After Effects Script: keen_3dLayerTools

I previously published a script which centers and orients layers to the active camera [link].

Building on that, I’ve published a new version which also adds a tool for promoting 2D layers to 3D in the active camera’s view, keeping the apparent 2D positioning.

Download keen_3dLayerTools [link]

Unzip the script and drop it in your ScriptUI folder. Relaunch After Effects, then open it from the Window menu

Suppress After Effects save-on-crash

After Effects has a very useful feature wherein it attempts to save your project if it detects a crash. However, in certain cases where you’re really pushing the envelope or trying to troubleshoot a problem, this may not be desirable behavior [link].

Here’s a quick script which lets you toggle this save-on-crash behavior. It’s just a simple checkbox to turn it on and off:

keen_ToggleCrashSave Screenshot

keen_ToggleCrashSave Screenshot

Download keen_ToggleCrashSave script [link]

To install, unzip this and install the .jsxbin file into your ScriptUI folder [link].

To use after installation, click the Window menu and choose keen_ToggleCrashSave to open the panel.

Rigging Ae Comps with the New “Templates” Feature

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 brings some exciting features to After Effects and Premiere, including Live Text Templates [link].

Live Text Templates allow you to designate an Ae comp as a template for use via Dynamic Link in Premiere. Once you import the comp into Premiere, unlocked text layers within that Ae comp will be directly editable inside of Premiere, without the editor having to open After Effects to make a text change.

I love using tools in ways that weren’t quite intended, so I’ve been experimenting with a technique for hijacking templates to create rigged After Effects comps. Instead of just passing live text from Premiere to After Effects, I’m passing parameters that allow the Premiere editor to control other aspects of the Ae comp. Beyond editing text, this allows the editor to define sizes of elements, colors, timings, or anything else you care to develop in Ae.

The trick is that the live text comes from Premiere into After Effects as a text layer’s text.sourceText property. This means that the live text from Premiere can be read with and acted upon by After Effects expressions on other properties.

Here’s a quick demo that shows the “rigged template” technique in action and explains how it’s done in a little more depth:

Fair warning: this is a bit of a hack. It works, and it’s cool, but it’s undocumented and unsupported. Ultimately, I’d love to see this template functionality extended to explicitly support passing parameters from Pr to Ae. If you’d like to see that too, please consider filing a feature request [link].

But in the meantime, if you’re at all into Ae and Pr, and if you’re comfortable with expressions, give this technique a spin and see what you come up with.

Custom WATCHOUT hotkeys v2

Here’s a new version of my custom WATCHOUT hotkey bindings, bringing several much-needed keyboard improvements to the WATCHOUT Production software. Version 2 adds a little bit of After Effects influence, using – and = for timeline zoom and PgUp and PgDn for moving the playhead.

As before, these require AutoHotkey [link].

Hotkey Description
Win+C Calculator
Ctrl+I Add media file (replaces current shortcut for Insert layer)
Ctrl+Shift+I Insert layer
Ctrl+Shift+N New folder
Ctrl+Shift+T Add new text
Ctrl+Shift+C Add new composition
Ctrl+Shift+V Add new video proxy
Ctrl+Shift+D Duplicate selected composition
Alt+Y Y Rotation tween
- Zoom timeline out
= Zoom timeline in
PgUp/PgDn Move forwards/backwards 0.1 seconds
Shift+PgUp/PgDn Move forwards/backwards 1 second
Ctrl+Shift+PgUp/PgDn Move forwards/backwards 10 seconds

Continue reading for downloads and more

After Effects Script: Center Layer in Active Camera’s View

(UPDATE from July 16, 2014: This script has been superseded by keen_3dLayerTools [link], a new version with more features.)

In After Effects, when you promote a layer from 2D to 3D, it will seem to jump, possibly out of frame, unless your camera is in the default position. This is because Ae is keeping the numeric values of your old 2D coordinates and simply adding one for the Z-axis; it is not attempting to translate them into the 3D space you see in the viewer.

Ctrl+Home (PC) or Cmd+Home (Mac) will re-position the layer in the center of the camera’s view, but it will not auto-orient the layer the camera.

I’ve written a quick, 1-button script that sets the selected layers’ positions to the focal point of the camera and orients them to the camera, centering them in view. If the layer is 2D, the script promotes it to 3D, and if there is no active camera in the comp, it adds a camera.

If you run across any bugs, please report them below.

Download keen_centerLayersToActiveCamera

Unzip the script and drop it in your ScriptUI folder. Relaunch After Effects, then open it from the Window menu.

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