Control Maker

  • Compatibility After Effects
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Quick Overview

A minimal tool to create controller layers by importing Illustrator files as shape layers in After Effects.
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Control Maker

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Manifesto

Animators rely on After Effects' nulls for their rigs and to control their layers. It's a shame. We should try to use more descriptive controls wherever possible.

Explanation

I've created Control Maker to make this super easy! Control Maker is a dockable After Effects script window that allows you to have a customizeable set of icons for your rigs. You can either use the included folder 'o Illustrator files, or choose your own folder full of your favorite Illustrator files (and corresponding 15px X 15px png thumbnals), and Control Maker will remember that folder in your preferences. Controls will by default take the name of any selected layers, and there will be one controller created per selected layer. There are easy-to-understand buttons to change the fill and stroke colors for your controls, swap them, or even make them invisible. In addition, there are two special functions you can enable by holding the shift key on your keyboard: first, if you have Puppet pins selected, by default Control Maker will make controls for each pin but not connect them via expression. If you hold shift, an expression will be applied to each pin to connect them to their corresponding control layers. Second, if you have multiple layers selected and click an icon in Control Maker, a control will be created for each selected layer. However if you hold shift on your keyboard, only one control will be created right in the middle of all your selected layers.

MAJOR DERP: at the time of initial release, this script was coded to use ctrl as the modifier key for special functions, but due to a lack of compatibility on Macs, I've switched it to shift. The script and video have been updated accordingly. Forgive my newbishness!

demo

Conclusion

This is supposed to be an easy, small-footprint, handy utility for a reason: I want everybody to start using it! Even if you don't use my script, we animators should look to the fancy-pants riggers of the world for inspiration. It's time to treat our projects as user interfaces for others, and for ourselves. Use Control Maker well, dear animators.

After Effects CC 2015, CC 2014, CC, CS6