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Live Preview with Locked Compositions

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Christopher Handrick
Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 1, 2012 at 3:30:21 pm

Hello all,

I've run into a small problem and I'm hoping someone here will be able to point me in the right direction. I'm working with a precomp, and I've locked the composition in the viewport because I want to be able to edit the rotation inside the precomp while viewing the change in the main composition.

The problem I've found is that when the composition is locked and I go to the timeline for my precomped layer, the live update stops working and the viewport will only update when I've stopped scrubbing the timeline.

Is there a way that I can edit a precomposed layer while viewing the main composition and retain live preview?

Any suggestions are appreciated.


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Erik Waluska
Re: Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 1, 2012 at 3:44:59 pm

I think that's just the way it works and I don't know of any way around it but maybe someone else will have a workaround or something. The only thing I can think of is to make a control layer with expression controls in your main comp and link the properties you want to animate in the pre-comp to that control layer.


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Ben Jordan
Re: Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 11, 2012 at 9:27:12 am

If you're on a PC, you can use a little AutoHotKey script I wrote to give live previews in locked views:

#MaxHotkeysPerInterval 100
SetTitleMatchMode 2
SendMode Play

#IfWinActive Adobe After Effects ; while AE is in foreground
$Tab::
while GetKeyState("Tab", "P") ; While the Tab key is being held down
{
Send {Click Up} ; release left mouse button
sleep 1 ; wait 1ms
Send {Click Down} ; click left mouse button
}
Send {Click Up} ; make sure mouse releases when Tab is released
return



Save that as any .ahk file (ae_locked_view_scrubber.ahk, etc), or you can download it from a link I saved here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/umbh7vm9rd4evvq/ae_locked_view_scrubber.ahk

Then install AutoHotKey (http://www.autohotkey.com/), and just double-click the .ahk file. (When running it should put a little "H" icon in your tray... to close it right-click that H and choose Exit.)

Now, when you want to see the scrubbing in a locked view, hold down Tab while scrubbing, then release your mouse button, and as long as Tab is held down, it'll be "flashing" your mouse button every 1ms, thus faking you tapping the button really fast, THUS allowing you to see the scrubbing in the locked view. :)

Let me know if this works for you. It works great here on Win 7 Pro 64-bit. If you're on Mac, perhaps there is a hotkey/scripting program where you could do something similar. It's too bad AE doesn't let you scrub those locked views by default!


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Christopher Handrick
Re: Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 11, 2012 at 2:24:00 pm

Hey Ben,

I installed your script and gave it a shot, but it doesn't seem to work for me. While I hold down the Tab key it does make my cursor rapidly blink between black and white, but it doesn't seem to be scrubbing the playhead at all.

I'm also running a windows 7 pro 64 bit machine, so I'm not sure why it's not working for me. I'll try to look into it more in a bit when I have more time.

Thanks for your post.


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Ben Jordan
Re: Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 12, 2012 at 7:05:39 am

Perhaps try changing the "Sendmode Play" line to "Sendmode Input" instead and see if that does it.

Just to be clear, you're holding down your mouse button, then holding Tab, then releasing mouse button, then scrubbing, correct?


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Christopher Handrick
Re: Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 15, 2012 at 2:17:17 pm

Hi, sorry it took me so long to respond, but I only have access to After Effects to test this script on my work computer.

I tried changing it to Sendmode Input, but that had no effect. I then switched it back to Sendmode Play and it's not even flashing my cursor anymore.

Also yes, I'm clicking on the playhead, pressing and holding tab, and then releasing the mouse button.

Is it possible the script is being blocked by the antivirus installed on this computer?


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Ben Jordan
Re: Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 17, 2012 at 6:05:12 am

Not likely it's being blocked, but who knows. I've not had any trouble with Norton, NOD32 or Malwarebytes blocking any of our other scripts at work, and I regularly write them for clients w/o any problems like that.

You could try compiling it into an .exe -- just right-click the .ahk file, and chose Compile Script, and it will create an .exe of it with same name in the same folder. Other than this, I don't have any other things to try at the moment.

Perhaps I'll try rewriting it using another method... maybe we can get something that works more consistently for more people.


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Christopher Handrick
Re: Live Preview with Locked Compositions
on May 17, 2012 at 2:47:59 pm

Tried compiling the script with no success. I can't for the life of me figure out why this isn't functioning, but running the script just doesn't seem to be doing anything.

I really appreciate all your help none the less.

Thanks


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