TOOLS: My Top 5 After Effects Scripts

I work in After Effects almost every day. I LOVE After Effects. However, as with any piece of software there is definitely room for improvement. I plan to write a post at some point about my top 5 feature requests for AE, but until then take a look at my top 5 scripts that have already solved many little annoyances or improved my workflow significantly. These scripts are invaluable and allow me to get work out the door faster, which means I have room for more projects, and ultimately I make more money! Now, on to the list!

1. TurboLayers - This is such a simple little script, but it really does save me time. It's a tiny panel that you can dock in your interface that has little buttons for each kind of new layer you can create. I dock it right above my timeline. When you click a button, it automatically inserts a layer into the selected comp. If you have a layer selected, it automatically inserts the new layer right above it, and trims it to the length of the selected layer. A real time saver.

2. Rubber Hose - If you are at all interested in character animation in AE, you have no doubt already heard of Rubber Hose. It is a script created by BattleAx (also the creators of the excellent ButtCapper script) that allows you to instantly set up quick IK limbs using shape layers. I'll post a tutorial on using this script at some point, but it really is a must-have for anyone interested in character animation in AE.

3. Tidy Up! - I'm a pretty messy worker, I admit it. After starting a new project, my project panel quickly turns into a mess of unnamed comps and random folders with no organization to speak of. That's where Tidy Up comes in. This little script (also available as part of the Corner Cutters pack) automatically sorts your footage and comps based on type, and puts them into appropriate folders which you can name. There's also a bunch of options for only organizing certain folders, naming your own folders, etc. I won't get into all that here, but it's a great little script that really does help keep projects more organized!

4. Snap! - This is a great little free script created by the makers of AE Sweets. Basically it allows you to instantly snap a still frame PNG of your composition and save it to a directory. I tend to create my storyboard frames in After Effects so that I have a leg up when it comes time to start animation. This script has saved me a ton of time: move the timeline indicator to where you want a still frame, click the snap button, move to a different point on the timeline, click the snap button... you can get a bunch of still frames exported in seconds!

5. Motion - This may be my all-time favorite script. It was created by Matt Jylkka over at mtmograph.com. This amazing script has a ton of features integrated into it, and you should really check out Matt's Youtube video to get a full explanation, but the main aspect of the script is that it allows you to use sliders to adjust the intensity of easing on keyframes, or even switch between keyframe types. If you'd rather avoid messing with the speed graph in AE, this is the next best thing, and it is so incredibly quick and easy to use. If I could only keep one script for the rest of my life, this would probably be it.