Adobe After Effects Forum
A request for sports template authors
A request for sports template authors
by Jerel Peterson on Sep 29, 2019 at 11:23:42 pm

I'm not sure how many people on this forum make sports templates, but I'll post here regardless. I also posted it to the VideoHive forum.

I do high school sports webcasts at 2 different schools, and use various AE templates for bringing up stat overlays for various players during the game.

The problem is that AE isn't the greatest for entering stat data. Some comps are for a single player, with just a handful of stats. Those aren't too bad to work with. But other useful templates have many stats for many players all in one comp. These take forever to enter the stats and try to get them reasonably lined up (I had one template that had over 100 separate text entries for a stat table).

So, my question/request would be this: Why not include the optional capability of putting the data in a single Illustrator file? I'm not that adept at either AE or Illustrator, but in a few cases I've managed to get something set up that is way more efficient than doing many separate entries in AE. I realize not everyone who uses AE uses Illustrator, so the author would have to include both options, but adding an Illustrator choice wouldn't add that much to the authoring schedule, would it?

Using an Illustrator file wouldn't have nearly the motion customization that you can get with individual text entries, but for those comps with a lot of stats, the trade-off would be worth it.

Re: A request for sports template authors
by Tomas Bumbulevičius on Oct 6, 2019 at 8:53:05 am

Hey Jerel, you are right and not that much at the same time.

First things first, most authors on VH are not that much aligned with "easy customisation" features on scale. They tend to create beautifully looking products, with amazing promos, which in fact a lot too often takes unreasonable time resources to make somewhat scalable enough. Its 'this kind of business' out there, looking through my eyes.

Now on the other hand, making this adjustable through Illustrator is questionable. There are a bunch of different options to make customisation flexible on AE alone. Could you share your ideas how this customisation could be implemented through Illustrator? Keep in mind that updated files (especially, types) could cause a lot of issues with sizing.

Anyways, as a suggestions, I would recommend do not start editing template straight away, but look for ways to make it more flexible. Pre-compositing, structuring per your needs could help significantly in the long run, to begin with.

Happy to discuss this topic further, as this is somewhat I tend to be interested about.

Find out more:
After Effects Tutorials: motion design, expressions, scripting.
Boxer - Dynamic Text Boxes Template with a Live Preview

Re: A request for sports template authors
by Jerel Peterson on Oct 6, 2019 at 7:00:33 pm

I'm a very novice user of AE. Sometimes I can figure out an acceptable way of changing the motion/animation of a template, but not often.

All I've done so far is make a stat template in AI (for instance, a table with 8 players and 6 stats for each player), then import that in to the AE comp that holds the original various stat layers. I hide the original stats, and then use a simple mask layer that usually expands from upper left to lower right to reveal the stats. Of course, this almost never matches the animation of the original background graphic in AE. (usually the text of the stats are shown above colored rectangles, and often these background items are animated in one-at-a-time, and the stats animate to match the background elements). So, bringing in a single AI file with all the stats in a single file can't be animated to match how the original background elements animate on to the screen.

I just figured that someone adept in AE could make a second option to bring in a single AI file and include a different background that could be animated together with the stat file when coming on-screen. I know it wouldn't have the flexibility of animating each element separately, but I'm getting tired of having to enter dozens of separate text entries each time I need to update stats.

Re: A request for sports template authors
by Cassius Marques on Oct 7, 2019 at 5:25:35 pm

I'm failing to understand how entering/changing data in Illustrator is somehow faster than doing exactly the same in AE.

I suppose that you'll say you have everything neatly positioned in a single illustrator artboard and you just change it there. Well, you can have that same comp within AE and avoid a second application altogether.

People who dig automation tend to feed data to AE through spreadsheets, with scripts, so to avoid the need to make a master composition that feed the ones you use to render. But changing that to a illustrator file makes little sense to me. Text becomes rasterized graphics. Photos becomes layers. You'll just be losing editability, text presets, file structure, and you would be gaining absolutely nothing.

Or just maybe I'm not seeing the whole picture...

Cassius Marques

Re: A request for sports template authors
by Jerel Peterson on Oct 7, 2019 at 11:49:28 pm

Have I mentioned that I'm a novice at AE? I spent my life teaching in high schools with less than 150 kids (sometimes WAY less). If I were an AE master, that's not how my career would have gone. That's not to say that a person couldn't learn AE in that environment, but although I would like to be able to do it, it just hasn't been one of life's priorities for me.

I have no idea how to do scripts. I have yet to figure out how to use right-align tab stops in AE--something that is essential in stat tables, and something that I can at least figure out how to do in AI, MS Word, InDesign, etc.

Some of the templates I have bought from the hive do have stat tables. But not a single one of them is set up to align the columns correctly. I either have to use the spacebar and get things close (but never perfectly aligned), or they use separate entries for each piece of data, which takes a LOT longer to do than AI.

You say that I could make a single comp in AE just as easily as in AI. Could you point me to a tutorial for right-aligned tab stops, or some other method to align the data?

Re: A request for sports template authors
by Cassius Marques on Oct 8, 2019 at 12:54:36 pm

I'll try to untangle some things but your goal is not ordinary AE work, unless you dedicate some time to it everything will look a bit complicated.

In AE, anything you change in any comp can be passed on to others, search how to pick-whip expressions. I should point out here that I have a slight idea of what you're rendering out. So maybe this is not even needed.

[Jerel Peterson] "Could you point me to a tutorial for right-aligned tab stops, or some other method to align the data?"

I'm honestly unfamiliar with tabs so I'm not sure there is more to it than what I'm guessing (a text's own alignment and linking layers to a null). If you can, explain to me what else happens automatically in tabs that you can't yet do in AE.

All I can think of other than that is this:
[Jerel Peterson] "or they use separate entries for each piece of data, which takes a LOT longer to do than AI."

here we have a conundrum: Either you separate the entries and get maximum editability (animation wise) or you will be limited the same way you would be if you don't separate things in illustrator (by layers), e.g you paste a bunch of data to a single text field in IL and Ae would only be able to read that as a single layer, and not do much with it.

You could, of course, paste everything to a single text layer in AE. And program each text field to get a substring of text from that main text layer. It would take time and require knowledge of expressions though. I think the reason you don't see that in templates is because creators have no clue of the way you present, store and fetch your data. So they would have only complicated ways of presenting/explaining their templates.

Even if you use a script like this one that automates a lot of things, you won't bridge out the gap in the flexibility of editing and the neatness of a proper designed template. Things are just too specific for each usage to be all-encompassing.

Cassius Marques

Re: A request for sports template authors
by Jerel Peterson on Oct 24, 2019 at 12:46:28 am

Thanks for the replies. I think I'll just have to resign myself to doing things the long way. There are a few templates that work well with an AI file, but not many. I had the feeling that there was not going to be a way to animate AI files in any real 'artistic' way. Hopefully, most people watching high school webcasts aren't going to be expecting too much.