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Production Values

by Mark Christiansen

Mark Christiansen is the author of After Effects Studio Techniques (Adobe Press). He has created... Read More

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Why is the VFX business failing? Questions for Scott Ross

Digital Domain founder and former ILM boss runs it down in “very simple, real terms.”

By Mark Christiansen | February 07, 2013

Q. Let’s begin with the questions I posed earlier this week. Is what is happening in VFX in 2013 any different than what is happening to any number of industries in western economies as a whole?

One big difference is that visual effects facilities providing shots for Hollywood... Read More


Why is the VFX business failing at its moment of greatest success?

Why is the VFX business failing at its moment of greatest success?

"Visual effects is Art, created in a laboratory, at gunpoint." - Ben Grossmann, VFX Oscar winner, Hugo (2012)

By Mark Christiansen | February 05, 2013

In less than 3 weeks, something like a billion viewers worldwide will look on as Life of Pi wins the award for Best Visual Effects at the 85th edition of the Academy Awards. I don't mean to ruin the surprise for you, but you don't need The Predictanator to tell you this award is a... Read More


Is After Effects for Editors?

Editors on many Hollywood productions are more valuable with After Effects skills. What's stopping them?

By Mark Christiansen | December 13, 2012

An article published last month on the Adobe Press site has sparked much discussion and a little controversy, so I think it's worth following up, starting with a clarification.

The topic clearly strikes a nerve; the article became the site's most popular for the... Read More


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How the Hackintosh Suddenly Caught Fire

Anarchy amid the abdication of Mac Pro

By Mark Christiansen | April 03, 2013

Yes, it literally caught fire.

This is the story of one man’s experience assembling and running a Hackintosh. For anyone unaware of this illicit, but not yet forbidden alternative to the Mac Pro and alterative systems from Apple, it is a custom-built computer - one which would... Read More


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VFX Workers Next Steps: Pi Day

International Town Hall Meetings (and a sea of green)

By Mark Christiansen | March 13, 2013

After a dramatic few weeks that have seen Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings for VFX Oscar winner Rhythm & Hues, VFX protests at the ceremony, along with a sea of green avatars on Twitter and Facebook, what had been proposed as walk-out for "Pi Day" is now a town hall meeting that will take... Read More


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Lessons from the Southern Wild

How I found myself on the set of a Hollywood phenomenon

By Mark Christiansen | February 19, 2013

The text came in late one evening - who could be in New Orleans immediately for VFX supervision? The call was going around San Francisco, apparently because the film had received SF Film Commission backing which stipulated hiring local artisans, despite shooting along the Gulf of Mexico. The... Read More


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Use Dynamic Link to bring Warp Stabilizer to Premiere Pro CS5.5

Editors can take advantage of advanced stabilization in Premiere Pro CS5.5

By Mark Christiansen | October 30, 2011

The Dynamic Link process to stabilize a Pr clip in AE begins in the Pr timeline.

Warp Stabilizer was arguably the biggest addition to After Effects CS5.5. Once you understand how to use it, it's a tool that can change the way you shoot; if you find yourself without a tripod or any kind of stabilization with a camera as notoriously unsteady as a DSLR, even on a moving shot, you can end up with footage that can look as if a dolly or SteadiCam were used to take it.For editors and shooters who work more in Premiere Pro than in AE, this is clearly a case where Dynamic Link, the technology bridge between the two apps, is useful. Warp Stabilizer isn't part of Pr, and it is relatively straightforward for basic usage even for the casual AE user. This article not only walks you through how to achieve shot stabilization on clips in a Pr edit, but it opens the door to how to use Dynamic Link generally, for those who've wished they had a better handle on it. Read More


rd: Studio Techniques available free at

After Effects scripts previously available only with copies of After Effects Studio Techniques are now available to all.

By Mark Christiansen | December 07, 2012

This week, Jeff Almasol (redefinery) released the set of After Effects Scripts that were previously available only as part of the content that ships with After Effects Studio Techniques. This was done not only with the author's blessing, but at my explicit suggestion. If theses scripts are... Read More


3d future

3D HFR and the Immersive Experience

Is Less More, or is More, in fact, More?

By Mark Christiansen | January 04, 2013


There seems little doubt that display technology and the way we experience media today won't necessarily look the same throughout the 21st century, any more than Downton Abbey looks like Enter the Void, or a zoetrope resembles Call of Duty. There are, for example,... Read More


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Adobe Media Encoder - another hidden gem?

You already own an amazing tool to optimize all kinds of video output and streamline your workflow.

By Mark Christiansen | December 13, 2011

Suppose you wanted a perfectly useful workhorse of a video application to slip in completely under the radar and be as underutilized as possible. What would you do to kill its chances of being discovered? For starters, you would introduce an early version - the debut perhaps - that wasn't quite ready and was therefore unreliable, in terms of features and stability, in order to scare off the early adapters. You could then, if you were clever, make sure that any succeeding versions were not directly integrated with any popular applications sitting right next to it in the installation. You could make it look like it was designed primarily to create Flash videos. Finally, if you made it so fully featured that it was, in fact, challenging to easily understand - bingo, that tool would be almost forgotten!Adobe Media Encoder made an inauspicious debut with Adobe Production Premium CS4, only to be radically improved in terms of reliability, for CS5 and then radically improved again, including support for GPU acceleration and 64 bit memory handling, with its CS5.5 update. Read More