Video Review – Smart Selector for Adobe After Effects – Layer Selection Made Easy?
This new plugin called Smart Selector claims to solve one of the age old issues with After Effects: selecting layers from the viewer.
Smart Selector uses an algorithm to see through bounding boxes, adjustment layers, pre comps, and alpha channels to select the layer you have targeted. The only caveat is that it cannot process 3D layers, you will have to turn visibility off.
The script is super simple.
- Create a Smart Selector Layer with the Script.
- Move the Smart Selector Crosshair to the layer you’d like to select
- Hit the “Find & Select Layer” button
I took a look at how it works by using a few comps, and of course the point was to try and break it. Have a watch of what the script could identify, and where it stumbles:
You can see that with simpler comps it does quite well. The Spring Break composition had no problems at all, except when I tried to select the middle layer of text but with more careful placement I imagine it would figure it out. The Two Cowboys comp was a good challenge for the algorithm, as it contained a lot of bloom and dark areas in the image that were designed to blend together as if they were one layer. It was able to identify the layer that contained the keyed footage but had trouble with the background. Finally the crazy Pre-Rendered Madness comp contained multiple pre-rendered (with alpha) layers. Did not fare well with that composition.
In the current version of the script it seems that there are some issues when looking at certain comps. Very contrasty 2D compositions seem to be where it has the greatest success, but compositied scenes where the goal is to assemble images into one cohesive scene it seems to have trouble visually identifying what layer is intended.
At $39.99 I’d say it is a bit of a steep asking price for the performance. I’d wait until it is a few more versions in and on sale before pulling the trigger. Quite a novel idea though and I hope it gets developed out further.
Check out the trailer below, and grab it over at aescripts.com