I work for an animation / film company and After Effects is an integral part of out production services. As much as we love the program, its not without its flaws. Here are some things we have found after using After Effects day in and day out...
Clone Stamp :
Please can you add a keyframe-able 'offset' feature to the clone stamp source region? It seems that there isn't a great way of doing this without expressions. We found a workaround which is to offset the centre point of the tracker before we do the track, then parent the clone source region to this point. Theres a lot of people online who think the cloner is completely broken for use in video, but the problem is that theres no easy way to parent the source region to a tracker...
Practically every day we turn up to work and find that a lot of renders weren't successful. This causes us lots and lots of unnecessary stress and problems. If there is any stability fixes that you can do then we would be highly appreciative. (Possibly just making it so that the ram is purged after each clip is rendered? - It seems to be a memory problem half the time even though this machine has 64GB of ram...). Renders also seem to be excruciatingly slow at times, even though were using an extremely powerful machine; is there nothing that can be done to accelerate renders and/or use more of the computers resources? We have found that sometimes if we pre-render a comp, it renders pretty instantaneously when in the render queue, whereas we have seen the same comp stuck doing barely anything in the render queue for hours..?
Additionally, can there be a way to change the render path/settings of multiple renders in one go? Unless were mistaken, it seems like each clip has to be manually set up and this is extremely painstaking when working with a lot of files! Also media encoder doesn't seem to render files accurately quite a lot of the time, not sure at all where the problem is but we have totally stopped using this way of rendering now as the renders rarely come out as expected.
Switching between comps:
PLEASE can you create a MASTER FX switch, which will turn off ALL the effects and motion blur in the entire project (not just the comp you are in)? This would be an amazing feature as we spend SO much time just waiting for heavy comps to open just so we can add them to the render queue... Possibly this could not effects the final render, but just allow you to quickly get into a comp? We know that caps lock stops any preview being loaded but there are many limitations to this approach.
Sometimes we notice that if we have motion blur switched on inside of pre-comps, the blur is being calculated and applied multiple times, which looks horrible and takes forever to calculate... A master motion blur controller is long overdue in After Effects and programs such as Nuke have had this feature since day 1. We would love to see this feature and i'm sure there are many others who would too!
We would love to see better 3D controls for positioning layers etc - if there were improvements on the 3D manipulation tools (Rotate,translate,scale...) to resemble the look of a full 3D program, our lives would be much easier .
Mesh warp / Nulls:
It would be amazing to be able to parent points on the mesh warp to a null object, or at least give every mesh warp point a positional value. This would enable animators to create much improved 2D rigs for characters etc! At the moment the mesh warp isn't very robust and is difficult to get the desired control and effect.
Lens blur/Depth of field:
Can you please add an easier way to see what is in focus and whats not, when using a depth pass? There is a great feature in Nuke which allows u to see where the depth of field is taking place called 'focal plane setup', but it seems that after effects is a case of trial and error when dealing with this kind of task! Would also be amazing if you could simply click the area you want to be in focus (like in Nuke )
Duplicating comps and child comps:
PLEASE can you add an option to duplicate a comp as well as all the comps inside of it? If your dealing with complex projects it is horrific to have to go in and duplicate the comp then ALT drag the duplicate in so your not destroying other comps linked to that comp (hope that doesn't sound too confusing!). There are some scripts when claim to add this functionality but we've had no joy with any of these so far...
Multiple comps / new viewer problems
This is a big one for me and my colleagues. When there are two comp viewers on screen, please can you make the timeline switch to the corresponding comp when you click within the viewer window? Its a huge pain to have to switch between timelines when your doing this! Please can you also add the option to add real time updates in both comp viewers when you have two comp viewers on screen? It seems that only one updates in real time which can be pretty annoying...
I think thats everything for now, it would be amazing if you could rectify some of these problems as i know it would make a lot of people very happy!