The next version of AE (releasing sometime this spring) will include some further options for UI customization. If you find the current version too unusable (even after messing with the preference settings), you could continue to use the older version until the update comes out.
Or, you could do as I did, and just get used to it. I kinda prefer the darker version now.
- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')
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