The week in After Effects

Rich Young
By Rich Young 10.23.12


Here's the latest week or so of assorted After Effects tutorials, tips, and scripts & plug-ins new and old.

Orient World is a new script from Mamoworld and AE Scripts. "In scenes tracked with AE's 3D camera tracker, the ground plane of your scene in most cases ends up as an oblique plane in 3D space. Orient World fixes this - with a single click you turn a layer into the ground plane of your scene and orient everything accordingly. Instead of setting a ground plane, you can also align your scene on walls.' Orient World is the latest script that automates a technique shown by Andrew Kramer. Pretty cool! Here's the intro from Mathias Möhl:

Trapcode Particular Essentials from Dan Stevers "covers the essentials of Trapcode Particular, a particle generating plug-in for After Effects that also happens to be the greatest plug-in of all-time!" Dan looks at how to use or make Dust, Rain, Snow, Sparks, Firework, Layer Emitters, Custom Particles, Snow w/ Custom Particles, and Light Emitters. Also, Particular creator Peder Norrby recently reminded us of the 'Obscuration Layer' property, so check out QuickTip #49: Trapcode Particular and Obscuration Layers by Harry Frank.

Stefan Surmabojov posted Create An Intricate Interface From The Avengers - Tuts+ Premium, which follows his 18-part Screen Fillers series on making user interface elements. See also "Marvel's The Avengers": Taking the HUD to new heights here on PVC.

Layer Library, by Kevin Schires, is a new script from AE Scripts that helps "automate workflow by saving groups of layers as presets. Then let Layer Library create them all for you, along with their effects, masks, markers, keyframes, expressions..."

Chris Meyer noted that Adobe Media Encoder does allow dragging an item from AE's Render Queue into AME's queue, though you can drag a comp from the Project panel in AE to AME. And you can't load AE templates: "AME renders using Current Settings (aside from a chance to toggle Guide Layer treatment)... you'll have to dive into AME's interface to reconstruct the Output Module settings you desire." Chris recommends looking at thorough posts AE engineer Tim Kurkoski (and 2). For video intros, see Adobe After Effects CS6: Learn by Video and Premiere Pro CS6: New Features Workshop by Todd Kopriva; here's an excerpt:

In Episode 21: The Kurosawa Suite of the "Ruining it For Everyone" podcast is a chat with Mark Christiansen (@flowseeker) about his new book (Adobe After Effects CS6 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques), After Effects, his new Cinefex App for iPad, and life after "The Ranch." Tidbit: Mark and Stu Maschwitz traded 500 e-mails for the 1st edition of the book.

You can Save and back up projects in After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6 to previous versions. The pt_OpenSesame also brings backwards compatibility to After Effects, exporting projects that can be opened in any version from CS3 or later. See also, qp_Version Snapshot, a script that saves & restores AE projects with more functionality than Increment and Save. For more on the native Save feature, see Saving Backward for After Effects CS5 by Todd Kopriva and AE CS5.5: Save Project as After Effects CS5 by Chris and Trish Meyer below:

Michele Yamazaki of Toolfarm asks Todd Kopriva of Adobe, When will Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and After Effects will support the MacBook Retina Display? See also her earlier Plug-in Q&A: An In-Depth Look at Software Waveform Monitor & Vectorscope Plug-ins for After Effects.

In a new Motionsworks tip, After Effects: Offsetting Position Keyframes, guest host James Zwadlo demonstrates techniques for repositioning a motion path. Clay Asbury also had recent more basic tips for using keyframes in After Effects.

Danny Princz (?@rendernyc) says "CC Repetile is your friend. Dont forget that when you need to extend something a few pixels to cover an edge. Just unfold it!" The MotionTile and Offset effects are also useful. A few years ago, Alan Shisko shared Tiling Strategies In The 21st Century in a video on PVC, and Eran Stern showed off this bundled plug-in in More Of The Same Thing - Part 3 (in a series of 5 on how to duplicate elements):

Lester Banks noted AE Control Sneak Peek from Julian Herrera, "a glimpse at AE Control going over its (few) features, a look at the code and what it's all about." It's a Windows-only package that requires advanced setup for facility use, leveraging HTLM5, CSS and Javascript, and is still in Alpha.

Write On Effect from James Zanoni  takes you "through using the 'Write On' effect in After Effects to reveal strokes and elements, allowing you to create growth and drawn on effects." Not long ago, Jorrit Schulte showed how to Create A Realistic Handwritten "Write-on" Using Expressions, and Dan Stevers shared Write-On Magic, which complements the approaches in the Zanoni tutorial.

Shane Hurlbut and company's work on Acts of Valor used Dark Energy, and Dark Energy For After Effects now supports full 2K raster images. The scenes in the dark were treated by this Windows-only tool, which stripped 5D compression off the footage and layered on 35mm grain. Here's a tutorial from Dark Energy on the "Anti-Matter Module - Understanding High Quality Denoising:"


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