Welcome to Free Function Friday episode 18, getThirdPartyFX. This week we build a function that will return an object containing the name, matchName, and category of all third party effects plugins installed in After Effects. If you are unfamiliar with the term, third party effects plugins are plugins that do not natively ship with After Effects when you purchase it. These are plugins like Red Giant, Boris Continuum, Sapphire, Video CoPilot, and many others. Basically any plugin you had to buy separately from another company. As a side note of clarity, plugins are not scripts, so that means you will not see scripts listed at all with this function.
This function can be very helpful if you are needing to check if certain plugins are installed on a users machine that your script will require, or if you are checking to make sure all of your machines in the office have the same plugins installed. The last one has been handy for myself as I was trying to match all of the office machines, to make sure a project could be rendered on any machine without issue.
This function is built in a way that it eliminates stock plugins that come with After Effects. The list is based on key words and character groups in the plugin match names. This list can be manually altered at any point if After Effects decides to add or remove any plugin, so currently it should cover nearly all of the stock plugins that I was able to define on my own. I did my best, but I certainly may have missed a name or two, so you may wanna verify that it finds ALL of your third party plugins properly before using it in a script that’s meant for public use.
If you haven’t done so already there is a Free Function Friday introduction video located here that has some important information pointing to a few resources that will come in handy when scripting for After Effects.
Episode 18 getThirdPartyFX:
Legal note: The Adobe ExtendScript code talked about in this article and accompanying embedded video(s), and/or graphic images are not guaranteed to be compatible with every version of After Effects. David Torno, ProVideo Coalition, and Diversified will not be held liable for any misuse or incorrect use of the provided ExtendScript code. Use at your own risk.
All of the code I provide in this series, has been created and tested in After Effects CC 2014. Unless otherwise specified in the episode, the code should be compatible with After Effects CS6 through CC 2015. I’ve done my best to avoid depreciated code (code that Adobe removed at some point), and made these functions as compatible as possible. There will however be the occasional piece of code that is brand new as of a certain version of After Effects and therefore will not be backwards compatible from that version. I will mention these if that is the case.
With that said, all the code I provide in this series is open source and free to use in your scripts. I highly encourage you to expand and improve upon the code I provide and start making your own custom functions as well, but please do not repost the code I show in this series as is and claim it as your own. If you use any of the code provided in this series please give credit where credit is due. This series is meant to provide, what I feel is useful code, as well as to hopefully further explain ExtendScript and it’s quirks. While the functions we build throughout this series can perform a task all on their own, they are not meant to be a solo script. How you combine them together and expand upon them is when you will gain the most from these functions.