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Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps

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Kevin Olmsted
Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Sep 29, 2018 at 3:15:01 pm
Last Edited By Kevin Olmsted on Sep 29, 2018 at 3:16:32 pm

Hello all,

I have an After Effects project that is a 2 second news interstitial that is essentially a transition that has text flying within it. I did not create this project, it was sent by corporate. My ND has requested this interstitial with 50 different text variations.

There are 5 comps and precomps in a project folder. A final render comp containing two precomps, and each of those containing two precomps.

The easiest thing for me, to make all of these interstitials, is duplicate and rename the folder, rename the main comp, change the text in the two appropriate precomps, and do it over and over. I can then queue all the main comps and render them all out.

The only thing dragging my efficiency down is that I have to reconnect the newly copied precomps back to their accompanying master comps.

Is there any way to copy a folder of comps and precomps and have them all maintain their master/slave relationship within the folder?

I'm using After Effects CC 2017, that is not cloud-based. Thanks for reading.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Sep 29, 2018 at 7:14:30 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Sep 29, 2018 at 7:52:18 pm

Cripes, it sounds like a Sinclair station! Really short animations, nested comps where none are necessary, Byzantine file paths to the footage and CC 2017... which is actually a good thing, because CC 2018 is a train wreck for far too many people.

If you just have to change the text in one place, AND you have just one master comp in each project to render, I heartily recommend duplicating the project file for each animation. Give each an obvious name like "Coming Up", "Next", "State House", 'Exclusive", "Hamilton County", "Low Country"... what have you. The name of the animated text, y'know? (and I bet the typeface is DIN) Also, change the name of that master comp to the text being animated.

When all the text animations -- i.e. individual projects -- are ready, make a new project and just import each project file into it. Put each master comp -- which now handily has the name of the text in question -- into the AE Render Queue, and just batch render the whole bunch.

Remember, you can make your own custom Render Settings and Output Modules, and make them defaults. You can also designate a folder where the first animation added to the render queue is to go. Then add the other comps to the render queue, and they'll go to the same folder.

In this scenario, it REALLY helps to do a Save As with the project file right away, no modifications yet, navigating to the folder where you want to put all these project files to go. If you're really brave, you can just do modifications as you go along, renaming the master comps, changing the text, do doing the Save As command over and over instead of duplicating the original project file over and over.

It's not exactly automatic, but it works. I often have to use this strategy myself. If you haven't guessed already, I'm at a Sinclair station where such things are depressingly common. And the guys at the Home Office overcomplicate AE projects.

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


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Kevin Olmsted
Re: Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Sep 29, 2018 at 8:48:32 pm

Thanks so much! I'm at a Nexstar station, but the short comps and seemingly unnecessary pre-comping is something I run into quite a bit. I prefer to keep things tighter and efficient when using precomps, and I like animations with plenty of pad for flexibility... but different strokes for different folks. Appreciate the help!



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Dirk de Jong
Re: Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Sep 29, 2018 at 8:32:12 pm

It seems like you could probably just run this script on the final comps and have it make "true duplicates" (it also dupes and links precomps and even media if desired - all kinds of nice options, creates the new folders and lets you specify how the newly created objects named etc.)) ; https://aescripts.com/true-comp-duplicator/ - it's a "name your own price" product but I paid the suggested $25.00 and it's actually been worth so much more than that to me


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Kevin Olmsted
Re: Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Sep 29, 2018 at 8:50:42 pm

Thanks for the recommendation. I've been referred to aescripts.com on more than one occasion for various things, but have never pulled the trigger on anything. Might have to soon.



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Eric Santiago
Re: Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Sep 29, 2018 at 10:43:56 pm

[Kevin Olmsted] "Thanks for the recommendation. I've been referred to aescripts.com on more than one occasion for various things, but have never pulled the trigger on anything. Might have to soon.
"


For the price of these plugins compared to your time, its a no brainer :)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Sep 29, 2018 at 11:15:39 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Sep 29, 2018 at 11:21:21 pm

Understood. That's fine for a freelancer -- typically you're the only person to touch tbe project.

But at a TV station any number of people could open the same project because they need to make something RIGHT NOW -- as in the next 30 minutes before it hits the air. You might have 20 - 30 seconds to explain how the project is put together, but little time to explain how to use some script.

Hence, scripts are not always the greatest solution, and modifications to basic AE requires discussion among many people.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: Duplicating a group of Comps & PreComps
on Oct 1, 2018 at 6:19:27 am

True Comp Duplicator would take a lot of the repetitive labor and potential for error out of the manual process you described above, and leave a file structured exactly as you describe. It's not a modification to Ae, and no one touching the file later would need to know anything about it.

But I also see the solo-freelancer-vs-team dichotomy differently. Scripts speed up work -- especially that slow, grinding, error-prone, repetitive work that we have to do over and over again. That's even more important on a team than it is for an individual! Imagine a whole room full of people, all working harder and slower than they have to. The more people on a team who refuse to learn a faster/better way, the more time is wasted across the entire organization. I strongly encourage everyone on my team to work smart, find better ways to solve our common problems, and share their learnings back with the rest of us so we can all benefit.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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