July 31, 2009
Apparently LiveType content appears in the Motion Library and the QuickTime component is also still included, so .ipr files in older sequences still work. LiveType features missing from Motion 4 were not confirmed yet in online e-mail lists and forums, or in the comprehensive documentation for the Pro Apps at Apple's Help Library.
Update: Mark Spencer posted some clarification on Cutter-Talk:
'Yes, you can import a LiveType project into Motion 4 - but you could do that in Motion 3, no new news there. Once there, if you want to make changes to it, you need to open it in LiveType. LiveFonts are available in Motion's Library in Motion 4 - just as they were in Motion 3.
Motion has a new text tool, the Adjust Glyph Tool, that allows for the individual manipulation of glyphs, much as you would do in LiveType - thus giving it more of LiveType's functionality, but not, IMHO, "making it's functions part of Motion 4".
Motion does not include any of LiveType's Textures, Objects, or text animation presets - although it does have plenty of its own content.'
On FinalCutPro-L, Philip Hodgetts mentioned that one missing feature is "about changing the color of the font independent of any shadow, ouline or glow. In Motion they change together, in LT they change independently."
Free offers come and go, and many filters are no longer offered (Swatch Buckler?) or don't work in the latest versions of AE. Here's a few others that also seem available, glancing through the AE Portal plug-in summary, but mileage does vary according to the platform and version of AE you're using:
- ObviousFX Erodilation
- Philipp-Spoeth Sinedots I & II, Shear, Retrodots
- Fristschluft Field Fixer & HSL Selection
- Alpha Fir Tree & Ornament
- FAN XMult (like Knoll Unmult)
- Conoa FreeStreak (in the demo of SuperPak)
Update: for new info regarding CS5 compatibility see Free After Effects plug-ins: an inconvenient truth.
July 30, 2009
"In this jam-packed tutorial we will build an energy ball that emits natural light onto the road’s surface. Plus, we will be utilizing ‘reverse-tracking’ to lock the 3D effects in-place, while maintaining the original camera movement in the exciting final shot."
Drawn to the Animated Story by Billy Burger explores drawing for digital animation & story telling: "Animation is a team sport. And the game starts with drawing. Whether it's traditional 2D or cell animation, Flash, 3D-Maya or Stop Motion; character design, storyboards, layouts and key poses are all established with solid drawing."
RSVP to blockhus at sfsu.edu if you haven't already done so; the lecture will be held at the SFSU downtown campus.
SF State Downtown Campus
835 Market Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA
(above Powell Street BART/Muni Station)
July 29, 2009
Also, Eric Alba posted pictures of his vfx tracking markers, including a free PDF template.
July 28, 2009
Digital Anarchy is offering a free filter, Cartoon Bubble for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, that creates word bubbles. It works nicely in combination with Cartoon filters.
You could also create word bubbles from scratch in After Effects, and Pro Juice has a new tutorial to show you how. In Thought Bubble (After Effects), Nick from Pro Juice uses masking techniques, motion tracking and shadows, to create "a thought bubble that floats alongside Arlo's head helping him decide what to do."
Items not mentioned here include (but are not limited to): Max After's Particular Bounce (pictured) and Topher's Tutorial Roundup: 52 Excellent Cinema 4D tutorials. See also AEP's cribbed roundup, Cinema 4D training resources.
July 27, 2009
And of course there's an example project and video tutorial.
AEP posts never go viral but there are still about 90 projects that haven't been trumpeted, so an enterprising writer has plenty of fodder still -- check out the impressive list of 90 or more SIGGRAPH 2009 papers on the web by Ke-Sen Huang. Here's a preview of this years' papers:
BTW, SIGGRAPH 2009 is hosting an Information Aesthetics Showcase "in recognition of the increasingly prominent role that information visualization and data graphics are assuming in our digitally mediated culture."
July 25, 2009
Eran's methods and ones planned by Maltannon are similar to the more specific but limited examples in the Behaviors Presets in AE, which are discussed by Trish & Chris Meyer in Creating Motion Graphics (excerpt on Presets) and After Effects Apprentice.
July 24, 2009
"there are many other applications that are professionally used and they produce mind blowing visuals. Some of them, might not be as easy to use as regular applications like After Effects/Motion, but there are many resources to get started. With the help of these applications, you can produce really unique and robust visuals. Along with the details of the Applications, I also included some of the famous works done by various artists using them."gutsblow:
1. Processing (like a fusion of AE and Flash)
2. Quartz Composer (more ease of use from Apple)
3. VVVV (realtime video synthesis for Windows, similar to Quartz Composer)
4. eMotion (force-based physics simulations)
5. Nodebox (similar to Processing but based on Python)
A key point was made by one reference: "Some of the files have errors in them and you cannot open them up directly. The workaround is to import that After Effects project file into an existing project file."
Of course most tutorial authors offer free projects and presets, but there are a few additional resources for projects and presets:
- Video Copilot offers many free goodies
- XScriptorium has a searchable database of AE scripts, expressions, presets and projects
- AE Enhancers, the uberforum for scripts & expressions, also has Presets Library and there's more throughout.
- Forging Fire's log of external tutorials
- Scott Frizzle has freebies
- AE Freemart has a collection
- Adobe's After Effects Exchange has user uploads and more from Adobe, like Additional Presets for After Effects CS3 (for Shape Layer and per-character 3D text).
For a video tutorial on working with effects, Animation Presets, & Brainstorm, check out Chris Meyer's take on CS3 at the Adobe Video Workshop, and a newer intro in After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #2 (Taking advantage of the Effects & Presets panel). BTW, to prevent Presets or filters (or folders of them) from loading, you can add “~” or use parentheses () on both Mac & Windows.
Also, there's a tutorial by Ko Maruyama on creating previews for AE animation presets for Bridge: Previews for AE animation presets. And of course, there's presets mentioned in AEP posts labeled presets or Animation Preset.
Update: AEP Project is a website made for Adobe After Effects Japanese users that publishes projects, presets, resources, tutorials, and many another tips. AE.Info is a similar effort from Japan. For additional resources on presets see After Effects presets & templates burgeoning.
Another resource is Adobe itself, which provides some great free resources like After Effects Help and Support and Adobe.TV (see Timesavers and How To, for example).
Adobe.TV can be slow and difficult to use, but AE Help czar Todd Kopriva has an 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!
Resources can be spread out across the web and hard to find quickly for a newcomer -- like good free video teasers from After Effects Apprentice by Chris & Trish Meyer that are tucked away in one of two PVC blogs and on Focal Press along with some other free content.
While still just a sampling, an overview of AE community resources before the Twitter craze can be found in AEP's own After Effects Online Resource Roundup and in the AEP News sidebars to the right.
Update: Mike Jones adds a few more basic links from book publishers, and "if you're craving a deeper consideration of the aesthetic and conceptual paradigms After Effects represents then I can thoroughly recommend Lev Manovich's essay After Effects and the Velvet Revolution" (who refers to a nice history of motion graphics by Matt Frantz).
July 23, 2009
Update: Owen’s Photolog has some humor in How to Install Final Cut Studio 3.
Update 2: whoops, Owen was right -- "Rendering PAL material to ProRes 4444 in Color introduces a gamma shift."
Update 3: In Final Cut Pro 7: Create your own manual Alex Gollner explains how to convert the Final Cut Pro 7 html-based help system to a single document manual.
Update 4: Apple posted the FCS manuals in the Help Library under View as PDF.
Mike Curtis of HD4NDs and PVC has reviews on FCP 7, Motion 4, Color 1.5, etc at Macworld, and there's already free video tutorials.
Lynda.com has a free Final Cut Studio Overview containing 3 hours of video training by Damian Allen, and Ripple Training has 19 free tutorial movies on the new features. Also, Peachpit Press has free new samples for their popular FCS books.
Update: A quick way to get continuing updates on this release is to follow Final Cut User on the web and Twitter (Filmbot; follow Editblog too).
Update 2: Among the ProRes options is 4:4:4 12-bit plus alpha channel, which seems to be poised to finish of the Animation codec (except to those without access). There's a Apple ProRes Whitepaper (PDF) via FilmBot.
July 22, 2009
There's support for this file format among major players in imaging, and Adobe provides support in some apps along with a Profile Editor to create new styles or looks. A backgrounder, The DNG Profile Editor: What's it all about?, was posted last year on John Nack's blog. Just a month ago Adobe issued a new version of the spec, which was discussed at Digital Photography Review in DNG updated to allow RAW corrections and Unless otherwise specified: DNG gains lens corrections.
Moving images are a big of this future, and last year Adobe announced CinemaDNG with "plans to support the CinemaDNG format in future releases of After Effects and Premiere Pro." This year Adobe Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty mentioned that Lightroom might get some kind of video support. Also, CinemaDNG got support from camera maker Ikonoskop, codec engineers Cineform, and Iridas, maker of color correction software (see the interview from NAB 2009). Having a non-modal 'AdobeCine' Develop Module in AE and Premiere should be nice, especially when complemented by tools from On Location or Color Finesse (which has its own Looks deep inside Plug-ins > Effects).
Nudging us into the future now is Julieanne Kost, who explains Working with DNG Camera Profiles on Adobe.TV (fullscreen):
"In this Episode, learn how to take advantage of the new Adobe Standard and Camera Matching DNG Camera Profiles in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4. Discover how to best use and apply profiles by: customizing your default settings, synchronizing settings between images, and/or creating presets and applying them upon import — all that and more will be covered as we unlock the secrets of Camera Profiles." (via John Nack)
It's at least a good review and there's probably one tip you didn't know.
There's more of this sort of stuff at Adobe.TV (in Timesavers and How To for example). On a more basic level is Motionworks' recent Learning After Effects for Beginners and AEP's own After Effects Online Resource Roundup.
Update: See also Lee's After Effects Tutorial: CTRL-D (+Shift),
Update: Peder posted a few more uses of Particular 2 in the Trapcode gallery. Counting up recent tutorials, there's links to:
plus a Particular 3D arrow and
Shinichiro Matsuda's round-up of 53 Essential Trapcode Particular Tutorials for After Effects Users.
And of course there's an example project and video tutorial.
Yes: Fire created using Trapcode Particular by Ramiro Fernandez looks really nice, via @rymden.
July 21, 2009
In Photoshop, shortcuts for paint tools can be a bit more involved, especially if you irregularly move between platforms. You can use the bracket keys  to change Brush Size and add the Shift key to the mix to change the Brush Hardness. In Photoshop CS4, with a Paint Tool selected, you can get the Brushes preset picker with Control-click (Mac) or Right-click (Win).
Even better, to change Brush Size directly hold the Control + Option keys (Mac) or Right-click + Alt (Win) while clicking and dragging the mouse. To drag-resize Brush softness just add Command or Shift; on the Mac you use Control + Option + Command while drag-clicking, while on Windows it's Shift + Right-click + Alt.
A red overlay temporarily previews the Size and Hardness of the Brush; this color can be changed in Preferences > Cursors > Brush Preview. Julieanne Kost has covered other Brush shortcuts.
Mathias also has 2 scripts for tracking and masks that could be used in combination with the TrackerViz script; see KeyTweak and Tracker2Mask: scripts with tutorials. If you like his work, please give Mathias a donation or tip to keep this sort of work coming. Be prepared you adjust your volume.
Here's a sample that creates a 3D arrow using Trapcode Particular in After Effects (the project file is on Motion Graphics Exchange, although for me AE reports it's damaged):
July 20, 2009
More on tilt shift effects can be found in older AEP posts Tilt-shift photography meme and Fake the tilt-and-shift look using After Effects.
"When Mass Animation announced their goal of creating a CG short film by 'crowd-sourcing' the animation to a global community of thousands of animators, I had two initial reactions: 1) They’ll never pull it off, and 2) They shouldn’t pull it off.
To executives, though, character animation is the most mechanical part of the process, the most easily produced. After all, animation has long been outsourced to India and China [sorta].
Perhaps there’s a way to do it for even cheaper.As long as animators are willing to toss themselves into the ring for $500 a try, it would appear so. The promise of being a 'Hollywood animator' is still too great for many to pass up."
Meanwhile Flippant News sees the absurdity of bottom feeder clients who look for editors in Looking for work.
July 19, 2009
The discussion hits on features Trapcode Particular 2.0 -- don't skip Peder Norrby's tutorial 2 -- and hints at a new plug-in developed by Stu Maschwitz. It sounds like the the filter will use concepts found in the recent Maschwitz tutorial on RGTV, Creating a Summer Blockbuster Film Look.
July 18, 2009
TubeMogul illustrate his argument. TubeMogul's analytics package brings statistics to both publishers and gawkers on 15 top video sharing sites; some services are free for non-commercial users.
Others like Silicon Alley Insider pronounced the Jackson meme dead on July 3. Jackson didn't even show up in the top 50 of Google Hot Trends of July 17. Here's Google's average worldwide traffic of "michael jackson" in the last 30 days:
This Just In: Michael Jackson, Still Dead. But another observed that Jackson’s demise allowed us "to interact with other people; to turn the news, to use the current jargon, into a ‘social object’." It's unfortunate for 800-1000 million who are slowly dying of hunger that they are social problem not a ‘social object’!
For a related perspective see the recent AEP post Meme tracking and the News Cycle.
Update: for a more serious look at the phenomena see The Man in the Mirror by Chris Hedges on Truthdig.
July 17, 2009
Rather than creating the shortcut by editing text preferences manually, Lloyd's FAQ recommends the keyboard shortcuts editor KeyEd Up by Jeff Almasol, mentioned previously in Modify shortcut keys in AE and Additional Scripts for After Effects CS4.
To add a shortcut for a script in KeyEd Up, go to (category) General > Run Script and pick the number of the script you renamed as 01 [name], etc as shown by Sébastien Périer in instructions for KeyEd Up in his Top 10 list of After Effects workflow enhancing scripts.
Scripting and expressions can be intimidating, but using them isn't so much, especially with user community help. Lloyd Alvarez showed how scripts smooth workflows in his AENY presentation on AE scripting, while the Coleman and Ebberts videos on scripting talked (Flash) users through the basics. Chris & Trish Meyer's After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #5 provides a gentle introduction to expressions. An overview of the AE scripting scene can be found in the AEP roundup Expressions & Scripting Resources for After Effects.
Update: Lloyd added another script to his library, Add Parented Null to Selected Layers.
Earlier, Lloyd also explained How to install and run scripts:
Update 2: Lloyd has another new script, Layer Marker Rename and Number.
Also handy is the Google Image filter for usage rights under advanced search. Apparently though, Creative Commons has had its own search function for awhile according to a post at Google Operating System, which has a nice cache of articles on new features in Google Image search.
There more on this in the extended post on the fix on The Foundry's blog. Here's an interview on the fix and filter beta posted by The Foundry on YouTube in May:
July 15, 2009
RGB Sine Distortion "basically diffracts the R G and B channels from an image and then runs them through a simple sine wave transposition. The end result is a cool effect that reminds me of an old school analog TV with bad reception and bad guns."
On another front, Cinegobs released his new Pixel Bender plug-in, CineGobs Spill Replacer Pixel Bender v. 1.0. It's more user friendly than his earlier CineGobs Spill Suppression. Instead of just updating the spill suppressor, features were added that you select another layer that you want to replace the spill with.
Also, via gutsblow, Tom Beddard's subblue of Droste Effect filter fame has released 2 Fractal Explorer plug-ins that will take you further faster than AE's built-in Fractal filter. Fractal Explorer "is a couple of Pixel Bender filters that will generate Mandelbrot and Julia set fractals to any power in real-time. The first filter is for standard fractal colouring whereas the second is optimised to use a technique called ‘orbit trapping’ to map an image into fractal space."
subblue also has a good page on Fractals and generative art resources, as well as other cool pattern generators for Flash. The Guilloché Pattern Generator would make a nice Pixel Bender filter too. Here's renderings from his Pixel Bender plug-ins (just toss them into the AE Plug-ins folder):
Update: Smart Normal goes Pixel Bender, and generates a normalmap using condensed(2x2) or sobel-edge(4x4).
Update: Ignore the whining and check out Jason's useful posts on issues like normalization and volume matching, etc.
Other teams are doing the same; the Photoshop team is looking for a beginning Photoshop user who has version CS4 for a study in Converting to black & white in Photoshop.
Go to the Start Menu
Type "command" in the Search box
Then right click on "Command Prompt" shown on top
Select "Run as Administrator"
In the Command window, type (or right-click and paste):
You could also use an automatic technique from Winhelponline in File association fixes for Windows Vista.
July 14, 2009
Reusing Colors discusses how to reuse "the same colors multiple times within a project even when you are using different programs." This involves several tips, including some downloadable scripts and expressions for After Effects.
For more on color see Color memes and schemes and other posts tagged as color. Other related recent tutorials include Maschwitz on a Blockbuster Film Look and Maltaannon’s Kuler Workflow for AE.
Update: Jeff Almasol noted that the Swatch You Want script was updated to display larger swatches if there are 8 or fewer colors in the file. It's part of Additional Scripts for After Effects CS4 at Adobe, which "contains scripts for editing keyboard shortcuts (KeyEd Up), launching scripts (Launch Pad), create project folder hierarchies (Folder Setup), converting Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase) files (Swatch You Want, kuler Shapes)... [etc.]"
Rubin has more on the same line, including early home movies of ILM from former ILMer and SFSU/MSP AE instructor Dave Berry (catch his life-affirming video Laugh if you can). Rubin also noted a web version of George Lucas: Maker of Films, a 1971 PBS piece with an interview of Lucas by film theorist Gene Youngblood, author of Expanded Cinema. There's additional background from source Binary Bonsai, who also noted the Raiders 125-page story conference transcript.
Youngblood's book itself is also available as a PDF download, if you're interested in expanded or synaesthetic cinema, an idea that includes visual music, experimental animation, and motion graphics. For more see the AEP post Visual music and motion graphics, which includes a 'making of' on Larry Cuba's computer graphics in the first Star Wars movie.
July 13, 2009
Maltaannon also offers a 23-minute video tutorial and low-cost filters based on his own Custom Effects, CE RGB Splitter for CS3 and CE RGB Playground for CS4. (Names and other details may be changed; check with Maltaannon.)
A few months ago this topic became an After Effects meme cluster which was summarized in Chromatic aberrations, seperating RGB.
Update: Maltaannon wants to give you more free stuff at Get free stuff.
But so far the effort seems to be targeted to prove that blogs lag slightly behind mainstream media and other details which can safely be concluded from casual looks at Google Hot Trends, and aggregators like Techmeme, PopURLs, and Original Signal. Social problems and political hot potatoes are safely avoided, as are steps toward improved decision-making. For a neglected perspective, see the recent AEP post on Anthony Downs' "Issue-Attention Cycle."
The problem with news is that celebrity, impulse twit-ches, and emotion rules -- "if it bleeds, it leads" still applies. News mostly feeds us lurid filler. Recognized on a basic level since at least the time of Edward Bernays is that advertising and politics are propaganda. This can be seen in behavioral targeting, web tracking, and the careers of people like consultant Frank Luntz. For some background on "framing" for the social mind, see Douglas Rushkoff's PBS docs Merchants of Cool and The Persuaders. Right now the pitchman has a foot in the door, but there's more coming, like "social-networking TV," an electronic panopticon where you can "participate in your own manipulation," as EBN mused.
Still the Cornell study is worth a look, and we can expect more visualizations because you can download MemeTracker data. There's also a beginning of a discussion by Zachary M. Seward of the Neiman Journalism Lab, Chris Anderson, and Scott Rosenberg.
Here's an excerpt of the NYT article:
'The paper, “Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle,” was also written by Jure Leskovec, a postgraduate researcher at Cornell, who this summer will become an assistant professor at Stanford, and Lars Backstrom, a Ph.D. student at Cornell, who is going to work for Facebook. The team has set up interactive displays of their findings at memetracker.org.
Social scientists and media analysts have long examined news cycles, though focusing mainly on case studies instead of working with large Web data sets. And computer scientists have developed tools for clustering and tracking articles and blog posts, typically by subject or political leaning.
But the Cornell research, experts say, goes further in trying to track the phenomenon of news ideas rising and falling. “This is a landmark piece of work on the flow of news through the world,” said Eric Horvitz, a researcher at Microsoft and president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. “And the study shows how Web-scale analytics can serve as powerful sociological laboratories.”
Sreenath Sreenivasan, a professor specializing in new media at the Columbia Journalism School, said the research was an ambitious effort to measure a social phenomenon that is not easily quantified. “To the extent this kind of approach could open the door to a new understanding of the news cycle, that is very interesting,” he said.'
July 12, 2009
For an earlier AEP look at a cluster of similar ideas, see Chromatic aberrations, seperating RGB.
Update: Satya has another tutorial on AETuts, Create Procedurally Animated Rhythmic Dancing Marbles.
Update 2: CS6 (2012) eliminates support for Pixel Bender, and Satya at least had already switched to using the AE SDK.
- Photoshop tip: Cmd-click the New Layer button to create layer behind current one. [Via Cristen Gillespie.]
- Photoshop CS4 tip: While zoomed in, hold down H while clicking anywhere. Move the square elsewhere & release. Kapow! [Via @gpenston]
- "Does CS4 strip lens metadata like CS3?" No. Save for Web now gives you choices. Select "All" to preserve lens data.
Of course if there's time one might consult Russell Brown's very seriously professional tips and Deke McClelland, for example his The Essential Approach to Masking at Scott Kelby's "Guest Blog Wednesday."
July 10, 2009
3D Radio Waves Plugin For After Effects from Satya Meka on Vimeo.
The filter will produce radio waves in 3D space with its own camera controls (see comments). The short demo video above is a raw demonstration. Mask and Image contour support is in development; it also has opacity and width settings like that of original radio waves. Each wave can rotate in XYZ with respect to the origin or any point and can produce polygons up to 20,000 sides compared to 128 sides of the original effect. And it's GPU-accelerated.
The downside is that it's Mac only! That's because it's a Core Image filter created in Quartz Composer and compiled using the Pixlock Effect Builder AE. Satya Meka is planning to release a private beta soon.
It's unfortunate that only Mac users have access to Apple Quartz Composer, FxFactory, Pixlock Effect Builder AE, and QC Integration FX, while Windows users have only disjointed features available in Pixel Bender, Conduit for Flash Pixel Bender, and other sundry image processing geekery end user tools. But who knows what will pop up.