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CE Pixel Sampler

CE Pixel Sampler
A CreativeCOW After Effects Video Tutorial


CreativeCOW presents CE Pixel Sampler--Video Training by Jerzy Drozda Jr

Jerzy Drozda Jerzy Drozda Jr
maltaannon.com, polygon-studio.com
Warsaw, Poland

©2007 Jerzy Drozda Jr and Creativecow.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
In this video tutorial, Jerzy Drozda Jr (aka Maltaannon) demonstrates how you can simplify the keying process, trigger expression events to control layers of your choice, and even do an automatic collision detection. Possibilities are endless.

When I first started working with After Effects, I came across a difficult problem in which I didn't want to solve it by animating keyframes by hand. As usual, I applied expressions to the problem, but at the time, expressions didn't really solve it the way I wanted either.

Now, with the release of After Effects CS3, my vision has come to life. I have created the CustomEffects that utilize the new sampleImage expression. These CustomEffects have made my job easier and I hope that they'll help you as well.

Below you can download my preset package mentioned in the tutorial. This package includes:

  • PixelSampler (grab a color from a pixel or a range of pixels)
  • ColorSampler (compare two colors and see if they match)
  • ColorHSL (calculates hue, saturation, and lightness for use with expressions)
  • MatchingValues (compare any two values and see if they match)

This tutorial focuses on PixelSampler, but other CustomEffects are also mentioned. They are built so that people who don't like expressions could still take advantage of them.

Take ColorHSL for example. This converts RGB values to HSL. This can be easily done by using expressions, but using this CustomEffects simplifies the process by allowing to use the pickwip tool and point to one of the HSL values.

What are CustomEffects?

We all use presets. They are very powerful and handy to use, but sometimes, when there are many expression controls involved it starts to get very messy. And that’s where CustomEffects come in.

CustomEffects are standard presets but they look like and behave as standard plugins. After Effects needs to know the definition of the preset in order to interpret them correctly. Some time ago I've started to publish my heavily expression based presets as CustomEffects. Here is how you can install them manually:

  • Download Mac version of the package below.
  • Unpack it to a convenient place
  • Right click on the After Effects CS3 application name in your Application folder. choose 'Show Package Contents'
  • Navigate to the Resources folder and locate the PresetEffects.xml file. Make a backup copy of this file.
  • Click here to see a graphic of this procedure
  • Open PresetEffects.xml file in any text editor
  • Open the XML file provided in the package that you’ve downloaded in your text editor.
  • Copy&Paste its content into PresetEffects.xml, just above the last line of the file. Save the file. When it says, this is a read only file, do you want to overwrite, choose yes.
  • Navigate to the Presets folder just inside the AE CS3 folder, create a folder called Polygon Studios and drag the .ffx files you downloaded into that folder.
  • Restart After Effects

The mac version must be installed manually at this time. The windows version needs an installer. Click here to get it.

Windows:

Click to download project files
Mac:

Click to download project files



Video Tutorial



Feel free to post any questions on the After Effects Forum at CreativeCOW.net.

Have fun!








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Comments

Re: CE Pixel Sampler
by Alexis Gutiérrez Cotero
OMG!, i want that tool!! AWSEOME!! Thanks dude, you are changing the world :P


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