Element Smoke Dissolve


Smoke Dissolve Elements

This one took a bit of time. It allows you to dissolve off elements using “smoke,” like in this tutorial here.. There are also examples included in the zip file that show what it looks like.

Make sure to read the Read Me file for further instructions. Also, there are 4 presets included in the Zip file that you need to add to your Presets folder. The exact location these need to be added is in the Read Me file.

Hope it’s useful!

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This is brilliant, it works like a charm and overall it is beautiful effect and a great automation!
maybe we can figure out what are the difficulties in making it work multiple times per project and update it later?
I am looking a bit into it to see if there is something I can do…

Well Done!

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Thanks! That would be great. I’ll admit, at the point I decided to let it be, I was ready to call it quits for now. But I’m sure I’ll get back to it at some point. One thing I struggled with was the fact that I initially tried to close comps when I was done changing parameters for them. But you’ll see in the blue, purple, and green sections that I unchecked those boxes. For some reason, having the “stop loop” there caused it not to change the parameters I was trying to change in the effect later. But, when I didn’t have the stop loop there, it would try to close everything. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, so I just decided to leave the comps open. :slight_smile:

This is my updated version -
Smoke Dissolve v2.json (629.5 KB)

I made some minor changes in the automation -

  1. changed it so it will check at first if a layer is selected.
  2. changed it so if will work with more than 1 selected layer (maybe 2 separate text layers)
  3. it will now precomp all the selected source layers to a source precomp and will use the same comp in all the 3 precomps so it is easy to update it in one place.
  4. you can use it now multiple times per project.(read more on the global changes section)

Global Changes -

  1. when precomping or creating project items, if you need to search for a precomp, first precompose with a unique name for example “FX - Smoke Dissolve (Main)_Temp” and then search for an item with this name, after finding this item changed the name again to the final name “FX - Smoke Dissolve (Main)”, then if an item with this name already exists it will not confuse the automation.

A small tip for your next automations -

you don’t have to open the comps in the active viewer in order to change them, you can use the loop option “loop layers in other comp” and specify the comp item. I think that the opening and closing of all the comps confuse you and the software :slight_smile: (and me), my rule is to use this action only if you have to run menu command on a layer in the comp or you just want to open it to the user.

please check if it still works properly, it is very complicated and long automation 320 lines.
(all the new line colored in red)
Nice work again!

Hey @alonshemer thanks for this! Unfortunately, it’s not working quite right for me. It moved the layer I was trying to affect way off to the left, to the point where it was actually cut off. It also seemed to ignore the mask on the Color FX layer, so it was affecting the layer with the gradient throughout the whole thing. I’m going to try to go through the automation at some point to see if I can pinpoint why. Have some other work today that I have to get through, but there are a lot of great tips and help in here, so I really appreciate all your help!

And, sorry about the confusion. I’ll admit that there were some steps I put in that I had to change later, but couldn’t remember if they affected anything else, so I just left them in just in case. (Like you said, there are a LOT of steps to this one. lol)

@skimber No pressure, take your time and feel free to leave it as is.

Interesting, I tested it again against the original automation and I couldn’t find any difference in any parameter. It is strange that I am having none of these issues that you mentioned.

maybe it is a bug with the precompose action.

Can I ask which version of AE you are running?

Aha. That may be why. 99% of the time, I’m working on my Desktop computer, which has the latest version of After Effects on it. However, I’m visiting my parents for the weekend and working on my laptop. And, it’s been so long since I’ve had to use my laptop, it still has AE 2021 on it. I’ll update and see if it reoccurs

I figured out what happened, and it’s something I’ll have to eventually figure out a solution for. It only works in a 1920x1080 comp. When it’s a different sized comp, it moves the layer. When I was testing out the solution you presented, I had just thrown a stock image into a new comp and let it take on the stock image’s aspect ratio. That’s what caused all the issues

Nice work on figuring it out,
Now I am pretty sure it is because some of the parameters/expressions you are setting in the automation built to work only for 1080p so if we would update the positional parameters to the right dimensions it will solve it.

For example-

  • there is an expression on the turbulent displace offset “[time*200,540]” and 540 is half of 1080p, it should be instead half of the comp’s height.
  • the automation setting the position of the transform effect to “963,540”(also for 1080p).

Ah, yes. Good point. I’ll have to fix those next week when I’m back in the editing chair. Thanks for your help! :slightly_smiling_face:

Amazing work on this automation! It’s really impressive. Can’t wait for the next version with the resolution fix!

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@alonshemer quick question as I revise this - if I create a variable called “compWidth” and another one called “compHeight,” am I able to put that in as a value for the position parameter in the Transform effect (as compWidth,compHeight)? Or would I have to create a text variable as what’s in the parenthesis and use that as the value?

@skimber , You can do both :ok_hand:

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Hi @alonshemer I’ve tried it both ways, and I can’t seem to get it to work either way. Any suggestions? (Latest version is attached, along with 2 more animation presets that you will need)
Smoke Dissolve v3 (copy).json (1.1 MB)
xtra smoke dissolve presets.zip (3.0 KB)

I wanted to send you this example with my last reply
So here it is -
Set Transform.json (14.2 KB)

This automation will add a transform effect to the selected layer and set the transform effect position property to the comp width and height.

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Perfect! Thank you!

@skimber you pushed it so far :scream:
the automation is now 517 lines and will support all directions, this is crazy!
may I ask if you are making it just for fun/learning or for work?

LOL. I tend to go crazy when doing things like this. I like to think of options and then think of ways to institute them. So, this is kind of a little of both. It’s actual very useful in my job, so I shared it with the other editors. But, it was also a great challenge to figure out how to do this. Plus, I love things that can make my workflow faster, so I love the idea of being able to do this with the push of a button and a few small adjustments. :slight_smile:

You definitely managed to succeed in this great challenge, you are creating here perhaps one of the most complex automations made with this tool :clap:

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Thanks! :slight_smile: And thanks for such a great tool. I absolutely love it.