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CMG Keyframes

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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Using After Effects as an Advanced Titler for Premiere Pro

Tight integration allows you to use one to extend the feature set of the other.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | November 11, 2011

Footage from the Artbeats Portraits - Adults HD collection

 

Adobe Premiere Pro has a robust titler built in, including the ability to create title rolls and crawls. However, Adobe After Effects has even more advanced tools, including hundreds of Animation Presets for type, Shape Layers to build additional graphic elements such as lower third bars, and a combination of Layer Styles and Effects to further enhance the final look. If you have either the Production Premium or Master Collection suites, Premiere Pro and After Effects can talk to each other using Adobe Dynamic Link, which makes this process more fluid. In this article below I'll explain the general process of using After Effects to create refined lower thirds for Premiere Pro, and then on the next page is a series of short videos that walk through the actual process (including some design ideas in After Effects).{C} Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Creating an Orbit Camera Rig

Techniques to make your camera move in a perfect arc.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | November 08, 2011

As we mentioned earlier, we've been busy this year creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. Each course has two or more movies that are free for all to view; we're re-posting those videos here on PVC to make sure you don't miss them. This movie demonstrates how to build an orbit camera rig in After Effects, both manually and by using the new menu command added in AE CS5.5. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 45 - What’s Your Preference?

A final selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 45 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | November 03, 2011

This is the final installment of us going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. (Is a celebration in order?)After Effects features a variety of settings that control importing files, opening multiple compositions, previewing audio, the appearance and interactivity of the program, plus numerous other details. In this final chapter of CMG5, we go through each of the 14 individual Preference panes, giving an overview of what these settings mean and what they do and highlighting those settings that we find aid our efficiency. Here are but a few of those tips. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 44 - Prerendering and Proxies

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 44 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | October 28, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.One of After Effects' strengths is that you don't have to prerender anything:?All of your sources, layers, and manipulations are "live" all the time, allowing you to make unlimited changes. However, calculating everything all the time can slow down both your work and your final render. In chapter 44 of CMG5, we explain how prerendering complex comps can speed up your workflow, and provide an example for you to work through. Here we'll share both some background information and specific tips from that chapter. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 43 - Advanced Rendering

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 43 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | October 21, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.Chapter 43 of CMG5 is not just about network and scripted rendering (subjects we leave to the book rather than this column here), but also about a set of very useful project management commands found under the File menu inside After Effects. These utilities can help clean up your project by removing duplicate or unused sources, strip out everything except what is needed for selected comps so you can pass a portion of your project onto another artist, collect all of your source footage to one folder for backup or transport, or even enlist the aid of multiple copies of After Effects to help you render a particularly intensive comp. We'll share a few of those utilities here. Read More

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Adobe MAX 2011 Technology Sneak Peeks

What's cooking in the lab (and apparently close enough to tease us with).

By Chris and Trish Meyer | October 17, 2011

Adobe's big annual MAX conference finished a couple of weeks ago, and as part of it they included a series of technology sneak peeks. I've gone through the videos posted on AdobeTV and pulled out the ones of most interest to us video folks: Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 42 - Render Queue

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 42 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | October 16, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.To create a movie or still image from your animations and arrangements, you have to render a file. After Effects is very flexible in allowing you to set up and override certain parameters when you render, as well as to create multiple files with different aspect ratios and file formats from the same render pass. You can also create and save templates of these render and output settings. In Chapter 42 of CMG5 we reveal the internal render procedure as well as discuss each option in the Render Settings and Output Module dialogs; we'll share a few of those gems here. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 41 - Video Issues

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 41 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | October 06, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.There are a number of nonintuitive technical issues - including interlaced fields, frame rates, frame sizes, pixel aspect ratios, safe image areas, and color spaces - that differentiate video from images destined to be displayed on a computer. You can't just ignore them; they must be handled properly to ensure your final work appears on television as you intended - otherwise your final image may be mangled (not to mention your relationship with your client). Chapter 41 of CMG5 contains an overview of many of those topic; we'll share a few gems here. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 40B - 3D Channel Effects

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Bonus Chapter 40B of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | October 02, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.After Effects includes a set of 3D Channel effects, which take advantage of additional information embedded in files rendered from certain 3D programs. Since relatively few users have occasion to employ these, we covered them in a Bonus Chapter on the DVD-ROM that comes with CMG5 - including some of the naming and file format conventions you need to follow to make sure After Effects can import all of the available information. As not all 3D programs embed this information in their render, where practical we also provided alternative workflows that replicate the end result of these effects with files you should be able to generate from almost any 3D program. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 40 - Integrating with 3D Applications

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 40 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 23, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.Real 3D programs have several advantages over After Effects: For example, their objects have real depth, and the texturing and lighting options are far more advanced. However, After Effects is the better tool in which to refine the final look of your 3D renders, as well as composite other elements on top of them. Offloading portions of the work from your 3D program to After Effects will save time while giving you more power and flexibility - but it requires some planning to set up.In this chapter in CMG, we give advice on how to successfully integrate your 3D program with After Effects. Unfortunately, there is no one universal file format to bring information from a 3D application into After Effects, so in the book we focus on using Maxon Cinema 4D as it currently has the tightest integration with After Effects, plus is the 3D program we personally use. However, many of the concepts we cover are universal and can be applied to other programs as well. A few of the more universal tips from that chapter are included here. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 39 - Integration 101

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 39 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 18, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.For many motion graphics artists, After Effects serves as their hub where they bring in content from multiple sources (such as 3D applications), enhance it, and then send it out to multiple destinations (such as web pages or editing systems). Therefore, it has to handle a multitude of file and application formats. The previous chapter focused on file-level issues; this chapter primarily discusses higher-level issues of dealing with different programs - although exchange file formats inevitably creep into the mix as well. Here's a few tips and hidden gems from that chapter. Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Multiple Playback Speeds

A simple speed-shift trick to reuse a single element multiple times, and make each instance appear different.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 13, 2011

As we mentioned earlier, we've been busy this year creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. Each course has two or more movies that are free for all to view; we're re-posting those videos here on PVC to make sure you don't miss them. This particular movie demonstrates how to use the well-hidden Stretch parameter for a layer to create multiple variations of a common element inside the same final composition. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 38 - Import and Interpret

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 38 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 11, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.This reference chapter discusses specific issues regarding importing different types of footage items - as well as entire projects - into After Effects. We cover all the options in the Interpret Footage dialog, including the differences between straight and premultiplied alpha channels, as well as how best to import still images, sequences, and Photoshop and Illustrator layers files. Here are a few select tips from that chapter. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 37B and 37C - Expressions and Scripting Bonus Chapters

This time, a collection of resources on expressions and scripting - including a PDF of Bonus Chapter 37C on scripting.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 02, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.In addition to the book's introductory chapter on expressions that we covered last week, the dual-layer DVD-ROM that comes with CMG5 includes bonus chapters on both expressions and scripting. Rather than try to boil down nearly 70 pages of PDFs into our customary handful of gems, this week we thought we'd share a set of resources on scripting and expressions - including Bonus Chapter 37C itself, written by Dan Ebberts of MotionScript.com. Read More

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Coke Classic: Final Cut Studio is Back

You can still buy seats of the pre-X version - but what does that get you?

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 01, 2011

As has been reported and confirmed by multiple sources, you can once again buy Final Cut Studio. You won't find it (yet?) in the physical or online Apple stores; you have to call 1-800-MY-APPLE, ask for part number MB642Z/A, and pay $999 ($899 educational).Great. So? When FCP-X came out, some tried to placate the naysayers by reminding them that the new version wasn't compulsory; they could just continue to use the previous version - it's not like their licenses had been taken away. The reply was yeah, but we'll eventually need updates and support as hardware and the OS change - why continue to invest effort into a dead product? And unless Apple is about the announce the biggest mea culpa since Avid said they were abandoning the Mac (or Coke quietly took New Coke off the shelves), that part hasn't changed, regardless of whether you can buy additional copies or not. With Apple's professional video division focused on the numerous fixes enhancements that have been requested and promised for FCP-X, I just don't see them launching a parallel development effort to update FCS as well. (Let me know if you've seen job postings for Apple that indicates otherwise.)What this move probably reflects was that some large customers weren't going to switch to FCP-X just yet, and in the meantime needed additional licensed copies. And more importantly, it shows that Apple listened, and reacted. And that's something.

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 37 - Expressions

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 37 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | August 27, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.Creating expressions - the ability to tell one parameter to follow another, stay at a constant value, or create new values as the result of ingenious calculations - is one of the most powerful features in After Effects. For many, it is also one of the most daunting:?To get the most out of it, you have to deal with math and what looks suspiciously like computer programming. But it's not that bad!?In this chapter of CMG5, we show you how to make expressions work for you with minimal effort; here are a few choice tips culled from that chapter. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 36B - Audio Effects

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Bonus Chapter 36B of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | August 18, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.After Effects comes with several audio processing effects located inside the menu Effect > Audio. We discussed the basics of audio plus the Stereo Mixer effect in the book's Chapter 36; in the Bonus Chapter we discuss some of the other effects, including how they work as well as some suggested applications for their use. Our personal bias is more toward audio "sweetening" than special effects creation, and that is our focus in the bonus chapter on the book's DVD, and in the tips we share here. Of course, the effects available in a dedicated program such as Adobe Audition are far more capable than the rudimentary ones included inside After Effects, but surprisingly often the After Effects versions are all you need to perform simple enhancements. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 36 - Working With Audio

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 36 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | August 12, 2011

We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be aware of.After Effects has never made audio one of its strong points. If you need to seriously rework a soundtrack, do it in a dedicated audio program (such as Adobe Audition, which is now part of the Production Premium suite as of CS5.5). But if you just need to edit, mix, and do some basic improvement or "sweetening" to your sound track, After Effects already has the tools you need. In this installment, we'll share some tips on working with audio; in the next installment, we'll cover audio effects. Read More

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NVIDIA Optix

A joint Adobe-NVIDIA research project demonstrating accelerated ray-traced 3D.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | August 09, 2011

At this week's SIGGRAPH convention in Vancouver, Adobe and NVIDIA are giving a technology presentation of ray-traced extruded text and shapes inside a "motion graphics environment" (you can read for yourself what the menu bar says; before getting too excited, note this is a technology prototype and not an announced or released product). Obviously, there are a lot of questions left unanswered at this point in time - but as we've seen in the past, a lot of other Adobe technology demos eventually become products; fingers crossed that this is the case here. Read More

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Upgrading to After Effects CS5.5?

A quick review of what's changed in recent versions

By Chris and Trish Meyer | August 09, 2011

As Adobe and their various vendors have been offering a variety of discounts and incentives this year (as well as floating the idea that you'll need to own at least CS5 to get discounted upgrade pricing on the next Creative Suite), we're guessing a lot of After Effects users who have been getting by with older versions may be thinking about upgrading. To help inform your potential upgrade decision and ease the subsequent transition, we thought it would be helpful to round up some resources - many free; some costing just a nominal sum - that explain what's changed between versions. In addition to links to relevant articles and reviews, we're including a selection of free videos from relevant courses on lynda.com (if you have trouble playing any of them, reload the page); if you don't already have a subscription to watch the rest of the courses, click through this link to get a 7 day free pass to evaluate these courses and others as part of your potential new subscription.We're going to assume you have at least After Effects CS3, which was released in 2007. We'll give an overview of major changes in CS4, CS5, and CS5.5 in each of these three pages. Read More

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