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Adobe After Effects 8.0 tracking for mid-2007 release

Exclusive: Adobe Systems Inc. plans to introduce a major update to its After Effects motion graphics and visual effects production software in the spring of 2007, according to a company roadmap viewed by AppleInsider.

The new version, referenced internally by the code-name "Meatloaf," will be the first version of the the visual effects package to ship as a Universal Binary optimized for Apple Computer's new Intel-based Mac systems.

Though many of the software's specific feature enhancements remain shrouded in secrecy, it's expected to deliver additional user interface and OpenGL improvements when it makes its debut as After Effects 8.0 towards the end of June.

For Adobe, the release will mark the second major update to After Effects in less than 18 months.

This past January, the San Jose, Calif.-based software developer released a feature-packed update in Adobe After Effects 7.0. That version introduced a re-designed, unified user interface, accelerated high-fidelity OpenGL 2.0 support, and a comprehensive set of Flash Video (FLV) export capabilities.

Licenses for the professional version of After Effects currently cost $1000, while the standard version fetches $700.

In related news, AppleInsider reported this past weekend that Adobe also holds plans to deliver an early public beta of its highly anticipated Creative Suite 3.0 software bundle for both the Mac and Windows later this month.

The beta release, which will pack developmental versions of popular Adobe applications like Photoshop and Illustrator, will be available as a download to current license holders of Creative Suite 2.0 as early as this week, sources have said.

On Thursday Adobe will hold a conference call with analysts and members of the media to discuss financial results from its fiscal fourth-quarter of 2006. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call estimate the company will earn 33 cents a share on revenues of $670 million, up form 30 cents and $510 million during the year-ago quarter.