So you want to open a project saved in After Effects CS3 in an earlier version like After Effects 7.0? Wish there was a way to avoid redoing your entire project just because a client hasn’t upgraded yet? Wish that Adobe would let you do a Save to XML just like in Final Cut Pro?
Sorry about the rant, but currently your only hope of opening a project saved in a newer version of After Effects is a manual process that involves a lot of copying and pasting.
- Firstly, you’ll need both versions installed on the same computer. This usually doesn’t cause any problems, I always have at least 2-3 versions of After Effects installed at the same time.
- Next step is to manually recreate your project in the earlier version. This involves importing all the sources, creating all the comps and changing all the settings to match the original project. It’s a pain, I know…
- Open the original project in the newer version and highlight the top layer in your composition and hit UU on the keyboard to reveal all properties that has have non-default values. Great shortcut, huh? Here’s a bonus tip: just hitting U will show just the properties with keyframes!
- Select all keyframes on the layer by click-dragging the mouse over the names of the properties.
- Copy and paste into a text editor (not a word processor, instead use something like Notepad++ for Windows or Smultron for OS X) and changing the first line that says:
Adobe After Effects 8.0 Keyframe Data
… into …
Adobe After Effects 7.0 Keyframe Data
If you are converting the animation into even older versions of After Effects, you’ll have to change the number to match the version you are using (only use the whole increments such as 6.0 even if you are using version 6.5.)
- Select all text in the text editor, copy and then paste onto the corresponding layer in the older version of After Effects.
Not exactly great, but just a tad bit better than redoing every keyframe. I haven’t tested this on earlier versions than 6.5, but if you really need to down-convert to a five year old software, you’re in trouble anyway…