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)
Read more

2015-08-03No Comments

Expression Preset: Shape Layer Inner Stroke

Shape Layers. Strokes. You know how they work– add a stroke, and it'll increase in width both internally and externally from the path. But, with expressions, we can preserve the outer edge of your path and keep our stroke internal!

Read more

2015-08-032 Comments

Expression Preset: Point on a Circle

In a throwback to Points Along A Line from several years back, here's a quick expression for ya-- "Point on a Circle." Straightforward, yeah? Yeah.

Read more

2014-02-189 Comments

Preset: linear() – Syncing Precomp Audio to Main

OK, so, you're working in After Effects on an amazing infographic piece slated to become the best thing out there since that Stuxnet video. You've got your master comp with the audio bed in place, and have a series of precomps w/ audio & graphics sequenced and arranged together in your main composition.

You're working away on your project, have everything in each precomp chapter timed out and synced properly with the audio, and then... your client wants to re-record the VO. Or add in some copy. Or needs an alternate language version.

Alright, that's cool, we'll just drop in the new audio, slide our precomp over in time to where it should now be, open it up and do a preview to ensure everything's aligned properly. Except– the audio clip in the precomp is now out of sync with the master, as we've time-shifted the entire thing!

Read more

2013-04-1611 Comments

Preset: Chunky Text Scrolling

You're sitting at home, watching some action movie in which our handsome Hollywood hero sits down at a computer, faced with a terminal-esque window and has to ENTER PASSWORD in order to be rewarded with the exalted, famed and fabled "ACCESS GRANTED." Brilliant, right? Oscar material, right here.

Well, something I notice so very often in these screens is that the animator just keyframes the y-position and calls it a day, whereas in any console I've seen, the text always jumps up in little steps of equal height-- so I sought to recreate that for the film I was working on at the time.

Read more

2012-09-10No Comments

Preset: Pose Flipping Sprites

I was recently working on a title sequence for an animated children's film created in a storybook style (in the spirit of Shrek), using sprite-style pose flipping.

To fit the style, all of the characters were animated as cutouts/puppets, with several poses for each character/prop. From there, I had to animate the scenes, which included finding an efficient way to cycle between distinct poses, creating the illusion of movement.

Read more

2012-05-11No Comments

Preset: Snapping to Hex Grid

Last year about this time I was doing some motion & comp work for a pair of cinematics for a big ol' video game. One of my shots involved having these indicators moving across a screen with a hexagonal tile grid, and the art director wanted the indicators to snap from one tile to the next, giving it a much choppier, digital feel.

It took a while (longer than I'd care to admit, but alas) to get this expression put together. I won't claim that it's the best (or even most efficient) way, but if anyone has any suggestions on how I can optimize it please let me know!

Read more

2012-04-23No Comments

Preset: Points Along a Line

Things have been busy! I'm working on several cool projects at the moment, one of which led me to share some cool math with you guys.

I've got two expressions that produce similar (yet different!) results-- both define the position for a point along a line, though one is controlled by % completion from one point to the next (0-1), the other by the distance (in pixels) from the start point.

Read more

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