August 27, 2007

iDVD 7: Professional Quality option

Ken Stone has a review of iDVD 7 in iLife 08, where the good news is a 3rd compression option, 'Professional Quality.' iDVD just might be preferable to Adobe Encore because of stability. I'm just a little annoyed by my last project where motion menu thumbnails stop looping in Encore, but I probably would melt down completely without Encore's Photoshop integration.

SF Cutters Tuesday: Magic Bullet 3 + Trapcode

SF Cutters has a meeting at dvGarage in San Francisco on Tuesday August 28th at 7:00 pm.

Sean Safreed of Red Giant Software will be previewing the highly anticipated Magic Bullet 3, as well as showing Primatte Keyer and the new Trapcode filters for Final Cut, Motion, and other editors (Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke).

Also on deck is Alberto Palacios of Createmore, presenting "Media Storage for Editors."

I did a short review of the new-old Trapcode filters recently for SF Cutters. In short, though similar filters (or Replicators or Behaviors) can be found in AE and Final Cut Studio, Trapcode's Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke offer more control, unique features, and probably faster results than the alternatives.

August 26, 2007

Frame Playback

Frame playback is more complicated than you might think. General Specialist has a short survey of frame playback tools in Seven Ways to Playback Your Renderings Without Paying $5,400.

Update: Jonas updated his list and added links the Brendon Bolles-compiled versions of ILM OpenEXR viewing apps exrdisplay & playexr (lower right on page).

August 25, 2007

fnord on HD Photo and OpenEXR

fnord software has a new blog, where Brendan Bolles recently announced that ProEXR has shipped. Included with the download of ProEXR is a collection of 4 free open source plug-ins that provide access to OpenEXR files in AE.

Brendan also posts interesting comments in
HD Photo: Not Too Shabby:

"You know that we here at fnord have a thing for file formats. Don't ask why, we just do. Well, there's a new format coming down the pipe, and it's HD Photo. It looks like the format to rule them all, so of course it must come from Microsoft. And that's why it pains me to say this: HD Photo actually looks really great..."

read the rest in
HD Photo: Not Too Shabby.

Update: Brendan later recommended HDR Labs as well as
How to Create Professional HDR Images by Ryan McGinnis.

Aravind Krishnaswamy also has an article that might also be useful: Creating high dynamic range images with Adobe Photoshop.

Update 2: podcast
Technology Today talks to Tim Grey of Microsoft on JPEG XR

Expressions & Scripting Resources for After Effects

Update: There's a new resource summary on PVC, Using and creating After Effects scripts.

Expressions are scripts, but not in the AE world, where scripts are supposed to refer to AE scripts as in the article above. Unfortunately, this cobbled list isn't always clear; note that the leading lights are good resources for both.

Earlier, Todd Kopriva outlined scripting changes in After Effects CS6, plus a new scripting guide. And Jeff Almosul and Todd Kopriva detailed the Scripting changes in After Effects CS5 at Todd's Blog. See also AE CS5 Help on Scripts and Expressions.

Jeff Almasol is gradually updating his redefinery scripts so they can be updated to work as dockable panels in CS3. These will include the DV Rebel Tools and ones for Mark Christiansen’s Studio Techniques book.

There's enough AE scripts and expressions floating around to make my head swim, and many of them have gestated at AE Enhancers, the uberforum for scripts, expressions, and presets. Many script and expressions can be freely used, distribute or modified. Here's a quick summary of scripting resources mostly mentioned in AEP posts tagged , Expressions or Scripting...

Expressions & Scripting Resources for After Effects

Training and scripts can be found at:

Motionscript by Dan Ebberts has both introductory and advanced stuff. It's a project-based resource for After Effects scripting and expressions (and there is a difference; for the user scripts are push button affairs). JJ Gifford's basic Expressions in After Effects is old but still attractive.

The Help system is a good resource; see the online version, Adobe AE LiveDocs, which has expressions help and examples. Adobe is offering a scripting guide for AE 8/CS3 at the Developer Center; see Todd Kopriva's outline of changes. See also the AE Help pages on Scripts and on Expressions. You can ask direct questions at the Adobe AE scripting forum.

Other expression training can be found in books like Creating Motion Graphics With After Effects by Trish & Chris Meyer (Dan Ebberts likes the big bonus chapter on the DVD and contributes his own Scripting Overview chapter). They're also adding a 12-part series Deeper Modes of Expression on PVC, based on an extra in their book.

See also The DV Rebel Guide, as well as in video training like After Effects Pro: Professional Features by Total Training. Adobe After Effects Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen trumps these in the latest version of the book, which features a chapter written by Dan Ebberts.

Creative Cow has a wide variety of expressions tutorials, and forum habited by Dan Ebberts.
Video Copilot has tutorials that include scripting.
Harry Franks added a free intro video Expressions 101 to accompany his Toolfarm training videos.

These sites provide expressions and scripts but not so much training:

Lloyd Alvarez has an often-updated collection of scripts for AE, including BG Renderer CS3, at his domain AE Scripts that later expanded to add top scripting authors and a shopping cart for downloads. Most scripts are still free but the cart makes tipping easier. See also Lloyd Alvarez's AENY presentation on AE scripting. In 2009-2010, Lloyd had an ongoing course at fxphd, an Introduction to After Effects Scripting.

redefinery from Jeff Almasol has a great script library along 'AE Scripting' fundamentals. Jeff Almasol is gradually updating his scripts so they can be updated to work as dockable panels in AE CS3. These will include the DV Rebel Tools and ones for Mark Christiansen’s Studio Techniques book.

AE Enhancers is the expression & scripting forum for AE.

nabscripts from Charles Bordenave has a good number (English and French). He even has something to help you translate scripts into your own language; this script supports English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Dr. Woohoo specializes in AE<-->Flash integration where Adobe leaves off.
Adobe engineer Bruce Bullis, former keeper of the AE SDK, maintained the After Effects API Zone.

More valuable scripts and expressions can be found at: Creative Workflow Hacks who links to Armored Squirrel,,, Leapfrog Productions, nabscripts, Peter Torpey. Cool scripts by Jeff Almasol are also in The DV Rebel's Guide by Stu Maschwitz.

XScriptorium, a new AE scripting resource, was launched in August 2008, and has been testing a revised interface at It's joined by a similar new website, After Effects Expressions Reference or AEER. Both aim to help organize and present the vast array of available scripts and expressions.

But wait there's more:

Update: Create Digital Motion posted Edit Ninja: Super Fast Video Sampling Workflow with After Effects Scripting. Here's a snippet: "Like to cut up and sample video? Sick of all that time-consuming scrubbing, slicing and rearranging in Vegas or Premiere? Well I’ve figured out a workflow using a collection of After Effects scripts which turns lots of tedious editing into a very quick process to output a series of video clips for your VJing pleasure. This technique uses the following After Effects scripts:
AEScripts‘ “Magnum - the Edit Detector
Reverse Selected Layer Order
Precomp to Layer Duration
Redefinery’s RenderLayers, and ScriptLauncher, to speed things up even further."

Update: from the aether... Jonas Hummelstrand noted scripts which provide "needed-every-day-functionality:"
-- Lloyd Alvarez scripts "Zorro," "Throttler" and "BG Render"
-- Jeff Almosal scripts "KeyedUp," "ScriptsLauncher," "Statesman," and "CompositionSetter"
-- Dale Bradshaw’s & Paul Tuersley's camera rigging script
-- Dale Bradshaw’s Lower-thirds-generator
-- Paul Tuersley's TrackerViz

Update (December 2008): After Effects Expressions by Marcus Geduld is a new book on expressions in AE from Focal Press. As noted by Todd Kopriva, Focal Press have made a couple of excerpts of this book available for free. There's also a review of the book by Steve Douglas on Ken Stone's FCP, and you can see the author in action on at least 2 training videos; check out videos Making key frames loop in After Effects and The "wiggle" expression in After Effects.

Update: Todd Kopriva is updating the scripting guide for CS4, and posted a crib sheet with the new and changed items on his blog.

Update: Dr. WooHoo is involved with Flash panel and ExtendScript connections with AIR apps and CS4; see New SwitchBoard and PatchPanel tutorials…

Info on Adobe image processing archtecture and new plug-in format in CS4 can be found in previous articles on , and at Kevin Goldsmith's blog.

Update: In Programmatic Animations in AE with Expressions & Scripting, Michael Coleman and Dan Ebberts (fullscreen) show tips and tricks with Scripting and Expressions in CS4. The parts on the video metadata pipeline were covered more full by Dan Ebberts in an article posted in early 2009 at Adobe, XMP metadata in Creative Suite 4 Production Premium.

Update: Sébastien Périer (Sebastien Perier for Google) has compiled a Top 10 list of After Effects workflow enhancing scripts, ones that he uses the most on a project basis. He also notes AE scripts and websites like AEER, or After Effects Expressions Reference and Final Cut 2 After Effects.

Update: AExtensions is a blog by Mathias Möhl (Mohl for Google), the mind behind the Tracker2Mask, KeyTweak, (AEP backgrounder post) and MochaImport scripts. He doesn't post frequently but posts present deep new features and include video tutorials.

Update: Satya Meka posted the tutorial Intro to Pixel Bender for Non-Programmers, and he likes the math explanations at BetterExplained.

Update: AEtuts started a video series by Frederik Steinmetz, Introduction To Writing Scripts For AE.

Update: Le freelance saucisse is an AE expressions resource in French with interesting and challenging examples. Google Chrome will translate it automatically for your convenience.

FeltTips returned with a few tutorials on expressions, After Effects Random Expression Shenanigans and Quick After Effects Expressions #1 - Camera Targetter

Lester Banks unearthed a 16-tutorial series on expressions by Arun Latvia on YouTube.

AE Scripts and Mamoworld now offer ExpressionTimeline, a new After Effects script that lets you combine and modify expressions without editing the code itself.  

iExpressions from Mamoworld combines the power of After Effects expressions with the convenience of effect plug-ins. They allow you to use expressions without writing any code -- each iExpression comes with an interface to control everything using adjustable parameters. iExpressions seems like something out of Stu Mashwitz blog on the potential of a nodes property panel, but it's just script UI for each expression. iExpressions, available on AE Scripts, ships with over 60 iExpressions in six different categories: AudioLinkingMovement ModifierPhysics SimulationsSource Text, and Wiggles (links to demo movies).

Orchestral version of "4'33" by John Cage

Can you listen to all 4 and a half minutes?

Bridge still needs Captain

An Adobe blog, The Genesis Project, showed a bit of Bridge Home recently, but I didn't quite get it since, as a curmudgeon, I don't use Bridge except by accident. To get to Bridge Home, you have open the Favorites tab on the upper left of the app window. Clicking on the icon takes you into the Adobe world of event news, tutorials, and download links.

Clicking on the purplish AE icon takes you to AE-related offerings. This is interesting in a Web 2.0 way, but content still has to be accessed through your web browser. Since I can get to the Adobe website on my own, I'm still hoping that Bridge ends up more like a product for content management (like Microsoft Expression Media) than a sales tool.

Terry White's Creative Suite Podcast covered Bridge Home last month in Take advantage of Bridge Home in Bridge CS3.

TubeStop blocks YouTube ads

from Watching TV Online...

According to Wired Blogs, it's possible to block ads on YouTube, provided you’re using a Mozilla-based browser - at least so far.

"The Mozilla browser add-on TubeStop will replace all the video players on the YouTube site with the embedded player, which thus far do not support the in-stream ads."

August 23, 2007

Review: Trapcode Shine, Starglow, 3D Stroke filters

I did a short review of the new-old Trapcode filters recently for SF Cutters.

In short, though similar filters (or Replicators or Behaviors) can be found in AE and Final Cut Studio, Trapcode Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke offer more control, unique features, and probably faster results than the alternatives.

Trapcode 3S: Shine, Starglow and 3D Stroke filters

Rich Young, July 2007

Trapcode recently introduced upgrades to Shine, Starglow and 3D Stroke filter products with Universal Binary/MacIntel support so you can use them inside Final Cut Pro 5.1+, Avid Express Pro 5.5+ or Premiere Pro, as well as After Effects 6.5+ and Motion 3. The Trapcode 3S Pack, which bundles these 3 filters at a lower price, is also available. The filters feature a new rendering engine to produce high quality images fast, with 32-bit support (After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion) and 16-bit support (Avid AVX, Premiere Pro). The same plug-in should work in AE and Premiere Pro on both Mac and Windows, but it's different than the FxPlug version designed for FCP and Motion.

Trapcode Shine is a 2D volumetric light effect plug-in which combines render speed, control, and high quality to simulate sun rays from behind text or logos, God rays through clouds or trees, or to create animated backgrounds. Other filters like Light Rays in FCP and Motion or CC Light Burst in AE (8-bit only bundled) can give you beautiful results, but you get more control and subtle results in a shorter time with Shine.

Shine includes numerous ray coloring options including 3- and 5-color gradients with 22 tweakable presets and unique controls to make light rays shimmer without animating the light source or layer position. Additional controls include pre-processed Threshold and Use Mask commands to control the luminance value or area where the effect begins. This in addition to a Transfer Mode controls to add original layer information, as well as separate Opacity controls for Source and rays, is much more powerful than a simple Mix slider, though you could get similar results with more time, layers, and/or built-in effects. And fast updates during parameter adjustments makes setup quicker. See an intro of Shine in action and additional example movies at the Trapcode site.

Trapcode 3D Stroke uses paths from masks to render volumetric strokes that can be manipulated in 3D space.You can bend strokes in space and taper controls to make strokes that are thinner at the ends, or fly around or write-on vector art in 3D (which will not disappear when viewed from the side). In addition there are 40 preset shapes for generating outlines or swirling strokes, built-in transfer modes, and motion blur for more realism. It has a built-in camera for Final Cut Pro and Motion but also works with AE comp cameras. See an intro of 3D Stroke in action and additional example movies at the Trapcode site.

Trapcode Starglow is a fast-rendering glow that uses highlight values of a source layer to create glints and star-shaped glows. The star shape consists of eight points that can be assigned individual color maps and streak lengths. The controls are similar to Shine, with numerous coloring options and presets, built-in transfer modes, and shimmer, threshold, and mask controls. To get a quick handle on this filter, see the Starglow Flash intro and additional example movies at the Trapcode site.


While Shine, Starglow and 3D Stroke are full-featured, fast, and come with good support and a large user community, Final Cut Studio users will have to weigh those benefits against almost similar features in the cool but still maturing Motion 3. Hands-on training is available for free through the Trapcode site, with examples and step-by-step tutorials from Trapcode and others and Flash demos by creator Peder Norrby (see the new HDR tutorial). A healthy user gallery provides even more examples of Trapcode filters in action. If you download demos of these filters to give them a spin, look at the Help files for additional tips.

Seam Carving feature requests coming

John Nack mentioned this SIGGRAPH video a few days ago and John Dowdell later commented that the lead author of this technology has joined Adobe!

Seam Carving for Content-Aware Image Resizing

Update: Video Thing has some comments and links, including one to "An Informal Catalogue of Slit-Scan Video Artworks."

Update 2: In Imaging heavy hitters join Adobe John Nack details a number of interesting additions to the Adobe staff.

Update 3: Picutel is releasing a PS plug-in for this sort of image resizing (September).

Update 4: another tool Liquid Resize was noted in comments, and Studio Daily added info in Seam Carving for Content-Aware Image Resizing.

Update 5: CNET added a newer video from the developers.

Update 6: Gantico tested Resizer, a Flash app in this category; see Test: my first liquidly resized picture.

August 22, 2007

Proxy render before opening busted legacy project

Here's a nice workaround from Chris & Trish Meyer, paraphrased from a thread on the After Effects List...

As AE versions, filter version, and OS and platform changes come down the pike you may find that you have filters that don't work in your current version of AE, so opening a legacy project in the current version can lose your work. This could happen even when nothing changes except the official version of AE because there's been subtle and not so subtle changes, this time in the shipping version of Keylight.

If you're using plug-ins that don't work in your main version of AE, in the original setup you can put the problem layers into precomps and render them as comp proxies. Chris continues: "Then you can open the project in CS3 and, AE will use the proxy footage, not the plug-in... "

August 21, 2007

Adobe adds H.264 support to Flash; AMP delayed

Danny Prinz on the AE-List noted that Adobe announced a Flash Player 9 beta will enable "the delivery of HD television quality and premium audio content through the ubiquitous Adobe Flash Player and pave the way to expand rich media Flash experiences on the desktop and H.264 ready consumer devices. The latest update for Adobe Flash Player 9 will be available in beta for download today on Adobe Labs at"

Update: Adobe's Tinic Uro San has extensive comments and technical details, and Aral Balkan has a FAQ with commentators grumbling that Adobe is using a proprietary RTMP protocol and disabling RTSP support to sell server software.

John Dowdell follows up
to clarify an important point, 'Here's the fuller quote from Tinic: "Video needs to be in H.264 format only. MPEG-4 Part 2 (Xvid, DivX etc.) video is not supported, H.263 video is not supported, Sorenson Video is not supported. Keep in mind that a lot of pod casts are still using MPEG-4 Part 2. So do not be surprised if you do not see any video." He's referring to H264 video here, in its various implementations. The Sorenson Sparc codec works in the Player, same as before. I understand how this passage could read the other way though. But the Sorenson reference in this passage is to flavors of H264, and does not affect the world's existing FLVs.'

Update 2: Beet.TV has more info, including comments by Adobe's Ryan Stewart on ZDNet and by NewTeeVee. Beet.TV also provided the interview below with On2 CEO Bill Joll on H.264, and another Joll interview Adobe's Flash Video to Play on Mobile Phones. There's yet another at Joll interview (8/23) at Seeking Alpha.

Update 3: Beet.TV also notes that Adobe Media Player has been delayed until 2008.

August 20, 2007

Mylenium adds AE error code knowledge base

Mylenium has updated his website, Voir. It which includes projects and presets under a Creative Commons license, and a new After Effects error code knowledge base. His blog, Mylenium’s World, is still there too.

SuperResolution, an up-res filter

Toolfarm reports on a Windows-only uprezzing plug-in for AE and Premiere Pro.

from "Dee Mon" uses super-resolution methods to uprez video. According to the site, "The plugin uses information from neighbor frames to upsize current frame. It accumulates information, so the more sequential frames are processed, the better quality you get. When it's first applied to a layer, it takes just a few frames preceding the current one...This super-resolution method (used also in Video Enhancer) has been compared with several alternative video upsizing methods and solutions including plugins from Red Giant, Digital Anarchy and Topaz Labs. You can see the comparison here."

Murch on workflow from NAB 2007

LAFCPUG has QuickTimes (640x480 and iPod format) of Film Editor Walter Murch from the NAB 2007 FCPUG SuperMeet. Murch 'takes us through the Post Production Workflow on Francis Coppola's movie Youth Without Youth, defines "Editing," talks about the beginning of his career with Francis Coppola and how he came to use Final Cut Pro.' MacVideoTV has the same stuff.

VIXY: save and convert FLV on web

Services like KeepVid let you to save an FLV from it's website.

goes a step ahead and lets you submit an url then they convert the video and download the converted file automatically to your hard drive. VIXY allows you to convert a Flash Video FLV file (Youtube movies,etc) to MPEG4 (AVI/MOV/MP4/MP3/3GP) file online.

Movavi Online is another converter, and Unplug, a Firefox extension, can be very handy too.

August 18, 2007

Simple Object Removal in AE

FreshDV notes a Creative Cow video Simple Object Removal in AE. [Not] Needed extras: ObviousFX CopyImage plug-in from the ObviousFX website.

Jerzy Drozda Jr. the host of the tutorial, has several more at the impressive COW Library for After Effects.

August 17, 2007

The panopticon of social-networking TV

greenchair.gifAs EBN mused, "Participate in your own manipulation!"

Watching TV Online posts about the electronic panopticon of "Social-networking TV":

"According to New Scientist, Microsoft is working on a version of its instant messaging system that is designed to connect to your TV, DVD player or media player and keep track of everything you've watched - to make TV viewing a less lonely viewing experience.

"The messaging system allows online buddies to see what the others have been watching. So groups of friends can synchronise their viewing habits and chat about what they've seen.

New Scientist thinks it's a powerful idea as Marketing experts have long recognised that personal recommendations from like-minded peers are far more influential than adverts or other forms of publicity."

Microsoft is not the first to believe in social TV, both Joost enables viewers to chat live with others watching the same channels and the service also works with Gmail. and Jabber instant-messaging accounts. And Babelgum will enable viewers to discuss, discover and recommend their favorite programs through a social network."

Photoshop CS3 Extended eSeminar +kerning

John Dickinson posted a note on his Photoshop CS3 Extended eSeminar for Adobe. I'm not much sold on Photoshop's model of the video future and there's nothing new, but John pulls together the handiest new features for video in one convenient presentation.

Also, Alan Shisko has a movie on kerning in AE posted at You Kern Do It!, which shows you ALT+Arrows (like Photoshop and Illustrator) and a few other things.

iMovie impact

I owe several jobs to the inadequacy of Apple iMovie, so it's probably good to track its progress. The latest version (guided tour here) seems to be 2 steps forward and 2 steps back, adding slick features (like clickless scrubbing) but at a high price in waiting time for thumbnail rendering and removed features.

I'm not sure if this will finally push the skilled low end to Final Cut Express, but experienced editors are weighing-in. The Edit Blog seems to like Working with iMovie 08, and Splice Here asks How much editing does the average person need?

David Pogue also weighed in with 'thumbs way down' in his NYT article Apple Takes a Step Back With iMovie ’08.

Update: Splice Here has more thoughts on iMovie in iMovie as a Gateway Drug, and notes a MacBreak Weekly podcast. He also notes a very important Apple secret weapon: “Export to Final Cut Pro” -- but does Avid hear?

Update 2: FrshDV notes a positive review, Why iMovie ‘08 Matters.

Chris' OT tip: Layer Styles

Off topic posts on the AE-List sometimes come with an honorary AE tip. This one's from Chris Meyer (co-author of top AE books), 16 Aug 2007 :

"Check out Layer > Layer Styles in CS3. These include Photoshop drop shadows, bevels, embosses, etc. which are far deeper than the equivalent AE effects. They render after transforms, which mean they behave more like applying effects to shape and text layers (i.e. shadows stay pointed in the same direction as you rotate a layer -- although they don't scale with it, etc.). Perhaps most intriguing is that they are applied after track mattes are: This means you can apply a matte to a layer, then bevel and shadow it without having to resort to adjustment layers or precomps."

Update: Now there's even an intro movie, Photoshop Layer Styles in AE CS3 by Aharon Rabinowitz.

Follow the White Rabbit?

Thank God It's Friday...peak outside Plato's Cave and check out the 1960s keying and effects is showcased in "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love" by Jefferson Airplane.

1966 found remembrance of things to come with early Grateful Dead. This Matrix show had good jams in "Viola Lee Blues," "Dancin' in the Streets," and this "Cream Puff War":

Rich powers ODEO

They advanced quickly; about a year later with this "Spanish Jam":

Rich powers ODEO

The last word goes to DJ Krush and Mos Def in "Shinjiro."

August 16, 2007

Max Roach, Legendary Jazz drummer

Max Roach, Legendary Jazz drummer, composer and bandleader, passed away today. There's bunch of solo stuff on YouTube but I like ensemble stuff better, so check out the 4th icon down on this playlist.

Redefining reality by editing Wikipedia

Recent reports from Wired and Daily Kos discussed attempts by certain organizations (Fox News, Diebold, Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil, the CIA, and the U.S. House of Representatives) to redefine reality by editing Wikipedia articles in their favor.

While it's interesting we all know this now, the problem is that we all know this now, and the even the stupid evil-doers will learn about IP addresses. For more see:

Lost Remote's WikiScanner reveals anonymous Wikipedia editors
Crooks & Liars' An embarrassed Fox News hits Wikipedia

August 13, 2007

AE filter Real 3D now for Mac

Avidion Media has released the Mac version of Real 3D, a filter that extends AE's 3D abilities. They have how-to movies to see it in action.

August 11, 2007

CS3 expressions on MotionScript

As noted by Mark Christiansen on Flowseeker, Dan Ebberts' After Effects expressions resource site MotionScript is getting updated tutorials for CS3 and a bit of a facelift.

Update: Creative Workflow Hacks adds that sampleImage() is fun.

Dale adds, "sampleImage() is a new layer method expression introduced in After Effects CS3 that allows you to access a layer’s color pixel data. Combined with sophisticated particle systems like Particular, I think we’re likely to see some really interesting designer driven explorations a la Processing, but with more of a tinkering, let’s try things out approach."

August 8, 2007


FXGuideTV and Animation World Network has daily web video of SIGGRAPH 2007, including a look at the Emerging Technologies exhibit and a conversation with HDR guru Paul Debevec. The Photoshop object extraction/matte technique in fxguidetv #004 might be worth your look too.

August 7, 2007

Ink as medium and form for animation

Motionographer, the motion graphics inspiration site, has several newish items with background info. I like the ink/blood text thingie.

Update: the director adds, ..."there’s nothing really magical about the making of at all. we shot it all on HD DV in a very small fish tank on an old light box - so there nothing spectacular about the lighting, too. after that, we uses that footage as 3D-layers in AE. some 2D-tracking is done to conect some of the blood-branches - thats all. mainly we used just 2-3 tweaked takes to generate the more comlex, in fact it was some kind student-style piece of work.

...the text transitions are 90% in camera! we took foils to print on with an ink jet printer. than we used dishwashing liquid to blow the text away… some timeremapping effects…thats all."

Video Co-Pilot has similar stock footage (paint, ink, grunge) of with training called Riot Gear.

Update: see also Tutorial – Create Ink Based Effects in After Effects:

I don't think that any one could have predicted that

Did someone Photoshop that picture or is 'My Pet Goat' really upside down? ...and from Crooks & Liars, a day late:

'Today is not only the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, it is the day six years ago that Bush received the infamous “Bin Laden determined to strike in US” Presidential Daily Bulletin. Carpetbagger has more, and there’s a blogswarm going on as well…'

Condoleezza Rice (aka Madame Supertanker) was the National Security Advisor who read Bush his briefings in 2001. Later she made the infamous statements including "I don't think that any one could have predicted that..." and "this was not a warning." Again, the title of the the August 6, 2001 PDB (gif): "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." Spocko's Brain has a video that effectively lays out the context of the PDB (the briefing presented to the President by the National Security Advisor) with a timeline highlighting some of the official warnings that clearly anticipated the 9-11 attack.

Heckava job Condi.

August 6, 2007

Free Mac plug-ins: Vee You

Of course we've been able to do this in AE for years, but free is free...The Edit Blog notes Mac Freebie plug-ins: Vee You, explaining "Only Motion 3.0 has audio behaviors which enable you to drive the eq and vu levels automatically but you can also use these plugins in Motion 2.0 or Final Cut Pro 5/6 if you want to manually animate the parameters of the plugins."

August 5, 2007

1000 Airplanes on the Roof

We're bizzy drones in San Francisco, though some like SNAFU want to limit willy-nilly building of antennas emitting radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Gavin Newson, Karl Rove's hero of the single issue 2004 election, wants to skip environmental reviews to build a sweetheart-deal wireless network instead of expanding the municipal installed base of fiber to compete with other countries (eg Korea) in internet speeds.

Phillip Glass has a sample of his sci-fi musical drama 1000 Airplanes on the Roof at his website. Wikipedia has a pertinent summary: 'The main character named "M" recalls encounters with extra-terrestrial life forms, including their message, "It is better to forget, it is pointless to remember. No one will believe you. You will have spoken a heresy. You will be outcast."'

But it's better to remember, and technology assessment is not heresy.

August 3, 2007

AE faster in XP than OS X

At a DMN site, Kevin Schmitt looks at AE rendering speed on an Intel Mac using Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OSX. XP seems to be 5 to 15% faster than OS X even with Boot Camp limitations. (via)

There's probably no conspiracy against the Mac -- which admittedly is a rapidly "evolving" platform. The current Mac version maybe a bit slower because code generated by Apple's Xcode/gcc is not quite as fast as the Windows compiles and/or the AE team has had a lot longer time to optimize things for Windows, which has not undergone so many processor and OS changes as the Mac. Happily, the new Intel Mac platform should allow Intel-specific optimizations to help both platforms.

Update 2: General Specialist adds, "Still, there's one BIG reason why Windows on Mac hardware isn't the ultimate solution; that the Apple hardware only gives the 32-bit versions of XP and Vista access to 2 GB of RAM on Macs. The solution is to use Vista64 or XPx64."

Update 3: Ken Broomfield thinks (AE-List, 16 Aug 2007), "The performance difference here is probably due to Carbon and the MacOS's need to support antique programming interfaces (APIs) on a modern OS, which introduces all kinds of overhead."

August 2, 2007

The 700 MHz Auction

Splice Here, a blog on editing, has an intro and links on the race to control the existing analog TV spectrum in The 700 MHz Auction — The Biggest Media Story You’ve Never Heard About.

Additional Scripts for AE CS3

Jeff Almasol, host of the redefinery and a member of the AE team, has Additional Scripts for After Effects CS3 on Adobe Exchange. The package contains contains scripts for editing keyboard shortcuts (KeyEd Up), launching scripts (Launch Pad), create project folder hierarchies (Folder Setup), converting Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase) files (Swatch You Want, kuler Shapes), and modifying a comp's motion blur settings interactively (Active Shutter).

The redefinery released other CS3 script updates a few weeks ago. And about that time new AE product manager Michael Coleman also posted on Adobe Exchange: Additional Presets for After Effects CS3 (for Shape Layer and per-character 3D text) .

August 1, 2007

PF Hoe, a 3D tracking filter

At last night's SF Cutters, Alex Lindsay showed a bit of PF Hoe, a 3D tracking filter for AE and Motion. It's based on much more expensive software and might not be as full-featured as SynthEyes, but it is cheap and easy to use. To get a sense of how PF Hoe works see the parent app PFHoePro in action at CMI Studios.

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon

Google has the tiny version of the documentary The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, narrated by Robert Redford. This doc has well-integrated 3D animation and examines the archaeoastronomical enigmas amidst the extensive "prehistoric remains found in Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico. It is the summation of 20 years of research. The film reveals that between 850 and 1150 AD, the Chacoan people designed and constructed massive ceremonial buildings in a complex celestial pattern throughout a vast desert region. Aerial and time lapse footage, computer modeling, and interviews with scholars show how the Chacoan culture designed, oriented and located its major buildings in relationship to the sun and moon."

In addition to the great graphical explanations of earth-based astronomy, the fun is the mystery of why Chacoan sites were abandoned, whether explained by undetermined dark forces, climatic instability and deforestation (David Attenborough in "State Of The Planet"), or cannibalism.

10 best Firefox extensions for photographers

from John Nack: Photographer's Journey "has made a list of the 10 best Firefox extensions for photographers, enabling everything from slideshows to uploading to geotagging."