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Opening Multiple Instances of Adobe After Effects

Opening Multiple Instances of Adobe After Effects

I am a long-time After Effects user from back in the Cosa days. This was before it was bought out by Adobe. This is a little trick that even when I show it to some power users, their jaw will drop in surprise. Yes, you can open and run multiple instances of After Effects. You can do this on the same computer and at the same time. This trick is so lame and easy to set up. It is crazy that After Effects does not do this out of the box and you have to set this flag.

after effects properties window

Set-Up

All you need to do is go in the properties window. You do this by right-clicking on the icon and choosing properties (get info on Mac OSX). After the command to open After Effects you can see that you can enter your own text. In this area, append a -m. This is the flag for multiple. Now you will now be able to open up several After Effects projects all at once.

CoSA After Effects

One of the funny things that I encounter is that most people think that Adobe has always owned After Effects. I started using After Effcts somewhere around 1995. In 1995, Photoshop was at version 2.5 and did not yet have a layering system. You could save selection sets, but once that image was deselcted that was that. I had been doing all these animations fopr CD Rom games in Photoshop. This was laborious. Around that time someone showed me CoSA After Effects which was like “Photoshop with a timeline.” It took me a few months to get up to speed.

CoSA After Effects

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Vertex Colors in Maya From a Houdini Alembic File

Vertex Colors in Maya From a Houdini Alembic File

Since I have been using Redshift as my need speed, go to render engine when I just won’t have time for Mantra.  I have been beefing up my Houdini to Maya Alembic pipeline. While straightforward, there are a few caveats. In this particular case, I was wanting to get my point/vertex colors from Houdini into Maya. One needs this if you want to render geometry with the baked-in colors from Houdini. A few notes, you will need to have a Cd attribute in Houdini of type vertex. In Houdini, Cd will usually be a point attribute, so a simple attribute promote will do the trick here. Just promote your Cd attribute from point to vertex and you should be good to go.

Importing into Maya

Unfortunately, the GUI Maya alembic importer does not do the trick, so we just need to import via the script editor with some very simple Mel. All you need to do is make sure you have the alembicImport plug-in on and type the following Mel command:

AbcImport -mode import -rcs “myPathToMyAlembic\myAlembicFile.abc”;

Obviously, you will substitute your own path and file name. You should now see your alembic file in Maya with the vertex colors in the viewport.
Now that we have our geometry imported correctly and we can see the vertex colors, we need to set up our Redshift shader, though we are using Redshift in this example, this method works for Mental Ray and Vray. In the modeling context, under Mesh Display you can see the Color Set Editor, which you can open to find the name of your color set. In our case, coming from Houdini, it’s just Cd.

Next, just create a redshiftVertexColor and under General. In the box labeled Vertex Set, just add in the name of our color set. In this case this is Cd. Now you just conncet the out Color to whatever slot you want, and hit the render button.

Other Houdini Tutorials: