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Replacing .PSD and .AI files do not work the same way in Adobe After Effects?

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Nikola Tomic
Replacing .PSD and .AI files do not work the same way in Adobe After Effects?
on Aug 9, 2018 at 3:49:50 am

Hello to all.

How can I replace footage in Adobe After Effects? With .PSD files it works all well (CTRL + H and select changed .PSD file with the same number of layers, same size, just small colour corrections...). But when I try to do the same with .AE layered file - it won`t work!?!?

Please help, I've spent more than 6 hours trying to do faster than manually layer by layer change...

In short:

1) I create layered character in Illustrator then import in Adobe AfterEffects as: Composition - Retail Layer Sizes - it creates composition and it is all understandable - I easily animate or rig character. But the problem is - when I try to REPLACE FOOTAGE - I can only see - IMPORT AS FOOTAGE while other options like "Composition - Retain Layer Sizes" simply does not exist in "Import As" menu (!?) For example - I created COPY of Character V1 (named V2.ai) file where I changed only colours of all layers and I expect to replace .AI file (as I do with layered .PSD files) and have the same animated character but with different colours?

What is the trick? I've tried all ALT + CLICK possibilities - none of them works. I can ALT + CLICK and replace layer by layer...

Will "Collecting whole project" to one directory solve the problem? For example - I collect all for output on Desktop directory named "Character 1" directory. Then I clone (Copy & Paste and then rename "Character 1" to "Character 2" desktop directory and import the same .AE file (with the same sub-files including .AI file with changed colours)? If this will work - what might happen if I plan to import two the same named projects into NEW After Effect project and try to have two characters in one .AE project?

I hope you understand my question... and problem. Is there any solution? Maybe some script or something if this feature is missing?

Thanks!

Nykk Deetronic
http://www.youtube.com/djnykk


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Andrew Somers
Re: Replacing .PSD and .AI files do not work the same way in Adobe After Effects?
on Aug 9, 2018 at 9:32:18 am

There is not a command that does what you want, BUT:

You CAN use a HEX editor to modify the file path and file name of the AI file in the AE project. I use the app "0xED".
http://www.suavetech.com/0xed/

NOTES:

  • Do not rename the layers and do not change their order.
  • Always work in a COPY of your AE project — it is very easy to destroy the project so it won't open.
  • Anchor point positions may not be maintained and need to be re adjusted in some cases.



Good luck!

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://GeneralTitles.com


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Nikola Tomic
Re: Replacing .PSD and .AI files do not work the same way in Adobe After Effects?
on Aug 9, 2018 at 11:47:30 pm

Thank you very much!

This is what I did (just in case) and then tried your solution: I first COLLECT to output - FILE 1 and set to Desktop. Then I opened renamed (the same project) to FILE 2, go to File 2 dir and replaced old .AI file with new one where I corrected colours (even a bit of changed shape but in size of old layer - to all layers.

1 - This way I got - FILE 2 like I wanted, but with THE SAME NAME as in FILE 1 (if you understand).

2 - THEN I tried your solution: I copy/pasted (made backup) and opened FILE2.aep with right mouse click: EDIT WITH NOTEPAD++

- FILE2.aep opened in Notepad++ (free and also excellent PC program for correcting html / css without changing source!)

- Then I find FILE1.ai (CTRL + F) - Notepad++ found 40 FILE1.ai listings in .AI file.

- Go to tab - REPLACE and entered "Replace FILE1.ai with FILE2.ai" and click SAVE.

When I opened FILE2.aep from Desktop - IT WORKED!!! Thank you for your suggestion - it would never come to my mind to edit source .aep file ☺

p.s. Why Adobe do not implement this? It would save many problems (as it works perfectly with .PSD)?

Thanks again!

Nykk Deetronic
http://www.youtube.com/djnykk


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Andrew Somers
Re: Replacing .PSD and .AI files do not work the same way in Adobe After Effects?
on Aug 10, 2018 at 12:34:23 am

Glad it worked!

I'm surprised that Notepad++ worked to edit the aep file, as on MacOS I need to use a hex editor for the aep file (not even BBedit works without corruption). Notepad++ must preserve the binary data somehow. Or did you save as .aepx ?

When I wrote the response yesterday I forgot that you can save a project as XML and easily edit in any text editor.

And as I look into this, I see that doing it via an XML version is by far the better way to go, as it's safer and preserves important settings.
p.s. Why Adobe do not implement this? It would save many problems (as it works perfectly with .PSD)?
And THEN I just remembered that this is something that is scriptable, and here's a script that can do it:

https://aescripts.com/batch-search-n-replace-paths/

And if you wanted to write a script, here a bit from the scripting guide:
app.project.item(index).layer(index).replaceSource (newSource, fixExpressions)

Description:
Replaces the source for this layer.

Parameters:

newSource
The new source AVItem object.

fixExpressions
True to adjust expressions for the new source, false otherwise. Note that this feature can be resource-intensive; if replacing a large amount of footage, do this only at the end of the operation. See also "Project autoFixExpressions() method" on page 115.


Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://GeneralTitles.com


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Chris Gomersall
Re: Replacing .PSD and .AI files do not work the same way in Adobe After Effects?
on Aug 9, 2018 at 5:56:49 pm

If I understand you right...

Import the updated art into your project. Select the layer/pre-comp/comp (whichever) to want to update in the project timeline. Hold down option key and drag updated file from the project window to OVER the selected layer/pre-comp/comp (whichever) in the timeline and release. If it has same size, layers, anchor points it should update it in place.

Or not. Sorry if I misunderstood the issue.

~CG

Kind regards,
Chris Gomersall
gomersall.chris@gmail.com
817-944-4124
http://www.vimeo.com/channels/texasvideopro


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Nikola Tomic
Re: Replacing .PSD and .AI files do not work the same way in Adobe After Effects?
on Aug 9, 2018 at 11:51:20 pm

Yes but it works perfect with cloning Precompositions AND with this new file but I have to manually add layer by layer (drag and then ALT + drop) which is sloooow process because my rig has over 40 layers.

Replacing (CTRL + H) old PSD file with new .PSD file (where I changed all graphics and leave layers with the same names and more/less the same size) works perfectly but CTRL + H will not allow me to replace .AI layered file... I will be able to manually replace FOOTAGE and select LAYER SIZE and find its name which will lead me to 1-2-3 hours work more than it is automated as expected. ;)

Nykk Deetronic
http://www.youtube.com/djnykk


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