Steve Kilisky's Dynamic Media Blog

December 22, 2006

After Effects 7.0 Studio Techniques

I was just about to shut down my computer at work for the remainder of the year when an email came in informing me that a sample chapter on the "Keys to Compositing" from Mark Christiansen's outstanding visual effects oriented After Effects 7.0 Studio Techniques was available.

Speaking of Mark; you can find his brand new blog here.

OK, now I'm really outta here for the year!

4:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

OT: Giving Thanks

NOTE: This post has nothing to do with After Effects directly. Feel free to ignore if uninterested in my personal history.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you wonder how you got where you are and how things would be different if certain events hadn't occurred. For me my life is more of a series of controlled coincidences than pure serendipity.

As I sit here in my office on the last work day before Adobe's holiday shutdown, that is what's running though my mind. I'm not sure what made me decide to share these thoughts here, other than my blog editing software was open when the thought hit me (maybe it's therapeutic, or maybe I need to network socially), but hopefully I've earned permission to take liberties with my blog once in a while.

Anyhow here are the people who I give thanks to for somehow influencing the career path I have traveled:

Thanks to Bruce Chernak teaching me how to make killer Bloody Mary's and Ramos Fizzes at Perry's.

Thanks to Hana Anki at Perry's for telling me it was time to leave (although not very nicely) the bar business.

Thanks to James Burke for creating the show Connections and thanks to my wife Debra for helping me see the connection and encouraging me to explore the technical side of my brain.

Thank you to KRCB in Rohnert Park for not hiring me, but allowing me to meet someone who exposed me to The Telecommunications Technology Program at Napa Valley College where not only did I learn the frequency of subcarrier to 5 decimal places (3.579545), but also began to develop a taste and appreciation for wine.

Thanks to Gary Vann (back row, far right) for teaching me to thread a 2" Ampex VTR, tweak and encoder, shoot with one of the first Sony Betacam camcorders, "smile and nod", and to see something in me that I didn't see in myself.

Thanks to Jeff Jerome, for opening the door (figuratively) for me at Varitel Video in S.F., Ed Granlund for hiring me and Tim Mundorf for keeping me sane and explaining why people pronounce my last name "Kilinsky" (Tim was a Linguistics major).

Thanks to Stuart Loberg for quitting Cubicomp and getting me an interview there, and thanks to Kelvin Wright for hiring me even though I had I no idea what a config.sys file was.

Thanks to Doug Harrison, the first product manager I ever met and for making me realize that a) marketing is more fun than technical support, and b) think that if he was a product manager, I certainly could be as well (after all, all we do is travel, but people food and drinks and fill out expense reports...).

Thanks again to Kelvin Wright, for turning down the job at Abekas to work at Digital F/X (anyone remember the Composium or Hitchcock?) and getting me the interview at Abekas.

Thanks to Jim Peterson for hiring me at Abekas even though I knew nothing about Digital Disk Recorders or CCIR-601, and to Ed Breault and Rob Carroll for teaching me everything I know about Disk Recorders and CCIR-601.

Thanks to Lance Kelson for encouraging me to get into marketing, to Paul Hansil for giving me my first product management job, to Pete Mountanos for making me a product manager, and to Andy Sheldon, Stuart English, George Uibel, and Steve Lose, for all the memories.

Thanks to Dan Wright and Phil Bennett for not seeing the future of video was in software, and thanks to Tim Myers and Randy Ubillos for finding me at Abekas and for some crazy reason wanting to make Adobe Premiere talk to and Abekas DDR.

Thanks again to Tim Myers for quitting Adobe to work at Macromedia and then KuB

A big thanks to Joyce Chung for hiring me at Adobe even though I didn't know the difference between an ISA and an EISA, and thanks to Bryan Lamkin for giving me the opportunity to join the After Effects team, (and thanks to my wife for giving up sunny CA for moist and gray WA).

And last but not least thanks to the AE team for being such a great team to be a part of, to Adobe for being such a great company to work at, and to all of our users whose passion keeps me energized and in awe of how y'all use After Effects.

Wishing everyone in my past, present, and future a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.

I'll be back in 2007.



3:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Creamy Orange - Extreme 3D

Here's another example of 3D gone wild in After Effects. Creamyorange created Carnival as an experiment to see how 3D AE could be. The piece was created using After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator, plus Digital Anarchy's 3D Assistants.

Mind blowing is all I can say...

P.S. Nick: we'll look into that rendering bug.

1:37 PM | Permalink | No Comments

December 21, 2006

AE or 3D?

I written quite a bit about using AE to create a 3Desque look with 2D elements using AE's 3D compositing capabilities. A while back Chris Zwar posted a link to an amazing animation (be patient it takes a long time to load) he created that took creating 3D from 2D to a new level. When I watched it I had a hard time figuring out was done in AE and what was done in a 3D app, so I emailed him to ask about how he created it.

Here's what he had to say:

" In terms of what was AE 3D- the answer is practically everything. The curtains drawing back at the beginning were a piece of stock footage but everything else was done inside AE. Even the curtains which don't draw back are solids with fractal noise. The bouncing balls were CC spheres (with expressions to squash and bounce them appropriately), the "gun" at the end was a CC cylinder, the wooden blocks which form the rings and the "Challenge" pattern were just 3D solids arranged by expressions, etc etc. The "sets" were a combination of free textures downloaded from Mayang's texture site (first for a Google search on "free textures") and lots of dingbats. Much of it is actually very crude but disguised by dark shadows, depth-of-field and Knoll Lens Flares. I did most of it on my G5 iMac and the render times averaged about 4 minutes per frame, although I  think most of that came down to the Knoll plug-in and multiple light-sources. The entire project was done for the UK production company "Cheerful Scout", and was designed to be screened at the French Museum of Carnivale Art. I'm a huge fan of expressions, and expressions hold everything together. Wherever possible, elements bounce (just a scale expression) to the music, which I split into 3 layers (bass, mids and highs) before converting to keyframes. ...The waiters, for example, were a few small solids with stroked masks held together by parenting, and animated with a pendulum expression. I spent ages trying to come up with a driven-pendulum expression in which the arms would realistically receive power from the body's movements, and the hands from the arms etc, but could never get it to work properly. So in the end I just used a normal pendulum (not driven) and tweaked the settings manually. But I had fun trying - I probably spent most of a Saturday just watching yellow solids bounce around as they moved from right to left while swearing at my "physics for programmers" book... apart from the curtains being drawn apart at the opening, the entire thing was completed inside After Effects. FWIW I don't even own Photoshop.

I hope you'll agree that Chris is extremely talented and is pushing the envelope using After Effects. Thanks for sharing this Chris!

BTW, if you visit his Web site, be sure to check out some cool sample projects he has shared and links to some articles he's written.

4:43 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 17, 2006

MacWorld Toot Toot

After Effects 7.0 was awarded a MacWorld Eddy last week. It is always an honor to be given any award, but it was especially rewarding this year, knowing how hard the team worked on the 7.0 release, and to see After Effects in the same company with YouTube and the Nikon D80 among others. We appreciate the acknowledgement from the editors at MacWorld and hope we can repeat next year when we release the next version of After Effects.

Speaking of MacWorld, I'll be wandering around the show floor and Adobe booth all week, so if you see a Paul Giammatti look-alike (not really, unless all balding men with goatees look like him, but that was what someone told me recently at a winery of all places. I personally think I look more like Kim Wilson and behave more like Jack Black ), I'd love to meet you and hear how you use AE.

Also be sure to check out our latest audio product called Soundbooth or maybe Photoshop CS3 which just released a public beta.

11:26 PM | Permalink

December 9, 2006

7.0.1 Update Now Available

Quck post today. I just wanted to get the word out that an After Effects 7.0.1 Mac or Win update is now available from the Adobe Web site. The download page contains a list of the most signficant changes. I'm glad we were finally able to get to the bottom of the "hiding app bug" on the Mac and fix it.

Also, the title doesn't list English, but it works with all languages. I've put a request in to add "English" to the title. Apologies for the confusion.

2:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

December 4, 2006

Mograph Wiki

I just discovered the Mograph Wiki and it looks like this could be a great resource for all things motion graphics as people discover it and contribute to it.

If you are not familiar with the Wiki concept, here is the Wikipedia Wiki entry. Following up on my last blog entry about a user community sharing ideas and knowledge, the Wiki takes it one step further as it enables a collaborative effort of user generated content. I look forward to finding some time to contribute to the Wiki (although I barely find the time to keep my blog going).

3:36 PM | Permalink | No Comments

December 3, 2006

Aharon's Tuts

I continue to be in awe not only of how passionate AE users are of an ostensibly mature product, but also the vibrancy of the community and how many AE users take the time from their busy work lives to share their experiences and knowledge with others. It is hard to keep up. It's been a while since I've personally had a chance to watch Aharon Rabinowitz's CreativeCOW podcast tutorials, but it looks like he's been busy over the last few months sharing, and based on my previous experience and the feedback he's received on the AE COW Podcast forum, I'll go out on a safe limb and recommend them. If you don't agree that  they are valuable let me (and Aharon know). In particular, I'm curious to watch his Force Motion Blur tutorial, as I'm curious why he chose to use the CC Force MotionBlur effects instead of the Force Motion blur feature in the native Timewarp effect.

Anyway, a public thanks to Aharon for his continued contributions to the AE community.

5:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]