Processing as Plugin for After Effects (or Natron or Fusion or Nuke or whatever)?

I am a baby coder, but I've been trying to figure out if it would be possible to build a plugin version of Processing that would render to a layer in another motion graphics or compositing application, and if so, what would this entail? I've never developed an AE plugin, but I do want to learn how. (I have a couple of much simpler ideas to start out with ;-)

I know AE plugins are in C++, so assume you'd have to embed a JVM or an HTML5 canvas, figure out a way to sync the frame-rate, and pass whatever variables you needed back and forth. From the googling I've done and colleagues I've spoken to, I'm unclear whether there is some technical barrier that would prevent this from ever working. There are plugins like Element 3D that have their own very elaborate, self contained renderers built in, so it seems like there should be a way. I use After Effects the most, but if it's easier to accomplish in another system like Natron or Fusion, then that's great too.

My other question is what the licensing considerations would be, for either Java or Processing.

I think it would be fantastically useful not just for exporting sketches, but for building all kinds of interesting elements that could interact dynamically with motion graphics or visual effects workflows.




  • I'm not sure about plugins, but I can think of two general sets of approaches to integrating Processing with larger graphics frameworks. Not the same as an encapsulated Processing-in-a-plugin, but still:

    One is a custom visual patch system with interfaces for pipelines (often an emphasis on live-ness). VDMX did this with Quartz patches, and PraxisLive does this with Processing patches. You might feed Praxis Live into AfterEffects.

    Another Is to use Syphon and the Syphon Processing Library to pipe frames around. You can use Syphon with After Effects plugins.

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