Calling Sequence

As with all AEGPs, the entry point function exported in the plug-in’s PiPL is called during launch. During this function, the AEIO must provide function pointers to required functions and describe their capabilities, then pass the appropriate structures to AEGP_RegisterIO().


When users select a file in the file import dialog which is of a type handled by your AEIO, its AEIO_VerifyFileImportable() function will be called; it’s called again for each such file the user imports. AEIO_InitInSpecFromFile() will be called for each file; parse the file, and use the various set functions to describe it to After Effects. Also, construct any options data associated with the file, and save that data using AEGP_SetInSpecOptionsHandle().

After Effects then calls the plug-in’s AEIO_GetInSpecInfo() function, to get descriptive text about the file for display in the project window. As noted in the description of this function, it may be called for folders as well; we recommend that, if there is no valid options data for the file, you do nothing and return no error (that’s what our AEIOs do).

AEIO_CountUserData() is then sent; if the AEIO indicates that there is user data present, AEIO_GetUserData() will follow. After Effects will then request that the plug-in draw a frame of video (for the project window thumbnail) by sending AEIO_DrawSparseFrame().

Once the supported file is added to a composition, user interaction will generate calls to AEIO_DrawSparseFrame() and AEIO_GetSound().

When the project is saved, and if there is options data associated with the AEIO_InSpec, After Effects will send AEIO_FlattenOptions() during which the AEIO parses the options data, and creates a representation of it that contains no references to external memory. Likewise, the presence of any AEIO_OutSpec options data will result in AEIO_GetFlatOutputOptions() being sent.


If the user adds an item to the render queue and chooses the AEIO’s supported output format, AEIO_InitOutputSpec() will be sent. Use the various get functions to obtain information about the output settings, and store any pertinent information using AEGP_SetOutSpecOptionsHandle(), followed by AEIO_GetFlatOutputOptions(). AEIO_GetDepths() is sent so After Effects can determine what output pixel bit depths the AEIO supports. AEIO_GetOutputInfo() is sent so that file name, type and subtype information can be displayed in the output module details.

When the user clicks on the Format Options button, in the render queue, AEIO_UserOptionsDialog() is called.

When the user actually clicks on the “Render” button, AEIO_SetOutputFile() will be called, followed by AEIO_GetSizes() (your AEIO is responsible for determining whether the destination has sufficient disk space available).

Before the video frames are sent, AEIO_StartAdding() is sent for the AEIO to open the file handle and write out the file header. If the AEIO supports a video or audio format, AEIO_AddSoundChunk() is sent for each audio chunk, and an AEIO_AddFrame() for each video frame.

If the AEIO supports sequences of still images, AEIO_OutputFrame() is called repeatedly. After Effects sends a PF_EffectWorld representation of the frame to be output.

AEIO_WriteLabels() is called (for each frame) to give the plug-in a chance to write out field and alpha interpretation information. AEIO_EndAdding() is sent when there are no more frames (or audio) to be output. Close the output file.