November 29, 2006
Collaborating with Clients
Back in the old days of "client supervised" post production. Getting feedback from clients was immediate. I was intrigued sitting in edit sessions observing clients having editors trimming frames here and there (when you only have 900 frames to work with I guess you need to make everyone count), or making color tweaks (I had no idea there were so many shades of blue).
Today, if I had to guess, I'd say more work is completed with the client being remote as opposed to being physically present. I can to imagine that this was very liberating for content creators as it changed the relationship from supervisory, to review and approve via messengered media and/or quicktimes posted on web sites with clients emailing or sending notes back on desired changes.
For many this is still the way client reviews are managed. I'm not one to toss around superlatives, or used the terms innovative or revolutionary casually, but Premiere Pro introduced a capability called Clip Notes that I think at a minimum is innovative and arguably could be stated that it has revolutionized the client review and approval process.
And while I'm on the topic of interacting with clients or colleagues for that matter, I'd be remiss not to mention my favorite new Adobe product (after AE of course): Adobe Acrobat Connect (the product formerly known as Macromedia Breeze). I use it regularly to for real time meetings and web conferencing. Although in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that it has room for improvement when it comes to playing back video from your desktop (which is why Clip Notes is so cool). But for working with others live and getting real time feedback and not having to email, post, or ftp large files it is quite useful.
November 28, 2006
Update for Keylight Available
A free update for Keylight (included with After Effects Pro) is now available here. The update adds several minor feature improvements and bug fixes. More details on the download page. If you are not familiar with the Foundry's Tinder plug-ins, check them out.
November 16, 2006
One from the Vaults: Haiku Setting
Two posts in one day; what's gotten into me? As my friend Mike Goedecke from Belief once told me "creativity (or was it inspiration) comes at all times of the day" (which must be why he doesn't sleep too much). Anyway, more on Belief in a future post.
Just after I hit the publish button on my last post, I recalled the first AE typography animation I saw that mesmerized me. It was a piece called Haiku Setting by Richard Lainhart. Richard created this in the AE4 timeframe (back when text was an effect).
I liked it then and still like it now. It's one of the earliest and a great example of Particle Playground (the most challenging [but rewarding once you do] effect in AE to master) using text as particles. If you are a mere mortal like me then Trapcode Particular might be just the ticket.
Look What I Found on YouTube
I usually only go to YouTube when someone tells me about something I might find interesting or funny. But today I had one of those "ah-ha" moments and said to myself "self, I wonder if people are sharing their motion graphics work on YouTube?"
So I did a search on "motion graphics after effects" and was pleasantly surprised to see how many videos were tagged with these keywords. So how do I decide which one to watch first.
I sorted by ratings and there are quite a few 4 and 4.5 star ratings (but no 5 stars). One video caught my eye. It was rated 4 stars, had over 4,000 ratings, 543,000 views, 1750 comments, and was favorited almost 4,000 times. The piece I am referring to is called Float
Kudos on both the idea and execution. The creator is Steven Watkins and from his Web site was done as part of a university research project (which re-affirms my belief that the best projects don't involve clients, which makes me realize I probably owe an apology to every AE user that's had me as a client).
I've posted many times about my admiration of 3D from 2D motion graphics. I am also an admirer of beautiful examples of typography animation. And this is one I really like.
I look forward to seeing episodes two and three of this project.
November 15, 2006
Chauncy Gardener Syndrome
I like to watch. Motion graphics that is. So I was pysched to discover XPLSV.tv this morning. I'd describe the site as a social networking (had to work that buzz word into my blog) site for motionographers. You can watch, review, rate, and connect with others. Plus (at least for the moment) it is ad-free.
Back to watching...
November 4, 2006
Out of the Dark Ages
A little off-topic, but I've had a major software nirvana experience.
Not to make excuses for not blogging more often (Thanks Steve Wolkoff for the link), but one of the main deterrents for me was the awful Moveable Type interface for creating entries. I thought nothing could have been worse for me than trying to learn/use WordStar in the mid 80's, but I was wrong.
But then I discovered the recently released Adobe Contribute 4. It's changed my blogging life (gratuitous use of formatting). While Contribute is much more than for blog editing, if you are a blogger; it was a snap to connect to my blog server, create and format entries in a WYSIWYG interface and add links. It even has spell checking (although I was amused that 'blog' was not in the dictionary)!
I've just begun to explore the features, but it looks like styles, images, video, and more are easy to add as well. Maybe I'll add a table next time just for grins. Now if I knew what this trackback feature was (off to the help file).
Does this mean, I'll be blogging more frequently? Not necessarily, as my family has limited my time on the computer at home (I got an all-day pass today as its my birthday), but at least it won't be cursing MT while I'm writing any longer.
There are so many outstanding After Effects users that I always struggle whenever I decide to write a blog entry about one. The fact that November is Turkey month here in the U.S. and this motion graphics design company is based in Istanbul, made it seem appropriate to write about Imago and highlight their work.
I especially was impressed with the piece called Demographix which was generated mathematically in AE using expressions and scripting. Very nice.
November 3, 2006
Pimp My Ride
Now that I have your attention...
I've been so focused on seeking out resources for AE users on the far reaches of the Web, that I haven't been paying close attention to what was happening in my own backyard.
The backyard I'm referring to is adobe.com. Until about 6 months ago Adobe.com was lacking in terms of resources and sources of inspiration relative to After Effects and digital video in general. There have been a few noble attempts over the years (shout out to Joe Shepter in particular), but overall we were lacking in this area.
However, things have changed. If you haven't checked out the Customer Stories section in a while, give it another shot. The most recent addition is a story on Premiere, Photoshop, and After Effects usage in Superman Returns.
In addition the Adobe Design Center is full of excellent resources for all creative disciplines.
The Gallery section reinforced my belief that the motion graphics being created in Flash & AE while created using very different methods are getting harder and harder to tell apart.
Kudos to Jen deHaan, Luann Seymour, and the rest of the team for making the Design Center blossom and no longer be something I have to apologize to customers about.
P.S. If you peruse Jen's blog you might even find an interesting tidbit or two about After Effects.