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Crate’s Shape Script – Our Most Feature Packed Tool

Sign in and Download the Crate’s Shape Script Here

Place the script into your Adobe > After Effects> Scripts Folder, and the Images into Adobe > After Effects > Scripts > Images, if you already have an images folder just drag the images from Crate’s Shape Script .ZIP into that folder. Please report any bugs you may find in the comments below, we will continue to update this script.

We love After Effects. What other software offers you so much creative flexibility? Whatever your project calls for, from Visual Effects to Motion Graphics, this software gets the job done.

That being said, we do have some gripes.

Why is it so difficult to create some of the most basic shapes? Why are all the shape controls hidden, requiring toggle-down menu after toggle-down menu?

You’ve probably run into these annoyances yourself at one point or another. We definitely have, and we were fed up. That’s why we created Crate’s Shape Script. This feature-packed script addresses our most common issues and solves them with just a few clicks.

There are a lot of features to unpack here. Your first option is a Shape Layer or  Solid Layer. Solid Layers have the shaped masked out of them while the shape layer is made specifically to be that shape. We suggest Shape Layers, but each has their Pros and Cons. Shape Layers also allow you to generate Strokes instead of Fill shapes.

Next you can pick your shape, use the left and right arrows to scroll through all your shapes or simple click the question mark to see them all on the drop-down.

Next, pick whatever color you want. Personally I just leave this as-is, since I can change it later with the eyedropper tool. I also leave the size at 500 and adjust it later, but that is just my preference.

The anchor point will automatically set to be centered (yay!) but if you want to move it to any other axis you can do so after you have generated the shape.

We have built Control Nulls so you don’t have to toggle down menu after menu to change basic features of your shapes. This is helpful in the obvious ways but if you want to adjust basic features the old-school way you can uncheck the Control Nulls box to generate shapes that have no built in parent features. Alternatively you can Alt-click whatever parameter you would like to adjust without using the Control Null.

The randomization powers can be utilized to take one asset and create unlimited variations. Duplicate whatever layer you have for as many duplicates as you want, you can then randomize the start time, the end time, the opacity, the color (or tint), scale, and rotation! This is fun to mess around with, which I encourage you to do. If you want the specifics I’ll list them below.

Last of all choose the number of layers for whatever shape you have chosen and hit Generate.

Enjoy!

How the property randomisation works

Default Random (Random slider checkbox unchecked)
Pos– randomize based on the comp width (comp wide distribution) [x, .75x]
Rot– randomize between 0-360
Opa– randomize between 0-100
Scale– randomize between 0-500 [x, x, x]
timeIn– randomize between 0-comp length (in seconds)
timeOut– randomize between 0-comp length (in seconds)
Tint– randomize r, g, and b values of a tint effect between 0-255 (applies to “Map Black To” property)
3D– randomize Z Position between 0-15000

Slider Random (Random slider checkbox checked)

Pos– randomize between 1-slider value
Rot– randomize between 1-slider value
Opa– randomize between 1-slider value (0-100 limit)
Scale– randomize between 1-slider value
timeIn– randomize between 1-slider value (seconds)
timeOut– randomize between 1-slider value (seconds)
Tint– randomize r, g, and b values of tin effect between 0-slider value (0-255 limit)
3D– randomize Z Position between 0-slider value

How the keyframe section works:

Fade Keys (two sets of key frames at the beginning and end)
Creates two group of key frames, one starting at the beginning of the selected layer, the other finishing at the end point of the layer. In and Out are optional, so you can apply the keyframes to just the beginning, just the end, or both. You can set how far apart the two possible sets of keyframes are, by changing the textbox labeled “frames” next to it. (ie, if you select In and 30 frames, it will apply a keyframe at t:0, then t:0+30frames)

Continuous Keys (a keyframe at the beginning and end)
Creates a keyframe at the inPoint and outPoint of any selected property

How to Install Scripts to After Effects (Windows and Mac)

After Effects scripts are a powerful way to automate and accomplish tasks that would have otherwise taken far longer.

For example, many popular scripts automate the way that you animate, automatically adjusting keyframes in an instant to save you valuable time and get better results.

If you haven’t tried any out yet, you can browse our library of exclusive scripts and plugins. Many of them are free to download, while Pro members of the ProductionCrate community can access the entire collection, as well as over 10,000 other creative assets.

Thankfully, installing these scripts is an incredibly easy process, and works the same on both Windows and Mac. We also ensure that our tools are compatible with the most recent versions of After Effects (CC 2018, CC 2019).

Our example today will be walking through the installation of our free Hologram generator script which has just launched!

 


1 – Extract the script to “/Adobe After Effects CC 2019/Support Files/Scripts”

If you don’t have any .zip file tools, you can use WinWar.

Using this software to open the .zip file that you download will allow you to then drag the files to a new location. Make sure that you extract all of the content from the zip file.

Our destination is usually found in the Program Files folder. In most cases the full directory is:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CC 2019\Support Files\Scripts

But if you are using any other Adobe CC version, feel free to place it there instead.

How to Run Scripts in After Effects

2 – Create your After Effects composition

Most of our tools won’t work if there’s no footage for it to work on!

3 – Click File -> Scripts -> Run Script File

From here you can then navigate to the place you extracted the files to. Clicking on the “.jsx” file will then launch your chosen script.


Fixing Errors

There’ll always be the chance that something goes wrong. We’ve compiled a list of steps you can take to troubleshoot these issues

Double-Check

Take a moment to quickly look back in the zip folder, and check if all of the contents are also in the After Effects script folder. If it isn’t, simply drag it all over again!

Settings

Go through Edit -> Preferences -> General. A window will open with a bunch of checkboxes, where you can enable “Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network”.

Call for backup

If all else fails, you can ask on the forums, the comments below or contact us at Support@ProductionCrate.com, we’ll happily try our best to help out!


 

Crate’s Free Midpoint Null Generator Script

Crate’s Midpoint Null Generator Script is Free and can be downloaded Here.

Start with two null objects, these can be tracked in manually or using one of the various tracking features in After Effects.

Make sure your AE Script is installed in the After Effects > Scripts Folder

Within After Effects go to File > Scripts > Crate’s Null Generator Script

This script works in both 2D and 3D, so select either 2D Midpoint or 3D Midpoint depending on your needs.

You have the option to add some wiggle to the midpoint null as well. By default there will be wiggle controls on every null but you can select ‘control null’ if you want one set of controls for every null all in one place.

If you don’t need wiggle, keep the Wiggle Amplitude and Wiggle Amount at zero.

By default you just get one Midpoint null, which will be right in the center of your two animated nulls. If you want more than one null, they’ll be automatically distributed evenly between the two animated nulls.

Each midpoint null has a bias slider you can use to move it closer to Point 1 or Point 2.

Check out how we can used this script below. We tracked the handle of the sword and the tip of the sword, and applied that data to two nulls.

There are many ways you can utilize this powerful script in your projects.

Spaceship UFO VFX – Tutorial

Download HD UFO VFX Assets Here

Whether they’re friendly or not (usually the latter), no Sci-Fi movie is complete without alien spaceships flying over a city. They’re some of the coolest VFX shots out there.

We’re super happy to be introducing these new HD UFO effects, all available for you to download! We even have a free option, so this tutorial is for all of you.

Inspired by Independence day, District 9 and Arrival, we want to show you how you can create your own blockbuster CGI alien spaceship. So let’s get started with the tutorial!

You can use almost any compositing software for this tutorial, whether that’s Nuke, Hitfilm, or Premiere Pro. I’ll be using After Effects!

We’ll first need the city that our outer-worldly visitors will be hanging out over. I’ve gone for the popular choice, New York City! You can download the same image here from Pexels.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

You can apply the same VFX techniques to a video if you would rather use that! If you haven’t yet downloaded the UFO assets, download the effects here.

We can drop our first spaceship into our shot! You’ll find that it’s already looking incredibly realistic without any work needed to be done. FootageCrate elements are all designed to make your workflow as easy as possible!

The first adjustment we want to make is ensuring that the lighting is in the correct direction. You’ll see that the sunlight is coming from the left side of the screen, so if the UFO asset doesn’t match, simply flip it horizontally. This makes the scene seem consistent.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

The next small adjustment we can perform is adding a tint effect. Make both colors match the sky, so that the UFO appears to be distant in the sky. Typically, you’ll increase the tint if the spaceship is larger or further away to give a sense of scale.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

Feel free to go crazy and add even more of our spaceship assets! Once again you can change the tint levels so that the closer spaceships have less of it applied (which you can see in the top right asset).

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

If you have buildings that are supposed to obstruct the view of some of these VFX assets like I have here, you can either rotoscope the foreground, or use a simple color key with the sky as the target! We can then use this duplicated layer above our UFO effects to put the buildings in front.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

And it’s as easy as that! In no time we have our VFX UFO invasion underway. Add any final corrections you would like to your scene. I’ve even used our Auto-Cinemabar plugin to quickly create the cinema aspect ratios in a single click!

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

We’ll love to see what you create with these UFO VFX assets! If you’re tempted to create your own UFO animations, Pro Users can download our model here.

If you’re interested in more compositing tutorials, check out our Helictoper tutorial.