Hand Drawn Cartoons

I think Sam looks best as a Cartoon!

In the world of the “cartoon look” I don’t think there is any QUICK way to make video look like good animation. There are a few plug-ins that are impressive but are nothing more than a cool trick that you add to low quality footage to make it look “Artistic”. In the film A Scanner Darkly, dozens of artists were commissioned to animate the entire film BY HAND! They certainly developed techniques that sped up the workflow but overall they ended up drawing on virtually every frame. This was a lot of work but the result was very impressive.

Now the look they went for is very difficult and I don’t think I would try to tackle such a complicated process. But I did recently see a very cool hand drawn effect that was like a sketch book come to life. I may do a tutorial to show some techniques I learned along the way.

The truth is this TWO second animation took me about an hour to complete at 12fps. So If I were to animate a 30 second commercial it would take me about 15 hours. Figure about a day or two including a couple of bathroom breaks and a YouTube session, and you will have a very impressive hand drawn commercial. I’ve done far less in a single day. Just remember not everything is a quick fix and a plug-in away, sometime creativity takes hard work too. Besides, if you get paid $5K to animate a commercial, that’s not bad for a single hard day of work.

TUTORIAL: Day to Night Conversion

In this tutorial you will learn a several techniques for changing daytime footage to night with impressive results. This tutorial can also be used in conjunction with the sky replacement to add stars or clouds.

BTW:The tutorial is on a new testing server, so please hit it hard so we can see what it can take. I have it set to cap the speed so that there is enough for all. I apologize for testing it out on you guys with new stuff. Although the blog is on a less powerful server so if it goes down you won’t be able to access it… ; (

But soon we will have capacity for everyone! Of course if you would like to help out, please check out our Products page and get one of our great DVD’s.

It seems that the DNS of the world hasn’t completely updated yet, it can take up to 72 hours I understand. Thanks to Nikolay for the Tip

Direct Mirror:

Still Alive ; )

Hey Everyone!
I’ve been working hard on some new projects, including setting up the server and a new unknown product set for September. I want to thank Marc Biorklund for his computer help and direction for preparing the new servers and home for Video Copilot. We are laying some impressive ground work that should make the site better and easier to update, which can only mean more content.

I’m still planning a tutorial for monday, and yes it is the day to night one. No baby yet, but sometime in the next couple of weeks, I have a feeling.

New Dedicated Servers

Well our plan was to transition to new dedicated servers over the next few months but I’ve noticed more down time lately and we are now going to be aggressively transitioning to them over the next couple of weeks.

Things used to slow down towards the end of the week but I guess things are changing rapidly. *sniffle* I love you guys.

TUTORIAL: Basic Demon Face Warping

Here is a 6 minute version of the Tutorial without all the advanced jibber-jabber. Of course you may want to refer to the advanced tutorial to really enhance your demon.

No more excuses, I want to see your demons!

TUTORIAL: Demon Face Warp

In this frightening tutorial you will learn a powerful technique called “Reverse Motion Tracking” to perform demonic facial reconstruction.

This was going to be on a tutorial DVD but I’m a nice guy ; )

Here is another example of this same technique:

Don’t forget to buy a DVD from our online store!
We appreciate it!

New Tutorial

Everything should be back online in the tutorial section. I had planned to do a tutorial on “day to night”, but I think I will do a better one instead.

REAL Martial Arts

We all want our fight scenes to look real but we don’t always have a Ninja technical adviser. Check out this youtube guy that demonstrates real-life defense tactics. With his moves and a few of your own, I bet you can come up with a sweet action.

Don’t forget to think up a cool story too, even a simple concept will make your sequence that much better and entertaining. A couple of ninja sounds never hurt either. Hiyah!

Remember be safe and practice first.

Check out his page


Hey everyone,

I’m just updating some things on our servers and moving some files around. Some of the tutorials will be down temporarily. Just for Tutorias 23-39, the bandwidth of 5,500 GBs wasn’t enough… Hold on while I distribute these accross the the other servers. Uploading is slow and depressing so please hang on.

Now where is that modem port…


EDIT Response:

The key is to maintain high throughput and keep fast downloads!

We’ve got plenty of bandwidth but when too many people access the one server at the same time it can slow everyone down, and we don’t want that. The tutorial files are distributed across several servers so that speeds will remain fast. For the older tutorials I didn’t realize I needed to split them as much. I guess they are still popular. I also took advantage of this time to make some updates and lay the ground work for future plans.

Of course new tutorials have their own dedicated location so that they aren’t slowed by other tutorials downloading. Another story is the Blog; it isn’t the bandwidth that makes it choke every now and then but rather it is the database operations being accessed heavily, we are also addressing this with a new fully dedicated server.

Action Movie Essentials + Zombies

This video is why I love Action Movie Essentials & Zombies ; )

EDIT: Forgot to shamelessly plug the product:
Action Movie Essentials

TUTORIAL: Planet Tutorial Part 1.5

Dan Ebberts wrote a cool script to make the “Blue Planet Tutorial” more 3D. In fact you can actually use a comp camera to fly around the earth and orbit as well.

Watch New Tutorial:

Coming Soon…

UPDATE: Easy now ; ) Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The $20 Tutorial DVD is simply for those who would like to view the tutorials offline, but you can still view them online for free. I also didn’t want to give all of my secrets away but we are also including an Ipod version of the tutorials so that you can put them on your mobile devices to watch on the go.

You can also buy these clouds instead : )


Video Copilot Tour: We are going to film a tour of the facility so that you don’t have to travel. We’ll take you through the fun zone.


Well we’re all working hard as I’m sure many of you are and we will be adding many great things to the site. Including some great new tutorials and information. And for those who have been wondering, I’m also planning to put together a DVD with all of the free tutorials once we get to number 50. It will also include the Sin City Tutorial plus the Epic Presets. Oh, and did I mention it will cost only $20.

We are also working on a special surprise that I can’t mention yet.

…and yes I love doing that ; )

Additionally, I received an email from someone about doing a tour of Video Copilot, and that is also something coming soon. Then you can see where we work and how the magic is made.
One day at a time…

Deleted Scenes

Well it is no secret that sometimes I cut out little things from my tutorials. There are a lot of considerations when this happens. Usually for good reason, I don’t like to over complicate things with endless sidebars that make the tutorial seem convoluted or many other reasons such as:

  • Effects that take too long
  • Senselessness
  • Not Humorous
  • Sad and Disappointing
  • Sake of Professionalism
  • Rendering times (figure 2 minutes of rendering to 1 final)
  • Corporate sponsors Like Coke & Pepsi, (not yet sponsors)
  • Incoherent rambling and childish name-calling

Here are a few deleted scenes from the vault.
Watch Now

NOTE: I know it goes black for a sec towards the end.Long story, but it is part of the moving 3D lines tutorial.

Video Copilot in Action!

Some of our Video Copilot customers have been taking our products to new levels. Through all of the emails I have received with video links, it is great to see them helping so many.

I had an idea to create a customer reel, but I think it would be easier if people posted videos on “free” sites like youtube.com and link them here.

Todd at Ripley’s used Designer sound FX for world record video:

It is the video with guy trying to hold the airplanes off (top right).

Ben is a finalist in the John Woo Contest with “Rivals”:

He used a few VC products so be sure to vote for him, or your favorite one ; ) Remember we are a family here.

I know there are many other great videos I have received, so please repost them here for everyone to see. This is your chance to show us your stuff (not literally). And don’t worry, we have all used the free tutorials to make videos ; ) I mean, who hasn’t blown their head off?

Of course I encourage you guys & gals to go beyond the basic tutorials and apply the principals from all of them to your own projects and videos.

On a side note, when I make a free tutorial I don’t mind if they are used professionally or in your own work. In fact I encourage it. If it helps you make some money or win a contest, all the better.

I’ve seen some Video Copilot stuff in news promos, show promos on the BBC, ABC, CBS and many other places on TV. If you have a link to VC in action please feel free to post it here as well.

Remember to keep the videos PG-13, fake violence is okay, of course.

So clearly buying Video Copilot products will only make you a better person, more productive and more attractive to beautiful women OR if you are a female, beautiful Men AND Women ; )
So you know what to do

NOTE: Be careful about using your own pay hosting to link videos, because you may get smashed with a bill.

TUTORIAL: Advanced Sky Replacement

In this tutorial, learn how to replace a blown out sky with a nice sky image. You will also learn to create a procedural matte and perform position and rotation motion tracking.

UPDATE: Here is the footage

NOTE: This technique can also be used on blue skies as well. Instead of creating a matte, just use the Keylight plug-in instead.