15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2012 6:57 PM by digiday

    Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?

    digiday Level 1

      Hi all,

       

      I've been using some old software of mine in some new installations on Windows 7.  I just installed After Effects 4.1 and I'm using it for the first time... I know, 13-year-old software, but that's what I have for now.

       

      I've been using Adobe Premiere 6 for a while and I'm pretty comfortable with it, but creating a digital clock effect in Premiere manually has materialized as a labor intensive project that I'm now looking for an alternative to.  I'm also a semi-expert in Photoshop, but I don't have the newest version of that to use the timecode effects feature.

       

      So I installed my old copy of After Effects 4, and I've found tutorials in a search about how to create a moving digital clock effect in the new versions of After Effects, but I'm not sure if any available plug-ins or tutorials apply to the old version 4.

       

      There were allot of good things going on in software in 1999, and I've found that even my old version of Premiere 6 is very similar to the new CS5 version in allot of ways, so why not check about After Effects 4 ?

       

      Also, looking for an online instruction manual or user guide for After Effects 4... when I installed my Premiere software it automatically installed a set of HTML user manual files and a full PDF user guide, but I've searched and those apparently weren't installed with After Effects 4.

       

      Thanks for any help,

       

      digi

        • 1. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
          Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          Create a solid and apply the Numbers effect.

          • 2. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
            digiday Level 1

            Hi Andrew,

             

            Thanks for your reply.  I found a similar post that just said "Effects>Numbers", so I experimented with that a little while ago.

             

            I managed to start a new composition and apply a 0.000 number on it in my digital font in green on black in the right video format.  Then I did Effects<Numbers, and I've gone through all the settings.  I can see if I turn on 'Random Values' and then hit play, the number scrambles all over the place, but otherwise I'm not getting how to make it count down in one second intervals (nor 1/10 second intervals).

             

            Do you know would I would make it countdown starting say 00:05:00, then tick down to 00:00:00 ?

             

            Thanks,

             

            digi

            • 3. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I'm starting to point people here more and more often. It's a great tool included right in AE. Go to the upper right corner of AE and look for a little text box. Type timer or universal timer or countdown timer in there and hit enter. You'll be taken to this page of resources with a bunch of solutions. My favorite is Dan Ebberts' Universal Timer script. It's by far the most versatile solution. The community help is a great resource and it's so easy to get to if you know how to ask the right questions.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                Rick is 100% correct, but I'm assuming AE 4.1 won't have the web search feature, or Expressions for Dan's Up-Down clock, so here's a tutorial about the Numbers plugin I mentioned, just in case.

                • 5. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                  digiday Level 1

                  Thank you Rick and Andrew.

                   

                  I'm checking out all references that both of you have given me.

                   

                  Does Rick's comment about v4.1 not having "Experessions" for Dan's Up-Down clock mean that Dan Ebbert's Universal Up/Down Clock script won't work in my v4.1 After Effects?

                   

                  And does that also mean that none of the scripts at this link would work in v4.1 either?... http://community.adobe.com/help/search.html?q=count%20down%20clock&hl=en_US&lr=en_US&l=aft ereffects_product_adobelr

                   

                  If not, might there be an old source for scripts that do work in After Effects 4.1?

                   

                  I am checking out the tutorial that Andrew provided the link for using the Numbers effect otherwise.

                   

                  Thanks so much,

                   

                  digi

                  • 6. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                    digiday Level 1

                    One other thing I noticed just now.  A current script file (one from 2009 anyway) that I downloaded from this page http://www.videocopilot.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10946  has a .jsx extension.  And I don't have a scripts folder in my AE folder at C:\program files\adobe\Adobe After Effects CS3\Support Files\Scripts) as described on that page.

                     

                    So I'm assuming that the current .jsx scripts will not work in my old v4.1.

                     

                    But I do have an 'MM Script' folder with files that have .mm extensions with names like blink.mm, cmpaud.mm, copyvalu.mm, cornpin.mm, dbspring.mm, frmeffect.mm, gravity.mm, etc.

                     

                    So I do apparently have the ability to use some scripts in v4.1, maybe just not the same kind of script files like the .jsx scripts.  But I do not have a 'Scripts' selection under file as described on the page at the link above.  And I checked through all my menu bar drop down selections and I don't see one for 'Scripts' at all, yet I do have the MM Scripts folder in my AE folder.

                     

                    Then I also have a 'Plug-ins' folder where all of my effects are contained.

                     

                    Does anyone know how I can access the scripts that I do have in v4.1 ?...  I can't find a 'Scripts' selection anywhere.

                     

                    Is there a place where I can get other older .mm scripts?

                     

                    Am I correct in figuring that .jsx scripts will not work in AE v4.1 ?

                     

                    Thanks again,

                     

                    digi

                    • 7. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                      digiday Level 1

                      Okay guys, I was able to do it in the last hour or so!

                       

                      I used Rick's reference to the "Countdown...4...3...2...1..." tutorial using the Numbers effect and the Timecode 30 setting... very cool.

                       

                      With help from both of you I was able to accomplish what I wanted in my first 24 hours of using this old AE 4.1.

                       

                      Now I've test rendered it and with it on a black background I just black screen it into my Premiere project to get my final effect on top of my existing project.  I'm going to experiment now with numbers and letters to see if I can get a random letter effect like it is breaking a code... I've created that effect in FLASH text gernerators like SWISH and another one on Mac, but I'll see if I can create that with Effects in AE.

                       

                      I'd still be interested to see what your opinions are about the .jsx script files versus the .mm script files that I wrote about above and how I would access the scripts in my AE 4.1.

                       

                      Also, I only have a few codecs available to me that show up when rendering my file in AE 4.1, but I have many more that are on this machine that show up in Premiere... I'd like to use the XVID codec... is there a way to get that to show up in AE?

                       

                      Thanks so much for your input... nice to get my feet wet this way.

                       

                      digi

                      • 8. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                        Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Thanks for the credit but it was Andrew that posted the link and Stephen Schleicher that wrote the tutorial.

                        • 9. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                          digiday Level 1

                          Hi Rick,

                           

                          I know, but your answer was helpful to in that it led me to try to find out about scripts and the differences between .jsx scripts and .mm scripts... I'd still be interested in your input there.

                           

                          Any information provided in a situation like this leads to the acquisition of greater knowledge in general.

                           

                          I will try to thank Stephen Schleicher for his tutorial, but since its from 2005, I'm not sure if he'll still be there.

                           

                          Thanks allot,

                           

                          digi

                          • 10. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Take a look at the link to Dan Ebbert's universal timer. It's the best out there for doing this kid of stuff.

                            • 11. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                              digiday Level 1

                              Hi Rick,

                               

                              I'm not sure if I was clear.  I was able to produce what I needed with the "Countdown...4...3...2...1..." tutorial using the Numbers effect and the Timecode 30 setting.

                               

                              But I was asking...

                               

                              1)  How do I access scripts in AE 4.1 ?... there is no 'File>Scripts' selection or any Scripts selection that I can find.

                               

                              2)  Is there a place where I can get older .mm scripts?

                               

                              3) Can I use .jsx scripts in my AE 4.1 ?... there are only .mm scripts in my AE folder labeled 'MM Scripts'... no other scripts folder.

                               

                              4) And now another question would be, is Dan Ebbert's Universal Timer script code meant to be saved as a .jsx script or a .mm script... I don't see anything that states which extension his code should be saved with on his guide page.

                               

                              Thanks,

                               

                              digi

                              • 12. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                                Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                Motion Math (mm) csripts were an early precursor to what has become Expressions and Scripting within AE.  MM scripts are no longer supported, and haven't been for many versions.  You can dig around online for some MM scripts, but I wouldn't waste too much time on it.

                                 

                                AE 4.1 does not support the jsx scripts used by later versions of AE.

                                 

                                Dan's Universal Timer code is an Expression, not a Script.  Expressions are applied to individual parameters at the layer level of a composition. AE 4.1 doesn't upport expressions either, sorry.

                                 

                                Scripts, on the other hand, are more global sets of instructions that can do broader thing like create new elements and projects, add new interface elements and dialog boxes etc.

                                • 13. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                                  digiday Level 1

                                  Thanks Andrew,

                                   

                                  That's sort of what I thought about .jsx versus .mm scripts.

                                   

                                  Also too bad about no Expressions in AE 4.1.

                                   

                                  Would you have any idea how I access scripts in AE 4.1 ?... like I said, I can't find 'Scripts' under File or any place else... I see the MM Scripts folder within the AE folder and I can see all that I should have available to me, but I haven't figured out how to get to them within the AE 4.1 app.

                                   

                                  Also, I just posted a question about the limitations of the few codecs that I can access in AE 4.1... I have many codecs that are available through Premiere, in fact all the codecs that I have installed on this machine are available in Premeire, but not in AE 4.1... here is that link in case you know anything about that...

                                  http://forums.adobe.com/message/4142458#4142458

                                   

                                  Thanks,

                                   

                                  digi

                                  • 14. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                                    Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                    I had to look it up as the menu structure of AE has changed somewhat.  I knew I was keeping my old Trish & Chris Meyer books for something!

                                     

                                    Select a layer, then Layer/Keyframe Assistants/Motion Math.  Load a MM script. 

                                     

                                    Remember, this is a completely different beast to modern jsx scripts used in AE, and they are in no way compatible.  MM Scripts are more equivalent to Expressions, as they only work at the layer level, and are also not compatible with Expressions in terms of language/syntax or parameter labels.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: Can I create a digital clock effect in After Effects 4.1?
                                      digiday Level 1

                                      Thanks Andrew... that's great.  Since I don't have the old instruction manual for this, I really appreciate being able to find basics like this out... you rock.

                                       

                                      Thanks for the answer on my other question too.

                                       

                                      Thanks a billion,

                                       

                                      digi