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I do a lightpainting video on After Effects (CS6 here) where I duplicate my layert to create continuous lines based on a moving light. I have a lot of comps to do and many layers to duplicate, then I search a solution to avoid this boring task…

If you knows a script or something else which duplicates a layer X times and moves it 1 frame everytime (like stairs), it would be very welcomed!

Here is a screenshot of the current (but working) solution, by hand:

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Check the Array script on website. It duplicates your layer in desired numbers and has more control for offsetting the properties like position, scale, rotation as well as time. It is really easy to use and has many great built in functions for creating really good looking and creative motion graphics. Especially for your case, playing around with the script might function as a brainstorm tool to create new looks. Just watch the provided tutorial video to see the features.

By default, AEScripts website will set a price but you can "Name your own price" for this particular script. Just register with the website and type zero in the price field and add to cart.

My personal thought on the pricing, if you are using the script in a commercial project, it is always a good thing to pay some amount for it. As this is a great and creative tool, it deserves some donations, think it as a tip. It is not compulsory but a way of showing appreciation.

By the way, check the other scripts on the website, it is a gold mine. There are lots of great tools to speed your workflow.

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Thank you for this reply! I already saw aescripts and some plugins like Layer Repeater but I don't know we can set any price! To test it, that's perfect. Thank you ;) – flks Nov 27 '12 at 21:36
But, with Array, I don't know if I can offset the frame position in the timeline and not with X, Y or Z positions… – flks Nov 27 '12 at 21:42
In the tutorial video, around 3:07, the script does that as well, isn't that what you are looking for? – Inan Berbatov Nov 28 '12 at 7:46
That's exa-ct-ly that. Thank you so much for your tips! 'will save a lot of time ! – flks Nov 28 '12 at 12:24
Glad it works for you. – Inan Berbatov Nov 29 '12 at 19:11

One other thing to add. On the Layer Repeater plugin you can offset your animation in time as well. So you could do the same thing by animating the opacity of the 1st layer, and that will get offset in time to the rest of the layers.

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You could also use the Trapcode Echospace plugin to achieve the same kind of thing

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Here's another trick worth knowing that will do the job without any third party software.

To quickly duplicate your layers: first set the label colour to something you haven't used in your comp. duplicate it, and then click on the label and choose Select Layer Group, duplicate the selected layers to create four layers. Repeat and you'll have eight, sixteen, thirty two, sixty four and so on. You'll end up with more layers than is feasible in no time at all.

To offset all your layers by n frames: select them all and align their in-points to the same frame by hitting [ – if they're not already aligned. Now go to the nth frame of the layers (e.g. to offset the layers by one go to the first frame), and hit Alt/Option+] to make all the layers n frames long. Now right-click (or from the Animation menu) choose Keyframe Assistant>Sequence Layers. Don't check the Overlap box. Now all your layers will be offset by n frames. You can then go to the end of the comp and hit Alt/Option+] to trim them all back to the full length again, or select them all and drag out their end points to the desired length.

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