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We talked about several exciting things at the March meeting of the Dallas After Effects User Group:
• SEXY OFFSETS: An interesting transition option based on this from Mattrunks.com
• EXPRESSIONS to help with random offset delay from MotionScript.com DELAY: RANDOM: • PHOTOSHOP ACTIONS: Creating or Downloading your own actions you can apply to image sequences rendered out of After Effects. RESOURCE: SKETCH: The action we used in the meeting • SAVING YOUR OWN PRESETS IN AFTER EFFECTS TEXT ANIMATION PRESETS from AETrent: COUNTDOWN TIMER: COUNTDOWN TIMER for NON-MONOSPACED FONTS: Instructions: Apply the preset to an empty comp and you will see the first number (minutes). Then duplicate the layer to get the other numbers. Adjust controls ONLY on the first layer.
• EXPRESSIONS to help with random offset delay from MotionScript.com
• PHOTOSHOP ACTIONS: Creating or Downloading your own actions you can apply to image sequences rendered out of After Effects.
SKETCH: The action we used in the meeting
• SAVING YOUR OWN PRESETS IN AFTER EFFECTS
TEXT ANIMATION PRESETS from AETrent:
COUNTDOWN TIMER for NON-MONOSPACED FONTS:
Instructions: Apply the preset to an empty comp and you will see the first number (minutes). Then duplicate the layer to get the other numbers. Adjust controls ONLY on the first layer.
It has been a great year for the Dallas After Effects User Group! We have covered a vast number of different subjects and met a ton of new people! Because of how Thanksgiving and Christmas fall each year, we usually take that time off to spend time with family and gather our inspiration for a big start to the new year.
The next meeting of our User Group with be Jan 24, 2013! I hope to see you all there! Until then, have a safe and happy Christmas with lots of After Effecting!
Trent : @AEtrent
Work Smarter Not Harder: CODECS and Project Organization
Use Interframe codecs as often as possible
Interframe codecs give a discreet image for each frame. Codecs like ProRes, AVI, and Animation have a stand-alone image for each frame so After Effects just loads that image instead of having to rebuild it.
Intraframe clips won’t always cause your render times to lag, but if you use a large number of this clips, think about transcoding those clips to an inter-frame coded to speed up your render times.
Organize Your Projects As You Go
The moment you start a project, create the folders you know you will need. I always have:
As you work, you should create subfolders and precomps and keep up with naming and organization as you go. Please set a naming convention that works for you, of course, but you can also follow mine. Make sure everything has a simple, yet descriptive, name so you can easily locate items in your project. This will also make it easier for someone else if you have to pass your project along to another animator at any point.
As for my naming convention, Nothing but the comps I will render go in my FINALS folder. All precomps typically get the word “precomp” at the end so I never accidentally confuse those comps with my finals. And I will use the same word in several precomps to group them and make sure I know their precomping order.
When I have more than two precomps that are used for a specific purpose, like to animate a loop or create a certain effect, I will create a subfolder in my PreComps folder.
Also, if I’m going to have duplicate precomps that do slightly different things like three or four different particle effects, I will add the number to the end of the name. That way After Effects will increment the number for me when I duplicate the precomp. Particles Precomp 1, Particles Precomp 2, Particles Precomp 3, etc.
There are times when I have the appropriate name for a Final or PreComp when I create it, but don’t be afraid to go back and change the names of your project items to keep things up to date.
I will delete assets and precomps I’ve added that I know I won’t be using as I go to keep the project as clean as possible. Do this manually or select the final compositions you wish to keep complete and choose File> Reduce Project to automatically remove all unnecessary files.
Happy After Effect-ing!
(Reposted from EchoHub.com)
The phrase "Work smarter, not harder" might be a little cliché, but it really does pay off to use smart techniques in your workflow. I've collected a few of my processes and tricks here to help you in any way I can. I will talk about a few at a time and will look for your thoughts in the comments!
Keep Image Size Low
When working with Photoshop files, it can be tempting to just use the full sized 4000x4000 image. The problem is that After Effects has to deal with every bit of that image even if you don't need every bit. Also, If you don't need all the layers, just save the image out as a JPG or PNG to reduce file size.
It can also just be cumbersome to keep large files laying around on your computer and taking up space. After Effects only needs 72 DPI images, so if you aren't going to zoom way in on an image or a PSD, save the file to only the maximum necessary DPI. That will reduce the size of the file on your disk.
Freeze Frame Your Stills with PreComps
Another trick with still images is to precompose the still, and freeze-frame the precomp.
When After Effects reads a still image in your composition, it analyzes the image for each and every frame when it’s rendering. If you precompose the still, then freeze frame it in your final comp, AE only looks at the image on the first frame, and remembers it for subsequent frames. Depending on the size of each still, and how many you have in your composition, this could actually save hours in render time.
Another step you can take to reduce render time is to set the composition size to only the area necessary for that still. Open up the Composition Settings and change the frame size. As long as you keep the layer set to 2D, After Effects will not look at the information outside the bounds of the comp frame.
Stay tuned! There are more thoughts to come on how I work smarter and not harder!
PREFACE: This is not a technical post, but I say you should read it. Financial matters are important and can make or break your dreams of doing what you love!
Of course, being the Dallas After Effects User Group, we tend to spend a lot of time talking about After Effects. However, for our August meeting we had a financial advisor speak to the group on things that would help set our members up for some financial success so we can all continue to do what we love, motion graphics!
We looked at wide range of topics from budgeting and emergency savings to retirement and risk management. Here are a few thoughts from the meeting in case you weren't able to make it.
The first piece of advice I can give you is the groundwork that everything else is built on. Create a budget. I don't mean a budget for a motion graphics job what I'm talking about is a budget for the money that comes in and goes out from your daily life.
1. Monitor Your Cashflow
2. Set Limits on Spending
• Eating out
• Recreational Activities
• Any Non-Essential expenses
• Subscription Services like phones, internet, TV
Note: Be sure to contact these providers every 6 months or so
to make sure you are getting the best rates.
Doing these things helps you see where your money is going and can give you ideas on how you can make sure to have money for charitable giving and savings. There are a number of tools you can use to keep a budget: a pad and pencil, an Excel spreadsheet, and even online and mobile apps like Ace budget Quicken and mint.com. You can even set money aside in envelopes if you want to budget the analog way. If you are married, be sure to do your budgeting at least initially, with your spouse. Then sit down each month and go over the budget so you are each informed. It is always best to be on the same page with your spouse so no money does not become an issue between you.
Your Emergency Fund should have at least three months of salary set aside in case times get hard or you lose your job. It is even a good idea to work toward having six months worth of savings set aside. When you do this, make sure you don't tie your money up. Keep the savings in a liquid fund that can be accessed quickly and without penalties.
Save. Save. Save! While you are building up these emergency savings you will still want to be putting into some form of retirement savings like a 401(k). Many employers set up 401(k) plans for their employees and even match contributions. As soon as possible I recommend getting into the 401(k) plan offered by your employer. If you are self-employed you can either set up a Roth IRA for a self-employed 401K plan. The most important thing is to get this going as soon as you can so any money you put in will be able to grow as long as possible. Don't ever think to yourself, "I'll start saving when I have a little more money or when I get married." Start now! Do as much as you can and increase as often as you can.
Many people enjoy working even through their later years, but the goal of all the saving is so eventually you can be financially in a place where you don't have to work.
The next part of this equation may seem morbid but is still very important. Get Life Insurance, especially if you have a spouse. You should have life insurance to take care of any financial responsibility that is left after you die.
Something that is a potentially confusing issue is how much life insurance to plan for. It is not necessary to have million-dollar life insurance plan. You really only need a plan that will cover as much as you need it to cover like paying off a home mortgage, student loans, cars, and then providing enough for your spouse to live on for a while. Just for a bit more info, Whole Life plans cover you until you die or stop paying. Term Life plans are less expensive but are only good for the life of the "term" (for example, ten years). Check with your insurance agent and get life insurance!
LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
It sort of sounds goofy to talk about having a Will since many of us only really hear about them in movies and TV and it's always a super-old guy who just died. However, life is not a guarantee. What is a guarantee is that when you die without a Will, things get really sketchy for those you leave behind-- spouse, children, other family member.
It is very important to have a Will-- even a simple one. Take the time to write on a sheet of paper who you would leave everything to, name a secondary beneficiary, then sign and date it. Put that piece of paper in a safe place and tell someone else where it is. Of course, that is really just a quick, precautionary thing to do. To really take it seriously and make sure everything is taken care of, make the time to work with an estate planning attorney so you can be sure to name beneficiaries, primary and secondary, as well as guardianship if you have children so there is no confusion.
Again, it is very important to let someone know where all your stuff is. When you start working on a 401(k) or any stocks for life insurance or any sort of retirement savings and your will, someone needs to know how to get to and access that information if you were to die. Otherwise, no one will know what to do with all this wonderful stuff you have set up.
This is not a financial blog. There are a vast number of other things to consider. I was just looking to get the ball rolling for you on this. Also, I only am lightly versed in any of this stuff, so please start working with a financial advisor even if it's just someone you trust to give you pretty solid advice for free.
MATERIALS AND CONTACTS
If you would like some materials that can support you in some of these areas or to contact the gentleman who spoke to our group, please email me, and I'll get the information to you: dallasaeug[at]gmail.com
The Animation Challenge for this month looks to be a fun one. The theme is: white square on a black background. The idea here is that we will each animate the square over 3 SEC, but the square will start and end in the same position. This will allow each animation to blend into the next!!
Frame Size - 1280x720
Frame Rate - 30 fps
Length - 3 sec
Design - A 200x200 px white square in the very center of the comp.
Codec - ProRes 422 preferred (h.264 also acceptable)
Due Date: 23rd of August
Deliver to: Send a download link from Dropbox or service of your choice to dustinrbailey[at]gmail.com.
1) The animation starts and ends with the 200x200 white square in the center of the comp.
2) The background can change. It does not have to be black.
3) Again, keep it to 3 seconds.
4) Have fun!
Dustin Bailey did a great job walking us through his Cinema 4D/After Effects project during the April meeting. Here are some links to information that helped him succeed at his project.
Please take the time to check these links out before the information gets cold in your head! And provide any other links you think might be helpful in the comments!
Recent Comments (2 of 2)
The Dallas After Effects User Group is starting a monthly motion graphics challenge. Any of our group members may participate, but the guidelines for each challenge must be followed.
For the month of May, the theme is "countdown". Each participant should request a number from 1 - 10 with an alternate. It's first-come-first-served so don't be sad if you get a number you didn't request.
If we have more than 10 participants, we will consider having a longer countdown!!
- Each animation should be one second only
- 1920x1080 - 30fps
- Render to ProRes 422 (h.264 is acceptable)
- All submissions are due one week prior to that month's meeting
- Submit your the movie as an attachment or a downloadable file to email@example.com
- Be creative and have fun!
If you aren't sure what you're in for, give it a try anyway! We will have fun doing this and will present the final product at each meeting.
I animate with keyframes when I'm using After Effects, but I totally respect the power of expressions. I've been studying expressions since around 1999, and I have realized that there are so many problems that can be solved through expressions and math.
AAAHHHH!!!! MATH!!! I know. I almost panic every time I even think that I'm learning math-- more math than I ever knew in school.
The problem is that frequently there are things math and expressions can solve that aren't practical with keyframes. I'll set up an analogy for you.
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