December 20, 2005

Effects Corner Podcast

Scott Squires, longtime ILM VFX Supervisor and creator of Commotion, has 2 blogs and a podcast available; see esp, Effects Corner Podcast, "Insights to Visual Effects for Motion Pictures and Television. How it's done in Hollywood and how you can do it yourself." (from Prolost).

December 19, 2005

DI King

A good summary of DI (digital intermediates) can be found in Peter Jackson's "Post Production Diary - 6 Weeks to Go!" on

AE is part of Shake

AE for Shake is a full package of macros for Shake to mimic the 124 effects and 30 blend modes of After Effects within Shake. For now up to 124 effects and 30 blend modes are supported. The User Interface is exactly the same in After Effects and Shake which allows a very fast transition between the two packages.

November 21, 2005

Peter Jackson's Production Diaries for King Kong

AE-listee Bob Currier, creator of Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse, mentioned Peter Jackson's weekly QT Production Diaries for his King Kong movie. Pretty cool--and free.

tig (telecine internet group)

Interested in FinalTouch for professional color grading on the desktop? I don't have enough inspiration to track the discussions at the telecine internet group:

'The tig (telecine internet group) is a collection of people worldwide with interests in color correction or grading images originating in cameras using film, video, or raw data as record media. The tig was originally formed in 1994 for the telecine community ("telecine" in this case meaning "video film") as a mailing list with associated webpages.'

October 27, 2005

AE 7.0 sneak peek

As reported on the AE list, there was a sneak peek of AE 7.0 by product manager Steve Kilisky at the Macromedia MAX show. AE7 is rumored to ship in Q4 2005.

Check out the Flash video linked above, in Day 2 (4th icon).

Silhouette Paint released

Silhouette Paint, a high dynamic range raster paint system, has been released. Silhouette Paint, an add-on to Silhouette Roto, offers non-destructive motion stabilized paint for image restoration, dust busting, and wire and rig removal. The plug-in version is "the first raster paint option for Final Cut Pro and After Effects"...Well except for AE's old Vector Paint filter.

October 17, 2005

What Is Quartz (or Why Can't Windows Do That)

O'Reilly's Mac DevCenter has an article on MacOS X Quartz by Matthew Russell. Here's an excerpt:

Quartz is the heart and soul of Mac OS X's graphics layer, which directly supports the defining features of the Aqua desktop experience. Quartz is largely based upon Adobe's PDF specification, but it has roots tracing all the way back to PostScript. The two defining components of Quartz are Quartz Compositor and Quartz 2D. Quartz Compositor is OS X's powerful window server, and Quartz 2D is the two-dimensional drawing engine that's often referred to as Core Graphics. Although Quartz 2D is accessible through the Application Services umbrella framework, Tiger introduced Quartz Composer: an alternative way to explore the power of Quartz through a powerful visual programming environment.

August 30, 2005

NASA World Wind 3D terrain mapping

Sounds like fun, but requires DirectX for Managed Code, part of the DirectX August 2005 SDK from Microsoft:

World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there. Virtually visit any place in the world. Look across the Andes, into the Grand Canyon, over the Alps, or along the African Sahara.

August 29, 2005

August 28, 2005

Realtime 3D lighting from Pixar

Lpics is a realtime relighting engine developed by people at Pixar. See the video and paper from SIGGRAPH 2005. I especially like the way shadows are drawn during pauses.

Tracker format conversion website

Here's a website that does conversion of tracking data between Discreet, Digital Fusion, Shake, AE and Illusion, with Lightwave and Commotion too be added soon: 2D Track to Track Converter

August 26, 2005

Erotic images can turn you blind

Researchers have finally found evidence for what good Catholic boys have known all along – erotic images make you go blind. The effect is temporary and lasts just a moment, but the research has added to road-safety campaigners’ calls to ban sexy billboard-advertising near busy roads, in the hope of preventing accidents.

The new study by US psychologists found that people shown erotic or gory images frequently fail to process images they see immediately afterwards. And the researchers say some personality types appear to be affected more than others by the phenomenon, known as “emotion-induced blindness”.

August 25, 2005

Language Log on the language evolution debate

On August 19, 2005, the journal Cognition posted on line a 19,000-word article by Tecumseh Fitch, Marc Hauser and Noam Chomsky, entitled "The evolution of the language faculty: Clarifications and implications" (free version here), referencing an additional 6,000-word appendix "The Minimalist Program". This is the third turn in a (so far) four-turn, three-year debate with Steve Pinker and Ray Jackendoff.

Language Log (old) gives you the overview -- and where else can you get articles on remedial edcucation for Pat Robertson or the bizarre phrasing of the Arabic in the claim of responsibility for the London bombings!

Linear color workflow stuff

The saga continues at the blog of Stu Maschwitz...

iDive: "iPhoto/Adobe Bridge for digital video"


A friend at work yesterday told me about iDive. He gave me a tour of it at lunch and I downloaded the trial and captured a few tapes.

What I was blown away by was how good it is at logging a tape based on scene detection. It will also create thumbnails (at specified intervals) or capture the video to the DV codec or an RT codec. It has keywording. And most importantly it exports FCP XML so you can very easily add clips to FCP. For 69 dollars, I think it's pretty it's sweet. It's essentially iPhoto/Adobe Bridge for digital video.

--John Skidgel

Fit to comp AE script

Question on list:
Is there a way to do Cmd-opt-F (fit to comp) in a script? People like to work at 720x540 square pixels, but need to final output D1 aspect ratio 720x486.

Lloyd Alvarez's brainchild script was a real collaborative effort, and is now detailed at There's also a new version of the script that puts in a user-definable effect (like Broadcast Colors or Broadcast Spec, but it could be any Effect).


August 16, 2005

Planar perspective tracking

Take a look at planar perspective tracking and easy compositing with shadows and highlights offered by Imagineer Systems' products. Mokey has tutorials and the other products have demos movies.

Monet is an expensive but cool solution for virtual product placement, package replacement, inserting screens and so forth.


August 15, 2005

Core Image in Avid filters and Edo compositing app

Core Image apps are gaining traction. The latest version of Edo apparently has support for playback of Quartz Compositions as clips.

Also, Noise Industries' Reactor plug-ins are based on Core Image. Factory Floor lets you make your own AVX plug-ins based on any Core Image Unit in just a few clicks. Reactor plug-ins can also be based on Quartz Compositions.

Toolfarm Filter Finder

Toolfarm has developed a "plug-in locator" to search filters by use, developer, plug-in name and keyword. So far searches, samples, tutorials, and reviews are limited, but it's a nice start on a more ambitious project we had kicked around.

Search AE books from the Net

Google Print is still in beta, and scans have been suspended, but it's still cool.

If you look up "After Effects" you get access, at least partially if they've been restricted, to several nice AE books. If you click on the cover picture of a book, you can click through the pages, click "More results from this book," or use "Search within this book."

July 14, 2005

The Common Desk

via: and

Check out the odd little movie, "The Common Desk," by Belief. The other Pollinate session, Chain Reaction, is cool because they explore ideas about working in motion graphics.

Quartz Composer & Core Image Funhouse

Among the new graphics technologies in OSX/Tiger is “Quartz Composer” in the /DeveloperTools/Applications/Graphics Tools folder at the root of your hard drive. There seems to be some amazing stuff brewing that we can adjust and save as screensavers and movies. For support and inspiration, check out the Quartz Composer Programming Guide at Apple, and the Quartz Compositions forum.

Some developers have already leveraged this stuff it seems, like LiveQuartz and iMaginator.

And, via heyblog:
"By the way, the “Core Image Funhouse” also in the Applications>Graphics Tools folder is a neat example application, too. On my Powerbook, most of the Photoshop-like effects it can demo (like Gaussian blurs) are wicked fast."

July 11, 2005

NTSC-PAL conversion improved in Compressor 2

Besides slo-mo, word from Motion trickster Mark Spencer is that Compressor 2 also has improved standards conversion, for NTSC and PAL for example. Rumor has it that results are good if slow. Previously the best solution in FCP was to use the Natress StandardsConversion filter.

Perry Mitchell's AE conversion method is here.

July 8, 2005

AE with 3D Studio Max

Pierre Jasmin of RE:Vision Effects recently posted some advice on working with 3D Studio Max; here's a rewrite:

Some AE users AE has limted support of Discreet's RPF channels in 3D Studio Max renders. AE only supports 8 bits/channel extraction with the provided plug-in set, and supports only RLA (11 of the 16 RPF channels). 3DMax has a Combustion workspace export and RPF support is much better in Combustion 4 than previous versions. But there is another option if you want to stay with AE: the Max2AE plugin from Boomer Labs.

MAX2AE bridges the gap between MAX and After Effects, matching all aspects and parameters of Max cameras, lights, and objects. More from Boomer Labs: "MAX2AE also incorporates the ability to create 'helper planes' in MAX which represent your AE layer or comp. These 'helpers' provide a highly accurate way to envision the AE layer relevant to your MAX scene. These 'helpers' can be animated just like any other MAX object, then used to output keyframe data to AE layers for a perfect match! Even allowing them to be rendered from MAX for the purpose of generating track mattes for object/AE layer occlusion!"

More advice working with 3D apps can be found in Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects, Volume 2, by Trish and Chris Meyer (3rd edition released in June 2005).

July 6, 2005

Adobe After Effects 6.5 Studio Techniques

Check out the new book on AE, Adobe After Effects 6.5 Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen, the only real match for Trish and Chris Meyer's books. It even offering chapters on float and eLin. This book attempts to dispel the often unsubstantial myths about AE and visual effects. A 2004 survey found more than 250 Hollywood features had used AE, including many shots done at ILM and affiliates.

Visual effects pipelines can be demanding and break tools that seem robust, but AE holds up under strains of even IMAX production. It's not that you won't need other apps, like SynthEyes for 3D tracking, but if you're doing a mix of motion graphics and effects it makes sense to stay in AE.

Using Compressor 2 to do Slow-mo

A fledgling site, Pro App Tips, offers short tips about for the Apple Pro apps (Final Cut Pro, Motion, Livetype, Soundtrack, DVD Studio Pro & Compressor). Patrick Sheffield posted an interesting tip there on Compressor 2's optical flow technology to perform a slow-mo.

Hopefully it'll prosper and make an interesting adjunct to the Pro Apps Hub.

June 26, 2005

The Color-Space Conundrum

Probably not as fun as a VES-VFX Festival or seeing Martha at BDA, but "The Color-Space Conundrum" is a nice long 2 part treatment of the history of digital-intermediate workflow from American Cinematographer magazine.

April 19, 2005

The DV Guys: Live from NAB 2005

Tuesday NAB 2005 show featured (MP3) Steve Kilisky & Michael Kanfer from Adobe, and reps from ProMax, Gefen, Digidesign, Avid, and Autodesk.

Michael Kanfer is a new Adobe evangelist to the film community in LA, and has worked in post on major Hollywood movies and on Digital Intermediate (DI) processes at EFILM.

April 16, 2005

new AE plug-ins: Depth Cue

Buena Software has released new AE plug-ins: Depth Cue

The set, which includes 3D Composite, Depth, Fog, Falloff Lighting, and Rack Focus, provides a realistic depth effects that work with AE 3D layers.

AE Wiki is up and running

The AEWiki is up and running.

Based on and limited by MediaWiki, an open source wiki engine used to create the useful Wikipedia, it allows any user to post tips and tutorials.


April 13, 2005

new Red Giant plug-ins

From and the AE-List:

Red Giant Software announced a new product today for NAB...

Key Correct Pro 1.0 ($400) is a new set of 17 plug-ins that lets
users correct alpha channel, create smooth outlines, and color match any two layers.


Map Wars heat up

Google maps, based on technolgy from Keyhole, are fun! 

There's a sightseeing group, Google Sightseeing,
and there's even a site powered by Powered by craigslist
and Google Maps. What Microsoft and Yahoo are up to?
Flickr, Flickr, Flickr, where art thou tags going?

For this and more see an MS guy's blog, "Map Wars heat up."

April 11, 2005


Favicons, the little icons next to the URL location in your
web browser, can be exported from PS with a Mac/Win plug-in from

The cleanest discusion of it I saw of was at

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick was a science fiction author whose writing has been getting the Hollywood treatment (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Screamers, Minority Report, Paycheck, and in 2006 A Scanner Darkly) since his death in 1982.

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick by R. Crumb is a cartoon version of PKD's "Valis" experience that was published in Weirdo #17 in 1986. See the Wikipedia PKD summary for more.

April 10, 2005

January 10, 2005

Free Total Training tidbits has a searchable tutorial list, plus there is the great subset of content.

About AE Portal

an After Effect Portal is curated by Rich Young, who previously tracked After Effects resources at the aging AE Portal (now lost in the latest shuffle), which started in 1997 as a class guide and later specialized in plug-ins. An almost complete one-page overview of pre-CS5 AE plug-ins was AE Portal plug-in summary.

AE Portal has moved to ProVideo Coalition, but the archive should remain up for a while.

Please contact me at @aerich or aefilter at yahoo with AE-related news on filters, tutorials, and events. Retweets are easy! Note that pure product promotion isn't the goal of this blog, and that free or very interesting stuff is will garner broader interest.

January 9, 2005

DV and HD

You probably know about, a "video geek's website" and home of the DV FAQ, tidbits, and ruminations on Panasonic's 24p DV cameras. Be sure to catch Adam's column in DV mag, especially the recent one on HD Numerology.

Another fun site is HD For Indies is a "High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers, A How To Guide for indies on the cheap." It covers HD and HDV, with links to basic and advanced information.

January 7, 2005

Stu Maschwitz Blog

Stu Maschwitz, "filmmaker and accidental technologist," has a blog. Stu is a master of After Effects and helped create The Orphanage, Magic Bullet, and eLin. He also worked at ILM and was involved in aspects of products by Red Giant Software.

AV Gadget Blogs

There are a coupla nice blogs for gadgets that are useful for video and audio production: Broadcast Gadgets (Cool and Useful stuff for today's audio and video journalists) and Engadget.

January 6, 2005

5th Annual BAMG MacWorld

As always, this Bay Area Motion Graphic event will happen the Tuesday night of MacWorld.

That's January 11th at 6:45pm

Hotel Nikko
(Monterey Room)
222 Mason St
San Francisco, CA
(near Powell BART/cable cars; see map)

Discreet is bringing in Culley Bunker, a visual effects artist who will break down a variety of music video projects and explain his process for solving some tough visual effects challenges. Culley is a freelance visual effects artist currently working at Base2. Recent work incudes music videos including Gwen Stefani "What you waiting for", Black eyed peas "Lets get it started", Finger eleven "One Thing", FUSE #1 Video of the year, and the films The Aviator, Spiderman2, Minority Report, and Scooby Doo.

Matt Silverman breaking down some of his commercial work done in After Effects. In addition, he'll be talking a bit about using After Effects and Discreet's Flame together.

There may be one or two more presenters, so keep your eye open for emails Jim Tierney of Digital Anarchy.

Final Cut Macworld meeting

Join the FCPUG Network, The Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group and SF Cutters at MacWorld for "the largest gathering of FCP Gurus on the Planet."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
7:00PM till 10:00PM (doors open 6:00PM)

at the Mezzanine Club
444 Jessie St
(near Powell BART, off 5th South of Market)
San Francisco CA

The guests include Brian Rothschild talking about the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a recording studio on wheels; Philip Hodgetts doing multicam FCP; glorious 24p footage from Christopher Jenkins' "el Fandi, A Day in the Life of a Matador" and local Iron Chef of Filmmaking, Jin Joo, talking about Cinemasports (Walter Murch is a
huge fan of Cinemasports). There will also be a sneak preview of the upcoming DVD of the Walter Murch preso at SFCutters.

Seating is first come first serve. Food is free and a cash bar will be available from 6:00PM.

There will be a $5.00 fee at door.

Update: here a boneyard for graphics, so please ignore below!


January 5, 2005

Update to AE filter summary list

There's an update to the AE filter summary list at:

Please let me know if there are mistakes or other irregularities. Filter News and OSX Compatibility is Dik Baskerville's project, so we'll have to wait for him to resurface for an update.



January 4, 2005

Converting between PAL and NTSC in software

The quick and dirty way to convert between PAL and NTSC in AE is posted at Toolfarm.

There are a number of ways to improve upon AE scaling, field interpretation, and frame blending--if you have 3rd party AE plug-ins. Algolith, which sells weekly licenses, has a Format Convert pack for interlacing, scaling, anti-aliasing, noise reduction, and framerate conversion. Their categories indicate places where you could improve conversions if you had Magic Bullet Suite (artifacts, retiming and fields), Fields Kit, Retimer, DA Resizer, and Genarts filters, among others.

There are also a number of more dedicated software tools for standards conversion including: Pure Motion's DV NTSC-PAL Converter, FireStore DV Standards Converter, DVFilm's Atlantis, AVOne Video Converter, Canopus ProCoder, Soreson Squeeze, and others.

If you want to do this in Final Cut, you could use the Graeme Nattress Standards Conversion FCP filter.


Farhad Manjoo discusses The Great Tech War Of 2012 in which Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon battle for the future of the innovation economy. He doesn't mention the potential of Siri, a new UI technology in the iPhone 4S, though some consider Why Siri Is a Google Killer. Engadget recently compared Siri to its competition in an iPhone review: