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Auto actions? Send result of 3 comps to Queue, render, and take snapshot of given frame.

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Greg Sage
Auto actions? Send result of 3 comps to Queue, render, and take snapshot of given frame.
on Feb 23, 2020 at 10:00:29 pm

CC 2018
Macpro 2018

I'm generally familiar with pickwhips, basic built in expressions, and just a bit of javascript, but not clear if there's a way to do something akin to photoshop actions. Hardware issues dictate I can't update past cc 2018.

Basically, I have a project that auto creates video memes for me in 3 different formats, so I change the text and image, and then there's a square video comp, a vertical video comp, and 5x4 video comp that use that same text and video, but are each optimized differently for their layout.

I'm going to be doing a lot of these, and each time if I do it manually, I'll need to:

1) Send each of the comps to render queue, set appropriate settings, and render into a given folder.

2) Take jpg snapshot of a particular frame (to use as poster frame).

Is there a way to set up something akin to a photoshop action for this? Something like each render is name of project plus name of comp, and goes into folder that matches project name. Also not sure if there's a particular shortcut for also including a snapshot of a given frame in that same folder for each that also is named accordingly.

Also, maybe this is a cc 2018 thing, but seems to be forcing me to render via Media Encoder in order to output mp4, so perhaps I should mention that.

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Michael Szalapski
Re: Auto actions? Send result of 3 comps to Queue, render, and take snapshot of given frame.
on Feb 24, 2020 at 7:02:00 pm

As far as putting specific renders in specific folder structures, render tokens are the answer.
See this article for an easy-to-digest rundown of it: @justin.gundlock/use-ae-render-tokens-to-automatically-set-file-names-and-paths-a437f4749e79'>

AE help page:

As far as making the thumbnail goes, you might be able to make a default output module that does both your regular encode and a still image, but I haven't tried that. You can certainly have output modules that have multiple outputs from one render simultaneously, so (at the very least) you could have it do an image sequence AND a video.

As far as making an MP4 goes, no - you can't do that directly from AE. The easiest solution would be to get After Codecs from aescripts + aeplugins. It basically hooks into ffmpeg inside AE and is very handy.
Alternatively, you can render out an intermediate codec from AE (like ProRes, Cineform, or DNxHD [I can't remember if CC 2018 can do ProRes on Windows, but the newer versions can]) and then use Adobe Media Encoder to do the encoding of the deliverable. You can set up watch folders with AME so that anytime you render your intermediate file out of AE, AME automatically makes the MP4 for you at whatever specifications your stipulate. You can do that over a network with a second machine or have it do it in the background on your machine if it's the only one you have.

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