Fantastic show packaging using Plexus and tons of aescripts tools by .

Tools used

Author Notes

I’m Micah Hancock, one of the creative directors here at Syndrome in Los Angeles.  We recently completed a massive design and VFX project with the aid of a bunch of aescripts + aeplugins. We would love to submit the project to the "Inspiration" section.

We created all the in-show graphic and CG content for “Everything You Didn’t Know About Animals”, a new series on Nat Geo Wild.  The show is an in-depth look at some of the world’s most amazing animal species, diving into the science and anatomy behind their abilities.  Syndrome directed the live-action shoot, built and animated all the different 3D animals and their anatomies, created all the 2D graphics and designed the show’s package. It was a huge undertaking for our small studio, with many technical hurdles, creative challenges, a tight schedule and hundreds of deliverables. In the end, we are very proud of the work our dedicated team was able to pull off for this project.

The scripts/plug-ins from aescripts + aeplugins that we used are as follows:

While we presented a wide range of looks in the boards phase, the client ultimately chose a style that incorporated webs of connected data points. Plexus was the perfect tool to put this style into motion. Overused effect? Probably a little. But In the end, Plexus was a life-saver for the fast turnaround and huge number of shots we had to complete for each episode. Combined with Mir, It allowed us to quickly generate custom backgrounds and graphic elements that matched the Maya camera moves of the CG shots or the tracking data of the live action plates.

ft-Toolbar 2
Probably THE most essential tool for After Effects in my book. A huge workflow enhancer and time-saver. Once you customize it with all your own buttons, its hard to go back to working any other way. If you buy only one thing on this site, get ft-Toolbar 2.

BG Renderer Pro
Ok, this one is essential too…render while you work. Nuff said.

Auto Crop
Great for cropping big comps down to just the parts you need while maintaining position data.

Quick Lens Flare
A simple, yet powerful utility that creates a lens flare parented to a null. Great for adding flares that move with imported 3D cameras and works flawlessly with Optical Flares. The script allows you to accurately see the position of the flare in Z-space with a null, making moving it around in 3D much easier.

Awesome tool that should have been built into the native program from day one. It says what it does and does what it says.

Create Pivotal Null
Extremely useful script for managing and animating 3D layers. Kind of like a souped-up version of RepositionAnchorPoint that works in 3D space. Grab your 3D layers, run the script and now all your selected layers are parented to a new null. Another essential tool that was heavily used on this project.

Layer Random Shifter
Great script for offsetting and randomizing the timing of a bunch of layers with a couple clicks.

Explode Shape Layer
A must-have tool for working with shape layers. Saves lots of time prepping Illustrator files for animation.

Trapcode Mir
Mir was used in combination with Plexus for many of the backgrounds. Fast, easy on the render time and simple to use. Thumbs up.

PuppetTools 3
We used this for only a few shots, but it definitely saved some time and helped bridge some of the gaps in the native AE puppet tool. The script creates nulls at each puppet pin, so you can see the position of each pin at all times, not just when the layer is selected. Makes coordinating the animation of a puppet object and other layers much easier to manage.

Thanks! aescripts + aeplugins is by far the best AE resource around. My team and I really appreciate the work that goes into producing all the time-saving tools you provide to the community, by and for AE users. Keep it up!


If you would like to submit a piece for inclusion in our INSPIRATION category please submit it to us here or tag #aescripts on Instagram.