- Automatically resize images to fit pre-defined spaces (aka "auto scale").
- Fit or Fill images based on horizontal and/or vertical pixel count.
- Dynamically justify images to the left/right/upper/lower (or combinations thereof) of any defined composition or space.
- Dynamically justify text to the left/right/upper/lower (or combinations thereof) of any defined composition or space.
- Scale text automatically to fit inside a pre-defined space.
- Break up a text strings into independent comps based on number of characters, spaces, sentences, paragraphs etc. Each word (or character, or paragraph) can be treated and animated differently.
- Dynamically define duration of an entire animation based on any parameter; for instance, an animation can be timed to the duration it takes to read a line of text (as defined by number of characters). More text = longer duration. Also, comp duration can be based on the duration of a video clip.
- Turn design elements on or off based on any parameter: for instance, if there is an image in a composition, then a "carrier" design element will be automatically turned on and scaled to compliment the image.
- Automatically populate text layers based on a consistent data stream (for instance, an XML file).
- Automatically import images based on a consistent data stream (for instance, an XML file).
- Sample a region of an image to automatically generate a complimentary colour fill.
- Dynamically create and place design elements based on arbitrary measurements. For instance, if a picture is submitted, calculations could automatically create "photo corners" that would then be placed accurately at each corner of the image.
- Assets can define the layout of the animation. For instance, if there are one, two or three images submitted to a project, the design will be different for each eventuality. One image = a large, primary image in the design comp. Two images = a composition that has two images in the comp equally sized, etc.
- Consistent data streams (XML, spreadsheets, tab-delimited files) can be used to automatically populate entire compositions.
Scripting and expressions are great tools that allow you to bring a great deal of automation to After Effects projects. When properly configured, it is possible to quickly and accurately populate AE projects with all manner of content automatically so that all assets will fit within the confines and strictures of your designs. Using scripts and expressions, it is possible to:
Case Study: Semi-automated content creation for the DOOH (Digital Out of Home) digital sign industry using After Effects
After Effects is a very powerful application and is the de facto standard when it comes to motion graphic design. It also happens to be a vast program that takes years to master. Fortunately, the AE scripting language is a very powerful thing, and lends itself perfectly to automating content creation.
If you can imagine it, it can be automated in After Effects
The screencast below demonstrates how scripting in Adobe After Effects can quickly and easily automate the creation of AE project files. It's possible to use scripting so that you can populate a project with visual, audible and text assets without knowing a thing about After Effects. The approaches illustrated are not exclusive to the demo project file: ANY After Effects template can be turned into a simple, highly-automated project. This approach is perfect when you've got a situation where you would like operators that are not highly trained to prepare a file, or if you'd like to automate the process using a consistent data stream, or if you've got a project that calls for a great deal of repetitive tasks. If you can imagine it, it can be automated in After Effects.
Check out an example tutorial featuring content designed for the Digital Out of Home (DOOH) industry below (best viewed full-screen, in HD)
I recently had the opportunity to shoot and composite an 'Explainer Video'. Recent web start-ups (that likely don't have any vowels in the company name :) often feature a video prominently displayed on their home page explaining exactly what it is that they do, and why it would benefit you. They're short (a couple of minutes) and sweet, and usually use a particular style to get the message across. One popular style is the 'hand drawn' look, and that's the style that was used in this spot.
It can be a very challenging method, but one that also allows for a great deal of flexibility in post-production. Each of the 'frames' were hand written on a white board, then composited in After Effects 3d space with camera moves. It involves a great deal of pre-production work to ensure that everything is going to fit where it needs to, and a lot of oversight during the shoot to make sure everything is both included and (we discovered) spelled properly :)
Click below for the spot!
I just wrapped up a small (or, rather a MINI (ha ha)) gig where I was asked to do some object replacement on a short video clip. It was a surprisingly challenging little shot: the car needed the tire rims replaced, and the roof and side mirrors were to be changed to black. After puzzling over how to approach the project, I settled on a three-pronged strategy: Using the 3d Camera Tracker for the tire replacement, the Rotobrush for the roof, and brute-force keyframed masking for the mirrors. The end result, of course, had to be perfectly photo-realistic.
Follow along on the video tutorial below as I discuss the use of these tools and how they all worked together to achieve the desired outcome. Best watched full-screen, HD of course!
I'm Alan Shisko, a motion graphics artist working in Southern Ontario, Canada. I've been in the business for decades, so I've got a lot of interesting things to say :)