Tutorial Requests…

Okay… list em.

Consider this, I like to make tutorials that are helpful to a large audience.

Future Tutorials?

Where should I go next? Should I create tutorials demonstrating integration with Flash or a 3D program? And which 3D program would you prefer. I am pretty good at 3D max, but I’m sure I could get up to speed on C4D.

I know the majority of my tutorials will continue to use the core function of After Effects but I would like to open the door to other effects not possible in AE.

Just wondering…

TUTORIAL: 3D Camera Projection 2!

In this tutorial advance your skills with for a fresh new perspective on 3D projection. Remember to refresh your browser ; )

TUTORIAL: Vanishing Point AE CS3

In this tutorial learn how to use the vanishing point feature in Photoshop CS3 to create 3d layers for After EFfects CS3. This tutorial is a nice contrast to the 3D Projection Tutorials. It is also my very first CS3 Tutorial.

TUTORIAL: 3D Camera Projection

Create a 3D scene from a still image in After Effects with this 3d Camera Projection technique.
Watch Tutorial

3D Projection: Still images to 3D

Wouldn’t it be cool to turn a simple photograph into a 3D scene? It can be done. Basically you arrange several white solids in 3D space to resemble the shape of your photographed room. Then using a 3D light you can ‘project’ the image onto the walls with Light Transmission. Now you can use a camera to move around the room.

NOTE: The video below was created from a single image. Only 2 white solids where used, one for the floor and one for the wall. Additional solids can be used to create more walls as needed.

See Example

In the new After Effects CS3 there is a feature that allows you to use PhotoShop to create a similar effect called Vanishing Point. Obviously if someone is standing in the room it messes up the illusion. Ideally you would want to have a simple scene that could be composed using square solids.

I was going to record the tutorial tonight but I’m not feeling so hot, but I will try to have it ready for tuesday (tomorrow) and the Earth Zoom for next week and the meaning of life the week after. Needless to say, this is a trick that everyone should at least know about.

Voice Over by Sonny Garcia

I forgot to mention, the audio intro on the Jumpy Text tutorial was done by the amazing Sonny Garcia.

http://www.sonnygarcia.com

Nice stuff.

Indiana Jones 4!

My favorite film series is underway. They just released this great photo of the man himself:

Sure he looks older but not too bad for 60 years old. To tell you the truth, Indiana Jones is my hero. I have a signed Raiders of the Lost ark poster and you might say I’m a HUGE fan. I’ve heard people say negative things about this movie and how old Harrison Ford looks, etc. But not here. This guy is the man! If you write negative comments, I will delete them and I will come to your house and unplug your refrigerator. Your comment will be an unsolved mystery for the Hardy Boys.

Now if want to praise this movie uncontrollably… Please do.

3D Depth Matte

Depth of Field is a wonderful thing. Many 3D programs can render this, but it takes a deathly long time. After Effects has a plugin called Lens Blur that does a nice job of taking a depth matte and using it to generate depth of field. Most 3D programs allow you to render a depth matte which is basically a black and white image, where white shows things close to the camera and black is far away.

You can even rack focus from the foreground to the background using this plugin. I’m working on a spot for Monster Energy Drink and this is one of the elements that will be incorporated.

The lens blur pugin I’m using is right Here:
http://www.frischluft.com/frischluft/index.php

Infinite Zoom

I was experimenting tonight with a fast way to create those fun Cosmic Earth Zooms. I even used the 3D fractal to create some of the clouds that get passed by. Although it could be done with still images and render a lot faster and look just as good. In fact, I wasted my time rendering those clouds. What is wrong with me! This project was 720p too!

Oh well, just be careful, if we do this effect too much we could travel back in time like Superman. I’ll probably get a tutorial together soon.

High Quality Promo for DSFX

Here is a Quicktime version of the Designer Sound FX promo for those who asked for it. There is a lot of detail that gets lost when you compress to Flash. It is nice to share the original.

Watch Quicktime

Which Render Settings?

With all of the many render settings, I get asked what is the best way to render in After Effects. Well there are many things to consider. Is the video being rendered over a network? If so each computer must pick one frame to render at a time and thus you cannot use a single file format like AVI or MOV. Instead image sequences like PNG or TIFF are ideal because of the uncompressed image data. For the average Joe F. Ex, the single file rendering is a great solution.

The render option I recommend is a QuickTime Movie. When you setup your output module, choose Quicktime for the format and then for the codec, here are the three I recommend. I rendered a minute of video with the 3 formats.

1. PhotoJPG (at 95% quality)

  • Smaller file size
  • Fast compression
  • Withstands several generations before losing apparent quality
  • 239 MBs for 1 minute video @ 864×480 29.97fps
  • 1 Minute render took 1:18

2. PNG

  • Medium-large file size
  • Very slow compression!
  • Uncompressed format, no re-render generation loss
  • 952 MBs for 1 minute video @ 864×480 29.97fps
  • 1 Minute render took 8:44

3. Animation

  • Huge file size
  • Fast compression (writing to disc can slow down the render)
  • Uncompressed format, no re-render generation loss
  • 1.9 GBs for 1 minute video @ 864×480 29.97fps
  • 1 Minute render took 1:35

So as you can see the Animation is great if you have the disc space but the JPG has great quality with very small file sizes, whereas the PNG has uncompressed quality with very slow compression.

For most things, PhotoJPG is a great choice, for those high quality clients, there is animation.

DO NOT:

  • Use delivery formats to render work files (such as H.264, sorenson, or any MPEGs)
  • Jump off of a moving train
  • Time travel without a good plan first

Delivery formats are for just that, DELIVERY. For example when the video is all done and you want to put it online, sorenson 3 is a great choice as is H.264. When you want to put the video on DVD there is MPEG2.

-Andrew
PS: Thanks for making this such a great blog. I am very proud to part of your VFX world.

3D Fractal in After Effects?

I’ve been experimenting with a technique that uses a series of AE expressions that allow me to create sort of a 3D fractal.

It took about a minute to render this at this resolution.
Watch Video

The basic gist:

1. Create a layer with a fractal noise and set the layer to SCREEN

2. Offset the multiple copies of that layer in Z space

3. Offset the evolution for each layer based on the Z position

In other words, make the first layer have an evolution of 0 degrees, the second 5, the third 10, the fourth 15…

By offsetting the fractal evolution slightly, you create instances that appear to be “connected” in Z space, thus allowing the illusion. One drawback is that you can only move around it about 120 degrees or so. Once you get to the side they either disappear or you can tell they are not connected. Certainly this effect is limited and takes a fair amount of time to render, but a fun project. Someone here suggested I do something challenging for a tutorial, perhaps I could get into this one.

Peder over at www.trapcode.com is working on a plugin for After Effects that allows you to create even more amazing 3d effects like this but with much more control, speed and fully 3 Dimensional. I was lucky enough to see a demo of it at NAB 2007. I’m looking forward to it.

EDIT: I made it in AE 7 Professional without any special plug-ins

Lot of Action!

Apparently the site has been going up and down today. Sounds like people are really having fun.

It seems accessing the page through http://videocopilot.net works over using the www. I’m thinking it is temporary and I’m working on a solution. Please be patient it will be solved soon.
Other than that, I cut my face shaving today. Dog Gone-it!

TUTORIAL: Time Freeze in After Effects

Create a simple Time Freeze effect where one character can examine the frozen world!

Watch Tutorial