Using After Effects for Photoshop work:
My guess is that most After Effects users utilize Photoshop but very few Photoshop users take advantage of After Effects. I realize that many Photoshop users are photographers and don’t necessarily need graphics but what about the graphic designers in the group? Why don’t they use AE at a higher rate?
I often use After Effects to create elements specifically for my Photoshop designs and I think it’s a powerful exchange. In After Effects it’s easy to build a quick lens flare or detailed particle cluster using Particular or CC Particle World and then I’ll render a frame out to Photoshop. We even built a tool to Copy and Paste screen shots from After Effects to speed up this workflow.
I know there are many AE users that rely on Photoshop to build titles or logos and then import these into After Effects for animating and compositing. There is even an option inside of After Effects to create a PSD file! (Not that I have ever used it.) But with all the amazing imagery possible through After Effects, why is it used by so few Photoshop graphic designers who would probably benefit from integrating both.
I think one mistake we make is limiting our use of tools based on the specific purpose it was designed for, instead of figuring out its actual capabilities. There is a fun story I just heard about a guy who did not speak English but was learning After Effects in English. Since he did not understand all of the names of parameters, he just adjusted them to figure out what each one did. He probably didn’t know what the plug-ins were “Meant to do”, only what it “Could do”.
This principle of exploring creative ways to use common plug-ins is something we try to do at Video Copilot through our tutorials but perhaps this principle could have bigger implications across the creative spectrum. Even though After Effects is ideal for “Video” and “Motion” that doesn’t mean it can’t be extremely useful for graphic designers as well. I say, use whatever tool helps you be more creative and get the job done faster.
What are some things we do in After Effects that you would recommend for Graphic Designers? Do you think After Effects is a useful tool for Graphic Design?
ASIDE: The background design above was created in Photoshop but I used some elements from our Action Essentials 2K video collection to build the glass. Even though the most elements are video files, I simply saved a few frames and imported into PS. It was great because each clip has hundreds of unique frames so I didn’t have to use the same looking glass pieces over and over, I just scrub through the clip and everything changes nicely.
UPDATE: Plug-in NOW AVAILABLE!
Element 3D is well underway including some interesting new features but I need to save some surprises for the launch! So instead I thought I would throw out a few responses to some frequent questions from the Video Demonstration while trying to save some secrets for later. Our goal is to release at the end of August but it could be early September so this is just an estimate.
1. Reflections: Does Element 3D reflect other particles?
Element uses HDR or non-HDR images for reflection & refraction maps but the system does not do real “Ray-Tracing” so objects do not “truly” reflect others. HOWEVER, as you can see above there are ways to “fake” reflections to get realistic results in a fraction of the render time compared traditional ray samplers. Speed is our goal, not replacing a 3D program!
2. Price: It’s going to be around $149.95! (Yes I said around…)
There I said it. Although, we could probably sell it for more, especially considering the feature list but we wanted to maintain our philosophy of exceptional plug-ins at reasonable prices. The truth is, we thought maybe we SHOULD sell it for more than $149 and charge at least $249 for the sake of the perceived-value compared to other products on the market. We didn’t want people to think, “Oh, it’s ONLY $149.95″ so it must not be as good as other tools out there. So please don’t let price confuse you, it’s quite powerful on so many levels so we ask that you judge it based on what it can do, not just the price. Otherwise we would have to sell it ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!
3. 3D Text: Will you be able to render models of 3D text or logos with Element?
Look, Element was not designed to be used as a 3D text tool but rather an intelligent particle array system that uses 3D objects as particles. We built a massive 3D rendering engine that runs extremely fast on moderate graphics cards, objects react to AE lighting, ambient occlusion, 3d model deformation, Material Options, Depth of Field, Motion blur, 3D Fog and much more. We wanted to make a plug-in that took After Effects to the next level.
So, can you use Element 3D to render 3D text and logos?
You better FREAKING BELIEVE IT! And it’s pretty sweet too.
Soon. Unfortunately today all I can show is another teaser for another project that I can’t publish yet… I know, but I just want to show you proof that we’ve been busy doing something, at least. This is the update: we are waiting for some paperwork to get finished and some minor legal dealing and then I’ll be posting the video. And no, it’s not a movie. Not exactly… not even close really.
Let’s just say in my limited free time for the past six months, minus the 3 months of work I did for Super 8, developing Plug-ins, and enjoying my family, I’ve also been chipping away at this unusual project. It’s finally almost done. If I tell you what it is, then it may somewhat ruin the surprise, if I build it up too much, you might get disappointing. So Just keep an eye out for it, no big deal, but I really am looking forward to sharing it with the community! Thanks.
UPDATE: Plug-in NOW AVAILABLE!
I want to thank everyone for their patience as we get closer to launching our new Plug-in Element. I know there are many questions about the plug-in and I expect many more after watching this video.
With this short demo, I want people to get a sense of the plug-in and what kind of speed and quality to expect since this was our primary goal from the beginning; To offer 3D quality at the speed you expect when using After Effects.
There is still tons of cool features to demonstrate so believe me when I say, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” The price and availability are still undetermined but it will definitively be competitively priced as well as offer unrivaled value and powerful 3D features.
July is going to feature some exciting new content including a first-look at our new Plug-in Element and the launch of our Crystal Ball Promo!! But before we get to that, I want to start this month off with a massive 30% OFF all Video Copilot Products.