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After Effects Lately

A news roundup on AE and beyond

By Rich Young | October 24, 2011

Here's another week of some of the latest news on After Effects tutorials, plug-ins, scripts and more. It slowed slightly last week, but there's plenty of news, tools, and tutorials to keep even the unemployed busy.

Andrew Kramer has a new tutorial on Advanced Soft Keying with tips to help preserve small details like dirt and reflections, including a brand new method for green spill suppression, compositing with 32bpc, adding reactive lighting, camera shake, color correction and more. For many additional approaches, see the linkfest Greenscreen and keying resources. Here's the background video:

Mark Christiansen continued his series explaining useful AE scripts with After Effects Script of the Week: rd_MergeProjects and After Effects Script of the Week: Tracker2Mask (you can track a mask in After Effects). Here's author Mathias Möhl on Tracker2mask:

Chris and Trish Meyer continued their series CMG Hidden Gems with Chapter 42 - Render Queue and  Chapter 43 - Advanced Rendering.

Chris & Trish also have new modules of tutorial movies on, After Effects Apprentice 10: Time Games and After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space. Note also CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 28 - Frame Rate Manipulation and CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 13 - 3D Space. Here's the installment on Multiple playback speeds from the Time Games series:

The Motionworks series on effect plug-ins continued with After Effects A-Z: Change Color with guest host Jack Grundy who explains the difference between the Change Color and Change to Color effects in After Effects. Here's Jan Ozer on these filters in Premiere:

Ken Addeh shared a Basic Rigging Guide for a character in AE (from Illustrator):

Rich Young posted Adding motion blur in After Effects (tips from Joren Kandel and more) and The limitation of Layer Styles for 3D (a reminder from Motionworks and Chris Meyer).

In Bokeh Blur in After Effects CS5.5 Tom green introduces "new camera blur effect in After Efects CS5.5 as well as the ability to work with AEP files directly from the Flash compressor." Chris Meyer has several tutorials on Adobe TV on the Camera Lens Blur effect and other new tools to control depth of field:

Creative Cow featured two tutorials on AE Shapes: AE Basics 18: Shape Layers Part 2 - Gradients & Properties by Andrew Devis and The Beauty of Shapes: Vector Art by Rob Mize. For more ideas, see Use Brainstorm to experiment and explore settings in AE Help and related resources at AE Portal archive, especially the mini-roundup Shape Layers in After Effects.

Matthew Tompkin presented Advanced Workflow Tips and Tricks - Element Replacement, which introducing two workflow shortcuts to "quickly replace layer items or elements with another whilst also retaining and inheriting all of its keyframes, effects and transform data."

Sean Mullen "shows us how to create the well-known RGB split effect in After Effects without the use of any third party plugins." This effect has been well-covered in tutorials, including many noted in posts tagged Chromatic Aberration at AE Portal archive (along with free and low cost filters to speed design).

FilmmakingWebinars is hosting Nuke for After Effects Users with Steve Wright November 17, 2011; here's the preview:

Michael Park continued his Particular Basic Training with Session TWO: The Stargate Wormhole, discussing "some of the nuances of the wind and gravity forces available to use inside Particular as well as an in-depth discussion of the use and limitations of the built-in motion blur and a workaround using auxiliary particles."

AE product manager Steve Forde explains Adobe Render Engines and Joy of legal obligations, or why you can install a single license, render engine OR full install, on only 2 workstations.

Mattrunks has a new tutorial, Textual Slice - Animation typographique par d©coupage. It's in French, but you can still follow along:

Andrew Wade modified Andrew Kramer's techniques to add negatives values in his video tutorial Dynamic bar charts with After Effects. With positive and negative values. For a roundup of similar tools and tutorials, see Charts and graphs in After Effects.

Todd Kopriva mentioned the â€˜Immersive Surfaces' Projection Installation article in Videography, and Alex Czetwertynski noted a breakdown of a projection mapping project that he managed and added tech hints. Here's a sample of the first project:

Export blender 2.60 to After Effects features some additions and performance improvements, thanks to Francois Tarlier.

Rig A Realistic Puppet, the cool series by Daniel Gies, continues. Mettle's Freeform Pro  is used to add impressive depth to character in After Effects, and numerous tips are shared including IK (inverse kinematics) with the free Duik Tools.  Note that there's no reason to limit the use of these techniques to character animation-the Ken Burns effect and 2.5D The Kid Stays in the Picture styles need extra dimension too. By the way, here's a good example of 2.5D animation (via Jim Feeley), Last Best Hope: A True Story of Escape, Evasion, and Remembrance.

The LoopMaker is an AE script that loops any layers, footage or comps with one click. An update this week added "cycle" and "Ping-Pong" loop types. Lloyd Alvarez described his script in this demo:


Kevin Monahan continued his summaries of solutions to problems in Premiere Pro discussed in forums in Exporting Sections of a Sequence.

Trick question: Is it easier to remember a new fact if it appears in normal type or in big, bold letters? Benedict Carey looks at the question in the New York Times, but not for motion graphics.

FXRant looks at Visual Effects Camera Work: "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Mission: Impossible III" to show how "visual effects artists can learn from cinematographers how to compose actors within the frame, and make their camera work feel" organic. Here's a sample:

Stu Maschwitz notes that "Dragon Stop Motion is now Dragonframe. What a gorgeous app." It does seem appealing:

Photoshop PM Bryan O'Neil Hughes has been presenting his own series on hidden gems in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Here's a recent one from Adobe MAX:

Richard Harrington posted Two Down & Dirty Techniques to Make Your HDR Photos Pop:

Mike Seymour of Fxguide posted some background info on the popular Adobe deblur demo in You saw the unblur clip with the audience gasping…here is the source. He doesn't mention a similar deblurring project discussed in New image enhancement research at Adobe, or that Adobe admits using 'synthetic blur' image in deblur demo, which was noted by DPReview. Also François Tarlier linked to deconvolve scripts for de-blurring using ImageMagick, which seem based on an earlier presentation of the research noted at Fxguide.

It seems as though Adobe is also looking at video UI innovation, like this project on video frame icon navigation inspired by Pixar's color scripts. Video Tapestries was a sneak peek at Adobe MAX 2010, and presented at SIGGRAPH 2010:

John Nack notes that Adobe engineers & University of Washington researchers are collaborating on a method of automatically finding the best candid shots in a video clip. Here's the demo:

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