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Dynamically changing effect name breaks expressions for Advanced Lightning.

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John McConnellDynamically changing effect name breaks expressions for Advanced Lightning.
by on Oct 29, 2013 at 12:57:15 am

Hello Everyone,

So I'm creating a template comp using Advanced Lightning set as a Two-Way Strike. When I set up the effect I am animating two parameters. Origin and Direction. I am also expressing two lens flares to either end of the lightning bolt. So I pick whip the source point of the flare to the "origin" and the other flare to the "direction" stopwatches in the advanced lightning plugin.

This works beautifully and I have zero issues.... until, I close the project and re-open it.

After Effects comes up with an expression error when opening. I have figured out the cause but cannot figure out a solution.

After Effects is dynamically changing the name "Direction" in the plug-in for Advanced Lightning. When the project opens, the name reverts to the words "Contextual Control". the expression is looking for the word "Direction" so it breaks.

If you then click on the words "Contextual Control" it immediately changes back to "Direction" then you can manually click the "=" sign on the flares and the expression works again.

I know this is a feature, not a bug...per say.... but it's insanely frustrating.

My question is this....

I know there is a way to use an index number instead of an absolute... i.e. number vs "Direction" in the expression. However this is far beyond my meager expression writing skills.

I need a simple way to bypass this wonderful "feature" in AE so that no matter what, the expression can point correctly to the keyframes regardless of the name they may or may not be referring to themselves as.

Granted, this might get filed under first world problems, as I already have a work-around but I am seeding this template to other artists who may not be as savvy in working around it.

Thanks in advance any gurus of expressions writing!


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Walter SoykaRe: Dynamically changing effect name breaks expressions for Advanced Lightning.
by on Oct 29, 2013 at 2:30:01 am

[John McConnell] "I know there is a way to use an index number instead of an absolute... i.e. number vs "Direction" in the expression. However this is far beyond my meager expression writing skills."

Hold the Alt key while dragging the pickwhip to the expression name. Ae will return the property's index instead of its name.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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John McConnellRe: Dynamically changing effect name breaks expressions for Advanced Lightning.
by on Oct 29, 2013 at 3:32:22 am

Holy cow! Thank you!!! totally solved my problem!

Cheers!


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