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After Effects HTML "Browser" object.

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Eddie GatemouthAfter Effects HTML "Browser" object.
by on Apr 3, 2016 at 4:18:00 pm

I've seen plenty of posts asking about how to embed After Effects renders in HTML. What about the other way around. This is perhaps a way-out-there question. Haven't found anyone else seeking this, but I could make valuable use of the following:

An HTML "browser" object in After Effects. I imagine it would be akin to a solid -- an object you drop on an AE layer -- that takes as a parameter a URL path to an external HTML file, as if you could take a Chrome browser window, direct it to a URL of your choice, and include it as a layer in your AE timeline.

Perhaps this is a feature request, or there's some way to do this and I'm just unaware of it.


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Dave LaRondeRe: After Effects HTML "Browser" object.
by on Apr 4, 2016 at 2:29:30 pm

At the moment, the only way to do this is to record a web site with screen capture software.
I don't forsee that changing, either: you would be importing a file whose contents could change or even disappear. Not good for use in AE.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Eddie GatemouthRe: After Effects HTML "Browser" object.
by on Apr 4, 2016 at 3:03:48 pm

Actually dynamic content is precisely the goal, even if that results in a certain amount of unreliability.
Our particular interest in this is not screen grabbing a website, though that would be a outcome many would find valuable.

What we're dealing right now involves an array of complex and stylized slates. The information in those slates is based on data coordinated between a number of different people, calculated externally, updated frequently. We don't want to burden the AE artist with a bunch of changing text. She focuses on making things beautiful, and whenever she renders the data is ready, template, complete, no extra work.

Currently they way we handle it is to either push data through ExtendScript and update AE text fields, or auto update a series of Photoshop and/or Illustrator files that are referenced in the AE file. It already works great, creates a very efficient workflow.

In the same way we're using ExtendScript and reference external Adobe-based files, we'd also like to reference local HTML files. That would allow us to take advantage of the distinctive qualities of html/css/js and give us a additional options and workflow fluency.


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Dave LaRondeRe: After Effects HTML "Browser" object.
by on Apr 4, 2016 at 3:41:51 pm

I'm a TV guy. In TV, a Slate is an informational snippet of video that precedes the program or commercial. You'll see things like Title, Broadcast Code, Producing Entity, Audio Info, Length(s), Number of Cuts, etc.

If that's what you mean by the term "slate", you're way overthinkin' this! Just have people make screen grabs!

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Eddie GatemouthRe: After Effects HTML "Browser" object.
by on Apr 4, 2016 at 4:46:08 pm

I wish I were overthinking this, Dave. From your lips to the God-of-Deliverables' ears. This is a series going out texted and textless, with an array of texted elements tagged at tails on each textless reel. One reel might have 15 isolated texted elements, each one with it's own slug or card (you're right, not really a "slate") with title, and time-codes referencing its place in the textless program. Info goes in the slugs, as a master menu before the slugs, on paper, and on labels. It's a lot of numbers that change a lot, a lot of repetition, and everything must be accurate to the frame. I can argue they're overdoing it, but rather than fight a losing battle with oblivious and faceless network execs, we built solutions. Each time there's a change, we export data from the edit, apply it to a central data sheet which regenerate all the cards, and voila: unreasonable deliverables requirements are dutifully accommodated in a few automated seconds.

Like I said, this is something we're already doing, and this is hardly the only context dynamic texted elements come into play. Stylized lower thirds naming reality contestant, complex stats in game shows, we do a lot of this stuff in a lot of different ways for a lot of different shows. Adobe automation has been the life saver throughout, and I'd love to expand on what we're already doing.


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Dave LaRondeRe: After Effects HTML "Browser" object.
by on Apr 4, 2016 at 4:53:12 pm

Ugh. I do not envy you, sir.

Remind me to have nothing to do with that network.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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