Valentine’s Day Theme Tutorials

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it would be nice to share a few free tutorials for those of you involved in post production. These free items service a variety of programs such as After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Cinema 4D, and more. Feel free to scoop these up before Valentine’s Day so you can make a special video for that special someone.

Creating Flying Hearts with Boris FX

In this Valentine’s themed tutorial, Imagineer Systems Product Specialist, Mary Poplin, shows you some quick ways to get particle effects into your workflow with Boris Continuum Complete. If you are a fan of using particle effects, then I strongly recommend using plugins from the Continuum Complete particle collection. I can honestly say that they are on par with Red Giant’s offerings of Trapcode Particular and Form. On top of that, this tutorial shows you how to take a vector image created in Illustrator, and extrude it in 3D space. With some post effects like vignettes and color grading, you are able to achieve quite an animation. What I found very interesting about this tutorial is that it looked complicated in design but easy to follow. Feel free to download a trial of Continuum Complete and create this animation for your V-Day sweetheart.

Create a Valentine’s Day Themed Animation in Cinema 4D

In this tutorial from AE Tuts, motion graphics artist Stefan Surmabojov shows us how to create custom Valentine’s theme animation using Cinema 4D and After Effects. Starting first in Cinema 4D, we create the heart shape and ending text. Using Cinema 4D’s camera tools and effectors, we are able to produce the emitting hearts and animation in 3D. Before we send it to After Effects, we can touch it up in Greyscale Gorilla’s HDRI Studio Pack to give it a photorealistic look. From there, we refine the look of animation in After Effects using Optical Flares and Trapcode Shine. This particular tutorial can seem daunting if you are not used to Cinema 4D, but it can help leverage your learning curve by showing you how to create something complex in an efficient manner. If after following the tutorial you are not getting the results you want, you can download the files from it and modify it to taste.

Valentine’s Day Particle Animation

In this tutorial by motion graphics artist Abdul Kabir, he shows us how to make another Valentine’s Day animation utilizing Photoshop and After Effects. He starts in Photoshop by creating miscellaneous shapes he will need down the line. With those shapes, he turns them into particles which form a heart with the help of Particular. With a camera added along with a null object, he is able to finesse the animation further. From there, he adds a gradient background and a lens flare reveal to tie everything together. What I liked about this tutorial is the collaborative nature of Photoshop and After Effects. I’ve found in some situations that it may be easier to create assets in Photoshop than in After Effects. Using them together is a powerful combination which I encourage users to do as much as possible.

These are just a small collection of tutorials you can use to create a gift for that special someone in your life. I’ve found that people really appreciate the effort you put in when you use a video over a physical item. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

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3D in AE

 

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After Effects has been the industry leading compositor, visual effects, and motion graphics application since its early days back in 1993. Back then, it was known as CoSA. This application has been used on small and large scale projects by post professionals across the world. Aside from that, After Effects by far has one of the largest communities than any other post production application on the market. One of the unique things about After Effects is that it can “interact” with 3D elements, but it is still a 2.5D application. In the last 21 years, this application can now handle the 3D pipeline thanks to third party developers and companies like Maxon. I want to highlight some of the third party plugins available to help you get 3D objects and/or text into After Effects.

Zaxwerks

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Founded by Zax Dow, Zaxwerks provides a plethora of 3D plugins for AE that can handle just about any 3D pipeline. Used by news broadcast and high end production companies, Zaxwerks’ two biggest plugins are ProAnimator and 3D Invigorator. ProAnimator provides the user with real-time 3D rendering, raytracing capabilities, image based lighting, real time ambient occlusion, and much more. 3D Invigorator has 3D text, modeling creation/import, and animation capabilities. Some of the difference between Invigorator and ProAnimator is that 3D Invigorator uses the AE keyframe system, as well as AE camera, whereas ProAnimator has its own integrated 3D animation system. It comes as a plugin for After Effects as well as a standalone application. It’s currently in its 8th version with more features being added per update. It currently retails for $499. In my opinion, I believe these are great plugins for creating incredible 3D animations as seen in their gallery. However, with limited training and a very small community embracing it, it doesn’t get as much praise as it should. Hopefully, that should change in the coming months.

Element 3D

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The 3D object plugin from VFX and AE guru Andrew Kramer, Element 3D was a plugin so revolutionary that it changed how artists handled the 3D pipeline. This plugin can not only import 3D models from popular 3D applications, but can also do much more. You can take a model of a a few buildings and duplicate it to create a city with little effort. This plugin also simplifies the animation process using its own render engine, in addition to taking advantage of After Effects motion blur and camera abilities. This plugin possesses the ability to easily create 3D text using text layers and masks for the basis. What makes this plugin so popular for 3D work, is the fact that it was used on creating the credits for Star Trek Into the Darkness. They also provide extensive training, taking you into the depths of the plugin. On top of that, it costs $149 with model packs ranging from $99-$200. I’ve used this plugin to create my new intro, and its updates make it a must have plugin for any artist. It’s currently in its 1.6 version, but will see a V2 update shortly.

Cineware

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Cineware is the new plugin for After Effects CC, and allows users to import Cinema 4D scenes into After Effects. This plugin helps improve the 3D workflow, when, normally, users would have to export high resolution scenes from Cinema 4D to do further compositing inside After Effects. Dropping Cinema 4D scenes into After Effects allows users to interact with the scene as well as integrate into an AE composition. This plugin is available for Adobe Creative Cloud users, but the fact that something like this exist now only opens the door for new users of both programs. As great as the concept of this plugin is, it’s far from perfect. If you intend to use Cineware, you should have a beefy laptop or desktop, as well as a high end graphics card for those intense C4D scenes. There are plugins available for helping deal with Cinema 4D scenes, such as Cineware Proxy, which helps to speed up the workflow. I believe that the Adobe AE and Maxon teams give a bright light into After Effects’s future. I can only see things getting better with time.

Overall, these are some of the options for dealing with true 3D in After Effects. There are other options out there, but these three are currently the most popular of the bunch. Obviously, you can fake 3D in After Effects in a variety of ways, but with each new update, After Effects becomes stronger and more efficient for dealing with compositing, motion graphics, and 3D.

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Sports Motion Graphics Companies

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I’m always enamored with the work that is done by those who create sports motion graphics. The time and effort it takes to bring these animations to life is incredible. From having to rotoscope athletes from games, build 3D environments with a variety of software, and tie it together to the aesthetic of a particular piece is nothing short of extraordinary. I want to share a few motion graphics companies I’ve come across who create fantastic motion graphics. Scattered across the world, the artists in these companies are responsible for creating memorable work that will be talked about for years.

Troika

 

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Based in Los Angeles and founded in 2001, Troika is a brand consultancy and creative agency which specializes in entertainment and sports media for clients around the world. Their clients include HBO, A&E, the CW, EA Sports, the LA Lakers, and much more. They are responsible for a lot of the branding elements you may have seen on television, movie theaters, and live events. When Troika works with a brand (especially a sports brand), they add a creative and invigorating feel that leaves many in awe. The talent that this agency possesses is second to none. Take a look at the work they’ve done for Time Warner Cable and NBC Sports below.

Big Studios

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Big Studios Inc. is a Canadian graphics/visual effects agency responsible for creating large scale network graphics for clients that include the NFL, MLB, CBS, and ESPN. With a talented team of over 15 people, this agency is responsible for the motion graphics you’ve seen on previous Super Bowls, as well as the graphics for Monday Night Football. You can admire their work below. I guarantee that it will leave you with envy.

 

Cake Studios

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Based in Burbank, CA, Cake Studios s a full service creative house offering extensive experience in branding, design, animation, and management of the creative process for clients around the world. Their clients include Fox Sports, the Denver Broncos, Golf Central, and CBS. From show intros, bumpers, and overlays, Cake Studios is on top of their game with stunning motion graphics. Aside from the U.S. clients they deal with, Cake Studios has also produced content for clients across the world. Take a look at their amazing work here.

 

PhotoElectric

 

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PhotoElectric is one of the newer post production houses that specializes in sports motion graphics. Founded in 2011 and based in South Carolina, they have done work for Fox Sports, ESPN, the Carolina Panthers, and the NHL. Comprised of a team of four talented individuals, along with freelancers, PhotoElectric have been able to create show packages, show intros, commercial spots, and more. Although they’ve only been around for three years, the combined amount of experience in this group is about 30 years. Check out their exciting work below.

 

I strongly recommend you check out each of these companies out on their websites, as well as Vimeo. You can also look at other companies through Graphics Mafia, which showcases the work of sports motion graphics artists. It’s companies like these that I turn to get inspired on my work, and I’m sure you will find yourself in awe, as well as inspired, once you see what they each offer.

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