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O'Reilly Open Source Convention
Sheraton San Diego Hotel, San Diego, CA
July 23-27, 2001

News Coverage


Writing Python Plug-ins for Adobe After Effects and Photoshop

Grant J. Munsey, Senior Computer Scientist, Adobe Systems

Track: Python
Date: Wednesday, July 25
Time: 2:15pm - 2:45pm
Location: Bel Aire North

Adobe After Effects and Photoshop both have extensive APIs for adding plug-in functionality. Plug-ins are generally written in C or C++. C and C++ are fine programming languages, but After Effects and Photoshop users are mostly graphic artists. They are not professional programmers and dealing with C development tools is too much to ask of them. Because of this users rely on third party developers to extend Adobe products. Unfortunately, due to business considerations, developers can only provide plug-ins that have broad appeal. To fill the gap between third party developed plug-ins and specific user needs a much simpler way to produce specialized plug-ins is needed.

I have written a set of plug-ins for both Adobe After Effects and Photoshop that provide a Python interface to the API. With this system users can write useful plug-ins with a minimum of tools and programming experience.

Because the API includes a complex set of routines and structures, I wrote a code generation tool in Python that can handle many kinds of parameter passing methods and structure formats.

Plug-ins for graphics applications often do a lot of computation. In order to make image manipulation practical from Python I have included modules for access to OpenGL and LibArt. Of course users can use PIL and other modules as well.

The plug-ins as well as several auxiliary modules are available on the Adobe Open Source site.

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