opening After Effects projects from previous versions and saving back to previous versions

opening and importing projects from previous versions of After EffectsEach version of After Effects can open and import projects made with that version and several other versions, but only going back a limited number of versions:

There are two main reasons for us incrementing the oldest version that can be imported or opened from one version to the next: 1) this limits the amount of testing that we need to do and 2) sometimes there are conversions from one project format to another that are very difficult or buggy or otherwise problematic.

Note that we haven’t incremented the oldest version that can be opened or imported in the past several versions. This is in part because our automated testing has improved, so the testing burden is less of a problem, and it’s in part because we haven’t had any technical limitations that would cause the conversion to be too tricky. We’re trying to keep the backward support as long as possible so that you can still easily use your old projects as needed.

saving backwardIn After Effects CS5.5, we added the ability to save a copy of a project backward so that it could be opened by the previous major version.

If you need to save back from, say, After Effects CC (12.2) to After Effects CS5 (10), you’ll need to go through a multi-step process, saving back one version at a time.

Or, if you don’t mind spending a few dollars on a very handy script, pt_OpenSesame, you can save to a text-based format that preserves much (though not all) of a project’s information and can be opened in any version of After Effects from CS3 (8) onward. This script is also terrific for automated workflows when you want to be able to edit a project file without opening After Effects to do so, such as when just replacing a little bit of text.