This week, Adobe has been teasing us with a taster of what's to come in their long-awaited upgrade to their compositing software After Effects. In order to compete with other packages on the market (namely Discreet combustion), Adobe has broken After Effects into two packages - a Standard version and a Production Bundle. The Standard version features all of the tools and features most graphic production people and studios will need, and the Production Bundle features more advanced tools such as additional keying, motion control and distortion tools, audio effects, 3D channel effects, 16-bit per channel color, vector paint tools and support for network rendering. Both versions of After Effects boast 3D compositing tools in addition to Adobe's familiar layer system. This flexible new feature lets one mix 2D and 3D layers in a single composition, create and animate lights and cameras, and much more. Users can work in either 2D or 3D, or mix and match on a layer-by-layer basis by using the 3D Layer switch to convert a layer to 3D at any time. While both 2D and 3D layers can move horizontally or vertically, 3D layers can also animate in 3D space while interacting with lights, shadows and cameras. The Production Bundle of After Effects 5.0 also features non-destructive vector paint tools - these two new features alone bring After Effects 5.0 back up to date and make it more than able to compete with any other product in this section of the market. Moreover, Version 5 features Flash outputting, new effects, editing tools, expressions, parenting and enhanced integration with other Adobe products. With these new features and enhancements Adobe has blurred the line between low-end and high-end and presented us with a highly competitive 2D/3D compositing solution at a low price. After Effects 5.0 will be shipping in the second quarter of 2001. The Standard version is priced at US$649 and the Production Bundle at $1,499.