October 31, 2007

AIR application 'Convert Final Cut Pro Markers to Flash Video Cue Points'

While not a problem for Premiere and AE users, Final Cut Pro markers don't work well as cue points in a Flash video file, while the UI for scrubbing and setting cues in Adobe's Flash CS3 Video Encoder is unwieldytiring of this, John Skidgel built an AIR utility to convert FCP XML to FLV XML, which you can import into Flash CS3 Video Encoder. You can pick up the app and check out the walk-through at Free AIR application: Convert Final Cut Pro Markers to Flash Video Cue Points.

John has also made available a few more tutorials from his Focal Press book Producing Flash CS3 Video: Techniques for Video Pros and Web Designers.

Gamma gamma QT

Mark Christiansen, whose new book Adobe After Effects CS 3 Professional Studio Techniques is nearing release, posted Fun with Gamma and Quicktime which briefly touches on file display issues in various apps. Hopefully Mark, as well as Trish and Chris Meyer, will have much more to say on the subject of color management in their new books and web postings.

An earlier post here, FreshDV notes Apple's 'color compatibility', attempted to summarize the same issue from the armchair.

Update: on the AE-List 3 Nov 2007, Chris Meyer alerted users to a not ready for primetime link to that should clarify things,
"... will be updated _significantly_ in the next week or two with specific instructions of what to do in various situations, and what to expect as a result."

October 30, 2007

Drag duplicate in Premiere

Option/Alt-dragging to duplicate an object seems to be an informal convention made popular by Adobe apps. The Option key modifier is used throughout Final Cut, where you can dupe clips with Option-drag in FCP timelines. You can't do this in Premiere Pro.

An easy work around is to drag the item from the timeline into the Program Monitor Panel -- though there a number of other ways to get this done, including a simple copy & paste. The new clip then appears in the target track where the CTI is parked. You still have to select the target track but instead of mousing, you can also toggle target video tracks with Ctrl + - (adding Shift changes the audio target track).

October 29, 2007

Trapcode in FCP tutorial

Red Giant Software and John Dickinson have a new Final Cut Pro motion graphics tutorial that uses Trapcode Shine, Starglow and 3D Stroke.

You can find a quick rundown of the new-old Trapcode filters in the review I did a few months ago for SF Cutters. In short, though similar filters (or Replicators or Behaviors) can be found in AE and Final Cut Studio, Trapcode's Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke offer more control, unique features, and probably faster results than the alternatives. The Trapcode website has numerous additional tutorials and examples for the same filters using AE.

When to stay in the native codec

Phillip Hodgetts runs down rules of thumb for codec choices in Final Cut Pro in When to stay in the native codec of the source, and when to convert to something else.

October 28, 2007

The Art of Wire Removal

Fxguide has a summary of The Art of Wire Removal and a podcast interview with Aaron Rhode, roto/paint supervisor at The Orphanage in San Francisco.

vfx blog notes many other recent similar items.

October 20, 2007

AE & PremierePro's P2 support, 3.1 upgrade available

Dave Helmly has a text and video intro to PremierePro and P2 support: "With the new Premiere Pro CS3 and the 3.1 update , you can now natively Ingest, Edit, and Export the Panasonic P2 format. All you need to do is to shoot your video and simply drag, drop, and edit – it’s that easy. There is no need to transcode your video with an intermediate codec in order to use them on the timeline, and there are no AVI or Quicktime wrappers – just native P2 format." (originally posted 10/9/07)

Update: The 3.1 upgrade is only available in Help>Update as of 10-18-07. Some people who installed the CS3 beta are Not Getting Adobe Production Premium Updates automatically.

Premiere seems to only support P2 MXF, not AVC files (though there is the Elecard Converter Studio AVC Edition to convert AVCHD to HDV). According to Rod Harlan, the 3.1 upgrade "WILL support DVCPRO and DVCPROHD at all the frame rates and resolutions that the camera can create." There's more in Premiere's LiveDocs, and more on HD in general in this blog post Premiere Pro: more partners.

Meanwhile there's Final Cut Pro 6.0.1, now with AVCHD support. Oliver Peters noted that there should be yet another release soon: "AVC-I support in FCP was shown at IBC and will be in a release after Leopard ships. It may require a transcode to ProRes."

Dave Helmley adds info on AE: "The After Effects team officially announced support for Panasonic P2/MXF format at the IBC show in September. They are currently working on the next update for AE and it will include P2 support. They are planning to release the update [also for Apple's OS X Leopard -ry] before the end of the year. I am currently working on a new short video, which will show After Effects CS3 working with P2 footage."

Color podcast

Flippant News notes Studio006, a nice FCP Color Podcast (series), as Studio Daily complains Again with the Color, PrepShootPost asks former Apple mates Would Someone Please Make Color Work (for features), and others ask FCS 2-Ready for Prime Time?

It looks like Magic Bullet was timed about right.

Update: Previous posts show other resources for Color. Online forums can be found for Color at Apple's Color Forum, The Color List, Creative Cow, 2-Pop, etc.

Experiences with Color are varied. Jason Mitchell shared his experience on SF Cutters:

"Just colored a narrative feature in Color using DVCProHD 1080i24p shot on the HVX200. It dealt with the material wonderfully well. I prepped it to output 1080p24 ProResHQ for the render (floating point) and the results were awesome.

I do know that Color doesn't like interlaced footage, but I had conformed the material into 24p before sending the projects to color (had to break it up into reels).

Read the instructions closely and it won't give you any trouble. Mainly, pre-render into their own movies all still images, speed changes and nested FX sequences. Move everything down onto one track (or as few as possible). Cut it into 20-minutes sections (or less if your sound mixer desires)."

Video search interviews

Beet.TV has a few interesting interviews on video search:

How Video Blogs are Searchable: Six Apart's Anil Dash Explains

Video Search Must Be "Universal," EveryZing's CEO Thomas Wilde Explains

Search is still unwieldy, but perhaps useful now for "national security" and data mining, which explains the roots of search services like EveryZing and Blinkx. Another part of the goal of these firms is to develop speech recognition to target ads in video clips; EveryZing shows you some inserted metadata now.

October 19, 2007

More AE video tutorials

These AE video tutorials have been released around the web this week:
Painting and masking in After Effects by Chad Perkins
Creating an animated DVD menu transition with Encore and After EffectsMagic Glass from Andrew Kramer

Many recent tutorials can be found at the Adobe Design Center, which features this picture that reminds me the various 3D and installation stuff in Urban Calligraphy and Beyond, which for me is 2nd only to Broken Windows in graffiti books.

By the way, "light graffiti," also featured in Urban Calligraphy and Beyond, got way more popular since PIPS:lab debuted in the late '90s or so. Recent articles include MAKE: Blog: Light graffiti, Painting with Light, Interview with LICHTFAKTOR: Light Graffiti Artists, Architectural Light Graffiti: Projection Bombing Images on Urban Surfaces.

October 18, 2007

New filter from Zaxwerks: Reflector

Toolfarm notes a new AE filter from Zaxwerks: Reflector. With some limitations, Reflector will work with 3D text, pictures, and movies. Most effects in your scene will be reflected too, as well other Zaxwerks 3D products.

al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters = 850

Meeting Resistance is a new documentary making waves about the nature of the resistence to the US invasion of Iraq. It debuts as our American president warns of WWIII if Iran tries to build a nuclear power electricity plant -- though at the same time India is to be given actual nuclear material even after refusing to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty along with Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea. But what can you expect when the UN Security Council, the world's top arms dealers, is really a protection racket? Penny-ante games by regional drug lords and other gangstas pale in comparison.

Bush's only excuse for the war on Iraq is al-Qaeda, whose leaders roam about in other countries while we attack relatively innocent people at a high cost to soul and treasury. Or at least the American children's treasury, which Asian and European lenders will be waiting to demand when most manufacturing and programming jobs are finally offshored. Maybe the idea is that nothing matters but short run profit now that oil production has peaked.

In this light, globalization makes no sense, especially for the food security, since by the time the New World Order is in place, electric power and shipping resources to run it will be scarce. Too bad we didn't put that cool trillion into alternative energy resources!

Anyway, it's interesting to note that the "estimated number of full-time al-Qaeda-in-Iraq fighters is 850 or 2-5% of the Sunni insurgency, according to Malcolm Nance, author of The Terrorists of Iraq, who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq." (from Launching Brand Petraeus). There more on this at Washington Monthly's The Myth of AQI: the military's estimation of the threat is alarmingly wrong by a former Iraq correspondent for the Stars and Stripes newspaper (interviewed on Counterspin). There are additional details in Dan Froomkin's Washington Post article Bush's Baghdad Mouthpiece.

There's more video of Meeting Resistance at Crooks and Liars and Democracy Now.

To put the threat in perspective, if all the suicide bombers blew themselves up at once they still would not pose a threat to the survival of the USA. The real danger is that our fate is almost entirely in our own hands in the form of arms and poison-making capability. Reminds me of a scary old song by the well-designed Savage Republic: "The Crisis of our Country is not caused by External Forces... The Danger Lies Within..."

October 17, 2007

Magic Bullet Looks ships

Red Giant Software is shipping Magic Bullet Looks, the highly anticipated color correction tool for Adobe, Apple, and Avid software. Magic Bullet Looks also includes Misfire and Magic Bullet LooksBuilder, a stand-alone application to pre-visualize looks anywhere. You can get MBL bundled in Magic Bullet Suite 2007, which includes Magic Bullet Looks, Magic Bullet 24p, Magic Bullet Colorista, and Instant HD for high-quality up-conversion.

This version of Looks really has to be seen, so check out the trial version and these videos and posts: Magic Bullet Looks Prolost post, Tour The Bullet (Prolost/Studio Daily), and Motionworks' Getting Started with Magic Bullet Looks.

Update: Stu says to look for a secret feature...

Update 2: Review: Magic Bullet "Looks" - Slick, Sexy, A Few Flaws

October 16, 2007

new Digital Film Tools filters

Digital Film Tools has just released two new products for After Effects: Power Stroke and Power Matte, compatible with AE 7 and CS3 on both Mac and Windows.

Power Stroke introduces a simple, interactive stroke-based workflow to quickly perform targeted color adjustments. Power Stroke processes in 8,16, or 32 bit.

Power Matte is an interactive image matting tool for extracting almost any object in an image--even if you are dealing with fine hair detail, smoke, or reflections. Power Matte processes in 8 or 16 bit.

'Effect Builder AE' makes filters from Core Image

Toolfarm mentioned a new Mac-only product, Effect Builder AE. Pixlock explains:
"Effect Builder AE is our development kit for building Adobe After Effects™ plug-ins from Quartz Compositions. With Effect Builder AE and Quartz Composer you can quickly create your own effects like generators, filters, and transitions without programming knowledge. With Core Image enabled graphics hardware, effects are rendered hardware accelerated."

Now someone should be doing something similar with Adobe's Hydra/AIF, which could possibly cover AE, Premiere, Photoshop, and Flash.

Update: QC Integration FX offers something similar -- an ability to integrate any Quartz Composer composition as a plugin directly into Final Cut Pro and Motion. QC Integration already includes 52 Quartz Composer compositions, all fully usable as high quality visual effects plugins for Final Cut Pro and Motion.

Mask to Shape Layer

Motionworks has a tutorial movie on copying and pasting an existing mask onto a Shape Layer in AE: "The key is to only select the Mask Path parameter before copying and only the Path parameter when pasting."

AE CS3 Studio Techniques

AE CS3 Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen is set to be released November 19th, only about 2 weeks after Creating Motion Graphics by Trish & Chris Meyer. I'm looking forward to both books' takes on new features like color management.

Have some corn with your corn

As Michael Pollan said in The Omnivore’s Dilemma (UC Berkeley webcast), have some corn with your corn -- like when you have a chicken or beef taco with soda pop. I love corn but now corn is a nearly omnipresent Frankenfood -- mostly genetically modified, as noted by The Center for Food Safety (KALW podcast on Frankenfood).

The indie documentary King Corn is making some waves after a decent showing in NYC (in NewTeeVee's Biofuel Primer and at All These Wonderful Things). Scheduled next is is DC, Boston, LA, and the Bay Area. As mentioned last month, there's also a low-key SAFE event on October 30 with the filmmakers and Michael Pollan in Berkeley. Here's the trailer for King Corn:

Apple Feedback/Bug Reports

As reported on Final Cut-L, you can report problems to Apple at: http://www.apple.com/feedback/

But the official portal for reporting bugs, like the render problem or Media Manager issues in Final Cut 6, is here: http://bugreporter. apple.com

Apple engineers are required to read the official reports, which require registering for a free developers account. Darrin Cardani explains further:

'As Philip mentioned, we don't work on any bug that's not in our bug database, even if lots of people are discussing it on forums. I don't know of any other developers in our group who read the various internet user forums regularly, though I think a few do. So it's entirely possible that nobody at Apple has any idea there's a problem.
In addition, you need to supply as detailed a description of what you're doing when the render gets lost as possible, and what exactly you mean by lost. Just saying, "Final Cut Pro is losing renders" is almost useless in a bug report because we can't tell if it's happening because the user is doing something to cause it to happen, or because of an actual bug. So we'll need very detailed steps to reproduce the problem.'

October 14, 2007

A Common Word between Us and You

Time notes that 'Muslim Leaders Send Peace Message':

'It is time that Muslims and Christians recognized just how similar they are — the fate of the world depends on it. That's the message being sent out today by 138 Muslim leaders and scholars in an open letter to their Christian counterparts saying that world peace hinges on greater understanding between the two faiths.
The letter ends with a quote from the Koran — "Vie one with another in good works ... Unto God ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ" — before making a final plea for peace: "So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works." Surely that's a sentiment people of all faiths can share.'

There's more, including comments and church responses, at A Common Word.

Update: in case we are uncertain, Glenn Greenwald notes George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address and The Beltway Establishment's contempt for the rule of law while Frank Rich considers The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us.

October 12, 2007

Planar Tracking & AE

Jonas at General Specialist has notes on Mocha AE, and adds a link to a video tutorial approximating how to do Planar Tracking Roto (like Motor) in AE (AVI).

Update: You can download an October 17 DNM podcast interview with Imagineer Systems.

Premiere Pro Keyboard Shortcuts

The Genesis Project has a 7 minute video tutorial on Premiere Pro Keyboard Shortcuts.

AE shortcuts can be edited in preferences (and for non-English keyboards), or as mentioned last month with Jeff Almasol's scripted UI 'KeyEd Up.'

Adobe Feature Request/Bug Report Form

With AE and the Production Premium CS3 suite shipping, now is the time to make feature requests, so visit Adobe's Feature Request/Bug Report Form if you think something's missing in any of your favorite apps. Bug fixes are important too and could be squeezed into potential point releases.

October 11, 2007

Visual music and motion graphics

Video Thing mentions that a DVD of "light waves" artist Richard Baily (Solaris, Fight Club, Superman, ArtBeats, etc) will be available through the Center for Visual Music. His passing last year was noted here last year, and there are more resources at CMV.

In After Effects, ever since the now defunct Motion Math, you can synchronize any parameter with any other parameter, so a range of audio effects can be tied to graphic properties to create visual music.

Visual music has a long history in media like color organs, film and abstract animation, light shows, CGI, installation art, and even cave art. Abstract animation is not just eye candy, but often attempts to communicate or stimulate synesthesia or mystical states. While forecasts for an expanded or synaesthetic cinema (PDF) haven't quite come to fruition, motion graphics has. The term seems to have been coined or at least popularized by visual music artist John Whitney, who pioneered motion control cameras and the slit scan technique (showing it to Trumbull and Kubrick) -- and in 1960 named his company Motion Graphics, Inc. SIGGRAPH has a peek at some of his movies.

Later, Vice featured Whitney too. Here's some of his work, along with Lapis from his brother James Whitney.

In addition to the Center for Visual Music, mentioned up top, another specific resource for visual music is The iotaCenter. Also noteworthy is the work of William Moritz, who was tireless in documenting early work by abstract animation artists at CalArts and elsewhere and filmmakers like Oscar Fischinger. The Moritz article "Abstract Film and Color Music" in The Spiritual In Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 is quite good. Online, there's a good roundup of color organs and such in Colour and Sound: Visual Music by Maura McDonnell.

Greg Jalbert, author of Bliss Paint (for Mac, RIP) collected info on some artists at Tonecolor some time ago -- including the rarely mentioned "Raster Masters" who used to provide incredible live visuals at concerts in the Bay Area. Some say that the genesis of Trips Festival and rock music light shows was the Vortex Concerts at the Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco, organized by visual artist Jordan Belson and composer Henry Jacobs in 1957–59.

A nice recent history of motion graphics and visual music (which is the sample PDF), with clips, is in Motion Graphic Design and Fine Art Animation: Principles and Practice by Jon Krasner. Another excellent source, which includes streaming video, is "A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation " by Wayne Carlson.

Update: Motionographer posted some background info on Larry Cuba's 1977 computer graphics Death Star animation for Star Wars -- which was commented on by The iotaCenter's Cuba himself.

With "A" for effort and exposure, Jakob Trollback's visual music experiment with the song "Moonlight in Glory" by David Byrne and Brian Eno was shown at the 2007 TED Conference. More interesting stuff can be found at the Center for Visual Music and Cuba's iotaCenter, and in Internet resources like Motionographer, a recent AEP post Motion graphics 1961 (pictured right), resources for DJs, VJs, and others (including the aging Tonecolor), and summaries on video art (or searches) and artists like Bill Viola and Steven Beck (UC lecture QuickTime movie).

Even these links will just scratch the surface of related activities now happening in motion graphics, VJing, and visualization.

Update 2: Considerations of paradigms of motion graphics and what After Effects represents can be found in Lev Manovich's essay After Effects and the Velvet Revolution and in the nice history of motion graphics by Matt Frantz.

As noted, Motion Graphic Design and Fine Art Animation: Principles and Practice by Jon Krasner (Focal Press, 2004) has a great history of motion and film with clips, but see also Brand Identity for Television: with Knobs On, by Martin Lambie-Nairn, (1997 Phaidon) which discusses and illustrates the design process for short television spots.

A Composition of the “Things Themselves”: Visual music in practice by Maura McDonnell is a nice summary with bibliography. She also runs Visual Music, a blog that documents artists, filmmakers, composers, musicians, video artists, and events -- since 2005.
See also Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900, which has the same title as the museum show, and The Visual Music Film by Aimee Mollaghan (2015).

And let's not forget Cymatics, which was discussed in another post here on AEP.

Cinema is dead?

Flippant News notes a Peter Greenaway interview, where he says "Bill Viola is worth ten Scorseses." I'm not sure about the factor but Viola's SFMOMA installations were compelling.

Here's Ken Kesey's advice: "Get them into your movie before they get you into theirs."

fxphd echo

Both Flowseeker and General Specialist are trumpeting classes at fxphd.com. The price is really good -- $110 per course. Here's the highlights and more at the links:

• A new Production track which includes a course on the RED camera
• A DV Rebel course overseen by Stu Maschwitz
• New Training in such au courant apps as Nuke, Apple Color, Smoke and Z-Brush
• Stills Photography
• New and repeat classes covering Flame, Maya, PFTrack, Shake, Fusion, Toxik, Monet/Mokey/Motor and Photoshop (as well as Mark Christiansen's After Effects course)

October 10, 2007

TechCrunch compares online video sharing services

TechCrunch has another short comparison of online video sharing services:

"Even if YouTube remains the destination of choice for the vast majority of consumers, producers ought to take a serious look at the alternative services. They often support more file types, bigger uploads, and higher resolutions. They also place fewer restrictions and provide an array of features simply overlooked by YouTube. That said, a few of these services are mere YouTube clones and hope to follow in YouTube’s footsteps by providing very basic features."

Read more at "Happy 1st Anniversary YouTube and Google; Now Move Over a Bit."

October 9, 2007

free PlasmaFX filters for Mac

Digital Anarchy is offering an incentive sample of free plug-ins from their PlasmaFX for Mac OSX 10.4 set (gallery here). These are based on FxPlug/Core Image, so they're Mac-only. The offer came in a DA e-mail newsletter which my mail program trashed as spam, so I don't have more info.

October 8, 2007

Understanding Depth of Field

FreshDV has made available a streaming/download video tutorial Understanding Depth of Field by Justin Snodgrass. It's a "20 minute video provides a detailed explanation of depth-of-field and the factors that affect it. This tutorial was designed specifically for filmmakers who use or are planning to use 35mm depth-of-field adapters."

FreshDV also has an in-depth video series on The Art of Pulling Focus, taught by a seasoned First AC with 30 years of filmmaking experience.

Update: There more info at The Ultimate Depth-of-Field Skinny, an article by Jeff Donald at DVinfo.net.

YouTube Deepens Commercial Relationship With Al Jazeera

As Adsense finds greater integration, TechCrunch notes YouTube Deepens Commercial Relationship With Al Jazeera, and adds "if you live in the U.S. and Al Jazeera is your flavor of news, YouTube (or satellite) is the only easy way to see their content."

October 7, 2007

Omino after effects suite: free AE filters

QuickTime Music Architecture guru David Van Brink has a small set of free AE filters for OS X called the omino after effects suite. It's available at his site (requires e-mail) and at Adobe's After Effects Exchange.

The filters have limitations of having been tested only on a dual g4 with AE 7.0 and renders only at 8-bits per channel.

Update: as noted in comments, David Van Brink says the plug-ins work in AE 7.0 on Mac-Intel.

Batch process Quicktime movies adding Fast-start header

Over Final Cut Pro-L, Mel Matsuoka answered his own question and dropped a useful script for QTCoffee, a set of command-line Mac OS X utilities for manipulating QuickTime readable media:

"...is there an easy way to batch process over 200+ H264 Quicktime movies which don't have the Fast-start header in place?

Answering my own question...I figured out a way to do it using the always kick-ass QTCoffee, and a horrifically ugly Bash shell-script I wrote. Here it is, for anyone to use as they please, and for real coders like Andreas, Bouke and Darrin to laugh...

# qt_add_faststart. sh
# description: uses QTCoffee (http://www.3am. pair.com/ QTCoffee. html)
'modmovie' command
# to add fast-start headers to all .mov files in the current working directory

# replace spaces in filenames with underscores

for filename in *.mov; do
filename_clean= $(echo $filename | tr ' ' _) # translate spaces
to "_", assign fixed filename to $filename_clean
[ ! -f $filename_clean ] && mv "$filename" $filename_clean # if
$filename_clean does not currently exist, then rename original
filename to $filename_clean

# create outfile name for QTcoffee 'modmovie' command
(originalfilename_ faststart. mov)

for filename in *.mov; do
faststart_fname= $(echo "$filename" | sed -e 's/\.mov/\_faststar t.mov/
g' )
echo "Adding fast-start header to $filename... "
modmovie -o $faststart_fname -self-contained $filename
echo "Backing up original .mov to $filename.original. .."
mv $filename "$filename". original
mv $faststart_fname $filename
echo "Done. Now get a life."

The original post and thread is over at the Final Cut Pro-List, in case there are format errors here. You could also check out QT_TOOLS by Dave van Brink.

October 4, 2007

Visualization challenge winners

information aesthetics notes National Science Foundation/Science magazine visualization challenge winners posted at Science. Here a couple of the finalists:

'Moebius Transformations Revealed' in mathematics shows how moving to a higher dimension can make the transformations easier to understand.

'Towers in the Tempest' is a 4.5 minute narrated animation that explains recent scientific insights into how hurricanes intensify.

new Creating Motion Graphics in November

The latest version of Creating Motion Graphics for After Effects (4(th Edition) by Trish & Chris Meyer will be available in early November. It's available for preorder through visit their site, where a table of contents and a few chapter excerpts (like Shapes) are available in PDF.

Trish notes, "If you are new to AE, then I'd recommend you get started with After Effects Apprentice. It's geared to a new user with a tutorial-style feel.

CMG4 is designed as more of a reference guide; good for more experienced users to have on the shelf when you are using a feature you're not used to using. You can of course read it from start to finish, and many do, but there are a lot more words and lots more details as it's geared to someone who is using AE all day for a

Producing Flash CS3 Video tutorials

John Skidgel has a few tutorials available from his Focal/DV series book Producing Flash CS3 Video: Techniques for Video Pros and Web Designers.

Focus on focus

FreshDV has a summary of their recent work on Follow Focus systems and podcast series on pulling focus in Follow Focus Reviews and 1st AC Tutorial Roundup.

Breath life into stale Lens Flares

Graymachine has a free video tutorial and comp "using shapes, Trapcode Shine, and expressions to breath new life into the old AE Lens Flare."

October 3, 2007

Hydra: Adobe's answer to Core Image

Is Hydra Adobe's answer to Apple's Core Image? The official name for 'Hydra' is Pixel Bender (nee Adobe Image Foundation), and it's in beta now on Adobe Labs.

John Nack has the news from Abobe MAX 2007: "the Flash Player is being equipped to run Hydra, a new graphics programming [and shader] language from Adobe. Instead of running just the built-in drop shadows, blurs, etc. that were added in version 8, Flash (and by extension Adobe AIR) will now be able to run an essentially unlimited number of imaging effects."

"Hydra is tuned to run ridiculously fast on modern graphics cards (GPUs), and it'll be tuned for multi-core CPUs as well...Here's a key point, though: the same Hydra technology is being used to power the fast filters in After Effects CS3. Therefore an AE plug-in developer could effectively also develop runtime effects for Flash, while a Flash developer could leverage her work inside AE." I hope that Adobe-native effects export as runtime effect in exporting to Flash formats from AE.

Nack continues, "AIF/Hydra engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith has posted a bit more info on his blog." For more good details, see The obligatory post on Hydra by Tinic Uro San.

Update: Darin Cardani of Apple gave a presentation at Cocoaheads/LA on writing an FxPlug, Apple's image processing plug-in architecture (SDK Overview) that lets you create new effects for Final Cut Pro and Motion. For a while you can download a video of the presentation.

October 2, 2007

Set-Top Wishes and Caviar Dreams

Read/Write Web thinks that and the circus turns as NewTeeVee surveys Alternatives To Apple TV.

In other ring under the Big Top, Olbermann talks with Sy Hersh of The New Yorker about the saber-rattling toward Iran.

Stephen Colbert says (video) this is not the case because "everyone knows that Cheney’s pipe dream is driving a bulldozer into the New York Times while drinking crude oil out of Keith Olbermann’s skull."