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After Effects Portal › 2019 April 2

UI, particles, 3D text, mattes, fakes, and more

Recently in the world of After Effects, there’s news on UI training and tutorials, several particle plug-ins, 3D text, mattes, Macintosh testing, and more.

Eran Stern posted Using After Effects & Yanobox Nodes 3  as a promo for the February 2019 KeyFrames Conference. Yanobox Nodes was updated a few months ago, and despite some similarities with newer plug-ins, it still has unique features and style. It’s widely used by AE artists creating sci-fi interfaces, aka Fake UI. You can read testimonials from pros and more about Yanobox Nodes at their website.


A newer Learned Square course, UI and Data Design for Film, provides a unique opportunity to learn from experienced graphic designer Ash Thorp (see his Collective podcast), and in a totally different way to other online training courses. Ash has worked on films such as Spectre, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Ender’s Game, Prometheus, and many more.

As always, there’s a lot to think about in Creating Usability with Motion: The UX in Motion Manifesto, by Issara Willenskomer. The article itself is an answer to the question — “As a UX or UI, designer, how do I know when and where to implement motion to support usability?” Yes, “Disney is dead,” meaning that the 12 principles of animation that aimed to simulate life for characters (jrcanest gif animation, Lasseter paper, AEP roundup) do not apply to UI animation, because they are solving different problems. Also, Erwin Santacruz noted a 2015 article by Sophie Paxton, Your UI isn’t a Disney Movie. For additional finely-aged background, see AEP’s linkfest UI: User interfaces in the movies and beyond and the more narrative Creating On-Screen Graphics for Hollywood Feature Films from Jonny Elwyn.

School of Motion had an interview with Issara Willenskomer:


Trapcode Suite 15.1 from Red Giant had some updates for Trapcode Particular and Form to up your cool factor. The updates come just a few months after the launch of Trapcode Suite 15, which includes the brand new fluid dynamics physics engine for creating particle systems that realistically interact, swirl, and mix. Here’s what’s new in the free update, which is similar for both products:

  • Text and Mask Emitters – Use text as an emitter, speeding up the creation process  from previous versions. No precomping required. Create write-on effects by controlling the reveal of particles along text paths.
  • Emitters – Use masks as an emitter, making it simple to create uniquely shaped emitters or to use parts of an image as the source of particle emissions. No precomping required. Create write-on effects by controlling the reveal of particles along mask paths.
  • Updated Designer – New in this version is support for text and masks, making it possible to create text and mask path-based effects directly in the Designer.
  • Shadowlet softness and particle type matching – match the shadowlet shape to the particle type for shadowing that matches the source. Previously, all shadowlets were circular.
  • Presets – There are now over 355 presets included with Particular and over 170 with Form.


Some people are forgetting that you can now do actual 3D text in After Effects, with just a simple switch of 3D renderers. 24+ years of workarounds are over! Greyscalegorilla again has the definitive explanation: After Effects 3D Text Animation Tutorial NO PLUGINS! (and an upgrade in Glossy 3D Metal Logo in After Effects). Also quite good is How to Extrude Text in Adobe After Effects (2019) by Boone:


Peter McKinnon has a couple of basic but effective tutorials for text: How to 3D Track TEXT ANYWHERE in your videos and EASY Editing Trick for BETTER VIDEOS! (Mask effect).


The Set Matte filter in After Effects, which is ancient, still sometimes throws people off, and has others hoping for refinements. For a rundown, see the link above and Set Matte Effect in After Effects by Roei Tzoref.


How to use #Track Matte in Adobe After Effects is part of a growing library of advanced beginner tutorials presented with a slower deliberative accent. Style and accent can be a veil but there’s a steady stream of tutorials and the MIX Tuts After Effect Tutorials author does double-click in the Effects palette to apply the effect, rather than dragging the effect onto the layer!



Check out the Hot expression debugging tip: throw errors to debug expressions from Mamoworld.


You can watch previous live streams of Motion Plus Design festivals at their Vimeo page. You won’t get the most recent talks from LA, but older ones from world events are up. The February LA line-up included Beeple, Kyle Cooper, Karin Fong, Jr. Canest, Joyce N. Ho, Marti Romances, Min Shi and Andrew Kramer.


Lester Banks noted How To Create Sine Waves In Ae With A Grayscale Map at AExpr Breakdown, who had experienced aliasing issues at larger frame sizes using the Wave Warp effect.


After Effects Power Tips to Become a Power User with Ian Robinson & Nick Harauz are creative sessions recorded at Adobe MAX 2018. They show you the latest features in After Effects, keyboard and navigation shortcuts, and efficient ways to get things done with advice from After Effects power users far and wide.


In Google Earth Studio + Adobe After Effects = 😎🔥, Boone shows how to composite Google Earth Studio animations with elements inside of Adobe After Effects. In a two different tutorials he creates an animation inside of Google Earth Studio, adding track points, exporting the 3D camera data, and importing that data into After Effects. Inside After Effects, he details how to composite both 2D and 3D graphic elements in Google Earth animations.


Eran Stern hosts the After Effects Weekly Tip at Lynda.com; the latest ones are apparently free.


From Automatic grid layouts in After Effects by Chris Zwar, you can download a free After Effects project to automatically arrange images in a grid.

Chris and Trish Meyer resurrect a Classic Course: Effects & Presets Panel, showing a better way to save and apply effects. I’ve always been a fan of double clicking the effects in the Effects Panel, as shown in their video tutorials.


Deep Glow for After Effects, from Plugin Everything, is a new plug-in that generates a prettier, physically accurate glows that may make you avoid After Effect’s default Glow. It includes Chromatic Aberration and a slew of other features, as shown in intro videos below.


Boris FX posted Webinar Replay: The ABC’s of Particle Illusion, a one-hour explainers on the particle generator in Boris products. Here’s their shorter and longer intros to the latest version of the plug-in bundle too. The videos feature: totally overhauled LensFlare & Flare Designer, PixelSort digital glitch art effect, WhipLash transition, animated shape tool inside Builder, new Mocha Essentials with 4 new spline tools.


Max Yurev posted some interesting videos about his recent hardware testing: iMac Pro vs i9 Vega 20 MacBook Pro – Ultimate Video Editing Comparison! and 2019 i9 5K iMac Video Editing Performance VS 2017 5K iMac.


The real action in AI for video is elsewhere, at least for now, as Adobe briefed us on The State of AI in Video: The future of video is here — and it’s driven by artificial intelligence.

Deepfakes, a sort of content-aware fill (slick but very limited in scope), has been a topic in the mainstream media. CNN had posted 2 articles revisiting deepfake video, U.S. Lawmakers Sound Alarm Over the Threat of ‘Deep Fakes’ and When seeing is no longer believing: Inside the Pentagon’s race against deepfake videos. And Fortune posted What Is a Deepfake? Let This Unsettling Video of Jennifer Lawrence With Steve Buscemi’s Face Show You. There more on Vice too, but here’s the BBC’s Click on deep fakes to cover the gamut:


“It started life on Reddit as a tool for making fake celebrity porn, but it has since become a worrying symbol of the power of AI to generate misinformation and fake news.”

Please note that these roundups are for quick review and comparison. There is almost always vital information from the originating authors at the links provided — and often free presets, projects, or stock footage too.

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Rich Young is a long-time After Effects user from the San Francisco Bay Area. His After Effects and Premiere Pro round-ups provide viewers with an easy-to-digest summary of developments. He also supplies info and links…