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by Chris and Trish Meyer

Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, HBO, PBS, and TLC; in opening titles for several movies including Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley; at trade shows and press events for corporate clients ranging from Apple to Xerox; and in special venues encompassing IMAX, CircleVision, the NBC AstroVision sign in Times Square, and the four-block-long Fremont...

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More on Vignettes

More on Vignettes

A simple, often-overlooked technique to add sophistication to your graphics.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | February 28, 2013

Earlier this week, we posted a video on using 3D lights in After Effects to enhance a scene. One of the main reasons for doing so was to add a vignette, where the edges of the frame were darkened, and the center of the frame - where the main action occurred and the main title appeared - was brightened. It’s not as sexy as blowing something up, but it is an effective, more subtle way to help focus the viewer’s attention on the area we wanted, and not have them unduly distracted by non-essential action happening in the background.

A few years ago, we created an entire video course dedicated to different ways of creating vignettes. Among the techniques demonstrated were:

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Adding 3D Lighting to a Scene

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Adding 3D Lighting to a Scene

Enhancing a simple scene through the addition of 3D lighting.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | February 24, 2013

As we mentioned earlier, we’re sharing the free movies from our latest video course that demonstrates creating an opening title from scratch. We were pleased with our initial results, but felt it was looking a touch flat. This movie demonstrates how we used a single 3D light to enhance the scene and focus the viewer’s attention.

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Free Webinar: Two Decades of After Effects

Free Webinar: Two Decades of After Effects

War stories from the start of the desktop motion graphics industry.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | February 20, 2013

We’ve been desktop video users since December 1991 when QuickTime 1.0 and the first version of Adobe Premiere shipped. At the time, the results were mostly heavily compressed, low frame rate, postage stamp sized video, but we had faith it would scale up. In late 1992, we started beta... Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Creating Wiggly Lines

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Creating Wiggly Lines

Exploiting a few tricks with Shape Layers to create and animate faux vital signs displays.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | February 17, 2013

As we mentioned last week, we’re sharing the free movies from our latest video course that walks through creating an opening title (and more) for a medical-themed television special. As part of this, we wanted to create a series of vital signs traces to use as graphical elements in the background. However, we didn’t want to go through the trouble of tracing a real vital signs chart. In this movie, we show how to exploit the capabilities of After Effects’ under-used Shape Layers to create and animate similar-looking traces with minimal effort.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Roughing Out a Camera Move

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Roughing Out a Camera Move

Starting with initial poses, then separating the camera’s dimensions to craft a smooth move inbetween.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | February 09, 2013

In each edition of our book After Effects Apprentice, the last chapter is a project that brings together skills learned throughout the book, applied to a real-world scenario such as creating a show opening title. For the third edition of our book, we chose the example of creating an open (plus lower thirds and more) for a medical special, with particular emphasis on the technical and design process we go through when building something from scratch to a client’s specifications. The video training version of this chapter has recently been released on Lynda.com, and we want to share the free movies that are available from it.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Adjusting Roto Brush’s Propagation Settings

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Adjusting Roto Brush’s Propagation Settings

With the After Effects Roto Brush, some assembly is required.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 13, 2013

Does it drive you crazy to see somebody use something the wrong way, then declare it doesn’t work? That’s how I feel about the Roto Brush tool introduced in After Effects CS5. This semi-automated tool helps you separate the foreground (i.e. an actor) from a complex background (i.e. not greenscreen) - “all” you have to do is make a couple quick brush strokes defining where those areas are. Well, not exactly. But when you follow the correct process, it can work rather well, and save you a lot of time in the process.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Converting a Comp to Ray Tracing

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Converting a Comp to Ray Tracing

What do you gain; what do you give up?

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 10, 2013

One of the major additions to After Effects CS6 was the introduction of a new ray-traced 3D rendering engine. This allowed 3D text to have actual thickness (extrusions and beveling), and added transparency and reflectivity parameters to the Material Options list for all 3D layers with the ray-traced rendering engine is selected for a comp. However, choosing this engine over the "classic" (formerly known as "advanced") 3D renderer also takes away several features, including the use of blending modes and track mattes.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Bending Layers in AE CS6

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Bending Layers in AE CS6

You cannot extrude and bevel still and movie layers in CS6, but you can bend them.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 06, 2013

One of the Apprentice video lessons that received the largest overhaul was AEA11: 3D Space. In CS6, After Effects got its own ray-traced 3D rendering engine, which brought new ways you could treat 3D layers - as well as a few quirky limitations. In this movie, we dive into one of those quirks: Bending layers.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Depth of Field Blur

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Depth of Field Blur

Reviewing this underused feature which got a major update in CS5.5.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | January 02, 2013

As we mentioned recently, we've been updating our After Effects Apprentice video courses to reflect changes in the third edition of the book, and in particular new and enhanced features introduced in recent versions. One such feature is Depth of Field blur for 3D cameras in After Effects. AE has supported this feature for years, but few have used it as it was slow and had poor quality to boot. In After Effects CS5.5, this feature finally received a much-needed overhaul: It's faster, it looks much better, has many new parameters to control the look of the blur, and also received some handy utilities accessed through the Layer menu which make it easier to tie the focal plane to target layers. These are all demonstrated in the movie below:

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48 fps: A Bridge Too Near?

48 fps: A Bridge Too Near?

Is HFR too realistic to tell a story?

By Chris and Trish Meyer | December 20, 2012

Filmmaker Peter Jackson has recently performed a very public experiment in releasing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 48 frames per second (also known as "HFR" for High Frame Rate). Some movie lovers, members of the press, and even other filmmakers have unfortunately deemed it a... Read More

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Made with After Effects

Made with After Effects

Enter this competition; win prizes and be part of our live webcast.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | December 18, 2012

We are happy to announce that for the third year in a row, we will be working with the folks from motion for their annual Made with After Effects show. Upload a piece up to 3 minutes long that heavily involved After Effects in creation, and you will have a chance to win prizes and get... Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Spotting Dialog

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Spotting Dialog

...including creating layer markers with duration indicators.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | December 14, 2012

As we mentioned recently, we've been updating our After Effects Apprentice video courses to reflect changes in the third edition of the book. One shortcoming of previous editions of the book that we corrected with this version is to give audio better coverage, including a new exercise on mixing music and dialog together. In this movie, we demonstrate spotting individual phrases in dialog that we might want to highlight or base our animation around, and mark them including noting their duration (in contrast to spotting music, where we tend to mark just percussive instances in time). 

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Introduction to Variable Mask Feathering

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Introduction to Variable Mask Feathering

Getting up to speed with this long-requested feature, added in CS6.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | December 06, 2012

As we mentioned recently, we've been updating our After Effects Apprentice video courses to reflect changes in the third edition of the book, and in particular new and enhanced features introduced in recent versions such as After Effects CS6. In this movie, we give a quick start on using the new Mask Feather tool added in CS6. We start by showing the old way of feathering a mask, discuss changes in the Pen tools between CS5.5 and CS6, and then show you how to add Mask Feather points to an existing mask path.

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Updates to the After Effects Apprentice Video Courses

Updates to the After Effects Apprentice Video Courses

We’ve been bringing everything up to date for AE CS6.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | December 04, 2012

I apologize for the commercial nature of this post, but I’ll try to make it up to you at the end. First, the back story:

As many of you know, roughly two years ago we set about creating video courses that went along with our After Effects Apprentice book. At the time,... Read More

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Let’s Be Safe Out There

Let’s Be Safe Out There

Some are playing with fire - and getting burned - when it comes to dealing with safe areas.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | December 03, 2012

If you create content for television, it’s useful to get out of the house and see how others are actually viewing it. For example, we have all 16:9 HDTV sets and signals here, but on a recent road trip I saw far more 4:3 TV than I was expecting - as well as a lot of improperly-prepared content being chopped off as a result. Let’s walk through some of these very real-world issues.

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What’s new in After Effects Apprentice, 3rd Edition

We have a new book aimed at those just learning After Effects, or who need a refresher course on the latest versions.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 14, 2012

The 3rd edition of our book After Effects Apprentice ("AEA3" for short) is now available, and we're really happy with how it turned out. We've included PDF excerpts from several of the lessons on our web site. Many of the exercises will be familiar to teachers and owners of... Read More

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Adobe Hardware Performance White Paper

Tips to configure or upgrade a workstation for their main video software.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 18, 2012

One of the early advantages of desktop video production software over dedicated hardware was that it could run on "any" computer. As tasks became more demanding (multiple streams of 4k video, anyone?), and computers become more capable (4 gigabyte drive modules used to be considered huge; now that's a minimum RAM configuration), configuring desktop computers to get the most out of this software became more of a black art. Recent advances in using graphics processing units (GPUs) on video cards for tasks beyond faster interactive gaming have only upped the ante.

Against this backdrop, Adobe has made available a "white paper" with background information and suggestions on configuring workstations to get the most out of the CS6 and CC versions of Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, SpeedGrade, and Photoshop Extended. This document is not aimed at those already proficient at customizing their computers to wring the most out of them; instead, it is aimed at artists who are more likely to buy an already-built system, and needs advice on what options to order or what upgrades to plug in to either a new or already-existing system. The emphasis is placed on workstations, as they have the most expansion options, although laptops and all-in-ones are also discussed. Windows and Mac OS are covered equally.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Rendering a 4:3 Center Cut Movie from a 16:9 Composition

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Rendering a 4:3 Center Cut Movie from a 16:9 Composition

...plus an update on what's next for the Apprentice series.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 21, 2012

As we mentioned what now seems like ages ago, we spent a year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. The introduction plus one or more additional videos from each course are available for free preview; we re-posted here on PVC the videos that contain tips and instruction you might find useful. Well, the series is done, and we're off writing the next edition of the book. But before we go, we had one last video to share with you, which may be of interest to any After Effects user who still has to create both 16:9 and 4:3 versions of their compositions.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Using Parenting to Animate Layers as a Unit

After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Using Parenting to Animate Layers as a Unit

Taking advantage of parenting, multiple 3D views, and AE's built-in calculator to coordinate a multi-layer animation.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 15, 2012

As we mentioned awhile back, we've been busy the past year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. Buried in the shuffle of the release of After Effects CS6 is that we concluded this series with a 3+ hour course dedicated to that book's Final Project. Several movies from this course are available for free preview from lynda.com; we'd like to share those with you here - including this movie that demonstrates using parenting to group together a set of 3D layers.

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Working with Nested 3D Compositions

How you can be two places at once inside After Effects

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 07, 2012

As we mentioned awhile back, we've been busy the past year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. Buried in the shuffle of the release of After Effects CS6 is that we concluded this series with a 3+ hour course dedicated to that book's Final Project. Several movies from this course are available for free preview from lynda.com; we'd like to share those with you here - including this movie that includes a selection of small but useful tricks.

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