This article gives a broad overview of how to use After Effects to create a dynamic project to be used with Idomoo's platform.
More detailed content can be found in the next sections starting with: Project Structure and Scene Comps.
After reading about the various guidelines watch the video showing an example project workflow.

After Effects Guidelines Videos

Total running time: 7:23

Personalization Options

Personal video changes each time it is rendered, depending on the data that is fed into it.
The changes are of two main types:

  • The editorial structure of the video
  • The content displayed in each scene

Using both these options, you can make many variations of a video within a single project.

Personalizing Editorial Structure

To change the editorial structure of the video, begin by looking at each project as a collection of scenes rather than as a single linear video. Considering your video a collection of scenes makes it easy to tell different stories to different customers by showing them different information. The customer paying automatically via direct debit, for example, doesn’t need to see information about paying at a branch, and vice versa, so you would prepare a scene for each option and only show the correct scene to the correct customer. You build the scenes using Adobe After Effects and use your collection of scenes to create a tailor-made video for the individual customer.
To read more refer to the Project Structure and Scene Comps article.

Personalizing Content in Placeholder Layers

The content shown in a scene can include customized information, such as the customer’s name, how much they are paying, and which product is now being shipped to them, to name but a few examples. You create such personalization by setting up layers in each scene’s comp in After Effects.  These layers represent placeholders for future data and can currently be of one of these types:

  • AE text layers - Used as a placeholder for text.
  • Image layers - Single images used as placeholders for images, videos, or colors.

Dynamic audio can also be added later, but in the Storybuilder. After Effects audio support will be added soon. To read more about placeholder layers start with the article Placeholder Layers.

Workflow Overview

Creating dynamic videos with After Effects is not much different from creating ordinary videos with After Effects. The tool is the same, and your approach to animation and compositing is the same. The workflow, stemming from the dynamic nature of the video, is as follows:

  1. You build each scene as a standalone composite in After Effects according to the instructions found in the section starting with the article: Project Structure and Scene Comps.
  2. Once your scenes are ready and approved, use our After Effects plugin, IDM Launch Pad, to define which layers are placeholder layers. Start here to see how.
  3. With placeholder layers defined, use IDM Launch Pad to package each scene as an IDM file. The IDM file is an Idomoo scene file and it holds everything to do with the scene.
  4. Idomoo Space Viewer is a previewing tool for IDM files. Use Space Viewer to check each scene by opening each IDM file and making sure the rendered scene looks like what you expected. If it doesn’t, you make changes in After Effects, export again, and check again.

  5. Once you packaged all your scenes you have a scene library. This is usually where the animator's job is done. You created IDM files that are good to go, however, please read on to learn what happens with these files. For more information, refer to the Story Building Suite section.

  6. Using the Idomoo Story Building Suite—our web front end, create a new Scene Library and upload the scenes into it.
  7. Still in the Idomoo Story Building Suite, create a new storyboard with the StoryBuilder and add scenes to it. Insert logic for when each scene plays and turn your placeholder layers into dynamic layers ready to accept data.
  8. Once your Storyboard is ready, you are all set up and can start to generate videos.

Idomoo's PV Cloud

Idomoo doesn't use After Effects for rendering. Instead, we use our own Personal Video (PV) Cloud—our remote rendering farm. It’s fast and robust and ready for action. However, because it’s not After Effects, layers used as placeholders are limited with regard to what you can do with them. For example, you can’t use text animators on text layers. We can’t recreate that with our PV Cloud. Static layers that don’t change from video to video are rendered in After Effects during the packaging stage, and are not limited. To learn more about what you can use and can't use, starting with the article Project Structure and Scene Comps.