If you have to rely on Illustrator documents for the text , things get sticky.
Is there any way you can put the german into a text editor file with the umlauts, essets and all that German stuff, and just do a copy-paste into the layer in question? That way, you can just duplicate the English comp, rename it and have a German version of the same comp.
It sounds like a bunch of Art Directors with no knowledge of AE created your source files. I feel your pain.
Off topic: What an honour to have a Creative Cow forum legend answer my question That makes my day.
On topic: I could do that. And I thought about doing that. Thing is, this single AI file has roughly 20 text layers that needs to be replaced with foreign text. In the AE file I've been given, there's roughly 50-60 AI files that needs same treatment. And there's 50 ish comps and precomps (just for the english) and I need to output all of this to 15+ languages. I predict that the AE file will be bowing out due to the sheer amount of comps and things to keep track of. And so will I.
Maybe I just need to copy the AE file, and give each country it's own project. But then I would also have to make a country-specific folder for each AI file I encounter, copy the AI in there keeping the document name intact, make my edits, and then replace it in the country-specific AE project where it belongs... I'm treading water here aren't I...
You will want to create a new folder for each language then copy the original files, all of them including the AEP files. Now work on each folder. DO NOT change the file names of the source footage. You can change the name of the AEP's. You will end up with a lot of duplicate file names but the folders will keep the different projects organized.
If the original file structure is awkward then I'd use Collect Files to create new packages for each project. This will organize the file structure in such a way that you could simply duplicate the collected project folder. This will keep the file structure together and you will not have to re-link or replace footage in any comp. The only thing you will have to do is edit the original AI or PSD files.
Oh, and here's another thought -- if those art directors you're dealing with (AN ASSUMPTION) -- are so all-fired het-up insistent on your use of Illustrator layers for the text, make THEM do the Illustrator layers in German! You have incomplete assets from them! They owe it to you!
Perhaps they'll quickly change their tune, y'know?
I see your point, and that might not be a bad idea actually I will try it out, once I sort one language complete out.
I think the reason my company got the gig in the first place was so that THEY didn't have to Because there's not actually much to animate. It's more of an endless replace'n'render task.
Yeah, well, unless you're good at Illustrator, you won't want to do this... correction, you SHOULDN'T do this. Someone else should make those foreign-language layers, or you should be granted the granted the freedom to use AE's own text.
If that isn't allowed, then you'll have to reluctantly inform whoever's in charge that the time it will take to do the project just doubled. No fooling. It's no fun to use an application you've just learned on a deadline, and it simply will take you longer than an experienced hand.