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.