September 30, 2010

Remove banding in After Effects

It's a bit of a mystery why there's still so much banding in TV & web graphics. Maybe people can't preview in the appropriate color space or codec to see banding, which may be eliminated by adding the AE Noise filter (or Add Grain) at about 5% (maybe on an adjustment layer). The stuff on cable systems is subject to God knows what compression and recompression, so being conservative with gradients may be the better part of valor. Also, if you're using the Ramp plug-in increasing Ramp Scatter may help. the rest of the updated article -- now on ProVideo Coalition.

September 29, 2010

Blast Wave tutorial from Video Copilot

Video Copilot has a new After Effects tutorial video, # 111. Blast Wave:

"...we’ll be creating a powerful explosion and shockwave inside of After Effects using elements from Action Essentials 2 and built-in effects. We will use Mocha to motion track the difficult shot and explore advanced blending and compositing tips."

Photoshop flick panning and scrubby zoom

Dan Moughamian of Color Trails shows you how to use flick panning and scrubby zoom options in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Tartine Bread

@michaelpollan noted the release of Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Their walnut bread is delightful and available warm at 5pm five days a week (call to reserve it). Other favorites include the bread pudding and banana cream pie (lined with dark chocolate to protect the crust).

If you're visiting and can't find a seat at the busy Tartine (winners of James Beard awards), good coffee can be had within walking distance at Four Barrel, Ritual Coffee, and maybe Blue Bottle.

Tartine Bread from 4SP Films on Vimeo.

Update: speaking of Blue Bottle, here a $36 syphon brewer via Kevin Kelly and friends,

September 28, 2010

Sort and isolate layers in After Effects

Answering a question on ways to hide layers in groups in the After effects timeline, Todd Kopriva mentioned that Show and hide layers in the Timeline panel in AE Help had some suggestions, including Zorro-The Layer Tagger, a script from Lloyd Alvarez. Todd noted that you could also:

"add comments to layers and then use the filtering/searching in the Timeline panel to show and hide layers according to these tags."

[update: Roland Kahlenberg adds, "The Timeline has a Label Column that allows you to group your layers. You can then select a particular group with the Select Label Group option available via right-click contextual option. Then it's a matter of Shy or Hide the selected layers."]

Also, while there is no master override Solo button in the
timeline, you can also use
Zorro-The Layer Tagger turn everything on to spot check a comp quick. Zorro lets you make selection and isolation sets by adding comment tags to layers, and new for CS5 is layer color label support. Here's the demo:

Automatic animation in After Effects

In Automatic Animation – Part 1, from an After Effects CS5 E-Seminar, Motionworks explores the Auto-Keyframe mode, Motion Sketch, Wiggler and Wiggle expression and creating motion paths from Illustrator paths.

Update: part 2 (direct link) is available too, "In part 2 of this After Effects CS5 E-Seminar, we explore cool ways of using the Shape Layer Wiggle, Text Wiggly Selector and various automated effects."

What should Apple do with Final Cut Pro?

Phillips Hodgetts shares his latest thinking on What should Apple do with Final Cut Pro?

For some background see Final Cut Studio 4: a double scoop.

Update: via @johnmontfx with caveat is Troubled development, 2011 launch rumored for Apple's Final Cut Studio. Rumor has it that besides a massive porting effort, delay is partly due to issues finding a balance between Shake and Motion.

Visualization as storytelling

Infosthetics has some recent interesting articles including:
Here's the movie from the 1st article (viewed best on the Stanford website) and some excerpts from Iron Man 2 for a jumpstart:

Journalism in the Age of Data from geoff mcghee on Vimeo.

Update: @nickvegas shares info on storytelling in How Beginners Get Better: Ira Glass Explains,

"Ira sums up in a five minute video what took me years to figure out. Follow these four rules and you will become better at what you do. Period.
1. Have good taste.
2. it’s OK to suck. You will get better over time.
3. Set project deadlines to practice and get better!
4. Be patient and don’t quit. It takes a while."

"If you want the most basic, most thorough tutorial, I recommend this one by Scot Hacker of the Knight Digital Media Center, who shows how to create a visualization with free Google Charts and Gadgets, from start to finish (spreadsheet to embedded chart), called “Data Visualization for Non-Programmers.”

And for further reading: Paul Bradshaw’s mini-tutorial on The Guardian’s DataBlog,“How to Be a Data Journalist” and the follow-up on his personal blog, “Where Should An Aspiring Data Journalist Start?”, Anthony Calabrese on PBS MediaShift on the power of visualization, help forums from Hacks/Hackers, CJR’s Q&A in two parts with Chris Wilson and David Plotz on their data projects at Slate Labs, and the TED talk that David McCandless gave earlier this year on his own elegant design solutions for journalistic problems."

September 27, 2010

A quick marble texture After Effects tutorial

Shortformvideo has shared a lot of tips and tutorials in just 5 months, and now has another quick texture tutorial for After Effects with AE Tutorial – Quick marble texture.

Copy Paste Markers script + more

Sebastien Perier posted a new script at AE Scripts, Copy Paste Markers: "After Effects does not allow copy/pasting markers in their UI for now, so this script is here to help."

By the way, AE Scripts has a variety of scripts for markers, and AE Help has a list of scripts for manipulating markers and additional info too.

Filmic Contrast: a new Pixel Bender

AE Scripts has a new Pixel Bender filter from Francois Tarlier, ft-Filmic Contrast (see his others):

'A one slider plugin that gives a very compelling filmic contrast “look” to your footage. Partially based on Ken Perlin's Gain function & Roy Stelzer’s presentation.'

September 26, 2010

Lens Flares for weapons, not just cosmetics

via @adamwilt and The Register...
Anamorphic lens flares are used in the Lockheed video below in an attempt to make its rejected airship prototype sexy to someone, anyone. Is the "kiss of love" more than "bring the sex"?

For more on lens flares see Video Copilot Optical Flares in review and posts tagged lens flare.

RE:Vision Effects video tutorials

RE:Vision Effects has a new help site for their plug-ins, which can be organized by one or all of 12 products on 15 host applications. By help they mean video tutorials (they still have FAQs, forums, etc.), and there's a growing library of over 40 tutorials for After Effects.

Greenscreen and keying resources

Chris and Trish Meyer posted Greenscreen Resources on PVC with info on some tips, tricks, and supplies.

There's a few more in this grab bag from previous AEP posts, some of which were also listed by Trish and Chris:


Premium Beat introduced keying in Keying Fundamentals in Adobe After Effects. For more, see Todd Kopriva's outline of a set of four video tutorials on color keying by Andrew Devis.

Better Keying from Production to Post was a free class on green screen. Sponsored by Tiffen, the webinar featured Marco Paolini and Richard Harrington.

Jeff Foster, author of The Green Screen Handbook, was the host of a series on Splice Vine, August: Keying / Matting. See also FxGuide's Art of Keying and The Art of Roto, both by Mike Seymour, 'Super tight' garbage mattes in After Effects, and Rotoscoping tips on AEPortal archive. Here's Best Practices in Software Keying, from Jeff Foster's video2brain course Fundamentals of Compositing, Tracking, and Roto Techniques with After Effects

September 25, 2010

3D from 2D using Freeform displacement

In 3D from 2D Image Using Displacement Maps Tudor "Ted" Jelescu shows how to create 3D movement that rotates around the subject from a 2D image using displacement maps and the FreeForm filter in After Effects. He uses similar techniques and the same image as another recent Creative Cow tutorial, Advanced 2.5D Animation in AE by Mathew Fuller. It might be good to look at that one first.

Similar work and tools (Vanishing Point, camera mapping, scripts for AE 3D, etc.) are mentioned in posts tagged multiplane animation, camera mapping, and the AE camera. See also Animate the Splash Using Photoshop and After Effects by Corey Barker (up to the end anyway).

Mostly as a note-to-self, here's the demo of a script from Paul Tuersley, pt_Multiplane:

Update: here's some of real time slices with 52 DSLRs and some Macs,

Locate missing effects in After Effects [CMG: hit FF]

@AdobeAE reminds us of an older tip from Mark Christiansen's 2009 30 tips in 30 days series on PVC -- locate missing effects with the script pt_EffectSearch from Paul Tuersley.

Since then, the script has moved to a new home at AE Scripts. It does help fill a need, but it would be nice if there was even better functionality built directly into AE.

Update: The FF shortcut from CS4 finds and shows instances of missing effects in the Timeline panel. In Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects (p. 400), Chris and Trish Meyer add that you can still copy & paste from the effect placeholder and keyframes.

September 23, 2010

Wiggle Transform text

Andrew Devis posted a new tutorial, Wiggle Transform & Text in AE: which shares some basics on Wiggle Transform and converting text to shapes with the Layer menu command "Create Shapes from Text."

See also the CMG video on Wiggle Transform and Alter shapes with path operations in AE Help.
Chris and Trish also posted overviews on Shapes in AE Apprentice #9: Shape Layers and The Shape of Things to Come: Shape Layers Introduction.

Wiggly Text selectors are described in AE Help, along with an example found in Examples and resources for text animation. In some earlier video tutorials, Chris and Trish Meyer explained animating text in After Effects, and Aharon Rabinowitz explored Text animators in After Effects Text Tips 2 and After Effects Text Tips 3 and has a few tuts on Shapes too.

Plenoptic rendering: After Effects too?

Via @aescripts are reports of experiments in Plenoptic lens rendering by Adobe, which lets you change depth of field focus in post. It would be great in After Effects and video too, of course (go wish), though now there's only 1 shipping camera system, the Raytrix 4D lightfield camera.

John Nack posted on this tech in 2005, Plenoptic Cameras: [whistle type=low & appreciative], and there's more
background in a CNET article from 2008, Stanford camera chip can see in 3D. Laptop mag seems to have done the lead reporting on this item from a recent nVidia conference (video below); they note that there's much more on focus and other aspects of this technology at Adobe researcher Teodor Georgiev’s web site.

Zaxwerks on CS5 updates

Zax Dow shared some background and a tentative release schedule of Zaxwerks plug-ins for CS5 in Where’s The Danged CS5 Software? on the Zaxwerks blog. Their filters can have feature-heavy custom interfaces that take you well beyond the 3D features built into After Effects. Here's some excerpts:

"The biggest problem with our CS5 conversion has been that it caught us while we were already in the middle of adding features. In order to add the new features and take Invigorator / ProAnimator to the next level we also had to rewrite the entire user interface. 4-view windows, movable panels, built-in vector drawing, better text handling, how the whole program flows and works as a unit, none of these could have been done with the old way the program was written, so we had to rewrite.

We were well into the middle of this project when Adobe let us know there would be no support for 32 bit plug-ins in CS5. That was a bombshell. [AEP: additional background] We had to convert to 64 bit, but you can’t rewrite your code, add new features and do a conversion all at the same time. There wasn’t anything we could do except to finish the new features before we could start the conversion. This means we’ve been sitting on new software with new features for months, but couldn’t release it because it’s not compatible with CS5. Talk about frustrating! [...]

So is there any good news? Fortunately there is. The Windows conversion has gone very well. There are actually two parts to the conversion, one is converting to 64 bit and the other is converting old Carbon calls on the Mac to the new Cocoa calls. Windows doesn’t have the Carbon/Cocoa issue so its conversion is nearing completion. The Mac conversion however involves thousands of changes which will still take a few more months to finish. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start releasing CS5 compatible plug-ins as they are completed. So here’s the projected release sequence. As usual I need to give you a disclaimer that plans can change and no matter how likely it seems that things are on track schedules can shift in dramatic ways, but with that in mind here’s what we project as our likely release schedule."

Read the rest at Zaxwerks...

September 22, 2010

Even templates have their own tutorials

Cassidy Bisher has several After Effects tutorial videos available on Vimeo (via Lester Banks) that support his AE templates at One cluster is a series on "spy gadgets," which looks at tracking in AE and in Mocha for After Effects, all in support of his "Top Secret" templates (example below).

For some related tutorials and background, see Designing & Compositing a HUD and posts on tracking and Mocha. See also Resources for mocha for After Effects and Motion tracking overview and resources in AE Help.

Making DNA strands with Trapcode Particular

Alain Lores posted a tutorial that covers a flexible method of producing a nice-looking DNA strand effect using Trapcode Particular, Tut-01 DNA with Particular:

Creating an EKG in After Effects

In Stay On Pulse: Creating A Shape-Driven Electrocardiogram at AEtuts, Carlos Batllo shows you how to make a static EKG with a Shape layer and Repeater.

There are a number of other tutorials for making something similar, many with entirely different approaches to making EKGs, which themselves come with different types of displays. Here's a few of the other tutorials:

September 21, 2010

Mac crash saves with ToeJam + AE Suicide

Scott Garner posted AE Suicide, "a little script and app that can help force an autosave when After Effects CS4 or CS5 locks up" on the Mac. It's a shortcut of the technique outlined by Mark Christiansen for a Mac OS Terminal kill of the current After Effects process.

It seems to be the same as something by Erwin Santacruz, ToeJam v.5, the "tiny Cocoa app that forces After Effects to crash and save your current working file."

Update: AE Suicide has a new home at AE Scripts.

SF Cutters Sept 23: Adobe, PluralEyes, Motion, AJA +

SF Cutters -- brought to you originally by the Option key in Final Cut -- is having a meeting September 23. The meeting is at Adobe at 601 Townsend at 7th in San Francisco.

This meeting is not free (but there's a great raffle, and 6:30 pizza sponored by Singular Software and drinks and cookies sponsored by Pixelflow); sign up for access. Here's the current agenda:
  • Karl Soule from Adobe: New RED / Adobe workflows with metadata, and plugins Freeform and Mocha for AE
  • Bruce Sharpe of Singular Software: PluralEyes - sync your audio and video without sinking your project
  • Mark Spencer on 3D in Apple Motion
  • Tery William of AJA: NEW products for 3D production
  • Jin Joo of CinemaSports
  • Jason LaBatt and Michelle Ortega show excerpts from "Adult Beginner Ballet"
  • info tables with Patrick Sculley of Pixelfow, Bruce Sharpe of Singular Software, Tery Williams of AJA, Damon Hampson of Peachpit Press, and Skye Christiansen of Ninth Street Screening Room

September 18, 2010

Normality for CS5 from Stefan Minning

Via @AdobeAE, Stefan Minning has released Normality for CS5, a realtime re-lighting filter for After Effects. Previous obstacles were eliminated in part by a generous donation by the Troika Design Group. Normality and the other filters are donationware, so users will want to follow through so 64-bit versions of the other filters can be developed.

You can find the manual and tutorial by Minning on the Normality page, and background and other tutorials in Scene Re-Lighting: Normality tutorial. Here's the 1st part of Stephan's Normality tutorial:

September 15, 2010

Depth with Camera Mapper tutorial

Via @lesterbanks on the Vimeo beat is a new After Effects tutorial video from Digieffects, Depth+Camera Mapper Tutorial (below).

There's more info on Depth (a newish filter) and CamerMapper on the Digieffects website, including projects and tutorials. Similar work and tools (Vanishing Point, scripts for AE 3D, etc.) are mentioned in posts tagged multiplane animation, camera mapping, and the AE camera.

Update: Mathew Fuller covers something similar, with techniques for extracting depth from 2D still images in his video tutorial Advanced 2.5D Animation in AE.

Artbeats Lower Thirds?

Ninja Crayon has a funny take on the new Artbeats collection in Artbeats Lower Thirds?

This post has been expanded and update, see Free lower thirds and tutorials: Leverage Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects at PVC.

The new Twitter

For awhile AE Portal was often first to post AE news but Twitter changed that, even as made it easier to track news. A new Twitter will be rolled out in the coming weeks. There's much more in a Techmeme cluster and in the video intro (skip the first :50 sec):

Davinci Resolve and Apple Color: which is “better”? +PVC

Walter Biscardi has been doing a series on installing and working with Davinci Resolve, and has folks asking a lot of questions about it and Apple Color, especially "which one is better?"

Here's an excerpt; see also the recent Resolve is our Alexa by Scott Simmons on PVC:

'Which one is better depends on your particular application and how you like to work. If you work with Avid or Adobe Premiere, well then right now Resolve is your best choice because it has an easier workflow to / from the application because it’s a third party app, not a proprietary Apple app. If you work with Final Cut Pro, well then you can go either way.

Color works with traditional color wheels and rooms. Resolve works with curves and nodes. Color can operate very well with just a mouse and a keyboard. Resolve requires a control surface such as a Tangent Wave panel to work efficiently. Color has a ColorFX room that can utilize third party plug-ins. Resolve does not have an FX room. Color has a one point motion tracker. Resolve has a motion tracker I have termed “Ludicrous Tracker” (look up “Spaceballs The Movie”) because it’s just ridiculously good.

Color uses an XML workflow that supports speed changes, graphics and multiple video tracks from FCP. Resolve currently uses EDL and AAF using a single video track only. Resolve has better controls over Luminance and the Node architecture can make it easier to alter a scene after it’s been graded. And the comparison list goes on and on….'

Update: Scott Simmons "kicks the tires" with some DaVinci workflow tests, and [later] Oliver Peters has a First Look: Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve for the Mac.

Update 2: At Postworld Mike Most looks at DaVinci 2K, DaVinci Resolve, Autodesk’s Lustre, Filmlight’s Baselight, Digital Vision’s Film Master, Quantel’s Pablo, Assimilate’s Scratch, and Iridas’ Speedgrade in Grading The Graders, Part 1 and Grading the Graders: The Long Awaited Part 2.

September 14, 2010

Adobe DSLR Video + Tapeless Workflow with FCP

In a new video embedded below, Adobe Evangelist Jason Levine explains DSLR Video Editing for Photographers (see also Importing, transferring, capturing, and digitizing in Premiere Help). It seems like a sensible market niche to target, since even youthful users in the Avid and Apple camps aren't taking the "BBC is switching" bait -- see responses from …A FINALCUTPRO USER'S BLOG and The Final Rewrite, and background in Final Cut Studio 4: a double scoop.

Meanwhile, Shane Ross is on a roll producing Final Cut video tutorials; see for example FCP: Tapeless Offline / Online Workflow and Tapeless Workflow with Final Cut Pro 7 on tapeless ingest workflows using Log and Transfer in Final Cut Pro 7and XDCAM EX, P2 AVCIntra, P2 DVCPRO HD, AVCHD, and Canon DSLR (5D, 7D).

Animate a character in After Effects

This post has been updated at ProVideo Coalition,

iPad light painting

via @hummelstrand and @someofmywork is Making Future Magic: iPad light painting. The Vimeo summary says:

"This film explores playful uses for the increasingly ubiquitous ‘glowing rectangles’ that inhabit the world. We use photographic and animation techniques that were developed to draw moving 3-dimensional typography and objects with an iPad. In dark environments, we play movies on the surface of the iPad that extrude 3-d light forms as they move through the exposure. Multiple exposures with slightly different movies make up the stop-frame animation."

Read more about the work at the Dentsu London blog and the BERG blog.

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

Basics class for AE CS5

At Adobe TV, Adam Shaening-Pokrasso walks you through the in-depth introductory course Classroom: Basic Compositing and Animation in After Effects CS5.

Other resources for basics are summarized in Getting started with After Effects II.

Update: Todd Kopriva summarizes these classes and adds links to pages in AE Help that give more detail about each subject. He adds:

"One of the things that makes this series stand out from other tutorials is that it spends a lot of time on fundamentals of animation and motion graphics, not just on the specific features of After Effects, and not just on the creation of a specific result or look. These fundamentals can be used every day, for every project. This is real teaching."

September 13, 2010

SaveCompAsProject: a new AE script + Redefinery

[Update: So many scripts, so little time... Jeff Almasol notes his own 2007 Redefinery script rd_NewProjectFromComp.]

AE Scripts released SaveCompAsProject, a script that exports any selected composition as a new project. You can reduce a project on your own but this can save a ton of time. Here's the demo from script author Sébastien Perier:

Who doesn't love free textures?

Topher Welsh collected "42 Sensational Texture Packages and Tutorials" in his latest for AETuts (h/t to Danner for the headline). Note that some of the references maybe sandboxed by Google Chrome with warning about viagra malware.

See also
the Bittbox series Free Texture Tuesdays, Scientific American's "surface of reality", and other resources like CGtextures and planet textures found in previous posts on textures. [update: Lester Banks notes Texturelib, which has 3000 free textures + counting]

The Grunge Tutorial, recently resurrected by Harry Frank, shows one way to use textures in AE:

September 12, 2010

Final Cut XML export improvements in Premiere

Todd Kopriva posted expanded details on Final Cut Pro XML export improvements in Premiere Pro CS5 (5.0.2). If you're concerned about a particular export, a log file (FCP Translation Results) describes any translation issues.

For more see the recent AEP post Export AE project to Final Cut Studio with Premiere. By the way Sebastian Perier's XML Gibson script expands XML export possibilites for tinkerers.

Colorista II Post Lighting Intro

Eric Escobar has a 3-part series of After Effect tutorial videos using Magic Bullet Colorista II to do a post-lighting effect. There's quite a bit more about Colorista in previous posts. Here's the 1st part of the current series:

September 11, 2010

Looping Particular the "right way"

A few years ago Chris Kelley posted a few After Effects tutorial videos on The Mograph Blog. Trapcode Particular expert @graymachine says one of them is the best thing since waffles: Loop Particular the Right Way.

The other video tutorials are Nesting Cameras in After Effects Using Expressions and Linking Particles to a Null with Particular; his Mastering the Render Queue was also useful, though it lacks the default Windows menu theme that maybe be not better in blogs.

A chat with AE trainer Chad Perkins

Chad Perkins chatted with Lee Stranahan recently:

"Chad Perkins is one of the world’s leading After Effects trainers and experts, through his books and online tutorials on places like In this wide ranging interview we discuss cool stuff in After Effects that many users miss, how he got started in training and how today’s short attention spans..."

There's more on Chad's work at Adobe TV and referenced here at AEP, along with several news notes on Lee Stranahan. Tip Squirrel hosted Chad's article Scott Kelby, Andrew Kramer, and the Decline of True Art not too long ago.

It should be noted that before free training exploded all over, Brian Maffitt's Total Training was the "cheatsheet" for AE, particularly for in-depth explanations of many filters now built-into AE -- like WaveWorld and Caustics (mentioned by Chad). One fav was the Particle World demo on what each slider did with settings displayed onscreen. Motionworks posted a different example last year; see CC Time Blend FX with Brian Maffitt.

The NYT: a Procrustean bed of modern media offers video podcasts on all areas of contemporary visual culture; via Twitter, here's one on visualization at The New York Times (multimedia, Lens Blog):

"How the information is manifested – through diagrams, charts, or interactive media – is up to them, though we've grown to trust their authority on all stories, from the sensitive (9/11) to the scientific (a perfect triple axel at the Olympics). In's latest podcast, we speak with Duenes and graphics editor Archie Tse on location in their New York headquarters to learn a few tricks of the trade."

See also After Effects workflow at The New York Times.

September 9, 2010

Sky Replacement with AE CS5

This roundup has been updated at ProVideo Coalition in Sky Replacement with After Effects: There are several approaches.

Magic Bullet Denoiser + Magic Bullet Suite 10

Magic Bullet Denoiser is a new noise reduction filter for After Effects, apparently reworked from a filter in the discontinued Magic Bullet Steady. Denoiser's customizable controls let you smooth out chroma blotches and banding, focus noise reduction on shadows or highlights and perform separate adjustments for red, green, and blue channel offsets, while motion estimation algorithms help preserve fine detail in high-motion shots.

Denoiser is part of the new Magic Bullet Suite 10 for CS4, CS4, and CS5, which offers the Magic Bullet product line at a big discount.

Update: Of course there are a variety of de-noise filters; Noise reduction in AE noted a few of these. Peter Litwinowicz of RevisionFX noted that DE:Noise version 2 is in some cases twice as fast as the previous version, and that "a combination of feature-sensitive spatial blurring, along with tracking (and the ability to use both, or either independently) is what we've found the most useful."

NewBlue Light Effects: 10 new plug-ins

NewBlue has released its 9th set of plug-ins with NewBlue Light Effects, a set of 10 video filters that integrates into almost every NLE on both Windows and Mac, and After Effects. This collection contains over 100 presets in 10 filters: Flicker, Glow Pro, Light Bender, Light Rays, Mirage, Neon Lights, Psycho Strobe, RGB Shift, Spinning Light, Starlight. Here's an overview:

Update: In October, NewBlue introduced NewBlue Video Essentials IV, which provides 10 "editing techniques" including Bleach Bypass, Day for Night, Drop Shadow, Fish Eye, Luma Key, Magnifying Glass, Reflection, Skin Touch Up, Slide Show, and Time Clock. Here's a sample:

September 8, 2010

Music videos for new Google search

I wish Google Chrome could search as you type like Firefox, but here's video on Google Instant with Bob Dylan, via @motionographer,

...then there's The ABCs with Google Instant

Intro to scripting in AE, expressions pt 2

AEtuts posted the 2nd installment of its video series Introduction To Writing Scripts For AE by Frederik Steinmetz (intro video below):

"This is the second tutorial on the road to generating script files for After Effects. I read the comments from Part 1 stating that those are expressions, not actual Javascripts. I figured, to learn what Javascript does from scratch, you have to understand expressions first, because you can immediately see what the changes do. There will be one more tutorial on placing layers with expressions, then we’ll move on to actual scripts. In this tutorial you will learn how for-loops can help analyzing several frames in order to customize effects."

See also Intro to scripting in AE, pt 1 expressions, as well as AE CS5 Help on Scripts and Expressions, Dan Ebberts' Motionscript, and the Deeper Modes of Expressions series from Chris and Trish Meyer. There's even more in the piled-on AEP post Expressions and Scripting Resources for After Effects and posts tagged expressions and scripting.

September 7, 2010

Expression Toolbox: locating expressions

AE Scripts has an update to an uber script for After Effects, Expression Toolbox, released last December by Chris Roe (via @gutsblow RT @Motionworks). The script 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..."

There's a good number of new features, though an online entry system to a global web-driven database is still in the works. Perhaps a partnership with XScriptorium, After Effects Expressions Reference (AEER), and/or Motion Graphics Exchange would prove fruitful.

The full version of the script which is fully functional without a license for 2 weeks if you want to take it for a spin. Here's the demo:

Breath life into stale lens flares

Graymachine is reviving some older tutorials onto Vimeo that may have been shuffled around in blog changes. Here's the 2007 movie for Breath life into stale Lens Flares, which explained "using shapes, Trapcode Shine [or the built-in CC Lightburst], and expressions to breath new life into the old AE Lens Flare."

Export AE project to Final Cut Studio with Premiere +Avid +switching

Transfers of projects between After Effects and Final Cut is usually a one-way affair, export to AE and render, so there's been plenty of solutions of various cost and effort from Automatic Duck, Boris XML Transfer, Popcorn Island, Dale Bradshaw, etc.

But what if you want to export an AE project to Final Cut? A quick answer, with more resources hopefully forthcoming, is to use Dynamic Link to Premiere Pro, then export a Final Cut Pro project XML file. The project could then be sent on to Apple Color too.

By the way, you can also export to Avid with AAF or export an edit decision list (EDL). Note that trial versions of AE and Premiere are not licensed to support some features, but the log file (FCP Translation Results) describes any translation issues. Some good news is that XML from Premiere Pro CS5 does import into Final Cut Express 4.0.1. [update: read about some bug fixes for XML in Premiere Pro CS5 (5.0.2) update: bug fixes and CUDA support; there may be some inconsistencies though.]

Joost van der Hoeven of Animotion posted a video overview of the new Premiere CS5 feature in Exchange between Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro CS5 (it's also on Adobe TV now):

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

Update: Todd Kopriva posted about Premiere Pro overview documents for Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer users. Users switching platforms at this point may only be about money at the lower end, since Premiere is still 3rd choice in the NLE hierarchy. For context, see Final Cut Studio 4: a double scoop.

There's really no secret about the kinds of things Adobe could do to improve usability and mindshare beside luring the lukewarm from the Apple camp -- assuming that there are goals in addition to short-term sales. There's plenty of advice aimed at Apple that Adobe could implement. Beyond constant drumbeats pleading for Avid-style media management and Trim Mode (see FCP-List for pro/cons), there are more examples in the feature request list at FCPro.TV and advice from Oliver Peters on Improving FCP and Media Composer, although it's the Avid features missing from Premiere that are important.