Immigration – Smart Importing for After Effects

If any of you work with large image sequences and find importing them into After Effects a bit of a drag then you should seriously take a look at Immigration

Manually importing large sequences can be a slow process, especially if you are working with many different passes rendered from your 3D application. Firstly the OS tends to come to a grinding halt when presented with 10,000 files in one directory, so you have to battle with that.

Then you have to sift through the directory and find each individual sequence, select it and import it. Finally after you have laboriously imported all the sequences, you should really organise your project window. Next thing you know, the project changes and there has been a re-render. You need to bring all the new sequences in and not only that, you need to swap them out for the originals in all your comps. If you have only one shot to deal with this is bad enough, but if you are dealing with 10, 20, even hundreds of shots, this can become such a workflow killer. You literally spend hours importing and swapping out files over the course of a project.

Here’s a screen grab for one sequence I’m currently working on for fxphd… (this is just the ambient pass)

Image Sequence

A typical image sequence in the MacOS Finder

This is where Immigration comes in. It has got to be one of the most important scripts in my C4D to AE workflow and an absolute bargain at only $45!

If you use the C4D to AE export option to bring renders and cameras etc into After Effects from Cinema4D, you can create an AEC file and it automates the importing of all of those sequences by basically doing it for us. This is great for the first round of renders. The fun stops there, after this you have to import them manually and swap them out for the renders you’ve already included in your comps. Immigration not only makes the importing of sequences simple, it also facilitates swapping out any existing sequences. It handles huge numbers of files with ease, using intelligent recognition to find and replace existing renders in your projects, even when the filenames may have changed, which of course they will, at least, the version numbers.

Immigration Import Dialogue

Here's the same directory when viewed with Immigration…

If you’ve ever used Shake or Nuke, then you will be familiar with seeing your sequences as single entries when you browse the project directory. So instead of seeing hundreds and thousands of files, you see a single entry for each sequence. This is how Immigration presents your files in After Effects. I’ve never understood why the AE team hasn’t written this type of custom importer into the application, but until they do, we can use Immigration.

Immigration Replace Dialogue

Here's the Immigration replace dialogue.

If you like the sound of this and want to take a look for yourself, then there is a free trial period that you can take advantage of. Test the script out for yourself. If at the end of it you are not convinced then you’ve lost nothing. Your projects will not be missing a plugin, you can return to the long winded way of importing sequences. I don’t think you’ll want to go back however, but don’t take my word for it, Why not give it a try?

Author: Tim


  1. Sataneev
    Sataneev On August 20, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Cool script!
    Here`s another tip:
    if you`ll type *0001* in the file name dialog, explorer will sort the passes (see screenshot)

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  4. Strob
    Strob On December 31, 2013 at 2:54 PM


    I own this script and this is really a must for compositing 3D renders multiple passes. But I am now thinking to switch to nuke and I wonder if there is such a script for nuke. I know nuke show the sequnces as one file but when i want to replace many passes for a newer version, does nuke need a script to do it?

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