You don't need to pay extra to use Color Finesse in After Effects CS5.5. Color Finesse is installed automatically by the Adobe installer and serializes itself the first time you use it.
When you apply Color Finesse to a layer for the first time it will ask for your name/organization. You need to enter something here and click OK to cause Color Finesse to serialize itself. Color Finesse as included with CS5.5 should never ask for a serial number. Nor do you need to register your copy on-line (although we suggest you do so).
Or is Color Finesse not behaving this way? A screenshot of what you're seeing could help us understand what is going on.
A few months ago I rendered out the final version of a project and sent it to the client. I was surprised when I didn't hear anything back. Recently I looked through that final file and found pink grid watermark in a few places where I had used Color Finesse. I have CC, and there were no warnings about the plugin reverting to trial mode. Indeed, the plugin works without any watermark when I try it today. Unfortunately I can't render out the project again as I no longer have the original footage.
Fortunately, I was able to download a version that I had uploaded to YouTube and patch together a clean copy.
I would agree that I should have checked that final version more thoroughly before sending it to the client, but it is a disgrace that the licensing mechanisms for this plugin should be such that the situation should occur.
Thanks for the (not so) great software.
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Sorry to hear you had problems.
You don't mention what version of Color Finesse or After Effects you're using.
Color Finesse has been updated repeatedly to deal with changes in AE and in OS versions, so it's important that you update Color Finesse when you update either AE or OS.
CC 2017 includes the latest Color Finesse. For those using other versions, Color Finesse updates are available on our website (www "dot" synthetic-ap "dot" com.
I can't be certain that that's what caused your issue, but we've heard about it from others and updating Color Finesse has fixed things.
Out of curiosity, did you render direct from AE or from Media Encoder? The reason I ask is that the way plug-ins tell if they are running in AME has changed (repeatedly) over the years as Adobe has changed things. We have had to update Color Finesse each time to deal with this. It would explain what happened to you, which is, of course, no real comfort.
I simply loaded up Premiere Pro and hit Ctrl-m. I believe that is running Media Encoder in the background. Some of the clips were dynamic links to After Effect comps, and I would have used Color Finesse in those. I am not sure if AE was running during the render. It isn't necessary, but I have noticed that it can speed the render process up.