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The week in After Effects

Product discussion + Adobe Anywhere, KinectToPin, 3D camera tracker, Auto-Save, Particle Playground galaxies, one matte for multiple layers, and more

By Rich Young | September 05, 2012


Here's the latest week or so of assorted After Effects tutorials, tips, and scripts & plug-ins new and old.

Nick Fox-Gieg and Victoria Nece released a brand new version of KinectToPin, an After Effects UI Panel for Microsoft Kinect data with automatic 2D and 3D comp creation, direct import of tracking data XML and auto rigging tools. There's also new training, for example, Using the new KinectToPin.

In the latest episode of That Post Show, After Effects product manager Steve Forde "teases us with an unannounced Adobe products, talks After Effects, Adobe, products, editing, finishing and clarifies that After Effects is in fact a '64-bit' application." Collaborative editing, which was previewed at NAB 2012, is one project that seems likely to be announced at IBC. Here's a possible piece of the puzzle, Reaping the Benefits of Collaborative Editing below. [Update: a new product was announced, Adobe Anywhere also embedded below.]:

Video Copilot has another tutorial, 132. Alien Surface, that creates a set extension using a matte painting, AE's 3D tracker and Roto Brush, and adds rocks with Element 3D. Several tutorials on the 3D camera tracker were mentioned not long ago in After Effects News Roundup; see especially Studying 3D Camera Tracker by Jerzy Drozda Jr (aka maltaannon). Mentioned last week by Todd Kopriva is After Effects CS6 Tutorial: Exporting 3D Camera Tracker Data to Cinema 4D, by Chris and Trish Meyer, on how to export the results of the new 3D Camera Tracker to any application that has a way to accept AE keyframe data:

Set Matte: a 32-bpc node for After Effects rounds up resources on this built-in AE plug-in that lets you use one matte for multiple layers. Many people don't seem to know that Set Matte exists, maybe because it officially exists only to provide compatibility with earlier projects. That seems to have changed since Set Matte was upgraded to support 32-bpc color depth in After Effects CS6.

Alpha channels, track mattes, and channel effects like Set Matte, Calculations, and Shift Channels are explained in depth in the two main AE resources: Creating Motion Graphics for After Effects by Chris and Trish Meyer and the newly released Adobe After Effects CS6 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen. Be sure to check out the pretty new PDF excerpt from the Mark Christiansen book, Chapter 4 Optimize Projects (under sample content).

In Episode 85: Superpowers - Single Bound, "Seth Worley shows you how to create the effect of someone jumping really high. Like Superman high."

Product Review: Red Giant Trapcode Mir by Jeff Foster at PVC looks at the recent plug-in for fractal 3D motion design in OpenGL. Also, Toby Pitman posted After Effects Essentials: Trapcode Form, a well-illustrated introduction on Mac Pro Video.

Create and animate 3D cogs in After Effects in 2 parts by Chris Zwar is an updated form of an old tutorial, now in video.

MoChat 9 Transcript & Summary looked at "everything AE scripts. A lot people use scripts, and had many to share. Some of the most popular included BG Renderer, ft_Toolbar, Ease & Wizz, and pt_OpenSesame. I've included links to every script mentioned-as well as other resources-along with links to the tweets that mentioned them." See also the AEP roundup Using and creating After Effects scripts.

Clay Asbury has 2 blogs on AE tips: 5 After Effects Tips & Tricks for Video Editors and 7 tips for working in After Effects.

Activating the Auto-Save preference is one of the memes of the week. AE Help says:

"To automatically save copies of projects at regular intervals, choose Edit > Preferences > Auto-Save (Windows) or After Effects > Preferences > Auto-Save (Mac OS), and select Automatically Save Projects.

Auto-saved files are saved in the After Effects Auto-Savefolder, which is 
located in the same folder as the original project file. Auto-saved filenames are based on the project name: After Effects adds "auto-save n" (where n is the number of the file in the auto-save series) to the end of the filename. Maximum Project Versions specifies how many versions of each project file you want to save. When the number of versions saved reaches the maximum you specify, the Auto-Save feature overwrites them starting with the oldest file."

Among related scripts is the recent qp Version Snapshot by Christian Lett, which extends auto-save somewhat:


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