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Automating through AEPX files (After Effects XML)

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Ernie LoynazAutomating through AEPX files (After Effects XML)
by on Dec 1, 2011 at 3:12:23 pm

Hello All. I am working on a system that takes the AEPX file and modifies the text and filenames using certain variables that i have our users create.

A little background:
The audio team creates an audio file of 6 minutes of audio with 10, 15, or 30 seconds clips all separated by black air with a fixed time frame (normally 2 seconds). The idea here is to make a single template which takes a certain piece of the audio dependent on which commercial or menu we are using at the time.

So, what i wish to do is to get the single AEPX template file and modify the text information, audio in/out and start/end points of the audio to be automatically inputed by my system's software. I've created a tokenizer and other functions to allow me to make the changes.

I've already figured out the Text information, which is included in hex format with a 00 between each letter's hex code. What i cannot find is the audio's information and their in and out info.

Would any of you know where in the AEPX file one could find the audio's in and out points? Is it a hexadecimal value? Is the audio done in frames, milliseconds, or a specific time code setup? I would be most grateful for any and all information that is able to be provided. This would make my life incredibly easy.

Thank you all for your help ahead of time!


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Walter SoykaRe: Automating through AEPX files (After Effects XML)
by on Dec 1, 2011 at 6:30:51 pm

[Ernie Loynaz] "The audio team creates an audio file of 6 minutes of audio with 10, 15, or 30 seconds clips all separated by black air with a fixed time frame (normally 2 seconds). The idea here is to make a single template which takes a certain piece of the audio dependent on which commercial or menu we are using at the time. "

How about creating separate audio files for each, and using CompsFromSpreadsheet [link] to drive the automation from a CSV?

Failing that, would scripting AE directly work for you?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ernie LoynazRe: Automating through AEPX files (After Effects XML)
by on Dec 1, 2011 at 7:04:15 pm

Thanks for the message back Walter. Sadly the current workflow our that the audio team uses is creating a single strip of audio for all the promos and menus we come up with. This is the workflow they use for finalcut and they don't wish to change this workflow for the few AE files we have to output a month. So sadly that's kicked.

As for the automation, it would be incredibly difficult i feel because you would have to be changing videos/audio/text for each and every video we have to create (over 200 a month per channel) which i feel would be incredibly jarring.

At the end of the day, they wish to create something that limits the amount of use on the edit suites and allows us to create these altered AEPX files in another location. We currently do this for final cut and on the adobe site they boasted a way of doing this but didn't break down as to how. And almost everything is in hex which makes it less fun.


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Walter SoykaRe: Automating through AEPX files (After Effects XML)
by on Dec 1, 2011 at 8:33:39 pm

Like you, I was excited when Adobe announced XML AE projects -- until I actually saw them. Way too much binary blob to be useful.

I think that scripting AE will be your easiest path forward. Ideally, you could write a script that would set up the project the way you like and save out a regular AEP. You'll need a licensed copy of AE on a machine to run it, but it wouldn't necessarily need to be running in your edit suite. You could generate the AEPs on a laptop in the office and turn them over to editorial as necesssary.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ernie LoynazRe: Automating through AEPX files (After Effects XML)
by on Dec 1, 2011 at 8:52:30 pm

Yeah, i know what you mean. It's an option i actually might have to utilize. I was just hoping the AE Gurus and Gods on here might have had some insight on the binary jargon. Like i said, i've scoured the binary and found the Titles and text, but nothing for the time codes. Thanks for your help Walter. If i find out any information i will let you know. Anyone else with ideas, i am here at the helm awaiting for instructions.


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