November 29, 2009

Final Cut & editing tips

Oliver Peters has 11 More Final Cut Pro Tips, in addition to his earlier Ten Tips For A Better Final Cut Pro Experience.
More FCP tips can be found at Diana Weland's Top Ten Features in Final Cut Pro 7, The Top-Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Final Cut Pro…Ten Years Ago by Jeff Carrion, and Final Cut FAQs from Shane Ross.

There's more links to good editing tips from Peters, Hullfish, Meyers and others in previous AEP posts Better editing + shooting & music, Lessons & advice from editors, Wikipedia on Editing, and Hitchcock explains editing & the Kuleshov Effect.

Update: FCP guy Larry Jordan has some basics in this video, 10 Tips for Faster Editing.

November 27, 2009

17 Custom Effects for After Effects

Topher Welsh rounds up 17 Custom Effects at AE Tuts:

"There comes a time when all good things must come to an end, and "Have It Your Way" Week is no exception. But we aren't just gonna kick you to the curb, I got a roundup all the Custom Effects I could find from around the web for you to download, test out and dink around with yourself."

In some cases, Topher gives you a direct link to the custom effect but skips the tutorial and background; see for example 'Custom Effect' to distribute layers in 3D instead of his Distributor entry.

Echo effects: Luxand, Time Blend FX & more

Luxand has released Echo Effects for After Effects, with five properties to adjust: Echo Intensity, Trace Length, Oscillation, Phase, and Frequency. Any advantage over AE's built-in Echo Effect is not been made explicit.

Update: Topher Welsh has a tutorial on Echo below, inspired by a recent music video.

Maltaannon also recommends another built-in AE filter, CC Time Blend. For background on that filter check out Blend and Bend Time by Eran Stern and the old-timey classic CC Time Blend FX with Brian Maffitt posted recently by Motionworks.

November 26, 2009

Maltaannon session on rotoscoping

Rotoscoping made easy is an archive of Maltaannon's latest live session:

Deinterlacerator: an After Effects Custom Effect

Fix Interlaced Footage With Deinterlacerator! – Custom Effect by Jorrit Schulte on AE Tuts shows you how to adjust various slider thingies in ways that might not have occurred to you. While using a 3rd party filter is much easier, this tutorial will exercise your AE muscles. You'll have to compare the benefits of various methods yourself.

November 25, 2009

The Adobe Mercury Playback Engine

The Genesis Project, an Adobe blog, has details on the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine, the GPU playback engine demoed at IBC in September and mentioned a few weeks ago on another Adobe blog which discussed Premiere Pro "Next".

Again, check out the details in the Q&A, but you won't find the phrase "After Effects"!

If you want After Effects to be a better finishing tool, then make a feature request at the Adobe website.

Update: Karl Soule has a coupla posts too, Three words you'll be hearing a lot of: Adobe Mercury Engine and More on the Mercury Engine...,

"we do have external people testing it out now, including some people posting over in the RED forum here. As soon as we have any information about availability, I will be the first one to post it here."

On the RED forum, Adobe's Simon Hayhurst says,

"On topics like TC, Grading Integration, RED Rocket™ --- all important stuff .... and we're continuing to knock these kinds of items down one by one. Prioritization of which order to do them in is the hard question ..... Mike Kanfer is our most active Red forum participant and your first port of call for prioritization opinions.
On the topic of AE and Mercury --- the engine in AE is very different to an NLE engine --- there is inevitably some tech cross-sharing that can be done, but the apps work in very different ways at their core, so much of the core rendering engine needs to be different"

note that the RAM base of the approved graphics card will effect performance (how many clips at what sizes and number of filters applied), so if you're doing RED files you'll want the more expensive cards.

Photoshop CS4: scaling, cropping, blending

There's some more recent Photoshop tutorials by Julienne Kost that are good, especially for those slow to digest CS4 features. First, there's Top 10 little-known features in Photoshop CS4.

For more on working with scaling, alignment, and auto-blending, check out Photoshop Works for You. In her latest tutorial, Julieanne Kost shows you how to open 3 images at once in Photoshop and then easily arrange them into a triptych. This sort of thing is much easier now:

Photoshop Extended: tiled painting & text on 3D

In Photoshop CS4 Extended, the menu command 3D > New Tiled Painting lets you create a tiled pattern. In his Painting Patterns tutorial, Russell Brown shows you how and then apply the pattern to an image so that you paint with patterns, even on 3D objects.

The Russell Brown Show has other interesting tutorial, including Text on 3D, in which you "earn how to place live editable text on the surface of a 3D object and have that text distort to the contours of said object..."

'Custom Effect' to distribute layers in 3D

AE Tuts posted a cool preset and tutorial with Distribute Your Layers in 3D – Custom Effect by Rob Schofield.

This preset effect is similar to part of RGS Plane Space (was 3D Assistants) and Create3DShapes and 3D Layer Distributor from AE Scripts. While coming with some extraneous info, the Effect Preset & expressions appear powerful, easy to install & animate, and free!

Also, there's a TV noise preset via another AE Tuts post today, Countdown In Style with Clockworks – Custom Effect.

November 24, 2009

Custom effects & vignettes in After Effects

Momcilo Stojkovic continues on with "Custom Effects" in Add A Vignette With Ease – Custom Effect, which walks you "through the basics of creating your very own Vignette Custom Effect."

For extra credit, see Trish and Chris Meyer's recent survey of methods, Vignettes.

Update: Chris & Trish have more in Blending Ideas: Extending standard vignette techniques to introduce new treatments to your footage.

Effects A-Z: the Bulge filter with Eran Stern

Motionworks' sorta weekly tour of built-in AE filters continues onto the Bulge filter, with guest host Eran Stern demonstrating the Bulge filter.

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

November 23, 2009

Locating expressions with Expression Toolbox

AE Scripts has a new uber script for After Effects.

The Expression Toolbox, by Chris Roe, "was created to help take the pain out of using and locating expressions. At some point you’ve probably come across an expression that you find yourself using on every other project you work on. The question is where do you store this expression? I noticed that a lot of people were storing their expressions in text files, without documentation of how they were used or where it could be found. Without knowing who created the expression or how to use it, you’re left waiting on an answer from a mailing list or web forum on how to properly apply it.
The next step for the Expression Toolbox will be an online entry system that will allow you to enter your expressions to a global web driven database that anybody can access. You will then be able to download the most recent version of this database directly from the script."

From AE expression controls to custom filter

Create Your Own Custom Effects! by Momcilo Stojkovic is the opener for a week of custom effects at AE Tuts. This text tutorial shows you how to modify and reimport PresetEffects.xml, so you can group and save expression controls as a unique filter/preset in After Effects.

Throughout the week we'll see more on the use of these and other effects capsules. Here's what on order next at AE Tuts:
  • 'We then have another tutorial from Momcilo using what you've just learned to Create A Custom Vignette Effect. This will just be practical example of how you can use CE's to save you time on stuff you find yourself doing over and over again...
  • Next, there will be a 3D Layer Distributor tutorial. This awesome little CE from Rob Schofield will allow you to spread out your layers in 3d space with ease.
  • Make Jack Bauer proud with this "24" Title Opener Tutorial by Jorrit Schulte where you can download his CE and he'll show you step by step how to use it "Your Way"!
  • Also from Jorrit, you can download his free Deinterlacerator CE to redeem your old DV footage stricken with scan-line syndrome.
  • We've collecting together a "Microwave-Ready" Roundup where you can browse through a number of Free Presets and CE's packaged up and ready for you to use.

November 22, 2009

Colorista mini tips from 5tu

From the Stu Maschwitz Twitter stream, in response to a Photoshop user who asked, "where to begin to do Colorista type 3way L/G/G adjustments":

#Colorista tip 1: You can think of the three trackballs as a GUI for PS Levels. Lift is like in/out black, Gain is i/o white, gamma = gamma.

#Colorista tip 2: The stuff in The DV Rebel's Guide about push/pull grading with Rebel CC holds even more true with Colorista.

#Colorista tip 2b: Colorista in FCP compared Colorista with an NLE 3-way color corrector.

#Colorista tip 3: Watch this! ...

Red Giant TV Episode 22: Creating a Summer Blockbuster Film Look from Stu Maschwitz on Vimeo.

Smoke for Mac demo in SF

Advanced Systems Group and Apple Inc. are holding special technology previews of Autodesk Smoke 2010 for Mac OS X on December 15 in San Francisco.

Sessions are 4:00 -05:30 pm and 6:30 -08:00 pm at The Landmark at One Market Street (a building with Autodesk offices).

Update: (11-27) The Official Autodesk Technology Preview of Smoke on Mac has 4 movies from the presentations in Japan.

November 20, 2009

Unplugged 14: interview with Harry Frank

Motionworks' Unplugged 14 features part 1 of an interview with Harry Frank:

"In this episode of Unplugged, Harry Frank of Graymachine discusses how he went from “button-pushing” audio engineer to accomplished motion design artist, and shares his belief that, with enough determination and time, anyone can learn to design. We talk about the tough times being faced by many in our industry right now and, on the lighter side, Harry gives his opinion on who would win an After Effects expression shoot-out between himself and Maltaannon. We wrap up with a look at Harry’s latest product Video Rock."

Another After Effects survey, or three.

Please take (another) survey or two. Pretty please?

"Please take one or both of the following surveys about tasks that you might do in After Effects. Pretty please? Your doing so will help us to learn what people are having trouble with and how we can make it better."

While you're at, if you're interested in Autodesk Smoke or Avid DS, and want to make After Effects into a better DV Rebel-style finishing tool, then make a feature request at the Adobe website.

What's needed for this is an NLE-like realtime playback architecture and more editing features; for more see What Should Adobe Do With Premiere Pro? by Stu Maschwitz. Of course, in the short term Premiere has to be more stable, which is the point of the 64-bit OS rewrite.

Knoll 3D Flare + Optical Flares update

Knoll 3D Flare is a new feature set in the next version of the industry standard Knoll Light Factory Pro. Aharon Rabinowitz has some details, but no pictures yet, at the Red Room Blog. Apparently, RGS is not taking Video Copilot Optical Flares (nearing release) lying down!

Update: Here's an update from Andrew Kramer on Optical Flares,

"Our next-generation 3D lens flare studio Optical Flares is nearly completed, however I see an opportunity to make it even better with a little more time. Optical Flares is capable of building amazing 3D lens flare presets with precise and realistic qualities.

Now imagine the power of a free network where customers could upload and share these amazing presets online? The Video Copilot Preset Network is a perfect solution to continue the spirit of the website of sharing and contributing knowledge and presets, as well as enhancing the value of the product. This will also allow the style of lens flares to evolve beyond the built-in presets as artists develop them.

With this in mind, we have decided to wait about a month to give us time to incorporate this preset network and improve the built-in preset browser to allow multiple collections to be loaded at once. This is an exciting new endeavor and we know customers will benefit even more from this amazing software plug-in."

November 19, 2009

The Motion Exchange video

Started as an experiment by Harry Frank, on day #2 this new Ning-based social network has about 400 members already. The Motion Exchange promotes connections between motion design professionals, students, and companies by providing a searchable database and forums and the like.

To ease the burden of learning yet another networking tool, Harry Frank has put together a video guide to get you started.

This site already has some powerful potential with so many bright contributors, but social networking sites have difficulty organizing information with so much going on.

Keep Your Wiggle Under Control

Aharon Rabinowitz has a new tutorial, Keep Your Wiggle Under Control:

"Have you ever set up a wiggle expression, gotten a result you liked, and then added another layer into your comp - only to find it changed the wiggle animation? Or maybe you changed the layer order and your wiggle animation changed? In this tutorial, Aharon Rabinowitz, tells you why it happens and how to stop it dead in it's tracks!"

Keep Your Wiggle Under Control from Aharon Rabinowitz on Vimeo.

Clarifying Blurs

Stu Maschitz reminded everyone in a Twitter note about his 2006 post A Tale of Three Blurs, which champions Box Blur in After Effects. Box Blur is adaptable with a "Repeat Edge Pixels" option and iteration controller. It approximates a Gaussian blur with 3 iterations, though Blur Radius might be lower (like 2) than Gaussian Bluriness (like 5). Iterations only works in whole numbers; you might need to gear down with the Ctl/Com key to get fine control over Blur Radius.

If you want more on blurs, Chris and Trish Meyer have 17 movies on feature pro & cons of the Blur filter category in their series After Effects: Insight into Effects.

Update: There's more on blurs in Blur 100: Introduction to Blurs a video by Vfx Hauiku. He doesn't talk about Frischluft Lenscare, an AE filter used by many power users.

Blur 100: Introduction to Blurs from Kert Gartner on Vimeo.

Comparative how-to in After Effects & Cinema 4D

Greyscale Gorilla shows you something in AE, and then what's gained by using Cinema 4D instead, in How to make a globe radio-wave animation in After Effects AND Cinema 4D.

Also, Maltaannon did something similar on his recent extended live presentation, which has been stored for your convenience at Zaxwerks Plugins vs. 3D applications.

November 18, 2009

Fxguide TV coverage of Smoke on OS X

Fxguide TV episode 72 has in depth coverage of Smoke on OS X:

"At the Inter BEE 2009 conference in Tokyo Autodesk showed a technology demo and announced Smoke on the Macintosh platform with a price of $14,995 (U.S. suggested retail price). We take an exclusive first look at Smoke on the Mac and talk with the product managers and developers to answer all the questions you may have."

Besides lacking some higher end features, $2000 of yearly license is mandated, compared to $1000 for Final Cut Studio outright. Still, the price is below comparable systems like Avid DS.

Also, check out a new blog by Scott Malkie, Smoke on OS X; intro and features movies are on the about Autodesk Smoke site.

Update: there's more on Youtube,

PopTech: Michael Pollan on on Edible Futures

PopTech, reminiscent of TED, posted videos with presentations by Michael Pollan, Will Allen, and Marije Vogelzang on Edible Futures. Here's Michael Pollan:

PopTech 2009: Michael Pollan from PopTech on Vimeo.

via Eat Me Daily

Enough energy to melt glaciers

via Alexis Madrigal... is this picture from Grist of an ad "for Humble Oil (which later merged with Standard to become, yes, Exxon). It may win the All Time Millenial Award for Maximal Irony. It’s from a 1962 edition of Life magazine, available on Google Books..."

Note: from the New York Times, "California regulators on Wednesday approved the nation’s first energy efficiency standards for televisions, requiring their electricity consumption to be cut nearly in half by 2013."

November 17, 2009

12 free Crowd Control stock footage clips

All Bets Are Off Productions has posted 12 New FREE Crowd Control stock footage clips of pre-keyed actors (up to 1280 x 720 pixels).

VC Reflect: free AE filter for 2D reflections

Video Copilot developed a new plug-in for After Effects (Mac/Win) that simplifies the creation of 2D reflections -- VC Reflect. And you get it [and revisions for PPC Macs] free! There's a tutorial and project for it that examines a few examples and some customization.

Update: see VC Plug-in Updates for AE CS5 x64

Simple Camera Rig tutorial

Maltannon posted a new video tutorial and a script for sale, Simple Camera Rig:

"If you ever struggled with your After Effects 3D camera than this tutorial is for you. Learn to rig your camera in seconds."

See also previous AEP posts AE Camera Basics (a brief roundup) and Pixel-Perfect Camera Moves.

Update: see also a Hypoly script via The Motion Exchange, AE Script: Simple Camera Rig - Updated.

November 16, 2009

Red Giant Holomatrix: new AE filter

Red Giant Holomatrix is a new After Effects filter/expression package from Dan Ebberts and Aharon Rabinowitz that helps you make your footage look like holograms, ghosts, digital signs, or bad TV. Aharon Rabinowitz has a basic introductory video; the first in a series, [and soon followed with 2 more videos on perspective corner pinning and 3D & the Transform properties].

Also, Alicia VanHeulen of Toolfarm walks you through how to make a ghost effect without the need for additional filters:

Update: check out the "super crazy cheesy" 2-year anniversary episode of the Cow AE Podcast Creating a Hologram Look in After Effects by Aharon Rabinowitz. It's now on Adobe TV:

Pen Tool tips video

Eran Stern has a video tutorial and tips for using the Pen Tool from rotoscoping projects. For more tips and tricks check out the full tutorial through his website. Here’s some of his shortcuts verbatim:
  • Hold down CMD/CTRL as you draw your path, then select the anchor point, this will let you move the last point after you set it in place.
  • If the selection tool (v) is highlighted, you can hold down ALT/Option and press on one of the anchor points and all the points in your mask will be selected.
  • Clicking on an anchor point while holding down ALT/Option as long as the pen tool is highlighted, will convert it from Corner to Curve point. Another Click using the same modifier will change it back. If you want to do the same while the Selection tool is highlighted, just add the CMD/CTRL modifier as well.
  • If you want to break the connection between the handles, hold down ALT/Option and then pull one of the handles out, make sure the pen tool is selected.
  • Context-clicking on the mask shape with the Pen tool, enables the context menu of options for that mask, including all of its settings on the Timeline. One of the important things here is the Motion Blur settings for the mask, changing this value can unlocked the Motion Blur mask from the layer itself.
  • Double-click on one of the anchor points to get the free transform for the entire mask – then it’s necessary to switch to the Selection tool to perform the transformation itself.
Also, check out previous AEP posts 2D morphing and AE Apprentice #9: Shape Layers.

November 15, 2009

Gen­er­a­tor: free AE filter to cre­ate nor­mal maps

From Stefan Minning, but Windows-only:

"Gen­er­a­tor is a sim­ple and free plug-​​in for Adobe After Effects which can be used to cre­ate nor­mal maps from alpha mattes, such as text and shape lay­ers. It's based on some of the same algo­rithms as my more ver­sa­tile Celu­light plug-​​ins, but is com­par­a­tively sim­ple and offers none of the advanced cus­tomiza­tions its more feature-​​rich brother offers.
Gen­er­a­tor is designed to run in coop­er­a­tion with the free Nor­mal­ity re-​​lighting solu­tion to cre­ate shad­ing and light­ing effects for text and arbi­trary shapes with­out the need for pre-​​rendered 3D nor­mal passes."

November 14, 2009

Drifting Title Sequence tutorial

Harry Frank returns quickly with a new After Effects tutorial, Drifting Title Sequence. In this follow-up to an old "Grunge Tutorial," Harry Frank shows you "how to use multiple nulls and parenting to simplify an otherwise complex camera move. Then use Particular and some additional effects to dress up the scene." This includes an expression to control a Lens Flare on animated layers.

Drifting Title Sequence from graymachine on Vimeo.

50 free movie-themed fonts

Topher Welsh collected 50 Free Movie Themed Fonts To Download:

"In this font themed roundup I grab 50 fonts from the far reaches of the interwebz and bring you a huge list of movie themed fonty goodness. Maybe you are making some spoofs, maybe you are into the fan film type of genre…"

Update: Topher earlier posted 17 Amazing Inspirational Typography Videos and 40 Spectacular Typography Videos. See also 18 Creative Examples of Typography in Motion.

November 13, 2009

Mashable's social media book review video

Mashable's review article Top 5 Must-Read Social Media Books comes with a video -- which is actually a bit meatier than the article even if it just scratches the surface of what's in the books.

HDV & MXF for Mac & Win with ClipWrap & Calibrated

Note to self...

ClipWrap rewraps m2t, mts, and m2ts files into QuickTime movies, faster than transcoding and wothout generation loss. ClipWrap works with most HDV, AVCHD, and AVCLite camera files; Final Cut doesn't need to be installed (they now leverage Perian).

You also can use ClipWrap to transcode files to Apple ProRes (decoder) or Avid DNxHD -- both have Windows playback codecs that can be downloaded and installed for free. To playback HDV rewrapped QuickTime files, you'll need to purchase an HDV codec from Calibrated Software.

Calibrated Codecs were discussed by Adam Wilt on PVC; they let you use use MXF media natively in FCP and on Windows, and use FCP media on Windows and non-FCP Macs:

"Need to use MXF media (P2 DVCPRO/50/HD and AVC-I, IMX, XDCAM) natively in Final Cut Pro, or in Windows NLEs? Need to play FCP-captured or FCP-generated Quicktimes with HDV, DVCPRO50/HD, or XDCAM/HD/EX content on Windows machines, or on Macs without Final Cut Studio? Check out

Importers and codecs available singly or in bundles, from $60 - $110 (with free, watermarked demo versions so you can see if they solve your problems before you spend your hard-earned). I haven’t tried ‘em myself but thought I’d pass on the info, because if this is the sort of thing you need, you really need it."

November 12, 2009

Fractal Noise: fades & more

This post was updated and moved to Pro Video Coalition, as Fractal Noise in After Effects: plus the newer Turbulent Noise.

NewTeeVee Live is live: Youtube going 1080p

The San Francisco conference NewTeeVee Live is live online now. Ok, there's a break but it will end soon enough. Until then you can read about things like Youtube going 1080p.

There are plenty of reports on earlier presentations, with more to come from NewTeeVee and Beet.TV.

Busy week for Trapcode Form & Particular

There's been of a flurry of Trapcode Form and Particular tutorials and discussions this week. Here's a few, which include recordings of live sessions:
There's also plenty of previous AEP posts of tutorials, reviews, and news on Trapcode filters.

Update: Peder Norrby started a Trapcode group on Vimeo, to share ideas, clips, and tutorials.

Smoke on Mac OS X soon

A month's worth of rumors about Autodesk Smoke on Mac OS X finally yielded a press release on DMN translated from Japanese and confirmation on Fxguide.

Rumors included a variety of features disabled and pricing between $15-18,000. Autodesk will have plenty of time to bring pricing down further before the other "A" video companies can fully compete. An old feature request that would help AE in this regard is better disk caching, so that files play like in an NLE. For a think piece on an Adobe Premiere-After Effects hybrid, see What Should Adobe Do With Premiere Pro? by Stu Maschwitz.

And sorry, but "Smack" was already trademarked; not sure about "McSmoke."

Update: check out Smoke on OSX for the latest news.

November 11, 2009

Booking a DI Session

via some Twitter... Booking a DI Session starts slow, but is quite funny. It seems like it was made with Xtranormal Text-to-Movie.

November 10, 2009

Import: drag Output Module from AE Render Q + placeholder

@aescripts had an After Effects tip on Twitter today: "Once render is done, drag the output module from the render queue into the proj window to import it."

Check out several nerdy new scripts on, like Batch Search-n-Replace Paths, CompsFromSpreadsheet, AudioToMarkers, and others.

Update: check out Todd Kopriva's comments on doing the drag from the RQ before rendering.

Adobe Systems to cut jobs 9%

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Adobe Systems is planning to cut 680 jobs, about 9% of the workforce. This follows a 10% cut last December.

Later, the Merc continued: 'After announcing an earlier round of 600 layoffs last December, Adobe said in June that it had added back 264 jobs, mostly in what it called "lower-cost geographies." Adobe said its new round of layoffs will help the company align spending with its overall financial plan for 2010. While Adobe has remained profitable through the recession, analysts who follow the company said the cuts are aimed at boosting profit margins after a generally lackluster year.'

Update: Look cool without breaking the bank with last year's "The Plabt Abides" t-shirt designed by Stu Maschwitz. "Plabt" was an e-mail typo that became a term of endearment.

Also, check out Motionwork's post CoSA Lives:

"Trish Meyer has kindly granted Motionworks permission to post the Story of CoSA – the original company behind After Effects. Written by After Effects team member, Dave Simons, the article was originally published in Creating Motion Graphics Volume 3 (Part 2), and gives a wonderful insight into the early days of After Effects and the team behind it." The PDF is at Motionworks.

NewBlue Video Essentials III filters: Rolling Shutter & more

NewBlue has at least 8 filter sets aimed at NLEs that are also compatible with After Effects 7.0 and higher. The latest set is NewBlue Video Essentials III, which offers "175 presets in 10 specialized effects to speed workflow, add artistic flair, and solve common problems including rolling shutters, jagged edges, contrast, lighting, color and more."

Previously, NewBlue offered its Cartoonr filter for free, and it's still free.

Unplugged 13: interview with Trish & Chris Meyer

Motionworks' Unplugged 13 features part 1 of an interview with Trish & Chris Meyer:

"What were you doing in 1993? Chris & Trish Meyer were pioneering the use of Adobe After Effect for motion graphics. In part 1 of this extended interview, Chris and Trish discuss the rewards and challenges of being some of the earliest adopters of After Effects, and how that lead to a full-time career presenting, teaching and authoring the popular books Creating Motion Graphics for After Effects and After Effects Apprentice."

Update: Part 2 of the interview was posted late Nov 13.

Premiere CS 4.2: Panasonic P2 AVC-Intra support

Adobe released Premiere CS 4.2 and DAV's TechTable has news and a video:

'The new Premiere Pro CS4 4.2 and Adobe Media Encoder CS4 4.2 offer new improvements and enhancements to CS4 video workflows. With the 4.2 update, Premiere Pro now offers users of Panasonic’s AVC-Intra line of P2 cameras the chance to edit in native AVC-Intra format. This has been a longtime coming for AVC-Intra users and they can now enjoy the advantages of Adobe CS4 tapeless workflows and native editing. Several other enhancements to Premiere Pro 4.2 were also updated, like the support for FinalCut 7 import. I have outlined several of the updates and fixes below. I have also listed the "known issues" in 4.2 as well. [AVC-I clips are redbar in native sequences]'

Update: Stephen Muratore informs us that "Premiere Pro online Help, in all supported languages, has been updated to document the new compatibilities."

November 8, 2009

SF Cutters Nov 10: JVC, Mocha FCP, editor Sarles

The SF Cutters are meeting Tuesday, November 10th at the Delancey Street Screening Room on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, not far from the ballpark and train stops. The agenda includes JVC PROHD tapeless cameras, editor Bob Sarles, and Mocha for Final Cut. Meeting details are on Eventbrite; this one has a fee.

Painting with Light

No, it's not another post on Picasso's Light Graffiti, but a nice write up by Trish & Chris Meyer on Thomas Wilfred (left, 1889 - 1968), a pioneer in developing what he called Lumia, or the art of light. They've got specific background on Wilfred, including some movies.

The Lumia is in the class of devices called color organs. For some additional details see the AEP's Motion graphics 1961 and Visual music and motion graphics. Here's an excerpt from the latter:

In After Effects, since version 3.1 and the 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.

In addition to the Center for Visual Music, 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 book The Spiritual In Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 (documenting an LA museum show) is quite good. Online, there's a good roundup of color organs and such in Colour and Sound: Visual Music by Maura McDonnell.

November 6, 2009

Tutorial Gap Friday

Topher Welsh rounds up some missing After Effects tutorials in his latest update, 44 Kickin’ AE Tutorials, over at AE Tuts. This is the 2nd roundup for Topher this week, and this one netted some new AE-specific ones.

November 4, 2009

AE filters: GenArts acquires Wondertouch

Via Xconomy... GenArts, a major FX filter developer, acquired Wondertouch, which had scheduled the release of an After Effects version of particleIllusion (Win, December; Feb for Mac).

There's more in the press release at Genarts and in a Youtube audio post. Previously this year, Genarts has acquired filter developer SpeedSix and sold a site license to Lucasfilm.

Update: Beth Marchant at Studio Daily has some analysis, as does Fxguide.

November 3, 2009

Boris XML Transfer: FCP sequences to AE

Boris FX has released Boris XML Transfer, an "After Effects plug-in designed for seamless transfer of Apple Final Cut Pro program sequences to Adobe After Effects. Boris XML Transfer preserves all aspects of a Final Cut Pro project including effects, audio, media clips, transitions, and geometric transformations."

Looks good -- they promise the world and all its effects, at least in the trip to AE -- but compare with established solutions by Automatic Duck.

New AE filter: Digieffects Falloff Lighting

Digieffects has released Falloff Lighting, which 'is much more like that of the real world where light naturally decays or “falls off” as surfaces increase distance from the After Effects light. Falloff Lighting offers a key feature missing in After Effects. With After Effects’ built-in lights, it doesn’t matter how far away a layer is from a light, it is still illuminated the same amount by that light.
Falloff Lighting offers the control and flexibility you need to properly light your scene. You can display the distance from the camera to the corners of the layers. Also, you can adjust the distance scale to account for the scale of objects in your scene. You can also control the intensity of light reflecting off an object and the gradual falloff as the distance from the light increases.'

This seems like another example of Digieffects revising and unbundling useful tools from earlier sets at a low price, like their recent Camera Mapper, which also stemmed from Buena Depth Cue. There's 2 tutorials available already too.

Click the tag Falloff for other options.

VCP Halloween tutorial with lightning strike & explosion

Video Copilot has a 2-part tutorial that builds a lightning strike with rain effects using built-in After Effects filters and then composites an explosion with stock footage. Apparently Andrew's voice is very soothing on this one!

November 2, 2009

Keyframe TV: a new podcast show on motion design

Keyframe TV is a new podcast show that will scour the web and TV looking for news on motion design & animation and applications. Keyframe is hosted by Tim Allen, Nick Campbell, and Pasquale D'Silva.

The first episode talks about Trapcode Particular, breaks down of an animation of Digital Kitchen’s Keybank Campaign, and answers the question: "Do I need to go to school to learn motion design and/or animation?"

Episode 1 from Keyframe on Vimeo.

Update: check out Enhancing Trapcode Particular with scripts at Motionworks by guest blogger Sébastien Périer.

A plug-in developer's thoughts on AE CS5 64-bit

Stefan Minning posted A plug-in developer's thoughts on After Effects CS5 being 64-bit ...

While Stefan isn't a major developer he fills niches and is raising a question on many minds. The side effects on AE filters of Adobe's move to 64-bit is worrisome to users (see the Toolfarm survey results) since AE filter development across platforms and OS updates is often asymmetric.

One example of problems (elsewhere) has been with QuickTime on Windows. Since there's no 64-bit version of QuickTime, import/export of QT files haven't been available in the 64-bit Windows versions of Nuke, Eyeon Fusion, or Syntheyes. On the Mac, Apple does provide technology that passes 64-bit Quicktime requests to a 32-bit server process, but it's slow and codec-limited. There's likely little incentive for Apple to develop for authoring on other platforms and maybe even other applications. See Philip Hodgetts Why is QuickTime X like OS X? for a more optimistic view, and John Siracusa for more technical explanations of the delay in the Quicktime sections (page 6 and page 16) of his Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: the Ars Technica review.

While Adobe does have a good history of development and support to leverage, for example with QT and other formats in Premiere timelines, we'll have to wait to see how they adapt to the problems of QT in 64-bit Windows -- and if they end up providing some slow, short-lived, and expensive-to-develop emulation for 32-bit AE filters.

Update: see Stefan's comments below on simple software bridges to inexpensive 64-bit audio apps. Another example is jBridge.

Atlas: a new tone map­ping filter for After Effects

Stefan Minning has released a new tone map­ping plug-​​in for After Effects, Atlas. It's a work-in-progress and open-​​sourced under the free GPL license.

Atlas is Win­dows-only for now -- but the full source code is included, which means that any­one can com­pile a Mac ver­sion. Here's more from Stefan...

"So what’s tone map­ping you ask? Accord­ing to Wikipedia:

Tone map­ping is a tech­nique used in image pro­cess­ing and com­puter graph­ics to map a set of colours to another; often to approx­i­mate the appear­ance of high dynamic range images in media with a more lim­ited dynamic range.

The tech­nique is par­tic­u­larly use­ful if you have high dynamic range images, such as ren­dered CG-​​imagery in float­ing point color-​​depth (OpenEXR) or HDR pho­tographs, and you want to bring their broad spec­trum into a range more suit­able for dis­play on a com­puter mon­i­tor or tele­vi­sion screen."

Note: Stefan released [umm sorry, teased instead] another filter recently, Edgar, "which is designed to work in com­bi­na­tion with Nor­mal­ity and gen­er­ates squeaky clean car­toon out­lines. Edgar uses a novel, pro­pri­etary algo­rithm devel­oped specif­i­cally for the pur­pose of con­vert­ing nor­mal passes into line art for use in car­toon and anime pro­duc­tions."