I recently started exploring Pseudo Effects through manual editing of the PresetEffects.xml file. Of course, Jesse Toula's Pseudo Effect Maker looks like it could be invaluable for rapid deving of Pseudo Effect based tools and I am considering it as/if our need to make these continues and grows.
Still, I'd like to close some of the gaps in my understanding of how Pseudo Effects work in Ae. Specifically, in the promo and instructional videos of Pseudo Effect Maker on its aescripts product page, I noticed on the tool's palette an option to add a Text element. I had never heard of this before. In the upper portion of the aforementioned PresetEffects.xml file, where all the parameters for each controller are documented, there is no mention of this Text controller. What is it? Is it for inputing string values like the Source Text attribute of the Text layer or JSON file parameter?
Would you kindly provide an XML snippet needed to add that Text thing to my Pseudo Effect controller set?
I think what they're doing is using an empty Group
I'm sure that's not the case. Watch this: https://aescripts.com/media/catalog/product/p/s/ps-gif-03.gif
This is not (mis)using the Group element as a section label or something. Besides, even an empty Group element would display the expand/collapse triangle icon to its right, no? This is clearly something else.
"Text controls will appear as empty group controls in the copied XML. Text controls do not actually exist in the PresetEffects.xml file, they are just a hack by creating a group that contains no controls."
Despite my confidence, I was completely wrong and you were completely right!
I actually emailed Jesse shortly thereafter and he kindly replied:
It is just a label element, there is no interactivity from a user perspective. I'm probably going to be updating the name of that control in the future because you are not the first one to ask about that. (...)
Nowadays, it's not that hard to do them by hand, but there are a couple of key points to remember. One is to make sure you begin your match names with "Pseudo/" so that any post-AE CS6 users don't need to do any kind of install or modify their PresetEffects.xml file to use your controls without error messages, and the other is to create your presets in the oldest version of AE that you plan to support, because the .ffx files are not backwards compatible. Other than that, it's pretty straightforward: add your XML to PresetEffects.xml, restart AE, use a simple script to apply your pseudo effect to a layer, save the effect as a preset. Done.