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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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After Effects Apprentice: Expressions

Our latest video training course on lynda.com is a gentle introduction to one of the most powerful yet underused features in After Effects

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 30, 2011

As we mentioned earlier, we're in the process of recording our book After Effects Apprentice as a series of training videos, where you get to look over our shoulders and hear what we're thinking as we work through each lesson. Our latest installment is on the subject of Expressions: The ability to define how a parameter animates using instructions such as "wiggle" compared to explicitly keyframing every value. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 33 - Paint and Clone

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 33 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 24, 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 offers a basic set of non-destructive vector-based paint tools for painting on, cloning, and erasing portions of layers. In this chapter in CMG, we explore using these Paint tools, covering the fundamentals of each operation by running through a series of easy exercises. We also explore the various methods for animating strokes, and walk you step by step through automating a repair task using motion tracking and expressions. Along the way we also present tips for incorporating other effects with Paint, as well as saving custom brushes and clone presets. Although AE's Paint tools are nowhere near as evolved as Photoshop's, they are still useful for repair-oriented tasks such as cloning and fixing alpha channels, and their animation capabilities are fun. Here we'd like to share a few shortcuts, gotchas, and ideas to help improve you experience with this section of the program. Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: What Could Go Wrong?

Just because there is more than way of doing something, doesn't mean all choices are equal.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 18, 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 a selection of 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 one takes a slightly different approach: Rather than just show the right way to do something, Trish shows you what can go wrong if you do things the wrong way. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 32 - Shape Layers

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 32 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 17, 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 our favorite recent additions to After Effects has been Shape layers: The ability to create vector-based artwork using the Pen tool or a variety of common starting points such as rectangles, ellipses, and polygons. A nice assortment of parameters and shape effects allow you to create quite complex results with relatively little effort. And as is the case with the rest of After Effects, virtually everything can be animated. Here are but a few tips of how to create and control shape layers. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 31 - mocha and mocha shape

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 31 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 10, 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 this final chapter on motion tracking, we explore using the planer tracking system mocha from Imagineer Systems, which is bundled free with After Effects. After walking through the steps required to perform a typical corner pin track, we turn our attention to creating "shapes" (mattes defined using spline tools) that are linked to tracks, and bring the result into After Effects to use for targeted processing. As mocha is a stand-along application with its own very different user interface, those unfamiliar with mocha can find it intimidating. However, we feel working through the simple exercises we created for you in CMG5 will get you a good distance down the road to feeling more comfortable with it. Imagineer also has a lot of tutorials available on their web site. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 30 - Motion Tracking

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 30 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | July 05, 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 is the second of three chapters in CMG5 focus on the tools available in After Effects CS5 for motion tracking and stabilization, including the bundled 3rd party tools mocha and mocha shape. As the built-in tracker and stabilizer share many of the same tools, in the previous chapter on Motion Stabilization we covered the concepts and user interface elements that were common to both of them. In this chapter, we discuss the additional features required to make one layer follow a feature in another layer. Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Building a Comp Hierarchy Designed to Accommodate Changes

If you have an object that's being used more than once, sometimes it's best to give it its own "precomp" to live in.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 30, 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 a selection of 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 one tries to get some users over their hang-up about trying to keep all of their layers in one composition by showing how much easier it can be to accommodate client changes by strategically placing repeated elements in their own source composition. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 29 - Motion Stabilization

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 29 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 25, 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.The next three chapters in CMG5 focus on the tools available in After Effects CS5 for motion tracking and stabilization, including the bundled 3rd party tools mocha and mocha shape. As the built-in tracker and stabilizer share many of the same tools, in this first chapter on Motion Stabilization we also cover concepts that are common to both of them.After Effects CS5.5 introduced a brand-new Warp Stabilizer which replaces the traditional motion stabilizer for many tasks. For those who have upgraded from CS5 to CS5.5, we give an overview of the Warp Stabilizer here, and then demonstrate how to put it to use here. Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Non-Uniform Scale Issues with Parenting

A weird issue that can crop up while parenting - and how to fix it using null objects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 21, 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 a selection of 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 one explains an obscure bug visual anomaly that can appear when parenting one layer to another that has been scaled differently in the X and Y dimensions. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 28 - Frame Rate Manipulation

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 28 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 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.Sometimes you need a captured movie to play back more quickly, more slowly, or backward, or to stop altogether. After Effects has options to Time Stretch a clip, which gives it a new constant speed, or Time Remap it, which allows the speed to change over time. Both of these options are covered in detail in Chapter 28. If you manipulate the frame rate and end up with staggered motion compared with the original clip, we also discuss Frame Blending which can help smooth out the result. Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Overview of Per-character 3D Text

The difference between 2D text, and animating each character in 3D (well, 2.5D) space.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 14, 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 a selection of 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 one explains the added control you get when you add the Per-character 3D characteristic to a text animation. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 27 - Keying

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 27 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 10, 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 offers a large variety of keying plug-ins that are designed to isolate a particular color or luminance range in an image, and convert those areas to transparency. In many cases, you can ignore most of them as relics from AE's early days, and focus just on Keylight from The Foundry: a popular industrial-strength keyer bundled free with After Effects (even the trial version, as of CS5.5). That said, some of the other keyers have worthwhile specialized uses. And Chapter 27 in CMG5 also covers related topics such as edge blending and color correction. We're going to focus primarily on those fringe issues here, and leave the in-depth tutorials to the book. Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: The “Cascade” Type Animation Recipe

Getting multiple characters to transition smoothly requires diving deep into a text animator's parameters.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 07, 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 a selection of 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 one is for those who have been trying to create their own type animations, but have trouble getting After Effects to animate more than one character at a time. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 26 - Color Management

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 26 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 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.If you've ever noticed that a video played back on television looks different when played back on a computer, wondered why your photos don't look the way you remembered them, or mused how colors on video look different than they do on film, you've experienced issues related to color management. Photoshop users and print professionals take color management for granted as a necessity in their line of work; conversely, very few video professionals are even aware of the issue - and virtually no video content creation programs take it into account. After Effects is a shining exception.For those new to the subject, and without a copy of CMG5, we gave a brief overview in this free article on Color Management in AE CS3 on Artbeats.com. Color Management has evolved since then; CMG5 covers it as of After Effects CS5 (there were no substantive changes in AE CS5.5). CMG5 also discuss the related subjects of working in a linear working space (also known as 1.0 gamma), floating point (including high dynamic range imagery), and Cineon (a logarithmic color space that is common for film work). Below are a few tips from this chapter: Read More

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After Effects Apprentice: Parenting

Our latest video training course on lynda.com demonstrates how to group and coordinate layers. Plus, we rescue a bonus movie from the cutting room floor...

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 30, 2011

As we mentioned earlier, we're in the process of recording our book After Effects Apprentice as a series of training videos, where you get to look over our shoulders and hear what we're thinking as we work through each lesson. Our latest installment is on the subject of Parenting. Parenting is a way to group multiple layers within the same composition inside After Effects. In this lesson, Chris shows how to set up a parenting chain, discusses what makes a good parent, and demonstrates several techniques using Parenting such as creating a title animation with a minimum number of keyframes, building a geometric construct, and bringing an anthropomorphic robot arm to life. Sidebar topics include avoiding a scaling gotcha with parenting, and creating abstract backgrounds using the Fractal Noise effect. Read More

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Using Audition with After Effects

Some workflow tips for the motion graphics artist looking to also improve their sound.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 27, 2011

As you can see from recent articles on PVC, Adobe is anxious to make you aware that they have made their audio editing application Audition available for the Mac as well as Windows, and bundled it into the Production Premium and Master Collection suites.While their focus is on showing editors how to take advantage of Audition, our orientation is motion graphics and visual effects - therefore, we're personally more interested in integration with After Effects. Although nowhere near as robust as Audition's integration with Premiere Pro, there are still some nice synergies to be had. That's why as part of our New Creative Techniques videos we created for After Effects CS5.5, we included two on using Audition with After Effects - both for absolute newbies looking to add some audio special effects to those wanting to dive a little deeper and improve their voiceovers. In case you missed them as part of our After Effects CS5.5 review, here they are again for your viewing pleasure: Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 25 - Presets and Variations

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 25 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 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.If you can copy and paste it, you can save it: That is the philosophy behind Animation Presets. Presets allow you to save static values or keyframed animations for text, masks, effects, layer styles, and transformations. These presets are saved to individual files on disk and presented in the Effects & Presets panel for later application to any layer in any project. You can later edit these values to suit their new application.In addition to being able to create your own presets, Adobe provides hundreds of factory presets that include effects, text, and shapes. These include one of favorite presets, Behaviors; these allow you to animate layers without applying keyframes or expressions. This chapter also explores Brainstorm, which allows you to select any combination of effects, keyframes, and parameters and have After Effects automatically generate variations for you to check out. Below are a few tips from this chapter: Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 24 - Compound Effects

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Chapter 24 of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 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.A compound effect is one that looks at a second layer to decide exactly how to treat the layer it is applied to. Examples of these vary from Compound Blur and its brethren, which can selectively blur one layer based on the varying luminance values of another, to Texturize, which is great for simulating those embossed station identity bugs most networks use these days, among other things.Before we get into hidden gems on using Compound Effects, first we need to understand what is going on underneath the hood: Read More

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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Managing Audio Levels

Audio doesn't work like other parameters...

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 17, 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 a selection of 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 one is for those new to handling audio, and wondering how to best control its level. Read More

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CMG Hidden Gems: Effects Roundup Bonus

A handful of videos on some general concepts and specific effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | May 13, 2011

Last week's installment of Hidden Gems on effects was so well received, we decided to break out of our normal one-chapter-a-week rhythm this week, and instead provide some more resources on using effects. A couple of years ago, we started a course on lynda.com dedicated to sharing insights into some of our favorite effects, also based on Bonus Chapter 23 from our book Creating Motion Graphics. After adding 46 movies on general concepts plus specific effects, we had to set the concept aside; we hope to revisit some time in the future. In the meantime, several of those movies are available for free. We'd like to share those with you here. Read More

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