I think there is a very widespread but understandable confusion regarding the nature of two different kinds of OMF files.
From your description, it seems like you want to export an OMF exchange file, which is a common way to translate a video timeline into something you can take to a DAW application like Pro Tools for audio post, while keeping the audio edits as separate clips.
But the OMF export option in After Effects is for OMF essence files. These are video files, in the native wrapper Avid systems use when ingesting or capturing material. It's not a project with embeded clips, but just a video file.
After Effects can't export this kind of OMF exchage files directly. Premiere Pro does export such files, as this feature is more typical of editing applications. Please note that there could be good news: You have the ability to export an AE project as a Premiere Pro project, and once you have this converted project in PPro, you can then export it as an OMF exchange file.
1) Is this typical? Seems like the sound editor shouldn't need anything this massive.
Yes, it is. OMF is just a container format that inside can contain any number of CoDecs/ compression algorithms or none at all. In case of AE it's the simple RLE compressed variety, which isn't particularly efficient, so file sizes are huge.
2) I couldn't find any exporting tool for AAF - is there a plugin to do this? Is this a smaller net resultant file?
AAF is an edit list and project interchange format. It has nothing to do with the actual footage and media. Since apparently it is an editing specific format, AE does not support it, but Premiere pro does as do Final Cut Pro, Avid systems and most otehr edit suites.
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you can't do it straight form AE unfortunately.
I just found out that you we have to do it via Premiere Pro :
- export your AEP in Premiere Pro (File > Export > Adobe Premiere Pro Project...)
- open the project in Premiere
- and finally export it in OMF or AAF (File > Export > OMF... or AAF...)
You can try this video
Not so complicated, but obviously it should be included in AE.