📹 Render automation for Adobe After Effects
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Latest commit 954c337 May 9, 2018


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Automate your After Effects project creation and rendering routine. Create your own render network.


This project solves problem of full video production cycle (creating, maintaining and releasing) for Adobe After Effects oriented projects. The aim is to build easy-to-use tool for video content creators to make theirs work easier.

It allows you to

  • create your own render network (render farm).
  • create personalized videos.
  • create localized videos.
  • create data driven videos
  • plan and schedule creation of video project, it's rendering and publishing.

How it works

  • rendering: It uses Adobe After Effects's aerender command-line interface application.
  • compositing: It creates temporary folder, copies project and replaces assets with provided ones.
  • personalization: It uses AE's expressions paired with compositing (noted above).
  • scheduling: It stores projects in local database.
  • network: It renders project per machine, and can be used to render several projects simultaniously.
  • farm: Can be used to render single project on several machines via Multi-Machine Sequence.


Why this project was created.

I was managing youtube channel, where every week i was posting new music mix video. This video contained background image (was changing every new video), audio track (changing, obviously) and some other components that were static.

I was fuckn tired of creating nearly same videos over and over again, so i looked up online and found that thing: http://dataclay.com/. It was cool, but for non-profit oriented project, it was too pricy.

Then, in a few days of thinking, nexrender was born :D


There not so many alternative solutions to nexrender. As far i can tell only Datalcay's Templater bot edition includes such features. But, obviously, nexrender lacks many powerfull gui/user oriented features that templater have. Anyways, what nexrender do have is a very particular set of skills:

  • it's free
  • it's open source
  • it does not require you to use gui (you know, cli...automation'n'stuff)
  • it does not require you to have licensed Adobe After Effects on every rendering machine


Install globally to use as cli:

$ npm install nexrender -g

Install locally to use programmaticaly, or as api:

$ npm install nexrender



There is a boilerplate project (kinda demo). It includes a created project ready to render, and all different aspects of nexrender (asset substitution, dynamic data processing, etc.). You can checkout the project here: https://github.com/inlife/nexrender-boilerplate

There are 2 main ways to use this tool. First one: to use as a isolated local render node, which will be just renderning projects that you'll want it to. And the second one: to create a render network, which will be pulling registered projects in api-server database, render them, and update their status on that server. api server + render nodes * N = network (farm). See wiki for details.

Usage (Simple Example)

Run http server to serve static asset files, for example on port 31999. Then create

'use strict';

var Project   = require('nexrender').Project;
var renderer  = require('nexrender').renderer;

var project = new Project({
    'template': 'MyTemplate.aepx',
    'composition': 'MainComp',
    'settings': {
        'outputModule': 'JPEG', // check your AE for existing output module
        'outputExt': 'jpg'
    'assets': [
            'type': 'project',
            'src': '',
            'name': 'MyTemplate.aepx'
        }, {
            'type': 'image',
            'src': '',
            'name': 'HotAirBalloon.png'
        }, {
            'type': 'script',
            'src': '',
            'name': 'test.js'

// start rendering
// NOTE: i inserted path to my aerender binary
// if you are on windows, your path might look like:
// 'C:\\Program Files\Adobe\After Effects CC 2015\aerender.exe'
var rendered = renderer.render('/Applications/Adobe After Effects CC 2015.3/aerender', project);

rendered.then(function() {
    // successfully rendered

Note: You need to start local/remote web-server that will be handling asset distribution. Or put assets on other web-server.

Usage (Render network (farm))

To start api server:

$ nexrender --api-server --port=3000

To start render node:

$ nexrender --renderer --host=localhost:3000 --aerender=/path/to/aerender

What you need next, is to POST project data to api server. More info: https://github.com/Inlife/nexrender/issues/7

Usage (Render network + node.js API wrapper)

If you want to manage your projects rendering and render network from a node.js application, you can write an simple extension do make all things cool and nifty.

Creating project:

var api = require('nexrender').api;

// Configure api connection
    host: "localhost",
    port: 3000

// Define project properties
var assets = [{
    type: 'image',
    src: 'https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28013196/avatar/mario.jpeg',
    name: 'image.jpg'

// Create project
    template: 'template1.aepx',
    composition: 'base',
    assets: assets
}).then((project) => {

    console.log('project saved');

    project.on('rendering', function(err, project) {
        console.log('project rendering started');

    project.on('finished', function(err, project) {
        console.log('project rendering finished')

    project.on('failure', function(err, project) {
        console.log('project rendering error')


For more information, check out Wiki
Also you are free to ask me questions -> open an issue.


  • cover code with tests
  • add render progress evaluation
  • add security to rest api layer
  • add feature of parallel rendering
  • test on more configurations


Follow this link.


The project is licensed under the MIT license.