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DMALA February : Adobe Pros in Hollywood
Digital Media Artists of Los Angeles (DMALA) produces an entertaining and educational setting for pros
At DMALA each month, members convene on the landmark Hollywood Barnsdall Art Park location to hear stories from select companies, industry professionals and talented hobbyists. The Barnsdall Gallery Theater is located on the grounds of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock house.
Tickets (usually free of charge) are available exclusively at http://dmala.eventbrite.com.
Roughly equidistant from downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills/MidCity and Burbank, the venue regularly draws its membership of digital artists from all over Los Angeles county (and as far as San Diego and Bakersfield).
In February, DMALA focused on digital designs linked to Adobe's Illustrator software. Illustrator software allows artists to create vector graphic designs which can be used for print, video or web. The vector art that Adobe Illustrator produces has different uses, across many different professional implementations. DMALA's focus is primarily video (animation, film, web animation, broadcast).
TIME TO PUT A LITTLE ILLUSTRATOR INTO YOUR ANIMATION DESIGN WORKFLOW
CHANA MESSER - BEST PRACTICES WITH ILLUSTRATOR
Adobe Groups are divided by location, and, occasionally by software type. In Los Angeles, there are several Adobe User Groups which serve as face-to-face meeting places for members to learn, connect, and share their Adobe software experiences. In February, DMALA was fortunate (in many ways) to have Chana Messer present some key Illustrator features. (With the support of Adobe Groups, Chana was also able to give away a copy of Adobe Illustrator CS 5.5 as a doorprize!)
Chana Messer is a Fine Artist, Designer, Trainer and Software Evangelist Teaching at the university level for 25+ years in the fields of Fine Art, Digital Imaging in the Departments of Visual Arts at UCLA. Lead Instructor at the Walt Disney Company.
She is an Adobe Certified Expert, Adobe Partner, Adobe Community Professional, part of the Adobe Professional Freelance Team, and an Adobe User Group Manager. As such she has been invited to present at Adobe events at Mac World and AIGA, Adobe MAX and other events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, New York and Tel Aviv. Although many of the members consider themselves Adobe Illustrator "users", there are many under-used tools and hidden gems that Illustrator offers designers.
As Chana walked through some features that will help designers, members scribbled notes, trying to remember some of the great tricks she mentioned. Her 45-minute workflow demo also included Appearance panel tricks, using artboards, and Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Illustrator's vector tools allow you to create some new Photoshop brushes.
Chana also runs the Adobe User Group for Illustrators meetings. Join them at AILA : http://aila.groups.adobe.com
KO MARUYAMA - TEN MINUTE TIP
On alternate months, Ninjacrayon's Ko Maruyama showcases parts of commercial broadcast projects, promos or film elements in a quick 10-minute tip. In his last demo, he showed Adobe Photoshop's cell animation capabilities and benefits. During the February meeting, in keeping with the Adobe Illustrator theme, the 10-minute demo was packed with 8 different tips for Adobe After Effects and MAXON's CINEMA4D software. He often records tutorials for his personal blog (ninjacrayon.com) Adobe Illustrator is an industry standard when producing commercial print vector artwork. The same graphics come from print to video.
Creating 3D models from that vector artwork has hurdles that are easily avoided with a few simple steps. Additionally, animation in After Effects can be leveraged with the splines that Adobe Illustrator produces. After Effects' masks and shape layers are just two obvious tools that use it, but there is a deep library of values that can also benefit from Illustrator's bezier curves.
JAYSE HANSEN - RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Jayse Hansen is a screen designer based in Las Vegas (jayse.tv). Regularly using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and MAXON's C4D, Jayse has worked on several recent major motion pictures, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Contagion, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, Transformers 3, 2012, and X-Men Origins - Wolverine.
Jayse talked about his creative process from script, to concept pitch, to execution. Some of his go-to tools for design include Adobe's Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, and MAXON's CINEMA4D.
As part of his demo, Jayse kept with the whole "Illustrator for Video" theme by talking about some of the tools he uses to create his designs in Illustrator. He reminded the group that Chana's in-depth review of the appearance tab is key to any workflow. Jayse also showed off a couple of his secret weapons: two plugins for Adobe users. Astute Graphics (astutegraphics.com) makes, what Jayse refers to as, THE BEST ILLUSTRATOR PLUGIN EVER. VectorScribe Studio allows Illustrator users to modify their shapes dynamically with a clean UI.
Jayse also showed off some of the work completed with Yanobox.com's plugin for After Effects called "nodes". Adobe After Effects hosts many different types of plugins, some of which are supported by the FxFactory plugin. Nodes by Yanobox belongs in this family of plugins, and belongs in your toolbox if you're creating screen graphics. In Jayse's hands, the clean, dynamic line animations that Yanobox produces look like what fluid Illustrator would look like, if you could animate in Illustrator.
As if fun creative jobs aren't enough of a prize, we also have some door prizes to give out at the end of the meeting. CONGRATULATIONS TO ADOBE USER GROUP MEMBERS, ANTONIO SCARPITTIA, ROBERT BAILEY AND CHRIS GIACINTI for winning the big prizes at February's meeting. And thanks to Adobe for providing the software!
GROUP MEMBER HIGHLIGHTS
AUG Member Mat Hale returned to thank me for the introduction to MAXON's CINEMA 4D during a meeting in 2011. He has recently upgraded the software to Release 13, and couldn't be happier. His workflow between the 3D software and Adobe's workflow has been "absolutely amazing". Hale remarked, "There are so many tools in C4D that make 3D animation enjoyable." You can check out some of imag8nineteen's work at http://www.imag8nineteen.com/
AUG Member Jason Hearne looked to hire some Adobe After Effects animators who specialize in Trapcode Form.
Another DMALA member made an announcement during the meeting, looking for some 3D character and After Effects artists.
January's speaker, Carlos Flores is thriving and looking for more animators to work on an upcoming project. He'll be around in March to watch demo reels.
MARCH'S MEETING IS COMING UP: DEMO REELS! IMAGINEER SYSTEMS MOCHA PRODUCT DEMO more! Tickets will go up soon on dmala.Eventbrite.com
Are you a member of our Adobe User Group? Do you have an avatar of yourself?
If so - you could win some special prizes each month during our meetings in Hollywood, California!
If you've ever been to one of our meetings before, you know that we're also an ADOBE USER GROUP, which means that there are even more benefits for you online. http://dmala.groups.adobe.com. If you'd like to present a cool project, technique, or insight into your favorite digital creation tool at an upcoming meeting, let me know!
You can find more about DMALA on Facebook, Twitter, and MeetUp.
Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, DMALA