May 30, 2009

Google expands Search Options

Google Operating System has run down the many recent changes and enhancements to Google search and other services; these are quite newer than improvements in image search mentioned in the April AEP post Visual metadata. While the new features are not universally appreciated, immediately interesting here is the Search Options panel with near real-time results, visualizations, and more; see Behind the scenes of the Search Options panel.

And as mentioned here earlier in Hotspots for After Effects, a search on Google Insights for "after effects" can also spot interesting trends. Here's a quick tour and background of Search Options:

May 29, 2009

After Effects 9.0.2: RED support and lotsa bug fixes

The After Effects 9.0.2 update was released today. See Todd Kopriva's post After Effects 9.0.2 update: RED (R3D) support and a lot of bug fixes for the down-low. Not sure if "lotsa" is better than "ekcetera."

Also, via Todd Kopriva, version 1.7 of the REDCODE importer plug-in was released.

Updates were supposed to have been released for Premiere and Adobe Media Encoder, but not everyone is seeing them quite yet in Adobe Updater. Be sure to stop by Stephen Muratore's Adobe Premiere Pro Training for many details of the Premiere update. And of course the previously mentioned Dave Helmley Video on Premiere 4.1 and After Effects 9.02 Updates is a good way to get up to speed fast. Helmley also has a jumble of news on the update on his blog.

Update: Dave Helmsley has a new video called DAVTechTable - Editing with RED 1.7 Technical Overview. It's mostly Premiere but it has some stuff on AE.

Ozer links on H.264

So You Want to Get to Know H.264? by Jan Ozer is a "baker's dozen (and growing) of critical H.264 information links."

See also previous AEP posts on H.264.

May 28, 2009

Do or Don’t: new show starts with Lightsaber & Phaser

The MossyBlog, hosted by an employee of Microsoft not by a Dagobahi student of Yoda, has a long list of the Do’s and Don’ts of Video Tutorials -- to which one might add "don't say ekcetera."

A new entrant in the filmmaker tutorial scene is Film Riot, a show from Revision3. The first episode is "Star Trek vs. Star Wars! The Great Lightsaber - Phaser Battle."

You can decide yourself if you agree with NewTeeVee that the first episode is not "for beginners to using the software [After Effects], though, even if the techniques being demonstrated are pretty basic." There are a ton of light saber tutorials out there using the Beam filter in AE, and NewTeeVee mentions one by IndyMogul for comparison. Like the nice Sci/Discovery show Science of the Movies, finding the right balance of schtick can be tricky when starting out.

Tidbits on futuristic screen and UI designs

To follow up on OOOii: AE, Flash, and AIR in 'Star Trek', here's some more info mostly culled from comments at Mograph and Motionographer.

In addition to OOOii and Mark Coleran, these entities specialize in designing UI & display graphics: Useful Companies, Teknoel, zero one, Playback Technologies, West Media, Decca Digital , and Stargate Studios.

There's a few relevant academic-type articles, like Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies. And while Jakob Nielsen does make good points in Usability in the Movies -- Top 10 Bloopers, his own site design is starkly unreadable. For balance see, for example, In Defense of Eye Candy by Stephen P. Anderson: "We’ve all seen arguments in the design community that dismiss the role of beauty in visual interfaces... Lost in these discussions is an understanding of the powerful role aesthetics play in shaping how we come to know, feel, and respond."

Here are some example AE projects once available from AE Freemart: A simple blinking cursor, VU Meters, Number Decoder, and Random Circle Segments. Plus, Particle Illusion has 3 pro libraries with tech/interface elements, and a new set of filters from Noise Industries, "SUGARfx H.U.D." There's also a few more resources mentioned in AEP's Futuristic HUDs everywhere soon.

Finally, here's some advice from Mark Coleran:

"When I first started it, each artist would take a scene and be responsible for perhaps 10-20 screens in a movie. 10 years later you can add a 0 to those numbers at times. Anyone with any sense develops huge libraries of reference, large scratch pads of elements to re-use (illustrator artwork, photoshop files and after effects projcts and favorites) so that you can concentrate on the initial design and turn over the animation very fast. The time frames are shorter and the numbers vastly increased. I have absolute respect for the guys who do the TV stuff, they have it even harder. It can be easy to knock sub par work in this area as being unrealistic and sometimes cheesy, but the time frames are ridiculous at times. The complexity is generally nothing more than a visual trick. Rule of threes. Have at least three things animating on any screen and it looks busy and complicated.

The other thing is that when I started the design on a movie, I would do a lot of research on real UI work, future concept from software labs etc. The foundation that most were built on were based on real ideas, although once the design committees have had their input things can end up changing dramatically. 'I want it like it was in that film' is not an uncommon request.

Usually get involved in the pre-production phase, sometimes as early as two months before shoot, sometime as little as two weeks. This is staggered and offset by when the particular screens shoot, but i think the rule of thumb is 2 months before the first screen shoots so do the design, look and animation. It can vary a lot, but on the bigger productions that seem to be general case. The work these days is also not always constant. You can get breaks of a week or two during production then back into another scene.

For the most part we deal with the production designers and only get director involvement on 'hero' screens that contain important plot elements. The actual design and implementation... to be honest, there isn't that much focus for the most part. The only two directors I have ever dealt with who really did care was JJ Abrams on MI3 who was very focused on what he wanted design wise, and Alfonso Cuarón on Children of Men who took a lot of care and consideration about what was done so it matched and worked well with the particular look he was after.
The importance varies widely. Some people care and get involved a lot, other far less so. Some don't even look at them until the first day they see them on set for shooting. It can cause problems!"

OOOii: AE, Flash, and AIR in 'Star Trek'

Lee Brimelow posted a video interview with OOOii (formerly Blackbox Digital), a company whose work includes the gesture-based interfaces for Minority Report, the information design of Enemy of the State, the immersive technologies in The Island, the power walls of Déjà Vu, and the 360º projections in the recent Star Trek.

OOOii used After Effects, Flash, and AIR for Star Trek. This is from an earlier post:

"For Star Trek, senior developer Dave August created a complete ActionScript 3 framework for compositing and sequencing various effects that was used live on the set during filming. He also created an AIR application which was used for authoring the various sequences and also to control them as the actors manipulated them."

See also related previous AEP posts, Mark Coleran on screen design, Adobe Inspire on Ironman’s HUD, and Futuristic HUDs everywhere soon.

Update: check out the UI of Space Fence, an orbit tracking system,

Insight into (Blur) Effects is hosting After Effects: Insight into Effects, created and produced by Trish and Chris Meyer. Insight into Effects covers the AE blur effects, and includes hidden gems, optimal parameter ranges, "gotchas" to avoid, and alternatives to consider.

This series on blurs join others on, including the recent AE tutorial sets
Natural Light Effects and Light Transmission, mentioned in a previous AEP backgrounder. If you don't have a subscription, you might try a free 7-day pass to check out the massive library beyond the free samples.

And of course there's a hefty amount of completely free stuff from this team at their PVC blogs Creating Motion Graphics and
CMG Keyframes, and at Focal Press and Artbeats.

Update: Chris and Trish Meyer also posted After Effects Tips 5: Going for a Scroll explaining techniques to easily create scrolling banners, ticker tapes, and other graphics. And later they covered important basics in After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #6 , "a quickie on how to use the 3D Axis Arrows to manipulate 3D layers"

A growing list of free tutorials from Focal Press

Focal Press has a growing list of free tutorials from their books on After Effects (and Photoshop).

Video on Premiere 4.1 and After Effects 9.02 Updates +tech

While the updates are not released quite yet, there's a new video for the updates Premiere 4.1 and After Effect 9.02 on the DAVTechTable channel of AdobeTV. It discusses Premiere mostly -- Avid has more screen time than AE. And you now get ads on Adobe TV (where you can view at fullscreen):

Update: Dave Helmsley has a new video called DAVTechTable - Editing with RED 1.7 Technical Overview,

May 27, 2009

AE scripts MochaImport & Final Cut 2 After Effects XML

Via Sébastien Périer are 2 new scripts for After Effects: MochaImport from Mathias Möhl and the Final Cut 2 After Effects Script from Popcorn Island.

Mathias Möhl is the mind behind the Tracker2Mask & KeyTweak scripts (AEP backgrounder post). He doesn't post frequently to his blog AExtensions but his posts do present deep new features and include video tutorials. The latest script is MochaImport, which helps you apply the Mocha tracking data in After Effects in several ways. Here's tasks that can be done as one click operations, and the video tutorial:
  • create corner pin
  • create CC power pin
  • create AE trackpoints from Mocha track
  • stabilize footage
  • move layers according to track
  • create a precomp in which the footage is stabilized while maintaining the movement in the original composition.

There's also a not too recent script, Final Cut 2 After Effects Script from Popcorn Island, which is another partial workaround to avoid the cost of Automatic Duck. The script -- designed for CS3 -- presents "a simple way to move sequences in Final Cut into Compositions in After Effects. Not only does it allow you to work faster, it also saves storage space. The normal work flow of rendering out from Final Cut and opening in After Effects causes one to create temporary files to pass back and forth between the programs. The Final Cut 2 After Effects script will allow you to bypass that and simply use the footage that has already been imported into Final Cut." The current version supports:

  • Basic Editing Translation
  • Segmented Clips
  • Basic Keyframes
  • Time Remapping
  • Nested Sequences
  • Multiple Frame Rates and Aspect Ratios
  • Audio Channels
  • Name Length Error Checking
  • Support for PAL25 and 60
You can view the training video at Sébastien Périer's post or at the original post at Popcorn Island.

Update: Support for transfers using Premiere are in the Adobe Help doc Importing XML project files from Final Cut Pro and in the Tech Note, File Import Failure when you import a Final Cut Pro XML project into Premiere Pro CS4 (Windows), although there may be other issues involving alphas, pixel aspect ratios, or speed changes.

May 26, 2009

SF Cutters at BAVC May 28th

The SF Cutters is meeting at BAVC May 28th in San Francisco (2727 Mariposa near 16th St). And there's a great reduced BAVC membership fee opportunity this month (classes are cheaper for members).

Guests include Sanelle Sibanda of the Generation Now film, with a light discussion. Seating is limited to 40; $5 at the door. Following the meeting, please socialize at the Coffee Bar across the street -- food, drinks, music. Purchase your own Refreshments.

FYI: The next meeting Thursday June 11 is at Adobe in the Chaplin Auditorium, 601 Townsend in SF. Limited to 100 people. Meeting is from 6:30-9:30 pm; registration is $15. Guests include:
  • Jesse Spencer, editor
  • Sean Safreed of Red Giant Software
  • Karl Soule, Adobe Evangelist, on After Effects
Adobe will be giving away a CS4 Production Premium -- there will be a separate drawing and you will need to fill out a contact form.

Re-collecting After Effects tutorials

Not long ago Smashing Magazine collected its Best Tutorials For Cinematic Visual Effects; now they're presenting a collection claiming to be The Ultimate Motion Graphics Tutorials Round-Up. Almost all of the tutorials listed in the links above come from the usual AE sources. [Update: as noted in comments did 1001 Adobe After Effects Tutorials and 144 After Effects Plug-Ins.]

Regularly on the beat in this area is Topher Welsh, who posts updated roundups at VisualFxTuts, AE Tuts, and now Video Hive -- with the recent Tutorial Sites to Watch - After Effects.

Science of the Movies

Science of the Movies is a new show from the Science Channel (which also features Michio Kaku). It's on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. starting tonight May 26th, with some repeats. The first episode is "Spider-Man" Motion Control, in which host Nar Williams explores the motion-control technology behind cloning and the famous "Spidey-sense" shot from Spider-Man. They also show a CG elephant created by the creature special-effects team behind 300 and look at a chase scene using wireless camera mounts.

Also, FilmmakerIQ has collected 505 Behind The Scenes Videos, which includes several segments from Making the Movies on MTV.

May 24, 2009

The Basics of Screenwriting

FilmmakerIQ mentions AFI’s The Basics of Screenwriting (hosted on Fathom):

"In this seminar from the American Film Institute, Amy Dunkleberger guides both novice and professional writers through the creation of an engaging screenplay. The seminar clearly and concisely leads you through the creation of an effective premise, compelling characters and a structure for your work. Throughout the sessions, writing techniques, presentation do's and don'ts, screenplay terminology and film clips juxtaposed with their shooting scripts help you develop your initial whim into your final screenplay."

FilmmakerIQ has related posts too (scroll down), like What’s Wrong With The Three Act Structure? -- and of course there's news & analysis from John August and Mystery Man on Film, and more on Wikipedia (Pre-production, Screenplay, Screenwriting) & all over.

There's already a market filled with script-oriented apps like Celtx (open source pre-production software), Final Draft, Gorilla, and others, as well as the forthcoming Adobe Story.

Also, AFI has short intro videos on filmmaking at ScreenNation Learn. Here's Scriptwriting (AFI's Lights, Camera, Education!):

May 23, 2009

"Undiscoverable" menu commands in AE +tips of the day

Todd Kopriva attempts to demystify "undiscoverable menu commands in After Effects." He doesn't provide direct or easy answers but does link to the appropriate AE Help section so you can assimilate these useful features if you haven't already: Look at Selected Layers, Hide Locked Masks, Free Transform Points, Crop Comp To Region Of Interest, Layer Fit, View Options.

Update: Todd runs down AE's opening screen Tips of the day for After Effects CS4, and asks for submissions.

May 22, 2009

Where is my mind?

NPR is hosting a series called The Science Of Spirituality this week. While pixies (or cobalt blue goblins) are not mentioned, there are some interesting shows, including Are Spiritual Encounters All In Your Head?, Prayer May Reshape Your Brain ... And Your Reality, and Can Positive Thoughts Help Heal Another Person?

The latter audio reports on studies sponsored by the Bay Area's Institute of Noetic Sciences:

"...the researchers found that when one person focused his thoughts on his partner [not present], the partner's blood flow and perspiration dramatically changed within two seconds. ...So how do you explain this? No one really knows. But Radin and a few others think that a theory known as "quantum entanglement" may offer some clues.

Here's how it works. Once two particles have interacted, if you separate them, even by miles, they behave as if they're still connected. So far, this has only been demonstrated on the subatomic level. But Radin wonders: Could people in close relationships — couples, siblings, parent and child — also be "entangled"? Not just emotionally, and psychologically — but also physically."

This goes way beyond simple rhythm entrainment! There's also a summary posted on Huffington Post, and a trailer for a related movie The Living Matrix:

May 21, 2009

FreeForm AE tutorials

Mark Christiansen has 2 tutorials on FreeForm AE, the 3D mesh warp filter from DigiEffects. The video tutorials with After Effects project files and can be accessed through DigiEffects or Mettle.

37+ data-visualization blogs

Flowing Data carried Maps of the Seven Deadly Sins but you'll have to look to Gene Expression & the Las Vegas Sun for some explanation.

For those who find these sorts of visualizations compelling, there are many resources to explore, and Flowing Data runs many of them down in 37 Data-ish Blogs You Should Know About. If you visit be sure to catch information aesthetics, Strange Maps, Visual Complexity,, and Visual Mapping.

Also handy is Interactive Narratives infographics feed.

Other good roundups include Smashing Magazine's 2-year old Data Visualization: Modern Approaches and ReadWriteWeb's The Best Tools for Visualization. More related notes and links were posted earlier at John Nack on Adobe , in Ethan Eismann's Information Design series of posts, and here at AEP.

Finally here's a nice video about mind mapping via Visual Mapping:

Update: Check out "Designing for Big Data" by Jeff Veen from Web2ExpoSF '09 , below,

May 20, 2009

Adobe's CS4 video tutorials + a master list

Exploring content on Adobe TV can be slow, so its titles of how-to content have been gathered in a master list of CS4 Video Tutorials by Adobe Design Center.

Update: overlooked but caught by trusty AE Help czar Todd Kopriva in Comments, is the previously noted Adobe AE Help page Services, downloads, extras, and video tutorials, which organizes a master list of AE video tutorials (including ones from the CS3 era) from Adobe and partners into categories forming a comprehensive introductory "course." And this page is available in 6 languages!

May 19, 2009

Whip Pan & Transporter tutorials for AE

Eran Stern works with Red Giant plug-ins in a new video tutorial, Creating a Transporter Effect. There's another transporter effect tutorial, with particleIllusion via Toolfarm.

The content on whip or swish pans has been updated in Whip (swish) pans in After Effects & Premiere at Pro Video Coalition.

Color memes and schemes

As study of the Steve Hullfish book The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction continues, more on info color keeps popping up.

Chris and Trish Meyer have sage advice in a new series on color; see On Color Theory at PVC.

Also, TUTS+ had a nice roundup in April of Color Tools, Resources and Tutorials for Photoshopers, and (via lisaorgler) Colour Lovers has all kinds of stuff (including British spelling quirks).

There's also a few newish color design websites with nice picker tools:

The Color Scheme Designer is an online color palette picker tool with some nice nooks and crannies. The latest version sports a new interface and engine with better color space conversions and previewing, an enhanced scheme creation system, and unique scheme IDs with a permanent URL of the scheme.

ColoRotate has an intuitive interface that lets you wander in 3D color space to uncover color relationships and choose a color palette that fits your needs.

LiveStream: rebrand of live video service Mogulus

NewTeeVee and others report that LiveStream is the newly rebranded name of Mogulus, whose website and UI has also been refined. There are other views at Silicon Alley Insider, Beet.TV, TechCrunch and Mashable! (via Techmeme)

May 18, 2009

Disk Backup Best Practices

FreshDV has an Interview with Lacie’s Mike Mihalik on Disk Backup Best Practices, which of course is important in an era of tapeless workflows.

AEER: an After Effects Expressions Reference

Sébastien Périer notes a new website: AEER, or After Effects Expressions Reference.

AEER seems similar to XScriptorium, an AE scripting resource launched in August 2008. Both sites have attempted to organize the wealth of resources found at AE Enhancers, the main expression & scripting forum for AE, and a bevy of other websites mentioned in AEP roundup Expressions & Scripting Resources for After Effects.

May 17, 2009

Reverse shatter effect without plug-ins

Harry Frank also has a new 45-minute tutorial of a shatter effect without filters. It’s mostly expression-driven, and uses Illustrator to break up a layer into pieces, then expressions to automatically make the pieces move randomly into place. Look for the tutorial on Graymachine on Monday; here's the result:

Reverse Shatter Effect from graymachine on Vimeo.

Update: Harry Frank posted the Reverse shatter expression.

Radial ray Shape projects

Todd Kopriva answers a question on how to make radial rays in After Effects with an easily tweakable project and oblique pointers on how you make one on your own.

It's reminiscent of a recent video tutorial from Precomposed, Vector Sunburst. This tutorial (pictured right) includes a download of some Photoshop shapes and shows you how to construct a Photoshop Shape and use it in an AE Shape layer. You might miss the animation controls available to AE Shape layers as seen in Todd's example, but both should have better edges than a similar effect produced in Premiere with the Pinwheel transition.

For background on Shape layers, see Shape Layers in After Effects CS3 by Total Training host Steve Holmes at Layers magazine. Motionworks has a tutorial movie also, Mask to Shape Layer, Aharon Rabinowitz added a podacst An Introduction to Shape Layers, and Chris & Trish added The Shape of Things to Come: Shape Layers Introduction.

Update: Todd added another method (inspired by an Illustrator tutorial) on his blog, "Make a shape layer containing a single big circle. Set the stroke width to be the same as the diameter of the circle. Make the stroke a dashed stroke. Set the dash length to taste."

50+ Lessons in Graphic Design Theory

Missed this TUTS+ roundup from April, 50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory.

And this one too: Color Tools, Resources and Tutorials for Photoshopers.

Update: It’s Graphic Design Week on Psdtuts+ & Vectortuts+

Update 2: Design Revver lays out 50 Inspirational Web Design Blogs.

After Effects & RAM 101

Harry Frank has the short rundown in After Effects & RAM 101.

: see Todd Kopriva's clarifying links in Comments.

May 16, 2009

A Top 10 list of After Effects scripts

Sébastien Périer has compiled a Top 10 list of After Effects workflow enhancing scripts, ones that he uses the most on a project basis.

See also AEP's Expressions & Scripting Resources for After Effects, which in an update notes a list of scripts that one may find to provide needed-every-day-functionality to AE.

Update: Sebastion earlier noted A little Smart Solid Script for After Effects by David Torno. See Solid Duration Script for details.

202 Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorials from FilmmakerIQ

Who knew that there were this many tutorials for Premiere?

Well FilmmakerIQ has collected 202 Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorials. You may remember FilmmakerIQ for such lists as 1001 Adobe After Effects Tutorials, but they have many other resources listings too.

May 15, 2009

Implicit metadata

Tim O'Reilly has an interesting article which discusses "implicit metadata," Google's Rich Snippets and the Semantic Web. O'Reilly cites Just Landed: Processing, Twitter, MetaCarta & Hidden Data by Jer Thorp who scraped Twitter for the phrase "just landed." Here's Thorp's experiment visualised as an animated map rendered in Processing:

Note: Also cool (via a Thorp Twitter) is ToneMatrix, a sound toy by Andre Michelle.

May 13, 2009

Favorite Movie: Star Trek vs. Star Wars

From College Humor:

The YouTube Dilemma for creatives

Via Motionographer is The YouTube Dilemma from Creative Review. Here's an excerpt and example:

"YouTube provides a steady stream of inspiration to advertising creatives, but it also leaves young directors vulnerable to having ideas stolen and agencies open to accusations of plagiarism. How can both directors and agencies protect themselves?"

Intro to Pixel Bender + Aviary Peacock

There's a recording of yesterday's presentation by Kevin Goldsmith of an Introduction to Pixel Bender for Photoshop and AfterEffects at the Creative Suite Developer Summit.

Also interesting is Mario Klingemann in Adobe TV's Here Be Pixels on node-based image processing in the Flash/AIR-based Aviary Peacock (intro below).

May 12, 2009

Searchable Video in Flash

Peachpit is offering a free chapter excerpt, "Searchable Video in Flash," from After Effects for Flash | Flash for After Effects: Dynamic Animation and Video with Adobe After Effects CS4 and Adobe Flash CS4 Professional by Richard Harrington & Marcus Geduld. The link under Download might be broken depending on your timing.

And of course see this AEP post: Adobe: 'The future of video is searchable', and others filed under

Aaron Koblin on data visualization

Aaron Koblin, a young designer doing data visualization, hit big with Flight Pattern (composited with After Effects) while at UCLA and bigger when he was tech director for the Radiohead music video House of Cards. Now he's Technology Lead of Google Creative Lab in San Francisco, a newer marketing unit that promotes the Google brand and products (see video below). Here are 2 recent interviews, and 2 videos:

Flight Paths over the southwest US from Aaron on Vimeo.

Google Creative Sandbox '09 - New York (caution: bad music & hard sell)

2009 Creative Suite Developer Summit

A 2009 Creative Suite Developer Summit is being held by Adobe in Seattle this week, and some presentations will be online too. This is a developer summit (with some boring code talk), but it might be interesting for some users to peek in on sessions.

May 11, 2009

Cisco readying high end teleconferencing for consumers

An Overview of live video over the internet, the AEP post from April, summarized some options available up to early 2009. Now it looks like options will be expanding, as Beet.TV reports on a New York Times article on high-end systems from Cisco (TelePresence) and Teliris., and that Cisco is Readying High End Teleconferencing for Consumers.

Of course this fits another recent Cisco move; see Cisco & Flip: video editing on the cloud.

Update: For a broader perspective, see Cisco’s Latest Consumer Play: The Smart Grid at Earth2Tech.

Fluid simulation in Audi 'Filter'

Via Andrew Webb on the AE-List and John Nack, who adds more type art, is Audi Filter on Motionographer. Some versions of Firefox aren't so happy with QuickTime, so here's Vimeo versions of the piece and a basic 'making of':

Update: in early 2011, Exotic Matter began shipping Naiad, the fluid-simulation software used on movies like Avatar.

Update: via @Filmbot is Contained Fluids from Andrew Lyons' Houdini User Group at Pixar Studios. It "demonstrates how Houdini's unique procedural tools can be used to create automated solutions to VFX challenges that might otherwise require costly dynamic simulations."

May 9, 2009

Pixel-Perfect Camera Move Transitions

Greyscale Gorilla answers "a question asking how to fly a camera around in After Effects and land on full frame video. To make these moves land on pixel-perfect, full-frame video can be tricky. This technique should help keep your camera moves and transitions accurate and ready for a perfect edit."

GG commenter Galen Frazer says VideoCopilot's Sure Target preset (with tutorial) "allows you to set up multiple targets and easily keyframe in between them. Also allows for shake/easing/auto rotate as well. BUT… it won’t give you the 'pixel perfect' move shown here without tweaking anchor points, etc."

Lessons & advice from editors

Studio Daily is carrying video from an April meeting of AlphaDogs Editors' Lounge which featured four seasoned editors talking about the craft of editing and "the lessons they have learned in decades of work and offer bits of wisdom not found in any film school or editing manual."

Studio Daily has 2 posts: Lessons & Advice from Top Editors with 2 movies totaling 28 minutes and Tales of Four Editors with 4 movies totaling 43 minutes.

Motion Menus, AE, & Encore

The aptly named Precomposed Blog sells Motion Menus and textures for After Effects and Encore DVD, but also shares some hard-won lessons in using Encore, as well as a few free tutorials for AE.

Encore's tie-ins with Photoshop and AE are good, but the app can be enervating. Whatever you do, don't save after getting a "General Error." The Precomposed Blog lists some of the ways avoid running into some problems in Encore.

Star Trek on Fxguidetv + elsewhere

fxguidetv #58: Star Trek is available. It "features interviews with director director J.J. Abrams and actor Karl Urban (Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy), including a discussion about how they created the overabundant anamorphic lens flares."

If you missed J.J. Abrams' mystery box from TED, here it is:

Fan perspectives may be unhappy about plot points, and Mylenium's points seem better taken than this silliness from The Onion, Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable':

Update: A Star Wars fan, maybe even Jar-Jar Binks himself, goes to the top of the Marin Headlands to strike back in Starship Enterprise Destroyed by the Death Star,

May 8, 2009

Invigorator and other AE 3D extrusion options

John Dickinson just posted a collection of some of his Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator/ProAnimator Tutorials. But if you don't have a currently functioning version of Invigorator, which shipped with After Effects for a few versions, there are other options if you're looking for what Invigorator did best -- basic extrusion.

Some of these options, like the Shatter filter and techniques involving duped layers on Z-axis, were discussed in previous AEP posts Extrude AE text into 3D redux, Maltaannon extrudes AE Shapes, and Rick Gerard's Advanced Extrusion with Shatter. Aharon Rabinowitz covered much of the same ground in his podcast, Creating 3D Extruded Text.

[Update] MaxAfter has good example of duped layers on Z-axis in his Text Formation. [end update]

Yet other options include extrude & deform with 3D object filters in Boris Continuum 6, and using Photoshop 3D text, which itself can be extended (like Zax beyond Illustrator) with Swift 3D PS. While both Gerard and Maltaannon consider strokes to make up for the lack of bevels found in Invigorator, these last 2 options have built-in bevel options.

As VideoCopilot noted last year, observing the many tutorials on the Net, "don’t forget to make it look cool." Graphic Mafia today added similar advice in the context of sport graphics and links to Chad Perkins' explanation of the the Shatter filter technique, show below.

Free Film School via Vimeo

Filmlinker picks a few good filmmaking microgroups among the more than 28,000 channels found on Vimeo.

31 VFX Breakdowns + VES Awards on Starz Edge

The latest roundup from Topher Welsh is the novel 31 Mind Blowing VFX Breakdowns posted on AETUTS. They're not all done in After Effects, but that's good.

And according to Fxguide, the VES Awards 2009 are to be Broadcast in US this weekend. [Update] But now a listing shows up for May 30, on a Starz Cinema channel. Fxguide describes the show which was held February 21st:

"This is a fast paced documentary/award show showing the coolest and jaw-dropping visual effects of 2008. It includes award presentations and behind the scenes interviews with the men who make the magic."

May 7, 2009

The "Future of Journalism” heard

As newspapers undergo changes, some like David Simon, creator of The Wire, are worried that local coverage will be effected. Simon recently appeared on Bill Moyers Journal and yesterday at a Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet hearing on the "Future of Journalism,” according to Tech Crunch.

Democracy Now, with in a video excerpt, says: "Simon calls for a non-profit model in the newspaper industry, saying 'raw unencumbered capitalism is never the answer when a public trust or public mission is at issue.'"

Oddly, Gawker's Ryan Tate takes off in another direction, defending blogging and citizen journalism in David Simon: Dead-Wrong Dinosaur, via an agreeing Recovering Journalist. In any case, Gawker does provide some examples of success using Oakland (of all places) as an example. But Tate does make a good point -- and there are more examples of local reporting success posted by PBS' MediaShift in Your Guide to Local Watchdog News Sites not long ago.

Whatever the case, 'easing the ban on cross ownership with broadcasters won't save them' is the view of panel chairman Sen. John Kerry. The Poynter Institute has more substantial details, including a video of the entire hearing; see Senate Hearing Spotlights Three Hard Truths About the Future of Journalism.

Finally in another piece making rounds, the very connected Walter Pincus writes about Newspaper Narcissism: Our pursuit of glory led us away from readers in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Update: also, YouTube Goes Local with "News Near You".

Update 2: The Recovering Journalist talks about local news in Baltimore, the city of The Wire, in Choices in Charm City. He also recommends the interesting Xark post The newspaper suicide pact.

Focus on Camera Raw

Todd Kopriva runs down some info on updates to Camera Raw in his post Camera Raw book excerpts from Peachpit Press. He also links to relevant section in online Help.

There's even more on Camera Raw on Adobe TV, for example Julieanne Kost and this on Local Adjustments:

See also Saving Time with Local Adjustment Presets by Kelly Castro from the Lightroom team, and a video tutorial by Martin Evening, Perspective correction for Camera Raw images.

: Another nice excerpt from Peachpit is The Digital Darkroom in Adobe Photoshop CS4 by Conrad Chavez and David Blatner, which discusses blending modes, dodging and burning by hand, using history to make adjustments, and soft-proofing an image for print.