Archive for March, 2006

Diagnosing an OSX slowdown

Most of the hacks I post here are about getting things done. Today I’m going to write about avoiding obstacles that might stop you from getting things done. Namely, I’m going to case-study debugging a sluggish OSX machine.


My boss approached me about a weird slowdown he was having where his machine was slowing to a crawl. Trying to move the cursor was taking a lifetime to move a couple of inches. There wasn’t a beachball cursor indicating an application was sucking up resources and I was able to launch programs, just very S L O W L Y.

So, what did we do?

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Automating “Guess 3:2 Pulldown” in After Effects

It’s a common problem to run into fields issues when working with imported footage in After Effects. An equally common way to address the problem is to use the Interpret Footage->Main Dialog(Command or Control-F) and press the“Guess 3:2 Pulldown” button in this dialog. Multiply this times 100 footage items (You can only select one footage item for Interpret Footage to be available) and you’ll be crying out for help. The following script gives you that help.
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With the release of Automatic Duck as a free product there really isn’t a great reason to use this script except as an example of XML parsing and Comp creation from parsed properties. For general FCP to AE workflows I’d recommend downloading Automatic Duck Pro Import AE 5.0. Depending on what happens with FCPX I may write new tools for import from FCPX to AE.

Update 04.17.2007

I’ve posted a small application and tutorial at Final Cut Pro to After Effects Scripting without the hassle for those that find the scripting presented here a little daunting. The following article covers the steps and ideas encapsulated in the application if you’re more interested in the process for learning to script After Effects and Final Cut Pro yourself.

I work a lot in Final Cut Pro and After Effects. They are both really strong programs and more than once I’ve had reason to move projects, art, text, etc. between the two programs.

Until recently, the only option you had to do this kind of interchange was a product called Automatic Duck (which I highly recommend btw) and in previous versions you still had to use Avid’s interchange format and jump through a few hoops to move between the programs.

Now with Final Cut XML and more robust scripting available in After Effects you can finally flow between the two programs with relative ease. In this first installment, I’ll outline a simple workflow for getting clips in a FCP sequence into a AE project. In future posts I’ll go over text elements, filters, generator items etc., but all of these follow the same general development cycle and will just be elaborations on a theme.

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What exactly is a creative workflow hack?

So… if you’ve landed here, you might be asking what exactly is a creative workflow hack?

Hacks in this case are tips, tricks, scripts and other helpful tidbits that address real-world problems that arise in creative environments. These are “helpful” hacks, not “leet haxorz” cracker stuff, although with the popularity of the Oreilly hacks series and the ExtremeTech hacking books, it might not require as much of an explanation as it did back in the old days.

Why should you care what I have to say about this stuff?

You might be in good company if you don’t care , but I run into a lot of stuff in my day gig at Primal Screen that might apply to people trying to “get things done” in creative environments. A few of the topics I hope to cover in the coming weeks…

  • Screencasts and tutorials for After Effects, Photoshop, Final Cut, Illustrator, Flash, etc.
  • After Effects scripts and presets
  • Final Cut plugins and FCP-XML to database connections
  • Connecting your creative workflow to the web with extranets and intranets

If you have any ideas or questions about how to improve your workflow, give me a shout at dale(at)creative-workflow-hacks(dot)com and I’ll try to post solutions and ideas. Let’s get started.

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