Introducing the InstaFilm Script

For the past few months, I’ve been messing around with Adobe’s ExtendedScript Toolkit, learning the basics of writing After Effects scripts and such. Due to the fact that I have very little programming experience aside from HTML and CSS, understanding how JavaScript worked was a little tricky. After studying the After Effects Scripting Guide and Lloyd Alvarez’s ‘Introduction to After Effects Scripting’ course on fxphd, I decided to build my own simple script: InstaFilm.

I found myself constantly drawing letterboxes, adding grain, and applying the same effects over and over again for rough color correction and grading. This was a perfect time for me to practice what I’ve learned.

Now this script was first created without a user-interface, meaning you had to run it through the ‘Run Script’ command and it created all the layers at once with no control. This was fine with me, but I found myself sometimes using the “Grain” in Magic Bullet Looks instead. The original script needed a GUI, so I built a basic interface for it. This is InstaFilm Script v1.0, a basic tool for quickly applying stuff I need.

What Does It Do?

InstaFilm creates a quick letterboxing layer using a black solid and a mask. Simply choose your composition size and it’ll draw the right letterbox for your comp size. This beats manually drawing one each time that may be uneven or copying/pasting it. Pressing the ‘CC’ button will create a new Adjustment Layer and apply: Magic Bullet Looks, Curves, Levels, and Tint. These are the 4 most common effects I use to color correct and color grade my shots. Lastly, gradient color banding is an issue, so a quick button for adding a subtle Grain effect does great wonders. It smoothes out color banding and makes your motion graphics look a bit less digital and sharp.

It’s important to note that this script was built entirely on my needs, so don’t be surprised if it isn’t really useful to you. I will be adding more features and hopefully more advanced options in the future, but this is it for version 1.0 until I learn more scripting. So many of you guys were interested in it and wanted me to release it after trying the beta, so here it is:

Download InstaFilm Script v1.0

NOTE: The InstaFilm Script is now part of the Dojo Toolkit Script, which is free to download.

Place the InstaFilm.jsxbin file into your ‘ScriptUI Panels’ folder in your ‘Scripts’ folder. You can find those folders in your After Effects directory. The ‘CC’ option will not work if you do not have Magic Bullet Looks.

Although this script wasn’t built for public use and application, if you guys have some cool ideas for new features, let me know and I’ll try to add them! This script is all about saving time, what effects do you apply the most?

29 thoughts on “Introducing the InstaFilm Script

  1. Vinhson i like your works that you do and you are helping me with some tutories, please you have that a good job. but i want you to send me some basic tutories because am new to its. thank you may God bless you.

  2. That awesome it will save for me time and I will 100% accurat when I will add this letter box 🙂 thanks so much I really like your works , Keep posting this amazing work <3

    Love From Bahrain
    Hussain AlMarkhi ..

  3. A good script! Saves me time. Only for me MB Looks is not appropriate plug-in. Is it possible to replace it with a MB Colorista II ?

    1. Thanks! I’ll try to incorporate Colorista II in the next update with an additional button or so. Anything else you have in mind aside from applying Colorista?

  4. Hey!

    Great and very useful script, thanks a lot! 🙂
    Only downside is the 250+ seconds to wait for the people that do not have twitter… :/

    Thank you!

  5. Hi Vinhson!

    Great and very handy script. It makes alot very easy and fast.

    I have started trying a bit of After Effects scripting, but never understood how I do it right. I have seen many tutorials on this online but feel that they not give much information at all.

    I feel that the online tutorials only talks about what is really simple and not helpful to understand and start with java scripting for After Effects; prompt() and alert()

    After I saw the script you have created, and since you already do alot of very good tutorials, I wondering if you could make a tutorial on scripting for After Effects. That not only contains what is BASIC, but also something that is truly useful. This could be for example how to create a button that is linked to something. Really just something a little more advanced than the prompt () and alert ().

    Yes, I have tried to read the user guide for “Adobe After Effects scripts” but do not understand much of it.

    anyway keep up the good work 🙂


    1. Hey Jonny,
      Thanks for the kind words! Unfortunately, I am no programmer and am still learning Javascript myself. I’d recommend fxphd’s course: Introduction to After Effects Scripting, taught by Lloyd Alvarez. It taught me everything I know 🙂

      1. Thanks for the quick reply!
        Then I`ll try to see the course :). If you have the chance could you sent me the link?

        As always keep up the good work! 🙂


    1. Haven’t tried this script on AE CC yet, but you may certainly try it out. If you do, please let me know if everything works. The script is rather simple and uses basic Javascript so I’d expect it to work just fine.

      1. The Letterbox works just fine, the grain too, but the CC did nothing. I clicked and it just created the Adjustement Layer but without any effects :/ Anyway I still use it on my CS6 and is awesome! thanks!

        1. Did you have Magic Bullet Looks installed for AE CC? If not, that would be the reason why it failed to apply the effects. Thanks again for letting me know 🙂

      1. Thank you for fast reply, I just tested in AE CS5.5 and it’s working fine, great script and very useful for creating fast cinematic look.

  6. You are doin a really good work.. excellent infact..
    also ur tutorials are great.. i explored many things from ur tutorials..
    also your royalty free scripts and plugins are great..

    In all u r The Bestt after Andrew Kramer for me !
    keep doin the good job ! God bless !

    Make some tutorials of mocha tracking and then compositing in after effects..
    Also Rayfire tuto’s will be best !

    God bless you … tke cre !

    With Regards,
    Sujit Modak.

    1. Hey Sujit,

      Greatly appreciate the kind words and feedback! I will definitely bring out some more vfx/tracking tutorials thanks to your requests.

  7. Hi Vinhson!

    I try to make my first AE script for fun, and thought I would make a dockable & floating GUI panel (like InstaFilm) However after I run the script through the UI folder it is just BLANK?.

    Do you have any ideas on what I’m doing wrong??

    Here is the code, if you have time to take a short look?

    [code removed]

    Keep up the good work!


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