After Effects 12.1 adds a user scripts folder. No more admin passwords needed!

Freelancers rejoice!

Theres nothing worse than having to get the IT guy to add a script for you or perhaps unlock the Scripts folder thats located deep on your system drive.

But now with the AE 12.1 update, there is now a scripts folder located next to your prefs file.

you can reveal that directory by going to the preferences->general and clicking “Reveal Preferences in Finder.”

located in your user folder on mac…
~/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/12.1/Scripts

or on windows …
~\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\12.1\Scripts

place your scripts and ScriptUI folder and scripts in here and After Effects 12.1 will load them on the next launch

Now go to to get some great scripts!

Installing CC apps on multiple machines or just want to save the installer?


Adobe has put up links to the direct downloads of the CC apps



With the release of Creative Cloud we now no longer have access to the installers of the Adobe apps and have to rely on the Creative Cloud App to download and install new apps and programs… or do we?

If you don’t want to download the apps on every machine you need to install them on there is a way to install them once on one machine and save the installers.

Open a finder window and go to (CMD-SHIFT-G) /tmp

go tmp


Launch the CC app and hit install on the app of your choice

If you are sorting by date modified you will see a folder with a cryptic name pop up

folder appears



Enter that folder and you will see a few files. When the app is finished downloading you will see one of those files is a DMG. make a copy of that file and save it to your desktop.

folder w dmg





Once the installer finishes it will remove the dmg and the folder from the tmp directory

Copy that installer to your other machine and double click to install. No download necessary on your other machines






Top 5 “Little” Improvements in Adobe After Effects CC (12.0)

I posted these earlier on twitter but figured I should collect them here in a post as well because… well because thats what this site is for.

So here are my Top 5 improvements and tidbits on After Effects CC (v12) that you may not have seen advertised

1) “Reveal in Finder” in a layers contextual menu

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.36.23 AMNow when you have an item selected in your timeline you can reveal it in the finder or explorer without having to first reveal it in your project




2) “Replace With Precomp” in the project panel.

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.58.48 AMEver had a clip or item that you needed to make a change to and let that flow project wide?
Now you can precomp the item in the project panel and that precomp will replace the footage where it lived previously. Nice little timesaver.



3) Reposition a layers anchor point

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.31.51 AMRepoing the anchor point of a 3D layer has been a pain in the past where you might be offsetting in Z without meaning to or knowing that it happened. Now with the Pan Behind tool selected you can drag the RGB axis to repo the AP in X Y or Z by dragging the appropriate Axis.



4)”Close Other Timeline Panels” contextual menu

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.30.09 AMEver wanted to close other those other open comps EXCEPT the one you are working with? Right Click on the comps tab in the timeline and use the new contextual menu in AECC



5) its now TAB not SHIFT for the mini flowchart

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.32.21 AMwhether or not you like the old SHIFT key to pop open the miniflowchart or are glad its finally changed to TAB, this is one that you want to know before you curse AECC for not working “right”


So theres 5 little things that arent the main features of AECC but will make a big difference in everyday workflow. Now that Creative Cloud promises us more frequent updates and features, hopefully these are just a hint at the improvements that are yet to come


thanks to the Adobe AE team!





Benchmarking CUDA performance in After Effects CS6

The current state of CUDA cards for the Mac has been pretty sad for a while now.
We really only have the Quadro 4000 at this time that is officially supported while on the PC there has been a plethora of GTX cards that have amazing CUDA performance for a lot less money.

Thanks to Juan Salvo @j_salvo for providing the first batch of systems that kicked off this test, and many others since, we have compiled this list of cards rendering a Raytrace comp in After Effects CS6.

I created a that comp contains some extruded shape layers that make a little robot, with a few lights and some more shape layers building the environment. Depth of Field and Motion Blur are enabled as well as reflections, soft shadows, etc. The test is very CUDA centric but of course the underlying machine will still have some influence over the results

As you can see this list has many PC GTX running in MacPros mostly under Lion
All you need to do is be install the Quadro 4000 drivers from nvidia and the CUDA drivers.
When using these cards you do have to be wary of power usage. The 4XX series uses more power than the 5XX which uses more than the 6XX. If you do need more power or are installing multiple cards, the FSP Group Booster has been used in the macpros 2nd optical bay which then provides a clean solution.

If you’re card is not list it needs to be added to the file called raytracer_supported_cards.txt








On OSX you have to “show package contents”  of the AE app and then navigate to “Support Files” folder

On windows machines its path is C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CS\Support Files\


If you have a card that is not on here or would like to try the benchmark you can email me or reply in the comments and i can set you up with the file

For a live link the to the results chart go to



For a very detailed and information filled post on using these cards with after effects and pp cs6 check out

Adobe Creative Cloud may be the future, but what happens when we need to go back?



I know since Adobe announced the Creative Cloud, I have been contemplating switching from my normal “buy the upgrades” to this new system.

One of my concerns was what happens in the future when we need to open an old project that doesnt work the same way in the current versions?  or has a feature that was dropped?

Well it appears that once you join Creative Cloud, any of the apps and versions that you can download will remain there for at least 5 versions. So if you join now, and remain a cloud member, even when CS10 comes out you can still go back and use CS6 if need be.

For Photoshop and Illustrator that may not be so necessary, but us After Effects users know that we routinely need to use older versions due to many circumstances such as effects that havent been updated, features that were removed, client restrictions, etc

With this information, it seems that at least one worry has been acknowledged and addressed and I applaud Adobe for this solution

Faster raytracing in CS6 while rendering in the background… YMMV

If you have an approved Graphics Card it will greatly increase the speed and pleasure level when working with the new Raytrace Renderer in CS6.

One other excellent new feature of CS6 is the ability to cache your current work are in the background. Rendering with Multiprocessing also continues to be improved in CS6.

However, any background rendering, such as the new BG caching, multiprocess rendering, terminal rendering, etc, are not currently compatible with CUDA Raytracing. If you are using the raytracer you must be filling your cache or rendering from within the app.

There is a workaround for those that have a render farm with compatible graphics cards, or wish to be daring and want to enable GPU rendering in the background. This is a workaround because it is not yet officially supported

1. Open Debug Database.txt in application pref folder.

2. Search for RayTracerGpuDisabledForHeadless in the file. Default value of this flag is true. Set it to false to use GPU Picasso renderer in headless AE.

Empire State Building Helicopter plate for AFX218


This is one of my favorite shots from our helicopter shoot for the AFX218 course at

We shot on RED Epic at 5K, HDRx, with an Angenieux 15-40mm lens


“Bending” an extruded shape layer in CS6

Last night on #Postchat the amazing @AdobeAE answered a plethora of questions about the newest release of After Effects CS6.

One question that came up was if you can bend a 3d extruded layer. The answer is No.
You can now bend a 2d layer till it becomes a half cylinder, but the 3D extrusions do not have that option.

Depending how far you need to go there are some workarounds

This was a quick test of an element for the course over at

If you create a small span. Then a null and made it 3D. adjust the rotation and scaling of the null a bit and then parent the extrusion to the null it will inherit those transforms as a skew. Duplicate the span, offset, parent to the original. Then dupe, option parent. This will create a 3rd span with the same offset as the 2nd. Keep duplicating and parenting…

After you have enough spans (you can always add more later) play with the transforms of all the spans simultaneous to create a bend, or some other crazy shapes and animations

Here is a quick screencap showing how the slide can bend


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