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AE Anecdotes

by ChrisZwar

Chris was born a geek, and was lucky enough to own a Commodore 64 at a time when the number of students at his primary school who owned a computer could be counted on one hand. Upgrading to an Amiga with the onset of the desktop video revolution, Chris began experimenting with digital graphics and animation in his bedroom, and incorporating them into his high-school video productions.

With a keen interest in Film & Television, Chris studied Media Arts at Deakin University in Melbourne. When the faculty bought a brand spanking new Media 100...

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The case of the white t-shirt

The case of the white t-shirt

An assortment of analogies to help understand the video production business

By ChrisZwar | November 24, 2014

In an earlier article I said that when I began my career, I found business issues more difficult to understand than any software or hardware matters.  This article elaborates on some of those issues, and presents several different analogies to help you think about you and your business... Read More

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Growing pains - the desktop video identity crisis

The agony and the angst of beginning a new career with new technology

By ChrisZwar | November 11, 2014

Some of the most confusing aspects of a job have nothing to do with hardware problems or software upgrades.  Everyone using After Effects knows that Video Copilot produce great tutorials, but none of them tell you how to deal with a co-worker who has bad body odor, or what to do if a... Read More

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Z-Depth from 3D After Effects layers

How to generate a z-depth pass from 3D layers in After Effects, without 3rd party plugins

By ChrisZwar | September 19, 2014

I recently posted a video tutorial that demonstrates how to generate a z-depth map from Particular, and then use it to composite multiple layers of Particular together.  This technique opens up a whole range of creative possibilities, and allows extremely complex scenes to be created with... Read More

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Z-Depth compositing with Particular - Part 2

Create z-depth maps in Particular and composite multiple layers together

By ChrisZwar | September 01, 2014

Trapcode’s Particular is probably the most popular 3rd party plugin for After Effects, and amongst its many powerful features is the ability to read a z-depth map.  What it doesn’t have, however, is an obvious way to render out its own z-depth map - but by manually adjusting... Read More

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Z-Depth compositing with Particular - Part 1

Create z-depth maps in Particular and composite multiple layers together

By ChrisZwar | September 01, 2014

Trapcode’s Particular is probably the most popular 3rd party plugin for After Effects, and amongst its many powerful features is the ability to read a z-depth map.  What it doesn’t have, however, is an obvious way to render out its own z-depth map - but by manually adjusting... Read More

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After Effects and Alexa - The Expurgated Version

Log C in After Effects in 3 minutes...

By ChrisZwar | August 08, 2014

OK so you've got some Arri Alexa footage in Log C format, and it looks funny in After Effects.  You don't have time to sit through my 2-part, 40 minute video on the best way to deal with Alexa footage in After Effects, you just want to know the basic details NOW!

So... Read More

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After Effects and Alexa - Part 2

Working with Arri Log C footage in After Effects

By ChrisZwar | August 08, 2014

The Arri Alexa is a hugely popular digital camera, but it records footage in a proprietary Arri colourspace called Log C.  While there are many ways of working with Log C footage in After Effects, none of them are immediately obvious – and if you’re new to log colourspaces then... Read More

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After Effects and Alexa - Part 1

Working with Arri Log C footage in After Effects

By ChrisZwar | August 08, 2014

The Arri Alexa is a hugely popular digital camera, but it records footage in a proprietary Arri colourspace called Log C.  While there are many ways of working with Log C footage in After Effects, none of them are immediately obvious – and if you’re new to log colourspaces then... Read More

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Inventing the non-linear edit suite

How five different products were created from five different philosophies

By ChrisZwar | July 15, 2014

If you're developing a groundbreaking new product, where do you start?  The desktop video revolution was driven by the emergence of non-linear editing systems running on home computers, but adapting them for video production was a gradual process.  The products that were being... Read More

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The Desktop Video Revolution - Part 3

The Desktop Video Revolution - Part 3

How desktop technology revolutionised video production - 2013

By ChrisZwar | June 10, 2014

The video production industry has radically changed over the past 20 years, a period of time that can be called "the desktop video revolution".  As desktop computers evolved to become faster and cheaper, they gradually displaced the traditionally expensive "black boxes" that had governed... Read More

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The Desktop Video Revolution - Part 2

The Desktop Video Revolution - Part 2

How desktop technology revolutionised video production - 1997

By ChrisZwar | June 10, 2014

The video production industry has radically changed over the past 20 years, a period of time that can be called "the desktop video revolution".  As desktop computers evolved to become faster and cheaper, they gradually displaced the traditionally expensive "black boxes" that had governed... Read More

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The Desktop Video Revolution - Part 1

How desktop technology revolutionised video production

By ChrisZwar | June 10, 2014

The video production industry has radically changed over the past 20 years, a period of time that can be called "the desktop video revolution".  As desktop computers evolved to become faster and cheaper, they gradually displaced the traditionally expensive "black boxes" that had governed... Read More

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Wriggle it - just a little bit

Wriggle it - just a little bit

Creating a hand drawn stop motion look in After Effects

By ChrisZwar | May 27, 2014

Hand drawn and stop motion animations have a very distinct look.  Every frame is slightly different, and when played back at full speed those small differences can add visible character and warmth to the end result - think of the Red Bull ads that have run for many years, or the opening... Read More

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Animating the Hand of God

When your hand-drawn animation is literally hand drawn

By ChrisZwar | May 23, 2014

In the film & TV industry, voice-over narration is sometimes referred to as "the voice of god".  So when I was stuck thinking of a way to describe images that are drawn on by an invisible animator, it seemed fitting to refer to the style as "the hand of god".

Having motion... Read More

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Inside the After Effects camera

A technical overview for scripters and expressioneers

By ChrisZwar | May 18, 2014

One of the most powerful features of After Effects is the ability to work with 3D layers and a virtual camera.  While it is simple to add a camera to a composition and animate it, greater creative control over the end result can be achieved with a basic technical understanding of how... Read More

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Creating a watercolour wipe in After Effects - Part 2

Creating a watercolour wipe in After Effects - Part 2

Deconstructing a complex transition

By ChrisZwar | August 14, 2013

Over 3 years ago, in a rare moment when I had some spare time, I attempted to create an After Effects project that revealed an image as if it were a watercolour painting.  I posted the result on my website and since then it has proved immensley popular, and I've always been meaning to... Read More

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Creating a watercolour wipe in After Effects - Part 1

Creating a watercolour wipe in After Effects - Part 1

Deconstructing a complex transition

By ChrisZwar | August 14, 2013

Over 3 years ago, in a rare moment when I had some spare time, I attempted to create an After Effects project that revealed an image as if it were a watercolour painting.  I posted the result on my website and since then it has proved immensley popular, and I've always been meaning to... Read More

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Vegas Visits Vivid - Part 2

Animating over 10,000 neon lights in After Effects for the Sydney Vivid Festival

By ChrisZwar | July 02, 2013

Earlier this year, Sydney design company Spinifex headlined the Vivid Festival with a striking building projection on the iconic Sydney Opera House.  Attracting huge crowds and critical acclaim, the fifteen minute sequence was comprised of a number of distinctly themed sections, designed... Read More

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after effects animation chris zwar motion graphics neon spinifex sydney opera house video tutorial vivid festival

Vegas Visits Vivid - Part 1

Animating over 10,000 neon lights in After Effects for the Sydney Vivid Festival

By ChrisZwar | July 02, 2013

Earlier this year, Sydney design company Spinifex headlined the Vivid Festival with a striking building projection on the iconic Sydney Opera House.  Attracting huge crowds and critical acclaim, the fifteen minute sequence was comprised of a number of distinctly themed sections, designed... Read More

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Waving a flag in After Effects

Looking at a real-life project that creates a 3D flag effect using standard After Effects plugins

By ChrisZwar | June 29, 2013

This video tutorial takes an old project, originally created in After Effects CS3, and explains all of the stages involved to create the final result.  It doesn't just explain HOW to do it, but it explains WHY everything has been done the way it is.

Although there are... Read More

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