April 09, 2013
What’s coming next in After Effects?
Steve Forde gives a quick tour of the forthcoming Warp Stabilizer, Refine Edge, and 3D integration with Cinema 4D.
March 26, 2013
Sneak Peek: New rotoscoping power in After Effects
You know what sucks? Trying to win a tech fair shootout against the After Effects team. “Dammit,” I’d tell them, “whenever we put something in Photoshop, you strap wheels on it—not cool!”
But it is cool, of course, and this fun video shows a brief history & peek into the future of rotoscoping in After Effects:
Related from the archives: “Male-pattern baldness -> Great Photoshop feature“
March 19, 2013
Adobe & Maxon announce an alliance
“Today,” writes After Effects PM Steve Forde, “Adobe announced it is entering into a strategic alliance with MAXON, the makers of CINEMA 4D.” He goes on to hint at future integration:
“Do what you know, and be the best at it.” Hand in hand with this idea means that you DON’T do a whole lot of stuff you don’t know. With this relationship announcement you have two companies who focus on being the very best at what they do…
I wish could go into more detail right now – but stay tuned. This area is about to get very exciting.
See also the Maxon announcement which says, “As part of the alliance, both companies are expected to collaborate and engineer a pipeline between Adobe® After Effects® software and CINEMA 4D to give users a seamless 2D/3D foundation.”
February 23, 2013
Ken Burns 2.0
I really enjoyed hearing master storyteller Ken Burns discuss how his personal history helped give rise to his life’s work, and more:
You can read much more detail in this interview on The Atlantic.
Just as interesting to me, from a geeky perspective, is the way the famous & simple Ken Burns effect has morphed into something richer & more ambitious, imparting parallax movement to the various pans & zooms. In fact, the clip above prominently credits After Effects artist Elliot Cowan. Let’s hear it for Content-Aware Fill, “postcards in space,” and more.
[Via Troy Church]
February 03, 2013
A fascinating, roto-tastic animated video
I love this video from British director Cyriak:
The Fox Is Black writes:
What starts out as a few simple repeating elements soon becomes a chaotic collage of video snippets that take on a life of their own. He says that he uses Photoshop and After Effects for most of his animations, which I find totally astonishing. I’d suggest watching this video several times so that you can fully appreciate the amount of work he had to put into this incredible music video.
Reminds me of Michel Gondry’s impossibly* brilliant video for Kylie Minogue’s Come Into My World:
*if nothing else, in that it gets me to willingly listen to a Kylie Minogue song
January 28, 2013
Explore AE’s history with its creators, this Thursday
Did you know that the first version of AE didn’t even have a timeline? Check out this screenshot from Dan Wilk (click to enlarge):
As part of AE’s 20th Anniversary celebration, you can:
Join After Effects creators Dave Simons and Dan Wilk as they take you on a trip down memory lane to see how After Effects started—from concept to initial user interface. See how much After Effects has changed throughout the years and why things are simply the way they are.
The event is set for this Thursday at 10am Pacific time. Here’s more info.
January 27, 2013
Happy Birthday, After Effects!
“I can’t believe I’m talking to these guys,” I thought. “They’re spending their time talking to me–and they’re so down-to-earth!”
That was in 2000, when I first met the brains behind After Effects. (I’d just joined Adobe, aspiring to build “AE for the Web.”) 13 years later, I still feel just the same. In any industry full of half-hit wonders acting like they’ve just cured cancer, I find Dave, Dan, and all the AE guys as relentlessly humble & passionate as can be.
So “Happy 20th anniversary to After Effects, the video package you keep promising yourself you’ll learn someday,” as I saw Matt May quip the other day. Here some pros salute this game-changing app:
January 12, 2013
Is is real, or is it After Effects?
That’s what I found myself wondering as I watched Supralude‘s That Night In Williamsburg. He won’t spill many beans, but what do you think? Were those lights added in post, and how can you tell one way or the other?
December 03, 2012
Presenting “Extraneous Lyrics 2012″!
Our own Dave Werner is not just a kickass designer, he’s a musician with a penchant for goofing on popular music. His Extraneous Lyrics series, “where some of the year’s most popular songs are given a wordier acoustic mashup treatment,” is closing in on 1 million YouTube views (!).
Now that he works at Adobe, Dave’s traded his guitar-in-front-of-tablecloth aesthetic for After Effects motion tracking and more. So without further ado, check out “Extraneous Lyrics 2012″:
Includes Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, Boyfriend by Justin Bieber, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift, Gangnam Style by Psy, Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye, What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction, and We Are Young by Fun.
November 13, 2012
Behind The Muscle Music
In August I pointed out the inspired lunacy of Old Spice’s Muscle Music (see below, especially if you have Flash installed as it becomes interactive at the end). Now Jake Friedman, creative director and co-founder of LA-based Wildlife, offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the ambitious project.
We worked with Adobe Flash, Flash Builder, After Effects, Photoshop, and Media Encoder. There were a huge number of assets moving back and forth across these products, so it was important that they could integrate to the pipeline seamlessly. We also benefited greatly from Photoshop’s recent addition of video integration and support. […]
We also had to crop these videos to their minimum canvas area in order to speed up performance for both pieces of software and avoid layering dozens of full-screen clips over one another. Photoshop was a champion here…
October 18, 2012
A beautiful “Berlin Hyper-Lapse”
Shahab Gabriel Behzumi shot for six days, then produced this rather eye-popping piece.
I had to import and customize the NEF files before I equalized them with the great LR-Timelapse from Gunther Wegner. (Adobe Lightroom is necessary) The observed JPEG had then to be droped into virtual dub and were rendered as AVI. When this was done, I had to stabilize the sequences manually frame by frame (AE motion tracker) and rendered each of them in 3 different sizes: (4928×3264 pixels, 1920×1080 pixels, 1024×768 pixels) Last but not least the snippets were edited fitting to the beautiful title “Diving Through The Blue” by the respectable composer and musician Valentin Boomes.
October 16, 2012
“Empty America”: A San Francisco Time Lapse
“Ross Ching, the director,” writes Gizmodo, “used Adobe Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere to delete every human and moving car from all the timelapse sequences. His short, the first of a series called Empty America, shows every landmark from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf to Lombard Street to Ghirardelli Square to the Bay Bridge, ‘wiped empty of tourists and traffic.’”
Here’s a peek behind the scenes:
Pro tip: You can shoot videos like this any day of the week here in San Jose (population 1 million) and never need to do any post-processing. “It’s more necropolis than metropolis,” says my wife. [Via Dave Helmly]
September 23, 2012
Stanley Goes To Space
Well now I feel bad: Not only have I failed send any of our guys’ innumerable Thomas engines to space, I’ve also neglected to learn After Effects well enough to animate their faces. Big props all around, Ron Fugelseth.
September 09, 2012
Video: The morphtastic “Evolution of Style”
Despite kind of burning itself out in the 90′s, image morphing can remain an interesting storytelling device:
“All visual effects for this sequence were created entirely in After Effects, by Morgan Préleur and the team at noside.fr, using mettle’s FreeForm Pro and FreeForm V2 plug-in.” I’d like to see a making-of piece.
September 05, 2012
Introducing Adobe Anywhere: Badass video collaboration
I’m delighted that Adobe has officially unveiled Adobe Anywhere, our collaborative workflow platform for video. You can use After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Prelude to manipulate assets on a server, letting people team up across locations, devices, and networks.
Seeing is believing: I’ve gotten to sit next to PM Michael Coleman as he cruises through high-res video on his MacBook Air, and you’d swear he was tethered to a brawny machine under the desk–not talking via WiFi to a server hundreds of miles away. Here’s a quick demo:
I’m especially proud as this is the project that the other leading Adobe Nack, my wife Margot, has been working on for quite some time. Congrats to the whole team!
August 28, 2012
Make a Monty Python animation, win Adobe apps
The contest is being run to celebrate and promote the upcoming 3D animated film A Liar’s Autobiography – The True Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman.
Ten winners will be chosen and in addition to the software prize, will receive the honor of having their animation included in the DVD box set of the film and on the Python’s YouTube channel.
July 19, 2012
Michael Jackson as a stick figure
How much character of movement can be conveyed just by moving dots. Apparent crazy person Colin Rozee set out to find out, saying “I manually keyframed 19 mask paths in AE. There’s over 20,000 keyframes in the piece, but it needed to be that detailed to achieve the fluidity of movement….” He used the Plexus particle-system plug-in in the project. [Via David Simons]
June 16, 2012
Creating the Iron Man HUD for The Avengers
The VFX team at Cantina Creative sat down with Adobe to discuss the incredible attention to detail they put into creating on-screen graphics for Marvel’s The Avengers. From consulting with an A-10 pilot about his “ultimate HUD” to animating thousands of Illustrator elements in After Effects, their process makes for a really interesting read. The move to 3D demanded even tighter craftsmanship:
We focused a lot of time on how widgets and graphics would actually function because everything was clearly readable. Everything in the HUD, even down to the tiny micro-text, relates precisely to the current story-point.
May 21, 2012
Adobe CS6 Film & Video Road Show
Adobe’s doing a series of free demo events around the US throughout June, as well as offering in-depth training (paid), all showcasing the new power in Premiere Pro, After Effects, Speed Grade, and the other CS6 video/audio apps:
- June 5 – New York, NY
- June 7 – Orlando, FL
- June 11 – Washington, D.C.
- June 14 – Atlanta, GA
- June 19 – Dallas, TX
- June 21 – Chicago, IL
- June 26 – San Francisco, CA
- June 30 – Los Angeles, CA
May 04, 2012
The art of the start
Eminent motion graphics pros discuss recent work (e.g. Zombieland) and some classics (Saul Bass & more).
April 29, 2012
A cute little iPhone diorama
I have no idea what it has to do with anything, but that hardly matters:
Made using Maya, After Effects, & Pftrack. [Via Motionographer]
April 22, 2012
Adobe’s NAB booth: So busy it was a fire hazard
Dang–that’s about as cool an endorsement as I’ve heard in a while. (This news comes via After Effects PM Steve Forde.) Check out tons of new features (SpeedGrade looks, Automatic Speech Alignment, enhanced 3D & Warp Stabilizer, and more) in the CS6 apps.
April 15, 2012
Ion Lucin used Cinema 4D + After Effects to create a lovely monochromatic meditation on the idea of “sphere”:
April 07, 2012
“Rear Window,” Remixed
“I dissected all of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and stiched it back together in After Effects,” writes Jeff Desom. “I stabilized all the shots with camera movement in them. Since everything was filmed from pretty much the same angle I was able to match them into a single panoramic view of the entire backyard without any greater distortions. The order of events stays true to the movie’s plot.”
[Via Felix Baum]
March 05, 2012
See how After Effects & Premiere were used to make “Hugo”
This year’s Oscar winner for Best Visual Effects used the Creative Suite on set:
February 28, 2012
“Act of Valor” made in Adobe tools
Bandito Brothers used Premiere Pro, After Effects, Illustrator, and more to produce Act of Valor. It’s cool to see the new Warp Stabilizer getting used on the big screen. Check out this 3-minute overview:
[Via Bill Roberts]
January 27, 2012
Video: Unfolding animation
Ned Wenlock used After Effects to create a neat, endlessly layered look in this short piece:
December 01, 2011
Vincent Laforet talks about switching to Premiere Pro
The noted photographer & filmmaker & his team talk about producing their latest film via Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Story, and Photoshop:
August 12, 2011
Sneak peek: After Effects 3D GPU tech
Fast, direct, highly interactive object extrusion? Yes please.
[Via] Update: Steve Forde addresses some NVIDIA-related concerns via the comments.
July 06, 2011
Disappearing acts: Content-Aware Fill in motion & more
- “Waldo was a chump at hiding compared to Liu Bolin.” Check out the artist’s amazing camouflage as he melts into various backgrounds.
- Christiane Feser and Mara Monetti hide their love away… with candy sprinkles! [Via]
- After Effects PM Steve Forde demos a quasi-Content-Aware Fill effect using CS 5.5′s new Warp Stabilizer.
May 26, 2011
A question for plug-in developers
May 12, 2011
After Effects stabilization in the real world
Photographer Uwe Steinmueller has posted a set of samples made using AE CS 5.5. They’re not crazy-dramatic, but that may well be the point: the new feature improves even what was already decent footage.
In the accompanying article Uwe write, “This may be a situation where a new tool is really up to its hype and exceeded our expectations. Hard to describe how excited we are.”
April 24, 2011
Virgin ad drawn, animated (!) all in Photoshop
Every so often I think, well, we pretty much know the limits of what people can do in Photoshop. And then something like this happens:
Check out the making-of story from the team at Three Legged Legs. Amazing work, guys! [Via Stéphane Baril]
To defuse a possible criticism: I can imagine someone saying, “Whoa, see, Photoshop is trying to be everything to everyone, and now it’s a poor man’s After Effects.” That’s not the case & was never our intention. Rather, video layers & onion skinning enable using Photoshop’s unique paint tools frame by frame. PS complements, rather than competes with, AE’s motion graphics chops.
April 07, 2011
Sneak peek: After Effects Warp Stabilizer
You might remember that Adobe researchers have been developing next-generation technology for stabilizing shaky video. Now the tech is getting closer to being real-world ready, as After Effects PM Steve Forde demonstrates:
[Update: See comments for some additional info & links from AE brainiacs Dan Wilk & David Simons.]
March 10, 2010
Adobe TV: Samurais, photo library management, & more
Adobe TV is hosting some new Lightroom- and Photoshop-related content:
The Russell Brown Show – Samurai Poster (Part 1)
In part 1 of this 2-part episode, Russell Brown shows us his personal tips and techniques on how to extract an image from a green screen background using Adobe Photoshop CS4
Lightroom for Digital Photographers – Synchronizing Folders
In this episode we’ll show you how to import and organize your images from multiple sources into one logical place.
The Complete Picture with Julieanne Kost – Selective Focus
In this episode of The Complete Picture, Julieanne Kost shows us how to get great results with the Lens Blur Filter in Adobe Photoshop CS4.
Photoshop With Matt – Color Balancing Multiple Parts of a Photo
Color balancing one part of a photo often makes another part look worse. It can be difficult to perfect all parts of a photo. Luckily the Adjustment Brush, a new tool in Photoshop CS4 Camera Raw, lets us achieve good color in multiple parts of a photo.
Short and Suite – Building Animated Lower Thirds in Photoshop
In this episode of Short and Suite, Jason Levine teaches us how to animate Lower Thirds in Adobe Photoshop and then use that PSD in Premiere Pro and After Effects CS4.
January 24, 2010
The creators of Photoshop, After Effects, and Flash speak
Did you know that Photoshop might have been marketed as a file-format conversion utility, or that Flash started life as a drawing tool for tablet computers of the early 90′s?
By coincidence, the following interviews with the creators of Photoshop, After Effects, and Flash have popped up in the last week:
- First, Robert Scoble traveled to Industrial Light and Magic to chat with visual effects supervisor John Knoll–who, with his brother Thomas, created Photoshop:
- At a meeting of SFMOGRAPH, two of the original CoSA After Effects team members, David Simons and Dan Wilk, sat down with current AE engineering manager Chris Prosser to chat about the past, present, and future:
- In How Flash Brought The Internet To Life, NPR interviewed Flash creator Jonathan Gay about that technology’s incredible metamorphoses.
December 18, 2009
See how Photoshop & Adobe apps helped make Avatar
“Literally the first piece of software we went out and purchased was Photoshop…”
Check out this 2-minute overview of how PS, Lightroom, After Effects, and other Adobe tools were used in the production of Avatar:
Adobe’s Mike Kanfer won an Academy Award working with James Cameron on Titanic & has been a great conduit of information during the making of Avatar. Too bad I never did manage to twist his arm & get behind the scenes during shooting…
Ah well: this morning the Photoshop team is off to see Avatar–a welcome little break from the whole march to Cocoa. I justified it to my wife, saying, “Well, they used Photoshop to make the movie.” Raising a dubious, I-know-you’re-all-cutting-class eyebrow, she asked, “Don’t they use Photoshop to make every movie?” Hush, woman!!
[Update: Evidently Photoshop co-creator John Knoll was the Avatar visual effects supervisor at ILM.]
Semi-related bonus fun thing: Slate talks about Cameron nearly dying while making The Abyss, punching & then firing a rescue diver.
August 24, 2009
Vintage Mograph: After Effects 1.1 demo reel
In 1993, my freshman year in college, I attended a meeting of the Notre Dame MadMacs user group. I can’t tell you a single other thing about that evening, but I remember that they played a video (on a computer! no way!!) from a company I’d never heard of. On screen an animation depicted a hand opening up to reveal (as I remember) an eye on its palm. “Imagine what you can create,” read an arcing line of text above the hand. And below, “Create what you can imagine. Adobe.” Whoever these guys are, I thought, I have to know more.
I don’t know whether that piece was done in After Effects*, but there’s a good chance it was. Now Todd Kopriva from the AE team has posted an AE 1.1 demo reel from ’93:
You’ve come a long way, baby. [Via]
* AE became an Adobe product the following year
June 24, 2009
Assorted Pixar Awesomeness
- Former Pixar production artist Lou Romano has posted a wealth of materials (videos, photos, paintings, and more) showing how the art of UP came to be. He shows how everything from gouache & miniatures to Photoshop & After Effects come together to explore & prototype the work.
- In a follow-up post, Lou has shared higher-res images of the complete color script for UP. [Via]
- The Art of the Title Sequence celebrates the wonderful end titles from WALL-E, interviewing director Jim Capobianco and animator Alexander Woo. [Via]
- Amazon lists Tim Hauser’s The Art of UP and The Art of WALL-E.
June 21, 2009
Flash for AE, and AE for Flash
For years and years I’ve wanted the After Effects team to promote AE as the next logical step for Flash animators wanting to go to the next level. (Once you’re freed from having to render everything on the fly on who-knows-what machine, the sky’s the limit.) That’s why I’ve been so excited by steps like XFL export from AE CS4.
Now authors Richard Harrington and Marcus Geduld have created Flash for After Effects and After Effects for Flash. You can check out a couple of chapters online for free:
Happy keyframing & expression-slinging & precomping and all that.
June 10, 2009
Roll your own After Effects plug-ins, sans coding
I’m always intrigued by visual tools that let non-coders assemble their own filter effects.
If this sort of thing is up your alley & if you use After Effects, check out Effect Builder AE. It’s “a development kit for building Adobe After Effects plug-ins from Quartz Compositions on Mac OS X. With Effect Builder AE and Quartz Composer, you can quickly create your own effects like generators, filters, and transitions without programming knowledge.” [Via]
- Filter Forge is a Photoshop plug-in used for creating your own filters.
- Conduit for Pixel Bender lets you Lego together PB filters for Photoshop, Flash, and AE.
May 09, 2009
Le Sens Propre: A new short film shot with RED + CS4
Working on a commission from Adobe, Brazilian director Cisma* recently created “Le Sens Propre,” rather surreal story about “a dream-like voyage in the universe of a little girl.” Cisma & team used a RED camera followed by an exclusive Adobe CS4 Production Premium workflow (no non-Adobe products touched the film–no 3D software, etc.).
Adobe’s Scott Morris writes,
Several high-profile artists have been commissioned by Adobe to do work using the various CS4 toolsets, to really show off what the products can do. Le Sens Proper now joins work from other artists and graphic designers including John Kelly, Nando Costa, Genevieve Gauckler, and Erik Natzke.
* According to the Adobe Artists site, “Cisma” (aka Denis Kamioka) took his name from the Portuguese word for “strong and irrational conviction.” My kind of guy.
April 30, 2009
Recent motion goodness, part 1
- Honda Insight Let it Shine turns hundreds of cars into a giant LED-style display. [Via] The making-of piece is just as interesting, as is the excellent browser integration on the Vimeo site. (Man, years ago I used to dream about doing stuff like this in a browser. Glad to see it in action.)
- “Carousel” for Philips Cinema is pretty amazing on every level. The short film works as an endless loop, and as Coloribus writes in its behind-the-scenes coverage, “Visitors to the microsite therefore have the option to ‘spin’ through the film’s single take shot repeatedly, to stop on a specific frame, or to watch it at the preordained speed. The film also contains embedded hotspots, which, when triggered, transport the viewer seamlessly from the heavily posted film to a behind-the-scenes version of the same shot.” [Via Colin Macdonald]
- Jonathan Jarvis’s The Crisis of Credit Visualized uses Illustrator & After Effects to great effect, explaining the chain reactions that inflated–then crippled–the world economy. [Via David Macy]
- No CGI, no wires needed: Danny MacAskill does some of the most incredible stunts (which just happen to involve a bike) I’ve ever seen. Great musical choice, too. [Via everyone ever]
December 28, 2008
“Star Wars, nothing but Staaar Waaars…”
Now that Flash CS4 offers “postcards in space”-style 3D transformations, you can do all sorts of simple, interesting things. On CreativePro.com Jeremy Schultz has posted a tutorial on creating a Star Wars-style text crawl using the new app.
Photoshop CS4 offers a couple of interesting new ways to do something similar. First, because Smart Objects in CS4 now support perspective transformations, you can create some text, then transform it non-destructively while keeping everything editable. Here’s a quick recipe:
- Create your text. I suggest clicking & dragging out a rectangle using the text tool, then pasting in your text.
- Choose Layers->Smart Object->Convert to Smart Object.
- Hit Cmd-T/Ctrl-T to enter Free Transform mode.
- While hovering over one corner of the transform rectangle, hold Cmd-Opt-Shift/Ctrl-Alt-Shift, then start dragging. Hit Enter/Return when done.
- To change the perspective effect applied to the Smart Object, just hit Cmd-T/Ctrl-T again and you’ll be right back where you were. To edit the text, double click the SO layer to edit the original content in its own window.
Photoshop CS4 Extended offers another cool option as well: turning the layer into a 3D postcard. Try this:
- Create the initial text layer as described above.
- Choose 3D->New 3D Postcard From Layer.
- Hit K on the keyboard to select the 3D Rotate Tool.
- Click and drag on the layer to rotate it in 3D space. Try holding Shift, then clicking and dragging vertically.
- Alternatively, use the on-canvas 3D manipulation widget and/or the other object/camera manipulation tools to rotate the 3D postcard layer.
- To edit the text, double click the name of the text layer listed in the Layers panel beneath Textures-Diffuse.
Is one method better than the other? Not necessarily. Going the Smart Object route, you can use regular Photoshop transformation options & directly apply filters non-destructively. (Plus, of course, you’re not required to own Photoshop Extended.) The 3D postcard method offers much richer ways to manipulate the object using real 3D effects–for example, changing the focal length of the camera that’s viewing the text. It also lets you apply 3D lights, etc.
One other thing: After Effects has supported postcards in space for many years, and the Adobe Exchange features a downloadable template for AE that makes the Star Wars effect easy.
December 18, 2008
After Effects tutorial site AETUTS launches
I’ve really been enjoying the Photoshop tutorials and interview on PSDTUTS lately, so I’m very happy to see that the creators are extending their approach to After Effects. The AETUTS crew plans to publish 2 – 3 new tutorials each week.
December 10, 2008
Motion Graphics: Gorillas & Guerrillas
- Poetry, motion graphics, and surprisingly little beer collide in this recent Guinness spot.
- Mo’ tilt-shifting:
- Peep this miniature-looking monster truck rally
- Blake Garner used After Effects to simulate the effect on ski slope video.
September 28, 2008
“Dear After Effects…”
A few weeks back I noted that the Dear Adobe site had generated lots of discussion within the company. Now the After Effects team has worked with the site creators to address the top 25 comments posted there. If you’re interested in AE, you might find the list a worthwhile read.
July 27, 2008
Killer animations o’ the day
- Despite finding it some time ago, I’ve been avoiding blog The Art of the Title Sequence, knowing that it would likely take over my life. Sure enough, it’s loaded with good stuff. Check out the beautiful titles for El Don, whipped up by Santiago artists Smog. I saw motion graphics pioneer Kyle Cooper (SE7EN, etc.) speak years ago and remember him saying that every frame should hold up on its own as graphic design. This piece aces that test. (For unrelated goodness, see Smog’s “monkey-headed dancing guy” (or whatever “un mono bailarín” is).)
- Motion artist PES creates incredible stop-motion films using found objects. KaBoom and Western Spaghetti are particularly great (c’mon, Candy Corn as flames?). Check out his work before People for the Ethical Treatment of Upholstery shut him down. [Via John Peterson & Maria Brenny, "Because (re: KaBoom) I know what you do in the desert"]
- My Drive Thru is a new stop-motion video for Converse, produced by the team at Psyop. Behind the scenes, Pharrell Williams talks about rescuing Chuck Taylors from the taint of Punky Brewster, and Glossy interviews the Psyop crew while posting some high-res stills. [Via]
- Superfad has kicked out a trio of stylish ads for Sprint. The Hurricane Katrina spot is particularly worth a look.
June 12, 2008
Recent motion graphics goodness
- Roi Sabarov’s Typeflow animation is poetry in motion. ("That is awesome. That goes on the blog." –Margot, Licensed Nackwife.)
- Fatal Farm makes some super, ah, unique remixes of 80′s TV themes. Knight Rider is brilliant, though be warned that you won’t be getting the song out of your head. The rest are of mixed taste, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Mato Atom’s "Champions" probably won’t change any hearts and minds about Bush, Blair, & Co., but it’s impeccably executed. [Via Sebastian Meyer]
- I like the lo-fi stylings of these animated videos for Welsh band Los Campesinos!, created by Simon Ampel & Chris Seimasko.
- The Whitest Boy Alive is all about optical illusions. [Via]
By the way, if you’re going to be in NYC in a couple of weeks & are interested in After Effects, you might want to check out the next AENY meeting. Jim Geduldick writes to say that the June 26th meeting will feature some cool speakers:
- Visual Designer Marc Coleran, whose work has been seen in films like The Bourne Ultimatum, Domino, Alien vs. Predator, The Bourne Identity, Blade II, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The World Is Not Enough – just to name a few.
- Visual effects artist John Montgomery, co-founder of the online visual effects news site fxguide, as well as the training site fxphd. His Clients and Credits include Super Bowl commercials for McDonald’s, Disney as well as work for Budweiser, Miller, Hallmark, Sears, Moen, Gatorade, Morgan Stanley, and the ESPN and CBS television networks.
Check out the AENY site for more details.
May 06, 2008
Technology sneak: Photoshop, AE, Flash
Last Thursday Adobe held a day-long event at which the execs briefed members of the financial community. A couple of us spear carriers (Steve Heintz, Karl Soule, and I) were recruited to help show off some new technology that’s baking "in the labs" (i.e. none of this stuff is promised for a future version, your mileage my vary, void where prohibited, professional driver on a closed course, etc.).
Check out the Connect webcast to see the goods in action. (Scrub ahead to 18 minutes or so–about one third of the way through–to catch the demos.) I show off some new performance tuning in Photoshop by playing with a 650 megapixel image on a Mac Pro. It’s too bad that the low frame rate of recording hides the fluidity of panning, zooming, and rotating via OpenGL hardware acceleration. I also demonstrate automated merging of images to extend depth of field, as well as a 360-degree panorama mapped onto an interactive 3D sphere on which I can paint directly. (Painting directly onto 3D models–mmm, yes.) Steve demos Adobe’s new "Thermo" RIA design tool while Karl shows off inverse kinematics in Flash and more.
You can check out the rest of the executive presentations & their slides here.
April 11, 2008
Winners of the $20,000 Adobe design challenge announced
The entire animation was done completely with Photoshop and After Effects (with a touch of Illustrator for logo preparation). No 3rd party plug-ins, programs, animation, videos were used; just the tools that ship standard with Adobe software. All photos are original – taken with my Nikon D80 (organized in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom). The music is also original. No 3rd party stuff, well, except for my cheap Yamaha guitar.
- See What’s Possible — Hello Lava link
- Thinking Magical — Animatório/Vinicius Costa
- The Amazing Factory — Wondermint
- Happy Place — Network Osaka
- More than 348 Submissions from over 31 countries with over 1/3 in the last day before the deadline
- More than half the submissions came from outside the U.S.
- More than 5,800 registered users who contributed submissions, comments, and votes
- More than 120,000 unique visitors from over 156 countries around the world
Then, of course, there were a few that remind you that "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"
- Hip hop ‘shop: Crime Scene by d.inc design ("All the other programs, irrelevant!"–or as ODB might say, "You know my name, now gimme my money")
- As with the boat in "Apocalypse Now," Never Leave the Letterbox
- Spazzing like the people in "Jacob’s Ladder," it’s One Man Show (known colloquially as "meth guy")
- PS goes The Way Of The Stick: Designer Ninjas
- And finally, Mr. Hankey would be so proud: Turning Crap to Gold
Thanks to everyone for the great entries! If you see any that strike you as particularly cool, funny, bizarre, etc., please pass ‘em along via the comments.
January 26, 2008
Skaters in slow-mo, with explosions
Decks & Bombs & Rock n’ Roll: Peep the amazing intro to Lakai’s Fully Flared skateboarding video. (Okay, no rock here, but the grandiose score & slow motion really do it for me.) I’d love to see a higher-res version of this clip, but for that apparently you need to buy the DVD. [Via]
In other animation/motion graphics news:
- Yannick Puig’s I Lived On the Moon is just unreasonably great-looking, loaded with memorable character designs in a melancholy palette. His site contains a good deal of behind-the-scenes info on how he created storyboards, then used Photoshop, After Effects, and 3ds Max to realize the vision. [Via] A few of the visuals recall Jamie Caliri’s similarly wonderful Dragon ad for United.
- On the other end of the tech spectrum is Fantoche, a rather nightmarish stop-motion sequence crawling across a bathroom wall. [Via Frederick Johnson] I can’t find much in the way of credits, but I imagine it’s connected to the animation festival of the same name.
- Hamburg-based Sehsucht has created a hypnotic & painterly animation for the 20 Jahre Auto Trophy. [Via]
- Toolfarm features an interview with Jim Geduldick of Wonder Pets, discussing his work on that AE-powered show.
January 14, 2008
Wicked cool: Building a 3D model from video
Here’s something pretty well guaranteed to put a smile on your face, I think: the Australian Centre for Visual Technologies has developed VideoTrace, "a system for interactively generating realistic 3D models of objects from video." A user sketches a few surfaces, after which the system works to generate 3D data. The short video demonstration is a little ho-hum until near the middle, which is where the uncontested smiling begins. ;-) [Via]
This demo makes me think of Strata’s Foto 3D, a tool for generating 3D models from within Photoshop, using just a series of photographs. By placing an object onto a specially printed piece of paper, then shooting it from a variety of angles, you give the software enough info to generate a 3D model that can then live as a 3D layer in Photoshop CS3 Extended.
It also reminds me of Extended’s ability to set 3D planes on a photograph using its Vanishing Point plug-in, then export the results as 3D data for use in After Effects and other tools. With it you can export an image like this as 3D data, then set camera movement in AE and create an animation like this.
January 01, 2008
Welcoming a new year with animation & photos
Hey everyone–happy 2008! May the new year bring you much peace, joy, success, and hilarity.
The madcap, After Effects-wielding Spiridellis brothers at JibJab have created a great animation to ring out ’07. The look on Steve Jobs’s face is particularly excellent. :-)
December 18, 2007
Recent motion graphics goodness
- The first four minutes of “The Kingdom” fly through “the history of U.S. involvement in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” You could call this treatment fast food history, but the concluding image is the most indelible rendering of a bar chart I’ve seen. [Via]
- For their latest ad Guinness commissioned a huge set of dominoes in an Argentinian mountain village, culminating in cars hitting one another. Here’s the vid.
- Post-It’s drop f-bombs in this trailer for Douglas Coupland’s The Gum Thief. (Books have trailers now?)
- Things blow up real good in this spot for the Nissan Note. In a world full of CGI, what look to be good old-fashioned FX can feel pretty refreshing.
- Adobe’s Dennis Radeke runs The Genesis Project, a blog devoted to sharing examples, info, and tips to get you started in After Effects and other Adobe tools.
- Microsoft’s Zune Arts project features all kinds of interesting, often incomprehensible animation and design. Peep “Masks” for a good example. [Via]
- Here’s a simple but interesting time lapse showing the growth of the NYC subway system. [Via] If that’s up your alley, see also Transit Maps of the World.
- The Mac Video Pro hosts an interview with After Effects PM Michael Coleman (blog) discussing his thoughts for the future. By the way, I’m told that the AE update for Leopard is due extremely soon–maybe by the time you read this.
October 10, 2007
After Effects is known for its crazy-powerful timeline, but lurking below the surface is a great deal of power that’s accessible via scripting. Manny Tan has taken a break from his usual Flash-based work in order to create a really lovely example of what can be done by driving animation programmatically. [Via Matthew Richmond]
If the prospect of driving AE via code is up your alley, check out AEnhancers.com, a community of people creating expressions, sharing tutorials and presets, and more. [Via Dennis Radeke, who points out a number of free AE plug-ins]
October 06, 2007
Use AE+Flash to create interactive video
News about After Effects always proves popular with the Flash crowd that stops by here, so I thought I’d pass along AE Product Manager Michael Coleman’s tips on Creating Interactive Video with After Effects and Flash. The 40-minute presentation talks about using AE’s motion tracker to generate cue points that tell the SWF what to do, among other things.
Writing this in 2007, I still can’t quite believe that AE’s chocolate is getting into Flash’s peanut butter, so to speak. Back in 1999, during my previous gig, I started browbeating people at Adobe & Macromedia to make these tools work together, and with CS3 it’s finally happening. I think this is just the beginning of what AE & Flash will be able to do in tandem.
For more tutorial content on AE, Premiere Pro, Flash, and other timeline-related things, check out Dennis Radeke’s Genesis Project.
September 28, 2007
Going to MAX? Let’s talk Photoshop, AE, Flash…
Greetings from O’Hare, where I find myself en route to this coming week’s Adobe MAX conference in Chicago. If you plan to attend the show and are interested in talking about the future of Photoshop & how all this stuff fits together, please drop me a line. In particular, Michael Coleman & the After Effects guys are looking for customers who use AE & Flash together (or who would like to do so). Drop him a line if you’re interested in that, and hope to see you at the show.
[PS: There will be Birds of a Feather sessions featuring the Photoshop team Monday night. Photoshop is 7:30-8:30.
Suites teams (Design and Web) are 8:30-9:30. I'm not yet sure about the location(s).]
August 13, 2007
Make Fireworks in After Effects, Ditch Quark, & more on Design Center
The Adobe Design Center shimmies into some new content:
* New Dialog Box:
- The Art & Science of CSS: Create inspirational standards-based web design by
Cameron Adams, Jina Bolton, David Johnson, Steve Smith, & Jonathan Snook
* New Tutorials:
- Using Flash for the first time – Part 2: Adding symbols, animation, and ActionScript by Jen deHaan
- Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator by Mordy Golding
- Create CD or DVD labels easily using Photoshop and ready-to-print PDF templates by Pariah S. Burke
- Create a fireworks effect using After Effects by Bob Donlon
* New White Papers:
- Color management workflow in After Effects
- Color Workflows for Adobe Creative Suite 3
- Adobe PDF in Creative Workflows
- PDF/X files in Adobe Creative Suite
- A designer’s guide to transparency for print output
- Transparency in Adobe applications: A print production guide
- Adobe InDesign CS3 conversion guide: A hands-on resource for switching from Quark to InDesign CS3
- Adobe InDesign CS3 and XML: A technical reference
July 23, 2007
Stop motion, painting with light, & more
- Fredo Viola’s Sad Song Video was "created entirely using 15 second JPEG movies from my Nikon Coolpix 775 camera and composited in After Effects." Haunting and rad (and–not to worry–not so sad). [Via]
- Ollie Larkin makes super cool timelapses. Love that Ferris wheel! [Via David Clifford]
- Sprint’s new ad campaign features terrific animation done with flashlights. (It’s lovely enough to forgive the awkward copy writing. No, I did not, as a child, dream of fancy cell phones.) I wonder whether any of those Pikapika or Lichtfaktor kids were involved.
- If any of that leaves you too chilled out to work, spool back up with this thermonuclear techno freak-out. [Via]
- How do you visualize a flavor? Michel Gagné talks about his concept art for Ratatouille*, depicting what each character is tasting. [Via]
- Factory Films gives a beautiful, Gondry-esque treatment to dice in Fuyija Miyagi’s Ankle Injury video. [Via Maria Brenny]
- Speaking of Gondry, with Daft Punk is Playing At My House, LCD Soundsystem creates a great homage to his Around the World video.
*Tangentially related: Last week we had a great visit with the Pixar folks, discussing how they use Photoshop today & how they’d like to see it evolve. In talking about creating the lifelike rat movements in Ratatouille, they said, "Yeah, it was really tough gluing tiny ping pong balls onto those guys for the motion capture! We tried marshmallows, but they kept eating ‘em…"
June 10, 2007
Photoshop, AE go to war in "300"
I’ve got movies on the brain, having just returned from a couple days spent with the amazing folks at Disney Feature Animation. (Seriously, I throw around “great” and “amazing” as much as the next guy, but these artists are laughably talented. It’s the sort of place where you’ll hear a guy saying, “Well, I’m not a painter…” as you look around and see his lovingly painted artwork on every wall. I had to interrupt, saying, “Man, maybe you’re not officially ‘that guy’ here, but trust me, you’re *That Guy* everywhere else!”) I took notes furiously, and maybe at some point I’ll be able to share bits here. (I just want to make sure that I don’t inadvertently “give up the gag,” as the Disney folks would say.)
In the spirit of peeking behind the scenes, I enjoyed learning on Adobe.com how Photoshop and After Effects were used in the making of 300. From roughing out storyboards to painting backdrops in Photoshop, “crushing” the colors, adding dust in AE, and compositing layers in HDR, Adobe apps are used throughout the filmmaking process.
The article reminds me of a previous Adobe.com profile, one discussing how Photoshop and AE were used in the making of The Aviator. Favorite insight:
Scorsese wanted The Aviator’s color palette to reflect the look of movies from the period being portrayed onscreen. Hence, when the action is set in the years 1927-1937, the film emulates Technicolor’s two-color dye transfer; for the period 1937-1947, the film’s look changes to Technicolor’s three-color dye transfer system…
After consulting with one of the oldest color timing experts at Technicolor, Legato was able to “previz” the palettes by scanning black-and-white stills and using Photoshop to digitally overlay cyan, magenta, and yellow filters, digitally emulating historic Technicolor color processes.
Adobe’s own Mike Kanfer won an Oscar for his work on Titanic and is helping keep the ideas flowing back and forth. We’ll try to gather more info to share soon.
PS–One other cinematic mention: New Yorker/Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty recommends Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. Author/architect/curator
James Sanders gives Photoshop a shout-out for its role in the interactive & documentary efforts.
May 12, 2007
After Effects CS3 roars on 8-core Mac
"As you know," writes Rob Morgan of benchmarking site Bare Feats, "we’ve been fishing for an application that, by itself, can justify the purchase of an 8-core Mac Pro. I think we have found it: Adobe After Effects CS3."
According to the site, AECS3′s ability to spawn multiple processes & render multiple frames at once is "like creating a ‘render farm’ within a single Mac" and produces some great results: e.g. doing in 35 seconds on an 8-core Mac what a quad-core G5 needed 155 seconds to accomplish. Bitchin’. I think that longtime AE interface designer/newly minted AE Product Manager Michael Coleman may have more details to share on his blog soon. Also note that AECS3 is available for download as a public beta via Adobe Labs. [Via Fergus Hammond]
January 03, 2007
Adobe video apps: Back to the Mac
Excellent news: Last fall’s debut of the cross-platform Adobe Soundbooth beta was a sign of good things to come, and the company has just announced that the next version of the Adobe Production Studio will be available on both Macintosh & Windows. Specifics of features, pricing, and schedule aren’t being discussed right now; rather, this announcement is a heads-up that signals the direction for this tightly integrated suite of products, including a greatly increased commitment to the Mac platform.
After Effects PM Steve Kilisky has posted some background on the history & evolution of platform support in DV apps. The short story: Adobe Premiere needed a rewrite from the ground up, so the team had to focus its efforts on a single platform, with the hope and intention of returning to the Mac after building momentum on Windows. That’s exactly what they’re now doing, alongside Encore DVD and Soundbooth.
I know that there’s plenty of really emotional history here, and I’m posting the news just to help spread the word. I expect that Steve, along with DV PMs Bob Donlon & Hart Shafer, will have more to say via their blogs in the weeks and months ahead. So, I’ll leave comments open on this post, but it would probably be most useful to channel feedback to those guys directly.
[Update: Macworld has posted news and analysis of this development. I'm really pleased to see all the positive and supportive reader comments. Elsewhere, Orphanage founder Stu Maschwitz posted some brief positive notes about switching from FCP to Premiere. I love the "Voltron" comparison. :-)]
December 01, 2006
Sweet Flash+After Effects example
The crew at WDDG has declared "Technological & Creative Warfare" on lame online portforlios, kicking out the retro jams with their new company site. Besides being a great Flash showcase, it represents a great integration of Flash & After Effects. Company founder James Baker says he was inspired by seeing Dr. Woohoo’s AE->Flash tools, which he then used to link the apps. He writes, "The jitter is motion-captured from some old footage and looped throughout the site. I threw a 2-pixel blur on it and a loop of crap over the top, and suddenly crappy JPEGs looked like newsreel footage." And of course the site makes heavy use of color-treated & modified film stock, exported as Flash video (FLV). Killer all around. [Update: Drew has interviewed James & shares more info about the project.]
(Oh, and don’t forget to take a look behind the scenes at their advanced design process.)
October 29, 2006
AE+Flash for 3D, more in Design Center
The Adobe Design Center offers a whole pile of new content, as well as new product-specific pages (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects) that make it easier to find training on particular topics.
New Dialog Box:
- More is better: Address multiple learning styles by Luanne Seymour
- Creating lens flares using Fireworks by Alan Musselman
- Seeing is believing: Information visualization and the debate over global warming by David Womack
- Form in Motion: An interview with filmmaker Matt Hanson by Andrea Codrington
- Spin objects in 3D space using Flash and After Effects by Tom Green and Jordan Chilcott
- Create a PostScript file for conversion to PDF in Acrobat by Garrick Chow
- Asset creation and general setup in Adobe Creative Suite 2 from Adobe Creative Suite 2 Classroom in a Book
- Managing dictionaries in InCopy CS2 by Adam Pratt and Mike Richman
- Acquire Audio using the Extract Audio From CD command in Adobe Audition by Bruce Williams
- Turn internal styles into an external style sheet in Dreamweaver by Garrick Chow
- Working with tools of mass distortion by Mordy Golding
- Learning curves in Photoshop CS2 by Steve Caplin
- Integrate Adobe Premiere Pro with After Effects using Dynamic Link by Jeff Schell
- From GoLive CS2 Classroom in a Book:
October 05, 2006
New vids: After Effects 7 + Flash 8 Integration
There’s huge interest in ways to integrate After Effects with Flash, and the the good folks at Lynda.com are happy to oblige with video training. Lee Brimelow tackles AE 7 + Flash 8 integration, touching on AE’s auto-trace vectorization, FLV export, Dr. Woohoo’s tools, and more. [Via]
August 10, 2006
New tool: Flash -> After Effects
Drew Trujillo, aka Dr. Woohoo, creator of utilities for moving After Effects animation keyframes and audio data into Flash, has returned with Flash 2 After Effects-Transform Properties. This new extension can convert not only traditional Flash keyframes but also ActionScript-based animation into AE’s native format. Nice!
August 05, 2006
Takagi Masakatsu: Particles & Painting in After Effects
Japanese artist Takagi Masakatsu is a triple threat & then some, setting his paintings in motion to the sound of his original compositions. In this profile on Apple.com, Takagi talks about his creative process & the ways he combines After Effects & Photoshop to create uniquely painterly visuals. [Via] The slippery lines of “Lightpool” (farthest right in the gallery; see also stills) remind me of James Patterson, pumped & shimmering with glows and particles. More pieces are available on his (overloaded) personal site, and the work sets off a debate of the merits of video art on Motionographer.com.
July 20, 2006
Flash + After Effects text, warping in Photoshop, more
The Adobe Design Center has been updated with a passel of new content:
- New Dialog box:
- Prepare your web server for file handling using a remote folder in Dreamweaver 8 by Lucinda Dykes
- Team After Effects text animation with Flash by Tom Green and Jordan Chilcott
- Get to know the completely redesigned Layout Grid in GoLive CS2 by Lynn Grillo and Adam Pratt
- Map artwork to 3D surfaces with Illustrator CS2 by Mordy Golding
- Use image warp presets in Photoshop CS2 by Steve Caplin
- Export a clip from Adobe Premiere Pro for use with Adobe Encore DVD by Jeff Schell
- Integrating Adobe Audition and Adobe Premiere Pro
- Adobe Audition 2.0 Classroom in a Book: 3 lessons
- Lesson 1: A quick tour of Adobe Audition
- Lesson 2: Adobe Audition basics
- Lesson 3: Lesson 13: Integrating Adobe Audition and Adobe Premiere Pro
[Via Jen deHaan]
July 11, 2006
Smokin’ AE particles, complex Flash masks, more in Design Center
The Adobe Design Center offers a trunkful of new content:
New Dialog box:
- Save a PDF file as a Word document, HTML file, or image by Donna Baker
- Make it right with the editing tools in Acrobat by Jennifer Alspach
- Make motion more realistic with Motion Blur by Jeff Foster (video tutorial)
- Create a complex mask in Flash 8 by Tom Green and Jordan Chilcott
- Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 Classroom in a Book: 3 lessons
- Lesson 1: Touring Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0
- Lesson 2: Taking a quick run-through of Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0
- Lesson 3: Shooting and capturing great video assets)
[Text cheerfully boosted from Jen deHaan]
April 23, 2006
AE->Flash Part II: Audio Amplitude
Dr. Woohoo is back, introducing After Effects 2 Flash: Audio Amplitude. This new ExtendScript exports the audio analysis data from AE 7.0 as an XML file and uses a component to map it to the Rotation and Scale Matrix transformations in Flash 8. “In other words,” he writes, “it makes objects in Flash dance to the music.” The scripts complement the recently introduced Transform Properties work, and each is on sale for $40. It’s cool work, and seeing it takes me back to a weird & ridiculous example I did, using AE to map audio data to rotation, then exporting XML to LiveMotion be made interactive.
April 12, 2006
Slick After Effects->Flash integration
I’m delighted to see that Drew Trujillo (aka Dr. Woohoo) has released a pair of tools for moving After Effects keyframe data into Flash. Along with a free AE export script, Drew has created After Effects 2 Flash-Transform Properties, a Flash extension that smooths the importing of AE data. You can read more about the tools on his blog. (Note: My role in this is kindly overstated; in fact I just helped people smarter than myself get connected–which, for what it’s worth, is what a lot of product management boils down to.)
This kind of integration is, I think, the start of much great progress to come. Back in 1999, when I first heard that Adobe was thinking of making a Web animation tool, I started lobbying my contacts at Adobe & Macromedia for a “Flash Interchange Format” that would enable Flash, AE, and other applications to exchange data with layers, keyframes, object names, and other data intact. The timing wasn’t right, of course, but now that the companies have come together, the opportunities to collaborate are incredible. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, give these tools a shot.
(More on Drew’s work can be found here.)
[Update: I realized I'd inverted the title. It's now revised to indicate the direction of integration: AE into Flash.]
March 25, 2006
Illustrator, Flash, AE, and a bandsaw…
…equals kinetic sculpture. This is one of the coolest customer applications of Adobe tools I’ve seen in a while. Artist David C. Roy builds spring-driven wooden forms that, once given a few cranks by hand, provide hours of hypnotic movement.
Though the techniques page is out of date (is that Illustrator 6 and Extreme 3D??), David reports that he’s been evolving his technique in synch with the software and cutting tools. He writes:
I do all my drawing directly in Illustrator, and as an idea matures I “test” it in After Effects. The direct update link between the programs has been a great boon as I can modify the forms in Illustrator, often using symbols, and get almost immediate feedback on how the piece will look in motion from After Effects. The design of my “Variation” series and my new sculptures Illusion and Spectrum were greatly enhanced by the ability to see motion and quickly change the design.
I use After Effects expressions to simplify setting up the animations. They are nothing elaborate, but they make for far more realistic motions. In the case of the Variation series I use them to keep the orbiting forms counter rotating in time with carrying wheel. In the “bird form” pieces like Migration and Quest I use expressions to keep the bird “level” as the wheels that carry it move at varying speeds. This was very tedious prior to expressions. I’m currently working on a new design where a form that is carried by other counter rotating wheels will pick up a swinging motion but basically stay in a fixed orientation. I was able to add the swinging by simply including a sine function and controlling the amount of swing with a constant.
(this_comp.layer(“back wheel 6 spoke”).rotation+this_comp.layer(“back
carrier”).rotation)*-1 + (Math.sin(time)*60)
The animated simulations can then be exported directly from After Effects to SWF for use on the Web, though David reports he’ll often bring them into Flash or LiveMotion for tuning first. When it’s time to build the pieces in the real world, he converts his Illustrator documents to DXF files using a plug in from BPT-Pro. These files get emailed to a local father/son team who have a large computer-controlled router. These guys convert the DXF files directly to machine code, then send it to the cutter. “It is amazing to watch the machine work,” says David.
It’s likewise amazing to watch an artist and his work grow with the tools. Seeing the technology open doors makes the long hours of development worthwhile. [Thanks to Photoshop engineering director Marc Pawliger, who hangs Tri-Fusion in his home, for the lead.]
[Tangentially related: speaking of computer-assisted woodcutting, Turn Your Head will take a picture of your profile, then use a lathe to render your profile on a wooden dowel. [Via]]
February 08, 2006
Behind the scenes of United’s “Dragon” ad
Man, have you seen that “Dragon” commercial (short film, really) that United Airlines ran during the Superbowl? The gorgeous visuals get all the more impressive when you learn that they were done using stop motion and real paper cutouts. United has posted a behind-the-scenes video showing how director Jamie Caliri and his team drew characters, painted them in Photoshop, animated the pieces by hand, and removed wires and braces in After Effects. It’s really inspiring to see an artistic vision supported, not defined, by the tools & the strengths and limitations of each medium. [Via Kaliber 10000] [Related: more stop-motion links are in this post.]
[Update: Ko Maruyama has posted an in-depth interview with Jamie Caliri that goes into more detail on the tools & techniques that went into the ad.]
January 22, 2006
Words at Play
Typography + animation come together beautifully in Words At Play, the companion site to Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich & Matteo Bologna’s book of the same name. The project, a “many-splendored, multi-layered typographic tour d’amour,” showcases de Vicq’s typographic portraits of 21 renowned writers (plus Al Capone and Napoleon Bonaparte). After snagging a pair of Webby awards, the site is up for the People’s Choice award at next month’s Flashforward. It’s got my vote.
Words at Play was built by animating type in After Effects, then exporting keyframes to Adobe LiveMotion as XML (.amx). As it happens, I’ve seen speculation recently about Adobe resurrecting LiveMotion. That strikes me as quite unlikely, but there were some cool concepts (e.g. data exchange via XML, animation applied via styles) that I’d love to see revisited.
If you like Words At Play, check out Roberto’s earlier Bembo Zoo, an abecedary featuring animals drawn in letters [Via]. These guys also did a terrific portrait of Adobe co-founder John Warnock, using the Warnock Pro font created in his honor. (Random aside: I also found a portrait of Dr. Warnock rendered in PostScript, the language he invented.)
January 17, 2006
New Production Studio: After Effects 7, Premiere Pro 2, more
Today Adobe announced the new Production Studio, offering a raft of new capabilities in After Effects 7.0, Premiere Pro 2.0, Audition 2.0, and Encore DVD 2.0. You can see enhancements like the new palette system, increased OpenGL support, Flash video export, Bridge integration, and much more in videos: AE|Premiere|Audition|Encore. [Update: for more on palettes in AE7, see this video from Lynda.com's new title.] The “Dynamic Link” integration is particularly cool, letting you place an AE composition into Premiere or Encore & have it play back on the fly–no rendering required. To see the tools in person, check out the upcoming seminar tour.
In other After Effects news, Eric Jordan from 2Advanced is soliciting feedback on how to improve AE, especially from a Flash user’s perspective. [Via] Also, AE Product Manager Steve Kilisky expects to join the ranks of Adobe bloggers shortly.
January 03, 2006
AE + Flash “In the Mod”; Flickeur
Drew Trujillo (aka Dr. Woohoo) has been experimenting with ways to use color, Flash, and After Effects together. His In the Mod color analytics app assesses artwork, then generates XML files for Flash and Processing as well as HSL arrays for AE. Use the “Choose a Palette” button in the upper-left to select a painter & work, then check out the results.
Drew’s brushes.paints.stencils project uses AE & the Sound Keys plug-in to analyze audio data & generate keyframes which are then fed to Flash as XML. He then exports the audio from AE as a Flash FLV file, using that to synch up with animation based on the XML. It’s more fun to see than to read about, so check out examples like Radiohead & the kaleidoscopic collaboration with Mario Klingemann.
On a related note, Mario (who’s also made some Photoshop plug-ins) shows how modern processors & the new blending modes in Flash Player 8 can create rich motion graphics on the fly. He’s created Flickeur, a project that “randomly retrieves images from Flickr.com and creates an infinite film with a style that can vary between stream-of-consciousness, documentary or video clip. All the blends, motions, zooms or timeleaps are completely random. Flickeur works like a looped magnetic tape where incoming images will merge with older materials and be influenced by the older recordings’ magnetic memory.” The app brings in images from Flickr over time, so be patient if it needs a minute or two before it gets interesting.
December 18, 2005
Flash + AE video tutorial
A few days ago on the Flashcoders list, some people were discussing ways that Flash and After Effects can be used together. Video support in Flash has opened some cool possibilities, but note that AE also exports Flash SWF files. The newly launched Motion Design Center features a video tutorial on using AE to animate text, then import it into Flash. [Update: In case they're useful, you can find my old tutorials on AE SWF->Flash (demoing parent-child relationships, text animation, etc.) here.]
Now that the product teams can work together, we have opportunities to take integration to a new level. As we build the roadmap, we’d love to get your feedback on what’s most important.
December 09, 2005
New plug-ins from Alien Skin, GridIron, Akvis
- Longtime Photoshop developer Alien Skin has announced Exposure. “Foremost a film simulator,” the plug-in can “quickly and easily evoke the vivid colors of Velvia®, the rich blacks of Kodachrome®, or the sensitivity of Ektachrome®,” as well as facilitate cross processing, push processing, and glamour portrait softening. [Via] I remember talking to the brilliant photo-illustrator Sanjay Kothari about how he’d simulate film stocks and processes. He asked for just this sort of tool.
- After Effects developer GridIron Software has announced Nucleo, applying the company’s expertise in multi-machine rendering to speeding up single machines with multiple CPUs and/or multi-core processors. Rendering and preview tasks are said to be sped up by as much as 300%. [Via]
- Akvis has updated its Coloriage plug-in for black and white colorization. The tool also looks interesting for trying out color schemes in a photo, colorizing a hand-drawn sketch, and more; see the tutorials on their site. [Via]
December 03, 2005
AE + Flash, Maya
I think of After Effects as “Photoshop on wheels,” and like Photoshop, AE is used together with a wide variety of other applications. Two examples caught my eye recently:
November 10, 2005
Photoshop, AE in TV production
Photoshop & After Effects get a nice little nod in this Wall Street Journal article on how desktop software is putting special effects within reach of TV shows: “Updated versions of image-editing software such as After Effects and Photoshop, both products of Adobe Systems Inc., have expanded the arsenal of visual effects available to TV show creators.”
We recently toured the sets of a number of shows learning about the big and small ways these apps touch show production (sticking a young Martin Landau’s head into an old wedding photo; shattering some ribs in an X-ray; designing a logo for a character’s cup of coffee; etc.). Too bad Adobe retired the tag line “Everywhere You Look;” I thought it conveyed something interesting (and true).
October 26, 2005
After Effects.next sneak
At the MAX show last week, Steve Kilisky from the After Effects team demonstrated some new features of an upcoming version of After Effects & how AE video can integrate with content in the new Flash 8 Player. Check out this video to see “a cure for ‘palletosis’” and more. Steve is fourth from the left in the Day Two nav bar [link via Pixelfumes]. For more examples of Flash and After Effects working together, see my earlier post.
September 02, 2005
Flash + After Effects
I’ve been dying to see After Effects and Flash get together for a long time, having written a bunch of tutorials on the subject back in the day. Until now, however, the process has been powerful but a bit laborious.
With the advent of support for alpha channels in Flash video, however, you can create some slick combos. See The Flash Blog’s examples of AE-made video composited with interactive Flash elements. Groovy.