Nodes 2 from Yanobox

Nodes-2_Packshot-+-Hosts

Avengers. Ender’s Game. Iron Man 3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes. These are just a few films that have had the opportunity to utilize the plugin known as Nodes. With the release of Nodes 2, Yanobox has upped the ante with what this plugin can do. This motion graphic tool can import 3D models, interact with the After Effects camera, link text and images to individual nodes, and so much more. The best part is it supports the most popular editing and compositing programs on the market including: After Effects, Motion, Final Cut Pro X, and Premiere Pro. If you don’t believe how awesome and intricate this plugin is, take a look at this demo below:

I’ve had a chance to try out Nodes 2 myself and I was extremely impressed with how quickly I was able to pick it up. Here are a few quick examples of what I was able to create on my own, which to my surprise, rendered very quickly on my iMac. On top of that, I like that I can create certain animations with ease compared to plugins like Trapcode Form or Particular.

Overall, Nodes 2 is an incredible plugin that needs to be experienced firsthand to admire its depth. With this plugin, I am able to create breathtaking and stylized motion graphics that would require multiple plugins and tinkering to achieve the look Nodes can create effortlessly. I’ve always been a fan of the Yanobox plugins, and this Nodes sequel more than lives up to its predecessor. I like how the controls are easy to experiment with, as well as the presets. The presets provide a great starting point and can be manipulated at will. The fine folks of Noise Industries have provided very detailed tutorials for your favorite software application, which you can check out here:

If you are looking for a plugin that imports stunning 3D models, build networks of node structures, and allows you to create an limitless amount of text and image connections, then look no further than Yanobox Nodes 2. At the price of $299, it’s a no brainer purchase that will save you hours of work and allow you to explore more creative depths than you can imagine.

Sound Effects

Text Styles & Animations in AE

after_effects_cs51

One of the things that has me coming to After Effects quite often is its ability to handle text. Within this program, stylizing and animating text has infinite amount of possibilities. I can make text animate in intricate ways. No matter the situation, creating text in After Effects is one of the reasons it is an industry standard software. I want to highlight the animation capabilities of After Effects as well as break down layer styles which can help you create amazing styles.

Layer Styles Breakdown

In this quick tutorial, After Effects guru Evan Abrams breaks down how layer styles work in After Effects. Similar to Photoshop, layer styles allow you to add shadows, gradients, strokes, and more. Evan explains each layer style briefly while giving a real world explanation of how it would be practical to your workflow. One of the things I like about using layer styles over filters is the ease of use with gradients on text. A lot of times, it can be a painstaking process to get gradients inside of text, so using the Gradient Overlay layer style makes it much easier. I believe this tutorial breaks down layer styles in a way that a new or seasoned user can grasp quickly.

Create Multi-Color Gradients

In this quick tutorial, Creative Congo shows us how to create multi-color gradients using layer styles and the gradient ramp filter. First, he creates the background using a solid layer and the Gradient Overlay layer style. Next, he uses multiple text layers with varying layer styles to get the look he wants. He also breaks down the shortcomings of using the Gradient Ramp filter. Moving the text layer messes with the gradient’s location, whereas using Gradient Overlay moves with the layer. Overall, this is a solid tutorial to get a unique look you can use on any project.

Understanding Text Animators

In this wonderful and in depth tutorial, Joey Korenman breaks down the intricacies of creating text animations in After Effects. Going step by step, he shows us how to create some complex animations which we can use for fun or profit. The first animation he shows us involves making your text bounce like a wave or ball. The next text animation he shows is making your text glitch out which is very popular in promos and trailers. The final animation involves making your text appear and slide from the side; which I have used a few times in my work. Overall, this is a must see tutorial for any After Effects user who wants to get a better handle on creating and customizing text animation. I highly recommend it.

Falling Kinetic Text

In this quick tutorial, Rendaa Studios shows us how to create a kinetic type animation using text animating parameters and expressions. Using text animating parameters like position, scale, and rotation, we are able to create a commonly seen kinetic animation which we could use in our workflow. Kinetic typography can be a daunting task when you first try it, and they are many ways to create the look you are looking for. I like this particular tutorial for its length of time and step by step explanation.

Here are a few videos outlining how layer styles and animations can work in your favor when using text layers in After Effects. In many projects I do, I find creating a unique text look and animation can be as time consuming as finding the perfect music track for your project. Knowing how to manipulating a layer style and text animations can definitely speed up the workflow. I recommend you watch these videos to master text layers in After Effects.

Royalty Free Music

4 Features Wanted in Next Premiere Pro CC Updates

Premiere Pro CS6

I’ve been a professional editor for over seven years now and I have had the chance to do both linear and non linear editing. I remember the days of getting footage off tape, dealing with decks on livecast shoots, and more. However, I used the NLEs of the A-Team players (Avid, Adobe, Apple) and they have all come a long way. These days, I lean more towards being a Premiere Pro editor with a good understanding of Final Cut Pro X. I’m extremely impressed with the progress Premiere has made over the last five years, and I can’t wait to see more. I do, however, have some features I would like to see in future releases of Premiere Pro.

Title Tool Revamp

I have used the title tool in Avid Media Composer as well as the one in Final Cut Pro legacy. Both title tools provide less than optimal conditions for simple edits. Final Cut Pro X has the title tool advantage these days because everything is now a Motion Template. Premiere Pro’s title tool is slightly better than Media Composer and FCP Legacy, in my opinion. When you use the title tool in Premiere Pro, it opens up in a separate window. It allows you to create a title from scratch, utilizing the tools available, along with layer styles and a variety of templates.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.11.42 PM

My problem with the Premiere title tool is that it is not as intuitive as I would like it to be. You have limited options for creating titles, which are relegated to static looks or roll/crawling text. For some users, it can be difficult to create more complex titles because of the lack of a layer system. This is why some people resort to using Photoshop and/or After Effects to take care of their title needs, such as lower thirds, bugs, or end credits. I’m all for using the accompanying programs in the Creative Cloud, but I believe an NLE should have strong title tools. Users should only reach for Photoshop or After Effects when your title needs exceed the capabilities of the program. Here is how I would like title tool to function in future releases of Premiere. I would take a few cues from NewBlueFX Titler Pro 3. The video below showcases the ability to create a title or lower third graphic template and quickly modify it across your video. Ideally, I would like it to have a layer based system similar to Photoshop. This way, I would know when I am modifying an element, as well as have it appear as a multi-layered item in the project panel. It would be nice if they could find a way to have text animation presets similar to After Effects. I could minimize my need to go to After Effects for something that mundane. Overall, a Title Tool revamp would definitely help alleviate some of the frustrations users have when using title tool.

Dynamic Link Proxy/Live Text Evolution

I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with Dynamic Link in Premiere. It could have been my computer specs or something else, but I’ve always found that it slowed me down as opposed to just rendering what I needed from After Effects, and making updates through re-rendering. One thing I would like to see that would help users who may not have high end computers, would be a dynamic link proxy to final render option. This would work by bringing an AE composition into Premiere, changing the option to be in full resolution or proxy format, and when the changes are locked in, give the user the option to render via Media Encoder into a format of their choice. Now, I understand that would take quite a bit of code to pull off, but under the new cloud format, it definitely gives both Premiere and AE teams something to work towards. The new Live Text Templates introduced in Premiere CC 2014 definitely show the level of innovation and cohesion users can expect with After Effects and Premiere Pro. I hope the next few versions of this feature will get to the level where it can compete with Motion templates. Knowing how much professionals rely on AE templates to complete projects, Premiere will be a force to be reckoned with if it gets to this level.

Effects Panel Additions

One of the things I love about Premiere over FCP legacy is that I don’t have to double click a clip to adjust things like scale, position, rotation, or blend mode. Click it once and it shows up. I especially like what they did for the 2014 addition of Premiere Pro with Master Clip Effects. However, there are some items I would like to be added. I can only assume the Premiere Pro team is working towards the ability to move between keyframes with a keyboard shortcut. I would like the ability to have either Track Matte Key, Set Matte, or Image Matte Key as a part of the Effect Controls panel so I can easily do compositing from track to track. The benefit of this would be not solely relying on those filters, and I could more easily manage my compositing efforts when I move clips with those filters enabled.  If anything, I would place it in the same category as the opacity parameter. Another thing I would like is for the motion parameter to have similar abilities to Media Composer’s 3D Warp filter, with a hybrid allowing you to turn layers 3D in After Effects, as seen in the video below.

This would eliminate the need for the Basic 3D and flip filters, as well as allow users to do simple perspective rotation in a “3D” space. Right now, the Basic 3D filter isn’t as strong as its third party counterparts available from BorisFX, FxFactory, or GenArts. Along with the added Matte Key functionality, giving the motion parameter a hybrid of the abilities from After Effects and Media Composer would take Premiere’s animating and compositing capabilities up a notch.

More Tools in the Toolbar

I like the current tools that Premiere Pro CC 2014 has now. I can select items forward and backward with two track selection tools. I can add keyframes with the Pen Tool. I can zoom in on my timeline with the Zoom Tool. I wouldn’t mind some tools for manipulating images. A pan behind tool would allow users to move the anchor point of their image without having to use slider values. A crop tool would eliminate the crop filter altogether, and would give users the crop abilities similar to FCP 7. Overall, an addition of a few more tools would greatly help the editing process and would reduce the need for editors to make painstaking adjustments.

These are just a few features I hope to see, and with the way the various Adobe teams have been responding to their customers, it isn’t too far of stretch that this may happen in the near future. Right now, I rely on Premiere to make a living, and I have high hopes for what’s to come.

Royalty Free Music

Basics in Controlling Text Animation in After Effects

after_effects_cs51

Text animation is everywhere in film and TV. Text controls exist in nearly every post production and image manipulation software ranging from entry level NLEs such as iMovie, to Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Nuke, Cinema 4D, Maya, Avid, and more. We will be exploring After Effects today in its ability to:

  • Create and Manipulate Basic Text Form
  • Animate Text Using Position, Scale, and Rotation
  • Additional Resources and Plug Ins

CREATE AND MANIPULATE BASIC TEXT FORM

Start by creating a new COMPOSITION. Observe on the right hand side the TAB labeled CHARACTERS.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.51.28 PM

This CHARACTER WINDOW will be what we use to control the TEXT we write with. Starting from the top and working down, this window allows you to choose the FONT, line variation, color, size, spacing, stroke, height, and width.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.00.52 AM

Once you have adjusted the settings to what you feel will be the best fit, go up to the tool bar and select the TEXT TOOL (CMD+T).

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.02.19 AM

Click inside your COMPOSITION and type out your text. If you find you want to make further adjustments, highlight your text and inside the CHARACTER WINDOW you can make the necessary adjustments in order to create your desired text layout.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.07.52 AM

ANIMATE TEXT USING POSITION, SCALE, AND ROTATION

When first learning how to control text, one must learn to keyframe the text and control simple 2D functions such as Position, Scale, and Rotation. POSITION – when you have your text layer selected in the layers window, hit ‘P’ on the keyboard. Position is what controls the location of your text in the composition and how it moves throughout the timeline. In order to create a KEYFRAME, you must CLICK the STOPWATCH icon next to POSITION under your TEXT in the LAYERS WINDOW.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.12.22 AM

Once you CLICK the STOPWATCH, a yellow diamond will appear on your TIMELINE.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.13.16 AM

If you move further down the timeline, and then move your text’s POSITION in the COMPOSITION, you will notice another KEYFRAME appears on the TIMELINE marking the POSITION at that exact moment. As you add more keyframes in your composition, you will also notice a TRACK will be generated showing you where your text’s position is moving over time.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.15.17 AM

SCALE – when you have your text layer selected in the layers window, hit ‘S’ on the keyboard. Scale is what controls the size of your text throughout the timeline. For instance, if you want your text to be very small and slowly grow larger over time, you would set a keyframe early in the timeline with the scale set on a lower number, move down the timeline and increase the scale number. Depending on how close or far away the keyframes are on the timeline will dictate how fast or slow the scaling will take place.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.38.06 AM

ROTATION – when you have your text layer selected in the layers window, hit ‘R’ on the keyboard. Rotation is what controls the text’s angle throughout the timeline. If you want your text to spin and twirl as it emerges, or even simply be displayed at a 90 degree angle, then the rotation is what you need to control. Just like position and scale, rotation is controlled throughout the timeline by setting a series of keyframes. Here, rotation is measured in degrees, and as you increase the number, it will range up to 360 and then clock over to one, signifying one complete rotation, and so on.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.49.00 AM

Stay tuned as I cover more advanced techniques of animating text, including fade on and off, opacity, and using Z space to create 3D Depth and movement.

Tracking Text To An Object in After Effects CC

after_effects_cs51

Shows today like the Netflix’s Original Series House of Cards and BBC’s Sherlock are using a rather eye catching effects to show text messages on a phone without doing a close up on the phone’s display. Instead, they have the text float over the phone and is motion tracked in such a way that if the character moves, the text will smoothly follow along.

In order to achieve this effect, I will show you how to do it in three simple steps: – Tracking the Footage – Creating the Text – Linking the Text to the Tracking Data

TRACKING THE FOOTAGE

Once you first have your video footage imported into After Effects, create a new composition, and then right click on the source footage and choose TRACK MOTION.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.43.32 PM

From here you will have a single tracking point to position on your footage.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.46.26 PM

Since this effect will be linking text to a phone – the phone itself becomes the focus for tracking. As such, reposition the tracking point over a significant marking on the phone. I use the term ‘significant’ which simply means “stands out.” In the case of the footage I am using, the pink lock button located on top of the phone stands out well contrasted against the white case, giving me a significant point to track. Other examples of significant points you may want to look for include logos, buttons, or switches.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.46.52 PM

Once the tracking point is positioned, go over to your tracking controls in the lower right corner and choose ANALYZE FORWARD.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.49.36 PM

At this point, the tracking point will create an anchor point for each frame of the video footage. Once finished, you will be able to see the overall path of motion of that significant point.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.55.51 PM

In order to capture this data and make it useful for our effect, you will need to go to LAYER >> NEW >> NULL OBJECT. From there, go back to your tracker controls and choose EDIT TARGET. Set the target  you just created to the NULL OBJECT. To finish hit APPLY.

CREATING THE TEXT

Now that we have the tracked data, the next thing we need is to create the text itself. To do that, go to LAYER >> NEW >> TEXT. This creates a new layer in your layers panel. In order to edit it, you need to go over to your CHARACTER controls and choose the settings to which your text will display.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.36.55 PM

In essence this is where you choose items such as font, color, size, and scale. Once your settings fit the desired effect, you can choose your text tool from the tool bar or simply hit CMD+T for the hot key reference. Click into your source footage, and type in the text you want displayed.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.40.01 PM

LINKING THE TEXT TO THE TRACKING DATA

You have got your tracking data, and you have got your text. Now, all that is left is to marry the two together. Without linking the text to the tracking the data, when the footage begins to play, the text will stay immobile and the footage moves dynamically away from the text. To pair the two is very simple. In your layers panel, you should have three layers thus far: your source footage, your null object (with the tracking data), and your text layer. Looking at your text layer, you will notice there is a section labeled PARENT, and below it looks like a SWIRL ICON. Click and drag on the SWIRL ICON, and you will notice you are dragging a black line along with you – This action is called PICK WHIPPING.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.47.14 PM

So you will want to PICK WHIP the TEXT LAYER to the NULL OBJECT. By doing so, you are telling your text layer to follow the null object’s tracked data, thus making it so that the text follows the phone throughout the source footage.

Royalty_Free_Music_Orange_468_60_Yellow_Dress_zps3d728d61

Creating 3D Text in Cinema 4D (C4D to AE pt.1)

C4D_Logo

This is the first of a series of blog posts explaining how to create basic 3D forms and composite them into your After Effects CC program.

Included in the numerous upgrades with Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of programs, After Effects CC is now built with a plug in to import and interpret 3D footage from Cinema 4D. But what exactly are these programs and how can they be used in the world of post production? Well in the grand scheme of things, Cinema 4D is a phenomenal program for creating, shaping, coloring, and giving physics to three-dimensional objects. After Effects CC is first and foremost a motion graphics program for creating animations and graphics however has evolved more into a compositing program over time. Compositing is the process of putting together the post production pieces (3D models, VFX, matte paintings, and the source footage) into one final image. Now with the new Cinema 4D plug in After Effects CC you can easily composite your 3D models into your source footage with extreme levels of control and detail. However, in order for you to import your model into After Effects you first need to create a model in Cinema 4D. If you are new to the world of 3D one of the easiest things to learn to first create is 3D text, and I am going to show you how to do it in 3 simple steps:

  • Using a Freehand Spline to Create Your Text
  • Using NURBS to Give Your Text 3 Dimensions
  • Adding Materials and Refining the Look

Using a Freehand Spline to Create Your Text

At first glance all the icons and tools can appear daunting, however in time you will come to discover the logical pattern in which they have been organized and find confidence in your usage of the application. For right now we are only going to focus on two icons along the top bar. The first one is the Freehand Spline tool which appears to be an inverted blue ‘S’ symbol. If you click and hold on the icon a drop down menu will appear with all the types of Freehand tools you can create with. You will want to choose the ‘A’ symbol for the TEXT tool.

USE image 1

Once you select the TEXT FREEHAND tool you will notice a placeholder text will appear on your canvas.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.16.55 PM

 

To control this text and change it to want you want go over to the ATTRIBUTES panel located in the lower right of your layout. Under OBJECT PROPERTIES you will first see the TEXT attribute and a box which you can populate with your own words and phrases.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.19.54 PM

 

Using NURBS to Give Your Text 3 Dimensions

Now that you have your text saying just what you want it to, you have to give it some depth. To do this we are going to use NURBS (non uniform rational b-spline) to help us achieve this effect. To the right of the FREEHAND SPLINE icon is a green box icon which is labelled as the HyperNURBS OBJECT, click and hold down, and choose EXTRUDE NURBS.

USE Image 2

 

By definition, extrude means to “thrust or force out,” which is exactly what we are going to be doing with our text — we are going to force it out and mold a 2D form into a 3D form. Initially, when you select EXTRUDE NURBS you will notice that nothing has occurred to your text spline. This is because if you direct your attention over to the OBJECTS panel in the upper right of your window you will notice that the Text form and the NURBS are two separate items — they need to be combined together.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.30.31 PM

To do this all you have to do is click and drag your text object onto the NURBS object in the OBJECTS panel.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.31.50 PM

You will notice immediately that your text has taken on a crude 3D form that we can now mold as we see fit.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.32.40 PM

 

Adding Materials and Refining the Look

There are numerous preset materials that come built in with the Cinema 4D program. To  apply one to our text go to the MATERIALS panel near the bottom of the program and go to FILE >> LOAD MATERIAL PRESET >> choose the material you want. Once the material is chosen you will see it has been added to the Materials panel.

USE image 3

 

To add it to our text simply click and drag the material onto the EXTRUDE NURBS.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 11.38.37 PM

 

If you hit COMMAND + R on your keyboard it will create a quick render of your text showing you the clarity of your material.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 11.42.05 PM

 

From there all that’s left is refining the text form itself. To do that go over to the EXTRUDE NURBS object in the OBJECTS PANEL, choose it, and go down to the ATTRIBUTES PANEL. Here you will see various tabs for modification — BASIC, COORD, OBJECT, CAPS, PHONG. By going through each of these tabs we will be presented with various sliders and adjustments to tweak and mold our font form to what you want including font type, depth, angle, caps, and more.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 11.50.06 PM

 

Royalty_Free_Music_Orange_468_60_Yellow_Dress_zps3d728d61