Killer Tip: CS4 to CS3

Killer Tip: CS4 to CS3

Posted on 06. Jul, 2009 by in After Effects

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 [intlink id=”1049″ type=”post”]DNA Chain[/intlink] 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 Tea Cups With Lids Amber Rings Wholesale Tea Trays Toddler Sleeping Bags 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.
Happy AfterEffecting.

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28 Responses to “Killer Tip: CS4 to CS3”

  1. James Wicks

    07. Jul, 2009

    1st one to comment!
    Maltaannon rocks!!!
    Excellent tut.

  2. Jonathan Clegg

    07. Jul, 2009

    second that, very helpful indeed, cheers maltaanon

  3. Vinnie

    07. Jul, 2009

    Awesome tips Jerzy!! Thanks a million!

  4. S├ębastien

    09. Jul, 2009

    Can’t wait for your ready 2 use solution !


    11. Jul, 2009

    muy weno..gracias….

  6. David W.

    13. Jul, 2009

    Wow! Thank you such Jerzy, sir! This could have saved me a LOT of time a while ago.

  7. xponential

    16. Jul, 2009

    I just discovered that if you select all your elements in the project pannel in cs4 and drag them in the pannel in cs3 , even if the icon of the mouse is the circle with a bar , some item will be imported like .jpgs and .ai but not comps :(

  8. Mike

    17. Jul, 2009

    Nice tip, still love to see you do your thang!!! Maltaannon kicks major A$$ and I LOVE and need the light wrap plug!!! so keep me in mind for future contests@!@
    AKA Phantommxr

  9. Mike

    17. Jul, 2009

    SMOKES!!!!!! you need to make a tut for a virtual smoke with the embers burning and smoke , paper burning, sorta first person look…lol

  10. DANIEL

    20. Jul, 2009

    you guys are doing a great job?
    pls how can i get complete toturial on AE

  11. nic

    05. Oct, 2009

    Not really practical with big projects sadly. Major design flaw Adobe. Look forward to your more finite solution you’ve alluded to.

  12. wuzhixiang

    14. Oct, 2009

    very nice!!!

  13. madebao

    18. Oct, 2009

    hen bu cuo

  14. dfd

    18. Oct, 2009

    very nice!!!

  15. sanju

    22. Nov, 2009

    i think its helpful,,, thanks

  16. Leonard

    28. Feb, 2010

    you can actually convert CS4 to CS3 by manipulating the xml file.
    start by export CS4 to xml than modified it with notepad.
    this also works when you want to export from AE to Flash.

  17. Ant

    04. Mar, 2010

    Not very useful, who need to downgrade CS4 project to CS3?.. maybe only tutorial guys.

    • Spencer

      28. Jan, 2011

      …… Really?

      In a PROFESSIONAL environment people don’t always run to the corner store and pick up the latest version of software – it takes time to upgrade. People need to be thinking with things like render nodes, bugs (which are usually all-to-apparent in new software), compatibility issues, etc.

      If you have to interact with other facilities and they haven’t upgraded for one of the above reasons (which is why I am even on this forum right now) you will realize exactly why this is useful.

      – Spencer

  18. Csaba

    27. Jul, 2010

    You might get away with this a bit more easily, if you replace the header of the CS4 file with that of the CS3 file. This way all layers and effects remain intact. However,it works only with osx .

  19. shekhar

    05. Sep, 2010

    exellent…………work keep itup. pls send me some after efffect tutorials cs3

  20. Summer Camps

    30. Oct, 2010

    Maybe you could make changes to the post subject title
    Killer Tip: CS4 to CS3 | to something more specific for your content you create. I enjoyed the post yet.

  21. Atlas Pasta Machine

    31. Dec, 2010

    I just thought I would let you know your images aren’t loading properly

  22. evan

    06. Feb, 2011

    Trying to convert CS5 to CS4.
    CS5 is on main workstation CS4 on laptop.
    Network connected and running Input Director to control both.
    Exported AE CS5 aep as PP project, and imported the ppj in AE CS4.
    What I really want to copy though are masks. As the cs5 file had quite complex rotoscoping with regular AE masks.
    Trying to copy from one machine to the other will not work.

    As for the effects, they went through although on default settings.
    I saved from CS5 the ffx but will not open in CS4.

  23. Nate

    10. Mar, 2011

    Thanks for the tut, but, similar to Evan I’m dealing with CS5, which, not surprisingly does not play nice with lower versions. I’m also converting down 2 generations – to CS3. Evan’s tip works – exporting to a Premiere Pro project from AE CS5 and importing that into AE CS4 (all source layers show up as missing and effects are in defaults). But, this doesn’t work to import into CS3 unfortunately. I also can’t seem to copy anything, not even a single property of an effect, from CS5 to CS4 or CS3. Very sad. If anyone finds a workaround please hit “reply!”

  24. samuel obeng ansah

    27. Mar, 2011

    i need a please adobe after effect tut so if u can send me som e to lern thanks on cd or download it

  25. chia m

    06. Aug, 2011

    very good

  26. vikas

    04. Mar, 2012

    rocks rocks rocks