Author Archive: mcoleman

I love a good video hoax

I don’t know how this happened (OK, maybe it’s not a stretch), but it seems that my non-techie friends have come to consider me their source for debunking internet video hoaxes. They’re always sending me the latest one and asking for my opinion.

I have to admit I love these things. Yes, they’re usually pimping a product through viral marketing, but they’re just funny and many of them are well executed. Having created and seen my share of visual effects over the years, I can appreciate the care and creativity that goes into them.

My favorite one of late is the MEGAWOOSH Bruno Kammerl jumps video. I’d bet that After Effects was involved in this somehow. If you were involved in the production of this one, send me a note…Your secrets are safe with me. Honestly. One observer has thoughtfully posted a detailed breakdown of how this shot could be done.

Here’s another new one. I think this is how computer viruses are transmitted.

Do me a favor and send comment with a link to your favorite video hoax!

Nucleo Pro 2 now available for After Effects CS4

One of the most common challenges in production environments today is squeezing more productivity into a day’s work. If this sounds like one of your challenges, GridIron has some help for you: Nucleo Pro 2, which is now available for After Effects CS4. This has to be one of the most useful plug-ins ever made for After Effects. It adds several useful workflow improvements including the ability to render in the background and easily create pre-rendered proxies of nested compositions. The result is that you’ll get back a little time in your day so you can be more creative and get a bit more done.

GenArts Introduces Rental Program

A couple weeks ago, GenArts introduced a great new way to make the Sapphire line of After Effects plug-in effects part of your tool kit. The high-end effects usually retail for $1699, and are definitely worth it if you have the budget.

Now you can get all the goodies in the Sapphire set for $169 per month under a new rental program. Software rental isn’t new, but among After Effects plug-ins, I think this is a first. It’s a great way to to put some high-end visual effects into your AE projects without putting all the money up front.

If you change your mind and decide you’d like to own them, you can apply some of your rental fees toward the purchase price.

A new definition of software


A new creature comfort arrived at the office recently. I’ve had a few late nights over the years for the benefit of After Effects. Payback time. 🙂

#followfriday @motiongfx

I’ve been lurking on twitter for a while, but now I’m fully hooked and diving in. If you would like to get your After Effects Product Management and Michael Coleman news in smaller chunks, you can now follow me on twitter! Just go to my twitter page and press the Follow button. (My twitter handle is motiongfx) The postings may lean a bit more towards the personal side, but I promise not to tweet what I had for lunch. Well, unless it was really good.

And since it’s Friday, feel free to send a #followfriday tweet to your friends to let them know! Be sure to include @motiongfx, so that I can learn about your favorites, too.

Dynamic Advertising with After Effects, Flash & Mocha

I was in New York last week for the Promax|BDA conference, where I delivered a couple presentations about After Effects and Production Premium CS4. A couple people have inquired about seeing a recording of the presentations. I don’t think there were any recordings of my sessions, but one of them was quite similar to a presentation I have at the 2008 Adobe MAX conference last fall.

Continue reading…

New After Effects customer survey

I just posted a web survey about After Effects usage so now is a great time to tell us what you think!

Please take a few minutes to tell us a few things about yourself, your projects, and your workflow. You’ll also get a chance to indicate which potential features are most important to you. Surveys like this to are a great way for you to direct our efforts.

Please go to the URL below to get started. It will probably take about 15 minutes to complete the survey. It is hosted at

We know you probably have a million things to do, but if you can take some to have a little influence on the After Effects team, we’d certainly appreciate it.

The information we gather is just for Adobe’s use and we promise not to do anything annoying with your survey responses. All data will be kept confidential. No information about you will be sold or furnished to any other company whatsoever, nor will you receive any unsolicited e-mails because of your participation in this survey.

On behalf of the entire After Effects team, thanks!

Do you use Stock Footage or Photography?

I’ve been working on a little pet project related to using stock footage, photography, and audio in After Effects. If you use any stock content from commercial sources like Artbeats, Getty, Corbis, or iStockPhoto, send me a comment to let me know how you use stock content and how it fits into your workflow. Some example questions to think about:

+ what companies do you purchase from?
+ how frequently do you use stock content?
+ which kinds of stock do you use (images, video, audio)?
+ do you use royalty-free footage, rights-managed, or both?
+ once you have the stock footage, do you track its usage?
+ do you charge your clients for using stock footage?
+ do you start working with proxies, then replace with high quality final images?


A follow up on 64-bit

When people ask me if After Effects is 64-bit, I am always tempted to ask a follow-up question. I try to understand what benefit they are looking to gain. The answer is usually that they want to be able to render faster, and have longer RAM previews.

If you are running on multi-core system with a 32-bit Windows OS, you’re likely to experience better multi-core rendering and longer RAM previews if you move to a 64-bit edition of Windows. Simple as that. If you’re running a lot of ram-hungry applications, the benefit is even greater.

Here’s why: A 32-bit edition of Windows is limited to a total of about 4GB. Each process on a 32-bit Windows system is limited to about 2GB. By the time you reserve some for the OS and divide the remainder among all your applications and distribute some to each core for rendering in After Effects, it’s sliced into relatively small chunks. After Effects isn’t the limiting factor, it’s your operating system.

Enter 64-bit Windows. A 64-bit OS raises the roof on RAM limits, both for individual processes and the total. After Effects and Premiere Pro are both designed to take advantage of much more RAM than is available on a 32-bit system.

So the remaining question is: Do After Effects and Premiere take advantage of *ALL* the RAM on a 64-bit OS? The answer is no. They would have to be 64-bit native apps to do that. You get some great benefits, and the ball is back in our court. I can’t be specific about future releases, but it’s safe to assume that 64-bit native applications are a matter of when, not if.

But don’t let this stop you from enjoying the benefits of 64-bit. Get a 64-bit OS. Fill up on cheap RAM. Work faster today. I don’t want you to miss out on improved performance with CS4 apps on a 64-bit OS.

Thinking Vista? Think 64-bit.

I was at an electronics store the other day and I was surprised to see how many of the new systems are sold with 64-bit editions of Windows Vista. I also noticed that a gigabyte of computer memory is now touching the $25 price range.

I think this is a great news.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your Adobe CS4 applications is to run them on a 64-bit operating system. Mac users have it easy because the Mac OS Leopard is only available in a 64-bit flavor. Windows users face a choice between 32- and 64-bit. I suggest walking right past 32-bit Windows and picking up a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista.

The advantage to running CS4 applications on 64-bit OS is that you can install and use large amounts of RAM. Here’s how it works with After Effects: When you are rendering in the Render Queue or building a RAM preview, After Effects can use multiple processor cores to render several frames at the same time. Behind the scenes, After Effects starts a process on each available core. Each process can address up to 4GB of RAM. The After Effects Help on the Web has all the details about memory and multi-core rendering.

How much RAM should you have when running AE? A good rule of thumb is 4 GB per core, plus whatever you want to use for your operating system and other applications.

Speaking of other applications, say you’re running Premiere Pro CS4 along with After Effects CS4. Premiere Pro can also take advantage of extra RAM. Throw in a couple more gigs for Photoshop, Illustrator and web browser, and it’s looking like the sweet spot is now 16-32 Gigs on a 64-bit OS.

Windows users should make sure that your hardware drivers are available for the 64-bit edition of Vista. It’s been a while since Vista shipped, so this is becoming less of an issue every day. Also, it’s good practice to update to the latest versions of your software. For Vista, get Service Pack 1. For Adobe software, be sure you are using Premiere Pro 4.0.1 and After Effects 9.0.1.

For those of you who aren’t interested in moving to 64-bit, send me a comment and let me know what’s holding you back!