Adobe has used IBC 2014 to give a sneak peak at future versions of its video editing, VFX and animation tools: After Effects, Premiere Pro, Prelude, SpeedGrade, Audition and Story Plus.

The news debuted at the biggest European trade show in the broadcast and post-production calender, IBC (International Broadcast Conference) in Amsterdam. The updates see a 'flatter UI' with support for hiDPI and touchscreens on Windows, new creative tools, support for more video formats, and improved project management.

After Effects and Premiere Pro update 'due in November'

At an embargoed briefing last week, Adobe's spokespeople wouldn't give a fixed date as to when these updates to its video tools would be available - but Premiere Pro's product manager Al Mooney did drop some major hints, saying "take a look at what we did last year". At IBC 2013, Adobe debuted updates to After Effects CC including the Mask Tracker and Premiere Pro CC's OpenCL support - and these shipped in November 2013. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out that a November 2014 release date is planned for these updates to Creative Cloud's video tools.

Adobe After Effects' and Premiere Pro's new interface

For the next update to After Effects, Premiere Pro, Prelude, SpeedGrade, Audition and Story Plus, Adobe has made some visual changes to its products' UI. It's a flatter UI with less bevelling that Al says has "less unnecessary noise" and has swapped the yellow accent colour for a "more professional" blue.

Though cleaner, the new interface looks little different and the visual changes make no different to how you work.

More important for users of high-end Windows laptops such as Dell's Precision M3800 - and perhaps Microsoft's own Surface Pro - the tools support hiDPI screens and (to some degree) touch controls including gestures. The tools have supported Apple's hiDPI Retina Displays for over a year, so this brings the Windows side in line with that - and what Photoshop and Illustrator already support on Windows. This means that when one of these tools is opened on a hiDPI display - such as the M3800's 3,200x1,800-pixel screen - the interface elements are essentially doubled in size. So not only do you get nicer, smoother buttons - but they're also large enough to make clicking on them much easier, and you don't waste time attempting to click on the buttons and missing or spending ages ensuring you clicking in exactly the right spot.

Touch control is something that appears to have been added in a thoughtful way. Much of what you'd want to achieve in Premiere Pro, After Effects or Speedgrade requires more precision than your fingers can provide, but they can be much faster than a mouse for broad control - gestures that launch actions or applications, fast scrubbing or quickly choosing from a small number of big buttons such as Preludes's Tag panel. Adobe appears to have added touch control to its video applications with this in mind.

Will Photoshop, Illustrator and the rest of the Creative Cloud applications get the new interface?

Adobe already had 'debevelled' Photoshop, Illustrator et al when it launched the first Creative Cloud versions back in the summer of 2013.

What's new in After Effects CC at IBC 2014

Cinema 4D Lite has been upgraded to R16 to match the current version of the full software, and the Cineware plugin that AE uses to communicate with the 3D suite has been upgraded to v2.0. This fixes some bugs and allows new features to R16 to be used within AE. Maxon hasn't said yet which of R16's new features will be added to the Lite version, though it seems likely the Lite version will get the new Content Library and the Reflectance channel.

Other new features include:

  • Copy With Relative Property Links command
  • Color management for Dynamic Link
  • Adobe Anywhere improvements
  • Native GoPro CineForm codecs
  • Improved Adobe Media Encoder watch folders
  • "Many" bug fixes

What's new in Premiere Pro CC at IBC 2014

  • Search Bins are bins that automatically populated with clips, audio and like based on metadata search.
  • Advanced Timeline Search to find clips based on name or comments.
  • New tools to make it easier to work across multiple projects at once or bring assets/edits from one to another including the ability to open multiple Media Brower panels simultaneously and the Source Monitor Timeline View that allows editors to preview sequences from other projects (and take elements from them)
  • Consolidate and Transcode converts sequences or an entire project into a single codec, while retaining the ability to make edit adjustments later, and leaving original projects untouched.
  • Support for the GoPro CineForm codec and the AJA RAW format from the AJA CION camera.
  • GPU-based debayering for Phantom Cine and Canon RAW footage.
  • A free-draw polygon Pen tool and on-screen Bezier adjustments - with feathering and expansion - for masking and tracking

What's new in SpeedGrade CC at IBC 2014

  • Looks improvement including hover-based previews
  • Curves adjustments
  • Better audio support

What's new in Prelude CC at IBC 2014

  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Add in/out points and transitions

What's new in Audition CC at IBC 2014

  • Support for RED, XDCAM, MXF
  • Target Dynamic Range for levelling speech