Rigging Ae Comps with the New “Templates” Feature

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 brings some exciting features to After Effects and Premiere, including Live Text Templates [link].

Live Text Templates allow you to designate an Ae comp as a template for use via Dynamic Link in Premiere. Once you import the comp into Premiere, unlocked text layers within that Ae comp will be directly editable inside of Premiere, without the editor having to open After Effects to make a text change.

I love using tools in ways that weren’t quite intended, so I’ve been experimenting with a technique for hijacking templates to create rigged After Effects comps. Instead of just passing live text from Premiere to After Effects, I’m passing parameters that allow the Premiere editor to control other aspects of the Ae comp. Beyond editing text, this allows the editor to define sizes of elements, colors, timings, or anything else you care to develop in Ae.

The trick is that the live text comes from Premiere into After Effects as a text layer’s text.sourceText property. This means that the live text from Premiere can be read with and acted upon by After Effects expressions on other properties.

Here’s a quick demo that shows the “rigged template” technique in action and explains how it’s done in a little more depth:

Fair warning: this is a bit of a hack. It works, and it’s cool, but it’s undocumented and unsupported. Ultimately, I’d love to see this template functionality extended to explicitly support passing parameters from Pr to Ae. If you’d like to see that too, please consider filing a feature request [link].

But in the meantime, if you’re at all into Ae and Pr, and if you’re comfortable with expressions, give this technique a spin and see what you come up with.

Posted by Walter Soyka


[…] Editable Text Templates for Premiere Pro – Unlocked text layers are editable in Premiere Pro through Dynamic Link. More on AE/Premiere Pro integration. And with expressions, editable text templates can provide some unexpected functionality. […]

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