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Free Function Friday itemFolderHierarchy

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Welcome to this week’s episode of Free Function Friday. Today we are building a function that will return the path hierarchy of a project item. So for example if you have a series of folders like so…

The folder hierarchy for Item1 would be Folder3/Folder4/Folder5/Item1. This information can be useful if you wanted to build a list of key project items and where they are located in the project, or if you wanted to display the path for a log of some kind. Since the returned value is an Array, you could convert that to a string output and use it as part of a file name as well. A process I go over in the tutorial, along with an option to add custom separators as part of the path.

could also be written as
Folder3 > Folder4 > Folder5 > Item1

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 15 itemFolderHierarchy:


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.

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David Torno is a Visual Effects professional based in Los Angeles, California. His work over the years has included commercials, feature films, music videos, and multimedia projects. During his free time, David enjoys expanding his…

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Henrique Araujo Recent comment authors
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Henrique Araujo
Henrique Araujo

Hi David,

Thanks for doing both scripting series! Really appreciate it.

I tried reversing it like it is below and I think it worked fine.

function itemFolderHierarchy(itemObj, pathAry){
var parFolder, itName;
parFolder = itemObj.parentFolder;
itName = itemObj.name;
if(itName != “Root”){
itemFolderHierarchy(parFolder, pathAry);
var pathAryRev = pathAry.reverse();
return pathAryRev;