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Forums Adobe After Effects Automating repetitive tasks (Goin’ crazy out there at the lake)

  • Automating repetitive tasks (Goin’ crazy out there at the lake)

  • Octavio Warnock-Graham

    January 25, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Hi all,

    I have a super tedious workflow for one of my projects and I am hoping y’all can help me find a solution.

    Using Premiere, I edit a weekly 1/2 hour talk show. 24 minutes of talking heads with still images used to illustrate the subject matter. We are up to 70 images per show.

    My current workflow is that I have a nested sequence with two transparent video files, one on top of the other. The bottom video files has; scale-to-frame-size, scale 156%, and Gaussian blur @125%

    The top layer has; scale-to-frame-size, Scale 90%-95% (velocity .5%) and drop shadow.

    Altogether, this nest creates a slow push into the still image with a blurred out background that fills the frame (I option+drag a still image onto the transparent video layers). I do this one by one x 70 and it takes about an hour.


    I am at the point where if I have to go through another week of this process Imma lose my mind and hopefully this a process that can be automated.


    Ideally, I’d like a script to run that looks at my images folder and creates a series of sequences for each image. similar to the description above.


    I looked at photoshop as a way to automate and it seems doable but clunky as video is not Photoshop’s strength.


    I haven’t seen any options for automation in Premiere.


    And AfterAffects seems like it has the best toolkit but feels v. intimidating with lots of tutorials referring to Python and SDK’s.

    Anyhow, before I jump on Amazon to buy a copy of Pythons for Dummies I thought I’d lean on the community for support. Any suggestions to automate this process would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Octavio

  • Filip Vandueren

    January 25, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Sounds like a job that can be done with scripting.

    The most straightforward way would be if you prepare two Animation Presets for the top layer and the bottom layer, then the script can just create a comp for every footage, duplicate the layer, and apply the two animation presets.

    That would be a lot easier than trying to add keyframes, effects and their settings via scripting.

  • Arie Stavchansky

    January 25, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Hi,

    Have you had an opportunity to check out Dataclay’s Templater extension for Adobe After Effects?

    I put together a tutorial showing how it’s possible to swap 100 images from 100 different footage layers in an AE project. You can watch that tutorial here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coiZJV70EVo

    You can easily populate a column of cells in a Google Sheet with your filenames, and then use Templater to handle the mapping of the footage to the layer.

    Goodluck and godspeed!

    —Arie

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  • Walter Soyka

    January 25, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    I agree with Arie; there are some nice tools in the market already to support you here without you having to learn scripting. CompsFromSpreadsheets is another option:

    https://aescripts.com/compsfromspreadsheet/

    One big note, though, if you do decide to write your own script, it’s Javascript, not Python! There are a few good resources here:

    https://motionarray.com/learn/after-effects/places-to-learn-after-effects-scripting-online/

  • Octavio Warnock-Graham

    January 26, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    I think that’s a smart way to go, or at least a good start.

    I looked at the commercial scripting packages and it seems like what they offer is way more than I need.

    I also tried using Photoshop and I actually was able to create an action that could batch render a folder full of images. Unfortunately, the interpolation between frames is in PS very crude and the image scaling stutters. It’s only a slight stutter but unacceptable.

    Here is an example for those who are curious.

    https://youtu.be/fyY76ZnkEYY

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  • Kevin Camp

    January 26, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    I think you could do this without too much extra work…

    First you’d want to get all the images into a single folder with names that will be easy to replicate. It’s easy to use a Photoshop batch operation to rename files. Just create a action that does nothing, choose File > Automate > Batch, select a folder that has all the images to be renamed, then select the destination folder (where the AE project is looking for the images) and set the file naming to 3 digit serial number (no document name) and run it.

    It will then put all the images into that folder, each with just a number as a name (like 001.png, 002.png, etc).

    Now in AE you can create a project with the number of comps needed for each image that needs to be animated (say 70). Each comp would just need a unique image from the folder you created earlier. I’d also add all the comps to the render queue and with the proper settings and output location, you don’t need to hit render.

    Then save the project.

    Now if you replaced the images using the batch operation in Photoshop then open the AE project, all the images in the comps should be updated and all you need to do is click Render and get some coffee and AE should finish everything on it’s own.

  • Octavio Warnock-Graham

    January 26, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Oh, man, that’s slick.

    Unfortunately, I need to retain the naming conventions as my producer is providing the pictures and using their file names to indicate where on the timeline they need to be dropped.

    So I’m not sure there is a convenient way to create repeatable image names for AE while keeping track of the unique file names for me.

    I wonder if I can automate PS to imbed the file name into a metadata tag/file info before I batch rename the images to a generic 3 digit serial number. The Metadata ports through AE and can then be viewed under the Metadata Display when I open Premiere?

  • Kevin Camp

    January 26, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    I don’t know of a way for photoshop to automatically include the original filename in the metadata. There probably is a tool or script out there that could do it… but but that’s then a whole other process.

    Perhaps Adobe Bridge could do it… it can also batch rename files, but I haven’t used Bridge for quite a while.

  • Kevin Camp

    January 26, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I found this on an Adobe forum, it mentions a checkbox in Bridge to retain the current filename in the metadata:

    https://community.adobe.com/t5/bridge/batch-rename-preserving-original-filename-and-modified-date/td-p/9985629?page=1

  • Octavio Warnock-Graham

    January 26, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    Ok, Imma do a test. 🙂

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