Steve Kilisky's Dynamic Media Blog

March 30, 2006

Jamie Caliri

In previous entries, I've mentioned how much I like the collage style of motion graphics. I also really am captivated by stop motion animation, especially of flat artwork.

I was introduced to the work of Jamie Caliri when I rented the Lemony Snicket's DVD and was amazed away by the end titles.

I recognized Jamie's work more recently on a United Airlines commercial. There is a great making of video on the web site as well.

Ko Maruyama, interviewed Jamie on Digitalproducer and not that it matters to y'all ,but it was felt nice to know that Jamie uses After Effects to help express his ideas.

6:27 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 17, 2006

Vectorized Video Tutorial

Several people have asked me at launch events how we created the vectorized video of a DJ spinning turntables. I told them, it was done using AE and the livetrace feature in Illustrator, but this brief answer probably wasn't sufficient for someone to figure out how to do it themselves.

Well lo and behold, over on the CreativeCOW, Aharon Rabinowitz must be a mind reader because he created an in depth 3 part video cartoonization tutorial on creating this pseudo "Waking Life" look. It is long, but well worth the time. Tutorial also includes sample project files. One of the cool things about this is that once it is vectorized, you can continously rasterize it and scale it to any resolution.

Thanks Aharon.

6:02 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

Seattle Flash User Group

The Seattle Flash User Group got off the ground last month. Andreas Helm from Smashing Ideas will be speaking at this month's meeting.

The meeting is on 3/21, 7-9pm, on the Adobe "Campus". Click here for directions.

P.S If you aren't wearing green today (guilty as charged your honor) and happen to get pinched by one of my daughters (expert pinchers), sorry about that. (where did that tradition come from?)

7:07 AM | Permalink | No Comments

The Hands of Time - Episode 1

I was having breakfast (I had oatmeal) with Steve Forde from GridIron Software this week and we chatted about business, NAB, and blogging among other things.

I was telling Steve how it seems like there are 4 types of blogs people like me (not me, but people like me) create: 1) Seinfeld blogs - you know the ones that ramble on about nothing in particular or relevant, like what I had for breakfast today; 2) Marketing disguised as a blog; 3) Blogs with enough trinkets of information that ramblings like this are tolerated and; 4) Thought provoking blogs.

Steve was very polite and reassured me that my blog fell into category 3. I was telling him that I struggle because I really aspire to be creating a thought provoking blog, but the provoked thoughts might be controversial and misconstrued. Given my position as a representative of Adobe and After Effects this could have unintentional repercussions yadda yadda yadda.

This year is my 20th NAB. The first 2 I worked for Cubicomp, the next 7 I was at Abekas, and the have been with Adobe ever since. As you can imagine or experienced there have been lots of changes over the years. I'm a firm believer that a) history repeats itself, and b) if 'a' is true, then history is a good predictor of the future. Unfortunately, most history takes longer than a human lifetime to repeat, so we can't capitalize easily on knowledge of the past. I don't believe this is the case with NAB. NAB history has repeated itself several times since my first one and I believe it is about to repeat itself again. Hopefully what I'm babbling about will become clearer in this post or a follow-up.

OK here we go. Pop Quiz (BTW I don't know the answer with 100% certainty, but I have an email in to the research staff at NAB):

Q: Besides Japanese camera/VTR manufacturers which video equipment exhibitors had the 10 largest booths at NAB in 1987?

I'm pretty confident that Ampex was in the top 10. And Grass Valley Group (can't remember if they shared a booth with Tektronix or not that year) is probably another safe bet. Rather than speculate right now on the remaining 8 (I have a pretty good idea on at least 3-4 more), Hopefully the good folks at NAB will get reply to my request and I can share my history hypothesis based on facts and not speculation.

Stay tuned for Episode 2...

12:26 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 14, 2006

The World of Color

The release of AE7 introduced 32-bit color support (HDR) and our initial foray into color management. Whether you are an HDR veteran, or an HDR "babe-in-the-woods" (another bizarre phrase I use and have no idea where it came from) like me, you'll want to check out the article John Montgomery wrote and his podcast interview with Stu Maschwitz over on

While the After Effects documentation provides info about what the HDR features are and what they do, they don't really address the features from a workflow perspective or talk about the "gotchas" you may encounter. The post on fxguide and podcast fill that gap well.

As an aside I guess this is a good opportunity to open the door for constructive feedback on how we can improve our instructional content (user guide, help, Resource Center on, etc...).

Speaking of the Adobe Resource Center, in the tutorials section, you'll find tips and tutorials on a wide range of topics related to Adobe products. You can find a HDR Tutorial there that is worth taking a gander (another archaic term) at.

2:32 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 9, 2006

Express Yourself

You know how one thing leads to another...

I wanted to spend some time boning up (ever wonder where that term comes from?) on the competition and somehow I wound up at Digital Tutors Web site which was a new discovery in itself for me, and I saw they offered free (well almost free if you don't consider watching a commercial before the content a price to pay) tutorial videos on After Effects.

Not to repeat an earlier blog entry, but expressions is one of the most powerful features in After Effects that gets underutilized because of its mathematical and programmatic nature. I thought their expressions tutorial movie, on using expression controls to create a single location to modify effects applied to multiple layers was a excellent example of tapping into the power of expressions without having to understand javascript.

Even though the tutorial was created using an earlier version of After Effects, the principles are still relevant in AE7 and the good news is that in After Effects 7.0 we added a feature so that you can now rename your layer and effect controllers after you've created the expression and the expression will auto-update (so if you are using AE7, you can ignore the part of the movie where the expression breaks).

Note: I haven't checked out their other free tutorials or their commercial products, so please don't take this as endorsement for Digital Tutors, but the expression tutorial was a good one.

5:35 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 7, 2006

Online Community in Latin America

I received an email from Adolfo Rozenfeld a long time After Effects user in Argentina. He told me about an online resource for Latin America (or in reality for anyone conversant in Spanish) Dotzero. Thanks, Adolfo!

Sadly my Spanish has gotten rusty over the years from lack of use, but Babelfish did a decent job of translating the articles I read.

While on the topic of Spanish, After Effects 7.0 was localized for the first time in Spanish (and Italian) this cycle.

11:43 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 5, 2006

Sharing from Trish & Chris

There are quite a few After Effects users who generously share their knowledge and talents to help others get the most out of After Effects and expose us to cool techniques and creative ideas. Trish and Chris Meyer have been using AE from the very beginning and going as far back as the old CoSA forum on AOL have been contributing to the AE community. Their Web site has comprehensive library of articles and tutorials. While some of them were written several years ago, most of the topics and techniques are timeless and still relevant today.

10:01 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

March 3, 2006

It's Jerry Time

I'm not a very good artist, but collage was the one art form that I didn't manage to suck at and I've always been drawn to collages, ransom notes, and motion graphics that have a collage look to them. If you like this type of animation, check out It's Jerry Time. The animation is created using After Effects by Orrin Zucker who is also the person behind the TVFX series of royalty free stock footage.

P.S. I found the episodes funny as well!

6:12 PM | Permalink | No Comments