Useful Assistants AE 5.5 plug-in automates tasks

Profound Effects Inc. has released Useful Assistants, a new US$295 (retail) plug-in for Adobe After Effects 5.5. The plug-in automates the operation of AE 5.5 for tasks such as report generation, render management, keyframe generation, and assembling of such complex projects as sophisticated 3-D compositions.

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After Effects is Adobe's set of tools for producing motion graphics and visual effects for film, video, multimedia, and the Web. It's compatible with Mac OS X (10.1 and higher) and Mac OS 9.1-9.2.1. Among the 20 total automation assistants included with Useful Assistants are ones to help you:

  • Create video walls, cubes, tubes, and other two- and three-dimensional layouts automatically;
  • Generate reports such as a listing of all effects and their parameter values;
  • Manage assets with smart assistants that, for example, can import an entire folder of footage files and correctly handle sequence files versus movie files;
  • Generate keyframes automatically from audio data;
  • Create masks in various geometric shapes automatically;
  • Similar to Profound Effects' Useful Things plug-in, Useful Assistants comes with a variety of prewritten automation assistants. Useful Assistants is noteworthy because it accomplishes all its tasks and more using a "completely open, easily extended scripting environment," according to Profound Effects. No scripting is required.

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