While rebuilding the DNA Chain project file from CS4 to CS3 I discovered that there are some things that make it easier. Interested?
I was asked to convert the DNA Chain tutorial from CS4 to CS3 and I decided to do it since I had a few minutes. While doing so I started to try out a few things that I hoped would make it easier. Some of them did work, some of them didn’t.
As a side note I am working on a ready-to-use solution for this problem that will allow you to simply import your CS4 projects to CS3 or even earlier versions of After Effects. But until that day comes all you can do is follow the tips in this tutorial.
The trick is that you can copy-and-paste some elements from CS4 to CS3. It’s easier with After Effects’ native plugins like Fast Blur or Ramp, but it also works with 3rd party plugins as well to some extent. The main limitation I’ve stumbled upon is that you have to copy each section (or Group) of parameters separately. The easiest way to do this is to select a layer, press UU to reveal all modified properties and then copy paste them in groups. For example: Trapcode Form has several groups like Particles, Layer Maps, Visibility and so on and so on. You have to copy each group on it’s own. That also goes for the sub-groups.
It’s not perfect, but it sure speeds up the whole process quite a bit. I hope you’ll find this useful. If you have any other tips on converting projects from CS4 to CS3 or if you discover any “rules” about copy-pasting feel free to leave a comment.