Tag Archives: After Effects

Behind the Title: 3D artist Trevor Kerr

NAME: Trevor Kerr (@kerrmotion)

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
I am a freelance 3D Generalist.

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Most often a generalist like myself will tackle anything from layout to composite and everything in between. Lately, I’ve been focusing on environments and effects to ultimately specialize in one or the other.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I think that it can be surprising how much one person can tackle on their own. I’ve finished some fairly intricate shots for a single artist pipeline.
My latest Star Wars short film was made almost completely by myself in under two months. Of course, working with a team has incredible multidisciplinary benefits as well.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING IN VFX?
I’ve been in 3D since 2012, and started pursuing visual effects in late 2014.

HOW HAS THE VFX/GRAPHICS INDUSTRY CHANGED IN THE TIME YOU’VE BEEN WORKING? 
One difference of note in day-to-day life, in my short experience is the arrival of the IPR for many render solutions. I think learning 3D without an IPR forces you to think about efficiency which is, in many ways, a good thing. Instant feedback and progressive rendering is a massive time-saver, but I’m curious to see what long-term effects it has on the communal rendering psyche.

DID A PARTICULAR FILM INSPIRE YOU ALONG THIS PATH IN ENTERTAINMENT?
As a child I was most certainly inspired and motivated by Star Wars and Jurassic Park. I was very interested in figuring out how to take the audience on a journey in the same way that these films did.

DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL FOR VFX/GRAPHICS?
I went to school for music and art history, but I ended up taking a job for a studio before I finished my bachelors. My drive to work in entertainment and film always motivated my personal learning and continues to do so every day!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
My favorite part of the job is seeing everything come together. I have a massive appreciation for each step of the process — from concepting and layout to assembly and composite. Seeing the final frames in motion is always a thrill.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
I think it’s hard to really nail down a least favorite, per se, because of how double-sided so many aspects of this industry are. A good example of this would be at the start of a job — what looks like an impossible task staring you in the face also doubles as extreme excitement and motivation to get started. To me, the subject is too nuanced to simply say, “This part is no good.”

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
This is a fantastic question, because I really cannot see myself doing anything else. I dabbled in audio engineering for a little while, so maybe something along the way of sound design — but is that so dissimilar from what I do now? It would certainly be something film-related, I’m sure.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Well, I currently have the pleasure of working on a project for League of Legends. I was also recently at Siggraph presenting for both Maxon and Autodesk on my recent Star Wars personal project. Prior to that was a piece for Disney’s Jungle Book and presenting for Maxon at NAB.

possible-mainWHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Well, from an overall execution standpoint, I think I’m most proud of my recent Star Wars personal project. The timeline was a little under two months — so for the timeline I think it is my best work. The layout, shaders and composite could use much more work — but I’m still happy to have learned everything I did along the way.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE DAY TO DAY?
I mostly use Cinema 4D and Houdini for 3D work. My preferred render suite is primarily Arnold, but am also versed in Octane. Compositing is typically handled in Nuke or After Effects. Lately, I’ve been learning Clarisse, as well as specializing further in Houdini.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
I hate to pull out some super-cliché answers here, but my girlfriend, my three year old, and love for feature films and the technology we’ve created over the past century to make them. I feel very strongly about good production design and story, especially when it comes to environments.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Well, I try to spend all of my time as efficiently as possible — but every now and then you just have to just do nothing and unwind. I find that going back to the source of my inspiration can help remind me why I got into the work I do when things get hard. Sitting down in my living room and taking in a favorite film of mine will often put me at ease.

Review: Red Giant Trapcode Suite 13, Part 2

By Brady Betzel

In my recent Red Giant Trapcode Suite 13 for After Effects review, Part 1, I touched on updates to Particular, Shine, Lux and Starglow. In this installment, I am going to blaze through the remaining seven plug-ins that make up the Trapcode Suite. Those include Form, Mir, Tao, 3D Stroke, Echospace, Sound Keys and Horizon. While Particular is the most well-known plug-in in the Suite, the following seven all are incredibly useful and can help make you money.

Form 2.1
Trapcode Form 2.1 is best described as a particle system, much like Particular, but with particles that live forever and are used in forms like cubes. If you’ve used Element 3D by Video CoPilot you probably know that you can load objects from Maxon Cinema 4D into your Adobe After Effects projects pretty easily and, for all intents and purposes, quickly. Form allows you to load these 3D OBJ files and alter them inside of After Effects.

When you load the OBJ file, Form applies particles at each vertices point. The more vertices you have in your 3D object, the more detail you will have in your Form. It is really a cool way to create a techy kind of look for a HUD (heads up display) or sweet motion graphics piece that needs that futuristic pointillism type look. The original function of Form was to create particle grids that could be exploded or tightly wound and that would live on forever, as opposed to Particular, which creates particle systems with a birth and a death.

Form

Form 2.1

A simple way to think of how Form works is to imagine the ability to take simple text and transform it into “particles” to create a sandy explosion or turn everyday objects into particles that live forever. From Grids to Strings and Spheres to Sprites, with enough practice you can create some of the most stunning backgrounds or motion graphics wizardry inside of Trapcode Form, all of which is affected by After Effect lights and cameras in 3D space.

I was really surprised at how powerful and smooth Trapcode Form can run. I am running a tablet with an Intel i7 processor and I was able to get very reasonable performance, even with my camera depth-of-field turned on.

Mir 2.0
Trapcode Mir is an extremely useful plug-in for those wanting to create futuristic terrains or modern triangulated environments with tunnels and valleys. Mir is versatile and can go from creating smooth ocean floors to spiky mountain tops to extreme wireframe structures. Some of the newest updates in Mir 2.0 are the ability to add a spiral to the Mir landscape mesh you create (think galaxy); seamless looping under the fractal menu; ability to choose between triangles and quads for your surfaces; the really cool ability to add a second pass wireframe on top of your surface for that futuristic grid look; texture sampling from smooth gradients to solid colors; control of the maximums and minimums under z-range (basically allows for easier peaks and valleys); multi-, smoothridge, multi-smoothridge and regular fractals for differing displacements on your textures; and improved VRAM management for speedy processing.

Mir 2

Mir 2.0

These days GIFs are all the rage, so I am really impressed with the seamless loop option. It might seem ridiculous but if you’ve seen what is popular on social media you will know it’s emojis and GIFs. If you want to prep your seamless loop, check out this quick video from Trapcode creator Peder Norrby (@trapcode_lab).

Simply, you create beginning and end keyframes, find the seamless loop options under the Fractal category, step back one frame from your end loop point, mark your end-of-work area, go to the loop point (which should be one frame past where you marked the end to your work area) and click Set End Keyframe. From there Trapcode Mir will fill in the rest of the details and create your seamless loop ready to be exported as a GIF and blasted on Twitter. It’s really that easy.

If you are looking for an animated GIF export setting, try exporting through Adobe Media Encoder and searching “GIF” in the presets. You will find an “Animated GIF” preset, which I resized to something more appropriate like 1280×720 but that still came out at 49MB — way over the 5MB Twitter upload limit. I tried a few times, first with 50% quality at 640×360, which got me to 13.7MB. I even changed the quality down to 5% in Media Encoder, but I kept getting 13.7MB until I brought the size down to 320×180. That got me just under 4MB, which is perfect! If you do a lot of GIF work, an easy way to compress them is to use http://ezgif.com/optimize and to fiddle with their optimization settings to get under 5MB. It’s quick and it all lives online.

As with all Trapcode Suite plug-ins (or anything for that matter), the only way to get good is to experiment and allow yourself to fail or succeed. This holds true for Mir. I was making garbage one minute and with a couple changes I made some motion graphics that made me see the potential of the plug-in and how I could actually make content that people would be blown away with.

3D Stroke

3D Stroke

3D Stroke
One plug-in that isn’t new but will lead into the next one is Trapcode 3D Stroke. 3D Stroke takes the built-in After Effects plug-in Stroke to a new level. Traditional Stroke is an 8-bit plug-in while Trapcode 3D Stroke can run on the color-burning 32-bits-per-channel mode. If you want to add a stroke along a path that interacts with your comp cameras in 3D space, Trapcode 3D Stroke is what you want. From creating masks of your text and applying a sweet 3D Stroke to them to intricate 3D paths that zoom in between objects with a HDR-like glow, 3D Stroke is one of those tools to have in your After Effects tool box.

When using it I really fell in love with the repeater. Much like Element 3D’s particle arrays, the repeater can create multiple instances of your paths or text paths to create some interesting and infinitely adjustable objects.

Tao
Trapcode Tao is new to the Trapcode Suite of plug-ins. Tao gives us the ability to create 3D geometry along a path, and boy did people immediately fall in love with this tool when it was released. You can find tons of examples and tutorials of Tao from experts like VinhSon Nguyen, better known as @CreativeDojo on Twitter. Check out his tutorial on Vimeo, too. Tao is a tricky beast, and one way I learned about it in-depth was to download Peder Norrby’s project files over at http://www.trapcode.com and dissect them as best I could.

Tao

Tao

If you remember Trapcode 3D Stroke from earlier, you know that it allows us to create awesome glows and strokes along paths in 3D space. Trapcode Tao operates in much the same way as 3D Stroke except that it uses particles like Mir to create organic flowing forms in 3D space that interact with After Effects’ cameras and lights.

Trapcode Tao is about as close as you can get to modeling 3D geometry inside of After Effects at realtime speeds with image-based lighting. The only other way to achieve this is with Video CoPilot’s Element 3D or by using Cinema 4D via Cineware, which is sometimes a painstaking process.

Horizon 1.1
Another product that I was surprised by was Trapcode Horizon 1.1. In the age of virtual reality and 360 video you can never have too many ways to make your own worlds to pan cameras around in. With a quick Spherical Map search on Google, I found all the equi-rectangular maps I could handle. Once inside of After Effects, you need to import and resize your map to your comp size, add a new solid and camera, throw Horizon on top of your solid, under Image Map > Layer, choose the layer name containing your spherical image, and BAM! You have a 360-world. You can then add elements like Trapcode Particular, 3D Stroke or Tao and pan and zoom around to make some pretty great opening titles or even make your own B-Roll!

Echospace

Echospace 1.1

Echospace 1.1
Trapcode Echospace 1.1 is a powerful section in the Trapcode Suite 13 plug-in library. It is one of those plug-ins where you watch the tutorials and wonder why people don’t talk about it more. In simple terms, Echospace replicates layers and creates interdependent parenting links to the original layer, allowing you to create complex repeated element animations and layouts. In essence it feels more like a complex script as opposed to a plug-in.

Let’s say you want to create some offset animation of multiple shape layers in three-dimensional space, Echospace is your tool. It’s a little hard to use and if you don’t Shy the replicated layers and nulls, it will be intimidating. When you create the repeated layers, Echospace automatically sets your layers to Shy if you enable Shy layers in your tool bar. A great Harry Frank (@graymachine) tutorial/Red Giant Live episode can be found on the Red Giant website: http://www.redgiant.com/tutorial/red-giant-tv-live-episode-8-motion-graphics-with-trapcode-echospace.

Sound Keys 1.3
The last plug-in in the massive Trapcode Suite v13 library is Sound Keys 1.3. Sound Keys analyzes audio files and can draw keyframes based on their rhythm. One reason I left this until the end of my review is that you can attach any of the parameters from the other Trapcode Suite 13 plug-ins to the outputs of the Sound Keys 1.3 keyframes via a pick whip. If I just lost you by saying pick whip, snap back into it.

If you learn one thing in the After Effects scripting world, it’s that you can attach one parameter to another by alt+clicking (command+clicking) on the stopwatch of the parameter that you want to be driven by another parameter and dragging the curly-looking icon over the other parameter. So in the Sound Keys case, you can attach the scale of an object to the rhythm of a bass drum.

Soundkeys Color Orientation

Sound Keys 1.3

What I really liked about Sound Keys is that it not only can create a dynamically driven piece of motion graphics, but you can also use the audio meters it draws to visualize the audio. You see this a lot in lyric music videos or YouTube videos that are playing music only but still want a touch of visual flare, and with Sound Keys 1.3 you can change the visual representation of the audio including color, quantization (little dots that you see on audio meters) and size.

Easily isolate an audio frequency with the onscreen controls, find the effect you want to drive by the audio, and pick whip your way to dynamic motion graphic. If I was the graphics designer I wish I was, I would take Sound Keys and something like Particular or Tao and create some stunning work. I bet I could even make some money making some lyric videos… one day.

Summing Up
In the end, the Trapcode Suite v13 is an epic and monumental release. The total cost as a package is $999, and while it is a significantly higher cost than After Effects, let me tell you: it has the ability to make you way more money with some time and effort. Even with just an hour or so a day I feel like my Trapcode game would go to the next level.

For those that have the Trapcode Suite and want to upgrade for $199, there are some huge benefits to the v13 update including Trapcode Tao, GPU performance upgrades across the board, and even things like the second pass wireframe for Mir.

If you are a student, you can grab Trapcode Suite 13 for $499 with a little verification legwork. If you are worried about your system working efficiently with the Trapcode Suite you can check the technical requirements here, but I was working on an Intel i7 tablet with 8GB of memory and Intel Iris 6100 graphics processor. I found everything to be very speedy for the limitations I had. Tao was the only plug-in that wouldn’t display correctly, but rightly so, as you can read the GPU requirements here.

If I was you and had a cool $999 burning a hole in my After Effects wallet I would pick up Trapcode Suite 13 immediately.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff. Earlier this year, Brady was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

Releases & Updates: We are in this ecosystem together

By Sean Mullen

Just a few weeks ago, Adobe released a major new upgrade to its Creative Cloud services. While these updates are welcomed by the community with excitement, there’s also a period of — for lack of better words — stressful chaos as the third-party software and plug-in developers scramble to ensure their products will be compatible.

When Adobe speaks, the community listens. When Adobe does something new, they listen even closer, because when they do something new, it’s usually some amazing a leap forward that only makes our lives easier and our work look that much better. The latest updates to Adobe Creative Cloud are no different.

All of us at Rampant Design are big fans, and Adobe CC is big part of what we do every day. It’s no mistake that our Style Effects complement Adobe CC so well. But we also understand — being part of this VFX community — that while change is great, those changes have impact on the software and plug-in developers who make their living enhancing the Adobe CC workflow. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Adobe After Effects CC

Adobe After Effects CC

The Updates
Here are a couple of top-of-mind things that get us excited. We zeroed in on some of the applications and features within CC that impact us most on a daily basis, and those are the features in Premiere Pro and After Effects.

The Iridas acquisition of a couple of years ago is really showing its value, especially with this update. The Lumetri Color panel is amazing!  You’re getting seriously powerful color tools built right into Premiere Pro. That’s pretty significant. Morph Cut is part voodoo and part rocket science — a very cool tool that smoothes out jump cuts and pauses. There are some notable changes to After Effects too. While the AE Comp Scrollbar is now missing, the uninterrupted preview is a fantastic addition. The new Face Tracker is impressive as well.

The Adobe Ecosystem: Plug-Ins
There is most definitely an ecosystem around Adobe, an entire sub-segment of the post production software industry who make tools to enhance the workflow — the plug-in developers.

Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere

In any third-party plug-in environment, you have the host developer (in this case Adobe) and the third party plug-in developer  companies like Red Giant, Video Copilot, Genarts, BorisFX, to name a few. While the host developers keep the third parties informed as much as possible, their main focus is on rolling out a solid product release.

So,inevitably, some things slip through the cracks — mainly their ability to interact with the plug-in developers in a timely way — at least from the plug-in developers perspective. As a result, you’ll notice a slew of newsletters and social network posts from these third parties claiming that their products currently do or do not work with the latest release.

I’m sure the weeks up to and following a major release can be a hectic time for developers. Plug-in engineering isn’t free, so there is a small window within that the current build of any given third-party plug-in will work. Major releases come out every year and dot releases happen quite often.

At Rampant, our situation is a little different. We make tools that enhance the CC workflow, but also the plug-ins themselves. Style Effects aren’t alternative to plug-ins, they are complementary. If we were bakers or chefs, Style Effects would be the spices or finishing touches. If we were carpenters, Style Effects would be the varnish. Style Effects work hand in hand with your favorite plug-ins.

Style Effects are QuickTime-based, so as long as you have QuickTime, these effects will work with any Adobe update. In our reality, artists and editors want instant gratification. Very few of us get the time to play. Most producers want to see something yesterday, and this is why the plug-in and Style Effects ecosystems are so critical. Major new host releases will always be challenging — and stressful — but the end product of all of us working together is what helps all of us create amazing content. We’re proud to be a part of it!

Sean Mullen is the founder/president of Rampant Design Tools. He is an award-winning VFX artist, but he’s also the creator of Rampant Style Effects, UHD visual effects and designs. Style Effects are packaged as QuickTime files, enabling artists to drag and drop them to any editing platform.

 

 

Review: Adobe Video CC 2015 Updates

By Brady Betzel

The big update to the Adobe Video collection is here. It features some heavy hitters in terms of offerings. If you really want to see what the fuss is all about, go and update your Adobe apps, read this write up and get to playing…NOW!

One addition to the line-up that I think is very important to the future of the Creative Cloud ecosphere: Libraries. These aren’t FCP X libraries or LightRoom libraries; the new Creative Cloud libraries are basically a way to share common assets between Adobe apps, including their new iOS app Hue CC — I’ll get to that shortly.

A big gap in Adobe Premiere’s data sharing offerings is the ability to rival Avid’s ISIS collaborative working environment, with sequences being worked on concurrently between teams of editors. However, this is one step in that direction, and I hope they will continue to evolve this concept to eventually work in an internally networked environment where teams of two or 50 can work on the same Premiere, After Effects or Speed Grade projects concurrently. While you can share moving media in libraries, it’s just that…a library, not a way to share projects or sequences.

Adobe Hue's Look Library

Adobe Hue’s Look Library

Hue
Something that really got me to bite on this Adobe update was the addition of the iOS app Hue. Simply put, you take a picture with your iPhone or iPad in the Hue app (which is connected to your Adobe Creative Cloud login via the Libraries), and the app interprets the light and colors and creates a swatch. This swatch can then be applied to footage in Premiere, Premiere clip or After Effects. Imagine if you are witnessing a beautiful sunset in Hawaii with great purples, reds and oranges — take a pic in Hue, choose those colors you like and later on, or immediately, apply it to your footage. This is a great way to take advantage of current technology.

Premiere
In the past, Premiere had been thought of as the NLE in the back of the room, usable but never quite at the level of FCP or Avid. Over the past couple of years that view has changed and the tool has not only gained traction, but, in my opinion, has started to pass the competition… in some aspects. These days I use Premiere as the Swiss Army Knife in my post toolbox. It can open practically every video codec and resolution and decipher many XMLs or AAFs from other NLEs, coloring suites and VFX software packages. Oh and it’s an editor too.

The latest update to Premiere Pro has added some awesome preset “workspaces.” At the top is now a menu that gives you the options for different workspaces such as Editing, Effects and Color. These are basic preset workspaces that actually work quite nice. They open common windows that make sense when working in certain modes like color correction. You can delete, create or even modify existing workspaces if you like. While it’s really just a reimagining of preset workspaces, I think it really helps someone to jump right into using Premiere to its fullest abilities without having to fumble around finding where different windows are.

Premiere Pro's Workspace editing

Premiere Pro’s workspace editing

Up next is Premiere’s addition of pseudo-live scopes and consolidated color tools directly inside of Premiere in the new Color workspace. (After reading this breakdown you may ask yourself, “Will SpeedGrade be around much longer?” I’m really not sure if Adobe imagines Premiere to become more of a Resolve or not, but it seems like a logical progression.)

The new color workspace and tools are referred to as the Lumetri Color panel and Lumetri Scopes. In previous versions of Premiere we had scopes, however they wouldn’t play in realtime, which if we are going to be honest really makes color correction difficult. The newly updated Lumetri Scopes update live while playing a video clip or sequence. I did notice some lag when playing a sequence (I tried both a 1080p and a 4K clip with the same results) — it seems to be a few frames. I went one frame at a time down the timeline and even once I stopped, the scopes continued to update.

For this review by the way, I am working on a Lenovo W550s mobile workstation that contains an Intel i7 2.6GHz processor (two cores, four threads), 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia Quadro 620M. It’s not a slow computer but it also isn’t an HP z840, so take from that what you will. Software scopes are nice for a quick reference, but if you are doing constant scope referencing (which you probably should be), you may want to take a look at Scope Box or an external hardware scope.

Some things I would love to see in the future would be to have the ability to zoom in on the vectorscopes and reference under “0” in the RGB Parade, as well as have the ability to dock individual scopes into different windows. If I had the luxury of three monitors, and my system could handle it, I would love to have the scopes docked on the third screen. Those are nit-picky wishes I guess, but Premiere is on its road to glory so why not get all the details sorted out.

Before I leave Premiere, under the new color workspace and inside the color panel are the same curve panels and new Hue/Saturation tool, which can be very handy, as well as a basic color correction tab where you can do things like input your LUT or do some basic exposure correction. Adobe has introduced a newly renovated three-way color corrector, and if combined with a nice color panel like the Tangent Element would operate nicely. (I wasn’t able to test this, but keep an eye on this space for an upcoming Tangent Element panel review.) Inside of the Creative tab is where you can load a look or dial in your own creative grade. Overall, this is a phenomenal addition to the already vast toolset of Premiere.

CharacterAnimator_TimelineTracking

Character Animator
There is a game changing app that Adobe is releasing called Character Animator. At the moment it is a separate app that can track your (and your friends’) facial movements and, in realtime, apply them to a puppets’ facial features with little programming knowledge. It really is as simple as that. You can go much deeper but for this review I will just say it’s amazing and you must try it for yourself to really understand what it can do.

You really get the feeling of how powerful this will be in the future. You turn on your webcam and you are controlling a puppet just by talking. I can’t say enough how amazing this is. Really, just download a trial of it already! I got caught up, playing with it for hours. Even my wife, who leaves the nerdy tech stuff to me, was blown away, and it’s really easy to use. Of course, you can dive in deeper and get super complicated if you want to.

After Effects
A huge update to After Effects in this latest release is the ability to preview while adjusting parameters in the timeline. While I couldn’t get it to continue playing while I was adjusting the parameters, once I stopped adjusting it did continue playing. So it’s not like you can adjust a curve while video continues to roll; it will stop for the time you are adjusting and pick up when you stop adjusting. It is still an awesome and needed feature.

AfterEffects_CreativeCloudLibraries AfterEffects_FaceTracker_DetailedTracking

The new Face Tracker is something I find intriguing. I quickly tried to track a face and was able to get the outside of the face — one eye and the mouth — to adequately track, however, one eye didn’t lock on. It was pretty accurate when it worked, but it didn’t always work. You can quickly see how your workflow will speed up if you have a lot of very tight face blurring or eye color changing to do. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good track on faces that weren’t facing towards the screen.

Adobe Media Encoder
I wouldn’t be doing my reviewer duties if I didn’t mention a few of the Adobe Media Encoder updates in this latest release. First off, I love Adobe Media Encoder, it’s fast and has pretty much every option I need. In this release Adobe has added Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus support, QuickTime Channelization and rewrap (think one QuickTime with multiple types of audio layouts, eliminating multiple QuickTime deliveries — this sounds awesome to me!), MXF-wrapped JPEG 2000 format and Time Tuner.

Time Tuner is a weird one for me. While in theory it sounds great, I just don’t see it being used in many broadcast workflows. Time Tuner allows the encoding operator to shorten or lengthen a QuickTime based on time or percentage. Often networks require strict total run times when delivering master show files. For instance, if a network requires the total run time of your show to be 42:10 and the final edit is 42:00 for whatever reason (often indecision), what are you supposed to do if you absolutely can’t cut content to meet your total run time? Well Time Tuner is designed to rescue you… that is, if you don’t care where that time is stretched (or shortened) in your QuickTime. It is limited to plus or minus 10 percent of your total run time, so it isn’t completely crazy.

MediaEncoder Dolby Digital_SurfacePro

The issue I have is that 90 percent of the time the act structure of a show is specific, i.e. the act breaks must be :10 or acts must all start or end on zero frames, meaning you can’t arbitrarily add or remove video without destroying the exact start and stop of content. It’s possible you could luck out, but I wouldn’t gamble on that. On a positive note, I have seen shows that have alternate deliverables (often for international delivery) that don’t have strict time requirements, in addition to not having act breaks. In that instance, this could save your butt if you need an additional :30 of content.

Remember that all the program is doing is essentially speeding up or slowing down your content over the course of the entire QuickTime. If you are incrementing or decrementing only a little, then it will probably not be noticeable. However, if you are pushing the 10 percent stage, it might not be acceptable. I tested this on a 19-second and 14-frame QuickTime that I needed to be at an even 20 seconds. The result looked great — I didn’t visibly notice a difference — however the time it took to encode with Time Tuner was expectedly longer, about 1-2 seconds per frame additional. This will add up over an hour-long piece of content.

Summing Up
The latest updates to the Adobe Creative Cloud video apps are really laying the groundwork for some great advances in production and post production technology. The new Character Animator is simply amazing, even if you and your kids just play around with it for now. I can’t even fully understand the future implications of this tracking technology.

Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro

The latest updates to Premiere are furthering its advancement in the race between the major NLE contenders. Premiere added a feature called Morph Cut to this latest update (think of it as an updated and more advanced version of Avid’s Fluid Morph). If you have an interview shot where the person stumbles over a word and you want to cut it out, Morph Cut tries to stitch together the cut by searching the video for similar frames and/or morphing the footage to try and look seemless — keep in mind the circumstances have to be almost perfect for this to work correctly, and if they aren’t perfect it looks like a mistake or glitch. Features like this remind me that Adobe is listening to their customers and even if the feature isn’t for me personally, they are pushing the boundaries to make great apps that work together beautifully and address many concerns of its users.

After Effects features greatly improved preview functions in addition to Face Tracker, which could come handy in the right circumstances. SpeedGrade, Prelude, Audition and Media Encoder all had various updates but the real advancement is Creative Cloud Libraries. Adobe has gotten their feet wet with true team collaboration by integrating a live library between Adobe apps via the Creative Cloud, allowing access to different assets between apps (and can be contributed to by multiple creative cloud users). Hopefully, there will be a time when this includes large amounts of video in the team-based environment where users can work on the same project simultaneously with proper file locking, much like Avid Media Composer and its ISIS collaboration.

I leave you with these top three highlights: Adobe Premiere’s interface has been updated and improved with the integration of color correction toolsets; Adobe After Effects’ preview engine will now run while you are making adjustments; and Adobe Hue (formerly known as Project Candy) allows for interesting use of real life color palettes by way of an iOS app to be used in Premiere and After Effects through Libraries.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood. Previously he was editing The Real World at Bunim Murray Productions. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter, @allbetzroff.

NAB 2015: Adobe, Foundry and revisiting the ‘big picture’

By Adrian Winter

Admittedly, it’s taken me a while to put this entry together, as the days between when NAB wrapped up until now have been very busy. How busy? So busy that I have yet to catch up with Daredevil. THAT’S how busy. I am not starting Episode 10, despite the fact that Episode 9 ended on a really crazy note and I can’t stop thinking about it. Instead, I am taking this time to run through my last day at NAB.

While the exhibit floor on toward the end of the show was significantly less crowded than earlier in the week, there were still some gems to be found that are worth reporting on.

Adobe
Wednesday morning found me at the Adobe booth, taking in demos of the new releases of CC Continue reading

Adobe CC updated: color grading inside of Premiere, more

Adobe will showcase advances to its complete line-up of video technologies and services at the 2015 NAB Show. NAB will mark the first public preview of major updates to Adobe Creative Cloud video tools, including the new Lumetri color panel (which is built on tech from SpeedGrade and Lightroom) in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, allowing for instant color corrections; Morph Cut, which easily removes unwanted pauses and jump cuts for a more polished edit sequence; and new Adobe Character Animator capabilities for Adobe After Effects CC that bring two-dimensional characters to life.

Adobe Character Animator

In addition, the company is previewing Project “Candy,” a mobile CC Capture app, which is the latest addition to its set of Creative Cloud-enabled mobile apps. The app is connected to a user’s Creative Cloud profile so that the user can capture production-quality lighting schemes using a smartphone camera and then apply them to video footage in Premiere Pro CC.

Project Candy

Project Candy

Adobe is also announcing enhancements to Adobe Primetime, including innovations in video delivery, monetization, and personalization to enable new OTT business models for content owners, programmers, and pay-TV providers. The company will also preview a new configuration for Adobe Anywhere, a collaborative workflow platform that enables distributed teams using products such as Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Prelude CC to work together.

Keep an eye on this space for upcoming reviews and more detailed coverage.

Behind the Title: Northern Lights editor Chris Carson

NAME: Chris Carson

COMPANY: New York-based Northern Lights (@nlpedit)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
My feeling as an editor, and clients have told me they feel the same way, is that it’s pretty nice to walk downstairs and chat with the director, colorist or sound designer, even before a job starts. Northern Lights (which includes Bodega, SuperExploder and Mr. Wonderful) handles everything – concepts and strategy, shooting, editing, graphics, music composition. All the parts can work together or separately depending on the job.

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Every day is a little different. It could be digging through footage, creating Foley sound effects or Continue reading

Review: GenArts Sapphire 8

The newest version of this suite of plug-ins and presets

By Brady Betzel

Over the past year or so we’ve seen an explosion in the preset and plug-in world, offering users a variety of options regardless of their budget. For example, there is Red Giant’s Universe and Boris FX’s BCC 9 suite — both offer tons of powerful plug-ins and presets that can take any project from mediocre to awesome with a few mouse clicks and some creative thinking.

Red Giant offers a variety of ways to use the program: there is a “light” version of Universe that’s free, or you can pay $10 monthly, $99 yearly or $399 for a lifetime of updates. Boris FX BCC 9 ranges in price from $695 to $1,995, depending on the Continue reading

Quick Chat: Ghost Town Media’s Brandon Parvini

By Randi Altman

Los Angeles-based  Ghost Town Media was founded in 2006 by a few like-minded independent designers, animators and content creatives. They knew to succeed in a very saturated market, they had to become a creative think-tank of sorts. They like to get involved early and with as many people on the production as possible. Looking at things from all angles gives them a creative advantage.

We decided to dig in a bit deeper with Brandon Parvini, creative director/lead designer at Ghost Town (@gtmvfx).

Tell us a bit more about Ghost Town Media
We’re a small VFX and design house made up of a fairly multifaceted group. We are all linked by Continue reading

Quick Chat: Leftchannel designs promo for Gateway Film Center

By Randi Altman

When the Columbus, Ohio-based Gateway Film Center needed a new promo to play after all trailers and before their feature and independent films, they called on local motion design studio LeftChannel and its creative director Alberto Scirocco.

Scirocco was brought into the project early on. “We designed it to feature some of the signature architecture of Columbus, treated subtly so that the piece still had universal appeal yet had a particular interest to the local viewers who would recognize the city’s architecture,” he says.

We reached out to Leftchannel‘s Scirocco to find out how they worked with the Film Center to get the promo they had envisioned.

Continue reading