NEW TUTORIAL: Green Smoke

In this tutorial we will combine smoke elements from Action Essentials 2 with a particle system to create a fluid natural transition. While watching think of other possibilities when combining other footage elements…

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View Sample video

Upcoming Tutorial: Green Smoke

In another test using Action Essentials 2, I combined two wispy smoke clips to create a fluid transition for this title. After building this comp I realized there were some key tips for randomizing the particles so that the viewer would not know that only 2 clips were used. So I recorded a quick 20-minute tutorial that should be online this week.

Now remember if you see green smoke, ABORT!

Machine Gun Test

Here is a test video that uses pre-keyed elements from our stock footage collection: Action Essentials 2 for machine gun hits. I used 3 random clips with Trapcode Particular’s custom sprite option. Using a particle system allows you do build complex effects without duplicating the clip hundreds of times, while maintaining precise control.

You could potentially duplicate the particle system and make dirt marks or holes underneath the main particles. I’m sure you guys and gals will think of really creative ways of using real footage elements as particles.

Watch Sample Video

Audio Waveforms in AE

Using the Audio Waveform plug-in I’ve built several comps with interesting looks, including many with 3D space. I linked some of the waveform settings to a control layer to offset multiple copies. You can swap out your own audio and make changes to the control layer.

If you want to make some more serious changes, delete all of the copies except for one. Then make changes to the settings and then duplicate it a dozen times or so.

Most of the concepts used to offset multiple copies can be found in this tutorial. You can also extract keyframes from audio with this animation tutorial. And, if you are new to audio in After Effects check this blog post too.

Watch Sample Video

Download AE Project (CS4)

Nice Rack Focus Experiment

In a recent tutorial Animating a Still, we used tracking data from a real hand-held camera to give our still image a natural look, as opposed to using a mathematical expression like the wiggle. This gave our footage a natural organic look that would be difficult to achieve with expressions.

Then I thought I would try a similar experiment utilizing a real optical rack focus.

So I filmed a dark square while performing a real rack focus to see if I could extract the information inside of after effects to use with a 3D camera.

And since I’m actually posting this, you can assume it worked, unlike my perpetual motion machine that you will never hear about again.

Watch Tutorial Experiment

Download Footage

FREE PROJECT: Fiber Particles

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a free project file so here is one I’ve been messing with lately… It uses the CC Hair plug-in to create random moving fibers and then I used the Mirror plug-in to add a classic… well, mirror effect.

Download Project File CS4, just change the font to something you have.

View Sample Video

New Feature for Video Player

Our tutorial video player now allows dynamic scrubbing. Basically you can skip to any part of the tutorial without having to download the entire video first.

Benefits:

  • Re-watch specific parts or tips quicker
  • Skip over bad (but hilarious) jokes
  • Watch tutorials in chunks and skip ahead on demand
  • Skip over tutorial info and listen to only jokes

Give it a try

Another thing we are working on is the ability to catalog chapter points for easier reference and tracking of in-depth tutorials.

BLOG SHOW: Making of Payment Plan

Check out the new Blog Show featuring the most in-depth behind the scenes footage for our recent short ‘Payment Plan’.

This blog show includes:

  • Original Rough-Cut with Alternate dialogue
  • Additional VFX additions
  • Art of Hitting Sam in the face
  • Workflow Tips
NEW TUTORIAL: Animating a Still

In this tutorial inject life into a still image by creating a 3d-looking camera movement and animate the movement of the smoke. We will also add realistic camera jitter and simulate a rack focus with dirt on the lens.

This tutorial was based on this recent test video that everyone seemed interested in so I put together this tutorial with all of my findings. Enjoy!

Watch Tutorial