Another Preset in the Works

Well actually it is finished, I just need to create a new tutorial for it. The new preset will make it easy to animate the AE camera in 3D space from one spot to another without the hassles of traditional ae animating and the precision of Robocop.

It’s difficult to explain without the video but imagine being able to automatically navigate a camera to any spot in 3D space by simply keyframing a slider from 1 to 2. By selecting two or more 3D layers, the preset will take you to each location as you animate the slider in increments of 1. You can slow down the animation, pause it and of course use ease keyframes for perfect stops and starts. It accepts up to 7 locations with the option to reuse it as needed.

This should make animating big 3D scenes a breeze and require substantially less work than used to animate the camera in Video Copilot promos such as the Basic Training and Evolution.

Preset will be available for AE 6.5 and up. I hope to show you other cool uses too.

Back in Action

Hope everyone had a nice holiday and maybe a bit of relaxation. I know I did. We’ve got some great things coming out this week and some cool projects to discuss.

Have your After Effects fired up because we’re going to take it for a ride!

Free Holiday Gift

Just wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season. As a special gift for all the editors who need to make holiday promos…

Here are 2 free Christmas tracks arranged by us for perfect 30 second spots or promos. Enjoy!

Free Download

UPDATE: Yes! They are royalty free like our products. Use for most anything, just can’t sell with stock sites or templates etc. View License

As always our DVDs also make a great addition to any video collection so be sure to check them out. Especially Evolution for this holiday season.
Visit Products Page

Heads Up!

I’ve been planning a tutorial based on the heads up display (HUD) from the film Iron Man. After seeing the inspiring work by the Orphanage, I thought this idea could be useful in other forms as well.

Jet pilots, robots or even futuristic interfaces require visual screen information that looks cool and tells a story. Where would RoboCop be without his targeting system?

See Sample Video

NEW TUTORIAL: Spin Orb

In this quick tutorial, you’ll learn to create an animated spinning orb that will impress all of your friends. This technique is similar to a shot in the recent Pro Scores promo video.

Watch Tutorial

Sample Video

If you want to add some particles check out these tutorials for information:

NEW TUTORIAL: 3D Falloff

In this new Tutorial, we’ll learn a powerful method of simulating distant falloff for 3D layers with the help of a handy new preset. This preset is free and can be downloaded with the project file.

Watch Tutorial

3D Falloff

3D Falloff is the subject of this new tutorial/preset that will give 3D layers a new dimension in After Effects.

The Falloff we are referring to is specifically distance falloff. When a layer reaches a certain distance away from the camera, it begins to fade into the background the further away it gets. Many Video Games feature atmospheric effects that act as falloff for geometry that is far away and this occurs in real life too. For example ,underwater objects and sea creatures can fade into the darkness as they descend or a person can disappear into a snow storm only to emerge as the abominable snowman.

This new preset makes it easy to automatically calculate falloff based on a layers distance from the camera. There are many great settings like when to start and end the falloff as well as color and opacity settings.

In this video there are over 50 layers that react properly to the distance as the camera approaches. Keyframing this manually would take forever and if you change the camera the animation would have to be adjusted. More soon.

Watch Video

BTW, the Pro Scores promo was not rendered with this preset but it is a good example to illustrate this effect, the tutorial will include several techniques as well.

Working on a New Tutorial & Preset

Hey! Just wanted to let you know, I’m developing a new tutorial and preset that will be out this week. It’s so cool, that it’s getting it’s own blog post.

It’s not a specific effect but rather a tool and a technique that will give your work amazing depth (not DOF either). And it’s free! Of course, if you want to support Video Copilot’s ongoing mission to make cool stuff, head over to the products page and check out our great DVDs! I think there’s a banner somewhere around here

Be sure to check out our new tool Pro Scores while your at it, the audio demo is now online.

New Products

Useful Tips

I stumbled upon a recently published list of Tips for motion graphics folks by Computer Arts. There is tons of great advice I’m sure you will find useful. So I started thinking, without restating any of these tips (intentionally), I could make a top 10 list, maybe even 20. So here it is! -5 more.

1. Make Proxies of Elements

Designs can be complex, often times an element is used or reused that can be very heavy on rendering. For example, this circular element contains a heavy radial blur that renders very slow. Other parts of the design still require work and you should not have to waste extra time. So I created a full resolution proxy of the element I could output as well.

In the render settings, there is an option for the proxy use, to use none or current settings. Of course if you really need to change the design element, just disable the proxy and have at it. This is also a great idea for pre-comps and things that are somewhat “finished”.

2. King of the Kaps lock

Have you ever noticed how fast you can move around in After Effects with the Caps Lock on? It’s because rendering is disabled however, you can still do almost everything. In big compositions (even small ones) this can save time navigating, editing clips and even keyframin’ without any tax. There is also the Live Update button but this way is much better. Practice using your pinky and toggle on!

3. Watch your Video Someplace Else

Change your scenery and watch a quicktime on another computer or on your desktop outside of AE, perhaps in the presence of another person. You will look at things in a new way revealing aspects you may have overlooked and you might even get some constructive criticism too. At which point you tell your wife to get here things and leave.

4. Safe Experimentation

Do you like what you have created so far but want to try something risky? Duplicate your composition and continue working from the copy. No regrets just a free and open mind.

5. Be Ambitious but not Unrealistic

When working for a client, plan your project carefully. Don’t put all your time into 1 shot and assume the rest can be pulled together last minute. Leave extra time to finesse the end result. For example, a 3d scene can look great with some GI and refractions and all that jazz but rendering will be a nightmare and re-rendering is a nightmare you can actually die in. You can make things look great with standard rendering and creative lighting so don’t be lazy here.

A commercial isn’t usually judged on the best part but rather what is lacking. Remember this, with today’s technology, you can create anything imaginable, but deadlines are a reality and you don’t want to shoot and miss.

Audio Demo Now Online!

Our 2 minute audio demo is now online featuring the great sounds and music of Pro Scores! With the exception of a pretty sad (& ridiculous) voice over by yours truly, its’ all Pro Scores. There is also an audio-only version of the demo without the voice over for your listening pleasure.

I did my best to mix together various tracks to demonstrate the depth and versatility of this collection. Of course with over 500 audio files, I couldn’t possibly cover them all. Enjoy!

Listen Now!

Purchase Pro Scores

3 Free Tracks with Pro Scores!

Pro Scores features hundreds of sound design elements and over 50 music tracks for a wide variety of styles and music product effects. As an added bonus we have also produced 3 new full length music tracks available FREE with every order. These tracks are downloadable only and also include layered versions for custom mixing.

Pro Scores Product Info

Audio Demo: We’re keeping an eye on the servers at the moment and will be launching the audio demo later today or tomorrow morning. Don’t miss it! We’ll also be uploading a higher resolution version of the promo for those interested.

Existing Pro Scores Customers: If you already purchased Pro Scores, be sure to download the “Bonus Tracks” ZIP file from the download area or contact support to receive further details or assistance, we’d be happy to help you out; your support makes Video Copilot possible!

Pro Scores Echoes On

Seems a lot of people interested in seeing the promo for our new Music Design product and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Even with out distribution preparedness we didn’t anticipate such a dedicated turn out.

Things have been going up and down on the server but we are monitoring it closely and we appreciate your patience. Just don’t give up!

Pro Scores is available in our online store on DVD or Digital Download.
Visit Store

View Product Info

CUSTOMERS INFO:
We are working hard to keep everything running and things should get better throughout the day. Our download server is working hard so please be patient as we get over this initial launch rush. We are currently answering emails and we will keep you posted. If you contact support please email instead of commenting here as we do not check the blog as frequently. Thanks!

Pro Scores Now Available!

Pro Scores is now availalbe! This product can be purchased on DVD or Digital Download. Check it out.

Of course, a massive project like this wouldn’t be possible if not for the support and dedication of this community. I hope you guys find this product to be valueable and benificial to your video work. We worked very hard to create this collection and we are excited to finally make it available to you. Cheers!

Pro Scores Promo Coming…

The Pro Scores promo will be online sometime before Tuesday, so be the first to see it when it comes out. There will also be a second mini-promo to highlight the various categories and content of this massive DVD. Pro Scores will be available Tuesday December 9th on DVD and Download.

AE Quick Tips

Sometimes during my work in AE, I solve little problems and add them to memory without telling anyone. Well before I forget, I want to make a short list. You’ll probably see more posts like this now that I have an outlet. These may be simple but I found them to be quite useful and allowed me to break certain routines.

1. Fade in Fade out Adjustments:
So you have a video element that has 2 keyframes in the beginning that fade the clip in and 2 more at the end to fade it out. Now you want to lower the opacity but you normally have to adjust both keyframes. Instead I just add an expression by alt clicking the stopwatch and typing value*.5 this cuts all values by 50 percent.

2. Helping Failed Renders due to image buffer errors:
Often times HD projects will fail on render due to image buffer errors or all sorts of things. Here are a couple things to try during clutch situations.

  • Change the AE secret preference to purge after 1-4 frames. (hold down SHIFT while accessing the edit menu/preferences. The “Secret” menu appears.
  • Another thing to try is render to an image sequence like PNG or TIFF, this way if the render fails when going to a QuickTime, you still have good frames that you can add to by rendering the incomplete portion.
  • Another thing to try (if you have access) is loading your project into a 64bit machine since it can handle more memory and actually allowed me to finish a render when my 32bit machine couldn’t.

3. Working Late
Order a pizza before they close so that you can have a late snack after most places close. Be considerate of toppings that will still taste good after refrigeration. When you have rendering problems they can last all night but then you pull out a cheesy friend and somehow it’s not so bad.