects CC

Two impressive improvements to After Effects CC are the new integration between After Effects CC and CINEMA 4D and the new CINEMA 4D Advanced Rendering engine. Working with 3D objects goes much more quickly than in the past due to the new CINEMA 4D Advanced Rendering engine. Previously, working with 3D objects in After Effects required pre-rendering of the 3D asset. Now this pre-rendering is no longer necessary, and with the new integration between programs, any 3D assets made in CINEMA 4D and imported into your After Effects CC project will be automatically updated if you edit the 3D object again.

Another great upgrade providing better results is the new Refine Edge tool in After Effects CC. Previously, we used the Roto Brush in After Effects to define the matte separation between foreground and background. But creating this matte for a detailed image was a very time consuming process. With After Effects CC we have the new Refine Edge and Refine Soft Matte tools which are based on new spatial and temporal algorithms that can create a matte with greater detailed edges. Also, you have the option to continue to refine the matte with Feather, Contrast and Chatter controls.

PhoneGap

Integration is the new normal for Creative Cloud apps and the PhoneGap Build service panel is integrated with both Edge Code CC, when used with a free extension, and natively with Dreamweaver CC. As you know, PhoneGap Build is the process that packages your web content that you have created in Edge Code or Dreamweaver into mobile apps for iOS, Android and other platforms.

One nice feature of the PhoneGap Build in Creative Cloud is the ability to preview your project on your tablet or smartphone without the need for a USB connection. Another is the Hydration feature which updates all of your clients' or team members' apps with each new build, thus avoiding confusion as to which build is the most recent.

Finally, PhoneGap Build downloadable plugins easily add features to your apps for Facebook, Google Analytics and Push notifications. As you know, many external websites allow their visitors to log in to an account using either the login information for that website or their Facebook login information. Now, you can add this same feature to your own apps with the Facebook Connect plug-in.

Flash Professional CC

AdobeR has rebuilt Flash Professional CC to have better performance and also added some new features. Previously, Flash users have been able to export their Flash project as a Quicktime movie but the results had dropped frames and less than high-quality video. Now with the newly rebuilt Flash and the Adobe Media Encoder, exporting your Flash project in HD video and audio as an MP4 video is much better. The process can export your entire project or only a part of the timeline as video.

As we all know, Flash wasn’t created as a mobile app creation software. However, with the popularity of mobile apps, Adobe offered an extension for Flash called Toolkit for CreateJS, which allowed us to add mobile touch functionality to our Flash projects. Now, this feature is no longer an extension as it is built into the Flash Action panel. Both your ActionScript code and your JavaScript touch-based code are together in the Actions panel. Depending on your export option, Flash will use the ActionScript code when exporting your project as a Flash .swf file and the JavaScript code when you publish using the HTML export feature. When exporting with this Toolkit for CreateJS panel, Flash will create a folder containing the HTML5 and JavaScript files along with the image assets.



Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this article. Adobe supplied a Creative Cloud membership for the purpose of this review. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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