Chris and Trish Meyer

CMG Keyframes | Chris and Trish Meyer rss

Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, HBO, PBS, and TLC; in opening titles for several movies including Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley; at trade shows and press events for corporate clients ranging from Apple to Xerox; and in special venues encompassing IMAX, CircleVision, the NBC AstroVision sign in Times Square, and the four-block-long Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. They were among the original users of CoSA (now Adobe) After Effects, and have written the numerous books including "Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects" and "After Effects Apprentice" both published by Focal Press. Both Chris and Trish have backgrounds as musicians, and are currently fascinated with exploring fine art and mixed media in addition to their normal commercial design work. They have recently relocated from Los Angeles to the mountains near Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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After Effects CC 2015.1 Update

Tweaked previews, improved workspaces, new effects, and more
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 1, 2015

After Effects CC 2015.1 - also known as v13.6 - is being rolled out today to Creative Cloud subscribers. The initial CC 2015 release marked a significant under-the-hood change to its architecture plus a major update to previewing, all of which promised improved usability. However, that initial release was fraught with bugs, performance slowdowns, and unexpected consequences of the new previewing scheme. The After Effects team has been working flat out to cure these ills, and the 13.6 update takes another major stride forward toward making the program behave as expected. A few nice new features were added, too. Here are some of the major changes brought by this update:

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Roving Keyframes

Smooth out the speed of a complex animation in After Effects with as few as two keyframes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 24, 2015

Normally, a Position keyframe in After Effects defines a time, and the position value at that time. This can get unwieldy when you create a complex motion path - such as following a map or maze, or hand-tracing a path with Motion Sketch - and then want to finesse the timing of that path later, as you often have to tweak the timings of a lot of keyframes to create a smooth end result.

As it turns out, there’s a little-known function inside After Effects called Roving Keyframes where the timings of keyframes are set free and allowed to automatically slide earlier or later as needed to create a smooth speed without changing the Position path itself.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Layer Styles

After Effects has advanced bevels, shadows, glows, and more hiding in the Layer menu: hello, Layer Styles
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 17, 2015

We use drop shadows all the time in motion graphic design, along with the occasional bevel or glow. The standard AE Effects to do this are pretty basic. What if we told you there were a far more versatile shadow, glow, and bevel available, for free, already inside After Effects? 

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Wiggle Behaviors

These presets add constant motion and controlled randomness in After Effects without programming.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 10, 2015

One of the secrets to creating eye-catching motion graphics is to make sure everything keeps moving, instead of settling into a final pose. As soon as your frame becomes static, you risk the viewer changing channels or clicking through to another site. Sometimes we keep layers drifting past their “perfect” end pose; quite often, we use the wiggle expression to add automatic movement. Wiggle is also useful to add random or “human” motion to objects and cameras.

What? You don’t do expressions? Then we have good news for you: There are a set of Animation Presets in the Behaviors category that write the expressions for you, and give you effect controls that are easy to set or animate:

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Automatic Fades

After Effects may not be an NLE, but it does have a trick to automate crossfades without editing keyframes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 3, 2015

As we’ve said many times, After Effects is not an NLE - but often, it’s easier to keep everything inside After Effects instead of splitting a project across multiple programs. One of the biggest issues for editors coming to After Effects is that video segments have to each exist on their own track, each with their own opacity fades or transition effects; there’s no overlapping video with transitions between them on the same track. This can really slow you down when you go to tweak an edit.

With that in mind, years ago we created some Animation Presets for Adobe that automatically perform fades and crossfades without the need to manually place and edit keyframes. Many still don’t know those exist, so they’re the subject of this week’s After Effects Hidden Gems.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Basic Behaviors

There’s a group of Animation Presets in After Effects that create animations without keyframes: Behaviors.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 27, 2015

When Apple first released Motion, it introduced a new animation paradigm: instead of having to keyframe the start and stop values for every movement, you could apply Behaviors when you could just say “move in that direction at this speed” as well as apply other pre-coded animation instructions.

The After Effects team was anxious to show that the same result could be accomplished using their Expressions (another supplement to or replacement for ordinary keyframes), and contracted us to develop a set of Behaviors for After Effects. These are included inside the Animation Presets installed with AE. If you haven’t explored these yet, we’ll be covering them in the next three After Effects Hidden Gems.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: the Transform effect

After Effects doesn’t have nodes, but it does have the Transform effect to help rewire its rendering order.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 20, 2015

One of the secrets to truly learning After Effects is understanding its internal render order (sometimes called the “order of operations”): the order in which it performs tasks such as transformations (scale, rotation, etc.), masking, effects, and so on underneath the hood. This will help you troubleshoot problems when the program’s not doing what you expect, such as when a shadow rotates with the layer instead of always falling in the same direction.

Fortunately, there are a couple of tricks you can use to rewire this render order. 

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Fading Multiple Layers

Trouble fading a stack of layers in After Effects? Fix it with a combo of adjustment layers and specific effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 13, 2015

The strength of After Effects is its ability to composite together a stack of layers to create a compelling final image. However, a funny thing happens when you try to fade out all of those individual layers at the same time: Previously opaque layers start to reveal what was behind them during the fade, which can be distracting.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Pixel Motion Blur

Shutter speed too fast when shooting? Render a 3D scene without motion blur? You can fix it in post in...sometimes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 6, 2015

When you shoot a fast-moving object with a longer shutter time (half of the frame’s duration is the typical “filmic” setting), you will get natural motion blur. However, if your shutter speed is too fast, or if you rendered a 3D scene with fast motion and no motion blur, objects will appear to jump from location to location between frames, resulting in distracting stuttering or strobed motion. Fortunately, you can “fix it in post” with a few different effects out there, including the Pixel Motion Blur effect included with After Effects. Does it work every time? No. Can it help a lot of the time? Yes. 

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Motion Tracking, After Effects, and CINEMA 4D Lite

The workflow to add 3D objects into your already-shot footage.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 30, 2015

After Effects features a 3D Camera Tracker that examines already-shot footage and attempts to reverse-engineer where the camera was during the shot, creating a 3D camera to match. This allows you to add new objects in 3D space that match the movement and perspective of the underlying footage. 

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Mixing Audio

There are two ways to control audio volume in After Effects - and you should use both, for different tasks.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 28, 2015

After Effects offers two ways to adjust the volume of an audio layer: the Levels parameter in the Timeline, and the Stereo Mixer effect, which can be added to a layer. Levels works on a logarithmic scale to match the way sound loudness actually works in the real world; Stereo Mixer uses a linear 0-100% (and higher) scale similar to Opacity. Which one should you choose? Both, actually - but use them for different purposes.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Preserve Frame Rate

Creating a stop motion look in After Effects? The secret lies in the Advanced Composition settings.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 21, 2015

After Effects is a very logical program if you know it works underneath the hood, and a baffling mystery if you don’t. One example of this is the subject of frame rates: Normally, the last comp in a chain determines what frame rate will be used by all the precomps, and this can be overridden again the Render Settings. But what if you really, really need to lock down a precomp’s frame rate, because you’re creating stop motion, have a mask tracked to every frame of footage, etc.? The secret lies in the Preserve Frame Rate switch.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Wiggle Paths

An easy way to create EKG patterns and other self-animating squiggles.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 14, 2015

One of the features we miss the most in the old, discontinued Vector Paint effect for After Effects is the ability to automatically wiggle our strokes. Fortunately, you can recreate this look using a combination of stroked shape layers and the Wiggle Paths operator:

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Dashed Lines

Create custom, animated dashed lines using Shape layers.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 31, 2015

Lines: They show up everywhere, from underscores for text to animated elements flowing across the screen to mapping out paths. Many After Effects users employ the woefully under-featured Stroke effect to create these lines. After last week’s Hidden Gems, now you know about its more powerful cousin, the Write-on effect. This week, we present another alternative: Using Shape layers, and taking advantage of the little-known Dashes section to customize the look of your line.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Write-on

Write-on is more powerful than the Stroke effect: its width can change over its length.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 24, 2015

The Stroke effect in After Effects is a workhorse, but it has one major limitation: It’s width is constant over the entire length of the stroke. You can edit and even animate its Brush Size parameter, but this changes the entire stroke. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could make a stroke become thicker or thinner at select points along its shape? You can: It’s called the Write-on effect.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Revealing Curved Shapes

If you need to wipe on a curved shape in After Effects, there's a better way than animating a mask.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 17, 2015

A favorite motion graphics effect is wiping on an intricate, curved object (such as handwritten text) as if it was being painted or drawn. It would seem that animating a mask shape with a bit of feather or motion blur would be a good approach, but you can quickly get yourself tied into knots. The better approach is to use a Stroke effect to follow the lines and curves in the original, and then change its compositing mode to reveal instead of cover the original:

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Swarming Shapes

Using shape operators to create a swarm of shapes out of a single object.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 10, 2015

We were commentating on a Faceoff competition at the annual Motion Conference, where three artists have to finish an opening animation within an hour while onstage with the hosts breathing down their necks. That year's project involved beer branding, and one contestant decided to animate bubbles rising in a glass. They drew and animated one bubble...then hand-animated another...then hand-animated another...and soon had to move on to another part of the task to meet the deadline, when more bubbles would have looked better. It turns out, there was a better way...

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Previews in After Effects CC 2015

The secret is understanding how the start as well as the stop key affect its behavior, and why the cache status can lead to unexpected results.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 3, 2015

After Effects CC 2015 introduced a greatly overhauled previewing scheme, including the ability to edit your projects while previews are still playing back (discussed in our overview of the new release). However, many users have not gotten that far, instead getting tripped up on the way normal “let me just watch” previews work - leading some to declare it buggy or unpredictable. There were indeed a few bugs with it - many of them fixed by the recent update - but there may still be some gaps in understanding how the new behavior works.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Effect Point Path

To edit an Effect Point Path in Adobe After Effects, you need to use the Layer panel - not the normal Composition panel.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 27, 2015

Whereas some effects process every pixel in a layer more or less evenly (think blurs or color correction), others generate new pixels based around a specific point on a layer (for example, particle systems and lens flares). You can define where that Effect Point is on a layer, and even animate it - but unlike a normal Position path, the path between the keyframed positions for Effect Points are not visible in the Composition panel. This has led more than one After Effects user to assume they have no control over the shape of that path.

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Adjustment Lights

Isolate which 3D layers receive select lights.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 20, 2015

The built-in 3D implementation in After Effects is nowhere near as deep as a dedicated 3D program. However, it does have a few good tricks up its sleeve. On is Adjustment Lights, where you can determine which layers receive a specific light. This is akin the lighting sets in more sophisticated 3D programs.

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Measuring Rotation in After Effects

Simple expressions to determine the angle between two points.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 13, 2015

Last week, we posted a short tutorial on using expressions to measure the distance between two points. This was triggered by playing around with the new Face Tracker in After Effects CC 2015, which in Detailed Features mode generated a number of point controls that track different facial features including the eyes, corners of the mouth, and so on. A reader asked, “so what if you want to know the angle instead of distance?”

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Illuminating Dark 3D Layers

The secret to better lighting is in the layer’s Material Options.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 13, 2015

You could be forgiven for thinking that to illuminate 3D layers in After Effects, you just add one or more 3D lights and edit their parameters to taste. But that just controls how a light is cast - if you want to also control how a layer receives that light, it’s worth a dive into the layer’s Material Options.

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Putting Detailed Face Tracking to Work in AE CC 2015

A quick example of using expressions to measure changes in a person’s face
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 8, 2015

One of the major new features in After Effects CC 2015 is a Face Tracker. With this, you draw a loose mask around the target’s face, and the Face Tracker will automatically snap it to enclose the chin, cheeks, and forehead, plus track changes in it from frame to frame. In addition to this “Outline Only” mode, the Face Tracker also has a “Detailed Features” mode which exposes 25 individual points on the face After Effects has auto-located and is tracking. Once you have this information, you can do a few creative things with it, such as using this data to measure aspects of the face such as eye position or width of the smile for a display graphic - which we demonstrate in this article.

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Cleaning Up Projects

Using the Dependencies menu to remove unused items from and archive a project.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 6, 2015

An After Effects project can fill up quickly with unused items as we try out different sources an ideas. This leaves it in less than ideal condition when it comes time to hand it off to another user, or to archive it for later retrieval. Fortunately, there’s a submenu in After Effects which helps automate cleaning up and archiving a project: File > Dependencies.

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Sequence Layers

Learn to quickly edit a selection of layers end to end - with or without crossfades
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 29, 2015

After Effects is not a video editing program - but it does have a few good editing tricks up its sleeve. One is Sequence Layers, which can take a group of layers - in the order you select them - and quickly arrange them end to end, with or without crossfades:


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After Effects Hidden Gems: Replace Source

Try out different sources without losing your edits, effects, or keyframes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 22, 2015

It’s not uncommon to working on a layer in a composition - including editing its duration, adding effects, or even keyframing an animation - and then decide you might like to see a different source in its place. This may happen for several reasons: The temp footage got color corrected; you’ve been working with a test 3D animation and later the animator delivered the final; you wanted to try alternate takes of the shot (especially common when you have several stock footage sources based on the same theme), or the client simply changed their mind (never!). 

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After Effects CC 2015

Important things to know before you start working with the new version
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 15, 2015

Back in April, we gave a preview of the major new features planned for what is now known as After Effects CC 2015 (also known as 13.5). Now that this version is available for download to Creative Cloud subscribers, we thought we’d flesh out those thoughts a bit based on more time using this new version, including important installation advice as well as other user gems and gotchas with the major new features.

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Grow Bounds

This obscure Utility effect can fix some rendering problems.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 15, 2015

Some effects - usually those in the Distortion category - will try to create new pixels in After Effects that should appear beyond the layer’s original boundaries. Sometimes, it’ll be okay - but sometimes, they’ll get clipped off by the layer’s boundaries:

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Color Working Space


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 8, 2015

Not all pixels are created equal. Different devices often use different internal representations for the same color we see. HDTV video is one color space, which is fortunately related to sRGB (the default for many computer-connected devices). But still images from a professional photographer are probably in Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB color spaces, which is rather different. And anybody creating graphics without color management - from Illustrator logos to 3D renders - may be unwittingly creating imagery in the color space of their specific monitor, which might not be related to any of your other sources.

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Conform Frame Rate

Fix skipped or repeated frames by using Interpret Footage’s Conform Frame Rate setting.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 1, 2015

Have you ever had a mysterious problem in After Effects where frames are repeated, skipped, or even missing? Chances are they can be traced back to a problem with source footage’s frame rate, and mismatches between it and that of your composition. Even footage that displays the same number for frame rate may have a rounding error under the hood that causes problems when dragged into an After Effects comp.

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Cropping in the Output Module

Chop up a multi-screen projection into multiple files using the Output Module’s Crop dialog.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 26, 2015

One of the most fun and challenging jobs you can work on is a multi-screen projection. The common way to tackle this in After Effects is to create one large composition that represents all of the screens put together, create your animation in that, and then break it into its individual projections when it comes time to render. However, many tackle the rendering phase wrong.

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Set First Vertex

Control which point strokes start drawing from.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 18, 2015

A common trick is to use the Stroke effect to wipe on a line along a mask path. You can do the same using the Trim Paths operator for a shape layer. But, how can you control where that path starts and ends? The secret is understanding the First Vertex Point. If you drew a mask or shape path by hand, this is where you first clicked with the Pen tool. But if the path was created automatically - say, by converting a text layer into outlines - this first point is determined by the software, not you.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Guide Layers

Make scratch tracks or guide overlays automatically disappear in your renders
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 11, 2015

Using After Effects is often the art of combining multiple layers and elements to create a pleasing final composite or animation. However, you don’t always want every element to appear in that final render. If you didn’t remember to switch them off before the final render, they could ruin the result, requiring a re-render. Fortunately, there’s the Guide Layer switch, which tells After Effects to only use that layer when previewing the composition it appears in, but otherwise not to use it in compositions downstream or in the final render. Here’s a couple of examples where that comes in handy:

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After Effects Hidden Gems: Temporary Tools

Wasted motion = wasted time.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 4, 2015

If you’re an After Effects user, you’re familiar with the Tools panel along top of the user interface. However, if you’ve been mousing up to that panel to change tools, you’re wasting time; you can change tools by pressing its corresponding shortcut key, revealed by hovering the cursor over it to reveal its Tool Tip and committing it to memory. But even better, you can temporarily change to that tool only when you need it, and automatically return to the Selection tool (the one you use most often) when done.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Tracking with Nulls

How to make a group of layers swarm around a tracked point on underlying footage
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 27, 2015

Motion tracking in Adobe After Effects is usually about making a new layer follow the movement of a target in a piece of video. But what if you want to have multiple layers follow that target? 

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Effects Instancing

Edit one layer, and have it ripple throughout a project
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 20, 2015

It’s common to re-use the same effects and settings throughout an Adobe After Effects project to create a consistent look - for example, when treating text or a logo. But all too often, clients change their minds during a project, forcing you to go back and change every instance of that identical text or logo treatment. Wouldn’t it be nice to edit only one example, and have those changes ripple through every identical usage of that treatment throughout your After Effects project?

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly: Alpha Add Mode

Fix unsightly seems between edges
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 13, 2015

If you haven’t run into this yet, you will: Two edges that should like up perfect in After Effects exhibit a partially transparent seam. No, it’s not a bug or a mistake in your math; it has to do with the way anti-aliased edges and alpha channels are calculated. 

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After Effects NAB 2015 Preview

A big overhaul under the hood promises a more responsive program.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 8, 2015

The Adobe After Effects team makes a point of regularly polling its users to hear what they might want next. What came back was not just a desire for shiny new features, but also increased performance. In response, the After Effects team embarked on a long-term project to rewire how this 20+ year old program works internally, which is the cornerstone of the just-announced (but not yet released) next version of After Effects. But performance isn’t the whole story; a couple of very intriguing shiny new features are also slated for this release. We’ve had the opportunity to work with a pre-release version; here’s a preview of what you can expect later this spring.

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After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly

Get more out of After Effects without having to wait for the next release.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 7, 2015

Next week, all the new gadgets announced at the NAB show will be grabbing our attention and asking for a look inside our wallets. However, it's easy to miss many of the useful features we may already have in our current tools, which we either forgot about or may not be aware of to begin with. Therefore, next week we'll be launching a new course on lynda.com: After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly.

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AE + C4D: Some Minor Assembly Required

Properly setting up your AE and C4D Lite projects to best work together
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 29, 2015
We’re fans of the Live 3D Pipeline workflow between After Effects CC and CINEMA 4D Lite. And Adobe has automated a large portion of the process to get the two to work together: In After Effects, create a New > Layer > MAXON CINEMA 4D File, and not only is a layer created in AE with the CINEWARE plug-in applied (where all the magic...
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Easy Flying Logos with AE + C4D Lite (+ Illustrator)

Your Creative Cloud subscription has all the tools needed for this common motion graphics task
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 22, 2015
One of the most common, bread-and-butter motion graphics jobs you’re going to get is to take your client’s flat, two-dimensional print logo, turn it into a 3D object, and animate it onto the screen for an endless variety of video destinations (trade shows, press events, training videos, web & social media, etc.). This used to mean...
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The Public Domain Project

Pond5 just saved you countless hours. And probably some money, too.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 22, 2015
We all need footage - but there’s not always the budget to license or shoot it. We can try to hide behind the illusion of “Fair Use” - but in reality it’s hard to qualify for the exemption. In theory, if we know where to look (such as the Archive.org, or anything funded by the US government - as long as...
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Quick Tour of mocha AE CC 2014

free video from the After Effects CC Updates course
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 9, 2014

We recently added several movies to our After Effects CC Updates course on lynda.com, covering the new user interface design, CINEWARE v2 and CINEMA 4D Lite R16, mocha AE CC 2014, Dynamic Link color management changes, and the embedded Adobe Color Themes panel (formerly known as Adobe Kuler). We selected the movie on mocha to be the freebie for this round, as not only does it cover the user interface and feature updates for this new version, it also gives a very quick tutorial of performing a simple track or stabilization inside mocha AE:

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Preparing for Cinema 4D Lite v2.0

How not to lose your current presets when you upgrade
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 1, 2014
Adobe pre-announced many of the new features for the next version of After Effects CC 2014 at the just-passed IBC show. One of the big additions will be upgrading Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite - the 3D modeling and animation program that comes bundled with...
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Discounts on After Effects World and Adobe MAX

We’re speaking at both events; here’s ways to save a little when you register
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 21, 2014
In addition to the free Moviola webinar on creativity Chris is presenting next week, we’re both speaking at the upcoming After Effects World and Adobe MAX conferences:
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From Still Frames to Fine Art

Chris is hosting a free webinar dedicated to creativity
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 19, 2014
If you want to get Chris upset, come up to him and profess that you’re not creative. Despite his background as an engineer, we’ve had a very nice 20+ year career as graphic designers, and we’ve both started fine art careers. As a result, Chris agreed to create a webinar for Moviola -
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Free Video: Creating Your Own Background Loops

Have some fun with your camera and shoot out-of-focus video that you can later repurpose into video backdrops
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 30, 2014
A couple of months ago, we released a video training course titled Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects: Enhancing Production Value. Some of the tricks in that course relied on using blending modes to add lighting effects from second footage layers that had color, abstract patterns...
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Free Video: Quick & Easy White Balance Adjustment

Use blending modes in After Effects or Premiere Pro
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 27, 2014
A couple of months ago, we released a video training course titled Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects: Enhancing Production Value on spinning the straw clients often give us into visual gold. One of the movies in that course demonstrated a dead-easy white balancing trick...
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Free Video: After Effects CC Text Templates for Adobe Premiere Pro

Get up to speed on this important new feature in the next release of After Effects and Premiere Pro CC
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 24, 2014
Several weeks ago, we wrote about some of our favorite new features promised for the next update to After Effects CC (Creative Cloud). Since then we’ve produced a series of videos about these features; below is one about using After Effects...
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After Effects CC NAB Preview

A sneak peek at some of the new features planned for the next version of After Effects (plus Premiere Pro).
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 2, 2014
In preparation for the 2014 NAB Show, Adobe is previewing the features slated for the next versions of their video software. We’ve had a chance to work with the upcoming version of After Effects CC, and are in the process of creating a new set of training videos showing how to take advantage of these features that should be available in...
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Adobe Premiere Pro and Multiple GPUs

You can get a significant speed boost using a variety of hardware solutions
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 28, 2014
Apple’s inclusion of dual GPUs in every model of their new Mac Pro has caused a bit of a stir (and confusion) among video editors wondering if their NLE of choice can take advantage of them. Applications don’t automatically detect and use multiple GPUs; the drivers must support them, and the software must be written to exploit...
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Using Reversible Stabilization in Warp Stabilizer VFX for Screen Replacement

There’s more than one way to peel an onion...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 12, 2014
Short version: Below is a video that shows how to use the Reversible Stabilization feature of Warp Stabilizer VFX in After Effects CC to track a new data screen over an existing one.  Long version: Chris recently
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Screen Replacement in After Effects

Using tools like mocha AE and Roto Brush to solve a common VFX challenge
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 29, 2014
Although we’re primarily motion graphics artists, After Effects has an ever-growing number of tools that makes what used to be considered visual effects (VFX) jobs easier for folks like us to perform. Adobe has been making great strides to automate large portions of these tasks, but the reality is that you still need to know how to use these...
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After Effects CC version 12.2

Our favorite features in the December Creative Cloud update
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 15, 2014
Last month, Adobe released another nice incremental update to their video software, including After Effects CC. As motion graphics artists, there were a couple of major improvements to existing features that caught our eye, as well as a lot of other tweaks and enhancements.
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Adding Handle to Sound Bites

using Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 6, 2014
Whether you’re working on documentaries, reality television, corporate videos, or any of a number of situations where you have talent being interviewed on-camera, you’ve probably run into this scenario: The talent is giving a long speech, perhaps unrehearsed. In the middle of that speech is a really good sound bite you’d like to...
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Rumbling Under the Radar

Our audio chain has been compromised because we took a common switch for granted.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 5, 2014
Last year we revamped our voiceover recording chain, replacing a microphone and “voice channel” (a microphone preamp with additional signal processing) that were both dying. Both replacements - a KEL Song Sparrow large-diaphragm condenser microphone and Presonus VXP voice channel - are excellent tools in isolation. However, we...
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After Effects 12.2 Audio Bug...

...and a simple workaround (whew)
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 4, 2014
There’s been a bit of a panic among some After Effects users about a bug introduced in the December 2013 update to After Effects CC (also known as AE 12.2). Fortunately, there’s an easy workaround until Adobe gets a bug fix issued. The problem occurs if you have a composition with audio that you wish to...
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Spotting (and Solving) Sync Issues

Not all cameras that shoot video record the audio in sync. And no, your auto-sync software isn't going to fix it for you.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 4, 2013
Short Version: If you haven’t already heard, not all cameras that shoot video (for example, DSLRs like the Canon 5D mkII) record their own audio in sync with the video. This causes problems whether you’re using camera audio, dual system audio, or have a multi-camera shoot. Therefore, it’s essential to test your camera...
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After Effects Creative Cloud Updates

AE 12.1 is out; we have some movies to help you master the new features
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 7, 2013
Adobe has recently released a very nice update to After Effects for their Creative Cloud subscribers. Todd Kopriva of Adobe has provided an exhaustive list of what’s new and changed in his blog. We’ve updated my
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Pixel Motion Blur in After Effects CC

Adobe bundles a cure for too-fast shutter speeds
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 29, 2013
Not all of the updates coming in After Effects CC (Creative Cloud) are of the earth-shattering variety; some are simply better - or more convenient - mousetraps. After Effects guardian angel Todd Kopriva has posted an exhaustive list on...
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MAXON CINEMA 4D Integration in After Effects CC

Quick tutorials on importing and rendering C4D projects in the upcoming version of After Effects
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 27, 2013
As we mentioned last Thursday, we wanted to share with you more about some of the significant new features in the Creative Cloud version of After Effects. The goal is to make you better informed about your upgrade...
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Roto Brush Parameter Changes

After Effects CC brings some changes to previous Roto Brush parameters
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 24, 2013
As we mentioned yesterday, the Refine Edge tool is one of the most significant new tools added to After Effects CC (due to be released June 17). Refine Edge is built on top of the Roto Brush took, which was originally introduced...
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Using the new Refine Edge Tool in After Effects CC

Keying hair (and more) without a greenscreen
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 23, 2013
Every time After Effects or any other major tool you use is updated, you go through a decision process of whether or not to buy the upgrade. Adobe has upped the ante this cycle by announcing the end of permanent licenses for most of their software; from now on, their major apps are only available through their Creative Cloud...
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Combining Cartoon with Brainstorm

Using one tool to show you what another can do.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 1, 2013
Ever feel like you’re getting the same old looks out of Cartoon, no matter what you try? In this third and final installment of learning how to get better results with the Cartoon effect, we will show you how to combine Cartoon with the After Effects Brainstorm module to get unexpected looks out of Cartoon, including images...
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Enhancing the Cartoon Effect

Just as you shouldn’t use all effects at their defaults, don’t be shy about combining them with other effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 30, 2013
In this second installment of learning how to get better results with the Cartoon effect, we will go beyond altering Cartoon’s own parameters from their less-than-ideal defaults and explore pre- and post-processing the video clip getting the Cartoon treatment.
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Using Cartoon in After Effects

Go beyond the defaults to get more interesting looks.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 29, 2013
As we’ve mentioned before, we updated our After Effects Apprentice video courses last year. As part of adding and reorganizing material, some movies got cut. But we hate to see anything go to waste, so we’re reposting them here for free - including a three-movie set on using the Cartoon effect. Cartoon may be...
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Learning More About the Next Version of After Effects

Two hours of videos; six hours of sessions
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 4, 2013
Adobe has started to “reveal” information about its next generation of pro video tools, and yesterday we wrote an overview of some of the more significant new features being slated for a...
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After Effects CC Technology Preview

Adobe is giving us a peek at what is on tap for the next version of After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 4, 2013
On the heels of their Refine Edge sneak peek last week and just a few days before NAB, Adobe is releasing more information about some of the cool technology we may see in the next generation of their other pro...
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After Effects Brainstorm: Keyframe Variations

Part 3 of our exploration of the Brainstorm module in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 29, 2013
In the third of our rescued movies on Brainstorm, I demonstrate a much less common use of Brainstorm: to randomize keyframes. Brainstorm can essentially randomize any property you can select in the Timeline or Effect Controls panels - including values that vary over time. In this movie, I create a swarming-style animation by...
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After Effects Brainstorm: Learning Effects

Part 2 of our exploration of this little-used creative-block-buster.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 25, 2013
In the second of our rescued movies on Brainstorm, I focus on using Brainstorm to help learn an effect you may be unfamiliar with. When presented with all the options in available in an open-ended effect such as Fractal Noise, it can be challenging to know just what all the effect is capable of without spending hours of...
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After Effects Brainstorm: Effect Variations

Taking advantage of a little-used feature to overcome creative blocks.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 20, 2013
Continuing our rescue operation on orphaned training movies, this is the first of a trio of movies on the little-used and oft-maligned Brainstorm module in After Effects. Brainstorm provides a way to randomize selected parameters or effects with the goal of helping generate new ideas. It’s easy to think that such results...
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After Effects Render Order Issues

Why the same treatments can look different on pixel or vector layers - and how to work around it.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 15, 2013
Last year, we updated our After Effects Apprentice video courses. As part of adding and reorganizing material, some movies got cut. But we hate to see anything go to waste, so we’re going to repost them here...
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More on Vignettes

A simple, often-overlooked technique to add sophistication to your graphics.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 27, 2013
Earlier this week, we posted a video on using 3D lights in After Effects to enhance a scene. One of the main reasons for doing so was to add a vignette, where the edges of the frame were darkened, and the center of the frame - where the main action occurred and the main title appeared - was brightened. It’s not as sexy as blowing...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Adding 3D Lighting to a Scene

Enhancing a simple scene through the addition of 3D lighting.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 25, 2013
As we mentioned earlier, we’re sharing the free movies from
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Free Webinar: Two Decades of After Effects

War stories from the start of the desktop motion graphics industry.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 20, 2013
We’ve been desktop video users since December 1991 when QuickTime 1.0 and the first version of Adobe Premiere shipped. At the time, the results were mostly heavily compressed, low frame rate, postage stamp sized video, but we had faith it would scale up. In late 1992, we started beta testing “Egg” (now know as After Effects)...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Creating Wiggly Lines

Exploiting a few tricks with Shape Layers to create and animate faux vital signs displays.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 18, 2013
As we mentioned last week, we’re sharing the free movies from
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Roughing Out a Camera Move

Starting with initial poses, then separating the camera’s dimensions to craft a smooth move inbetween.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 9, 2013
In each edition of our book After Effects Apprentice, the last chapter is a project that brings together skills learned throughout the book, applied to a real-world scenario such as creating a show opening title. For the
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Adjusting Roto Brush's Propagation Settings

With the After Effects Roto Brush, some assembly is required.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 13, 2013
Does it drive you crazy to see somebody use something the wrong way, then declare it doesn’t work? That’s how I feel about the Roto Brush tool introduced in After Effects CS5. This semi-automated tool helps you separate the foreground (i.e. an actor) from a complex background (i.e. not greenscreen) - “all”...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Converting a Comp to Ray Tracing

What do you gain; what do you give up?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 10, 2013
One of the major additions to After Effects CS6 was the introduction of a new ray-traced 3D rendering engine. This allowed 3D text to have actual thickness (extrusions and beveling), and added transparency and reflectivity parameters to...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Bending Layers in AE CS6

You cannot extrude and bevel still and movie layers in CS6, but you can bend them.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 6, 2013
One of the Apprentice video lessons that received the largest overhaul was
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Depth of Field Blur

Reviewing this underused feature which got a major update in CS5.5.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 3, 2013
As we mentioned recently, we've been updating our After Effects Apprentice video courses to reflect changes in the third edition of the book, and in particular new and enhanced features introduced in recent...
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48 fps: A Bridge Too Near?

Is HFR too realistic to tell a story?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 20, 2012
Filmmaker Peter Jackson has recently performed a very public experiment in releasing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 48 frames per second (also known as "HFR" for High Frame Rate). Some movie lovers, members of the press, and even other filmmakers have unfortunately deemed it a reluctantly qualified failure;
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Made with After Effects

Enter this competition; win prizes and be part of our live webcast.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 19, 2012
We are happy to announce that for the third year in a row, we will be working with the folks from motion for their annual Made with After...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Spotting Dialog

...including creating layer markers with duration indicators.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 15, 2012
As we mentioned recently, we've been updating our After Effects Apprentice video courses to reflect changes in the third edition of the book. One shortcoming of previous editions of the book that we corrected with this...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Introduction to Variable Mask Feathering

Getting up to speed with this long-requested feature, added in CS6.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 6, 2012
As we mentioned recently, we've been updating our After Effects Apprentice video courses to reflect changes in the third edition of the book, and in particular new and enhanced features introduced in recent versions such as...
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Updates to the After Effects Apprentice Video Courses

We’ve been bringing everything up to date for AE CS6.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 4, 2012
I apologize for the commercial nature of this post, but I’ll try to make it up to you at the end. First, the back story: As many of you know, roughly two years ago we set about creating video courses that went along with...
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Let’s Be Safe Out There

Some are playing with fire - and getting burned - when it comes to dealing with safe areas.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 3, 2012
If you create content for television, it’s useful to get out of the house and see how others are actually viewing it. For example, we have all 16:9 HDTV sets and signals here, but on a recent road trip I saw far more 4:3 TV than I was expecting - as well as a lot of improperly-prepared content being chopped off as a result. Let’s...
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What's new in After Effects Apprentice, 3rd Edition

We have a new book aimed at those just learning After Effects, or who need a refresher course on the latest versions.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 15, 2012
The 3rd edition of our book After Effects Apprentice ("AEA3" for short) is now available, and we're really happy with how it turned out. We've included PDF excerpts from several of the lessons
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Adobe Hardware Performance White Paper

Tips to configure or upgrade a workstation for their main video software.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 19, 2012
One of the early advantages of desktop video production software over dedicated hardware was that it could run on "any" computer. As tasks became more demanding (multiple streams of 4k video, anyone?), and computers become more capable (4 gigabyte drive modules used to be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Rendering a 4:3 Center Cut Movie from a 16:9 Composition

...plus an update on what's next for the Apprentice series.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 21, 2012
As we mentioned what now seems like ages ago, we spent a year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Using Parenting to Animate Layers as a Unit

Taking advantage of parenting, multiple 3D views, and AE's built-in calculator to coordinate a multi-layer animation.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 15, 2012
As we mentioned awhile back, we've been busy the past year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Working with Nested 3D Compositions

How you can be two places at once inside After Effects
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 8, 2012
As we mentioned awhile back, we've been busy the past year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Copying Paths from Illustrator to After Effects

Revealing Illustrator paths requires a few intermediate steps, involving After Effects masks and effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 1, 2012
Buried in the shuffle over the announcement of After Effects CS6 is that we concluded the video training series for our book After Effects Apprentice 2nd Edition...
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After Effects CS6 Tutorial: Exporting 3D Camera Tracker Data to Cinema 4D

You can export the results of the new 3D Camera Tracker to any application that has a way to accept AE keyframe data.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 27, 2012
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After Effects CS6 Tutorial: Targeting Properties in the new Ray-Traced 3D Engine

Although the new extrusion and beveling capabilities initially seem limited, you can actually edit the individual material options for each group of surfaces.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 26, 2012
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After Effects CS6 (P)Review

The latest version has several significant new features.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 12, 2012
Upon the release of After Effects CS5 in 2010, Adobe tried an interesting experiment: Part of the After Effects engineering team was split off to start work on major new features for CS6 with a 24-month time horizon, while the rest started work on AE CS5.5 before joining their compatriots in 2011 to also work on CS6. In addition,...
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After Effects Apprentice: The Final Project

The 3+ hour video course on the Final Project from After Effects Apprentice 2nd Edition has finally been released.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 11, 2012
As we mentioned awhile back, we've been busy the past year and a half creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Exploring Shape Effects

An overview of five of the simpler shape operators that can turn your basic outline into something quite twisted.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 31, 2012
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Drawing Parametric Shapes

The same tools you've used to create masks can also be used to create Shape Layers - with far more options than you might have imagined.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 27, 2012
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: The Puppet Starch Tool

Not happy with how Puppet kinks and bends your image? The little-known Starch tool helps you straighten it out.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 13, 2012
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Eraser Tool Modes

How to target precisely what you're erasing, from the source image to just your most recent paint stroke.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 8, 2012
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Tracking with mochaAE

A quick start on using this powerful alternative motion tracker bundled with After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 4, 2011
As we mentioned earlier, we've been busy this year creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Performing a Motion Track

Some tips on what to look for when setting up a track in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 28, 2011
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Creating 3D Objects using Adobe Repoussé

If you don't have access to a dedicated 3D program or plug-in, here's a way to use Photoshop Extended to create extruded logos and text.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 21, 2011
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Using After Effects as an Advanced Titler for Premiere Pro

Tight integration allows you to use one to extend the feature set of the other.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 12, 2011
Footage from the Artbeats Portraits - Adults HD collection   Adobe Premiere Pro has a robust titler built in, including the ability to create title rolls and crawls. However, Adobe After Effects has even more advanced tools,...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Creating an Orbit Camera Rig

Techniques to make your camera move in a perfect arc.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 8, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 45 - What's Your Preference?


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 4, 2011
This is the final installment of us going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. (Is a celebration in order?)After Effects features a variety of...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 44 - Prerendering and Proxies


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 28, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 43 - Advanced Rendering


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 21, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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Adobe MAX 2011 Technology Sneak Peeks

What's cooking in the lab (and apparently close enough to tease us with).
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 17, 2011
Adobe's big annual MAX conference finished a couple of weeks ago, and as part of it they included a series of technology sneak peeks. I've gone through the videos posted on AdobeTV and pulled out the ones of most interest to us video...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 42 - Render Queue


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 16, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 41 - Video Issues


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 6, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 40B - 3D Channel Effects

Another selection of "hidden gems" (and essential advice), this time from Bonus Chapter 40B of Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 2, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 40 - Integrating with 3D Applications


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 23, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 39 - Integration 101


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 19, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Multiple Playback Speeds

A simple speed-shift trick to reuse a single element multiple times, and make each instance appear different.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 13, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 38 - Import and Interpret


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 12, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 37B and 37C - Expressions and Scripting Bonus Chapters

This time, a collection of resources on expressions and scripting - including a PDF of Bonus Chapter 37C on scripting.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 2, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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Coke Classic: Final Cut Studio is Back

You can still buy seats of the pre-X version - but what does that get you?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 2, 2011
As has been reported and confirmed by multiple sources, you can once again buy Final Cut Studio. You won't find it (yet?) in the physical or online Apple stores; you have to call 1-800-MY-APPLE, ask for part number MB642Z/A, and pay $999 ($899...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 37 - Expressions


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 27, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 36B - Audio Effects


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 19, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 36 - Working With Audio


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 12, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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NVIDIA Optix

A joint Adobe-NVIDIA research project demonstrating accelerated ray-traced 3D.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 10, 2011
At this week's SIGGRAPH convention in Vancouver, Adobe and NVIDIA are giving a technology presentation of ray-traced extruded text and shapes inside a "motion graphics environment" (you can read for yourself what...
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Upgrading to After Effects CS5.5?

A quick review of what's changed in recent versions
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 9, 2011
As Adobe and their various vendors have been offering a variety of discounts and incentives this year (as well as floating the idea that you'll need to own at least CS5 to get discounted upgrade pricing on the next Creative Suite), we're guessing a lot of After Effects users who have been getting by with older versions may be thinking...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 35 - The Puppet Tools


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 5, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: The Wiggle Expression

This very simple expression can be used to add randomness to virtually any parameter.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 2, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 34 - Roto Brush


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 1, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice: Expressions

Our latest video training course on lynda.com is a gentle introduction to one of the most powerful yet underused features in After Effects
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 30, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 33 - Paint and Clone


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 25, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: What Could Go Wrong?

Just because there is more than way of doing something, doesn't mean all choices are equal.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 19, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 32 - Shape Layers


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 17, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 31 - mocha and mocha shape


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 10, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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Free Webcast Tuesday: Stereo 3D in After Effects

Sharing some ideas of how to create more watchable content for those with and without the proper glasses.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 10, 2011
A large portion of the focus for stereoscopic 3D production has been on major motion pictures, where a person usually pays extra to see a special version of the film, and expect to be wowed by the action literally flying off the screen. However, with consumer electronics manufacturers trying to sell stereo 3D TVs, pressure...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 30 - Motion Tracking


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 5, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 29 - Motion Stabilization


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 26, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Non-Uniform Scale Issues with Parenting

A weird issue that can crop up while parenting - and how to fix it using null objects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 21, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 28 - Frame Rate Manipulation


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 19, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Overview of Per-character 3D Text

The difference between 2D text, and animating each character in 3D (well, 2.5D) space.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 14, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 27 - Keying


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 10, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: The "Cascade" Type Animation Recipe

Getting multiple characters to transition smoothly requires diving deep into a text animator's parameters.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 7, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 26 - Color Management


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 7, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice: Parenting

Our latest video training course on lynda.com demonstrates how to group and coordinate layers. Plus, we rescue a bonus movie from the cutting room floor...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 30, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 25 - Presets and Variations


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 28, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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Using Audition with After Effects

Some workflow tips for the motion graphics artist looking to also improve their sound.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 28, 2011
As you can see from recent articles on PVC, Adobe is anxious to make you aware that they have made their audio editing application Audition available for the Mac as well as Windows, and bundled it into the Production Premium and Master Collection suites.While their focus is on showing editors how to take advantage of...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 24 - Compound Effects


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 21, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Managing Audio Levels

Audio doesn't work like other parameters...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 18, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Effects Roundup Bonus

A handful of videos on some general concepts and specific effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 14, 2011
Last week's installment of Hidden Gems on effects was so well received, we decided to break out of our normal one-chapter-a-week rhythm this week, and instead provide some more resources on using effects.
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Track Matte Render Order Tips

Workarounds for when effects aren't working the way you expect with Track Mattes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 11, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 23 - Effects Roundup


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 9, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 22 - Applying and Using Effects


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 30, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice: Type and Music

Our latest video training course on lynda.com dives deep into text animation.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 29, 2011
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Behaviors

One set of Animation Presets that ship with After Effects create movement without adding keyframes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 25, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 21 - Textacy


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 23, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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Stereoscopic 3D in After Effects CS5.5

The new release (with some judicious adjustments) makes it easier to create easier-to-watch stereo scenes from 3D compositions.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 21, 2011
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Pyrotechnic Composites

Please: Stop using Luma Key on footage (such as pyro effects) shot on black. There's a better way.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 19, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 20 - Collapsing Transformations


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 15, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects CS5.5

A series of videos demonstrating how to put the new features to work.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 11, 2011
Just one year after the release of After Effects CS5, the AE team has cooked up a very nice update with some significant new and updated features (plus a lot of nice small ones as well) that will be of interest to both motion graphics and visual effects artists. To share our take on these with you, we've worked with AdobeTV...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 19 - Precomposing


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 8, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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Updated: Adobe Warp Stabilizer (P)Review

Personal experience with a new toy from Adobe's Advanced Product Development labs
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 7, 2011
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Time Stretch versus Altering the Frame Rate

So you changed a clip's speed - did you expect the keyframes to change as well?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 5, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 18 - Nesting


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 2, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 17 - Parenting Skills


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 28, 2011
We're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition (CMG5) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include essential advice for new users, plus timesaving tips that experienced users may not be...
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After Effects Apprentice: Creating Transparency

Setting motion graphics compositing apart from editing full-frame footage.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 24, 2011
We're often asked: What's the difference between editing and motion graphics? Although there's always exceptions to every rule, one way to distinguish between them is the way a project is built: Editing projects tend to be arranged horizontally, cutting between different scenes over time; motion graphics projects quite often...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 16 - Parallel Worlds


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 21, 2011
As you are aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well as...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 15 - Lighting in 3D


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 13, 2011
As you are aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Overshoot Animations

A freebie from our new video training series on lynda.com that includes some Graph Editor tips you may not know.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 10, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 14 - Cameras


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 5, 2011
As you are aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well as...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Auto Bezier Keyframes

A freebie from our new video training series on lynda.com.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 2, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 13 - 3D Space


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 27, 2011
As you are aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well as...
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After Effects Apprentice: Layer Control

Our latest video training course is live.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 24, 2011
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Arranging Layers

A freebie from our new video training series on lynda.com.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 22, 2011
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 12 - Stencils and the "T"


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 19, 2011
As you are aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well as...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Editing Interactively in the Composition Panel

A freebie from our new video training series on lynda.com.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 16, 2011
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In Appreciation Of The Lowly Wipe

A few ideas for how to create more interesting (yet still tastefully understated) transitions between clips.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 15, 2011
While editing Michele Yamazaki's
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 11 - All About Track Mattes


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 12, 2011
As you are aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well as...
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Expert Tips on Final Cut Pro

April Fools came early this year.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 10, 2011
Ever watch someone use (or even worse, demonstrate) a piece of software, and think to yourself "wait a minute - that's not how you should do that..."? Then Rob Imbs of Lovely Junkie has a video...
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After Effects Apprentice Free Video: UI Overview

A freebie from our new video training series on lynda.com.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 9, 2011
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American Editor

The Ballad of the Bear Wrestler
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 7, 2011
More than one person has pointed me toward the relatively new blog American Editor, written by Rob Ashe: Senior Video Editor & Opening Title Designer of Conan O'Brien's most recent ventures among other items on a long resume. Rob is a straight shooter with a wry sense of humor, who dishes up...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 10 - All About Masking


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 5, 2011
As you are probably aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well...
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Free Plug-ins for After Effects, FCE, FCP, and FCS (including Motion)

Core Melt gives away a package of 33 V2 effects
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 4, 2011
  Facebook in the new grapevine: I learned earlier this week courtesy of CoreMelt's Facebook news feed that CoreMelt (creators of the Lock & Load stabilizer...
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Epic Drums


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 31, 2011
Bombastic. Action. Chase scenes. Energy. A touch of exotica, with occasional ethnic percussion elements, odd metals, and other special effects such as angrily strummed piano strings. Not subtle. No love scenes. Those are the terms that come to mind upon auditioning this loop library of 40 percussive construction kits from prolific producer...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 9 - Blending Modes


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 29, 2011
As you are probably aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well...
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After Effects Apprentice: The Video(s)

Visual learning based on our popular entry-level book.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 28, 2011
Many After Effects users know us for our books Creating Motion Graphics (CMG) and After Effects Apprentice (AEA). CMG is intended as a deep reference for After...
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Smith & Nephew VERILAST Commercial

What could have been a boring medical commercial pulls together several popular design trends quite nicely.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 27, 2011
Silhouettes...ink splashes...particle streams that follow movement...all very pretty; all arguably done to death by now. Thus my pleasant surprise to see a commercial (for a knee replacement, of all things!) that pulled these design ideas to together in a very fresh, understated yet lovely fashion. If anyone knows who did this...
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Art of the Title: Quantum of Solace

including an interview with Ben Radatz of MK12
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 25, 2011
The good folks at The Art of the Title Sequence have recently posted a wonderful expos© on the titles for the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, including an in-depth, wide-ranging interview with Ben Radatz, Creative...
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2+ Hours of Free Video Training on Shatter

Brian Maffitt digs into his video archives, and shares.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 25, 2011
Many After Effects users are familiar with Brian Maffitt, founder of Total Training. Brian also ran a plug-in company called Atomic Power for a couple of years. His Evolution plug-in set was distinguished by 1) deep controls, and 2) hours of video training that came free in the box. Adobe...
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"Why 3D Doesn't Work and Never Will"

Esteemed editor Walter Murch writes a letter to famed film critic Roger Ebert.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 25, 2011
While a large portion of both the media creation and consumption industries gear up to produce and support 3D films and video, others are digging in their heels and asking about the fit and fabric of the emperor's clothes. Much loved sound designer and film editor Walter Murch - as well as film curmudgeon critic Roger...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 8 - Motion Blur and More


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 22, 2011
As you are probably aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well...
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Your Daily After Effects Fix

A few resources for regular doses of information and inspiration.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 20, 2011
I've mentioned previously that Todd Kopriva's Region of Interest blog is one of the best sources of essential After Effects information. And it still is. But a few additional sources have really blossomed as constant fountains of After Effects goodness:
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2010 Motion Graphics Design Census

Parsing the results of the latest survey of who makes how much in our field.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 18, 2011
The unofficial, web-based Motion Graphics Design Census for 2010 is now available from their web site. It compiles over 5500 responses - distributed roughly evenly between the US and non-US - into a series of responses about age, software, and - primarily - income. Of...
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Classic Visual Effects Knowledge

How-to videos and documentaries from the 90s.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 18, 2011
Chris Zwar - After Effects power user and occasional PVC contributor - shared on the media-motion.tv After Effects list that Peter Sciretta of...
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Vibration and Hum

Not all sources of low-frequency noise are electrical...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 17, 2011
I've already written about eliminating buzz and hum from audio connections. However, truth be told, I've been fighting an insidious low-frequency rumble in my latest studio for over a year now. Everything seems clean...
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CMG Hidden Gems: Chapter 7 - Trimming Layers


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 15, 2011
As you are probably aware by now, we're going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as well...
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BG Renderer 2.0

A popular After Effects script gets a major upgrade.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 12, 2011
Lloyd Alvarez is a top-notch After Effects user who has also developed a handful of very useful scripts for the program. One of his most popular is BG Renderer, which launches instances of After Effects in the background to render compositions while you continue to work in the foreground....
We are in the process of going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5") and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter, including essential tips for new users as well as timesavers that experienced users may...
We are in the process of going through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5") and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter, including essential tips for new users as well as timesavers that experienced users may...
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4 Ways Video Is Fundamentally Changing


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 31, 2010
If you're interested in the business of video beyond just shooting and editing it, you might enjoy reading Shishir Mehrotra of Google's recent article over on ClickZ. He notes "In my position at YouTube, I've observed this market over the last few years, and...
As you are probably aware by now, we're going to go through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as...
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Creating Motion Graphics Hidden Gems: Chapter 3 - Basic Animation


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 18, 2010
As you are probably aware by now, we're going to go through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) and pulling out a few "hidden gems" from each chapter. These will include both essential tips for new users, as...
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Creating Motion Graphics Hidden Gems: Chapter 2 - Creating a Composition


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 11, 2010
As we mentioned last week, we're going to go through our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th...
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An Illuminating Discussion

PVC writers weigh in on what they would recommend for a lighting kit.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 8, 2010
It started as a simple-enough email question from writer Kevin P. McAuliffe to the rest of the PVC crew:I'm looking for a good, low cost basic lighting kit. 3 lights (Key, Fill and Back), stands, etc. I have no idea who would be considered "good", as "For God sakes Jim, I'm an editor, not a...
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Creating Motion Graphics Hidden Gems: Chapter 1 - After Effects 101


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 5, 2010
Our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects 5th Edition ("CMG5" for short) is not a quick read: It contains 768 printed pages, plus another 160 pages of bonus chapters on the accompanying disc. Although we put a lot of effort into the Table of...
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Mishandling Pulldown

Computers and most mobile devices require progressive-scan video for optimal display. But many video download services are incorrectly handling sources with interlacing and pulldown.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 2, 2010
An example of what can happen when you incorrectly reconstruct the original source from interlaced video.Video, as idiosyncratic as it is, has been around for awhile. Which is why I can't understand it when even today, broadcast networks and now online video distributors don't get some of the fundamental issues of...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 12: Expressive Text

In this final installment in our series, we'll demonstrate several ways to manipulate numbers and text using expressions.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 29, 2010
Finally, we'd like to demonstrate ways to use expressions to manipulate text created with the new Type tool. We'll show how to display time and parameter values as text, both for diagnostic purposes and to create graphical elements. On the second page we'll show to how to manipulate strings of text, including using the Buzz Words...
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Deeper Modes of Expression: The Index

A linked list of the 12 installments in our series on Expressions in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 29, 2010
This year we've been taking the Bonus Chapter on Expressions from our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects and serializing as a set of 12 articles. Now that all 12 parts have been posted, we though it would be useful to provide a central index...
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Using RED Footage Proxies in After Effects

Take advantage of those auto-generated low-resolution proxy files to speed up your work before rendering.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 22, 2010
Many people like to shoot RED source footage these days, even if the final destination is lower-resolution video. I agree, it's nice to have all of those extra pixels to play with - except when you have to actually read them off disk and process them in order to see a frame in a program like Adobe After Effects. Well, After Effects has...
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Blend Modes in Adobe Premiere Pro

This underutilized, recently-added feature provides numerous ways to enhance your footage.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 20, 2010
As a motion graphics artist, one of our favorite tricks to enhance an uninspiring clip is not to use effects, but instead to combine it with other clips using Blend Modes (also known as Blending, Composite, or Transfer Modes). Modes provide simple, high-quality ways to drop out the black or white background in a clip, enhance its...
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50.94 Is Not A Valid Frame Rate

This typo has become so common, clients are actually starting to request it. Stop them before they hurt themselves.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 9, 2010
I recently had a fellow motion graphics artist asked me what format used a 50.94 fps frame rate, as a client had requested delivery at this rate. 50.94 is obviously a typo based on 59.94 fps (the field rate for NTSC, and the North American speed favored for some HD media such as 720p for sports and news). But
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 11: Dreaming in Color

Using expressions to choose, modify, or create master colors.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 8, 2010
The next-to-last subject we're going to cover is manipulating color inside expressions. This is powerful, as so much of graphics is about color, and also because it is very handy to set up a master color on one layer and then have a large number of other layers or effects look to this master - a great way to accommodate sweeping client...
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Essential After Effects Information

Todd Kopriva is one of the heros of the After Effects world.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 23, 2010
Every After Effects user should bookmark the Region of Interest blog by Todd Kopriva of Adobe. Todd was the documentation lead for several versions, and now is very active in tech support. His blog always has the most recent information on bug fixes, bug avoidance, best practices, and...
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"Lens Wacking" to Create Video Flares

In further search of user-induced imperfections.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 22, 2010
Mitch over at Planet5D compiled a nice set of videos and emails (including step-by-step instructions and useful tips) from those who have been experimenting with "lens wacking" - detaching the lens slightly from a camera to allow light...
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102 Year Old Lens on a Canon 5D mkII

Another way to get That Look in camera
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 5, 2010
A lot of people have been following the exploits of Timur Civan as he plays with a 1908 Wollensak Cine-Velostigmat f5 lens that a friend of his - "a brilliant Russian...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 10: Random Numbers

How to gain finer control over randomness.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 3, 2010
Last month, I discussed using the wonderful wiggle expression to add randomization to your animations. However, wiggle is but one specialized application of random number generation. For those who like take the lid off and truly get under the hood, After Effects also includes the...
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Greenscreen Resources

Some tips; some tricks; some supplies.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 24, 2010
As much as we like to keep up with the newest products and latest trends, some information is timeless - such as advice on shooting greenscreen. The After Effects Facebook feed...
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Canon Develops Ultra-Large, Ultra Low-Light, Video-Capable Sensor

If you thought the 1D and 5D were the be-all and end-all...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 18, 2010
The astute folks over at DP Review assembled a series of press releases about Canon's 202 x 205 mm CMOS sensor (compared to 36 x 24 mm for...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 9: Wiggly World

Adding imperfections can make graphics more compelling to watch.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 4, 2010
Nothing is more boring that having to keyframe supposedly random movements. Fortunately, there's a simple, powerful expression that can add randomization to virtually any parameter for you: wiggle. Here we'll explain how to apply the basic wiggle expression, and then add finer degrees...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 8: Going for a Loop

Causing animations or footage to loop by repeating already-placed keyframes or segments of time.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 2, 2010
Our previous installment was about decision-making loops (if/then and while/do statements). This installment is about a different kind of loop: repeating an animation without having to loop footage or places copies of an animation...
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Big Fish Audio: Club Hip Hop

When you need to create a soundtrack that instills a sense of urgency.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 24, 2010
  This bargain-priced collection (list price: $49.95) from producer Mike Kumagai delivers an edgy take on hip-hop: The drums are lo-fi and slammin' with an in-your-face filtered and gated kick; the synth basses are alternately reedy or squelchy; the keys, clavs, and strings are often shrill and urgent. The songwriting...
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Big Fish Audio: Hadeeth 2 Arabic Rhythms

Add an exotic hand percussion sound to your underscores.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 11, 2010
Unlike the original Hadeeth collection that combined a drum kit with Arabic percussion, this collection (also produced by Ara Antranik) is a pure hand percussion affair. You get 66 construction kits, each containing a full mix plus three to eight individual instrument loops...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 7: Making Decisions

Learning how to craft if/then/else statements plus do/while loops will open the door to a wide range of advanced techniques.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 5, 2010
As your expressions become more complex, you will want to start making decisions in the middle of them - for example, if the current value is less than a certain number, do one thing; if it is greater than that number, do something different. Other decisions include "wait until the current time is past the next marker - then do this...
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Big Sale at Big Fish

Up to 30% off for as little as one music construction kit loop library - pretty good deal.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 2, 2010
Just a quick note that if you're in the market for loop libraries to fill out your compositional toolkit, Big Fish Audio - one of the larger distributors of loop libraries and construction kits - is running a pretty good sale through midnight, Monday July 5th. If your shopping...
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Big Fish Audio: Primal Drums

A film scoring toolkit masquerading as an ethnic music library.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 20, 2010
Ah, yes: Books and their covers. Given the title and the evocative woodcut-style cover art by Nancy Nimoy, here I was expecting an African-influenced percussion collection. Instead, this library contains 50 construction kits well suited for a film composer or adventurous ethnic-hybrid producer, providing alternately lush cinemaesque landscapes...
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Designing British Road Signs

What goes into conveying information to someone busy trying to drive a car.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 8, 2010
Sign recreations courtesy of iStockphoto, © track5, Image #214915I am a huge fan of the BBC programme Top Gear. Aside from the fact that I'm a car nut, I enjoy the wry humor, the unusual set...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 6: Managing Time, Layer Numbers, Speed, and Velocity

Ways of manipulating time with expressions, including having one layer echo the movements of another with delay.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 7, 2010
By default, expressions assume you are interested in values at the current time. If you need to know the current time, just use the keyword time in an expression, and After Effects will return the current time in seconds (not frames, as we discussed in the previous section).However, expressions...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 5: Comp, Footage, and Layer Attributes

Grabbing numbers from places such as the comp settings.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 2, 2010
If you can keyframe it, chances are you can control it with an expression, or use it as part of another property's expression - usually by dragging the pick whip to it. However, there are additional properties you have access to - including those you can't access with a pick whip, such as whether a layer's audio or video switches are...
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Creative Suite 5 is Shipping

Links to the PVC reviews of Premiere and After Effects
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 1, 2010
Less than three weeks after "launching" Creative Suite 5 at NAB, Adobe has started shipping it, including After Effects and Premiere Pro. In case you missed it in the middle of the NAB information overload, Scott Simmons has already (p)reviewed
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After Effects CS5


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 12, 2010
Adobe has officially launched Creative Suite 5, which includes major updates to virtually all of their applications. Adobe has seeded us with preliminary versions, and hired us to help create some documentation on the new release; we wanted to share with you our own impressions plus insights into the new features in After Effects CS5....
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 4: Space Conversions

Everything is relative; here's how to relate between layer and comp space.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 6, 2010
We're in the process of serializing the Deeper Modes of Expression bonus chapter from our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects into a set of 12 posts here on PVC. As you work with Position values and expressions, you will run into the problem...
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Our Booth Targets at NAB


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 29, 2010
We're giving at total of eight talks at NAB's PostProduction World this year (click here for the full grid of classes), so that is going to occupy a good deal of our time....
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 3: Deeper Into Arrays

How to translate values between parameters that have different dimensions.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 7, 2010
We're in the process of serializing the Deeper Modes of Expression bonus chapter from our book Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects into a set of 12 posts here on PVC. One of the more mystifying areas of expressions - especially for nonprogrammers...
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Making It Look Great 7 Review

Cinema 4D's MoGraph Unleashed
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 27, 2010
Last summer I wrote an lengthy review of the Motionworks' Making It Look Great 6 training series, where Tim Clapham did a great job covering the integration of Cinema 4D and...
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On lynda.com: Extended Vignette Techniques

Multiple approaches to guiding the viewer's focus.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 10, 2010
Our most recent video course is After Effects: Extended Vignette Techniques, available exclusively through...
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Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D

Yet another HD-video-capable DSLR from Canon. With more of the frame rates you want.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 9, 2010
The intertubes are buzzing this week with the announcement of the Canon Rebel T2i (also known as the EOS 550D in Europe). In short, it has an APS-C format sensor that is similar to the Canon 7D (which...
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 2: Interpolation Methods

This simple method is our favorite replacement for a calculator.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 8, 2010
As we noted last month, we're serializing the Deeper Modes of Expression bonus chapter from our book Creating Motion Graphics with After...
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User Interface Design for Hollywood

Visual designer Mark Coleran shares his craft.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 30, 2010
We've all noticed the really bad "you've got mail" computer and data display screens that pop up in Hollywood movies. What we tend to miss are the really good ones, which are realistic. (Fun fact: Stanley Kubrick insisted that all of the displays shown in 2001 be plausible, including reflecting the correct state of the planets etc. at...
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On lynda.com & Cineversity: CINEMA 4D + After Effects

We finally released a comprehensive video course on integrating the two.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 27, 2010
Maxon's CINEMA 4D is our 3D application of choice because it integrates so well with our main tool, Adobe After Effects. Although we've written about it and demonstrated it in sessions and classes, we never got around to creating a comprehensive course on the subject - until now. We've released an hour and a half course...
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Masters of Visual Effects - Online

Matt Silverman has posted this timeless training series online for free.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 21, 2010
Matt Silverman, Creative Director of Bonfire Labs, is a certifiable After Effects old-timer (although he also has experience in many different systems), particularly known "back in the day" as being a roto expert in addition to an all-around top-shelf motion graphics and visual effects...
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Tim Burton at MOMA; on Charlie Rose


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 11, 2010
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Deeper Modes of Expression, Part 1: Useful Math Expressions

Extending your knowledge of expressions in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 4, 2010
Many of you are familiar with our book, Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects. As imposing as it may be in print, some miss that there's another 180+ pages of bonus chapter PDFs on the book's disc. One of those chapters is Deeper...
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Apple + Tablet = New Video Distribution Outlet?

Rumors of an Apple tablet device are getting too loud to ignore. What do they mean for us?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 24, 2009
As a long-time Apple user (and - full disclosure - Apple stockholder), I've learned long ago to take Apple rumors with a grain of salt. However, combine the drumbeat gets a bit too loud to ignore. Throw in a few
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On Artbeats.com: Blending Ideas

Extending standard vignette techniques to introduce new treatments to your footage.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 9, 2009
In our previous article on vignettes on Artbeats.com, we discussed ways to mask or matte a black layer to create a falloff in brightness across a piece of underlying footage. The same basic techniques used to create that matte may also be used to treat...
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After Effects, ProRes, and Gamma Shifts

How to successfully round-trip ProRes4444 between AE & FCP.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 3, 2009
Adobe's yeoman After Effects documentation guru Todd Kopriva maintains a highly useful blog over on Adobe.com. Today he just
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Trish & Chris, Unplugged

A two-part interview by John Dickinson of Motionworks.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 14, 2009
We recently had the pleasure of being interviewed via Skype by John Dickinson of Motionworks for his excellent Unplugged series, where he chats with people who either create After Effects plug-ins (such as
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On Artbeats.com: Vignettes

Alternate approaches to a core technique for drawing a viewer's focus.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 10, 2009
Often associated with very old footage where the brightness falls off as you near the corners of the frame, vignettes can also be used creatively to draw a viewer's focus to a particular area of the screen. In this article on Artbeats.com, we discuss several different approaches to creating vignettes in a program...
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Canon 5D Mark II + 2010 = 24, 25 fps

Canon pre-announces a firmware upgrade many have been asking for.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 9, 2009
I like my Canon 5D Mark II - it shoots great stills, and it also shoots more than passable HD video. I'm personally a fan of working at frame rate of 30p, so I didn't even mind this limitation all that much, but I have to admit I was irked when the...
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Painting with Light

Before we had cool After Effects plug-ins, there was glass, paint, mirrors, and moving light bulbs.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 8, 2009
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Review: After Effects Camera Training

Rob Birnholz helps you master the AE camera in this new tutorial from the Toolfarm Expert Training Series.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 3, 2009
Motion graphics artists used to animating in 2D in After Effects will find that working in 3D space takes a lot more patience. You need to consider how to set up the 3D views, move layers in 3D, and animate cameras and lights. Rob Birnholz' training series tackles the camera portion of the equation (watch a free sample and the Table of...
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motion09 in Review

Impressions from a very creative conference.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 28, 2009
Just some of the speakers at motion09. All photos ©2009 Chelsea Nicole. All Rights Reserved.Earlier this month, we were happy to participate in our third straight Motion Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with talks on...
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What's Fresh - Get Your Trend On

Michael Waldron and Erik van der Wilden of nailgun* give a review of what's hot.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 27, 2009
This was one of the more eye-candy-packed talks at the recent motion09 conference, with Michael Waldron and Erik van der Wilden of nailgun* giving numerous examples of what they felt were current hot trends in motion graphic design and execution. We're working...
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Hand Held Hollywood

A new site that explores how the iPhone can aid in nearly every aspect of film and video production.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 8, 2009
Our dear old friend and fellow After Effects pioneer, Taz Goldstein, just dropped us an email about a new site he's launched as a side project: Hand Held Hollywood, aimed at iPhone users in the industry who are looking to get the most out of their...
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #10

Mastering the Render Queue, including settings, templates, and batch rendering.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 5, 2009
Earlier this year we released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects. We've been releasing these...
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Metropia

An animated film birthed in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 30, 2009
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Polyvore: Playing Mix & Match

A free, easy-to-use fashion website for mixing and matching colors.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 25, 2009
A couple of months ago, we mentioned the Color Marketing Group: a global consortium that attempts to determine what the hot trends in color for various market segments will be in different parts of the world. They have a
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On Artbeats.com: Color Matching

Unifying color biases between clips - in the shadows, highlights, and midtones.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 17, 2009
During a job, footage may come from a variety of sources: freshly-shot clips, archival elements, greenscreen, 3D renders, and stock footage. The trick is making all of them seem to have been shot under the same lighting conditions and with the same equipment, to avoid a visual disconnect as these shots are cut together.
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A Bird in the Hand...

A new Canon 5D mkII owner dithers over the introduction of the 7D.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 11, 2009
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Snow Leopard: Hopes, Misunderstandings, and Gotchas

Here, kitty...please don't bite the nice user...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 2, 2009
Snow Leopard (aka OS 10.6) looks like a great system update for Mac users: better performance, smaller hard drive footprint, cheap price (if you've been keeping up with your OS updates). That said, we personally are always cautious about upgrading to the "x.x.0" version of anything: Call it old age, but quite often we prefer to let the...
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #9

Getting started with Shape Layers.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 2, 2009
Earlier this year we released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects. We've been releasing these...
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On Artbeats.com: Light Wrap

How to help keyed footage and 3D renders sink into their new backgrounds.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 11, 2009
A common visual effect is to place a person originally shot on greenscreen or bluescreen over a new background. But after you get an acceptable key, you may find that the two just don't seem to fit together. The same applies for objects created in a 3D program.When confronted with this problem, one of...
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Luma Processing

Effecting just the color or luma information can improve the results of some effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 7, 2009
We've been working on a series for lynda.com on how to get the most out of effects in After Effects. As much as you may think you already know, nothing sharpens one's...
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Stop Motion Redux

Another stop motion viral commercial. Business opportunity?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 6, 2009
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #8

Setting up the motion tracker/stabilizer.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 3, 2009
Earlier this year we released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects. We are releasing these...
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On Artbeats.com: Reusing Colors

Making it easier to use the same color palette across a project.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 2, 2009
Over on Artbeats.com, they recently published the third of a trio of articles we wrote on the use of color. In this final installment, we discuss a few approaches for sharing a color palette across shots, compositions, and even projects using the swatch storage in the system color pickers (particularly in OS-X), Adobe's kuler and its...
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HOW Design Conference 2009

What we learned about motion graphic design from a print conference.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 13, 2009
Why would someone brave mid-100 degree temperatures and high humidity to visit Austin Texas in the summer? To get a dose of creative inspiration, of course. But rather than being devoted solely to graphic design eye candy, we were surprised to find that the 2009 HOW Conference was also heavily slanted toward the topics of product design...
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Making It Look Great 6 Review


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 8, 2009
Unless you've spent the past few years hiking the Appalachian Trail, you'll be aware how much 3D animation has infiltrated the broadcast motion graphics world. Not so long ago, being an accomplished After Effects artist was enough to land a good job, but now employers and clients are also looking for good 3D skills (and in this economy,...
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #7

Manipulating 3D cameras as well as views.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 4, 2009
We've recently released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects. We are releasing these videos...
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PAR for the Course

Working with the new pixel aspect ratios in CS4.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 3, 2009
Over the years, I have seen a lot of folklore and bad math employed to determine how to work with non-square pixels, resulting in a plethora of incorrect working practices. Therefore, in this article I'm going to spend a lot of time laying out the historical and mathematical basis for where these numbers came from. Hopefully this will...
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Seeing the Future - In Color


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 30, 2009
We're still recovering from the HOW Design Conference in Austin last week, where temperatures hit 107. After the ice packs melt, we'll post a summary of interesting things we heard there. In the meantime, for those who have color-focused jobs (or color-fussy clients), you may be...
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Font Politics

Typefaces with issues and attitudes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 17, 2009
These humorous videos by the crazies at College Humor gives insight into the interpersonal politics of font families. The first one is a debate about whether or not to add a font to the group:
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On Artbeats.com: Choosing a Color Palette

Inspiration for choosing a colors on your next job.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 9, 2009
Over on Artbeats.com, they just published the second of a trio of articles we're writing on the use of color. In this one, we give several ideas for how to develop an appropriate color palette for a specific job, including tips on using a client's print colors, applying effects to key shots to create sample color swatches, and using...
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Unsafe Areas

Correcting the safe area guides in After Effects CS4.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 5, 2009
Two of the more intriguing new features in After Effects CS4 (and other members of the Adobe Creative Suite 4 family) are updated pixel aspect ratios, and the ability to display 4:3 "center cut" safe area guides inside 16:9 widescreen compositions. I applaud both. But as I work with them more, I realize there are some slight errors in...
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After Effects 9.0.2 Update

A major update to RED support, plus numerous bug fixes.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 4, 2009
If you have disabled Adobe Updater - and I wouldn't blame you if you had - you may not be aware that Adobe recently released a maintenance upgrade to After Effects CS4. Known as version 9.0.2, it contains a lot of bug fixes (including a cure for the crash-if-script-UI-open bug
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #6

A quickie on how to use the 3D Axis Arrows to manipulate 3D layers.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 3, 2009
We've recently released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects. We are releasing these videos...
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After Effects Tips 5: Going for a Scroll

Techniques to easily create scrolling banners, ticker tapes, and other graphics.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 30, 2009
It seems such a simple idea: a banner scrolls across the top or bottom of your comp, repeating the same few words over and over, and doing so seamlessly for as long as you need. Here's how to create such an animated banner in After Effects, using either the Offset (or Motion Tile) effect or the Autoscroll animation preset. If you...
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On Artbeats.com: Color Theory

Why some color combinations work better than others.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 19, 2009
Over on Artbeats.com, we're starting a trio of articles on the use of color: basic color theory, ideas for how to select a workable color palette, and techniques for remembering and easily applying your chosen colors throughout a project. This month is the article on basic color theory, including some basics on picking colors including...
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FCP Overlay Issue

It seems there is a bug in the way Final Cut Pro handles the Overlay composite mode.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 13, 2009
Quite often, our job is to take a client's footage and make it look better. Over the years, we've developed a number of techniques to do this; most revolve around placing a second clip on top of the original clip, and compositing it using a blending mode of some kind. Unless this second clip is predominantly white or black, the first mode I...
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #5

A gentle introduction to expressions.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 1, 2009
We've recently released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects, such as text and...
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NAB Tuesday: Getting Plugged In

When the most peaceful place in Vegas is the NAB show, you know something is up (or in this case, down).
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 23, 2009
Noise is everywhere in Vegas. Slot machines are mostly just noise, and everywhere there is loud music - we heard U2 at the breakfast buffet, AC/DC in the hotel restroom, and even the popcorn street vendor on the corner aimed his radio at the crowds walking past while a live band played across the square from him. Every party and event...
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NAB Monday: Best of Times; Worst of Times

Catching up with friends, seeing practical applications, and some sad news.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 22, 2009
Loitering at the Plug-in Pavilion were (left-to-right) Aharon Rabinowitz (All Bets Are Off Productions), John Dickinson (Motionworks), Zax Dow (Zaxwerks), Brian Maffitt (Total Training), and Chris Meyer. NAB this year is certainly a cross between the best of times (catching up with friends and seeing cool new...
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Runaway Production

A combination of financial incentives and the convenience of digital media is making it easier to film outside of Los Angeles.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 10, 2009
One of the reasons we were happy to live in Los Angeles for so long is because it was where "it" was Happening - there was a critical mass of talent and infrastructure that made it one of the best places to create a film or television show. We also got started just when desktop production was becoming viable, which drastically reduced...
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On Artbeats.com: Grayscale Shootout

Alternate paths to better monochrome results.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 9, 2009
There are many ways to convert color footage into a grayscale shot - and they are certainly not created equal. Perhaps most surprising is that the time-honored technique of removing all of the saturation from an image can produce unpleasant visual artifacts. In this article on Artbeats.com, we run through our favorite techniques in...
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #4

Animating text in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 3, 2009
We've recently released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects, such as text and...
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Data Rot

Were you expecting your backups to last more than five years?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 31, 2009
Well-known author David Pogue recently aired this interesting piece on "data rot" for his CBS Sunday Morning tech series, which has been transcribed for the New York Times web site. Aside from containing some interesting geek trivia and a renewed...
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A Rose-Colored Tint, by Any Other Name

Don't you hate it when similar effects have different names, and different effects have the same name?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 30, 2009
Although I am primarily an After Effects artist, I also spend some time in Final Cut Pro and Motion. Quite often, I want to translate a favorite technique from one into the others. Unfortunately, this is usually accompanied by a spirited session of find-the-filter as the same visual effect may have different names - even between Apple's...
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Past Issue: March 2009

The first PVC Pipeline | Post newsletter is out of print - but not out of sight...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 27, 2009
The articles below were included in the March 2009 edition of the PVC Pipeline | Post newsletter. If you haven't already subscribed for the PVC newsletters, we suggest you do so now to ensure that you are notified as soon as they are available.The articles...
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Unlearning by Example

Sometimes it's just as important to learn what NOT to do.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 24, 2009
Just stumbled across a fun blog about bad logo design: Your Logo Makes Me Barf. It's not just about poking fun at bad design; quite often the critiques contain useful advice and explanation (note: they prefer simplicity...). Experienced designers will get a laugh; newcomers will get a...
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Circling Around the Drain

The recession hits the worker bees in Hollywood.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 20, 2009
I felt what is referred to as "the shock of recognition" while reading this first-person account on Newsweek.com about life in The Industry during the current recession: This sounds a lot like what our life was like just a few years...
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On Artbeats.com: Cartoonification

Some respect for the much-maligned Cartoon effect.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 16, 2009
After Effects CS4 ships with a Cartoon effect, which can be used to give live-action footage more of a hand-inked look. Intended as a technology demonstration for what could be done with Adobe's new Pixel Bender toolkit, it was pounced upon by many as example of how supposedly weak...
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1000 Words is Worth More Than Most Pictures

We admit it - we're suckers for clever type animation.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 12, 2009
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #3

An introduction to typsetting in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 2, 2009
We've recently released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects, such as text and expressions. In...
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Animating Text in Apple's Motion

A primer for After Effects artists.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 1, 2009
If you're familiar with animating text in After Effects, you might glance at Apple's Motion and think that it offers many of the same features for flying text around. While that is true, if you look a little closer you'll...
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Past Issue: February 2009

The first PVC Pipeline | Production newsletter is out of print - but not out of sight...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 27, 2009
The articles below were included in the February 2009 edition of the PVC Pipeline | Production newsletter. If you haven't already subscribed for the PVC newsletters, we suggest you do so now to ensure that you are notified as soon as they are available.The...
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Composite Modes in Final Cut Pro

How an FCP editor can quickly create those rich, blended looks that motion graphics artists conjure.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 13, 2009
The job of an editor is usually to spin straw into gold: Take hours of raw footage, edit it into a cohesive story, and - depending on the skill of the camera and lighting crews that were employed - color correct to enhance or unify the original footage. The biggest problem comes when you're stuck with inherently boring footage: You need...
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On Artbeats.com: Projecting Video

Projecting a 3D layer onto others in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 10, 2009
An interesting technique is to cause a piece of footage to appear to be projected onto other items, as if it was coming from a video or film projector. This can be done with the 3D capabilities of After Effects, but it requires knowledge of a little-known parameter: Light Transmission. In this tutorial on Artbeats.com, we show how to...
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After Effects Tips - Installment 4

A Tip a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 5, 2009
Continuing our series of After Effects tips, including the itty bitty tilde key and other essential shortcuts for manipulating panels, layers and markers:Expand panel to fill screenIn the old days (After Effects 6.5 and earlier), you could easily make any panel fill the entire screen. This was...
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #2

Taking advantage of the Effects & Presets panel.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 3, 2009
We've recently released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects, such as text and expressions. In...
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The Differences Between AE CS3 and CS4

A free chapter for Creating Motion Graphics owners that details the differences.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 28, 2009
The short version:A free chapter by us outlining in detail the differences between After Effects CS3 and CS4 - with project files - is now available on our publisher Focal Press' web site.
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Wiggle Transform Tips

A video tutorial on using this new feature in AE CS4.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 23, 2009
A small but very useful feature slipped into After Effects CS4 was a new Wiggle Transform operator for Shape Layers. When used by itself, it allows the user to automatically animate the anchor point, position, rotation, and scale of a layer without having to use expressions or animation presets; when used in conjunction with the...
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On Artbeats.com: Faux Reflections

Our recipie, including workflow tips.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 13, 2009
There are a few different recipies out there on how to fake reflections in After Effects. We recently wrote up our favorite, using a combination of 3D space, nested compositions, Shape Layers to create more controllable gradients, and the lesser-known Lens Blur effect instead of Compound Blur. We also discuss how to set up a hierarchy...
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After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #1

Learning your way around the AE CS4 interface.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 9, 2009
We've just released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). This book was designed for students looking to learn After Effects from scratch, as well as those who do not use AE full time (such as editors or web designers). It starts gently with an...
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That Wasn't In the Script...

Beware: Scripts with UIs can crash AE CS4.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 8, 2009
First, the bad news: There are two ways you can ensure After Effects CS4 will crash on exit:1) Boot AE CS4 with an add-on script open in a docked panel.2) Quit AE CS4 with an add-on script open in a docked panel.Now, the good news: It's a relatively benevolent crash; you won't lose data or take down...
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10 Most Innovative Concert Visuals '08

Forget the big screen; I wanna create for the big stage...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 7, 2009
I have few regrets in life, but one is that I'm yet to have the opportunity to design visuals for live concerts (helping on a couple of videos for the Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience is as...
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Internet TV: Yahoo and Intel Try Again

...and Adobe joins the fray (updated)
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 5, 2009
Many companies have made numerous attempts to make the computer the center of our leisure-time activities, often based around trying to introduce computers into the living room. For the most part, they haven't succeeded; many people still spend a lot more time in front of their TV sets than they do their computers. So instead, Yahoo and...
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After Effects Tips - Installment 3

The Tips That Got Away
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 2, 2009
There's a line in the movie "The Wedding Singer" that I often hear when teaching After Effects: "This is information that I could have used yesterday!" This is usually followed by: "How long has that feature been in the program?" (Usual answer: "About a decade..."). For some reason, there are little gems inside After Effects that...
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Getting Animated About Human Rights

A stunning animation brings a simple text document to life.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 1, 2009
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What AE's Still Missing...

...plus where to find it from third-party vendors.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 30, 2008
We had an idea here on PVC that we would make lists of what has been most interesting this previous year, and what we anticipate in the new year ahead. Several of us planned to write these, but unfortunately few of us have so far. You know - we've been busy with work, the holidays, and such. After all, there's only so much a person can...
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Automated Video Production

How good is good enough?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 27, 2008
We've all been there: A client asks for a job that requires complex editing and effects, and they say (as part of the negotiation over...
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OpenEXR Support in After Effects CS4

A little-heralded improvement in AE CS4 will be of interest to high-end effects houses.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 27, 2008
After Effects CS4 now comes with the ProEXR plug-in set from fnord software (available free for CS3 from fnordware.com). This offers enhanced support of the OpenEXR format commonly used by high-end effects houses. ProEXR's benefits include:Support...
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Scene vs. Display Referred Profiles

A subtle but important change to color management in After Effects CS4.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 19, 2008
Color management has been improved in After Effects CS4 to now recognize and compensate for the differences between "scene-referred" and "display-referred" color profiles. The short explanation is "Don't worry - CS4 is merely more accurate now. Leave the option File > Project Settings > Compensate for Scene-referred Profiles...
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Make It Go Away!

Undoing the PAR and color management enhancements in After Effects CS4.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 17, 2008
After Effects CS4 has introduced two subtle but important changes in the way it deals with many common video formats:1) There are new PARs (Pixel Aspect Ratios) for NTSC and PAL standard definition 4:3 and 16:9 content. (Actually, they're not new; they're the correct, original ones that no virtually one actually used - until...
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After Effects 9.0.1 Update

Bug fixes, performance improvements, and support for the REDCODE plug-in.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 11, 2008
If you have After Effects CS4 (aka version 9.0), and if you haven't already gotten into the reflexive habit of dismissing the dreaded Adobe Updater every time it appears, then you might like to know that an update - 9.0.1 - is now available. You can trigger an update from inside After Effects CS4 by selecting Help > Updates. (It will...
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On Artbeats.com: Intro to Color Finesse

Learning to use this powerful tool many of you get for free.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 11, 2008
As more of us acquire our own media and import it directly into our computers, the art of color correction becomes more important. However, many - particularly non-editors - shy away from it. Well, if you have a recent copy of After Effects, you have no excuse, as a very powerful color correction tool -
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Ultimate Insider Gifts

Obscure (and cheap) gifts for the industry friend who has everything.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 5, 2008
Shopping for holiday gifts? For a peer or co-worker who already has every book, video, and plug-in imaginable? And don't want to go broke in the process? Here are a couple of gift ideas guaranteed to impress (or at the very least, puzzle) that favorite nerd in your life:...
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Ease and Wizz

Alternative keyframe interpolations for After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 3, 2008
Virtually all After Effects users take advantage of the Easy Ease keyframe assistants. Applying them makes your animations elegantly speed up and slow down. But there are alternatives, right?There are. Switching a keyframe's interpolation to Auto Bezier, for example, will give half the ease of Easy Ease. You can also edit...
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Brightness Issues with H.264 QuickTime Movies

Solutions - good and bad - to a long-standing problem.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 2, 2008
If you haven't encountered this problem yet, you will: QuickTime movies re-exported from applications such has QuickTime Player Pro using the H.264 codec (a common format for web content) appear brighter than the original in some contexts - such as inside QuickTime...
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Too Much of a Good Thing

How you can help improve Adobe's Help.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 30, 2008
I know - no one reads the manual, and no one uses the Help file. But in reality, Help has been undergoing a major overhaul in Adobe applications, and is now a very useful resource. The problem is, Adobe has gotten a bit overenthused in their attempts to broaden it, and as a result has made it less useful in some circumstances....
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Kensington Mice and After Effects CS4

The secret settings to get the Unified Camera Tool to work.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 15, 2008
After Effects CS4 has added a "Unified" camera tool to aid navigation in 3D space. Instead of having to scroll through three separate camera tools - Orbit, Track XY, and Track Z - to reposition an active camera or reframe an alternate view, users can now use a three-button mouse to quickly switch between these three tools.
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On Artbeats.com: Panning & Scanning


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 11, 2008
It's great to have a source image that is bigger than the final frame you need, as it gives you additional flexibility to reframe it through position and scaling. You can also animate these parameters to fake pans and zooms. We've done this for ages with high-resolution still images; cameras such as the RED now allow you to do this with...
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Processing

Unleash the ghost in the machine by programming your own animations.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 9, 2008
After you master shooting footage, applying effects, and keyframing animation, what's next? Some like to explore having animations driven by sound and music, using tools such as Trapcode's Sound Keys and
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After Effects Error Codes

Wonder what those cryptic numbers mean? Here's a few clues...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 8, 2008
Occasionally, After Effects has a hiccup. When it does, it often displays a dialog box with occasionally clear, occasionally cryptic text, as well as a series of numbers. Understanding exactly what these are telling you can help you diagnose the problem and at least work around it, if not cure it.Lutz Albrecht (aka Mylenium)...
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Autodesk+RED Workflow Guide

Autodesk release a white paper on using the RED One with Smoke, Inferno, Flame, Flint, and Lustre.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 29, 2008
The RED One camera and its ability to capture large frame size, RAW-format files has certainly ignited the imagination of filmmakers and videographers. But its unusual file format and requirements has also created a lot of head-scratching among users trying to find the most efficient way to send RED...
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On Artbeats.com: Using the RED One for Stock Footage

Some of their lessons learned shooting with the RED.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 22, 2008
When we heard that Artbeats were shooting stock footage with their new RED One camera, we were curious to know what they had learned, including issues such as lenses (they ended up getting a Nikon mount and using SLR lenses while waiting for RED to produce cost-effective PL-mount lenses in greater quantity), image latitude (they feel...
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Anything Worth Backing Up...

...is worth backing up twice. To good media.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 20, 2008
Recently, there was a good discussion on the MediaMotion After Effects list about archiving projects. Some use RAIDs and shared network storage devices; some use tape drives such as the Quantum LTO-3;...
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After Effects CS4 is Shipping

Make sure your computer & plug-ins are compatible.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 18, 2008
For those who might have missed the news, Adobe Creative Suite 4 started shipping this past Wednesday. Users are already receiving their pre-orders.After Effects users looking to upgrade need to be mindful of two issues:
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Interview over on Motion.TV

Where we talk about the mission of a motion graphics artist, and why we write books.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 2, 2008
One of our plans for this blog is to also talk about the business of being a motion graphics artist - how to work with clients, as well as how to keep your own ship in order. Unfortunately, we haven't had time to do much of that so far (among other things,
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Welcome to Web Video & Beyond

Opening discussions on alternate forms of distribution.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 27, 2008
As we mentioned earlier, we are in the process of launching a series of "themed" channels on PVC. One of the new channels we're most excited about is Web Video & Beyond.The advent of cable and satellite television had a...
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After Effects CS4

A quick tour of the new features that will be of interest to motion graphics artists.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 23, 2008
Adobe has announced their Creative Suite 4, in which they have aligned the schedules of virtually all of their products to be updated at the same time. One of these programs is, of course, After Effects, which we have based our business around since its release in 1992. As a result, we obviously go over each new...
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Motion Graphics & Visual Effects

The first in a series of new channels we're launching.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 22, 2008
We're very proud of the line-up of users and experts we have writing for PVC. However, not all potential writers have the time to fill an entire channel of their own. Therefore, in the coming weeks we'll be launching a series of "themed" channels, each containing a rotating cast of several additional writers.The first such new...
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TED Talk: The Truly Soft Side of Software

Golan Levin uses his software skills to create improvised audio-visual performances.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 19, 2008
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On Artbeats.com: Article on Type Basics

Things your mother didn't tell you about creating nice text.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 18, 2008
Every month, we write a Tips N Tricks article for our friends at Artbeats.com. This month we wrote a basic introduction to using text - including a few simple rules of typography that many miss, plus a more subjective discussion about choosing the right fonts for a job. (This is obviously a companion for...
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Font Resources

A compendium of resources for finding, buying, using, and being inspired by fonts.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 8, 2008
We love fonts. We rank font selection right up there with choice of music and color scheme when it comes time to design a spot. Therefore, we've amassed quite a large font library over the years. Which then begs the obvious questions: Where do you get your fonts?How do you keep them...
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TED Talk: The Web and TV, a Sibling Rivalry

Peter Hirshberg gives a history lesson on the parallel development of computers and TV over the past 50 years.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 7, 2008
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The Art of the Opening Title


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 5, 2008
One of our favorite motion graphics design jobs is creating the opening title sequence for movies and television shows (a few of the projects we've worked on can be seen here). Title design is a place where typography and animation meet to both convey a story and set a mood.
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TED Talk: The Power and Beauty of Organic Design

Ross Lovegrove shares his passion for designing objects inspired by the simplicity and complexity of nature.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 1, 2008
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After Effects Tips - Installment 2

Learn something new everyday...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 30, 2008
Here is a second installment of random tips for working more productively with Adobe After Effects CS3, including the best place to find Help information (surprise: It's not the Help file installed on your hard drive alongside After Effects...). Please feel free to add your own questions and alternative solutions in the Comments field at the...
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Migrating After Effects Between Macs

It's not just a matter of copying files from one computer to another...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 29, 2008
With the recent announcement by Adobe that After Effects CS4 will not run on PowerPC-based Macs, some users are thinking about upgrading their hardware. With new hardware comes the question about how to get all of your software moved over. In the old days, you might consider just dragging folders...
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Spotlight: Fox Sports HD

Flowing ribbons in 3D space tie together this sports ID.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 27, 2008
For our next project spotlight, we're going to look at a Fox Sports HD promo animated by Joost Korngold of Renascent. This spot fuses organic movement with the high-impact 3D Fox Sports is known for. Joost, as well as Fox Sports...
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TED Talk: Using Biology to Make Better Animation

Torsten Reil talks about how the study of biology can help make natural-looking animated people.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 24, 2008
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TED Talk: How creativity is being strangled by the law

Can the genie be put back in the bottle? Or should we just attach a leash to it?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 19, 2008
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After Effects Tips - Installment 1

Learn something new everyday...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 18, 2008
In contrast to the columns and tutorials we've been posting so far in CMG Keyframes, we thought it would be useful to also post quick-hit random tips for working more productively with Adobe After Effects CS3. This is the first installment; hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to add your own questions and alternative solutions in the Comments...
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After Effects CS4 Will Be Intel-Only


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 18, 2008
Just a quick note that Adobe has confirmed that the next version of After Effects will not run on PowerPC (G5, G4, etc.) Macs. The reasoning is given here on Michael Coleman's blog (he's the product manager for After Effects).We're among those who have been hanging onto our...
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XScriptorium: New AE Script/Expression Resource


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 16, 2008
I completely understand that expressions and scripting in After Effects can be intimidating to users of a more artistic bent. And you can certainly create great work in AE without using expressions or scripting. But every now and then - more often than you might expect - knowing just a little can save you time in creating repetitive,...
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Maxon delivers fully loaded Cinema 4d R11

Next Generation Product Suite Offers Non-Linear Animation plus many other new features
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 13, 2008
MAXON Computer, a leading developer of professional 3D modeling, painting, animation and rendering solutions, today unveiled CINEMA 4D Release 11 (R11), the next generation of its highly acclaimed 3D animation software suite. The super-charged release is packed with advanced...
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TED Talk: Where does creativity hide?

Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 12, 2008
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Red Giant Software releases Magic Bullet Steady

A new tool to remove camera shake, jitter, and noise.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 11, 2008
Red Giant Software, with popular products Magic Bullet, Knoll Light Factory and Trapcode, today launched Magic Bullet Steady, a new tool to remove camera shake, jitter, and noise. Magic Bullet Steady is a plug-in for users of Final Cut Pro 6 and After Effects CS3 (Mac and Windows). The stabilizer function removes unwanted camera movement which...
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IRIDAS to Showcase DualStream and Real-Time RAW 2.0

Updates to be featured at SIGGRAPH.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 11, 2008
IRIDAS will demonstrate the latest in playback color correction technologies, including RealTime RAW 2.0 and DualStream at this year's SIGGRAPH exhibition.All current FrameCycler and SpeedGrade products include Real-Time RAW 2.0 which supports:ARRI D21
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Spotlight: Promos for FOX's "Fringe"

Buster Design brings the print ads to life with excellent 3D animation and sound design.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 9, 2008
As mentioned earlier, we will be discussing motion graphics projects executed by other studios. This time around, it's Buster Design and the...
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AJA Gets Into the Game at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

AJA Products at CCTV, Televisa, Beijing Olympics Broadcaster, YLE and SVT to Facilitate Broadcasts of the XXIX Olympiad
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 9, 2008
Grass Valley, CA (August 8, 2008) - AJA Video, a leading manufacturer of professional video interface and conversion solutions, announced that a slate of international AJA customers are using the company's KONA 3 video capture and playback cards and FS1 converters to facilitate international broadcasts of the Summer Olympic Games in Bejiing....
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Fractal Noise Tutorial

Using the Fractal Noise effect to create seamless background textures.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 5, 2008
The Fractal Noise effect in Adobe After Effects has to be one of the beloved plug-ins among power-users for its ability to create everything from abstract backgrounds to realistic natural phenomena. Here are a...
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Spotlight: Nordisk Panorama Filmfestival 2008

Silhouettes and particles are two main features of this film festival promo.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 4, 2008
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Adobe will support RED

The news many of us have been waiting for...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 1, 2008
Sorry for the short post, but I know this is news many of us have been waiting to hear (and sooner than some of us thought):"Within a week, RED R3D files will open natively in CS3 Premiere Pro and After Effects." On both Mac and Windows.This is not a rumor; this is the real deal.
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Mobile Animation for Comics

Is this the next big flash in the pan?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 29, 2008
We wake up most mornings listening to the new on NPR (National Public Radio). This morning, after a story on Comic-con (the huge annual comic book convention), there was a piece on the boom in "mobile animation" in Japan....
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Focus On Design

We plan to cover the art, as well as the science and business, of motion graphics.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 16, 2008
One of our plans for this blog going forward is to not only cover gear, techniques, and business issues, but also motion graphics artists and their art. If you've done a cool project recently, and are willing to share inside information on the...
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Layer Styles in After Effects

The secret to getting better shadows, bevels, and glows.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 14, 2008
Adobe After Effects has long featured Drop Shadow, Bevel Alpha, and Glow effects, as well as various ways to fill layers with colors or gradients. However, they're hardly the fanciest options available. Meanwhile, Adobe Photoshop has long featured a powerful Layer Styles module, which includes far fancier shadows, bevels, glows, and fills,...
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Leaving Los Angeles

Trading Hollywood for The Land of Enchantment.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 12, 2008
Our former studio in Los Angeles, circa a few years ago.The reason we haven't been posting up here for the past couple of weeks is because we've been packing up our home/office/studio and putting it into storage while we buy a new home in the East Mountains section of Albuquerque, just down the Turquoise Trail from Santa...
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Two Pieces of Eye Candy

They're not videos; they're art.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 27, 2008
A frame from the short film "Tyger" by Guilherme Marcondes.Links to a pair of lovely (for lack of a better term) "music videos" crossed my desk this week that I thought would be nice to share as you go into your weekend.If you're...
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Mainstream Media's new correspondent: YouTube

YouTube as the new AP Wire Service. Except nobody gets paid.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 24, 2008
I'm still working out how I feel about this, so feel free to chime in with your own comments.This past weekend, drag racer Scott Kalitta died in an accident while qualifying for the NHRA SuperNationals. The event was televised by ESPN.I first learned about the tragedy while browsing the web site for the Los...
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AFI Digital Content Lab Sessions

A couple of interactive TV sessions at upcoming conferences.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 20, 2008
We occasionally post mention of what's happening at the American Film Institute's Digital Content Lab (AFI DCL for short), as it's perhaps the best incubator around right now for interactive...
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At Last - Someone Who Gets Web Advertising


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 17, 2008
Hurry: go to CNN's home page, look for the Mac/PC ad on the right, and click on "Click to play with sound." Then keep your eye on the ad to the right, as well as the banner ad that goes along the top of the page. The two ads are coordinated, with the characters in the...
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A Retro View of the Future

We unearth a time capsule and see how predictions for digital television have panned out so far.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 15, 2008
Back in the early 90s, I wrote a column on interactive media for Audio/Video Interiors magazine. It was an odd fit; I was writing highly technical, philosophical think pieces, while the magazine was aimed at the most blatant forms of consumerism and instant gratification - but the editor gave me free rein, and it was a fun romp.
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Compression Artifacts & Pulldown

A question about a ghost leads to discourses on 3:2 pulldown and the QuickTime codec dialog.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 11, 2008
This started as a quick post about how to gain finer control over the compression settings in the QuickTime dialog. But before we can get there, we first need to talk talk about how 3:2 pulldown works. (Trust me; it all ties together; it was also a good little mystery.)I recently gave a training session at a local studio,...
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Who Will Rule The New Internet?


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 7, 2008
For those who contemplate issues such as the title of this post, Josh Quittner wrote an excellent article for Time on this subject. (It's rather long, so be ready to carve out...
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A Distorted View of the World

A case study of why it's crucial to plan just how you're going to move between 16:9 and 4:3 worlds.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 5, 2008
One of my vices is auto racing; I love to watch it. Which, of course, means that Speed TV (formerly Speedvision) is a requisite part of my satellite or cable TV package. Speed is owned by Fox Sports; you'd think there'd be some budget available, and some standards enforced. But every now and then,...
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Rethinking the Music Video

What if the graphics in a music video were driven by the music, instead of a filmmaker?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 3, 2008
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mocha AE to CC Power Pin

Using Animation Presets and Expressions to simplify using CC Power Pin instead of Corner Pin with mocha AE.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 1, 2008
Imagineer Systems' mocha AE is a stand-alone planer motion tracking application that creates keyframe date which you can in turn use in After Effects. If you are performing a perspective-style track, you will paste the resulting data into a Corner Pin effect already...
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What Is Art?


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 24, 2008
A good...
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Web Video: The New "Skip Intro"?

Is video on the web being used as a way to avoid creating real content?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 16, 2008
Remember when "Flash Intros" (or what Adobe would prefer me to call "introductory animations created with the software Adobe Flash," lest I dilute their trademark) were all the rage? You had to have one play when a user first arrived at your site to be considered hip, media savvy, and up-to-date. But in reality, most of...
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On Artbeats.com: Article on Frame Rates

Over on Artbeats.com, we've written a treatise on frame rates.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 16, 2008
Every month, we write a Tips N Tricks article for our friends at Artbeats.com. This month we've written a brain dump on where those funky frame rates came from, and issues to watch out for as you get assets from 3D artists, stock footage libraries, film composers, and even well-meaning camera or tape...
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The Myth of 1%

When making a business plan, don't make any assumptions about market share.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 7, 2008
There are many variations on this common trap, but the general outline goes like this: Someone hears a report about how much money there is being made in a market segment, such as podcasts or movie trailers or renting out RED One cameras. They then theorize that if they could capture just some small percentage of that market - say, 1% -...
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Multithreaded Information

Is the medium really the message? Or should we think more about matching the message to the medium?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 4, 2008
(At the end of an old article we recently posted to our Keyframes channel about creating graphics for the NBC AstroVision sign in Time Square, we mused about the ways networks are trying to take advantage of new media to connect better with their audiences...
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Rearview Mirror: NAB 2008


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 23, 2008
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Freeconomics


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 22, 2008
If you haven't noticed, the "new" business model is to give away things on the Web, and find other ways to make money off of the (hopefully) resulting feeding frenzy. This isn't a new concept; broadcast television is - or was, before cable and satellite and TiVo - free, with...
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Recovering From Failure

How a Mac OS kernel panic almost stopped us at NAB - and how it was fixed.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 20, 2008
(Note: Names have been concealed to protect the helpful from becoming inundated with support calls.)This past Saturday, while setting up for our first presentation at Post|Production World at NAB, we were having trouble getting our MacBook Pro to recognize the projector. We put it asleep and woke it back up again,...
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NAB 2008: Plugged In

We came away with three themes buzzing in our head: plug-ins, training, and Nuke.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 17, 2008
As expected, NAB 2008 did not reveal any major new software releases for motion graphic designers, but it did showcase a number of interesting new plug-ins. We'd like to give you a quick round-up of our favorites here; we're arranging to give many of these more in-depth reviews up here on PVC over the next several months. We also were...
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We're Off To See The Wizard

NAB always brings the promise of finding that secret ingredient we need to make us better at what we do.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 10, 2008
It's been awfully quiet around here lately...too quiet. But you know why: It's the week before NAB (the National Association of Broadcasters) Convention, the largest annual industry trade show for those of us in North America), and we're all hunkered down either a) finishing projects before NAB, b)...
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AFI ScreenNation Goes Live

The American Film Institute has a site for teen filmmakers.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 9, 2008
The American Film Institute (AFI) has just launched a beta version of a new website dedicated to teen filmmakers: ScreenNation. To quote from their About page:AFI ScreenNation is an online video posting-and-sharing community from the AFI Screen Education Center,...
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You Are What You See

A recent study reinforces how important it is to carefully choose the elements we use in our graphic designs.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 7, 2008
This Saturday on NPR's Weekend Edition, there was an odd little piece about a study performed by Duke University about people's reaction to logos (click here to listen; click here to read a text article...
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Animator vs. Animation

A fun animation that shows what can happen when you tease your art a little too much...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 3, 2008
Steve Kilisky recently wrote a thought-provoking blog about how video (and now, the web) has traditionally been initially...
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Seeing RED

You wanted digital film? You got it. Oh, by the way - do you know how to work with film?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 25, 2008
All of the recent posts about workflows, workarounds, and discoveries using the RED One camera brings back memories of a warning I issued when DV cameras first became popular among independent shooters and moviemakers: Be careful what you wish for; you might get more than you expected.Many hold up film as...
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One Day Sale on Trapcode and Red Giant plug-ins


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 19, 2008
Today all Red Giant and Trapcode Products are 50% off. This includes full versions and bundles, but not upgrades, crossgrades or academic. Click here for more information. Use the code rg50 in the checkout to get the deal. If you tried earlier today and got an error with the coupon,...
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Pasting Paths from Illustrator to After Effects

The essential trick to paste multiple paths to After Effects Shape Layers at once.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 13, 2008
So what's so interesting about a feature we've had for eons? We all know you can copy and paste vector paths from Illustrator to After Effects as mask paths and motion paths (you did know that, right?). But with the new Shape Layers in After Effects CS3, you may run into a little snag when trying to paste paths to...
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On Artbeats.com: Article on Color Management in After Effects

Over on Artbeats.com, we've written a gentle introduction to color management in AE.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 11, 2008
Every month, we write a Tips N Tricks article for our friends at Artbeats.com. This month we've written an introduction to using Color Management in After Effects CS3, covering input, output, monitoring, and the Project Working Space. It was written in the context of how to handle Artbeats stock...
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Can't Give It Away; Can't Throw It Away

Getting rid of old desktop video gear is as hard as disposing of nuclear waste. Any suggestions?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 11, 2008
It's ironic that Giles Baker of Adobe just wrote about going tapeless, as we're currently in...
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Imagineer Extends Deal on monet, motor, mocha, and mocha-AE


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 6, 2008
Imagineer Systems is excited to announce a special "Spring" offer to the freelance and educational communities. 2007 has been an amazing year for us, with three new product releases, motor, mocha and mocha-AE, which has tripled our user base! To celebrate our great year and to show our gratitude to freelancers and students for helping...
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The Difference Between the "m" Words

Imagineer explains the difference between mokey, monet, mocha, and motor.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 6, 2008
As Imagineer is fond of one-word names that all start with "mo...", it can be hard to know or remember which tool does what. Below is some text I lifted out of an email by Ross Shain (VP of Sales, Eastern Region) to an After Effects list explaining the differences, with links to a comparison chart. It is particularly relevant as...
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Adobe Soundbooth sale; new audio blog

Adobe ratchets up their audio presence.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 6, 2008
Adobe is showing signs that they are becoming increasingly serious about their audio offerings: - Adobe is offering their gentle-introduction-to-audio program Soundbooth CS3 for either US$99 or up to 50% worldwide with purchase of the upgrade or full version of Web...
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Staggering Mistakes: Reversing Field Order

People are still screwing up field order - on national TV.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 4, 2008
The two most-watched cable channels in our household are CNN and Speed (guess who watches which). Speed just started a new game show called "Pass Time" where several of the bumpers as well as in-show inserts exhibit the maddening two steps forward/one step back staggered...
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Final Effects Complete version 5: Why?

Boris FX has updated FEC for After Effects. Don't laugh.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 29, 2008
Final Effects was pretty much the original third-party plug-in set available for After Effects. It was created by a gang in Sweden now known as Cycore, who passed it on to MetaCreations, who passed it on to ICE, who passed it on to Media 100, who passed it on to Boris, who is now...
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AFI Digital Content Lab Looking for Mentors

Your chance to get some hands-on experience creating interactive media.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 27, 2008
The American Film Institute's Digital Content Lab (AFI DCL, for short) is looking for mentors for some high-profile interactive media projects, including Grey's Anatomy and PBS's News Hour. Details - as well as a calendar of upcoming events around North America - are copied below from their recent...
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Dynamic Range and the RED One

Stu Maschwitz ponders what would be a good digital cinema workflow with the RED One camera.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 26, 2008
Stu Maschwitz (he of The Orphanage, Magic Bullet, and
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Submissions for Adobe Showreel

Deadline for 2008 is March 7.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 22, 2008
Adobe is looking for submissions for their 2008 Adobe Dynamic Media Customer Reels. This is open to anyone producing work using Adobe® After Effects®, Adobe Flash®, Adobe Premiere® Pro, Adobe Photoshop® Extended, and other Adobe products. These reels will be shown at NAB this April and at Adobe headquarters in San Jose;...
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The Public Domain, Fair Use, and Other Bedtime Stories

Finding sources without breaking the law.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 22, 2008
We've all been there before: We really need a particular source image to realize an idea. And we don't have a copy of one ourselves. But look - there's one on a web site! Or a client gives us one that they picked up...
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Web Video Viewership Revelations

A recent Nielson Online survey yields surprising results that might help inform both user interface and graphic designs.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 20, 2008
I've been mulling over the "VideoCensus" released last month by Nielsen Online (you can view the PDF here). Among its goals was to compare the way video was watched over the web from network-backed sites to "consumer generated media"...
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Non-Square Strategies

Suggested workflows when dealing with non-square pixels and anamorphic formats.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 19, 2008
No matter which workflow you choose, always make sure your source footage has been tagged with its true pixel aspect ratio - this is the only way your software will know what to do with it in order to keep you out of trouble.For a variety of arcane technical reasons (trying to record NTSC and PAL on...
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Toolfarm Sales and New Releases

A great deal on Mocha AE, plus other new releases
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 18, 2008
ToolfarmIs a handy one-stop shop for anyone looking to buy plug-ins for After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Shake, Motion, Cinema 4D, Avid, or Autodesk products. They also sell the host applications themselves, upgrades, stock footage, and training. It is worth getting on their
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After Effects 8.0.2 Interpretation Rules Issue

If you've created your own rules, they'll be ignored in 8.0.2 - but you can get them back...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 17, 2008
Normally, when you install a minor update to After Effects, it does a pretty good job at remembering your previously-installed plug-ins and the such. That said, there is an exception in the case of the 8.0.2 updater. This version writes a brand-new interpretation rules file that...
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Favorite Technical References

When you need to settle an argument, there's nothing like the facts.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 16, 2008
The video industry has saddled us users with some truly ugly numbers to deal with (such as 720x480, 29.97, and so forth) when working with digital video. Making matters worse, these numbers are often misquoted or misunderstood.Thankfully, there are a few web sites out there with some truly valuable, correct information on...
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RE:Vision Effects, Inc. releases SmoothKit 2

A plug-in set for smooth imagery that combines user-directed controls and feature-sensitive methods.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 16, 2008
SmoothKit is a set of 9 special purpose filters that complements the basic blurs provided by host applications. SmoothKit's emphasis is precise control on the filtering process, with no compromise on image quality. SmoothKit allows you to blur without blurring over edges,...
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The Second Revolution in Desktop Video

It's harder to make money this time around.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 10, 2008
If you're reading this blog hoping to learn - with post-humus apologies to Douglas Adams - The Answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything
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dvMatte Studio 3 and The Conduit Suite

Major updates to a pair of innovative plug-ins.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 9, 2008
dvGarage has made major updates to their innovative dvMatte keying plug-in and Conduit nodal compositing plug-in and stand-alone application. dvGarage claims the new version of dvMatte is 20-30 times faster than...
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Motion Graphics concepts demonstrated...on a trampoline.

Video training at its finest.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 9, 2008
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Financial Advice for Small Businesses

You gotta eat to be able to create...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 7, 2008
Although you may aspire to be a motion graphics artist - with emphasis on the word "artist" - in reality, you also have to be a businessperson. Many overlook (or knowingly avoid) this little detail when they enter the field.Today there was an excellent article in the Business section of the Los Angeles Times providing important cash...
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QuickTime 7.4.1 available

QuickTime update fixes After Effects render problem.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 7, 2008
Apple has just released an update to QuickTime that fixes a problem introduced in QuickTime 7.4 that caused problems with After Effects renders. In short, when a render to a QuickTime file took over 10 minutes, QuickTime thought it was an attempt to hack the file and would abort the render. (Frank Capria reported this problem - and gave...
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Motion Blur Musings

Managing motion blur is important both for shooters and for animators.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 6, 2008
A fellow user recently asked about problems he was having with motion stutter when slowing down 24p (24 frame per second, progressive scan) footage. This led to a series of musings about using motion blur - including some new options in After Effects CS3 - that we thought would be good to share.Camera Issues
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Key Concepts from the Archives

Where to find the best of what we've written in the past.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 4, 2008
We have written numerous articles and columns for a variety magazines over the years, including our previous long-running "Motion Graphics" column in DV magazine plus currently a monthly "Tips n Tricks" article for Artbeats.com. It is our intention to move...
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Pardon the Interruption: UPS Musings

Newer computers need larger-capacity UPSs to keep running.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 2, 2008
We're having the hardwood floors in the office refinished. They brought in a huge electric sander that didn't even have a plug; they wired it straight into the circuit breaker panel. Needless to say, every time they turned it on, the lights dimmed.This brings up...
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External Drive Cables

Shoot the messenger...with contact cleaning fluid.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 1, 2008
While on the subject of external disk drives (see the previous post on LaCie power supply issues), problems with data corruption are also often caused by drive cables. There's a few ways to cure them.The most obvious problem is a bad cable. The free cables that come bundled with drives are often chosen because they're the cheapest,...
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LaCie Power Supply Tips

Drooping voltages may cause drive failures.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 1, 2008
We own several of the LaCie Big Disk Extreme external hard drives
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After Effects 8.0.2 and gamma issues

Among numerous enhancements, its color management system has been tweaked.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  February 1, 2008
Adobe has released an 8.0.2 update for After Effects CS3. Its headline new features are support for Mac OS 10.5, as well as for P2 media. There are also the expected array of bug fixes. What's been getting less press than it deserves is a change in the way it handles color management...
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Free 7-day Passes for lynda.com

We've been dipping a toe in the online training world...
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 31, 2008
Sorry for the blatant plug, but there's a payoff: A free week of as much online video training as you can watch! We've been getting into creating online video training, focusing on specific topics and techniques rather than creating long-form courses (that's what our...
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Motion 3 = 3D

This significant update to Apple Motion includes a slick 3D implementation.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 9, 2007
Motion 3 - part of Apple's Final Cut Studio 2 suite - has experienced a major update, including the addition of motion tracking and stabilization, optical flow (smooth slow motion) technology, a gorgeous particle-based paint system, enhancements to their Keyframe Editor, and...
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The Shape of Things to Come: Shape Layers Introduction

An overview of Shape Layers in Adobe After Effects CS3 Professional.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 2, 2007
For motion graphics artists, one of the most significant new features introduced in After Effects CS3 was Shape Layers. This feature brings important components of Adobe Illustrator into After Effects, and allows them to be...
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Brighter Whites; Richer Colors Part 2: sRGB

How to best incorporate digital photos into your After Effects projects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 3, 2006
The first image (a digital photo originally saved with an sRGB color profile) has not been corrected; the second image has. Although the difference is subtle, the uncorrected image looks a bit washed out compared to how it should really appear.In the last column, we discussed...
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Brighter Whites; Richer Colors, Part 1: 16-235

Two new features in After Effects 7 ease color-critical format conversion.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 2, 2006
Footage that imports into After Effects with its internal "601" luminance levels intact (left) looks washed out compared to how it really should look (right). Footage courtesy Isuzu and Perception Communications.Have you ever received washed-out images from a client - or even...
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Camera Control, Part 2: Graph Editor & Dolly Rigs

Using parenting, expressions, and the new After Effects 7.0 Graph Editor to better control a 3D camera.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 29, 2006
In the previous column, we discussed a handful of tricks and techniques which can be used in different situations to make it easier to animate the 3D camera in After Effects, including one node cameras, two node cameras, auto-orientation, and building a special orbiting camera rig using parenting and null objects. In this column we'll...
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Camera Control, Part 1: Auto-Orient & Orbit

Some basic 3D camera control tricks in Adobe After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 10, 2006
One of the most daunting obstacles for motion graphics artists making the transition from 2D to 3D is animating the camera. In this month's column, we'll give a quick review of the two basic camera types you can animate in After Effects, plus reveal the easy-to-miss Auto-Orient Along Path option. Then we'll show...
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Map Exploration

Exploring ways to direct a viewer around a map using effects, text animators, and other tricks using Adobe After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 9, 2005
A common task is navigating around a map-like image. In this column, we'll discuss three different approaches to this challenge: stroking a line, animating text elements along a path, and auto-orienting an object of your choosing along a path. These techniques use features that are spread around Adobe After Effects. Our goal...
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The Hi-Def Checklist

Questions to ask and issues to consider when you tackle a high-definition graphics job.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 16, 2005
The darker areas to the left and right of these images show what happens when a 16:9 image is "center cut" to create a 4:3 version. Make sure information such as lower thirds survive this cut. Image courtesy Belief and HGTV.Many motion...
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Visual Rhythm, Part 2: Motion & Cinema Tricks

Tricks in Motion and Cinema 4D for coordinating multiple, duplicate objects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  August 1, 2005
In the previous column, we detailed a number of techniques for animating multiple layers in Adobe After Effects. In this column, we turn our attention to Apple's Motion and
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Visual Rhythm, Part 1: After Effects Tricks

Techniques for easily creating and coordinating multiple objects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 6, 2005
Rhythm - repetition, with variation - is the backbone of many pieces of fine art, as well as motion graphic designs. However, it can be tedious to create and animate hordes of layers - and tedium is not a ticket to inspiration. In the next two columns, we'll discuss approaches to more easily creating visual...
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Motion + MIDI

Adding a new level of control to crafting motion graphics.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 1, 2005
An intriguing feature introduced in version 2 of Apple's Motion Apple's Motion is the ability to control it via MIDI: the Musical Instrument Digital Interface. This allows users to choose among a wide variety of third-party input...
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The Almost Perfect Font

What to do when the client loves your font choice, but asks could you just change one character?
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 6, 2005
The LoveLetter Typewriter font had a few characters that were difficult to read (top line) until they were modified (lower line).When planning a new project, the font you choose can lift a design to a new level, or add an all-important attitude. So when you've spent hours picking a font that the client agrees...
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A Different Light: Gamma-Corrected Compositing

A simple introduction to gamma-corrected compositing.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 1, 2004
The image on the left is a normal computer crossfade; the image on the right uses linear blending - note how the bright areas are emphasized. Footage courtesy Artbeats.Most of us have been navigating the waters of computer graphics with the assumption that the world is flat....
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An Old Friend Returns: CC Effects


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 3, 2004
One of the stars of the Cycore FX set is CC Particle World, a 3D particle system that includes features such as bouncing off an imaginary floor.When you install Adobe After Effects 6.5 or later, it's easy to miss all the goodies it comes bundled with, such as
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Managing Moving Masks

Bringing some predictability and control to animating Mask Shapes in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 5, 2003
In After Effects, each mask vertex (the yellow squares) interpolates in a straight line from old to new positions. The red lines illustrate some of these paths. The First Vertex is the largest box - in this case, the one in the upper left corner of the M and I.Masking is one of the core...
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A Track of the Clones

Combining the enhanced tracking and cloning features in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 5, 2003
One of the most significant but underused sections of After Effects has to be its vector-based painting engine, introduced back in version 6. One of the capabilities of this engine is the ability to clone one area of a piece of footage onto another area, including cloning from different points in time. As sexy as that sounds, in the...
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Between Dimensions: 3D Into AE

Transfer camera data from a 3D application into After Effects to better integrate graphical elements.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 28, 2003
The logo was rendered in a 3D program; the walls were created in After Effects. Both use the same camera data, so their perspective shifts match as the camera moves.Many 3D artists use After Effects as a finishing tool: tweaking colors, improving the composite, and blending other layers such as greenscreen...
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More Motion, Less Control

For more realistic camera moves, try introducing some imperfections.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  December 17, 2002
Most of you are probably familiar with the concept of using a camera to pan and zoom around still images. Popularized by Ken Burns in his documentary on the Civil War, it is a great trick for any occasion when you don't have moving video for a scene. You can simulate this by simply animating the position of a still image in virtually...
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Pulse Rays

How to make light ray effects even cooler.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 29, 2002
Light ray treatments, where streaks of color extend from type, a logo, or image, are popping up everywhere these days. But you've no doubt heard the saying "familiarity breeds contempt" - and we have to admit, many of those treatments are starting to look a bit...familiar.
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Gobos and Gels

To project interesting lights, you have to cast interesting shadows.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 6, 2002
Finishing our tour of 3D lighting in After Effects, we'll discuss gobos and gels. For those new to lighting, a gobo is an opaque object that blocks off some of the rays cast by a light, either to more carefully control where they fall, or to give the impression of light streaming through an object such as a window blind or the leaves of...
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Lurking in the Shadows

Managing shadows in After Effects requires tweaking both the settings and relative positions of layers and lights.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 4, 2002
The second stop in our overview of 3D lighting in After Effects is the subject of shadows. In the Dark Ages (before version 5, when After Effects got 3D), in order to fake the all-important perspective clue of one layer darkening another layer behind it, we needed to use plug-ins such as the stock Drop Shadow effect, Real Shadows from...
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Blinded by the Light

3D lighting in After Effects can be powerful, subtle…and confusing.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  September 3, 2002
The 3D implementation in After Effects is very flexible. You can selectively place some layers in 3D space, and leave others in normal 2D. If you don't create a camera, the composition reverts to a default camera. If you do create a camera to fly around your 3D layers, you don't need to create lights - by default, the layers keep their...
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Making 3D Effects Behave Like 3D

Making older 3D plug-ins follow 3D cameras in After Effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  November 6, 2001
Expressions can make "fake" 3D plug-ins such as CC Sphere track After Effects' 3D cameras.After Effects is, at heart, a 2D program: All layers have no thickness. You can arrange them in 3D space, illuminate them with 3D lights, and fly around them with 3D cameras, but if you view the layers on-edge, you will...
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Urban Legends of Video

A trio of common myths and misconceptions that arise when working with video.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 25, 2001
Like urban legends, there are a few pieces of "conventional wisdom" that float around the motion graphics and 3D communities about how to handle video. They are oft-repeated, but several are simply not true. Some are based on wishful thinking; some on a germ of truth;...
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Expressive Animation

One of the most significant features in After Effects is an easy-to-use scripting language called Expressions.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 9, 2001
One common use of expressions is to set up automatic relationships between layers, such as having a minute hand rotate 60 times a fast as the hour hand, and the second hand rotate 60 times as fast as the minute hand. Rather than have to keyframe - and edit - three layers, you can keyframe just one layer and have the...
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Parenting Skills

An overview of using parenting in After Effects to group objects and create coordinate animations.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  June 5, 2001
Parenting is the ability to link one object to another. Once this bond has been established between parent and child, if you move, scale, or rotate the parent, the child is affected in the same way, grouped together as one complex object. A child can still have its own animation; if the parent happens to be animating as well, the child...
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Open Wide: Creating That Widescreen Look

Widescreen can have different meanings, depending on how you have to deliver. Here's some tips on creating that widescreen look.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  March 27, 2001
For years, the widescreen look has held a certain allure. Most widescreen imagery originated as film that was reframed for television, implying "classy", "expensive" and "not of video." Now, with the arrival of high-definition television, widescreen also means "cutting edge" and "the future", and more clients want...
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Enter a New Dimension: Moving Into 3D

Learning a 3D program can be an important career move for an editor or graphic artist.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  October 18, 2000
In this redesign of PAX TV's on-air look, the primetime promotional end caps are filled with light and translucent shapes. Simple flat characters and shapes were exploded and hit from a number angles with...
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Elements for Editors

Making sure others can use what you create.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  May 5, 2000
As motion graphics artists, we're often asked to supply elements for an editor to use in a final composite or program. These might include single frames of text, titles that build on in stages, or a fully animated title. If the production is a corporate video, chances are that the elements need to build in sync with a voiceover. However, final...
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2D Texture Mapping

Recreating 3D texture mapping and aging techniques in a 2D compositing program.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 5, 2000
Plain solid-colored text is not convincing when composited on top of another surface (top). Applying it with blending modes (above) can help it blend into the layer behind it. Displacement mapping (below) further distresses it with the background, making the text appear as if it was physically applied to it. Finally,...
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Luminance Ranges in Video


Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 18, 2000
It would seem like a simple concept: "black" is the darkest color you can have; "white" is the brightest color. However, not all video hardware and software think this way. Quite often, systems can go "darker" than black and "brighter" than white, allowing safety margins for certain situations. This means that some systems uses...
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Braving the 3D Elements

Daunted by the complexities of learning 3D? Here's a couple of simple tricks to create elements for your 2D work.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 28, 1999
Wireframes of a hand, text, and other objects, blended in with blurs and transfer modes to make them appear more graphical or even organic. 3D models from Viewpoint Labs; fonts from FUSE.Adding a 3D program to your motion graphics toolset can greatly increase your creative options. However,...
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Do Not Adjust Your Set

A trade show for designers: Report from the 1999 BDA Conference.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 28, 1999
In the motion graphics world, it is easy to become seduced with technology. New releases of software and hardware bring with them the promise of being able to achieve previously unimaginable feats. But at the end of the day, we don't deliver a...
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Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Studios

A selection of some of our favorite studios and spots from the 1999 BDA Conference.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 27, 1999
In the main article, we discussed some of the more interesting design topics brought up during the 1999 BDA Conference in San Francisco. In this companion post, we focus on nine studios that particularly caught our eye.
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Spinning Gold

When your source footage is less than ideal, there are a few tricks that can spin gold from your digital straw.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  July 19, 1999
In a perfect world, clients supply gorgeous video clips for you to use in the graphics they've hired you to create. When that doesn't happen, there are a few tricks in our bag for adding punch to these clips. Our goal is not to add "effects" or to make video look like film - but rather to make your client say "How did you make our video...
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Getting Behind the Color Wheel

When layering video clips results in a rainbow of clashing colors, you can tame the beast with a variety of color effects.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  April 2, 1998
Ever composite a number of clips, only to have the result like an explosion in a paint factory? This month we'll search out a variety of plug-in effects for adjusting color and applying tints to video clips. I'm using Adobe After Effects, but many of the same effects are available in other programs. Exploring...
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Field Order - Who's on First?

Mastering field rendering may not top your list of creative exercises, but you can't achieve professional results without it.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 30, 1998
If you thought most NTSC video ran at 29.97 frames per second, that's only half the story - literally. It actually runs at a speed of 59.94 fields rather than 29.97 frames per second (fps), with pairs of fields "interlaced" to form a complete frame (see the illustration at left). When you shoot footage with your camcorder, it...
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Playing Squash: Blobby Text Effect for NBC

On squishing icons, and approaching multimedia on a (physically) large scale.
Written by Chris and Trish Meyer  |  January 20, 1998
Back in 1997 - still fairly early in our motion graphics career - one of our more enjoyable gigs was creating promotionals for NBC. These promos didn't appear on television; they were destined for the Big Screen - namely, NBC's huge AstroVision screen in Times Square. Rather than showing upcoming episodes of...