After Effects Add-Ons


Being one of the longest industry standard post production applications in the world, you would think After Effects would have every function to make your life as an artist easier. With the ability to create vector shapes, rotoscope, track in 2D/3D, and more, it is a pretty comprehensive application. However, on its own it can only do so much. That is why there is a community of developers who have created add-ons for After Effects to make the user experience more bearable than before. These add-ons can make animating multiple layers more efficient, the creation of a folder structure at the project, and other features. I’m going to highlight three of these add-ons.

Mister Horse Previewer



This After Effects plugin is something that should have been in the program from the get go. With this plugin, you can view imported footage, images, and music in a separate panel and see the first frame of compositions. I can’t count how many times I wish I could quickly preview an asset without having to go through much hassle. Ever since I purchased this plugin, I feel more at ease when importing assets into After Effects knowing I can see them on their own without having to open the layer panel view them. You can purchase this plugin for $21 at Videohive.

True Comp Duplicator



This is a script I’ve been using for the last two years and it has been an invaluable asset to my workflow. If you are a heavy After Effects user, you will know how much of a pain it can be to create duplicates of a composition which contain multiple precompositions. It’s not as simple as duplicating it from the project panel, unfortunately. What this script does is create a complete duplicate of a comp hierarchy, including sub-comps.  If a comp is used multiple times, the comp only gets duplicated once and all remaining references point to the first duplicate.  If the comps are arranged in a special folder hierarchy in the project panel, that folder hierarchy is preserved or duplicated (depending on user preference) for the duplicated comps.

Based on the tutorial provided by Lloyd Alvarez, this script is very in-depth and can is definitely a timesaver. The best part is that you can pay your own price to get this plugin.

Text Box Script


This free script from Motion Boutique creates a rectangular box around a text layer. A modern look for infographics and other motion graphics involves text being inside of a box. This script helps speed up the process of creating shape layers around the length of your text. I’ve used this script on a few projects myself and it has been a blessing to use. All I have to do is create my separate text layers, plug in my parameters for the script, and voila! I have a text box graphic. Grab this script now and see where it fits in your workflow.

Sound Effects

Create Render Templates in After Effects

FilmBurnScreenshot photo Filmburntext0-00-01-23_zps16a7c096.jpg

Have you ever been in a situation where you exported a file in a certain format and you forgot what settings you had? Here’s a tip for creating render queue presets in After Effects so you don’t run into that situation again as well when you have to do batch exports and save it to your drive.

I have a file I’m ready to export in my render queue. It’s set to render out in the default settings.

Default Render Queue photo Screenshot2013-02-07at75349AM_zps598339af.png

Let’s click on the output module drop down menu. Select Make Template.
Make Template Dropdown photo Screenshot2013-02-07at75427AM_zpsc04707d6.png

Next, you have a dialog menu that gives you the option to name your template. I’m going to make a template for rendering a composition with transparency. Let’s name this PNG RGB+Alpha.  After you do that, click on the Edit button to change the settings.

Output Module photo Screenshot2013-02-07at75640AM_zps9517f38e.png

Output Module Renamed photo Screenshot2013-02-07at75821AM_zps8f1c672b.png

Since we are creating a PNG render template, we will keep the format at Quicktime Movie. Click on the Channels button and change it from RGB to RGB+Alpha. Keep Depth and Color at their default settings.

Main Options Default photo Screenshot2013-02-07at75904AM_zps7257ff01.png

Main Options Edited photo Screenshot2013-02-07at75930AM_zps553c971f.png

Click on the Format button. Here we can change the codec we are using from Animation to PNG by clicking on the drop down menu. After you’ve changed the codec, hit OK.

Quicktime Options photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80004AM_zpsf1da40c3.png

Codec Options photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80031AM_zps9fda7295.png

PNG Format photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80216AM_zps86802d90.png

Now that we have our format settings the way we want them, hit OK to return to the previous menu. Hit OK again to create the template. Now, when you click on the Output Module drop down menu the new template will show up like in the image below.

Updated Output Module photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80254AM_zps1e8f1c88.png

We have this template available for use now whenever we need it. If we were to export multiple compositions and wanted to do a batch render, here’s what I would do. Highlight all the compositions in the render queue. Click on the Output Module drop down menu of one of the compositions. Select your render template and it will appear for all your compositions.

Batch Render photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80411AM_zpsf0687ab7.png

Batch Render Same Settings photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80509AM_zps4ae41e78.png

Another tip that is valuable to know is that you can save your render templates in case anything should happen such as reinstalling a program or trashing your preferences. Click on the output module drop down menu and select make template. In the dialog menu that pops up, click on the Save All button. Find a folder on a drive of your choice and save the .aom file.

Output Module Third Time photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80648AM_zps3e93e216.png

Save .aom file photo Screenshot2013-02-07at80728AM_zps4217f98d.png

If you ever run into the situations as mentioned above, you can load the templates you created and were saved in the .aom file.

Aside from creating render templates, AEScripts provides scripts to help with your workflow in After Effects and has some great scripts available to assist at a moment’s notice. Some of them are free and others you will have to pay for but believe me it is worth the investment if time is valuable to you.

I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative. Thanks for reading.

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