After Effects Script of the Week: Get Sh*t Done
A boon to productivity hounds, or just a more crowded UI?
By Mark Christiansen | October 05, 2011
I'm into workflow efficiency. I've read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" title="GTD on Amazon">David Allen's book and am a proponent of Things. My own book is filled with keyboard shortcuts and other workflow optimizations. I'm convinced that the lift you get by learning keyboard shortcuts and context menus more than pays off the effort required to learn them.
That's why I was enthusiastic to check out Get Sh*t Done, which hadn't really been on my radar. What, I wondered, could be done to enhance my productivity in After Effects via a panel? Earlier in this series I reviewed Shortcut Key Reference, which is all about helping with the laborious process of learning all those hundreds of keystrokes. Would this one make that process simpler?
Get Sh*t Done was made by someone with strong ideas about the stuff you do in After Effects all the time, and offers one click solutions to multiple step UI procedures. There's a whole Trapcode menu just to create a new solid with the given effect applied, as well as several other generative effect layers. With this script you're a click away from generating a checkerboard or grid, not to mention a ramp - if only the ramp would draw white at the top and black at the bottom, but that is the choice of the After Effects development team.
I love the idea of Project Setup to create a few useful folders in the Project panel. My custom version would use different names and automatically set the Project to 16 bpc and a 1.0 gamma, but for that I'd have to edit the script myself. More about that in a moment.
The gems here are the workflows that really are kind of a pain. For Color Correction you get Levels, Curves and Hue/Saturation, so you can just delete whichever of those you don't want rather than finding them over and over again. I love a one-click solution to create a black solid. The script author plays a few other favorites, with adjustment layers for Magic Bullet Looks (yay) and FL Depth of Field (now essentially redundant with the release of the native Camera Blur effect).
Some of these, then, are a little superfluous, and others would best be updated. And that's where this script panel will fall short for most users: it could use an update for CS5.5, but in the bigger picture, it lacks customization.
And here's where we go into extra credit mode. This is what I would call a perfectly hackable script. If you've ever wanted to try your hand at customizing a .jsx file by seeing what's in it and trying your own edits based on what you find (aka "hacking"), this one is a perfect candidate. Everything is comprehensible and nicely marked up with comments, so you can comment out the features you don't want and add your own.
And that's where I'd love this to cross the line and become an Adobe JDI ("Just Do It!") feature. The most natural place for these commands to live, all that space the toolbar leaves empty at the top of the screen, isn't available. I was able to place it there with clever panel maneuvering, but that left unwanted tool tabs. How cool would it be if these menus were configurable and available in that wasted space to the right of the tools?
The bottom line: check this one out if you're curious, and by all means use it as a platform to practice editing scripts on your own. If you're looking for more resources to do that, please post a question or comment here.
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