August, 2010 Archives
Apple just released an update for Mac OSX v10.6.4 that should address some of the problems that people have been seeing with NVIDIA OpenGL drivers.
If you were having problems with flickers and crashes with Photoshop or After Effects on Mac OSX v10.6.4, give this update a shot and let us know whether it addresses your issue.
Recording video training is hard work. I learned new respect for all of you who’ve done this kind of thing before, especially those of you who make it seem natural and easy.
Of course, there are a lot of other video tutorials for After Effects that you can check out now.
Someone asked recently if you can do background rendering of After Effects compositions. In other words, can you send a composition off to be rendered and keep working in After Effects while the rendering happens?
Here are a few options:
Did I miss any that you use?
You can create your own background rendering scripts by using aerender.
Rich Young has a good overview of the new Kronos and CameraTracker plug-ins from The Foundry for After Effects.
I got a chance to play around with these plug-ins before their release, and I was impressed by their power and usability.
I’m familiar with the earlier version of Kronos in large part because the Timewarp effect in After Effects is based on it. The major difference that I noticed in the new Kronos is that it’s a lot faster on my computer that has a CUDA card. You can download the free evalution version from here.
The CameraTracker plug-in, on the other had, was more new to me. I had used some other camera-tracking/matchmoving software before, but it had always seemed quite a chore. CameraTracker was pretty intuitive and easy to use right away. The tutorials and documentation were especially useful. You can download the free evaluation version from here.
Aharon Rabinowitz and the gang at Red Giant TV have just posted a wonderful making-of video by the folks at Tiny Inventions, showing how they made their short film “Something Left, Something Taken”.
This 31-minute video is a masterpiece of education and inspiration. It teaches new techniques (new to me, anyway) and shows how to use the basics in a systematic and creative way. Bravo!
The parts of the video that I rewatched and paid really close attention to were in the ~05:00-09:00 range. Those four minutes or so are dense with excellent character animation techniques involving parenting, linking character parts to control layers with expressions, time remapping, and Puppet tools.
There’s a companion blog post that shows the workflow in text and stills, too.
They also show how they made the wonderful video for the They Might Be Giants song “Electric Car”.
Satya Meka provides a good overview of the different ways to develop effect plug-ins for After Effects:
“Intro to After Effects plug-in development for beginners”
One of the ways to create effect plug-ins for After Effects is using Pixel Bender. Creating plug-ins written with Pixel Bender tends to be easier than creating plug-ins written using the C/C++ SDK. Also, the ability to share extensions between Photoshop, Flash, and After Effects is a pretty big advantage.
Satya provides an in-depth introduction to Pixel Bender, too:
“Tutorial: Intro to Pixel Bender for Non-Programmers”
For more information about Pixel Bender, including tutorials, reference documentation, and examples, see the “Pixel Bender Technology Center”.
Satya mentions the terrific fractal effects written by Tom Beddard using Pixel Bender. The image at the top of this post is from one of Tom’s Pixel Bender effects, which he calls “Escher’s Droste effect”.
For more information on installing, developing, and finding plug-ins, see “Plug-ins”.
UPDATE: Rich Young has a good summary following up on Satya’s post.