Getting started with Plainly.
Learn how to parametrize various types of layers, how to create different types of videos and how to render them out!
Download a free sample project
We provided you with a free sample project that you can download and test out Plainly if you don’t have a project of your own. This is also the project that we will be using in the tutorials below so you can download it if you want to follow them 1 to 1.
Table of Contents
In the tutorials below, we mention a few terms and use a few techniques that are very common when creating templates. We explained all of this in detail in our documentation(insert link), so we encourage you to refer to that if you have any questions. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Creating a template with parametrized text.
Let’s start with basics. Parametrizing text is probably the first thing you will do. Let’s create a project that will have parametrized text and let’s render out a few versions of that project.
- To start off, let’s upload a “Upload New” on our dashboard. From there upload a .zip archive that contains the “(Footage)” folder and .aep project. (Read the detailed manual on how to best package your projects in our documentation (insert link))
- After that, create a template by clicking on “Create New” and choose the composition that will render out.
- When we have our composition, now we have to parametrize some layers. In this case we will choose two text layers that this composition holds.
- Create a dynamic value, set up a Display name, and a Parameter name. You can also create a static value, which means that the value of that layer will be the same for every render. Click save, and proceed to do this for every layer that you want to parametrize.
- Now that we have our template created, let’s test it out with a render. Click on the template you created in the Project window, and click on the “Render” button.
- Fill out the parameters you created, and click render.
- Refresh the page a couple o times to check if the render is done, and after that click on “Download” to download it to your device.
Creating a template with parametrized text and images.
The most common type of template you will create is when you parametrize an image (probably a product image) and text (this can be the copy ad, product specs, etc.)
Let’s jump right into it. The first step is THE SAME for all types of projects, so we will skip that.
- After you have your project uploaded, pick the composition you want to render.
- Choose the layers you wish to parametrize. I’ll start with an image.
- From here i can set it up as a dynamic parameter and pass a different value each time, or i can set it up as a static parameter if this template will be using just one picture. Please note that you can also use videos and not just images. Videos can also be passed if you parametrize an image layer and vice versa.
- After we got that done, choose the text layers that you wish (you already know how to do that, as you did it in the example above) and it’s time to test it.
- Follow the same steps to render the video as you did in the example above. This time the only difference is that you need to provide a valid link to an image. This can also be a link to a video file or a GIF. Once you paste the link, Plainly will check it, and you have the option to preview it by clicking on the eye icon.
If you wish to create the most versatile templates, you probably want to change colors in your renders.
If you wish to change the colors of Solid layers (which often serve as the background) that’s pretty easy to do in Plainly as we have native support for that.
If you wish to change the colors of other elements (for example shape layers or text layers) that requires adding a bit of expression in After Effects, but we covered that in great detail in our documentation (insert link) and it’s pretty easy to do if you follow the tutorial.
After you have all of that done, let’s jump into Plainly.
- When you have your project uploaded, lets choose a composition for the template.
- In this case, i want to parametrize the background color and three colors that will be the colors of the brand we are creating the ad for.
- We’ll choose the three text layers that are serving as color inputs, and the background solid layer.
- Parametrize them as a dynamic value, and click save.
- Let’s test this render. It’s important to note that you should pass only the values, without the hashtag (“#”). For the three colors, i’ll pass these values #92CEFF #0D2481 #71B9F4 and for the background, i want a light gray color #E9E9E9. Click render, and you will see that you have a video that has all of those colors incorporated.
Rendering within Plainly app.
Rendering through our app is very usefull when you want to test out a template (as we did in the examples above) or when you just want to create a single render. To render within our app do this:
- Choose a project from the Projects window.
- Choose a template within that project.
- Click on the “Render” button in the top right.
- Fill out all of the needed parameters, and click render.
- Plainly will lead to to that specific render page, but you always have an option of checking out all renders in the Renders window.
Creating Integrations with Zapier and Plainly API