New T-Shirt Vector Pack Release: Produce an exceptional and unique t-shirt design in moments. (Yes, you!)
New T-Shirt Vector Pack Release: Produce an exceptional and unique t-shirt design in moments. (Yes, you!)
If you’re like me, there are a million things you want to accomplish. Like, today.
But time (and frankly, a tiny bit of skill) have kept me from checking those things off of my ever-growing list.
Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who have hooked me up with the tools I need to not only check off my to-dos, but look like somebody who’s somebody doing them too.
And they’re here to help you as well.
Here we go ya’ll. A way to actually design an exceptional (and unique) t-shirt in moments (little design skill needed…but lots is great, too).
I don’t know about you, but I consider it a miracle.
With today’s release, the Day of the Dead T-Shirt Design Pack by Steve Knerem you’ll get everything you need to design the perfect t-shirt:
- All 10 Haunting Illustrations
- The Original .AI file of this design (allowing you to make it all your own)
- A Men’s Triblend Ghosted Mockup Template to make your final design look professional and realistic
- As well as a sample of Jeff Finley’s popular eBook, Thread’s Not Dead, the Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry, so that you can be on your way to apparel industry greatness
So, what do you say? Let’s not waste any more precious time…
Here at Go Media, we’re passionate about all aspects of design: web, print, branding and illustration. Some may say we have too much fun, but we’d disagree. It’s just that we believe it’s really important to love what you do. Recently, we were tasked with yet another awesome project – packaging design for Dirty Energy, a brand new energy bar packed with all sorts of goodness. We enjoyed building upon its core theme, “built from the ground up,” incorporating earthiness into our design. We’ve been collecting packaging design inspiration for our next design – and thought we’d share with you. Enjoy!
Packaging Design Inspiration
Click on the image for its source
Design and motion graphics studio, Already Been Chewed, cooks up a fresh rebrand for Malibu Boats.
When Barton Damer was given a tour of the manufacturing facility belonging to Tennessee-based Malibu Boats, his imagination went into high gear immediately. His design company, Already Been Chewed (ABC) had been tasked with creating and implementing a rebranding effort across numerous media platforms for Malibu and its sister company Axis Wake Research. The goal was to illustrate the slogan “Life Without Limits” and accentuate the active lifestyle that Malibu and Axis can offer their customers.
ABC was chosen for the project because of the company’s history of working with other action sports brands, including Nike, Street League Skateboarding, and Supra Footwear on creative campaigns. “We analyze what the competitors are doing and then try to do something totally different,” Damer explains. It was a bold approach, and they didn’t know if Malibu would go for it. But ABC figured, if they won the year-long contract to create a series of catalog images, print ads and online videos using Cinema 4D, After Effects and Photoshop, it would be best to have presented ideas they would be excited to work rather than playing it safe.
Damer and ABC’s art director Brad Wolf used Cinema 4D for both the print and animation portions of the Malibu/Axis rebranding project with the final looks and compositing completed in Photoshop for print and After Effects for video. For the Malibu boats campaign, Life Without Limits, ABC developed a visual that depicts a cubicle-bound office worker transforming into a wake surfer and escaping the limits of his 9 to 5 job into a surreal wake surfing experience behind a Malibu Wakesetter.
ABC set up a photo shoot with professional wake skater, Brian Grubb, to capture the sequence needed for the campaign artwork. After isolating the photos off of their background, ABC set them up in C4D as textures that were applied to vertical planes. “We used the luminance channel of the texture, as well as the alpha channel of the layer in Photoshop we cut out,” Damer recalls. “This allowed us to place the pictures of Brian into true 3D space within the scene and have the C4D lights interact with the cut out photos.”
That strategy gave Damer a good head start on some pretty realistic shadows, which helped because it was a flat plane, so it wasn’t going to look perfect, he says. “But depending on where the light is positioned and where the shadows are cast, that technique really helps in certain areas.”
Cinema 4D was also used to match the lighting from the original studio shot. To do that, Damer placed a light behind the actor and cast shadows forward, creating a real light source and a real shadow on the side of the desk where the side of his leg is popping up. “I did that same thing for every image in the sequence,” he says, adding that there is a real light source and shadow being cast on the desk and the computer monitor.
Already Been Chewed opted to introduce a more graphic style for both the Malibu and Axis catalogs after seeing the approach used for the footwear and auto industries but not for boats. One technique they used was to introduce the use of shard-like images that are repeated throughout the branding for Malibu. To create the shards, Damer used a cloner object in C4D to replicate a triangle shape. After cloning it along a low-poly version of a wake that they modeled, renders were composted together in Photoshop to create the scene.
“C4D allows you to use an object as the basis for your clones,” he says, explaining that a low-poly representation of a wake was created to serve as the basis for the clones to be duplicated across. Random effectors allowed the wave to take on a more organic feel combined with plane effectors that allowed the transition from smooth “water” to the large wake that was created.
For the background graphics that were used to highlight each boat model in the Malibu catalog, Wolf used a primitive landscape that he made editable and then triangulated. Next, he used an explode effector to pull some of the image apart. A melt effector was used to enable different geometries. Streaks coming off the boat were made with a spline wrap, taking the geometry of a tube and using an explode effector to explode it out, then wrapping it along the spline effector and applying a custom texture.
For Malibu’s sister company, Axis, a completely different look was created using C4D for the most part. Based on ABC’s tours of the factory, this concept put the focus on the craftsmanship of each boat and how they are made by hand. Damer says the white-suited workers and futuristic factory were inspired by the actual boat creation process. “Obviously, it’s an artistic representation of the process, but the workers were wearing those uniforms as they sprayed gel coat into the hull of the boat,” he recalls. “That’s where I got the idea to have the spray coming out of the worker’s hose take the shape of a boat.”
Damer used Cinema 4D to create the futuristic-looking factory and composited the final boat and workers into the shot. Unsure about whether they would be able to get the liquid to do exactly what they wanted it to do through fluid simulation, Damer ended up combining 15 or 16 individual models of liquid rendered out of C4D and using Photoshop to make them all form the back of the boat.
To highlight Axis’ A22 Vandall Edition boat (a pro model for Randall Harris—aka Randall The Vandall), Damer used a similar technique. This time, though, he used C4D to create a darker feel. Though the overall campaign shared the consistent theme of simulated water making up the rear of the boat, the Vandall got a slightly different treatment that set it apart from the crowd.
“We thought we would make it look like it was in the exact same warehouse with the same camera angle and everything, but with the factory lights turned off and some moonlight spilling in, just to give it more of a mysterious look since Randal The Vandall has that kind of a vibe going,” he says. Additional shots of the white factory were made using Global Illumination to get clean lighting. For The Vandall Edition’s moonlit version Damer used spotlights in C4D to keep the factory dark and only light the areas he wanted to people to focus on.
In addition to the rebranding effort, which will continue for Malibu and Axis throughout the rest of the year, Already Been Chewed has also done several animated features for internet broadcast with television versions coming out in 2014.
Best Poster Design
Hey designers, want way more inspiration? Attend our all-inclusive soul-fulfilling three-day design retreat, WMC: Off-The-Grid, this October 5 – 7th. To learn more, head to wmcfest.com.
Need some poster design inspiration? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered some good ones to get your creative juices flowing.
Once you’ve been inspired, head over to Mockup Everything to give your design a go on one of our free mockup templates, like this one:
Make sure to share your work with us!
Hey Designers, make sure to check out our Arsenal Membership, which hooks you up with our huge product library for only $15 per month. Yes, seriously.
And now, for something completely different
If I recap the latest Arsenal releases, we have things ranging from mockup templates, vector packs, to texture sets. Which is, don’t get me wrong, great. Today, I have a different product to put in your eager hands. Behold, the Graphic Designer’s Guide to Motion Graphics (A video course by Pete Maric).
Why this video class?
We have a great number of video tutorials already on the Arsenal. They cover Photoshop and Illustrator quite in depth, either through the vintage art approach from Jeff’s Beauty is a black hole Wacom illustration tutorial, or through the clean and detailed approach from Bill’s 100 series about vector illustration. One of the types of work we’ve only scratched the surface of so far is 3d modeling and motion graphics.
Well, the wait is over. We’ve enlisted an amazing contributor in Pete Maric (the brain behind Triplet 3d) to create a tutorial that would start from some of the Arsenal vectors most of you are already familiar with, and shows you how to create this kind of end result:
Exciting, right? In case the video isn’t loading, head straight to Vimeo.
Let’s have a look at what Pete is covering
- Planning your work with story boards
- Setting up vector artwork for import into Cinema 4D
- Creating 3D geometry based on vector paths
- Materials and setting selections
- Animation techniques using manual keyframing, MoGraph cloners, and splines
- Adjusting animation parameters using Cinema 4D’s timeline
- Three-point light set-up
- Render settings
- Post-production techniques in After Effects
- Sound Design using Garage Band (obviously Mac only, sorry Windows users – but there are Windows alternatives)
You can also read the full table of contents. It basically gives you the keys to understand the basics of 3d modeling and of motion graphics to animate simple elements, using various techniques. The demo video is obviously a combination of everything that’s covered, but you can do simpler, shorter, longer, more complex, etc.
In order to help the people (like me) that are a bit scared by the Cinema 4D interface, he did a “Cinema 4D 101” kind of series on his blog. It’s pretty great, and well detailed. There are eight posts in the series so far. I now officially don’t have any more excuses to not learn it. And neither do you!
Where can you get it?
On the Arsenal, of course!
CG artist and filmmaker John Robson on developing the skillset today’s studios want.
Faced with the assignment to make a short film based on the question, “What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?” Los Angeles-based CG artist John Robson opted to put the question to a friend’s three-year-old son and film the kid’s response. The result is Supper Time! from John Robson on Vimeo. And, well, let’s just say you’ll never look at spaghetti the same way again.
In addition to filming and directing Supper Time! Robson created all of the VFX using Maxon’s Cinema 4D and Next Limit’s RealFlow, and he did it all in one week. “MoGraph allowed me to create new ideas without being bogged down by technicalities and slow processing times,” he explains. “So I was able to work almost as fast as I could think.” (See more of Robson’s work here.)
A freelance designer and CG artist who works for a variety of well-known houses such as Blind, Troika, Mirada and Royale, Robson made the film as part of Frame Society. Organized by Blind creative directors Chris Do and Greg Gunn, Frame Society is basically a group of filmmakers, writers, animators, directors and other creative people who meet after hours to share ideas and talk about everything from camera work and lighting to VFX. “Almost everyone in the group has been in the industry a long time by work or by hobby,” Robson explains. “So we understand how to tell a story just because we’re living in that world.”
Evolving With the Industry
Like many creative people, Robson didn’t plan the career he is currently pursuing. Instead, cinematography studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara led to curiosity about how to create special effects for film, and pretty soon he was learning Final Cut Pro and After Effects. By 2003, Robson got his first job doing motion graphics. He taught himself how to use Autodesk’s Maya, and that’s where his real education began. “I learned everything on the job, so that was really college for me,” he recalls.
Describing himself as more comfortable following a creative path rather than a technical one, Robson says his skills took him down yet another road when, at the suggestion of other artists he knew, he taught himself how to use Cinema 4D. “All the big teams were using Maya, but when MoGraph came out it completely revolutionized my workflow and that of the other artists, too,” he says. “Suddenly, we could pretty much do anything in real time and experiment on the fly, sort of like being in the kitchen with unlimited ingredients.”
As a freelancer, Robson is well aware that in order to stay busy, he must evolve with the industry. Over the years, he’s watched as artists who have insisted on specializing in just one area either create a reasonable niche for themselves, or wind up without enough work. So, knowing that studios are always looking for artists who understand a variety of software, he splits his time between directing his own projects, design, 3D and 2D work, and compositing. “No matter what job I’m on, I’m almost always using C4D, especially MoGraph,” he says.
Meeting the Need
Robson’s remembers really putting his C4D skills to the test as a freelancer working on a project for Mirada. Finding himself waiting for assets from the rest of the team, he decided to play around and see what he could create in Cinema 4D. “I was working and one of the art directors came by and couldn’t believe I had created what I had in one day, so they asked me to do another and another, and soon we had a huge Cinema farm going,” he says, explaining that Mirada often uses C4D, Maya and Houdini in combination.
For this particular Mirada project, Robson and others on the team were asked to create photo-real popcorn and Coke in stereoscopic 3D for Carmichael Theaters. Robson was the C4D lead on the job, and the team used a combination of C4D, MoDynamics, RealFlow, Houdini, NUKE and Next Limit Technology’s Maxwell Render engine. “Mirada brought me in on the project because they knew Cinema had the power and efficient dynamics for the project, but it was before C4D R13, so I had to build my own stereo rig,” he says.
With the help of fellow artist Casey Hupke, Robson created the popcorn by emitting Thinking Particles from above the screen and linking them to a MoGraph matrix object. “This bridged the gap between modules and utilized the best and most efficient features for the job,” he explains. Rigid body MoDynamics were added to all of the pieces, so the popcorn fell, accumulated in a funnel just above camera, and then spilled into the tank. Coke appeared to pour over ice and fill the screen thanks to RealFlow.
Pursuing a Passion
Even when he’s crunched by deadlines, Robson always makes sure he finds time to do some personal work. Recently he finished a short film called Infinite Loop,which is based on the idea of what it would be like to be stuck in kind of hall of mirrors. “It all starts with a guy at a party who starts messing around and plugs a cable into a TV,” says Robson, who directed the film and created all of the VFX using Cinema 4D and After Effects.
“The film kind of shows you what would happen if you pointed a video camera at its own image,” Robson says, adding that although he had an idea of what the footage would look like when it was shot, everything changed when it came time to animate. “I was coming up with all kinds of new ideas in post,” he continues.
“I camera tracked some shots and brought data into Cinema and created expression that I applied to a MoGraph cloner with a step effector to create a delayed process.” The goal was to create a retro feel, something simulating what would happen if you attached a cable from a video camera to a TV screen, “but didn’t want that screen to be too intrusive visually,” he says.
For the hallway tunnel shot, Robson tracked the plate in SynthEyes and created an expression that compensated for the XY position and Z rotation of the camera while applying the values inversely to a step effector’s parameters. “This replicated the effect that a camera has when it views a screen with its own image on it,” he says. The step effector also scaled down each concurrent screen to create a forced perspective of what looks like a long tunnel, but is virtually flat. Each clone’s video footage had to be manually offset to simulate the delay of transmission between iterations of the screen down the tunnel.
The end credits were made by applying a step effector to a cloner object and creating iterations of the type and border that were rotated, scaled, and positioned over the course of several clones to create a spiraling tunnel effect that gradually shifted from clone to clone. “I created a series of user data sliders driven by Espresso that influenced the intensity of the values of the step effector and allowed a simpler control for randomizing movement,” Robson recalls. Each clone was rendered out with a different object buffer so he could randomize opacity for each object buffer in After Effects to create a flicker effect.
“I’m really proud of how it turned out,” says Robson, pointing out the film’s “urban legend-like spin” in which pointing a camera at its own image means the party guy gets immediately transported into the TV, a fate from which he cannot escape. “All through the film you see him running away, thinking he’s outsmarted technology, but in the end he’s still stuck in the TV and his friends forget about him.” Interestingly, after the screening of the film, some people wondered aloud whether the film’s subtext had something to do with a fear of technology. For Robson, though, it would seem the opposite is true.
Visual artists David Hobizal and Josh Johnson explain how a film nerd and a gamer/cartoonist collaborate successfully on a wide range of projects.
David Hobizal is a self-described ‘film nerd’ and Josh Johnson is a gamer and cartoon enthusiast. Both rely primarily on Maxon’s Cinema 4D and After Effects, and together they are collaborators in the truest sense of the word. After meeting at 1080, a production house in Austin, Texas, Hobizal and Johnson worked together for three years before Hobizal moved to Brooklyn, New York, while Johnson went freelance in Austin.
These days, though they are separated by more than 1,000 miles, the two artists continue to work together as often as they can. Some of their recent collaborations include: “Last Known Surroundings,” a music video for the band, Explosions In the Sky; Feckly, an animated epic fantasy/comedy for adults; and A Movement, an animated short the two of them created to promote the motion graphics capabilities of Austin-based design house, Ptarmak.
Curious about how two very different artists come together to make a successful team, I sat down with Hobizal and Johnson to find out more about their work, their creative process, their egos and inspirations. Here’s what they had to say.
Strohmaier: What was it like to work with Explosions In the Sky on “Last Known Surroundings?”
Hobizal: Our talks started on the tennis court in the summer. It was hard to concentrate on those first serves when your mind was off dreaming about what kind of story you were going to tell. After a few months, we showed them motion tests and style frames and then, you know, we locked ourselves in a room for four months because the project really took creative stamina. I mean, the video is eight and a half minutes long. The band was great. They came up with the first visual idea, and the rest happened after a lot of listening to the song and sitting down and writing what we wanted to happen next. We didn’t shoot down any ideas until we had it all laid out in front of us. (Learn more about how they made the music video here).
Strohmaier: How did you use C4D to get certain looks and effects that you wanted for the video?
Hobizal: I used the MoGraph module along with Thinking Particles a lot for “Last Known Surroundings.” I used everything I could think of, except character animation. Josh helped out with some of the dynamics and I used MoGraph and Thinking Particles for the snowflakes and outer space scenes. We started with snowflakes made in Photoshop and Illustrator and then ran a basic Thinking Particles emitter with the snowflakes as particles and, boom! Out comes a snowstorm.
Strohmaier: Do you use matte paintings for a lot of your backgrounds?
Hobizal: Yes, we do. For A Movement, we built the geometry roughly how we wanted it, very low polygon, and then we had two highly talented illustrator/painters, Sissy Emmons and Luke Miller, paint over that. That’s really how we started the process.
Johnson: With Feckly which was influenced by a combination of video game characters, Adult Swim and anime, we used a collection of terrain objects. We limited their color palette and rendered it out in passes, running it through some action scripts in Photoshop, which gave us our starting point. From there, we added in brush strokes where we wanted them, and loaded the background with a gradient tool. Then, we established our highlights and shadows.
Strohmaier: Where do all of your 3D models come from? Do you make them all yourselves in C4D, or are they a combination of models created from scratch and purchased online?
Johnson: We create most of our models, but some are modified using ZBrush. Occasionally, we buy smaller models from TurboSquid.
Strohmaier: Tell me a little bit about how A Movement came to be.
Hobizal: We were working at Ptarmak in Austin, Texas, when we made that. The designers and illustrators there were print people primarily, and they saw our motion capabilities as a great chance to expand their offerings while giving us an opportunity to work with some really talented folks.
Strohmaier: Music clearly plays an important role in A Movement, as well as your other work. What comes first, the music or the visual idea?
Hobizal: When it’s possible, I like to start with music before I edit. For A Movement, a bandmate and friend of mine, Peter Stopschinksi, produced, recorded and performed his first symphony in Austin. His CD came out and we thought it would be a perfect fit.
Strohmaier: What makes you successful as creative collaborators?
Hobizal: We have each other’s back. And it’s rare to find someone who’s as excited about the process and learning as you are.
Johnson: That’s the other important thing. It’s like, ‘I can’t leave this guy hanging.’ I don’t care if it means another weekend or a night working; I want to help David out.
Strohmaier: Can you talk a little bit about your collaborative creative process?
Johnson: First, we get on Skype together and talk about the project. And then we open Google Docs and start hacking out ideas, talking back and forth. We pick at each other quite a bit.
Hobizal: There’s definitely a lot of disagreements and arguments about what the project should be, which is a positive part of working together. We laugh 90 percent of the time when we’re working, but the arguing and checking each other’s ideas ensures that we don’t get complacent or too happy with any of our ideas. We’re at a similar skill level, but we go off in different directions to figure out problems and we come together as soon as we find the answer, which makes problem solving and learning go much faster.
Strohmaier: Artists often have their own way of doing things. How do you keep your own egos in check when you’re working together?
Hobizal: I think we both recognize our strengths, and we like finding out what we’re each good at and what we can offer. I come from more of a filmmaking and editing background, so my strengths are pacing, shot composition and design. I’ll bounce ideas off of Josh and ask him if an idea is possible. He’ll say, let me think about it for a second, and then he’ll tell me how it can be done three different ways.
Josh: David brings a lot of focus to the whole thing. And he has a better sense of design. While I like designing, and I feel like I can do it on my own, David is stronger than I am. I do more technical lifting when it comes to motion and 3D. I like Cinema because it’s easy, and robust. You have all the features there, so if you want to dive into something complicated, have at it.
Strohmaier: What’s next for you guys?
Johnson: Make more stuff! Eventually Feckly will go on Kickstarter. But the workflow isn’t finished. I am making some new tools to help the process, including a few scripts for After Effects and Cinema that tighten the final bolts in the pipeline. Those will soon be available to anyone who’s interested.
Hobizal: The only plan is to keep on making motion and music as much as possible, and continue to collaborate with my family and friends. Recently, my wife Sissy and I finished up a video for TED-Ed, about the advancement of ship navigation using logarithms. Indulging in serious nerdiness is one of the best perks of being an animator.
Scott Strohmaier is a writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
ESPN 2’s Street League Skateboarding
Barton Damer describes getting the opportunity to create the show open for Rob Dyrdek’s Street League Skateboarding on ESPN 2 as a dream gig, and that is no doubt the case for the award-winning motion graphics designer and digital artist. But the whole truth is, this dream project didn’t just materialize as dreamlike things often do. Damer made it happen by taking a chance and just going for it in a way that few people ever have the courage to do.
As a longtime skateboarder, Damer immediately saw Street League Skateboarding, the top professional street skateboarding series worldwide, as an opportunity for the sport to be better marketed to the mainstream. Curious about the possibilities, he and John Davidson, a friend and fellow skateboarder, flew out as fans to see a Street League event in Los Angeles during its first season three years ago.
Standing in the crowd, Damer thought about how he’d been doing live production and motion graphics for live production for years. “I started dreaming about how one day I want to do some cool stuff for Street League and help take them to the next level,” he recalls. (Check out Damer’s site here.)
Back home in Dallas, Texas, Damer, who primarily relies on Cinema 4D and After Effects for his work, typed up a proposal explaining his credentials and outlining why Street League “needed to be branded by skateboarders for skateboarders”. He took some guesses about what Rob Dyrdek’s email address might be, and then he hit send. Unbelievably, the legendary professional skateboarder and MTV reality show star responded.
Damer followed his own vision
“Within a couple of hours Rob wrote me and said: ‘Let’s do this,’” Damer says laughing. “I thought, ‘What does that mean?’ I just suggested a year’s worth of work to Dyrdek in an email that I blasted off to a bunch of addresses, so someone must be messing with me.’” The next day, the general manager of Street League called Damer to get things going. Turns out, Dyrdek, a self-made entrepreneur known for using the phrase “make your own luck”, was impressed that Damer had a good strategy and had pursued him.
So Street League hired him to do a series of animated intros for events, and Davidson, whose talents lie more on the business end of things, got the job of accounts manager for Street League. It wasn’t long before making a few intros grew into creating the motion graphics package for the 2012 season of Street League Skateboarding.
Getting the skateboarding vibe right
Creative direction for the show open was limited to a request that the look be consistent with the ESPN brand, so Damer was in the enviable position of executing his own vision. Departing from the typical skateboarding route, he created an arena environment with a skateboarding vibe,” Damer explains.
His style boards, which depicted a stadium completely in the round and packed with skateboard standards like handrails and concrete textures, were quickly approved.
To give the arena’s centerpiece the rounded look he wanted, Damer applied one, big spline wrap all the way around it to form a circle. “It wasn’t hard,” he says, “in fact it’s an easy way to go about getting something that looks challenging accomplished.” One of the things he liked most about creating the arena’s environments in Cinema 4D was finding all kinds of abstract camera angles that offer different effects. “There’s one shot, from the top view, that I really like where the stadium looks like a skateboard wheel,” he adds.
Reflections seen in the centerpiece’s skateboard and other parts of the arena were created using Greyscale Gorilla’s HDRI Studio Pack.
Damer used Greyscale Gorilla’s Texture Kit to create the centerpiece’s brick surface and created the concrete texture himself using photographs for reference. “I was able to create patterns in Illustrator and Photoshop to get some cool grids and gradients for that sports graphics feel, and then I applied the textures in Cinema,” he explains. Reflections in the arena were created using Greyscale Gorilla’s HDRI Studio Pack and can be seen most clearly in the centerpiece’s skateboard and in the monitor towards the bottom of the screen.
Some elements of the opener, including the information screens on the arena’s centerpiece, had to be updated for each of the four stops on the Street League tour. Damer used external compositing tags to make updating the screens easier. Updating the video files on the larger centerpiece’s larger screens was trickier because the rounded surface made it harder to use external compositing tags. “There’s a way to do it, but I don’t know what it is,” Damer admits.
Luckily, the renders were so fast that it wasn’t an issue to update in Cinema 4D. “It’s a beautiful thing that I was able to have that entire area render so quickly,” Damer recalls. “I was blown away.”
Here’s a nifty little Adobe Air application that allows you to look up keyboard shortcuts for any Adobe software. Well, at least Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Soundbooth, Fireworks, Contribute, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore and Acrobat Pro. The shortcuts are only for the CS4 versions of these applications.
Adobe Shortcuts App runs on Adobe Air, so it’s cross-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux).
Launch the app, then select your preferred software from the top row of familiar icon buttons. Below you’ll see three tabs for Essentials, My Favorites, and All Categories. Be sure to click the speaker icon in the bottom-left to turn off the “interesting” sound effects…
Best of all, it free from the Adobe Marketplace. Download the Adobe Shortcuts App here.
(via John Nack, Adobe Photoshop’s Principal Product Manager)
I am sure that all of you at one time or another have experimented in After Effects’ 3D world, and for beginners it can be quite the concept to wrap your head around. Along with being able to animate in 2D space, you can actually manipulate, move and place objects in Z space as well as the X and Y plane. Z space is measured by distance to and from the camera, so if you were to move something back in Z space it would appear further away than something further up on the Z plane.
Using this placement, you can rotate and place flat layers to create shapes and objects such as stages, streets, and even houses, given you know how to position correctly and efficiently. This is by no means a 3D modeling technique, just a little trick of the trade to spice up camera movements, and give your animations a sense of depth by placing objects in 3D space, and moving past them—like you would if you were to actually create the camera movement in real life.
Taking from this lesson in the 3D world of After Effects, I hope that you can delve deeper into the depths and create some amazing 2.5D animations on your own. Anything is really possible, and if you were able to utilize After Effects CS4’s new Photoshop Live 3D features you could add some 3D objects as well into your scenes to make them seem even more realistic such as cars parked on the street, 3D trees or even basketball hoops.
This was really created to be a primer to introduce you into the basics of After Effect’s 3D system, and to show you just how easy it is once you know the basics of how it works. If you liked this tutorial—or would like to see similar tutorials—please leave a comment, as well as if you have created anything using this technique! I would love to see what you have learned!
The following 5 short cuts will save you in expensive pain medication from staring at your screen for far too many hours. I know they’ve saved me in the past. Here’s a little video I did for this article to grab screenshots and such. We won’t be learning how to do this today, but maybe in a later tutorial I’ll show you how to do something neat.
5: The Null Object
If you’re using a camera, you should probably be using a null object. Period. To create one just go to Layer>New>Null Object.
This will create a layer that is basically, well, a null, a nothing. It’s essentially a point in space that is far easier to animate than moving a camera around by itself. It’s also incredibly useful for using a particle system like CC Particle World, or Trapcode Particular which I will cover in a moment. Make sure to remember to turn on your 3D layer switch making it look like this. See it now has the 3D gizmo handles.
To set it up as a controller, or a dolly for your camera movements, alt+click the position of the Camera layer, and pick-whip the position of the null object. That will create an expression to tie the positions together, which we will go over in a minute. Another excellent use of the Null Object is to twirl down your camera options, and select the Point of Interest, Alt+Click the stopwatch and pick-whip the position, this will ensure that your camera keeps it’s “eye” on your effect that is also tied to the Null, you can then move the camera freely around your 3D environment.
To re-cap, Null Objects are useful because:
- They provide an object to tie tracking data for motion tracking your film.
- They act as a “controller” or “dolly” for your 3D camera movements.
- Useful for controlling the movement of all sorts of particle systems.
Pre-Compose, Pre-Compose, Pre-Compose! If you can get away with it. Most of the time you’ll end up with a composition that looks like this, which albeit is a simple example.
When in fact, you could have a composition that looks like this example, which would be a nightmare to wrangle without nested compositions.
The pro’s of using Pre-comps are as such:
- Smaller list of layers
- Some effects just won’t work right as an adjustment layer applied to the top of the layers, you’ll have to pre-compose them and then apply the effect directly to the pre-comp layer.
- You can easily Alt+double click on the pre-comp layer and make any adjustments you need to and it will automatically update in your main comp.
Using the “continuous rasterization” button will allow you to use a composition as a 3D layer as long as all of the layers inside the composition are 3D, your camera can then move around that composition in 3D space.
Here are two you will probably be using the most:
wiggle(x,y) :: this is often referred to as the “wiggler”, what it’s going to do, is change the value of the property by the yevery x seconds.
So If it’s attached to the position of say, the emitter of a particle system, it will move that point in 3D space in a random direction at the given interval. Remember that this is in seconds, not frames. This expression can be used for not just the position, but for just about any parameter in your composition.
The next one is the other one I find myself using in almost every composition.
temp = thisComp.layer(“null”).transform.position; [temp, temp, temp]
You’ll be using this and not knowing it if you follow my advice on null objects and is automatically generated when you pickwhip the position of one layer to another.. This is telling the layer to copy the coordinates of the x y and z axis. In After Effects’ bizarre 3D coding system, X=0, Y=1, Z=2. Some things can get kind of tricky when dealing with these coordinates and sometimes will have to do two separate expressions, one for xy and a second for z, like in this screen shot.
For more help with expressions check out the Adobe Livedocs Site.
2: Project Folders/Simple Organization
I am probably NOT the best person to be telling people to do this, since I’m horrible at it, but organization is pretty helpful. Especially on larger projects. I do tend to keep all of my source files, video, images, sounds and that sort of thing in separate folders for easy navigation. Compositions sadly don’t usually get that kind of treatment though, and sometimes they are lucky if they get named something other than Comp1 and Comp2 before I do the final render. Organize your projects, it will save you precious time when you accidentally delete a piece of footage from a comp and then wonder what happened to it, remember, it still stays in your project window!
Also, Color Coding your layers will help you stay organized and only takes a second.
As you can see, I have all of my text layers pre-composed in that “sandstone” color, the background elements have been coded yellow, etc etc. Simple, yet effective!
1: Keyboard Shortcuts
If you’ve worked on just a few AE projects, you’ve realized that they take a very, very, very long time. You might not think about it, but a few keyboard shortcuts will cut that time down a few seconds at a time, and could possibly shave an hour or two off of your project time, if you consider how much time it takes to navigate through some of the horrendous, maze like drop down menus.
A few handy ones:
- Set beginning or end of work area to current time: B[beginning] N[end]
- To preview your current composition just tap the spacebar to start it, tap it again to pause it.
- To start a RAM preview, hit 0 on your numeric keypad.
- Cycle through your Camera controls with the C button, surprising, I know.
- Cmd/Ctrl+U will bring up your keyframes of a layer or at least that’s what the documentation says, and that’s what people say, but I found that on my Mac, that just tapping U will do it, like this.
- Cmd/Ctrl+Y will create a new solid layer, Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Y[Command+Option+Shift+Y for Mac] will create a glorious new Null layer.
- Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+C will Precompose your selected layers.
- To see the effects control panel of the selected layer tap Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+T
Don’t forget about your Effects and Presets Palette hiding right over there:
After you search for your effect, just double click it to apply it to your selected layer[s].
The standard Adobe shortcuts for Selection[V] and hand tool [H] still apply.
For more shorcuts just check out the Adobe livedocs here.
Well I hope this helps you save valuable time and expensive pain medication from slamming your head into your desk. Part 2 will be dealing with Filters and Presets, both built into AE CS3 and 3rd Party.
1. Video Copilot
Everyone who works within After Effects has heard of Andrew Kramer, so it is no surprise that he is at the top of this list. Andrew is a god when it comes to cutting edge tutorials in motion graphics and visual effects. His Sure Target preset has revolutionized the way you work with 3D cameras and the Demon Face and Car Hit tutorials have swept away novice After Effects artists and spun them into a frenzy of wanting to make cool videos. The Video Copilot blog and forums are a huge hit, and the products the website and team provide continue to be groundbreaking. Make sure you take a peak if you haven’t already. Get updates via twitter on VCP stuff by following @videocopilot.
Nick Campbell aka “The Gorilla” runs GreyScaleGorilla.com, a blog focusing on Nick’s life as a Motion Designer at Digital Kitchen in Chicago. Nick tries to get a GSGcast (what he calls his video blogs) out every day… and this guy couldn’t be more full of useful information. Expelling knowledge of After Effects and Cinema 4D, he has videos on “How to be Creative and Get Paid” to tutorials, to just random stories and projects he has done in the past. His new 5 Second Weekly Projects have become a huge hit in the mograph community prompting everyone to get out there and “make cool shit!” as Nick puts it. This is another everyday stop for me, as it should be for you. You can follow Nick’s twitter @nickvegas.
3. AE Tuts
AEtuts+ launched a couple of months ago, but it is already gaining steam very fast. With over 40 tutorials already published, they are becoming a very popular site with lots of great information. Part of the Envato Network and a sister site to the ever popular PSDtuts+, Nettuts+, Vectortuts+ and Audiotuts+, you know things are gonna be great. They have articles, tutorials, presets, freebies and a bunch of other stuff as well. Best thing about this site, is it is community-based, so you can write articles or publish a tutorial yourself! Run by Lloyd Alvarez of AEscripts.com (further down) you can follow their twitter @AEtuts.
4. Video Hive
The Hive is the official blog of VideoHive.net, the online marketplace for motion design elements, .AEP projects and stock footage. The Hive is run by Michael Capitelli, and it is full of tons of techniques for making better work. When I say that, I mean that whether you shoot still photography, video, work only in After Effects as a motion designer, or composite as a VFX artist, there is something on this blog for you. Make sure you follow their twitter @VideoHive.
5. AE Portal News
AE Portal News is your best bet to find the most updated news in the After Effects world, hand down. Run by Rich Young, this blog has daily updates of sales on plugins, when AE tutorials are posted, and extensive insights to all kinds of different aspects of After Effects, not to mention there is a gigantic humungo link list to anything and everything After Effects in the sidebar. With over 4 years of information all archived, there is usually an answer to a question posted somewhere in the depths of this blog.
Mograph.net is a great community for asking questions, posting work, and just hanging out with fellow mographers. Attracting the professional community from around the world, you can always count on getting a professional answer or insight to something that you post. Most of the people on the board are industry professionals, and know their stuff. I highly recommend this site if you have questions, looking for feedback on a work in progress, or just want to have an intelligent converstion.
Stu Maschwitz, owner of the late VFX compay, The Orphanage, has worked on a ton of movies including The Spirit, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Sin City, as well as many others. Well known by many in the mograph/vfx community, Stu aka @5tu on twitter, and his blog ProLost has become a great resource for production tips, photography insight, and lately he has taken a lot of interest to the HD video aspects of the new DSLR cameras. Even though his blog isn’t updated daily, I highly recommend following @5tu on twitter for his daily endeavors and awesome tweets on production tips and the like.
8. The Hypa Blog
The Hypa Blog, run by Tim Clapham, Cinema 4D professor at FXphd.com and the upcoming host of the new Making It Look Great 6 training dvd has a great blog about Cinema 4D and its uses with motion graphics design. Cinema 4D and After Effects go so well together, and this is a great blog for tips and tricks within Cinema 4D. With over 11 years design experience, Tim and Hypa.tv have a lot to bring to the table. You can follow Tim on twitter @hypatim.
9. Motion Works
Speaking of Making It Look Great, the man behind the series, John Dickinson has a killer site as well, with a fresh redesign a couple months ago. Motionworks, is one of those sites I have followed since I started in motion graphics, and he continues to impress me with what he puts out. Working as a motion designer at Foxtel Box Office in Australia, JD demonstrates techniques, tips and tutorials that we all can benefit from. John’s work is great, and is always getting better. His niche of work is mostly of what a lot people are looking to learn from… motion design for advertising and television. JD’s is a must bookmark site, you can also follow him on twitter @John_Dickinson.
10. AE Scripts
Llyody Alvarez, as I mentioned before is the editor for AEtuts+, but before that was even thought of, he created AEscripts.com. His site, a renowned location to find cutting edge scripts for After Effects such as Magnum the Edit Detector or the amazing BG Renderer, has become one of the first places you think of… hence the name, AEscripts.com. You can also find links to other AE and scripts site, as well as possibly buy Lloyd a beer if you are feeling generous! You can follow Lloyd and AEscripts.com on twitter @aescripts.
11. Motion Script
If you haven’t messed around with scripts in your workflow, you are really missing out. They are a huge timesaver. Here is a another site called Motionscript.com, run by Dan Ebberts, which provides scripts and expressions as well as lots of documentation on how to create your own. Scripting is hard work, but there is some amazing stuff that you can make. This is a must-see site if you are looking to get into expressions and scripting.
Alright, bear with me, this is the last scripting resource! I know a lot of people shy away from them, but they really are a great add-in to After Effects. The AEnhancers site is in forum-form, and has library, discussions, requests, and tutorials on how to use and how to make scripts. This site also has an expressions library as well so make sure you check that out as well.
Harry Frank is a pro with Trapcode Particular, and his site, Graymachine, really displays that. Recently featured in the User Gallery for Trapcode Particular, Harry’s site continues to be a great resource for downloads for Trapcode Form, Particular, and useful articles on working in the business. Undergoing its third redesign, and Harry relocating to Los Angelas to work for Truxton Pictures, we can expect some great things from him in the coming months. You can follow Harry on twitter @graymachine.
Base80 is a pretty cool blog with a nice table of contents. Its almost like a never ending book of techniques for Cinema 4D. There are a ton of quick tricks and tips for working faster, smarter, and more efficiently within Cinema 4D and Xpresso. You can follow Base80.com on twitter @base80.
15. Creative Cow
Did you really think that the Creative COW wouldn’t make this list? It is possibly one of the biggest sources of information on the internet to deal with any motion graphics, graphic design or video platform. If you are one of the few that haven’t wandered the COW, they have a multitude of tutorials on any program you could want along with 11 podcasts, a magazine (online and print), training DVDs, and a good 100 or so forums crawling with professionals. This is one community to bookmark, because if you can’t find an answer to a question anywhere else, this is where to come to speak to the gods.
When I first saw MaxAfter.com, I thought… oh a Video Copilot copycat, but holy cow was I wrong. Shaoib Khan produces some very cool looking animations like the earth from the movie “Knowing” and the bullet from the movie “Wanted“. Shaoib uses mostly After effects and 3Ds Max (see where he got the name?) to create most of his tutorials, but mainly After Effects.
Maltaannon aka Jerzy Drozda Jr. has a ton of great tutorials on his site as well as what he likes to call CE’s or CustomEffects. They are like plugins, but coded differently. Anyways, he just came out with CETextRamp, which creates color ramps at the top and bottom of your text, no matter if you resize or whatever. Point is, Maltaannon is full of cool techniques, tools, and some cool information. He has just started another site called fineCG.com that deals in Motion Design/Visual Effects. You can follow Maltaannon on twitter @maltaannon.
18. Ninja Crayon
Ko Maruyama, who also runs Mac Animation Pro, is Ninja Crayon. This is a daily/weekly update in the world of motion graphics and visual effects. What plugins are on sale, what things are being given away in Cinema 4D land… that kind of thing. Ko also has a huge collection of 300+ After Effects tutorials he has created over the years, and that list is ever growing. He is well versed in the ways of the C4D as well, and he has some good tutorials over at his Vimeo channel. You can follow Ko Maruyama on twitter @ninjacrayon.
Possibly one of the best sites to look to for inspirational videos, Motionographer has daily updates of insanely spectacular works of video art. I like to check here every day to see what the popular post houses are cooking up, and what I can expect to see on the television when I watch my primetime. Motionographer also has articles, jobs, and forums for you to join in the discussion. To get the latest updates from Motionographer, follow them on twitter @motionographer.
20. Pro Video Coalition
I like Pro Video Coalition a lot. You know why? Because they have a sub-channel for everyone. 3D, Post Production, Motion Graphics, VFX, Audio, Cameras… the list goes on. Each channel has a seperate set of blog posts that get updated, but on the PVC mainpage, those posts are reflected throughout the entire site. PVC is community based being contributed by some of the top names in the industry.
21. The Mograph Blog
I found The Mograph Blog from a tweet about the post on Mastering The Render Queue. From there looking through the posts, I realized I had just hit a goldmine of awesome tips. Run by Chris Kelley, The Mograph Blog dabbles in and out of After Effects and Cinema 4D, with a few tutorials here and there. You can follow The Mograph Blog on twitter @themographblog.
22. Red Giant Software
If you are a mograph artist, you have probably encounted Trapcode Particular a few times or the rest of the Trapcode Arsenal… or perhaps you are more partial to Primatte Keyer Pro? Either way you roll, they are owned by Red Giant Software, and the Red Room Blog is where its at. News on Trapcode Particualr v2.0, new tutorials, and news about whats going on with the company and the plugins they develop. This is a good site to frequent every few days to see what is new or what is up and coming. You can follow Red Giant Software on twitter @redgianttweet.
23. Studio Daily
Studio Daily is a one stop shop for finding job boards, mini-sites, inspiration, tutorials, training, and lots more. They are a very up to date news resource posting reviews on software, behind the scenes reports on movies and commercials and give you a great look into the going ons of the mograph/vfx world. You can find Studio Daily on twitter @studiodaily.
24. AE Freemart
One of the best places to find free tutorials, presets, plugins or anything else you might want for After Effects is Toolfarm’s AE Freemart. The site has been around for a while, and it has accumulated a ton of free stuff over the years. You can find links to tutorials or presets on outside sites complete with descriptions on what it is. Things like Nahuel’s AutoTitles Preset or brand new video tutorials by Rob Birnholz are just a few of the many lovely gifts the AEFreemart comes bearing. You can get updates from Toolfarm as well as AEFreemart on twitter by following @toolfarm.
25. Adobe TV
If you want to go to heart of where some of the best training can be found, you are going to want to check out Adobe TV. With libraries of training on every Adobe product available, and constantly updated every day, this is one resource you will never grow old of. Online seminars that are held monthly are recorded and put up for later viewing on Adobe TV as well, as lectures and demonstrations given at live seminars. You can follow Adobe TV on twitter @AdobeTV.
26. General Specialist
Even though Jonas Hummelstrand doesn’t update his blog much, when he does, you always remember why you bookmarked him. A swedish mograph/visual effects artist, Jonas works within the full Adobe Creative Suite, as well as Cinema 4D, 3Ds Max and Maya. His blog, aptly named “General Specialist” provides a look into the mind of a person who knows his stuff in this business. He has some great posts about RED cameras, building custom camera jibs, and lots more. You can follow Jonas on twitter @hummelstrand.
27. Digital Tutors
Most people have heard of Digital Tutors’ training DVDs, but a lot of people aren’t aware of theyir library of 500+ free tutorials available online. The Daily Dose isn’t really a blog, but is updated daily with a free tutorial, technique, or tip in one of 19 software categories, plucked directly from their training DVDs. Lately they have been getting an After Effects tutorial or two in each week, and the rest are usually based on a 3D program. But we all love free, so we can’t complain!
Alright, I know this may seem like a shameless plug on my part, but even if this wasn’t my site, I think it should be on this list. VisualFXtuts.com is run by me, Topher, and is a site that collects all the tutorials in the mograph and visual effects blogosphere and posts them to one direct location. Checking around 200 sites, almost daily, you can just bookmark here, and link directly to where the tutorials are located. Also posted are presets, free stock footage, .AEP and 3D project files, textures, and pretty much anything else you could want. You can follow VisualFXtuts.com on twitter @visualfxtuts.
This is a short, quick and easy tutorial showing how to use the graph editor to control the velocity of keyframes within after effects. I go over using the easy ease function and how to manipulate the bezier curves using the graph editor. This is a very basic tutorial but if you’ve never opened the graph editor to change the temporal interpolation of keyframes then you may want to watch to see how it’s done.
ANIMATING WITH INK EFFECTS
(software required: Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects with Trapcode’s Particular)
In this tutorial I’ll recreate a similar look from an older Gnarls Barkley video. The principles I’ll cover are foundational and can be used for some incredible animations other than simply imitating a great music video. Some of what I covered in the Photoshop Bling tutorial is being used here directly in AE. So for those who were wondering why you’d use the Bling effect unless you were designing a hip hop album… remember it’s the principles that that are most valuable… the end result for these tutorials is just to get you excited to go out and create your own. Specifically I will focus on the following in this tutorial:
– Using Alpha and Luma Mattes in After Effects
– Frame by Frame animation using CS3’s Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects
A basic to intermediate knowledge of After Effects and Trapcode Particular is needed to follow along.
STEP ONE: Setting up your ink file for creating a matte
Import your video footage of ink. Create a new Comp called “ink blots.” For this shot I actually placed a wet paper towel in the base of a square fish tank and filmed from below the glass fish tank as i