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How to create a Custom Effect?

Mar 21, 2011 3:23 PM

First of all, I'm sorry, if I make any mistakes writing this post! I actually am German!


I would like to know how I can alter the Animation Presets in AE CS5, that are quite messy because they just are a collection of effects, into the much more organised and nicer Custom Effects like Andrew Kramer (from Video Copilot) has on his website for free download.

I already tried out a tutorial from aetuts+ ("Create Your Own Custom Effects!"), but it just didn't work and told me it couldn't apply my effect when I runned the script (maybe because it actually was written for AE CS4).

So my question is: Is there an easy way to organize the effects and expressions from an ordinary preset to make the preset friendlier to use? And even if it's not easy, is there a way at all?


I thank you in advance and hope you can help me!

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 21, 2011 5:44 PM   in reply to J0hj0h

    After Effects Presets can include every Effect, Layer Style, and animation property on a single layer. I have a bunch of them that run in sets. There's one preset that I apply to a null called SlideShowController, then another preset that I apply to every layer in a slide show comp called 3DSlideshow. My 3D Slideshow includes 4 effects, expressions that set the start and end position of the layer based on the controllers, the opacity of the layer to set up transitions, a couple of layer styles, and some other effects to deal with color and other issues. Two applications of a pre-set and I can have a slideshow with hundreds of images ready to render.  This is only an example. You can setup a preset to pull a key, apply a texture to a text layer, extrude type, create a light wrap for nice compositing. The only limitation to a Preset is that it can only be created from a single layer.


    Scripting can combine all of these elements plus add the null layer to the slide show so you only have to apply one script to a project full of still images. The creating a slideshow example is just one of many of the typical projects that I set up that use both Animation Presets and Scripts.


    Creating a true plug-in requires knowledge of programming and a good understanding of the AE SDK (Software Development Kit). You'll also need a compiler to crunch your developed plug-in into something that can be used by AE as a plug-in. I think you're looking for some help with scripts, which can look like a plug-in. Some more details about your project will be helpful. You can also visit the After Effects Scripting forum. The link is at the top right of the page.

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    Mar 22, 2011 1:11 AM   in reply to J0hj0h
    (maybe because it actually was written for AE CS4).


    Unlikely. It's more likely a language isue, if you run AE in German or even an English AE on a German system. Aside from that, it seems you are confusing terminology here. As Rick already mentioned, you can store a ton of things in a simple animation preset, so whether or not you turn them into "custom" effects is not of much consequence in the end. Doing so in a manner similar to what some of the bundled presets do in any case only works locally and at that point it becomes a pointless exercise, if you ask me - at latest when someone else opens your project or applies the preset all he will evert see are the expanded effects that make up the "custom effect". I really should think that users have better things to do than waste their time with such toyish stuff, but well, I guess some have too much time to spare...



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