I want to edit after effects project (.aep file) with aerender. i used this command

aerenderer -project E:/AE/template.aep -comp Example -output E:/AE/video.avi

to render .aep file to .avi and every thing is fine. now i want to change the text in the .aep file and then render it with the new text. the question is: Is it possible to change the text with just aerender or i have to use extend script?

1 Answer 1


Aerender does what it says on the tin: it just renders. It can save a comp after rendering if there's a post-render action like setting proxies, but AFAIK it has no other capability to modify projects (figures, because it is available to put on as many machines as you want, so they don't want to be giving away a program capable of editing .aep files).

To modify an After Effects project you have to have a licensed instance of After Effects running. You can do it with extendscript in headless mode, so AE will run, but won't show the UI, but you can't run extendscripts without AE installed.

A better way to do what you want is to use the new data-driven animation features. You can use an expression so that the content of the text layer is linked to an external data file. Changing this file (which can be JSON, a piece of JS or just plain text) will change the contents of the text layer.

Using that workflow you

  1. Set up your template with AE,
  2. set the data file with Node (or whatevs) render,
  3. replace the data in the file,
  4. move the previous render,
  5. render again, change the data, render, and so on.

One gotcha with that technique is that you have to move the rendered file between renders, because you can't change the destination of the comp in the render queue so it will try to over-write the old one.

If you're using older versions of AE you can still use external data files to drive the contents of a text layer using eval() in an expression. The technique is explained here (full disclosure: my personal blog).

  • first thank you for your answer. so these are the steps? 1- i must create animations in AE in data-driven mode with .aep format to be able to edit them 2- install an AE with licence 3- use extendScript to change data in the .aep files like text, image and etc. 4- use aerender to render .aep file and make video (I want do this on the web server with nodejs or php) are these steps OK ?
    – E.B
    Dec 11, 2018 at 8:00
  • I made a typo. I said to modify a script you need AE installed, I meant modify a project. So with the data-driven animation the only file you have to modify is your data file, which can be JSON, or even just a text file, so you can use Node or anything. In that case once you have the template created in AE you only need aerender to render out the results, changing the input data each time with whatever you choose.
    – stib
    Dec 12, 2018 at 6:32
  • so i have a website that has say 1000 AE templates and each one has a logo and a 2 or 3 texts that must be changed by every user(users logins and writes the text and uploads the logo to make his/her video from .aep). in that case i must make data-driven AE templates and get the data from user and put the data in template data file and then render the project with aerender. and no need for extendScript. is that right?
    – E.B
    Dec 12, 2018 at 7:07
  • Correct. Adobe have made this much more possible with the recent upgrade, I think they're pushing AE as a tool for server side content creation. There's probably more info on their site.
    – stib
    Dec 12, 2018 at 7:21
  • uhh, with the logo, you'd have to rename the image file so that it was the same each time, so that aerender would use it as the source for the logo layer.
    – stib
    Dec 12, 2018 at 7:24

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