After Effects

The NIM After Effects Connector:

_images/nim_connector_ae.png

Installation

The following procedures describes how to install the integrated After Effects NIM browser. The connector creates a NIM menu within the After Effects / Window menu for file management. The script and the following installation procedures have been tested with After Effects CC and later.

The NIM Connector folder structure is as follows:

nim             <-- NIM_CONNECTOR_ROOT
    css
    img
    nim-core
    plugins

In the following examples [NIM_CONNECTOR_ROOT] is the path to the top level NIM folder.

Replace all instances of [NIM_CONNECTOR_ROOT] with the actual path to the folder.

NIM.jsx

Copy the file [NIM_CONNECTOR_ROOT]/plugins/AE/NIM.jsx to the ScriptUI Panels folder.

The After Effects Script UI Panels directory is typically found in these locations:
  • Windows: [After Effects Install Directory]/Support Files/Scripts/ScriptUI Panels
  • OSX: [After Effects Install Directory]/Scripts/ScriptUI Panels

The next time After Effects is started, a NIM option will appear in the Window menu.

After starting up After Effects, make sure that under Edit -> Preferences -> General, the Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network option is enabled. This is necessary so that the NIM connector can read and write versions.

Setting Preferences

If you have already installed and launched other NIM Connectors your connection preferences will already be saved in the nim.prefs file.

The NIM preferences are in the following locations:
  • Windows: drive:/Users/[USERNAME]/.nim
  • OSX: /Users/[USERNAME]/.nim
  • Linux: /home/[USERNAME]/.nim

If this is the first time accessing a NIM Connector, after launching After Effects a dialog box will appear to enter the scripts path and the address of the NIM API.

_images/nim_connector_ae_api.png

Enter the NIM Scripts path as the full path to the NIM Connector folder [NIM_CONNECTOR_ROOT].

Enter the API URL as follows:

http://[hostname]/nimAPI.php

where [hostname] is the address you have assigned to the NIM server.

API Keys

NIM API keys are an optional security feature that restricts API access with time limited per user keys. Requiring API keys restricts all API access to only those users with an API key.

If Require API Keys is enabled in ADMIN/Security - Options, users will be presented with a dialog box the first time they attempt to use a NIM Connector. API keys are unique to each user. Enter the NIM API key provided to you by your NIM administrator. For more information on enabling NIM API Keys please refer to the API Keys section of the documentation. For information on creating user API keys please refer to the Users Grid section of the Administration documentation.

NIM Menu

The NIM menu is accessed through the After Effects / Window menu. An entry will say NIM.jsx. Clicking on this will load the NIM panel. This panel can be docked similar to any other window in the After Effects UI.

_images/nim_connector_ae_menu.png

Open / Import

Use OPENor IMPORTto load an existing NIM version or publish.

NIM will automatically handle path translations for files saved using different operating systems.
  • Path translation settings are defined in the Server Administration section of NIM
_images/nim_connector_ae_steps.png

The following steps outline the workflow to open a file:

  1. Job:
    • Files are loaded by first selecting the job from a list of jobs the user is assigned to.
  2. Assets / Show Tab:
    • Assets or Shows/Shots are accessed by selecting the appropriate type from the tabs.
  3. Asset & Shots:
    • In Assets, a list of assets on the selected job are available.
      • Select the asset from the Asset dropdown
    • In Shows/Shots, two dropdowns are available.
      • Select the show on the job from the Show dropdown.
      • After selecting a show, the available shots will be loaded into the Shot dropdown.
      • Select the desired shot from the Shot dropdown.
  4. Filter:
    • Once the Asset or Shot is selected, the files may be filtered by:
    • Asset Master - Selects the Asset Master if one is set
      • Available when an asset is selected
      • Only available for Import & Reference
    • Published - Displays only published files
    • Work - Displays all working versions
    • If Asset Master is selected click the IMPORT or REFERENCE button to load the Asset Master.
  5. Task:
    • Tasks show all tasks that have been made available to the current application.
      This is defined in the Task Types Administrative section of NIM
    • If Published or Work is selected, select the Task Type to load the corresponding basenames.
  6. Basenames:
    • The available basenames for the selected task appear in the basename list.
    • Select the desired basename from the list
    • If loading an IMPORT and the Published filter is selected click the IMPORT button to load the published basename.
    • If using the OPEN dialog and the Published filter is selected, selected a basename will display the list of published versions.
  7. Versions:
    • If the Work filter is selected, choosing a basename will load all working versions in the versions list.
    • The version list displays the version file name as well as the version comment.
    • Select the working version from the Version list.
    • The version details will be displayed below including:
      • Path - the full path to the file
      • User - the user who saved the version
      • Date - the date the version was logged
      • Comment - the version comment
    • Click the OPENor IMPORTbutton to load the working version.

Save As / Save Selected

Use SAVE AS or SAVE SELECTED to:
  • Start a new basename

  • Save a file into an existing basename

  • Export part of a scene to a new or existing basename

    If saving into an existing basename you will be prompted to either:

    • Save the file into the existing basename as the latest version.
    • Start a new basename by adding a tag.
_images/nim_connector_ae_save.png

Follow these steps to save a file:

  1. Job:
    • Files are loaded by first selecting the job from a list of jobs the user is assigned to.
  2. Server:
    • Select the project server to save the file to.
      The project servers are defined in the NIM job under Production / Config
  3. Assets / Show Tab:
    • Assets or Shows/Shots are accessed by selecting the appropriate type from the tabs.
  4. Asset & Shots:
    • In Assets, a list of assets on the selected job are available.
      • Select the asset from the Asset dropdown
    • In Shows/Shots, two dropdowns are available.
      • Select the show on the job from the Show dropdown.
      • After selecting a show, the available shots will be loaded into the Shot dropdown.
      • Select the desired shot from the Shot dropdown.
  5. Task:
    • Tasks show all tasks that have been made available to the current application. This is defined in the Task Types Administrative section of NIM
    • Select the Task type from the Task dropdown.
  6. Basenames:
    • A list of available basenames are displayed.
    • To save into an existing basename:
      • Select the basename from the basename list
      • Enter a comment in the Comment field ( 8 )
      • Click SAVE AS
        • The filename will be named automatically and versioned up in the current basename.
        • The version information will be logged into NIM on the corresponding Asset or Shot including:
          • Filename
          • File Path
          • Owner
          • Date
          • Version
          • Note
    • To create a new basename:
      • Enter a Tag ( 7 ) to append to the basename ( OPTIONAL )
      • Enter a comment in the Comment field ( 8 )
      • Click SAVE AS
        • A new folder with the Task Folder name will be created under the NIM ASSET_ROOT or SHOT_ROOT as appropriate
          Task Folder names are defined in the Task Types Administrative section of NIM
        • A new folder will be created for the basename under the Task Folder with the basename as the name
        • All versions of this basename will be saved to the basename folder
        • The file will be named according to the following convention
          • File naming is defined as:
            • Asset: assetname_taskShortName_version
            • Shot: shotname_taskShortName_version
          • Adding a tag to a basename will append the tag in the following convention:
            • Asset: assetname_taskShortName_tag_version
            • Shot: shotname_taskShortName_tag_version
        • The version information will be logged into NIM on the corresponding Asset or Shot including:
          • Filename
          • File Path
          • Owner
          • Date
          • Version
          • Note

Version Up

  • To version up a file that is already part of a NIM version stream, choose VERSION UP from the NIM menu.
  • A dialog box will appear with an entry to add a note.
_images/nim_connector_ae_version.png
  • Enter the note and click OK.

    • The file will be saved to the appropriate location.
    • The filename will be automatically versioned up.
    • The version information will be logged into NIM on the corresponding Asset or Shot including:
      • Filename
      • File Path
      • Owner
      • Date
      • Version
      • Note
  • A confirmation dialog box will appear:

_images/nim_connector_ae_version_confirmation.png
  • Click OK to close the dialog box and continue working

Publish

Publishing a version saves the working file, creates a published file, and generates a versionless version of the basename version stream:

_images/nim_connector_ae_version.png

Follow these steps to publish a file:

Note

To publish a file you must be in an existing version stream.

  1. Comment:
    • Enter the comment that will be saved with the version and published files
Click Publish:
  • First this will save the current working version as a new version
  • A new file with a _PUB tag appended to the name will be saved and flagged as the current published file.
    • These _PUB “published” files are not considered a “working” file and filtered out of the version stream when loading working files
    • Creating a separate publish file aids in the prevention of modifying a publish by accident
  • A “versionless” version of the basename will be linked at the root level of the Task folder.
    • eg. CAR_COMP_v01.ae will be linked as CAR_COMP.ae

When a published file is saved the _PUB file is the currently loaded file. NIM will ask you if you wish to revert the scene to the current working version.

_images/nim_connector_ae_pub_load.png