Disable layers from expressions
When exporting expression-driven mogrts, many times expressions continue to slow down the mogrt, even in precomps, even if their layer.transform.opacity is 0;
I would propose an expression for enabling and disabling a layer entirely. The expression would have to have it's own editor on the layer itself, returning true or false. It would in effect set the 'eye' icon status. This pseudo-property could become visible directly underneath the layer in the timeline by alt-cllcking the eye icon.
This expression would be the first one the expression engine looks at, and only if it is blank or true, will it evaluate any other expressions (incl. opacity etc.) for the layer or the precomp.
This way it would be simple to create mogrts with alternatives for the user, each precomped into it's own layer and not loose performance.
It would also enable a design, where potentially expensive computations can be put on expressions in eg. sliders on a null layer, and if they are not relevant to the user choices the null layer could be disabled entirely.
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Phil Strahl commented
After Effects is sluggish as it is when you have a few UHD layers, and things don't get better when they are at 0% opacity but still get rendered apparently.
Great idea, you got my vote!
Andreas Kungl commented
I found this suggestion, because I was searching if somebody was already suggesting the possibility of excluding layers from MOGRT export.
In general I support the idea as presented here. A maybe easier to realize alternative might be to allow switching off layers at export. For instance, I use background footage in AE, merely to evaluate the look and feel of the comp/MOGRT-to-be.
Even if I switch off the visibility of such layers before exporting (via eyeball), this footage becomes part of the MOGRT, which is kind of dumb. The only alternative is to delete such a layer before export. Since you are forced to save before the export, the footage is now permanently deleted from the comp. Which is even dumber.
Note that I realize that expressions might break, when certain layers are not included in an export. Then again, we receive warnings for all kind of stuff. You don't even need to check for comp integrity. Just call out a "Proceed at your own risk."
David Proctor commented