Multimedia Using Adobe After Effects Computer Science Essay - Essay Example

Increase in technology making wider use of multimedia and its applications. For a good presentation multimedia is used to present in very effective and innovative way. Every internet technology makes use of this multimedia. To bring a good output in any broadcasting media’s multimedia is used. In general the term multimedia has many definitions; each author denotes it in their own ways. According to J Grimes it is “The combination of two or more media”(J Grimes,1998). Media can be anything like audio, video, graphics, images, text etc.

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Multimedia is in the form of global hierarchical system, the software of this applications provides direct communication to their users. Multimedia is used not only in internet but also in intranet like LAN (Local Area Networks). To get the information or to access the remote systems or server’s the request or information must pass through multimedia to the networks. Because before sending the data to the network the media files should be compressed with the help of multimedia to avoid the communication delay. At the receiving end some of the constraints like delay, jitter will be used for the effective transmission of audio and video files. This is the reason why communications network technologies are increasing rapidly. To produce an effective animation with good effects multimedia and its applications are widely used. To produce good effects there are many versions and software’s available in the market. Of them Adobe After Effects is the one which produces affective result (CH Wu, 2009).

The earlier version of After effects is CoSA which came in January 1993 supports only MAC (Adobe, 2008). From then to till now many versions were evolved with adding extra features to the existing. Some emerged versions supports only MAC systems some are compatible with WINDOWS operating system; some are with command prompt like UNIX and LINUX. There are also versions which also support both the operating systems. The Prior version of CoSA was later in 1994 attained by the Adobe Company (Adobe, 2008). From then, that brand released many versions including Page Maker and Adobe After Effects.

The primary use of Adobe After effects is to create motion graphics and visual effects, which allows user to alter, animate and composite media in 2D and 3D space with its various built-in tools and plug-ins. After effects and some NLEs (Non Linear Editing systems) are layer oriented this means each and every object media has its own individual tracks. In contrast this also has track oriented system which means all media objects fall in to same track without overlapping each other. This makes editing easier and can comprise with less efforts. There are different software packages available to support not only small volumes of media objects, but also support large volumes of data. The better suited software for large volume data is Appleshake. Using Shy switch adobe After effects will oppose the clutter selectively by hiding the layers (Adobe, 2008).

The main interface consists of several panels of them the three most important are Project Panel, Composition Panel and Timeline Panel. The Project panel acts as interface to import stills, audio and video footage items. The footage items used here are in the time line panel, where timing and layer order can be adjusted. In composition panel the items visible at the current time marker are displayed.

This report starts by giving a brief knowledge about the multimedia and its applications, Adobe After effects. Later discusses about the existing features in After effects and future advancements for the same. Finally the summary includes.


To support each and every common individual need multimedia is used. So, today’s globalised world is known as “The world of Multimedia”(Slawson, 1993). The features of multimedia are used not only for creation of movies or for animation with good effects. This is also used in many organisations for communicating over the networks. As electronic process for teaching technologies is becoming more expensive, an interactive process of learning method was introduced through multimedia (Slawson, 1993). Interactive learning multimedia is treated as process, rather than the technology which always provides potential knowledge for the updated technologies (Slawson, 1993). To create such classes in interactive and effective way Adobe after effects is used. Adobe is used to create, edit and alter the motion graphics for DVD, video, Film etc. The latest versions of Adobe has many more extra features which gives good composting and resulting in a blockbuster results. Though multimedia is expensive to learn, the significance of it is increasing day by day because of its enormous effects and capability. So many people are showing interest towards learning the same. To become a multimedia professional no prior qualifications are required. There are no age or gender constraints, so anyone can become professional in this at anytime. Innovation of ideas is important here because to edit an existing graphical image or to create new motion picture creativity is important. Composting software packages like Apple shake are used to create a node or workflow process. Each package has its own importance the importance of those and its features will be discussed in detail in the coming sections.


In today’s world the term multimedia is used very often. Till now there is no standard definition of multimedia each author describes it in their own convenient way (B Furht, 1998). “The term media refers to a form of human interaction that is amenable to computer capture processing such as audio, video, graphics, text, images etc and the term multi refers to the combination of the media present in a single application”( B Furht, 1998).

Multimedia Compression and Technologies Standards

There are many widely accepted technologies in the world of multimedia, every day many new technologies are emerging in to the market. So, the importance of products changes from day to day life. But all emerged and existing products are based on some standards which are used for compression. Let us now discuss in brief about some of those standards and products like Quick Time player, Video for Windows, Indeo [1] ( Intel Video) (CH Wu, 2009). There are also some new and basic standards like ISO (International Standard Organisation) and MHEG (Multimedia and Hypermedia Information Coding Expert Group) (CH Wu, 2009). Basing on these standards the compression techniques follows.

2.1.1(A) Quick Time Player

Quick Time is a basic technology developed by Apple Computers (CH Wu, 2009). The format of this media is compatible with almost all Operating systems like Linux, Windows (NT/95/XP/7) and for all apple computers (CH Wu, 2009). This technology is the most commonly accepted mass storage for multimedia communications. The media format of this supports MPEG (Motion Picture Expert Group) which is an ISO- standard, Indeo (Intel Video). This also supports the photo CD format for Kodak’s and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) (CH Wu, 2009). The main intention behind developing this technology is such that it can be used by anyone without any charge. So it is a trusted player which can be easily downloaded from the internet with free of cost.

2.1.1 (B) Video for Windows

The technology Video for Windows (VFW) was developed by Microsoft especially for Windows environment (95/NT/XP). After this technology Active Movie emerged with in no time this replaced VFW and designed in such a way that it supports the VFW technology (CH Wu, 2009).Then after multimedia world has experienced an excellent technology which not only supports video but also audio files and that file is AVI( Audio Video Interleave). These file formats play back with a small size of 320?240 pixels (quarter VGA screen) using the software. If the processor is of Intel versions it plays with the size of 640?480 pixels (quarter VGA screen) because Intel computer can able to cope up with good graphics accelerator by using run length encoding method to compress the information(CH Wu, 2009). In addition to it, this also supports player formats like quick time and Indeo by using video compression algorithms.

2.1.1 (C) Indeo (Intel Video)

The basic intention behind developing this product is not only to play back audio and video files, but also to store it on a personal Computer (PC). So this was originally developed by the David Samoff research Center for the conversion of NTSC (National Television System Committee) analog signal in to digital video signal (CH Wu, 2009). The software of this may be a choice for compression in Quick time and Video for Windows. The major comparison among the above two technologies and Indeo product is Quick time and VFW will be compressed by the software and hardware will be used for Indeo which achieves higher frame rate with better resolutions. For compression of Indeo through hardware the requirements are a PC size card using DVI (Digital Video Interface) technology which is based on 1750 chipset of Intel (CH Wu, 2009). Indeo uses the Compression technique called Vector Quantization with run length coding in the ratio of 160:1. Video Conferencing is the major application of Indeo which can store minimum of 70 minutes video in a CD-ROM. Based on Video Conferencing application Intel has launched one more product named PCWG (Personal Conferencing Work Group). The compression technique used here is software instead of hardware to cope up with reasonable cost. Intel has developed many products based on different standards. As Indeo is based on Vector Quantization it works much faster than MPEG (Motion Picture Expert Group) and H.261.This is an ITU-T (International Telecommunication Union- Telecommunication) Video Conferencing standard based on DCT (Discrete Cosine Transform) (CH Wu, 2009).

2.1.1 (D) MHEG (Multimedia and Hypermedia Information Coding Expert Group)

To control the presentations of multimedia and hypermedia MHEG is a standard prepared by ISO for a set of object classes. To support the multi vendor client or server environment MHEG-5 technique was introduced (CH WU, 2009). Vendors who developed applications in this environment have feasibility that application can be developed once and later information can be interchangeable according to the end user (client/vendor) environment. MHEG has additional multimedia handling capabilities like it is used for representation between different computers and compatible with all typ0e of OS, has 3 different spatial coordinates compared to HTML (Hypertext Markup language). This is good at time synchronisation. ARMIDA service which is a product prototype developed for video conferencing (CH WU, 2009).


There are many widely accepted compression standards like GIF (Graphical Information Format) which is mostly used for internet services and ISO (International standard Organization) standard for high quality of delivery. This report illustrates about the two major ISO compression standards which are accepted worldwide.

2.1.2(A) JPEG (Joint Picture Expert Group)

This standard is used for compressing and decompressing the colour or gray scale images which was set by ISO standard. JPEG is used for compressing the still pictures like images, graphics, colour FAX, audio graphical conference, desktop publishing etc. The standards of JPEG follow four coding processes.

Base Line System: This is a simple and efficient system which is suitable for many of the applications. To encode the data it uses sequential coding which means data passes in a single through which produces 8 bit resolution for each input (CH WU, 2009).

Extended System: The extended system improves the quality of base line system by producing 12 resolution bits. For encoding the data is uses arithmetic coding by progressive build-up. This progresses low frequency blurred image to higher frequency quality image and successive approximation for most significant to least significant bits (CH Wu, 2009). Progressive build-up is suitable for communication sensitive applications. Arithmetic encoding compresses almost 5-10% better when compared with Huffman coding.

Hierarchical encoding method: The name itself indicates it is hierarchical, so it build-up the data from low to high. This means it follows the pyramid shape model form low pixels to high pixels. It uses DCT (Discrete Cosine Transform) encoding method for comparison between current and succeeding frame (CH Wu, 2009). This supports both 8 and 12 bit resolutions.

Lossless Method: This is widely used in medical applications where exact reconstruction of the image is required. Each pixel’s digital value can be 2 or 16 bits. It supports sequential encoding and also user has a choice of selecting encoding methods either arithmetic or Huffman coding (CH Wu, 2009). This does not make use of DCT.

Fig 1: Block Diagram of JPEG compression scheme


2.1.2(B) MPEG (Motion Picture Expert Group)

“The MPEG standard was developed by the ISO/ JTC1/SC29/ WG11 for compressing motion pictures in contrast to JPEG which is used for still images” (CH Wu, 2009). MPEG standards specify and concentrate on decoding process with bit syntax format. It leaves a separate space for encoding process. This has two standards MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 in addition to this there is one more standard which is under progress MPEG-4. Let us discuss in brief about the same.

MPEG-1: For compressing video on digital storage like CD-ROM MPEG-1 is used (CH Wu, 2009). In storage media the compression is rate about 1 to 1.5 Mbps (Mega bit per second) and in communication networks its range is about 6 to 9 with compression ratio of approximately 130:1.

MPEG-2: In addition to the video compression on media it also used for compressing interlaced digital video in cable, satellite TV, HDTV (High Definition TV), High- quality digital storage media and video service through communications with range of [6-9]. The compression ratio of this is 30-100:1 (CH Wu, 2009).

MPEG-4: This is a long term project which was started in 1993 with the expected completion year as 1998 (CH Wu, 2009). This sets for all type of applications and has advanced coding method. It has got the following features in addition to the compression potential.

Content based scalability and error prone environments have universal access capabilities by providing good robustness.

“Content based interactivity for multimedia access, manipulation and bit-stream editing” (CH Wu, 2009). In addition to this it has coding methods like hybrid natural and synthetic methods with improved random access which is temporary. In MPEG-4 MSDL ( MPEG-4 Syntactic Description Language ) was introduced to describe the flexibility of bit stream structure, configuring, decoding of the program, selecting, describing, editing, and downloading. MSDL include tools, profiles and algorithms. “Profile may be a single or combinations of one or more algorithms. Algorithm is a collection of tools for providing one or more functionality. Tools are simple and basic technique” (CH Wu, 2009).

Syntax of MSDL layer

FLEX 0 “This is used in switching between pre-defined algorithms like MPEG-1, MPEG-2, JPEG, etc “(CH Wu, 2009).

FLEX 1 “This syntax is for configuring decoders using standard tools like DCT and Huffman coding” (CH Wu, 2009).

FLEX 2 “used for tool updating and downloading” (CH Wu, 2009).

Fig 2: Block Diagram of MPEG encoder


Multimedia Applications

Now-a-days we can find the use of multimedia in not only media, entertainment and arts field but also in almost all places and in all services like hospitals, government organisations. It’s also used in the field of education departments like physics, mathematics etc. The following are some of the important applications of multimedia.

Commercial Purpose Creativity is most widely useful in these areas because for doing any type of business a good popularity is vital. For launching a product a good advertisement is necessary where in which creativity should be used here to deal with.

Education To make the classes interactively for the student’s multimedia is used by giving SFX and VFX effects.

Entertainment Multimedia is basically developed for this field where different types of media are included. Used to create animation movies, multimedia games. Many video games include multimedia techniques which are a good time pass and in addition to it this improves the knowledge of the player. Multimedia games can be available through online to play or it can also be obtained through CD’s.

In Mathematical and Scientific field Multimedia has extensive range of use in the research field. Because after creation of a particular molecule or a single substance using multimedia that molecule will be studied by enlarging the size or increasing the properties of it. In this way multimedia will also be used in the field of calculations.

For creation of any visual or animation graphics the most commonly used effects are special effects popularly known as SFX and visual effects named as VFX. To edit these there are many editing software’s available of them the most popular editing software is Adobe After Effects which commonly known as AE.

Adobe After Effects (AE)

Adobe After effects is mainly used for workflow process management for colour processing. To achieve a perfect quality of colour blended emotions or graphics to the images AE is used. The currently used software for editing in version of AE is AECS5. Prior to this there are many previous versions which are used for colour blending process. The basic version of Adobe is CoSA and the code name for it is egg in the year of 1993 in January (Adobe, 2008). “The features of this are mask with layered compositing, effects, keyframes, transforms” (Adobe, 2008). In the same year but in the month of May one more version of it is released but with extended features. Both versions of these CoSA1.0 and 1.1 support MAC operating system (Adobe, 2008). From then to till now there have been many technologies and versions evolved. The report concentrates on AE and its versions.

Adobe After Effects CS5

To succeed in today’s media culture visual richness and outstanding performance is required which can be obtained through CS5. It’s new 64-bit native support helps most of the computer’s to work more efficiently with complex projects like HD, 2k and 4K. A broad range of innovative features from the new roto brush allows for creating the stream line of workflow. This enables to create ordinary graphics in to extra ordinary graphics which results in blockbuster effects while delivering the work with variety of screens.

2.3.1(A) Features of CS5

64-bit performance support: To craft complex 3D scenes it works flexibly with all types of available RAM and different types of processors (Adobe, 2008). It is easy to work on large frames, camera moves, preview of long deep layered composites, a single layer can be viewed in to different types of output format. The four colour channels of this are red, blue, green, alpha.

Fig 3: 64-bit native support


Format memory requirements

standard definition

“720?486 pixels x 4 color channels* x 8 bpc =1.33 megabytes/frame10 seconds @ 29.97 fps = 398.6MB” (Adobe, 2008)

high definition

“1920?1080 pixels x 4 color channels* x 16 bpc =15.82 megabytes/frame10 seconds @ 23.976 fps = 3.7GB” (Adobe, 2008).

Digital cinema

“4096?2304 pixels x 4 color channels* x 32 bpc =144 megabytes/frame10 seconds @ 24 fps =33.75GB” (Adobe, 2008).

Visual Innovation: “After Effects CS5 includes Mocha for After Effects CS5 v2 with the Mocha Shape plug-in, Color Finesse 3, and Digieffects FreeForm” (Adobe, 2008). As these are third party plug-ins included with CS5 the user interface was installed in only English language.

Efficient Composition: Performs composite productions very faster with maximum bit depth rate because of the new roto brush tool. There is a new support for colour LUTs (Look Up Table) and other breakthroughs. Production of pipelines was excellent and in complex digital workflow productions good support of XMP metadata is important.CS5 completely uses innovation of technology everywhere (Adobe, 2008).

Deliver everywhere: “Work with a wider range of media types-now including AVC-Intra and expanded RED camera support-and render the final results in formats from mobile media to feature films at maximum bit depth and resolution, using industry-unique colour management and new custom Colour Look-Up Table (LUT) support to help ensure accurate results across a variety of delivery platforms” (Adobe, 2008).

The Adobe After effects not only works well in Windows environment but also it is compatible also with MAC and can produce good result. The Roto brush tool is a very powerful tool which separates foreground and background and chooses which environment and position of scale sets to fix the image. If drawing a position of image is unsure then positioning an outline on the picture with roto brush gives good result. The digieffects which is a free from effects which gives 3D modelling effects.


In multimedia applications the effects used are like SFX and VFX to edit this Adobe after effects are used. The following are the key point which I found in my research on this topic.

Adobe After Effects is an application which is used for 3D Compositing and as well as visual effects. It is one of the most top10 compositing software.

Well coming to software, there are more drawbacks on that compare to newer versions.

Newer application is more user friendly and more reliable compare to previous versions.

It supports all types of major media formats for both import and export.

In newer version i.e., After Effects CS5, it only supports 64bit Os. So application can take more memory from Os which support up to 64GB of memory. So that huge amount of data can be accessed through local HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and also from network. The speed of the drive can be experienced by using 1Gbps of LAN.

But in this the main issue is multitask cannot be performed. This means at a time only application can be run and processed.

Due to this backlog, working on more files at a time is not possible so the process becomes time consuming one.

The drawback of this issue can be overcome by installing the application and plugins which we used in more than one application. But it takes 2-3Hrs of time moreover it is a time consuming program. In addition to it one user can’t work on multiple projects/files at a time.


To overcome the delay process, there is a trick which should be followed to open multiple applications.

The trick is as follows.

I.e., just add the letter “-M” after the path at target tab.

The image is as follows.

Using this script multiple applications can be opened at a time which works faster and also save the time depending on the configuration of the user machine. If the machine is of good configuration a very good quality of speed can be experienced.

Fig4:Explanation of Multi Application


Adobe After Effects CS5 boost the performance and results in a high quality of production. Its features like roto brush tool used to create and separate foreground and background images without much time. Its third party plug-ins increases robustness and efficiency of the program. Its 64-bit native support makes the process compatible with all type of processor’s. Use good colour blending and movie rendering techniques which gives good effects with innovation of ideas. This also supports auto key frame modes and provides flexibility to customer or client for choosing his own colour Look Up Tables (LUT).

In any product there are not only advantages but also we can find disadvantages. This paragraph discusses all about the disadvantages of CS5. For installing CS5 the OS should support some features like OSx10.5.7 (Adobe, 2008). As this supports 64-bit native support every third party plug-in of it should be upgraded to the same. This is not only time taking process but also costly process. CS5 is not compatible with older versions so every time backward version like CS4 must be installed in addition to the CS5. This makes to work on the current projects without difficulty. Installing on a single PC two or more versions decreases the speed of the processor as older versions works only on 32-bit applications. For AE lights and other 3D layers there is no real interaction of 3D. So the lights and 3D layers should be applied separately in Photoshop this is another important drawback which should be considered.


This report describes briefly about the multimedia and its applications. A very clear and basic explanation about working flow of Adobe After Effects and its current version CS5 which is popularly known as AECS5. This paper also discusses about the problem of opening multi applications at a time and provided the solution for the same. The detailed explanation about the roto brush tool and its importance is provided. This research has clearly explained the merits and demerits of AE (AE CS5). As the technology has good advancements in day to day life the long term project which is still in progress should come out with good advancements.

The future advancements of this technology can be upgrading the software with built in lights and 3D effects with good real 3D interaction. CS5 must be compatible with backward versions of CS like CS4 and Cs3. In addition to this there can be many future advancements based on the technology developed.

(4300 words excluded references and index)


LAN- Local Area Network

AE- Adobe After Effects

NLE- Non Linear Editing Systems

DVD- Digital Video Disk

INDEO- Intel Video

MHEG-Multimedia Hypermedia Information Coding Expert Group

MIDI- Musical Instrument Digital Interface

VFW- Video For Windows

AVI- Audio Video Interface

DVI- Digital Video Interface

MPEG- Motion Picture Expert Group

JPEG- Joint Picture Expert Group

ITU-T – International Telecommunication Union- Telecommunication

DCT- Discrete Cosine Transform

HTML- Hyper Text Markup Language

GIF- Graphical Interchange Format

ISO- International Standard Organisation

HDTV- High Definition TV

MSDL- MPEG-4 Syntactic Description Language

SFX- Special Effects

VFX- Visual Effects

LUT- Look Up Table