February 28, 2010
That's good news, but not surprising since the jobs cuts apparently weren't in Cupertino! Mac Soda's previous post on The State of Final Cut wasn't convincing about "timming the fat" -- "40 people weren’t doing a good job." But who knows, maybe the boosters will find their way back into the outback of the infinite loop.
For something ridiculous, see Apple's Influence on Visual Arts is Rotting to the Core from Jason Perlow on ZD Net.
- Pictodeck v1.0 is a deck of pictograms for Apple Keynote. It’s a collection of over 700 vector pictograms taken from four different sets: PICOL, Android Icons, Pictoico, Komodo Media, and Freshpixel.
- 50 awesome free fonts for professional design from Design Reviver
- 10 Awesome Free Handwritten Fonts from MyInkBlog
- 61 Fantabulous Fonts For Titles! from AE Tuts
- 30 First-Rate Vector Packs. Take Them. They’re FREE…. from Francesco Mugnai
See also The Graphic Design Olympics (2004) by Michael Bierut at Design Observer, and another short comparison of various Olympic icons. Interesting recent work includes pictograms developed for the 2008 Summer Olympics in China by a former Adobe guy; see The Graphic Language of Min Wang.
The use of pictograms in history and in modern design is an established field of study, with major works by Henry Dreyfuss (Symbol Sourcebook), Otl Aicher, Otto Neurath, Paul Rand, Edward Tufte, and others.
A few sentences on the subject can only be inadequate. For more info, see Navigating Today’s Signs: An Interview with Mies Hora by Steven Heller and Critical Wayfinding by Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller. "Modern Hieroglyphs" in Design, Writing, & Research by Lupton and Miller (excerpt pdf) makes a really cool use of pictograms in explaining pictograms in design and history.
Update: Slate has 6-part series on The Secret Language of Signs, which includes why signs are better now than they've ever been, why the signs in Penn Station are so confusing, how smarter signs could make London easier to navigate, and the international war over the exit sign.
See also How and When to Use Pictograms from Pixel Resort.
February 25, 2010
It would have been nice to see how AE's built-in Remove Grain filter performed on the demo footage (it performs far better than a Median filter). Other options include RE:Vision Effects DE:Noise, which uses sensitive spatial filtering along with time-based optical flow methods, and Digital Anarchy Beauty Box and Revision FX SmoothKit and DE:Noise.
"BCC Reptilian is designed to simulate the look of scaly or spotted animal skin; by adjusting the colors, textures, and lighting, you can create an amazing variety of effects." There's also a written tutorial on this filter.
February 24, 2010
See also Prolost's Memory Colors, which considers color correction of unevenly roasted coffee beans and the optical illusion called the Same Color Illusion.
February 22, 2010
"In this two-part tutorial learn how to take basic Adobe After Effects presets and customise them to create your own unique looks. This section focusses on giving a simple text preset a touch-of-class, with a clear explanation of Text Animator Groups, Animator Properties and Range Selectors. Turning a simple typewriter look into something much more special. "
There's more in AEP's AE presets & projects round-up and in AE Help. Here's a Focal Press overview of presets from Chris Meyer:
Update: part 2 of the Motionworks tutorial is up, plus AE Help has more in Examples and resources for text animation.
Update: Rhys-works has an expressions tutorial that creates a typewriter style effect and Example: Create a write-on animation in AE Help shows something similar.
"In order to comply with government search warrants on user data, Google created a backdoor access system into Gmail accounts. This feature is what the Chinese hackers exploited to gain access.
Google's system isn't unique. Democratic governments around the world -- in Sweden, Canada and the UK, for example -- are rushing to pass laws giving their police new powers of Internet surveillance, in many cases requiring communications system providers to redesign products and services they sell.
Many are also passing data retention laws, forcing companies to retain information on their customers. In the U.S., the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act required phone companies to facilitate FBI eavesdropping, and since 2001, the National Security Agency has built substantial eavesdropping systems with the help of those phone companies.
Systems like these invite misuse: criminal appropriation, government abuse and stretching by everyone possible to apply to situations that are applicable only by the most tortuous logic. The FBI illegally wiretapped the phones of Americans, often falsely invoking terrorism emergencies, 3,500 times between 2002 and 2006 without a warrant. Internet surveillance and control will be no different."
Update: there's more from Wired in 2 articles. First see Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet for a reminder about claims from self-interested government contractors like The Carlyle Group.
Then there's ‘Google’ Hackers Had Ability to Alter Source Code,
"A white paper released by security firm McAfee during this week’s RSA security conference in San Francisco provides a couple of new details about the Operation Aurora attacks (.pdf) that affected 34 U.S. companies, including Google and Adobe, beginning last July. McAfee helped Adobe investigate the attack on its system and provided information to Google about malware used in the attacks. [...]
A binary disguised as a JPEG file then downloaded to the user’s system and opened a backdoor onto the computer and set up a connection to the attackers’ command-and-control servers, also hosted in Taiwan.
From that initial access point, the attackers obtained access to the source-code management system or burrowed deeper into the corporate network to gain a persistent hold."
February 18, 2010
- National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) Photoshop 20th Anniversary Celebration
- Adobe TV Photoshop 20th Anniversary Broadcast
- Photoshop Facebook Page
- Photoshop Twitter
For actual tips see Lynda.com's Photoshop Top 40 Countdown with Deke McClelland, and Russell Brown, Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, Deke.com, Julieanne Kost, etc. Here's 2 recent tutorials from Deke and Lynda:
Note: According to CoSA, January was the 17th anniversary of the release of After Effects 1.0.
February 17, 2010
The test of the tip on Caps Lock rendering performance is in movie form (embedded below too) at Chmielewski's website Digital Hitchhiker, which is listed in the SqueezeMe.tv feeds. He says that Caps Lock is faster even than closing the Comp and Timeline panels.
Update: in 2003 Stephen Schleicher did some similar tests, and "it looks like completely closing the Comp and Timeline Windows actually improves the speed of the Render. Myth now becomes fact."
Using Caps Lock When Rendering In After Effects from Brad Chmielewski on Vimeo.
It's a variant of solutions also by Dan Ebberts in various places, once upon a time by Chris Meyer, and explained one way by Andrew Kramer in his After Effects tutorial video 41b. The Blue Planet in 3D. Here's the expression from Motion Graphics Exchange:
"Here are the expressions for X, Y & Z-rotation:
CC Sphere Rotation X:
// change camera & effect names as needed...
CC Sphere Rotation Y:
// change camera & effect names as needed...
value+radiansToDegrees(beta) - 90;
CC Sphere Rotation Z:
And here are the expressions for the light.
Step1: create your lightsource, and make it an adjustment layer, make sure all the planets are above the light-adj., because we want them to be only lit by the CC Sphere plugin, not receive light. If there are other 3d-layers that do need the shading, put them below the adj.-light. You can just pickwhip the light color and light-intensity from the lightsource to the light-settings of CC Sphere.
CC Sphere Light Height
// change camera & light names as needed...
100 - (angle/Math.PI)*200
CC Sphere Light Direction
// change light name as needed...
xy=thisLayer.fromWorld(thesun.position) - effect("CC Sphere")("Offset");
radiansToDegrees(angle) + 90;
by Filip Vandueren"
February 16, 2010
"Well here is a test I did using CC Particle World linked to a 3D NULL! I used several copies featuring different settings to serve as the smoke particles and the light debris. I think CC Particle World has great potential to create amazing particles but it may take a little more work when compared to Particular."
He gives you a CS3 After Effects project, but sadly without the lovely environment in the render. Here are some handy examples and After Effect tutorials from earlier AEP posts (gee they're almost all from Video Copilot):
- Better control of Particle World, a quick tip of 3D null & PW by Adam Everett Miller from AE Tut
- Particle Positioner script by Jess Toula, one click to create a Particle World with the emitter connected to a null object for easy control.
- CycoreFX Particle World Demo
- Video Copilot #98: Particle World explosion (an earlier demo of 3D null)
- Free custom Particle World-based project
- Fire in After Effects round-up
- Shatter and disintegration: techniques for our time
- Particle Turbulence for PW from VCP
- various Particle Tutorials and Particles Tutorials tutorials at Creative Cow
- CMD 81: Looping Backgrounds: Particle Effect (skip to 4:40 or so)
- CC Particle World Intro by AEDude
"Built on Adobe AIR and developed with Condé Nast, the tablet prototype we showed during TED... Adobe and WIRED magazine introduce a new digital magazine concept that provides an immersive, interactive content experience for readers and innovative possibilities for advertisers...
There's more at the blog Adobe Digital Publishing. Other demos can be found in the recent AEP post Video in magazines of the future + Apple's Tabula Rasa.
Update: see also iPad e-Books Have No Part in Adobe’s Story from jkOnTheRun.
"The details of the deal are not published but as the Tinder Plug-ins are profitable they would have to be purchased at a multiple to the discounted cashflow they would generate, so for example if they generate a million dollars a year then the price would be some multiple of that discounted for inflation and allowing for the cost of getting that money from GenArts investors. This can be something approaching 5 to 10 times price to earnings. This means we will be well into this decade before the Tinder Sparks pay for themselves - assuming no new costs and that they continue to sell at present levels. For GenArts to make any money - and for their investors to see a profit, Hays must have a plan. Only three options seem viable:
* broaden the market to areas the Foundry never engaged such as the nearly 1.5 million legal FCP users
* increase the price (and risk selling less),
* find some way of making more of the technology (out guru the Foundry's Gurus)"
February 15, 2010
February 13, 2010
"Paul Babb is the popular and charismatic CEO of Maxon USA. In this Cinema 4D–focused episode of Unplugged we talk about Paul’s early days [& bits on Electric Image], including a time in film and on the stage; then dive head–first into Cinema 4D and MoGraph and what makes it just the hottest 3D software out there right now."
February 12, 2010
"For the record, you're not crazy if your have a 32-bit linear workflow but want to paint in log space. For one thing, many of Photoshop's tools aren't available in 32-bit (hello, Curves?!?). And some of the tools that are in 32-bit have not been appropriately tweaked for linear (I'm looking at you, Levels). Finally, if you have some film preview profiles, Photoshop can't use them in 32-bit mode like After Effects can.
So by painting in Log, you 1) reclaim some of your favorite tools, 2) can use film preview profiles, and 3) can still paint overbrights because 100% white in log space maps to 13.52 in linear. But be careful! Realize that layers will composite in Log space differently than in linear space, especially if you have soft feathered edges or use transfer modes such as Screen. If you flatten your layers before converting to 32-bit this won't be a problem, but if you need the layers to be separate, make sure you test everything first."
- Stereoscopic 3D in After Effects - video training from DigitalTutors.com (preview)
- Stereoscopic 3D workflow in AE - AE scripts and Vimeo video tutorials by Chris Keller
- 3D Movie Making: Stereoscopic Digital Cinema for Script to Screen by Bernard Mendiburu from Focal Press
- Intro to Stereoscopic - class from fxphd.com
- the easiest way if the more expensive - Stereo 3D Toolbox plug-in from Noise Industries, and they have a couple of videos that show how to set up a simple stereoscopic composition structure
A few more resources can be found in previous AEP posts:
- Andrew Murchie After Effects tutorials (he updates)
- Stereo3D Toolbox from Tim Dashwood
- stereoscopy scripts for After Effects by Chris Keller (for his updated tutorial see Stereo-3D Scripts for AE by Chris Keller)
- Spatial View Stereo 3D plug-in for After Effects
- HD Stereo AE script by INTelegance
Update 3: the dust-up continues at the LA Times in Fight over 3-D screens heats up with high-pressure tactics.
Update 5: Be sure to see the FAQ by Amir Stone, Understanding Stereoscopic 3D in After Effects, and stereoscopic 3D in After Effects CS5.5 by Todd Kopriva and AE Help updates.
"Apple laid off 40 of my old Final Cut team yesterday, lots of good people, despite high profits."
By the way, Pete Warden, who once released free AE filters, was featured on ReadWriteWeb a few days ago in The Man Who Looked Into Facebook's Soul.
Update: The post isn't wrong -- it just reported a Twitter item. And while it doesn't mean that Final Cut is doomed, it is interesting that Pro App teams in LA and Austin seems to have been cut confidently before NAB. Then again Adobe laid off about 600 workers in 2008 and another 680 in 2009 (about 9% of its workforce each time).
By the way Pete Warden's filters haven't worked in recent versions of AE (they were released before he worked at Apple), but they are open source so someone can build on them.
Today Fxguide posted background info and an interview with Stranahan in fxpodcast: An Open Letter to James Cameron.
If you like this, be sure to check out the December 2009 Fxpodcast with industry pioneer Scott Ross on history and the future of the visual effects business as outsourcing away from the USA accelerates.
Update: even editors are worried about outsourcing now, with remote collaboration tools available like iChat Theater in Final Cut Pro 7 or Fuze.
Update 2: on 03/05/2010 Mark Christiansen asks, Is a Visual Effects Guild to Materialize this Decade? Fxguide has a few more items in Visual Effects link roundup.
Also, the Programming Blog collects 70 Ultimate Cinema 4D Tutorials & Techniques.
February 11, 2010
'“Het Klokhuis” (The Apple Core) ... is Holland’s oldest youth television show, covering everything from the history of dinosaurs to how an iPhone is made. It is a hybrid of hand crafted frame-by-frame animation and cleanly rendered apples with sprouting science experiments encapsulated like the seed of an idea about to be discovered.'
Any one needing power playback and encoding should consider supported cards GeForce GTX 285 (~ $300), the Quadro FX 4800, 5800, or the Quadro CX if they are upgrading machines now.
Update: There are a few other implementations, one by AVIWest, and another release of LivePro by Kyte.
Comments from the latter article note that they'll all have to compete with 4G and the iPhone during the failing of traditional media, and "TWIT did this at CES a month ago using a home-built setup with the same basic configuration (multiple synchronous 3G cards)."
February 10, 2010
For other After Effects tutorials see the previous AEP post Custom effects & vignettes in After Effects. Here's a sample from Chris:
- There is no such thing as a perfect matte. Rotoscoping is an art form that takes into account the background image, the movement of the object, and the new elements to be composited in the background.
- Try to start your shape at its most complex point in time, where it will need the most control points.
- Break a complex shape into multiple simple shapes. If you are rotoscoping a humanoid form and an arm becomes visible, consider rotoscoping the arm as its own element, rather than adding extra points on the body that will serve no purpose when the arm is obscured.
- Imagine you are the animator who created the shot. What would your dope sheet look like? No matter the medium, whether CG, live action or otherwise, most movements are rarely linear. They normally move in arcs; they normally accelerate in and out of stopped positions. Try and understand the mechanics behind how things are moving in your shot. This will help you to minimize keyframes.
- Watch and study the shot before you start working. Where are the changes in directions? These will normally have keyframes. Where are the starts and stops? Are there camera moves that can be stabilized to make your work easier?
- Don’t be afraid to trash your work and start over. Beginning roto artists often make the mistake of trying to fix a flawed approach by adding more and more keyframes. Experienced roto artists learn to quickly identify an inferior approach and are unashamed to trash their work and start over, often many, many times. It is very difficult to get a good matte without a conscious effort to keep the keyframes to a minimum.
And from the same talent pool is a handy summary of tips in Confessions of a Roto Artist: Three Rules For Better Mattes (PDF) by Scott Stewart (now a movie director), who did the roto tape for the out-of-print Masters of Visual Effects:
While still missing key features, there's plenty of rotoscoping done in AE, and many good After Effects tutorials. Sean Kennedy takes you through Rotoscoping Tools in After Effects, and Pete O'Connell (now found under Nuke) has a tutorial movie Rotoscoping in AE and a DVD, Advanced Rotoscoping Techniques for Adobe After Effects, at Creative Cow. Also, there are several tutorials involving rotoscoping with Imagineer Mocha & Mocha Shape, some noted in AEP's More mocha tracking & roto, as well as several by Mathias Möhl using his AE script MochaImport. Digital Tutors has a course for CS4 too, Rotoscoping Techniques in After Effects.
Todd Kopriva has a few more tips (from Pete O'Connell) in his Rotoscoping in After Effects and in After Effects Help. And of course there were previous posts here at AEP, tagged roto.
Update: The Art of Roto: 2011 by Mike Seymour at Fxguide is a super update to previous surveys of rotoscoping. It includes an interview with Scott Squires, who created Commotion (a desktop roto/paint/com tool) while at ILM.
- The Art of Tracking
- The Art of Keying
- The Art of Roto
- The Art of Wire Removal
- The Art of Optical Flow
- The Art of HDR
- The Art of Digital 3D Stereoscopic Film
- Matte Painting: 1, 2, 3, 4
February 9, 2010
Tutorials for creating and animating just one 3D butterfly in AE include the Animating a Butterfly text by Marek Doszla (with expressions and time remapping) and a 2-part video tutorial by J. Shuh at Layers magazine, Animated Butterfly in After Effects.
Update: Harry Frank also did butterflies as a project to teach something about expressions in this free sample tutorial of his inexpensive training set After Effects Expressions.
'the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, discusses the link between healthcare and diet, the dangers of processed foods, the power of the meat industry lobby, the “nutritional-industrial complex,” the impact industrial agriculture has on global warming, and his sixty-four rules for eating. “The markets are full of what I call edible food-like substances that you have to avoid,” says Michael Pollan. “So a lot of the rules are to help you, you know, navigate that now very treacherous landscape of the American supermarket.” Today we air an excerpt of the Oscar-nominated documentary Food, Inc. and then spend the rest of the show with Michael Pollan.'
The interview starts near 9:30.
February 8, 2010
This post was updated on PVC in October 2011; see Adding motion blur in After Effects.
AE Help shows a few other ways to loop footage and other items; other resources include the script pt_AutoExpress and a tutorial from Motionworks: Looping a Precomp.
February 7, 2010
February 6, 2010
Some related stuff was mentioned by Chris & Trish Meyer yesterday, and by various authors (including an AEP sampling) last year when SIGGRAPH 2009 papers & projects went online.