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long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps

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joe kaye
long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 7, 2018 at 1:17:01 pm

I've been using a very useful script (true comp duplicator https://aescripts.com/true-comp-duplicator/) to duplicate comps and any/all nested comps. This is a great way to quickly make a new comp and not have to worry about changing things that affect another scene in the same film.

This is all fine but I do now have quite a lot of subcomps hanging around and I know quite a few of them are actually duplicates, and it would be nice to simplify the project a bit now the scenes are all in place. Unfortunately I didn't think ahead and decide on a good naming structure+workflow to help reduce the project later

I know this is a long shot and I will probably just have to live with a slightly large and untidy project but does anyone have any suggestions for a quick and easy way to identify which comps in my project are identical copies?

One step further I guess would be a script that can find these duplicates, update all the comps in the project to link to just 1 of these comps then delete/move the now-unused duplicates (moon on a stick...)


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Richard Garabedain
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 7, 2018 at 4:27:38 pm

I mean..not ro insult your intelligence but you have tried the reduce project?


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joe kaye
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 7, 2018 at 6:31:54 pm

haha, any suggestions are welcome - i got myself into this mess

The project is already reduced (but still pretty big).

To explain a little more, my main composition is about 7mins long with a bunch of scenes (each scene a subcomp) which have recurring visuals often with slight differences. Each scene goes roughly 6 subcomps deep (with a few different branches) and at the moment every scene and every subcomp is unique in my project. There are quite a few subcomps that get repeated through different scenes however that don't need to be unique - that's the part of my project I would like to reduce, ideally without having to do all the legwork myself!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 7, 2018 at 7:39:16 pm

It sounds like you're relying on AE to do ALL the work when it doesn't have to.

You can render out individual scenes, import therm into Premiere Pro and cut them together there. LOTS faster!

I might suggest you take some time to reorganize your current project (saved under a different name, of course) and weed out all the needless stuff. Come up with an organizational scheme for folders that lets you quickly & easily find all those "building block" types of comps that you frequently have to nest. You might have to re-name them so they'll make sense in 6-7 months.

Then save the project. Make a copy. Then when you start a new project, you can re-import this newly-organized project and you're set. Need to add new stuff? After your current project's done, isolate the new nested comps you made for future use, get rid of the rest, save it and import it into your ongoing project of "building block" nested comps. Clean everything up, re-save the ongoing project (and its copy), and you're set again.

This extends to the footage used in all these archived, nested comps. You haven't said anything about the potential rat's nest of folders you have. You need to come up with an organizational scheme for them, too.

Take some time. Think things out. Work on organization. Don't rely on scripts to do the dirty work for you. You'll be happier and work faster in the end.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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joe kaye
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 7, 2018 at 9:13:44 pm

Thanks Dave - I agree, I'll need to spend more time on organising my work in future AE projects. Naming and grouping comps based on the kind of content is top of the list - one name prefix for small subcomps that will definitely stay constant, another for animated objects that might have different actions in different scenes (but not always), another for comps with multiple objects that will definitely change per scene etc.

I started weeding out needless dupes in this project but the time it would take to get through the whole thing relinking and deleting is not worth the effort - if I ever revisit the project it will only be for small elements which can be reduced and organised on demand as you said.

[Dave LaRonde] "It sounds like you're relying on AE to do ALL the work when it doesn't have to.

You can render out individual scenes, import therm into Premiere Pro and cut them together there. LOTS faster!"


I'm already using premiere to keep a final render, then rendering the parts I update in after effects when i need to - is that what you mean? Or is there more I can do to speed things up in this regard?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 7, 2018 at 9:51:57 pm

Nope -- if that's what you're doing, that's cool. But a 7-minute AE comp is REALLY long!

The longest thing I ever rendered out from AE came in under a minute. Usually my comps are about 15 seconds max. That's why the jaw kinda dropped when you mentioned 7 minutes.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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joe kaye
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 7, 2018 at 10:25:58 pm

haha, yup I have to admit I sometimes find myself wondering if AE is the best tool for this job but I think it still is... as far as any single app can be!

It's a mixed bag of keying, 2d and 3d animating (often animating movement of the footage), basic grading - the only thing i'm not doing is sound. I do use illustrator to design 2d elements though

Again, thanks for the help


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Cole Boscaljon
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 8, 2018 at 3:31:07 pm

Something that I generally will do is go to the project panel and search "Unused". This will show everything that is not being used. From my understanding, that does the same thing as Reduce Project. If you have any unnecessary duplicates of footage, solids, compositions or any other project material. Then I would recommend checking out a script called Project Cleaner on the AEscripts website. It's a free script you can download too. Hope this helps!


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Daniel Waldron
Re: long shot - any suggestions how to identify identical comps
on Mar 8, 2018 at 8:29:41 pm

I can't remember where I heard this (probably here on Creative Cow), but someone said Premiere is horizontal and After Effects is vertical. Using the programs in that way can help keep things organized and also makes revisions way easier to export.


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