(Advanced) can I do THIS?

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  10 October 2012
(Advanced) can I do THIS?

Hi,
I'm making this video that's often interupted with dialogue, and all this dialogues is written with a type-writer effect and for each line there is a matching "avatar"/image on the side. (see attachment)

I have a working video with like a hundred of these lines, but now comes the polish part, and only now am I realizing that if I want to change something about this paper-layout I have to go into a hundred duplicated pre-comps to update each and every one of them.

This manual labor is a shame, because every single pre-comp shares so much:
*the same background paper layout (EXCEPT the size of the paper depending on text-lenght)
*The same style of text (EXCEPT obviously a different line).
*The same size of avatar (EXCEPT the image is replaced)
*The same typewriter effect (EXCEPT how long the typewriter reveal takes depends on text-lenght)
*The same type-writer soundFX (EXCEPT the lenght of the sound, to match the above)

So in other words, each line has A LOT of things shared, yet these subtle differences.
Would it somehow be possible to just make ONE of these dialogue-layout, then decide on a few settings to "dynamically open up" (text-content, avatar-picture, etc),
therefore I could just drag hundreds of these across my video, where I can easily change only the RELEVANT parts of it, yet later be able to go into this ONE effect and change other stuff (like font) and have that be reflected in all the hundreds I've placed out?

See the other attachment for just a quick mockup how that might look like in my fantasy land of unicorn.

I've searched like crazy for stuff like "how to make custom effects/presets" etc but all I can find is super easy stuff (like grouping togheter a few adjustments into a preset), so I'm not sure if what I'm asking is impossible. :(
Attached Images
File Type: jpg QCS_20121004224321.jpg (56.1 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg QCS_20121004230023.jpg (62.7 KB, 9 views)
 
  10 October 2012
To my knowledge there isn't a super easy way to do that. The closest thing I could think of that would be helpful would be some kind of script that would take your text from a document and import it into AE. I think people call it a macro? Im not sure I am not good with scripts and I also want to have the control of the manual changes. The easiest way I can think is to set up a few MASTER comps and change out images and text accordingly. If you create one comp and duplicate it the text will retain the typewriter preset for the text. If you made all the changeable images the same size you can footage replace. I have actually been kinda working on a project that has some of the same things except there isnt a ton of changes so its been some work but not a ton.
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  10 October 2012
Thanks for the answer, appriciate it since none of my friends/colleges has any experience with AE.

Originally Posted by CosmicRage: The closest thing I could think of that would be helpful would be some kind of script..

It appears that scripts (not 'expressions' but 'scripts') are just about automating a manual process,
so technically I could have a script set up all the lines, and every time I need to do a change I delete all the lines and let the script run again with the new settings,

However that technique is too far fetch, scripts just aren't meant for what I'm trying to achieve.

Originally Posted by CosmicRage: If you create one comp and duplicate it the text will retain the typewriter preset for the text.

Indeed it does, but when I then need to make a change to this dialogue-system-layout (f.ex. increase font-size) I have to do that across hundreds of comps.


Ideally what I want is to make 1 master pre-comp that contains 1 line of dialogue, but mark a few settings (text source, image name etc) as DYNAMIC, and then create hundreds of INSTANCES of this where I can replace only those few settings (while the other settings are always identical to the master pre-comp).
But AE simply has no functionality like that, I'm quite shocked at how limiting AE seems to be, every little question I search for I always end up at a forum where the replies are "you can't do that, but you can make a EXTREMELY HACKY script that kind of almost does that".

So at the moment I've settled for something far easier; I only put 1 text in the main timeline, and through keyframes change the 'text source' of that text.
This technique has a lot of minor annoyances, but I'm starting to realize that after effects is about hacking together something that works, rather than doing it the way it should be done.
 
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by Niber: But AE simply has no functionality like that, I'm quite shocked at how limiting AE seems to be, every little question I search for I always end up at a forum where the replies are "you can't do that, but you can make a EXTREMELY HACKY script that kind of almost does that".


Not sure if I share that view. Scripts and expressions are valid solutions to specific problems, not workarounds and a lot of what you want could easily be done using expressions (pick the avatar based on a slider, time-remap the sound effects etc.). It just takes time to set it up. Of course there are certain dark corners in AE like not having access to font properties, but there are ways around some of that by e.g. using multiple pre-formatted layers and showing/ hiding parts of the text dynamically...

Mylenium
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  10 October 2012
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