April 30, 2010

Designing & Compositing a HUD

Via Motion Graphics eXchange is a new After Effects tutorial video from Dave Scotland at CGSwot, Designing & Compositing a HUD:

"Learn how to design and composite a combat Heads-Up-Display (HUD) with an automated tracking system [Boujou] using real ground targets in After Effects. Take a pre-tracked background plate and feed various target data into the on screen graphics, based on distance to camera expressions. Design and build various animated and static elements including random number generation and meter movement..."

For context, click the tag to see previous posts on Ironman’s HUD and Mark Coleran on screen design, especially movies in Nuke & the 'Iron Man' HUD + 'Iron Man 2'.

See also AE-specific advice in A Heads-Up on Using Reticles by Chris & Trish Meyer (which uses Artbeats Reticles), and Futuristic HUDs everywhere soon on a Video Copilot tutorial.

20 After Effects Template Websites

Topher Welsh has just rounded up some missing pieces of the view of the AE ecosystem with 20 After Effects Template Websites at AEtuts.

Background on templates and presets in After Effects can be found in earlier AEP posts After Effects presets & templates burgeoning and AE presets & projects round-up.

Learn After Effects CS5

Learn Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 is followed by Learn After Effects CS5, an Adobe Support web page listing resources to learn the basics of AE CS5 with Getting Started (GS) and New Feature tutorials by product experts. There's also an Adobe TV Learn After Effects CS5 collection of video intros mainly from Lynda.com. The odd thing about these Learn pages is that they are hard to find except as renamed links.

Here's a sample, Memory (RAM) usage in 64-bit After Effects by Mark Christiansen:

Learn Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

Stephen Muratore, Todd Kopriva's counterpart for Premiere, has been hard at work with many updates recently to his blog Adobe Premiere Pro Training. Premiere Pro Help is live; here's the table of contents and some descriptions of new features.

New today is Learn Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, an text outline of support resources. Learn Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 on Adobe TV is a collection mostly from Lynda.com that covers basics along with the CS5 Production Premium Feature Tour. Here's a sample:

Red Giant-Trapcode CS5 upgrade details

Red Giant has posted a CS5 upgrade matrix for their products, which generally cost $29. See also the video on Upgrading Your Plug-ins to CS5/64-bit Compatibility.

Trapcode Suite filters can be upgraded in a bunch for $99, while the upgrade for Particular 2 is free until July.

Lynda.com CS5 Essential Training available

With the release of CS5, Lynda.com has posted their Essential Training series for CS5. This includes basics on After Effects CS5, Encore, and Premiere Pro by Chad Perkins, and the rest of Production Premium by a variety of authors.

April 29, 2010

Pixel Bender Kernel による AE Plug-ins

via Kevin Goldsmith, an After Effects community site in Japan, AEP Project, posted a package of Pixel Bender filters in Pixel Bender Kernel による AE Plug-ins.

There's minimal documentation, but a few of the filters are interesting, like DDPattern. Translating the readme, you'll find contact info for the author Debo.

Premultiplication + Subtract and Divide modes explained

Ben Rollason posted new After Effects tutorial videos on Creative Cow: Lens Flare in AE and Premultiplication Explained and Subtract and Divide Blending Modes in AE CS4:

"Ben suggests that now that people are creating new CS5 projects with built-in subtract and divide blending modes, there may be a call to 'retrofit' these options to earlier versions. [He also explains] how compositing applications create a composite" so you can control premultiplication and predivison manually if needed.

After Effects CS5 now available + SDKs

You can now buy After Effects CS5, or download a trial version. You need a 64-bit OS...

Update: via @gutsblow, the AE CS5 SDK is released too. And later, the Premiere Pro CS5 SDK is also publicly available.

Yanobox Nodes: a new FxPlug filter (Mac-only)

Lester Banks tweeted about Yanobox Nodes, a new FxPlug filter (Mac-only) that works in Final Cut Pro, Motion, and After Effects. It "allows you to visually animate Objects & Relationships through Nodes and Lines" and seems to include several interesting features and presets (see the online manual).

Nodes is a design tool leveraging data viz metaphors rather than another UI for a nodal image processing paradigm like Conduit from DV Garage; see Nodes for After Effects with Conduit 2. Here's a view of Yanobox Nodes in Final Cut from Oliver Peters [who later added a mini review]:

Text expression selectors in After Effects Help

Todd KoprivaText expression selectors and comments on After Effects Help:

"The text animation system in After Effects is complex. It's very, very powerful... but it's complex. Perhaps the most complex and difficult part of the whole system is how selectors work. And within that subset, the most esoteric and powerful feature is expression selectors. Few people use them, because they're hard to figure out; but those who do use them have a great tool in their hands. ... That's where Aaron Cobb came along."

Aaron thanks Dan Ebberts, who helps out on Creative Cow (reference 1, 2).

Creating Particular 'shooters'

Red Giant TV episode 40 features Creating a Particular Shooters Effect by Harry Frank:

'In this episode, designer Harry Frank shows you how to create a cool motion graphics "shooters" effect with Trapcode Particular. After that, he also goes into Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe Illustrator to create a full logo build with this effect.'

April 28, 2010

XML workflow between Final Cut and Premiere CS5 + FCExpress

Joost van der Hoeven of Animotion posted a video overview of the new Premiere CS5 feature Exchange between Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro CS5.

"With CS4, Adobe added XML import capabilities in Premiere Pro. In CS5 they have now also added XML export, making basic round tripping possible between Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro [and Avid]. In this tutorial I give an overview of how to exchange projects between Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro. ... But the supported options for motion graphics are very limited."

Exact information on supported effects, transitions, composite modes, etc. for FCP exchange can be found in Premiere Pro Help. Also, feature overviews on open workflows with Final Cut and Avid software are on the main product page (Avid exchange is with AAF sequences + OMF export). Here's Joost:

Premiere Pro CS5 and Final Cut Pro Exchange from animotion on Vimeo.

Update: in a Comment below the fold, Joost also found that XML from Premiere Pro CS5 imported into Final Cut Express 4.

Red Giant People has launched

Red Giant People has launched. It's a preset sharing network that expands on the idea of the old Trapcode People and the Video Copilot Preset Network for Optical Flares.

For more on presets, see the recent AEP post After Effects presets & templates burgeoning. Here's an intro for Red Giant People:

Red Giant People Intro from Red Giant Software on Vimeo.

VC tutorial integrates 3D with live action footage

Andrew Kramer and Video Copilot are back with a new After Effects tutorial video tutorial, 105. 3D Ledge, which integrates 3D with live action footage using 2D tracking:

"...we will be keying, tracking, roto-scoping, exporting, integrating, color correcting and a lot more. This 47-minute tutorial starts out in After Effects and covers generating the 3D building in 3D Max & Cinema 4D. No match-moving or 3D tracking required everything is done with the 2D tracker in AE. I’ve even included the 3D building for everyone to use.

You can even skip the 3D programs and build a sweet building in After Effects alone with the 3D City Tutorial."

April 27, 2010

Scripting changes in After Effects CS5

Jeff Almasol and Todd Kopriva give script authors a brief overview of what to expect for scripting After Effects CS5 in Scripting changes in After Effects CS5. There's an update to the scripting reference in the works; see also the Scripts section of AE CS5 Help.

As noted, Lloyd Alvarez is again teaching an Introduction to After Effects Scripting course for the April-June term of fxphd.

After Effects CS5 compatible 64-Bit plug-ins + left behind

As After Effects CS5 is near release, you can find lists of After Effects CS5 compatible 64-Bit plug-ins here:

It's a bit sad that AEFlame (Open Source; Andrew Davidson and Flam3) and several others will be left below! The actual facts of any development are unknown here, but see Normality will not support After Effects CS5 for background on one case.

Update: Red Giant posted a video on Upgrading Your Plug-ins to CS5/64-bit Compatibility.

Lens Correction in Camera Raw, Lightroom, + Photoshop CS5

Lightroom Journal, a blog from the Lightroom team, has new information from Tom Hogarty in Preview of Lens Correction Solution for Camera Raw 6 and Lightroom 3:

"Below is a preview of lens correction technology that will be included in Lightroom 3 and the Camera Raw 6 plug-in that's part of Photoshop CS5. This is an exciting development for our non-destructive editing technology and is designed to address lens correction via two methods: Lens Profiles and Manual Correction. The easiest application of lens correction is to apply the lens profile technology that encompasses geometric distortion(barrel and pincushion distortion), chromatic aberration and lens vignetting characteristics."

Read more... at the Lightroom blog. By the way,
Photoshop CS5 will need to be updated after install for Camera Raw 6.1.

For more info, CS5 Help is live. Here's the preview of CR and LR lens correction along with a look at the Lens Correction tool in Photoshop CS5:

April 26, 2010

Light Graffiti: 10 Masters of Light Painting Photography

TheCoolist has collected "10 excellent light graffiti artists from around the world, dating back to the days of Picasso... So set your shutter speed slow, grab a flashlight" and visit Light Graffiti: 10 Masters of Light Painting Photography.

Check out also previous posts on light
graffiti from TheCoolist. Click on the tag AEP posts on graffiti and light graphics. A few After Effects tutorials were noted in Light graffiti in AE.

Christopher Hibbert has a several resources on his website including a light-painting tutorial on his site (also on Abuzeedo), and more on Tumblr.

April 25, 2010

Useful details about CS5 fonts

Typblography, an Adobe blog on type, posted Useful Details About Creative Suite 5 (CS5) Fonts. CS5 includes a number of new fonts, and eliminates 3 fonts that were part of the CS4 font set: Bell Gothic Std Black, Bell Gothic Std Bold, and Eccentric Std.

Also, some products in CS5 will install a basic font set while other products will install an additional font sets, some of which have to be manually selected in the installation.

See also last year's article on Adobe Clean.

Update: Sarthak from the Fireworks team takes another approach in Default Fonts and CS5 release.

April 24, 2010

Particular strings and some mograph

Max After has a new After Effects tutorial video called Motion Graphic Design which shares some mograph basics as well as how to make some nice little streamer strings with Trapcode Particular, similar to those seen in Reserve17's openings.

April 23, 2010

Trapcode Particular "vine" tutorial

Reserve17 has a 3-part tutorial creating a "vine" animation using Trapcode Particular in After Effects.

04. Trapcode Particular "Vine" Tutorial Part 3 of 3 from Reserve17 on Vimeo.

Update: here's something inspire by this tutorial,

Particular tentacle spurt from Simon Bronson on Vimeo.

Food, Inc. movie: free stream at PBS

Food, Inc. the movie is available for online streaming at PBS for free via (@KevinGoldsmith). Details on this doc were posted last year in 'The Future Of Food' on Hulu + 'Food, Inc.' previews.

Here's a segment on Food, Inc. by the PBS show Now. By the way, The Future of Food is still available on Hulu.

After Effects presets & templates burgeoning

Note: Don't forget that presets, tutorials, and templates are just a starting point! See "Your weakness is your strength" for community discussion on this point.

Presets and project templates for After Effects are growing rapidly in number and quality. Of course most tutorial authors offer free projects and presets. Motion Graphics Exchange leads the pack offering free collection and referrals with their attractive library, and hopefully we'll see another initiative from them soon. Additional background and free resources were listed earlier in AE presets & projects round-up.

There are at least 16 sites already selling templates and presets, just waiting for a Topher-style roundup [update: a week later Topher Welsh added 20 After Effects Template Websites].

And now, bigger entities are moving in. Red Giant Software just released 7 "Guru Preset" add-on packs for their software titles, and announced Red Giant People (later that day, more) presumably a trading post akin to the old Trapcode People website. Video Copilot also started selling presets and offers a Video Copilot Preset Network for Optical Flares.

Another entrant is the intriguing FreeForm Enhancement Pack- Mylenium Edition, created by Chris Bobotis and Lutz Albrecht (Mylenium.de). Here's a cool example from a somewhat mysterious post by Mylenium, Fun with Displacements:

ah, here... FreeForm Enhancement Pack - Mylenium Edition from mettle com on Vimeo.

Pixel Bender Anaglyph Filter + anaglyph tutorials

Lester Banks, Motionographer, and Mograph noted some 3D work by Stefan Voigt, who in video and blog posts discusses the basics of how stereoscopic 3D works in Photoshop and After Effects. His tutorials include How to create anaglyph stereo in After Effects and Create optimized anaglyph in After Effects.

Stefan has been using the Optimized Anaglyph Filter, a free Pixel Bender filter for After Effects and Flash from David Shelton. This filter has not been checked here at AEP against the built-in 3D Glasses effect. See Wikipedia for more on anaglyph images, and click the tag for more resources for After Effects

Here's Stefan Voigt, who also talks about stereo 3D rigs in Cinema 4D and 3DS Max on his blog:

Update: there's another, Anaglyphs With Pixel Bender & Depth Map.

Adam Wilt: Final Thoughts on NAB

Adam Wilt is hard to ignore, so here's his NAB 2010: Final Thoughts at PVC. He saw three major trends, the 3Ds: video-capable DSLRs everywhere; 3D production kit, ditto; the Democratization of digital cine cams.

There's a long list if his more specific NAB coverage too.

Intros for particleIllusion for After Effects

While looking for info on FreeForm Enhancment Pack- Mylenium Edition, a video on the features of particleIllusion for After Effects poppped up. There's one for Windows and another for Mac, and more on the GenArts website:

April 22, 2010

Photoshop CS5 Content Aware Healing Brush

Janine Smith on Tip Squirrel has a nice post on the Photoshop CS5 Content Aware Healing Brush, a new option in the Spot Healing Brush. The picture shown above took 30 seconds of work:

"In a way, Content Aware Healing brush is Content Aware Fill’s little brother. Not the brainier, scrawny little brother, just smaller. If Content Aware Fill is the Army, taking out unwanted big areas in a single (or double, or triple) bound, the Content Aware Healing Brush (CAHB) is Special Forces, conducting specialized operations in tight places where Content Aware Fill (CAF) might not work so well.

Even in more concentrated areas that CAF works in just fine, CAHB is just easier simply because instead of repeatedly selecting and bringing up the fill dialog is replaced by marking the area you wish to heal – cutting down the amount of steps you repeat to complete a process saves you what? It saves you time. Again with the time! But, remember, time savings is my #1 reason for loving Photoshop CS5! Sometimes, on the other hand, CAHB might take a couple more steps, but the result is worth it.

Also, check out Content Aware Healing at NAPP's PS CS5 Learning Center which compares the new option with the older Spot Healing options. Here's another take from Martin Evening and Focal Press, Photoshop CS5 Content-Aware Spotting and Filling:

Update: Scott Valentine has some Content-Aware Power Tips for Photoshop CS5.

April 21, 2010

FreshDV NAB Final Wrapup Discussion + not nodes

FreshDV posted its Final Wrapup Discussion on NAB 2010, along with several other video reviews. And now that it's over, an old song can be put back to bed.


Update: Never say never... something new shows up from NAB... at the very end of an interview with David Basalto for Post, AE product manager Michael Coleman doesn't promise nodes but admits to creative ideas in the hopper that might satisfy the desire for nodes.

Camera and 3D view improvements in After Effects CS5

Todd Kopriva describes Camera and 3D view improvements in After Effects CS5 and links to the further descriptions in AE documentation.

3D camera enhancements are also covered in video tutorials by Chris Meyer and Mark Christiansen in their overviews at Lynda.com, and by Eran Stern in his CS5 Camera Tools.

Photoshop CS5 tutorials from Russell Brown

Russell Brown has some 8 new Photoshop CS5 tutorials, with PS Extended tutorials coming soon. These come via John Nack but you may as well go the source, The Russell Brown Show. Here's a sample on Content Aware Fill now on Adobe TV:

Fxphd term starts with 41 courses

The fxphd term has begun with 41 total courses on VFX, editing, motion graphics, compositing, roto/tracking, 3D, photography, math & scripting, and more. Members have access to a variety of higher end software over the fxphd VPN: Nuke X/Nuke v6, Smoke 2011 for Mac, Mocha/Mokey, Cinema4D 11.5, Maya 2010, PFTrack, Render, ManMassive.

Classes with After Effects are taught by Danny Princz, Mark Christiansen, Tim Clapham, Mark Coleran, and Lloyd Alvarez (Introduction to After Effects scripting). Stu Maschwitz is teaching DSLR Cinematography.

It's quite a deal if you can spare the money and time. They have a QuickTime movie that describes the details vividly.

Fxguide TV interviews on AE and Premiere CS5

NAB 2010 news, a bit repetitive for CS5 at this point, continues with lovely coverage from Fxguide in fxguidetv #081 (Apr 20) with interviews on After Effects and Premiere CS5 with Michael Coleman and Karl Soule, with Ted Shilowitz on Epic from RED, and with Angus MacKay on reading ProRes and RED files directly and more in Avid Media Composer version 5.

Meanwhile over on MacVideo.tv there's NAB video of Jason Levine going pure coco on Production Premium CS5 at the FCP SuperMeet, and a concise yet thorough Dennis Radeke from the Adobe booth.

April 20, 2010

The Ken Burns Effect — and beyond

ForaTV has Ken Burns in Conversation with Robert Stone from The New York Public Library. Burn talks about how Steve Jobs roped him into the association with the effect for iLife; see time 1:33:30 in the video embed. [see another interview at the Archive of Television]

For more, see Poynter Online's advice on Burns and His 'Effect' and background in Wikipedia.

By the way, Noise Industries is still offering a free FxPlug, Fxfactory pan and zoom plug-in (Mac). There are numerous tutorials for this effect if you don't have a plug-in. Shane Ross did a video tutorial for FCP at Creative Cow. In the Adobe world, this sort of pan & scan is done by Anchor Point animation; see Chris and Trish Meyer's article on pan & scan at Artbeats and More Motion, Less Control (on adding a human touch) at PVC for good results.

Examples of taking the effect to the next level are also numerous, especially after the movie The Kid Stays in the Picture, noted in another article by Trish & Chris at Artbeats. There's also Bob Donlon's example in Son of Ken Burns, a Richard Harrington video in 'Motion Control' with After Effects, and other AEP resources for multiplane animation.

Update: here's more on multiplane cameras from an old Disney show (filmed: Feb 13, 1957):

Update: Stu Maschwitz added a new product, Prolost Burns, an Animation Preset for After Effects CS6+ that automates the process of creating this type of animation.


The Foundry's 3D Camera Tracker for After Effects

Mark Christiansen gives us a brief look at what he calls a "breakthrough addition to the world’s most popular compositing application" in The Foundry unveils 3D Camera Tracker for After Effects at PVC. Due late summer or early fall, the pricing is competitive -- and you can register for beta participation!

You can catch some of Camera Tracker in Adobe TV's NAB coverage; see Adobe NAB 2010 presentations: Foundry plug-ins + more.

Tutorial Gap Tuesday: 255 to scan

Topher Welsh is back with a massive roundup of 3D and After Effects tutorials with 255 New Tutorials… And That’s Not Even All of Them!

Shapes and Modifiers in After Effects

AETuts has a new After Effects tutorial, QuickTip – Find Your Way With Shapes and Modifiers, by Stefan Surmabojov In This QuickTip you will learn how to use Shape layers with modifiers and create this cool looking compass.

For more on Shape layers, see Paths to Shapes, AE Apprentice #9: Shape Layers, and other AEP posts tagged .

Creating a "Draft Switch" for Trapcode Form

Red Giant posted QuickTip #10 on Creating a "Draft Switch" for Trapcode Form:

'When working with high particle counts in Trapcode Form, the only thing that will speed things up is a lower number of particles. In this video, Harry Frank shows you how Creating an Expression Checkbox as an "on-off" switch for this is a efficient way to manage render times when working with Form.'

Red Giant QuickTip #10 - Creating a "Draft Switch" for Trapcode Form from Red Giant Software on Vimeo.

Photoshop CS5 Refine Edge enhancements + overview

In a new podcast, Adobe's Terry White demos Edge Detection and Decontaminate Colors in Refine Edge in Photoshop CS5. These features, also in Refine Mask, are akin to ones in the new Refine Matte in After Effects CS5 (see the Mark Christiansen explanation free at Lynda.com).

See also White's 45-minute Overview in the Adobe TV Photoshop CS5 Feature Tour.

Motionworks Effects A-Z: Bezier Warp

Motionworks' tour of built-in AE filters continues with the old Bezier Warp filter, which "shapes an image using a closed Bezier curve along the boundary of a layer. The curve consists of four segments. Each segment has three points (a vertex and two tangents)."

See also AE Help and Andrew Kramer's video tutorial Moving 3D Lines.

Chris & Trish Meyer have a similar series behind the wall at Lynda.com, except it is running though filters by Effect category (as in the Effect Menu). Chad Perkins had a similar treatment in his Lynda.com 2008 series After Effects CS3 Effects.

April 19, 2010

Alpha channels: premultiplied vs straight

After Effects Help explains Alpha channel interpretation: premultiplied or straight, and Chris & Trish Meyer have an extended discusion in Managing Transparency Part 1 and Managing Transparency Part 2 at Artbeats.

Plus there a several video tutorials on alpha channels in AE if you want other reviews:

Luxx has a new tutorial oriented to AE and Cinema 4D users, Straight vs Premultiplied: Understanding Alpha Channels,

In Straight Alpha Channels, Richard Harrington explains the difference between straight & premultiplied alpha channels, as well as when and how to use straight alpha channels in an episode of Photoshop for Video.

In Straight Vs. Premultiplied, Aharon Rabinowitz for Creative Cow helps you understand the differences between Straight and Premultiplied video when working with After Effects alone, as well as between AE and other programs.

Update: Ben Rollason posted new After Effects tutorial videos on Creative Cow: Lens Flare in AE and Premultiplication Explained and Subtract and Divide Blending Modes in AE CS4.

Change After Effects CS5 render sounds

As noted last year, you can have Custom render sounds in After Effects, and now CS5 Help tells you how on the Mac. According to Change the render-complete sounds, just replace the rnd_fail.wav or rnd_okay.wav files found in these locations:
  • On the Mac, Show Package Contents on the Adobe After Effects CS5.app, then navigate to Contents/Resources/sounds/
  • In Windows, C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CS5\Support Files\sounds\
If you have several machines, the source of the sound may not be obvious, so you could add an ID to the sound yourself -- or use a the built-in e-mail scripts (explained by Ko Maruyama) or one on AEScripts, Render, Email, Incremental Save and Shutdown. Prolost explains to how to expand options to view the render remotely in Use Dropbox to Remotely Monitor After Effects Renders.

You can also turn off render chimes by setting "Play sound when render finishes" to "0" in the Adobe After Effects 10.0 Prefs file (locations may have changed). The classic render chime (Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy) sound may have gone the way of Wireframe Previews.

Premiere with CUDA for compositing

, although known for misdirection, makes an interesting case for using Premiere CS5 as an After Effects replacement, if you have the CUDA card to engage the hardware acceleration of the Mercury engine.

It's an angle not imagined here, but you would have at least AE 2.0 capabilities that would be handy under a deadline:

"Well, it's only Premiere Pro that will really gain anything from using a Mercury approved card. But the performance boost is really insane! (Sometimes 75 times faster, and that means it will be real time). So a lot of the basic compositing you do in AE can now be done in real time in Premiere Pro.

So I will definitely use Premiere Pro much more for compositing and motion graphics, and just throw it over to AE when I have to.
With all the basic stuff in there, like Transforms, Blending modes, CC, Track Mattes, Green Screen (Ultra keyer is amazing) and the most used effects, Premiere Pro is quite capable of doing at least 75 % of the effects stuff I need. In real time. On several HD layers.

And as an added bonus, export to web formats, DVD, Blu-ray etc. will be lightning fast compared to AE. If you don't need all this wonderful real-time, and faster exports, you don't need to bother using Premiere Pro, and you can save your money, not buying the Quadro FX 4800."

New AE color correction effects and blending modes

Todd Kopriva posted on the Color correction effects and blending modes new in After Effects CS5. Todd lists a few references for CS5 additions of three new CC effects from Photoshop -- Black & White, Vibrance, and Selective Color -- and two new blending modes -- Divide and Subtract.

If you've followed up on earlier posts on Lynda.com tutorials
, you're set. If not Lynda.com offers free 24-hour pass to their Online Training Library that would easily cover the 4 hours of tutorials by Mark Christiansen and by Chris Meyer. Of course, the Lynda brand has plenty of membership options for reviewing all 12 new CS5 courses now in the Online Training Library.

Create a glass reflection in After Effects

AEtuts has a new After Effects tutorial, Create A Realistic Glass Reflection by Ran Ben Avraham:

"Transparency is an important element to reflect in one’s relationships and if we can help you in that area it’d be our pleasure! In this tutorial you’ll find out how to create a realistic glass reflection on a 3D object, created within After Effects. We’ll then simulate a normal pass and have it reflect the environment with the “normality” free plug-in."

April 17, 2010

CS5 roto for dimensional workflow + new tutorials

Roto tools in After Effects CS5 could help speed "dimensional workflow" for 3D stereosopic projects with faster ways to change depth of field. Ok, that's not just for 3D.

Nor is it as realistic as methods taught in fxphd's April term course Nuke 2D to 3D Stereo Conversion. For related developments on the higher end, see fxguidetv: Flame/Smoke 2011 Releases or fxguidetv #079.

Anyway, RealVision.ae has ideas on how CS5’s Rotobrush and Nuke Ocula tools assist in 2D to 3D conversions. And Imagineer Systems profiled the use of mocha as a VFX tool in the "Dimensionalization workflow" of In-Three; see In-Three: 2D-3D workflows. George Lucas called some of their work "shockingly good," so check out In-Three's basic technical docs for ideas, and In-Three on the Workflow Behind 3D Conversions on Studio Daily.

Other discussions of 3D in CS5 and in AE were noted previously in 3D, Cineform, and CS5. And here's some fun via Tim Sassoon from a recent thread on the AE-List on 3D and its hype, 2D Theatre by Hungry Beast -- and something more like the future via the Twittersphere:

Update: Andrew Murchie has launched a four-part series of After Effects tutorials showing how to convert 2D footage to 3D. Each one focuses on a different technique with an increasing level of complexity. 2d to 3d After Effects tutorial, the first tutorial, covers a simple channel offset technique that will get you converting 2d to 3d.

Update 2: fxphd has an April term class, Nuke 2D to 3D Stereo Conversion.

AE CS5 intro tutorials at Creative Cow

Richard Harrington has several quick CS5 video tutorials on Creative Cow (iTunes podcast also). Here's what's up now:

DaVinci on the Mac

PVC has notes on DaVinci Resolve software, Blackmagic Design takes DaVinci into brand new territory by Scott Simmons and BlackMagic Resolve on Mac OSX by Steve Hullfish. By the way, the Editblog pictured DaVinci Resolve running on a Mac laptop just after NAB 2009.

Alexis Van Hurkman had more observations in Notes From NAB and Notes From NAB, Part Deux, and "was told that of the two NVidia cards installed, the one doing the heavy lifting was the GTX 285 (the other being the base GT 120 card that’s handling the UI). This is definitely an affordable option, though it’ll be a change for all the Apple Color users (myself included) who’ve set up their systems based on the ATI graphics cards that have long been recommended."

The new software is $995, which is a foot in the door (or training version) on the way to many thousands for proper hardware. Oliver Peters and others on the FCP-List make several points about features and workflow:

"It is ideally suited for projects where the show is LOCKED. That's the standard workflow for prime time dramas and most feature films. That's increasingly harder to rely on these days as producers want to make changes right up to air. Color, too, is extremely weak in a workflow that requires interactivity (more than one roundtrip) between the NLE and the grading app. From this POV only integrated grading within the NLE truly works. That would include MC, FCP, Symphony, DS, Smoke and Quantel iQ/eQ/Pablo to varying degrees."

"[and]... Two different workflows. You have to roundtrip with Color because it can't output to tape. daVinci can capture and output to tape via a Decklink card. Which has the added advantage of allowing you to easily color correct an existing master. daVinci also allows you to 'notch' a tape which means you can find the edit points on a finished master either via an EDL or by scene detection. So here is a workflow. You have finished your show in FCP/MC/Premiere? Vegas, whatever. Export a QT Reference movie on your shared storage. create an EDL. Open the movie in Resolve and use the EDL to notch it. Color correct with a superior tool for the job. Now export to tape or DPX files."

Patrick Inhofer added: "My understanding is that the Resolve Reconform tools are truly outstanding. It enables a colorist to start working before show lock, reimport the EDL and it'll manage all the corrections properly."

AE-List, said he was "impressed by the performance he was getting and said it wouldn't bog down until he started loading up secondaries, which are unlimited, by the way. Nice to see the user shapes for B splines now instead of just ovals and squares, as well as a true 3D tracker, which was extremely accurate and fast." interviewed Grant Petty for Post magazine:

Update 2: there were other interesting threads at Creative Cow and REDuser (fact and opinion may mix too freely).

April 16, 2010

NAB: 37 guerrilla interviews, Fxguide Roundtable + more

Topher Welsh posted a new one, a mass of light-hearted guerrilla AE interviews: 37 Super Star Interviews – NAB 2010 Coverage at AETuts.

Also, check out the Fxguide podcast NAB 2010 Roundtable of April 16 2010, as well as deep coverage at FreshDV, Studio Daily, PrepShootPost, and PVC. Later Oliver Peters and The Editblog add more.

April 15, 2010

Rounded Rect PB filter for After Effects

Creative Workflow Hacks has a free PixelBender Rounded Rect Generator for After Effects. You can generate a Shape layer with a rounded Rectangle Path, but this might be faster and you get some Steve Jobs folklore on rectangles with rounded corners!

See also Expanding masks & rounded buttons.

Lynda.com After Effects CS5 classes are up

Lynda.com classes After Effects CS5 New Features by Mark Christiansen and After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques by Chris Meyer are completely up now.

These overviews are worth looking at for many observations, on mocha and RotoBrush for example where "divide & conquer" (or "Combining") is recommended. Here are some samples on the Roto Brush and on Mocha 2: