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.

December 14th, 2008 @ 4:55 pm
Thanks for the awesome tips!
Zohein Sharma
December 14th, 2008 @ 4:56 pm
Dude these are great tips... Proxies...
December 14th, 2008 @ 4:59 pm
Awesome tips andrew THANKS! :)
Flim By Tim Productions
December 14th, 2008 @ 4:59 pm
check out my videos I used your tips
December 14th, 2008 @ 4:59 pm
Cool, only i knew most of the things already, gonaa sleep now, its 2.00Am in Europe right now!
December 14th, 2008 @ 5:07 pm
another one, which applies to actually ANY piece of software these days: Learn the keyboard shortcuts. It'll make you feel like you have 4 arms.
December 14th, 2008 @ 5:13 pm
Cool beans Kramer
December 14th, 2008 @ 5:21 pm
Very useful tips indeed.
Fat Elvis
December 14th, 2008 @ 5:27 pm
LOL, Stumbled upon......were you not in this issue? Your FRINGE title sequence got a mention and a quote from yourself.

Don't be shy Andrew, it's ok to read about yourself LOL

December 14th, 2008 @ 5:35 pm
Ha! Actually I can't seem to get my hands on that article! Arggg.
December 14th, 2008 @ 5:52 pm
Really ggod tips andrew, but i have a question for You.
when coming the new tutorial? :D:D i have bought all bundles, but now it time to create a new tutorial..!! :P
I jocke... you are the best....

I wait for new tuts
December 14th, 2008 @ 5:52 pm
Yeah, I also thought there was a bit in the same issue on your Fringe titles.

It was the special Motion Graphics issues of Computer Arts Projects - the same issue had the 50 motion graphics tips which is up on their site now:

You would think if they went to the trouble of contacting you about FRINGE that they would have also asked you for a tip or two.
December 14th, 2008 @ 6:04 pm
Andy, great tips. You must have read my mind. Deadlines, deadlines... I will work on it.
I sincerely appreciate your generosity.
December 14th, 2008 @ 6:38 pm
Sweet tips, I'll check the article in a second.

Andrew- you see your stuff in The Day The Earth Stood Still yet? For all I know you worked on it.
December 14th, 2008 @ 6:56 pm
If only I had read these back in freshmen year...

I do agree with all of them. Thanks for posting these, I'll tell my friends to give them a read.
December 14th, 2008 @ 7:28 pm
a- I use that tip of experimenting in a copy of the comp I'm doing all the time. That's an awesome tip so if you mess up ou still have the good one ot go back to. However I usually find that I do cool stuff that way and it works. Either way you're safe. Good tip there.

b- Yeah Fringe kicks butt. There were a couple episodes in the beginning I didn't love, but I like the show overall and by the fall finale I was hooked =). I hope it stays around a while.
December 14th, 2008 @ 7:37 pm
Thanks for your great advice
Just Amit
December 14th, 2008 @ 8:34 pm
Great tips : )

really liked the last one. Buy the way, since everyones talking about fringe, i love that show. I always think of VCP when i see those 3D text labeling the areas.
December 14th, 2008 @ 9:26 pm
December 14th, 2008 @ 10:10 pm
Great tips. In my experience, the best tip is the tip on deadlines. If you miss deadlines, you won't get hired again. Unfortunately, I learned that one the hard way. :o(

Hopefully, at some point, they'll give me another chance to not make the same mistake twice.

Luc D.
December 14th, 2008 @ 10:12 pm
Super Tips!

I just saw THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, and half way through, I noticed the VIDEOCOPILOT news bg plates in one of the shots. Just goes to show how far your free training goes: all the way to Hollywood!
December 14th, 2008 @ 10:21 pm
nice, again andrew you are my hero
December 14th, 2008 @ 11:46 pm
thanks a lot andrew! your tips are the best! you are my best teacher EVER!!!!!!
December 14th, 2008 @ 11:47 pm
p.d: all the best from ARGENTINA!!!!!
AGUANTE VIDEO COPILOT, ANDREW SOS EL MEJOR!!! (this is in Spanish, jeje)
December 15th, 2008 @ 2:05 am
And Good Work
December 15th, 2008 @ 5:17 am
Nice work Andrew
December 15th, 2008 @ 5:51 am
Thank you.
Thorsten Miess
December 15th, 2008 @ 7:10 am
I actually do tip 4 all the time, but sometimes forgetting to duplicate ...
December 15th, 2008 @ 11:56 am
use precaution with #4. when i was just starting out, i would dup my master comp and experiment, not knowing that the nested precomps are being altered also. if you dig into your precomps to make changes, make sure you dup your precomps as well (CS3).
December 15th, 2008 @ 2:38 pm
I got that Magazine.
There's two pages dedicated to Andrew's work on fringe and what he found challenging
You The MAN Andrew.
December 15th, 2008 @ 3:15 pm
very nice article. computer arts, huh?
keep new tutorials coming, since there haven't been any new ones lately
December 15th, 2008 @ 9:21 pm
Andrew - In case you're still looking for the December 08 issue of Computer Arts Projects, there's one on ebay (Item number: 140284842519)

...or the back issues department can be contacted on +44870 837 4773 (that's what I'm going to do!)

I would've thought they could've chucked a freebie your way - still... that's business.
December 31st, 2008 @ 3:35 pm
Hey Andrew and everyone . I want wish you a Happy New Year you great . I have big talent. I speak that re most of you. Sorry without my bad english ;p . Happy New Year
December 31st, 2008 @ 3:36 pm
[ Sorry You have big talent*]
December 31st, 2008 @ 4:06 pm
Thank you for tips.Happy New Year for Videocopilot team .Romania is with you Andrew !!!
December 31st, 2008 @ 6:03 pm
Feliz Anho..
realmente eres grande Andres
gracias por tu talento y bondad.
Tu hija tiene al mejor hombre como padre.
January 4th, 2009 @ 4:16 am
thank you very much Andrew!!! I like those tips...
August 2nd, 2009 @ 8:34 am
i am a web designer and so far have been working on flash only, andrew i must tell you that so far i found your tutorials to be the best all over the internet, i am amazed at your capabilities brother, keep up the good work..
August 24th, 2009 @ 5:45 am
It's cool to hear you talk about the business aspect of After Effects in #5. I have never had the opportunity to hear anything about the Client/After Effects challenges. I expect they are not to far from any other program, but my render time in Photoshop is not even something I think about. I guess this may be like spending all your time retouching one eye on a beauty shot and not having enough time to do the other one, though.
Nate Bro
August 2nd, 2010 @ 8:06 am
Very helpful. Both the 50 tips article and your tips. The practicality of art is a tricky balance. :^)
donald nwali
April 19th, 2011 @ 2:11 am
thanks for the useful tips. but i have a do i get my final project rendered or exported retaining the transparency of the background? thank you.
September 6th, 2011 @ 1:23 pm
I'm certain that last tip is gonna help me. I'm starting a college course in Media, after my entire life homeschooling.

Not used to deadlines
November 20th, 2011 @ 1:26 am
Hey Thanks Andrew. For all your stuff. You are very helpful..
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