Scripting is one of those skills that can seem daunting at first, but is a huge asset to have in your toolbox. Last night Charles Rowland (aka @RaginClaw) introduced us to the ins and outs of scripting.

Scripting in After Effects is one way to really help automate a lot of tasks and open up new creative opportunities. Several of us are familiar with Expressions—the small bits of code used in the timeline to automate certain parameters. Scripting, though, involves writing a form of Javascript called “Extendscript” and can be run as commands or even panels inside of After Effects.

Several resources are available to learn Extendscript including the Adobe help site, forums, and Creative Cow. And Lloyd Alvarez has his Intro to AE Scripting course available on aescripts. One of the best ways to learn, though, might be to look at scripts found online and dissecting them to see how they work. Unfortunately—but understandably—a lot of commercial scripts are compiled into ‘jsxbin’ files and are unreadable to humans. And once you start creating ScriptUI Panels, Boethos is one way to help create the UI.

In Cinema4D, the analog to Expressions is Xpresso—the node-based system for linking parameters, automating motion, and much much more. But scripting involves writing plugins or tags to extend capabilities even further. The two languages of choice are Python and C++. Python seems to be the more common language for C4D. There are several places to learn including Cineversity and Code Academy. Nick Fox-Grieg (@n1ckfg) wrote a toolbox to help simplify the C4D Python API as well.

There’s a lot more in the transcript, so read on!