rd: Studio Techniques available free at AEscripts.com

This week, Jeff Almasol (redefinery) released the set of After Effects Scripts that were previously available only as part of the content that ships with After Effects Studio Techniques. This was done not only with the author's blessing, but at my explicit suggestion. If theses scripts are valuable enough to generate sales of the book, it seems far more likely to happen as a result of them being freely available so that people can come to appreciate them more widely than by making the book purchase a gateway to owning them.

That's my thought, anyhow.

So, what's in this collection? There are a few that are often requested as built-in After Effects features:

  • rd_MergeProjects.jsx: This script displays a palette with controls for merging a selected project folder's contents up to the root of the Project panel. Use this script when you have imported a project into another, and want to merge subfolders and their contents with existing same-named subfolders at the root-level of the project, keeping your Project panel more organized.
  • rd_Duplink.jsx: This script displays a palette with controls for creating linked instances of a selected layer's properties. These links are made via pick-whipped expressions, so only those properties that can use expressions can be linked. Use this script to create duplicates or “instances” of a layer, which allow you to change the main layer and have its instance layers update as well.
  • rd_CameraProjectionSetup.jsx: This script automates most of the steps required to set up the camera projection technique in The Camera and Options chapter. The script creates a single “backing” plane, so you will still need to create any additional planes needed. Also, the content-specific procedures described in step 7 (masking, scaling, and repositioning the planes) will need to be performed manually. Sorry, scripting isn't THAT good.
  • rd_LightWrap.jsx: This script creates the light wrap effect using the technique described in the Light chapter of the book. In addition, it adds a Contamination and Wrap Offset controls to the precomp layer for easier adjustment, and ties the position, scale, and rotation properties from the foreground and background layers to those in the precomp to synchronize any transformations you decide to do.

A few others are both useful and serve as examples that you can use to create your own variations, either by hacking, using information from Jeff's excellent chapter on Scripting included in the book, or both.

  • rd_Slated.jsx: This script renders slates, single-frame images of a specific template composition whose data is fed by the information in a text file exported from a spreadsheet.
  • rd_TrimToZeroOpacityKeys.jsx: This script trims the transparent ends of the selected layers by trimming to the first and last Opacity keyframes with zero value.
  • rd_TrimZeroOpacity.jsx: This script trims the transparent ends of the selected layers by trimming to the first and last frame that doesn't have a zero value for Opacity. Unlike the rd_TrimToZeroOpacityKeys.jsx script, this one will evaluate expression values and also trim as much as possible (if multiple adjacent frames have the same zero value). Because multiple frames can be evaluated per layer, this script might take a little longer to process lots of layers.

I'm so excited about this offering that – who knows – it could lead to a rebirth of articles on After Effects scripts here at PVC.

Mark Christiansen

VES Member, author of courses on After Effects at LinkedIn Learning (lynda.com) and the After Effects Studio Techniques series.

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