After Effects Roundup

Rich Young
By Rich Young 08.26.12


Here's the latest week or so of assorted After Effects tutorials, tips, and scripts & plug-ins new and old.

Elementary by Kevin Schires is a new AE Script that creates shadows, reflections, and more for Element 3D, Particular, Plexus and other 3D plug-ins with 3D layers. If for some reason you prefer to do it manually, Peder Norby recommended Andrew Kramer's tutorial 108. Particle Shadows for creating shadows for Element 3D. Here's the Elementary demo:

In Red Giant QuickTip #70: Polygons to Text Transition, "Harry Frank shows you how to quickly create a polygons to text transition using Trapcode Mir. Also, Peder Norrby posted MIR colorfields, 12 comps of colorful animated bulging sheets, ribbons, and more using Trapcode Mir.

AE honors paragraph word spacing from Photoshop, but has no similar Justification control in the Paragraph palette wing menu. In Photoshop & After Effects: Word Spacing at Motionworks, guest host Eran Stern demonstrates how to adjust word spacing in both Photoshop and After Effects. The solution is ingenious: subtracting words leaves space so that tracking controls word spacing, which is accomplished with a Tracking Animator on the text with the Range Selector based on Words in a Subtract mode (under Advanced).

Introduction to Hand-Drawn and Organic Looks Tutorials, by Benjamin Ariel Markus, is a series of written tutorials intended "for both motion graphics animators with no training in manual animation as well as traditional animators, who are searching for time-savers and organic-looking methods that combine computer-based workflows with analog techniques. The example videos within the tutorials are meant to serve as a catalogue of techniques that are possible with the use of Adobe Photoshop and After Effects CS6 and browsers should feel free to peruse the tutorials and watch the videos to see if any of the techniques are of interest." See also the excellent reducing flicker for stop-motion animation and time-lapse photography by the same Benjamin Markus on the AE team blog.

Photoshop CS6 "Anim_Dessin" panel for animator and Photoshop CS6 "AnimCouleur" panel for animator, both by St©phane Baril, are free "Extensions for Photoshop dedicated to frame-by-frame animation (not Animated GIF… but 2D film animation)."

Paul Conigliaro posted a MoChat 007 Transcript & Summary on Motion League. This week's chat was a fast-paced and wide-ranging discussion on all things plug-ins for After Effects, with Adobe AE expert product managers joining in.

MoChat 8 Transcript & Summary looks at the next MoChat on "performance that included appearances by both Adobe and Fusion IO. The chat stayed civil with on flame wars on Mac vs PC. A few key points were mainly agreed upon for getting better performance out of your machine." BTW, check out Adobe's Todd Kopriva's After Effects FAQ: What are optimum memory settings for best performance in After Effects CS4, CS5, CS5.5, & CS6?

Chats take place on Tuesday evenings at 9PM ET and last for an hour. The topic for August 28 is These are a Few of My Favorite Scripts.

While republished elsewhere, note that Chris and Trish Meyer posted an index to their 12 installment series on expressions in After Effects at Deeper Modes of Expression: The Index.

wihihihiggle script for AECS4+, a free script by Fabian "fabiantheblind" Morón Zirfas (author of the AEMap script), is "mostly a GUI for that famous wiggle() expression with some extra expression goodness like posterizeTime(framesPerSecond), seedRandom(seed) and the great looping wiggle() expression by Dan Ebberts [example]. In simple mode it adds the wiggle() expression with the choosen frequence and amplitude to the selected properties. It also saves your standard values for faster access. in the 'not simple' mode it creates a controller Null Object with some sliders and applies the following expression to your selected properties. The advanced mode is more or less for learning the possibilities wiggle offers." 

For more see The Wiggler in AE Help, wiggle expression with slider control by John B. Hartley, Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 9: Wiggly World by Chris and Trish Meyer, the Automatic Animation tutorial from Motionworks, the pt_AutoExpress by Paul Tuersley and so forth. Here's the tutorial for wihihihiggle:

Aharon Rabinowitz posted some Free Shatter Object Presets for Element 3D, and Ronn Trevino rendered some of these out with different transitions between object and shaders in a short about Shatter Objects. Also, VinhSon Nguyen explained an approach to create the objects in Fracturing Objects in Cinema 4D for Element:

James Whiffin explains details of the why's and how's of a Linear Workflow For The After Effects User. Last year Andrew Kramer noted some of the benefits of float workflows, in the context of a keying without eliminating soft reflections in 121. Advanced Soft Keying (a tangent but worth review).

Michele Yamazaki started an already useful comparison series, Indepth: Lens Flare Plug-ins for After Effects (Part 1 of 5) at Toolfarm. BTW, Grant Swanson shows you one way to think outside the box in his After Effects tutorial video, Anamorphic Lens Flare. He used the Glow filter with Glow Dimensions set to "Horizontal" only and several refinements to quickly get a different look with built-in plug-ins.

A Free Earth Project for Element 3D was posted by Andrew Kramer. See also AE 3D Earths with & without 'Knowing' lava and Fly around CC Sphered layer in After Effects. Here's Andrew's demo:

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