After Effects Versions: Which Version Is Better?

By Eva Williams 19 days ago, Software reviews

After Effects Versions: Which Version Is Better?

After its release in 1993, After Effects has been distributed in different versions. The earliest software was compatible only with Mac, and the first After Effects versions for Windows appeared only in 1997.

Three companies contributed to the development of this software, namely: CoSA, Aldus, and, of course, Adobe. Today this program is considered to be one of the greatest and most popular software for working with videos on Mac and Windows devices. Moreover, the developers also designed some handy apps for iOS and Android.

After Effects Early Versions

after effects versions

We can divide the rich history of After Effect development into two stages: the first versions of the software and the most recent ones.

After Effects 1.0

after effects 1.0 interface

Developed by CoSA (Company of Science and Art) in January 1993, After Effects 1.0 is the earliest version of this software that was only compatible with macOS. In May 1993 the company released more functional After Effects 1.1.

New Features:

  • Layered compositing with masks
  • First effects for videos
  • Has a transform tool
  • Can add keyframes

After Effects 2.0

after effects 2.0 interface

Aldus Corporation, which designed tools for desktop publishing, purchased CoSA together with its After Effects software in July 1993. The year later Aldus released After Effects 2.0 that received a code name Teriyaki. In May 1994 there appeared After Effects 2.0.1. It was upgraded with only one but very important feature called Power Macintosh Version (PPC).

New Features:

  • Possibility to add a blur effect
  • Includes multiple-computer rendering
  • Can blend frames
  • Timeline window
  • Supports image sequencing

After Effects 3.0

after effects 3.0 interface

Adobe became a new owner and developer of After Effects in 1994. Since then the company has created a great variety of After Effects versions improving their functionality with every new release.

In October 1995 they introduced Adobe After Effects 3.0. This updated version of the software has many features presented in such Adobe-developed tools as Photoshop and Illustrator. The earliest Windows-compatible version of Adobe After Effects 3.0 appeared in May 1997, pleasing many computer users.

New Features:

  • Has context menus
  • Helpful keyframe assistant feature
  • Can add many effects to one layer
  • Layer transfer modes
  • Supports non-square pixels
  • Animated GIF output
  • Path text effect

After Effects 4.0

after effects 4.0 interface

Released in January 1999, Adobe After Effects 4.0 received a code name ebeer. It took Adobe three years to develop a new version. Many users waited for a new update eagerly and were extremely pleased with the new features of this Adobe After Effects version.

The interface of software was greatly improved to meet the demands of the users of that time. Although this version was not perfect, it became quite popular and the main reason for this is that it was the first After Effects for Mac and Windows OS.

New Features:

  • Time layout columns that can be moved
  • Warping effects
  • Various sound effects
  • Rulers and guides
  • Has a transform feature
  • Includes 3D channel effects
  • Sequences the selected layers

After Effects 5.0

after effects 5.0 interface

Released in April 2001, Adobe After Effects 5.0 received the code name Melmet. Some After Effects versions already had 3D features, but in the 5.0 version, this feature was greatly enhanced. So, with the help of Adobe After Effects 5.0, you can produce motions graphics as well as add some stunning visual effects to the video.

The software is an excellent tool for creating 2D and 3D animations, adding various effects to film, video, or other multimedia. It integrates with Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

Those using these programs won’t experience any difficulties while working with After Effects 5.0 UI as it is quite similar to that of Photoshop, Illustrator, or Premiere. You can compare After Effects vs Premiere Pro, to better understand the difference between these programs.

New Features:

  • Supports dynamic previews
  • Creates 3D layers & lights
  • Vector painting
  • Mask colors and motion blur
  • Workspace can be personalized
  • Atomic Power plug-ins
  • Various effects

After Effects 6.0

after effects 6.0 interface

Adobe After Effects 6.0 appeared in 2003 under the code name Foodfite. Like other Adobe After Effects versions, this one has rich functionality and is considered by many users as the best tool for creating and editing animations.

A new feature of this version that attracted the attention of many users is vector painting. Moreover, this program is compatible with many other Adobe software increasing its productivity and functionality.

Adobe After Effects 6.0 uses OpenGL standards for speeding up the display of 3D effects. With its rich functionality, the software can create various text animations and produce other interesting effects.

New Features:

  • Allows painting, scripting, and adding text layers
  • Can render in the background
  • Cutting-edge clone tool
  • Collection of presets
  • Firewire video output
  • Motion tracking scale

After Effects 7.0

after effects 7.0 interface

After Effects 7.0 is a highly functional video editing program that contains many advanced features for producing stunning visual effects. The software was first introduced in 2006.

Being the latest After Effects version at the time, it became very popular because of two major updates like an extensive collection of Animation and Behavior presets and tight integration with other handy Production Studio products.

New Features:

  • Unified window user interface
  • Color depth set at 32-bpc
  • Supports Adobe Bridge
  • Display color management
  • Smart Blur effect
  • Can edit graphs
  • Integrates with Premiere Pro

After Effects Creative Suite Era

Starting from the Creative Suite era, After Effects has undergone many transformations from being an ordinary video editor to a professional program with many creative features and realistic effects.

After Effects CS3

after effects CS3 interface

Released on June 2nd, 2007, Adobe After Effects CS3(8.0) became one of those versions included in Adobe Creative Suite. This software boasts many useful upgrades including an enhanced design vector graphics for creating more natural-looking movements. It features a high level of integration with other Adobe tools for more productive functioning.

New Features:

  • Shape Layers
  • Puppet tool
  • Per-character 3D text animation
  • Brainstorm
  • Effective color management
  • Improved performance
  • Creates videos for mobile devices

After Effects CS4

after effects CS4 interface

Adobe After Effects CS4 appeared in February 2008 and received a code name chinchillada. The company added many handy features to this version making it the leading visual effects and animating software of that time. With this software, users could work more efficiently.

By using Adobe After Effects CS4, you can easily navigate your project, add 3-D layers from Photoshop Extended, and refine your 3D animation with Z-position keyframes.

New Features:

  • Can import live PSD 3D layer
  • Performs fast search in the project
  • Imagineer Mocha
  • Can produce a cartoon effect
  • Mini flowchart
  • Supports RED R3D clips

After Effects CS5

after effects CS5 interface

Adobe After Effects CS5 is one of the latest After Effects versions that was released in April 2010. It received the code name esgocart. This software is quite popular because of its flawless performance and the variety of visual effects it offers.

Supporting 64-bit Windows, this tool allows you to use all the advantages of your computer functionality, creating HD, 2K, and 4K projects. This version also integrates many advanced features like the new Roto Brush, as well as other numerous subtle but important updates that enhance its performance greatly.

With the help of Adobe After Effects CS5, you can produce stunning motion graphics with original visual effects that will capture the attention of many viewers.

New Features:

  • Refine Matte effect
  • Allows working with LUT
  • Enhanced Align panel
  • Keyframes can be set automatically
  • Can create Stereo 3D Rig
  • Allows for CinemaDNG importing

After Effects CS6

after effects CS6 interface

Introduced in April 2012, Adobe After Effects CS6 was referred to as Sinaltapas. Equipped with an advanced 3D renderer, this greatly enhanced software can now extrude text and shape layers. Many users want to know how to download After Effects CS6 for free, but we don’t recommend looking for such methods as it is illegal and can harm your PC.

Like many other Adobe After Effects versions, this one received many useful features in comparison to the previous editions. It can now use Environment layers, has enriched 3D animations functionality, etc. This program no longer uses a 2.5D engine, but take on 3D for creating stunning motion pictures. Moreover, you can choose what renderer to use: 2.5D or an updated 3D one.

New Features:

  • Has Mask feather instrument
  • Fitted with 3D camera tracker
  • Global performance cache
  • Rolling shutter fix
  • Many cool effects
  • Enhanced OpenGL support

After Effects Creative Cloud Era

Adobe After Effects CC is powerful compositing and animating software specially developed for professionals active in the field of design or animation. After Effects versions released within this series allow you to create stunning visual effects for TV, video, film, etc. Included in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, this software is the main tool for creating visual effects and animations. With the help of After Effects CC, you can animate texts by spinning separate words, twirling headings, etc.

After Effects CC

after effects CC interface

The users of Adobe After Effects CC can benefit from the great functionality of this program, as well as its ability to produce professional content. The latest versions of this software allow you to produce impressive motion graphics, as well as create animated videos with data files.

Adobe After Effects CC can work with JSON data files that allow you to integrate animations into the composition. The software’s set of functions and perfect performance enable you to make original content that causes an immersive effect.

New Features:

  • Stunning virtual reality effects
  • You can create nulls from the path
  • Extract cube map feature
  • Improved 3D pipeline
  • Acceleration of effects using GPU
  • Has templates for creating motion graphics
  • Fitted with visual keyboard shortcut editor

After Effects: Today and Tomorrow

Nowadays Adobe After Effects versions provide users with rich functionality for producing a great variety of media content such as motion graphics, animations videos, and more. The software can also integrate CG animations with live videos and replace backgrounds. The software allows you to bring your video editing experience to a new level by moving parts of images directly on the footage.

As this tool is very popular nowadays, but costs much money, many users are ready to face the risk and decide to download After Effects Crack, which is illegal and can infect your computer with a virus.

after effects 1.0 vs cc version

After Effects Creative Cloud can meet all your video editing needs on a local machine taking much CPU. However, it is likely that the future updates AE will cause lots of awe, and drawbacks will be eliminated.

Deleting some objects from the footage is not as simple as removing objects from images. You need to create masks for defining the part of the video you want to erase. To do this, you have to use animated or painted masks or automated tracking tools. It will be even more difficult for the tool to perform this task as parts of the frame for filling in holes after object removal might not remain in the frame a few seconds later.

To achieve better results, AE lets you define the specific parts of a frame that will be more suitable for filling holes. The problem can be solved by creating reference still frames in Photoshop for guiding the software’s edits.


All After Effects versions are fitted with numerous useful functions for video editing. However, if you are an amateur and want to save your time, you can use ready-made After Effects effects or LUTs for producing professional and appealing videos.

after effects freebies