2020-11-101 Comment

No Admin Access? Install AE Scripts Anyway!

Here's a common freelance issue: you're working in-house at some studio (or remotely logged into a studio's workstation), and you don't have admin access to the computer. So how are you going to install all of your favourite After Effects scripts, presets, plugins, and extensions?!

Little known fact: on both MacOS and Windows, Adobe's actually given us specific folders to install our tools in that don't need Admin access.

That's right! You can stroll into Buck with your favourite scripts and install them into AE without needing to go bug IT for the fifth time this morning (how the heck is my Wacom still broken??).

All this to say, scripts, presets, and extensions can live in one of two locations:

  1. the User Path, which doesn't require Admin access (installs for just your user)
  2. the System Path, which does require Admin access (installs for all users on the computer)
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2019-02-071 Comment

AE Expressions Resources

Similar to my post on scripting, this is intended to be a roundup of a bunch of resources for learning javascript-based After Effects expressions. I'm focusing less on specific tutorials and more on broader-picture materials.

Like scripting, AE expressions are based on Javascript. However, as of AE 16.0+ (CC2019), AE now has a new expression engine that lets you use modern Javascript, not just the ancient ExtendScript system!

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2018-05-191 Comment

Visual Studio Code Stuff

At this point, the majority of my work is in developing scripts for Adobe After Effects. The language used here (Extendscript) is a fork of ES3 from 1999. It's old. This means that we're limited to very, very vanilla javascript when we develop, with polyfills or helper libraries taking a lot of the headache out of this process. Thankfully, we can use Visual Studio Code ("vscode") to help relieve some of the pain.

I use Visual Studio Code as my one and only code editor. Apart from providing a wonderful development experience, you can sort of trick it into using some modern functionality when you write, even though it's not quite expecting it (and there are a few hiccups).

Sometimes I get asked about my preferred extensions & settings, and so! Here is more or less how I use it. The writeups, settings and extensions listed below are solely a reflection of what I currently work on as of the time of this article; as I grow and evolve, so do my needs and preferences.

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2018-01-253 Comments

Freelance Profit & Loss

I'm one of those people who feel that sharing is caring. If people in general were more willing to share their freelance rates, income, profit, and business practices, it would be much easier for others to earn a fair salary, and artists would find stability much faster than they do now.

To that end, I've shared spreadsheets for a few years which detail my freelance profit and loss amounts, including invoice breakdowns, tax installment payments (when applicable), and all expenses.

Here's a quick overview; read on for more details:

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2017-11-01No Comments

AE Scripting Resources

Often I'll get asked about how you can learn After Effects scripting; what sites, resources, reference materials are great for learning from.

After giving the same set of links every time, I wanted to collect them all in a single place that I'll try to keep up to date.

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2016-07-21No Comments

Download: Per-Version AE Icons for Windows

Because I write scripts, I keep a whole bunch of different versions of After Effects installed. This can get a little unwieldy, considering the icons don't change much between versions!

With this in mind, I quickly whipped up some alternate AE icons for Windows (I don't know much about these for MacOS, so no idea what size/formats are needed, sorry!). They're fairly pixely, just trying to keep the same dimensions and form factor of the existing.

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2014-11-1124 Comments

Workflow: Cloud-Syncing After Effects Addons

I have a laptop. And a desktop. My laptop has the last three versions of AE on it at any given time, and my desktop has every major version from CS5.5 to now. That's a lot of AE!

Now, one thing that comes up very, very quickly with having multiple machines (or even multiple AE installs) is that all of your scripts, presets, plugins and even your workspaces have to be set up from fresh every time!

The more recent versions of AE help reduce the headache by syncing workspaces and prefs via the cloud, however I want it all in sync, all the time, immediately. Opening CC2021 on my laptop gives me the exact same toolkit and workspace as opening CS6 on my desktop, or any mix therein. This is how I do it.

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Zack Lovatt focuses on toolkitting, building custom studio pipelines, expression rigging projects, and creating data-driven animation workflows.