May 30, 2009
And as mentioned here earlier in Hotspots for After Effects, a search on Google Insights for "after effects" can also spot interesting trends. Here's a quick tour and background of Search Options:
May 29, 2009
Also, via Todd Kopriva, version 1.7 of the REDCODE importer plug-in was released.
Updates were supposed to have been released for Premiere and Adobe Media Encoder, but not everyone is seeing them quite yet in Adobe Updater. Be sure to stop by Stephen Muratore's Adobe Premiere Pro Training for many details of the Premiere update. And of course the previously mentioned Dave Helmley Video on Premiere 4.1 and After Effects 9.02 Updates is a good way to get up to speed fast. Helmley also has a jumble of news on the update on his blog.
Update: Dave Helmsley has a new video called DAVTechTable - Editing with RED 1.7 Technical Overview. It's mostly Premiere but it has some stuff on AE.
May 28, 2009
A new entrant in the filmmaker tutorial scene is Film Riot, a show from Revision3. The first episode is "Star Trek vs. Star Wars! The Great Lightsaber - Phaser Battle."
You can decide yourself if you agree with NewTeeVee that the first episode is not "for beginners to using the software [After Effects], though, even if the techniques being demonstrated are pretty basic." There are a ton of light saber tutorials out there using the Beam filter in AE, and NewTeeVee mentions one by IndyMogul for comparison. Like the nice Sci/Discovery show Science of the Movies, finding the right balance of schtick can be tricky when starting out.
In addition to OOOii and Mark Coleran, these entities specialize in designing UI & display graphics: Useful Companies, Teknoel, zero one, Playback Technologies, West Media, Decca Digital , and Stargate Studios.
There's a few relevant academic-type articles, like Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies. And while Jakob Nielsen does make good points in Usability in the Movies -- Top 10 Bloopers, his own site design is starkly unreadable. For balance see, for example, In Defense of Eye Candy by Stephen P. Anderson: "We’ve all seen arguments in the design community that dismiss the role of beauty in visual interfaces... Lost in these discussions is an understanding of the powerful role aesthetics play in shaping how we come to know, feel, and respond."
Here are some example AE projects once available from AE Freemart: A simple blinking cursor, VU Meters, Number Decoder, and Random Circle Segments. Plus, Particle Illusion has 3 pro libraries with tech/interface elements, and a new set of filters from Noise Industries, "SUGARfx H.U.D." There's also a few more resources mentioned in AEP's Futuristic HUDs everywhere soon.
Finally, here's some advice from Mark Coleran:
"When I first started it, each artist would take a scene and be responsible for perhaps 10-20 screens in a movie. 10 years later you can add a 0 to those numbers at times. Anyone with any sense develops huge libraries of reference, large scratch pads of elements to re-use (illustrator artwork, photoshop files and after effects projcts and favorites) so that you can concentrate on the initial design and turn over the animation very fast. The time frames are shorter and the numbers vastly increased. I have absolute respect for the guys who do the TV stuff, they have it even harder. It can be easy to knock sub par work in this area as being unrealistic and sometimes cheesy, but the time frames are ridiculous at times. The complexity is generally nothing more than a visual trick. Rule of threes. Have at least three things animating on any screen and it looks busy and complicated.
The other thing is that when I started the design on a movie, I would do a lot of research on real UI work, future concept from software labs etc. The foundation that most were built on were based on real ideas, although once the design committees have had their input things can end up changing dramatically. 'I want it like it was in that film' is not an uncommon request.
Usually get involved in the pre-production phase, sometimes as early as two months before shoot, sometime as little as two weeks. This is staggered and offset by when the particular screens shoot, but i think the rule of thumb is 2 months before the first screen shoots so do the design, look and animation. It can vary a lot, but on the bigger productions that seem to be general case. The work these days is also not always constant. You can get breaks of a week or two during production then back into another scene.
For the most part we deal with the production designers and only get director involvement on 'hero' screens that contain important plot elements. The actual design and implementation... to be honest, there isn't that much focus for the most part. The only two directors I have ever dealt with who really did care was JJ Abrams on MI3 who was very focused on what he wanted design wise, and Alfonso Cuarón on Children of Men who took a lot of care and consideration about what was done so it matched and worked well with the particular look he was after.
The importance varies widely. Some people care and get involved a lot, other far less so. Some don't even look at them until the first day they see them on set for shooting. It can cause problems!"
OOOii used After Effects, Flash, and AIR for Star Trek. This is from an earlier post:
"For Star Trek, senior developer Dave August created a complete ActionScript 3 framework for compositing and sequencing various effects that was used live on the set during filming. He also created an AIR application which was used for authoring the various sequences and also to control them as the actors manipulated them."
See also related previous AEP posts, Mark Coleran on screen design, Adobe Inspire on Ironman’s HUD, and Futuristic HUDs everywhere soon.
Update: check out the UI of Space Fence, an orbit tracking system,
And of course there's a hefty amount of completely free stuff from this team at their PVC blogs Creating Motion Graphics and CMG Keyframes, and at Focal Press and Artbeats.
Update: Chris and Trish Meyer also posted After Effects Tips 5: Going for a Scroll explaining techniques to easily create scrolling banners, ticker tapes, and other graphics. And later they covered important basics in After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #6 , "a quickie on how to use the 3D Axis Arrows to manipulate 3D layers"
Update: Dave Helmsley has a new video called DAVTechTable - Editing with RED 1.7 Technical Overview,
May 27, 2009
Mathias Möhl is the mind behind the Tracker2Mask & KeyTweak scripts (AEP backgrounder post). He doesn't post frequently to his blog AExtensions but his posts do present deep new features and include video tutorials. The latest script is MochaImport, which helps you apply the Mocha tracking data in After Effects in several ways. Here's tasks that can be done as one click operations, and the video tutorial:
- create corner pin
- create CC power pin
- create AE trackpoints from Mocha track
- stabilize footage
- move layers according to track
- create a precomp in which the footage is stabilized while maintaining the movement in the original composition.
There's also a not too recent script, Final Cut 2 After Effects Script from Popcorn Island, which is another partial workaround to avoid the cost of Automatic Duck. The script -- designed for CS3 -- presents "a simple way to move sequences in Final Cut into Compositions in After Effects. Not only does it allow you to work faster, it also saves storage space. The normal work flow of rendering out from Final Cut and opening in After Effects causes one to create temporary files to pass back and forth between the programs. The Final Cut 2 After Effects script will allow you to bypass that and simply use the footage that has already been imported into Final Cut." The current version supports:
- Basic Editing Translation
- Segmented Clips
- Basic Keyframes
- Time Remapping
- Nested Sequences
- Multiple Frame Rates and Aspect Ratios
- Audio Channels
- Name Length Error Checking
- Support for PAL25 and 60
Update: Support for transfers using Premiere are in the Adobe Help doc Importing XML project files from Final Cut Pro and in the Tech Note, File Import Failure when you import a Final Cut Pro XML project into Premiere Pro CS4 (Windows), although there may be other issues involving alphas, pixel aspect ratios, or speed changes.
May 26, 2009
Guests include Sanelle Sibanda of the Generation Now film, with a light discussion. Seating is limited to 40; $5 at the door. Following the meeting, please socialize at the Coffee Bar across the street -- food, drinks, music. Purchase your own Refreshments.
FYI: The next meeting Thursday June 11 is at Adobe in the Chaplin Auditorium, 601 Townsend in SF. Limited to 100 people. Meeting is from 6:30-9:30 pm; registration is $15. Guests include:
- Jesse Spencer, editor
- Sean Safreed of Red Giant Software
- Karl Soule, Adobe Evangelist, on After Effects
Regularly on the beat in this area is Topher Welsh, who posts updated roundups at VisualFxTuts, AE Tuts, and now Video Hive -- with the recent Tutorial Sites to Watch - After Effects.
Also, FilmmakerIQ has collected 505 Behind The Scenes Videos, which includes several segments from Making the Movies on MTV.
May 24, 2009
"In this seminar from the American Film Institute, Amy Dunkleberger guides both novice and professional writers through the creation of an engaging screenplay. The seminar clearly and concisely leads you through the creation of an effective premise, compelling characters and a structure for your work. Throughout the sessions, writing techniques, presentation do's and don'ts, screenplay terminology and film clips juxtaposed with their shooting scripts help you develop your initial whim into your final screenplay."
FilmmakerIQ has related posts too (scroll down), like What’s Wrong With The Three Act Structure? -- and of course there's news & analysis from John August and Mystery Man on Film, and more on Wikipedia (Pre-production, Screenplay, Screenwriting) & all over.
There's already a market filled with script-oriented apps like Celtx (open source pre-production software), Final Draft, Gorilla, and others, as well as the forthcoming Adobe Story.
Also, AFI has short intro videos on filmmaking at ScreenNation Learn. Here's Scriptwriting (AFI's Lights, Camera, Education!):
May 23, 2009
Update: Todd runs down AE's opening screen Tips of the day for After Effects CS4, and asks for submissions.
May 22, 2009
The latter audio reports on studies sponsored by the Bay Area's Institute of Noetic Sciences:
"...the researchers found that when one person focused his thoughts on his partner [not present], the partner's blood flow and perspiration dramatically changed within two seconds. ...So how do you explain this? No one really knows. But Radin and a few others think that a theory known as "quantum entanglement" may offer some clues.
Here's how it works. Once two particles have interacted, if you separate them, even by miles, they behave as if they're still connected. So far, this has only been demonstrated on the subatomic level. But Radin wonders: Could people in close relationships — couples, siblings, parent and child — also be "entangled"? Not just emotionally, and psychologically — but also physically."
May 21, 2009
For those who find these sorts of visualizations compelling, there are many resources to explore, and Flowing Data runs many of them down in 37 Data-ish Blogs You Should Know About. If you visit be sure to catch information aesthetics, Strange Maps, Visual Complexity, Datavisualiztion.ch, and Visual Mapping.
Also handy is Interactive Narratives infographics feed.
Other good roundups include Smashing Magazine's 2-year old Data Visualization: Modern Approaches and ReadWriteWeb's The Best Tools for Visualization. More related notes and links were posted earlier at John Nack on Adobe , in Ethan Eismann's Information Design series of posts, and here at AEP.
Finally here's a nice video about mind mapping via Visual Mapping:
Update: Check out "Designing for Big Data" by Jeff Veen from Web2ExpoSF '09 , below,
May 20, 2009
Update: overlooked but caught by trusty AE Help czar Todd Kopriva in Comments, is the previously noted Adobe AE Help page Services, downloads, extras, and video tutorials, which organizes a master list of AE video tutorials (including ones from the CS3 era) from Adobe and partners into categories forming a comprehensive introductory "course." And this page is available in 6 languages!
May 19, 2009
The content on whip or swish pans has been updated in Whip (swish) pans in After Effects & Premiere at Pro Video Coalition.
Chris and Trish Meyer have sage advice in a new series on color; see On Artbeats.com: Color Theory at PVC.
Also, TUTS+ had a nice roundup in April of Color Tools, Resources and Tutorials for Photoshopers, and (via lisaorgler) Colour Lovers has all kinds of stuff (including British spelling quirks).
There's also a few newish color design websites with nice picker tools:
The Color Scheme Designer is an online color palette picker tool with some nice nooks and crannies. The latest version sports a new interface and engine with better color space conversions and previewing, an enhanced scheme creation system, and unique scheme IDs with a permanent URL of the scheme.
ColoRotate has an intuitive interface that lets you wander in 3D color space to uncover color relationships and choose a color palette that fits your needs.
May 18, 2009
AEER seems similar to XScriptorium, an AE scripting resource launched in August 2008. Both sites have attempted to organize the wealth of resources found at AE Enhancers, the main expression & scripting forum for AE, and a bevy of other websites mentioned in AEP roundup Expressions & Scripting Resources for After Effects.
May 17, 2009
Reverse Shatter Effect from graymachine on Vimeo.
Update: Harry Frank posted the Reverse shatter expression.
For background on Shape layers, see Shape Layers in After Effects CS3 by Total Training host Steve Holmes at Layers magazine. Motionworks has a tutorial movie also, Mask to Shape Layer, Aharon Rabinowitz added a podacst An Introduction to Shape Layers, and Chris & Trish added The Shape of Things to Come: Shape Layers Introduction.
And this one too: Color Tools, Resources and Tutorials for Photoshopers.
Update: It’s Graphic Design Week on Psdtuts+ & Vectortuts+
Update 2: Design Revver lays out 50 Inspirational Web Design Blogs.
May 16, 2009
See also AEP's Expressions & Scripting Resources for After Effects, which in an update notes a list of scripts that one may find to provide needed-every-day-functionality to AE.
Update: Sebastion earlier noted A little Smart Solid Script for After Effects by David Torno. See Solid Duration Script for details.
Well FilmmakerIQ has collected 202 Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorials. You may remember FilmmakerIQ for such lists as 1001 Adobe After Effects Tutorials, but they have many other resources listings too.
May 15, 2009
Note: Also cool (via a Thorp Twitter) is ToneMatrix, a sound toy by Andre Michelle.
May 13, 2009
"YouTube provides a steady stream of inspiration to advertising creatives, but it also leaves young directors vulnerable to having ideas stolen and agencies open to accusations of plagiarism. How can both directors and agencies protect themselves?"
Also interesting is Mario Klingemann in Adobe TV's Here Be Pixels on node-based image processing in the Flash/AIR-based Aviary Peacock (intro below).
May 12, 2009
And of course see this AEP post: Adobe: 'The future of video is searchable', and others filed under metadata.
- At Processing.org, Aaron Koblin Interview: This email interview, with questions from Casey Reas, took place from 1 – 21 Apr 2009.
Flight Paths over the southwest US from Aaron on Vimeo.
Google Creative Sandbox '09 - New York (caution: bad music & hard sell)
May 11, 2009
Of course this fits another recent Cisco move; see Cisco & Flip: video editing on the cloud.
Update: For a broader perspective, see Cisco’s Latest Consumer Play: The Smart Grid at Earth2Tech.
May 9, 2009
GG commenter Galen Frazer says VideoCopilot's Sure Target preset (with tutorial) "allows you to set up multiple targets and easily keyframe in between them. Also allows for shake/easing/auto rotate as well. BUT… it won’t give you the 'pixel perfect' move shown here without tweaking anchor points, etc."
Studio Daily has 2 posts: Lessons & Advice from Top Editors with 2 movies totaling 28 minutes and Tales of Four Editors with 4 movies totaling 43 minutes.
Encore's tie-ins with Photoshop and AE are good, but the app can be enervating. Whatever you do, don't save after getting a "General Error." The Precomposed Blog lists some of the ways avoid running into some problems in Encore.
If you missed J.J. Abrams' mystery box from TED, here it is:
Fan perspectives may be unhappy about plot points, and Mylenium's points seem better taken than this silliness from The Onion, Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable':
Update: A Star Wars fan, maybe even Jar-Jar Binks himself, goes to the top of the Marin Headlands to strike back in Starship Enterprise Destroyed by the Death Star,
May 8, 2009
Some of these options, like the Shatter filter and techniques involving duped layers on Z-axis, were discussed in previous AEP posts Extrude AE text into 3D redux, Maltaannon extrudes AE Shapes, and Rick Gerard's Advanced Extrusion with Shatter. Aharon Rabinowitz covered much of the same ground in his podcast, Creating 3D Extruded Text.
[Update] MaxAfter has good example of duped layers on Z-axis in his Text Formation. [end update]
Yet other options include extrude & deform with 3D object filters in Boris Continuum 6, and using Photoshop 3D text, which itself can be extended (like Zax beyond Illustrator) with Swift 3D PS. While both Gerard and Maltaannon consider strokes to make up for the lack of bevels found in Invigorator, these last 2 options have built-in bevel options.
As VideoCopilot noted last year, observing the many tutorials on the Net, "don’t forget to make it look cool." Graphic Mafia today added similar advice in the context of sport graphics and links to Chad Perkins' explanation of the the Shatter filter technique, show below.
And according to Fxguide, the VES Awards 2009 are to be Broadcast in US this weekend. [Update] But now a listing shows up for May 30, on a Starz Cinema channel. Fxguide describes the show which was held February 21st:
"This is a fast paced documentary/award show showing the coolest and jaw-dropping visual effects of 2008. It includes award presentations and behind the scenes interviews with the men who make the magic."
May 7, 2009
Democracy Now, with in a video excerpt, says: "Simon calls for a non-profit model in the newspaper industry, saying 'raw unencumbered capitalism is never the answer when a public trust or public mission is at issue.'"
Oddly, Gawker's Ryan Tate takes off in another direction, defending blogging and citizen journalism in David Simon: Dead-Wrong Dinosaur, via an agreeing Recovering Journalist. In any case, Gawker does provide some examples of success using Oakland (of all places) as an example. But Tate does make a good point -- and there are more examples of local reporting success posted by PBS' MediaShift in Your Guide to Local Watchdog News Sites not long ago.
Whatever the case, 'easing the ban on cross ownership with broadcasters won't save them' is the view of panel chairman Sen. John Kerry. The Poynter Institute has more substantial details, including a video of the entire hearing; see Senate Hearing Spotlights Three Hard Truths About the Future of Journalism.
Finally in another piece making rounds, the very connected Walter Pincus writes about Newspaper Narcissism: Our pursuit of glory led us away from readers in the Columbia Journalism Review.
Update: also, YouTube Goes Local with "News Near You".
Update 2: The Recovering Journalist talks about local news in Baltimore, the city of The Wire, in Choices in Charm City. He also recommends the interesting Xark post The newspaper suicide pact.
There's even more on Camera Raw on Adobe TV, for example Julieanne Kost and this on Local Adjustments:
See also Saving Time with Local Adjustment Presets by Kelly Castro from the Lightroom team, and a video tutorial by Martin Evening, Perspective correction for Camera Raw images.
Note: Another nice excerpt from Peachpit is The Digital Darkroom in Adobe Photoshop CS4 by Conrad Chavez and David Blatner, which discusses blending modes, dodging and burning by hand, using history to make adjustments, and soft-proofing an image for print.