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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!


 

Achieve True Cinematic Footage with log

What do people mean when they say ‘cinematic’?

You’ve seen the videos suggesting harsh color-grading, or the tutorials that tell you to just throw on some aspect-ratio bars. The truth is, there is no simple one-step solution. Quality footage shot with dynamic range will allow you to create the exact look you want. There are the shooting-steps and then the post processing-steps, you have to work on both if you are going to improve your videos.

Today you’ll get to learn a bit about shooting with log. Alex and Alexsa from Crate’s Camera Corner will break down the basics for utilizing this powerful feature available on many consumer cameras.

The true definition of log can be a bit confusing, so let me try and summarize it. Log images look washed out and flat. Suffice it to say you will not like the look of footage shot with log. At least, not until you color it. Log footage is made to be extremely dynamic, storing color and luminosity with loads of depth, allowing you to truly hone in on whatever look you would like to achieve. Yes, that does mean log footage requires more work than you might be used to. If you’re shooting a vlog you probably won’t want to shoot with log, but if you’re shooting a film or client video then log may be right for you.

create cinematic footage with log

Alex and Alexsa shoot with Sony, so they use the S-Log2 setting. Different cameras will have different log formats. Shooting log does take practice, we don’t suggest you try it when the stakes are high. Instead shoot some test footage, or if you are a Pro User you can download this aerial clip shot with log and practice your coloring in post.

An important thing to note is that you need to nail your exposure if you’re shooting with log. It is less forgiving than out of the box picture profiles or standard color outputs. We only suggest you shoot log if you know how to get properly exposed shots and are willing to take the time in post production to hone in on your color.

Check out the first episode of Crate’s Camera Corner

 

Want to know more? Alex will show you his workflow and approach to coloring in Premiere Pro including how to build your own LUT to load onto your external monitor.

The aerial stock elements Alex mentions can be found here

Want to know the top 5 Mistakes Videographers make on their websites? Check this article out

Rotoscoping Tricks in Adobe After Effects and Mocha AE

Adrian Jensen recently created this Pro VFX Course teaching you his techniques for rotoscoping in Adobe After Effects and Mocha AE. Here are some highlights from his course, Pro Users can view the entire roto-series here. If you’re rotoscoping to place video effects behind your subject or to integrate Motion Graphics into your project then this course is for you.

Rotoscope with Masking in After Effects

This is the most common technique for rotoscoping in After Effects. Some think it is antiquated, however we utilize it all the time.

When you’re using masks to roto in After Effects don’t try to use one mask. This may seem like the correct approach at first, but you’ll quick realize how complex and messy it will become. Instead, break up your subject(s)  with multiple masks, this will speed up your workflow tremendously.

A lot of tutorials suggest a fixed number of frames to move before keyframing. Adrian suggests keyframing your masks at the point of most-motion as a better approach.

There are two different kinds of masks you can use, Adrian prefers the Auto-Bezier mask option.

Remember, you can double click your masks and rotate them, this will save time, especially for rigid body objects. You don’t have to move each mask point by point every time.

Color code your masks. This will help distinguish them from one another, and will help if your mask looks too similar to the subject you are trying to roto out.

Rotoscoping with Mocha AE

Boris FX Mocha AE

Adrian’s preferred method for rotoscoping is Mocha AE.

Mocha AE comes with After Effects and is a terrific tool for motion tracking and rotoscoping work.

You can track multiple masks (or ‘layers’) at one time with Mocha AE. Adrian still recommends multiple masks for your subject, instead of attempting one mask.

When using Mocha AE set your spline up and let it track all the way through before making any adjustments.

Lock your mask when you are done with it, you can turn off the Gear icon to disable processing.

 

Want to learn more? Visit Adrian’s Pro Rotoscoping Course and get your roto-game leveled up. Adrian covers masking, Mocha, the Roto Brush Tool and even techniques to avoid rotoscoping entirely.

How We Increased Our Youtube Subscriber Count

We started our Youtube Channel in 2009, 10 Years ago.

ProductionCrate’s subscriber count is just around 68,000 today. In the last 365 days we have grown by 44,369 subscribers, about 65% of our entire subscriber count. That’s about 9 years of little to no growth, and then an awesome turn of events.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know we are not a massive channel. We’re not quite at the 100,000 Subscribers mark, or anywhere close to the Gold Play Button’s 1 Million. But we are growing, and most of that growth has happened really fast. I’ve received a few requests asking ‘How do I grow my Youtube Channel?‘ and ‘How do I get More Youtube Subscribers?’ so I figured this was a good time to share what we have learned so far. Keep in mind, this is what worked for us, it won’t necessarily work for all creators!

get more followers on youtube

Format is key. Trust the format.

This is my holy mantra. The words that bring me back anytime my brain goes off on a tangent or if I’m not sure of my next step. You need to develop a format for your channel, show, series, whatever. There is a very direct, very clear connection between our formatted series and our Youtube channel’s growth.

Some of you are familiar with the Saturday Morning Tutorials, a weekly tutorial series we have developed. The first episode went live Jun 8, 2018. Right about the time our subscriber count turned for the better. It was different from other tutorials we have made in one big way, it has a tight format.

By format, I mean a system of steps, rules, branding and consistency that keeps the entire series cohesive. We start each episode off with our title animation and the exact same Voice Over, then jump right into the narrative sketch. After is the Channel’s title animation and then we jump into the tutorial. The series always has the same two hosts, which allows for some ad-lib banter. It has an ongoing story with recurring characters, which connects episodes. We try to shoot with a regular schedule, shooting two sketches in a day and releasing them over the next two weeks, on the same day of each week, and the same time. The system allows us to create faster content but also helps us stay true to the overall concept of the series. If you want to learn more, check out this Making Of video.

In with the Good, Out with the Bad.

We didn’t start the series with an extremely tight format. Things evolve naturally, if something worked, we stuck with it. If it didn’t, it was scrapped and we tried something new. Don’t stick with something if it isn’t working, try a new angle or concept. Saturday Morning Tutorials didn’t start with a title animation or a conscious choice to maintain character arc, those are just things that seemed to work well, and so we made sure to maintain consistency with  them in each episode. Things got progressively better and tighter, and our audience continued to grow. Now we are trying to apply this success to new series, like VFXperiments and Davesplanations, both shows with an active format but still loose enough that we can adapt them as they develop.

Play to your strengths.

Don’t try to mimic another channel’s personality. Adrian and I work together every day, we have developed our own banter and that translates well for the tutorials. Our rhythm works because it is us, if we were trying to mimic Bob Ross we would fail horribly.

You’ll never find success if you’re making content you don’t care about. Follow your interests, passions or curiosity. If you’re bored making your videos, anyone who watches them will be bored too. It will be nearly impossible to maintain consistency and you’ll dread having to edit each one. Don’t do it.

Get Better.

Your audio needs work. You can get better lighting. Your edit can be tighter, or maybe you can let that shot sit for longer. Your workflow is slow or maybe you’re using outdated techniques. Your work will never be perfect. Don’t get cemented in your ways. Keep learning, stay up to date on your equipment, and keep trying new things. If there is one glaring, obvious annoyance you feel about your work then change it. It is too easy to be complacent, you need to be active to grow.

Don’t Burn Out.

Some of our episodes are awesome. We went above and beyond, polishing every cut and fine tuning every scene. Other episodes are just so-so. The latter usually happens when we’re reaching a burn out point. Too much work, not enough passion. If your heart isn’t in it, it’s going to show. For us, we took some time off. We tried new shows, wrote new characters, and found the passion again. It won’t last forever, but that’s okay. We’d prefer to take a moment to fall in love with the work again instead of forcing ourselves to hate it.

 

Do you have any tips and tricks you use? Or any questions you would like to ask? Disagree with everything I have said or found a bit of value? Let me know if the comments below!

How to Make an 8-Bit Effect

8-Bit is back! You’ve probably noticed the growing popularity of this retro style. We’ve seen it in titles and openers, logo animations, indie games, VFX Shorts and many more. Let’s take a look at how to achieve this style. We’ll be using After Effects but if you’re a Hitfilm User you can find an awesome tutorial here.

We’ll show you how to make this 8-Bit style in AE, but you can also download the preset here

For our effect we chose this aerial explosion from the popular Anime and Toon Category to give it that 8-Bit look.

cartoon explosion assets

Import your clip or effect into After Effects.

A popular technique in AE for achieving the 8-Bit look is by using the Mosaic Effect, but we find it far too difficult to achieve the perfect squares and pixelation needed to pull this effect off. Instead, we’re going to use CC Block Load.

 

Drag CC Block Load onto your footage. Set the Completion to 0. We set our Scans to 3. For the number of scans, use to your discretion. Uncheck the Start Cleared selection.

Classic 8-Bit games were limited in what colors were available. While our explosion doesn’t appear to have too many colors, we can still limit the variation and add some color degradation with the Posterize Effect.

 

Add the Posterize Effect to your layer. You will instantly notice some color degradation. Play with the level. Depending on your footage you can find the right look for you. We suggest adding these effects to individual layers but staying consistent with the CC Block Load scan number for pixel consistency.

One additional item you can change is your composition’s framerate. We are going to change our comp’s from 29.97fps to 15fps. To do this you can go to Composition>Settings or just hit Control K (Command K for Mac) and change your framerate there.

learn to make an 8 bit explosion

For the final step we want to get rid of those semi-transparent pixels. This can be done quickly with the Levels effect. Drop the levels effect onto your layer, and select the Alpha option from the drop-down.

 

Select the Alpha Input White number (32768) and type /2 for (32768/2) and deselect. Now your number will read half of that, or 16384. Copy that number and paste it into your Input Black. Now you have crunched out those semi-transparent pixels!

Now you have your 8-Bit style. Mess around with the Anime FX and see what works best for you.

8BIT AFTER EFFECTS

 

Want to keep learning? Check out this Bouncey Text Tutorial in After Effects

How To Make Bouncy Text in After Effects!

Ever wanted to know how to make bouncy text in After Effects, per-Character, as quickly as possible? It’s really easy! The Text Animator in After Effects is actually quite easy to customize, with tons of hidden features. This is a great introduction if it is your first time using it.

learn to bounce text

First off, type in your text you want to bounce with the Text Tool (Ctrl + T)

Toggle down the arrow to the left of your text (Box 1 Below)  so you can see the Animate button.

Toggle the Animate Button (Box 2 Below)

Bounce Text per character in After Effects

 

Select the Position Parameter from the Drop Down (see left)

 

Note all the other different parameters you can animate here!Opacity, scale, skew, rotation can all be animated independently or all together. For us, we will just use the Position parameter for this tutorial.

 

 

 

After selecting ‘Position’ you will see the Animation Controls (see below image). There you will see ‘Add’ with an arrow similar to the ‘Animate’ arrow. Click that. ‘Property’ and ‘Selector’ will appear, scroll over and click selector and choose ‘Wiggly’. If you are familiar with the Wiggle Expression this is a similar tool specifically for Text Animation.

For now, just select Wiggly, let’s get that text bouncing.

This is another great place to explore around if this is your first time trying the Animator tool for text! Notice the Expression option? There is a lot of powerful uses there, we will return to it in another tutorial.

Notice the Wiggly Selector (1 Box Below) You will see the familiar Position parameter and stopwatch. Next to that you will see the X and Y coordinates. We want this text to bounce up and down on the Y Axis. Let’s Increase that number to something low. 18 Works for our purposes.

If you hit the spacebar and preview you will notice that your text is already bouncing! If you want to customize further, that’s easy. Notice the Range Selector (Box 2, see right image) You can control the End or Start of the bounce on your text.

Use the stopwatch to create keyframes. You can have your text bounce Left to Right or Right to Left easily.

Drop down your Wiggly Selector (see below) for even more parameters you can customize. Change the speed of your bounce by increasing or decreasing your Wiggles/Second. Change your correlation if you want less, more or all characters to bounce together or completely independently. There are many settings here, the best way to learn is to do, find the right animation for your project!

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.

How to add realistic camera shake in After Effects – Crate’s Camera Shake

Download Crate’s Camera Shake script here (Available for Pro Members)

There’s something unnatural about the well-known wiggle expression. It’s fair to say that this sort of shake is too perfect.

If you watch over a hand-held video recording, you’ll be quick to notice the immense differences between handheld footage and the go-to wiggle expression.

Add Realistic Camera Shake to your Video

While the wiggle expression does create a shake, it’s mathematical, where it smoothly interpolates randomly generated keyframes between intervals of time. In the real world, camera shake has a huge range of factors that can influence it: footsteps, wind, and weight of the camera are just a few!

This is why we have created our After Effects script, Crate’s Camera Shake!

The toolkit can create a fully-realistic camera shake with only the click of a button.

It’s fast, fully customisable, and is packed with features. So how does it work?

We’ve tracked and analyzed several different pieces of footage, all recorded in different scenarios. Earthquakes, running, handheld and more are all part of the bundle to choose from. Once you browse the built-in library of shake presets, you can then apply it directly to your footage. It’s that simple!

If you’re seeking more control, we’ve also included a variety of customisable options to perfect your shake.

Add Realistic Camera Shake to your Video

 

Amplitude – The strength of the shake.

Frequency – The speed of the shake.

Skip Keys – Reduce the density of keyframes (a value of 2 will place a keyframe every 3 frames instead of 1).

Random Seed – Add more unique randomness to your shake.

Motion Blur – Have the script automatically set up motion blur to the shake.

Auto Scale – The script will calculate the perfect size for your footage so that the shake does not have it drift out of frame.

 

We’ve also implemented a Jolt for you to choreograph your perfect set of shakes. The Jolt will be applied wherever your timeline scrubber is on your timeline. You can generate a null with the shake or apply directly to your layer.

These can be applied directly into the shake animation wherever you need, and give an impact to your footage. Jolts are perfect for explosions, impactful footsteps, or something rushing past the camera.

Add Realistic Camera Shake to your Video

Crate’s Camera Shake After Effects Script is exclusive for our Pro Users. The Pro Content continues to grow rapidly, sign up today!

We’ll be using this script in nearly every video we create and know you’ll find it as useful as we do.

Want to check out our other scripts? See them here

How to add Snow to your videos – VFX Tutorial

Download HD snow effects for your videos here

With only a few days to go until Christmas takes over, it’s time to go over one of the most fundamental uses of VFX compositing – snow!

Whether you’re shooting a Christmas comedy or a reflective and chilling scene for your film, snow can always help add value to your project. But not everyone has access to weather manipulating machines or industrially sized snow cannons, and so in these cases, we must rely on VFX to composite the snow into our footage.

FootageCrate has a huge library of snowfall effects, ranging from realistic to cartoon styled. Similar to all of our content, these snow effects are pre-keyed, meaning that transparency is preserved when you drop the snow footage on top of your shot without any further hassle! You can take a look at our collection of snow effects here.

Let’s get started with the tutorial! You can use almost any software for this, including After Effects, Hitfilm, Nuke and Premiere Pro!

I’ve taken this stock image from Pexels.com, so if you want to follow along, be my guest and download the image.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

One step I’ve often seen people skipping is that they don’t add depth to their snow effect. What I mean by this is that it’s quite clearly visible that there’s just a snow effect simply being placed on the footage, giving it a “flat” feel. We’re going to give the snow volume by first creating a solid that matches the colour of the lighter clouds, and making it so that the further away the footage is, the higher the opacity. This can be done through masking or opacity painting.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Already we’ve given a nice volumetric feel to the scene. This will look like snow that is too distant to be seen by the camera individually, and so appears like a cloud.

We can now mask out or rotoscope the foreground so that it doesn’t sit behind this fog.

It’s now time to drop the snow effect into our video. I’ve taken two different effects from the FootageCrate website, which is the “snow background” and the “slow snow falling”. I’ll have the first placed behind the foreground, and the second in front of it. This makes it appear as if the subject is sandwiched between the two snow assets so that they feel part of the scene!

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Apply these snow effects with an add/lighten/screen transfer mode so that the dark halos around the snowflakes are invisible, and admire your now far more chilling scene! You can add further colour corrections to then cool the image with bluish tints.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Thanks for reading this tutorial! If you’d like to learn more VFX, take a look at our helicopter compositing tutorial!