General Specialist


Daily News and Podcasts from NAB 2007

I guess I'm the only one stuck at home. Thankfully, everyone who's at NAB 2007 is reporting so here's a few of the podcats and sites I check everyday during the event.

Please add a comment if you have any tips for other good sources!

fxguide Excellent podcast and daily reporting with in-depth knowledge

This Week in Media At bit Apple-fanboyish, and what happened to the "daily NAB reports?"

Digital Production Buzz The veteran of podcasting and daily NAB reports.

FreshDV Ambitious video coverage (16 videos to date)

Digital Content Producer blog

Studio Daily news

Toolfarm podcast

Apple News from NAB

Adobe NAB presentations

- Jonas

Photo by Tiffany Babylon

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OpenEXR in After Effects CS3: Open Source Plugin Imports/Exports All Channels in Float

This brings tears to my eyes; a free plugin that will let you import, rearrange and use all the available channels in OpenEXR files into After Effects CS3 float projects. Brendan Bolles has kindly provided the world with a beta version of a set of four 32 bpc-aware plugins, complete with a sample project and a 49-channel OpenEXR image.

As always; read the installation instructions, you need to disable AE's own format plugin, and then drop the four new ones into the same folder.

On OS X you need to rename the default OpenEXR plugin so it has this character in the beginning of the file name: ¬
The path to the plugins folder on OS X is:
/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS3/Plug-ins/Format/

On Windows XP and Windows Vista, the path to the correct folder is:
%PROGRAM_FILES%\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CS3\Support Files\Plug-ins\Format\
where you rename the OpenEXR.aex file to (OpenEXR.aex)

Make sure you send a Brendan a thank-you-email (and bug reports) to the address included in the readme file!

Update: Sadly, many 3D packages can't render multichannel OpenEXRs, at least not without modification. It isn't possible in Cinema4D R10.102, which will output every channel as a separate file. If you want this feature to be added, let the developers know: Cinema 4D Feature Request form

Houdini, Blender, Lightwave and 3ds max (both via mental ray and the standalone renderer Brazil r/s) can render to multi-channel OpenEXRs. With some mr wrangling they can apparently be produced with mental ray from Maya and XSI, as well.

- Jonas

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CS3 Help is Online with User-added Tips and Comments

This might not seem as sexy as some of the other new features of Adobe's CS3 suite, but the entire help files for all the new applications are now accessible on the web. But the coolest part isn't a continually updated and refined manual that is searchable, it is that you can add your own comments, links and tricks into the help file so that the community can extend the support documents way beyond what the technical writers at Adobe could ever dream of. Every section even has a fixed URL so it's easy to link to specific info, which is great.

Here's an example of the ever-frank Mylenium arguing with Adobe's technical writer Todd Kopriva over a formulation, which seems to be setting a standard as to Adobe's level of openness to criticism:

Another feature is that you can sign up to get an email as soon as a specific page is updated, but even better: there's also a RSS feed (but the link to the feed only seems to show up once there's a comment on the page.) Also, I'd really like to see an "Updated pages" feed per application.

Online help for the CS3 products (use the drop-down menu to the left to access the different applictions)
- Jonas



Public Beta of After Effects and Premiere Pro Available Now

The rumors leaked a couple of weeks ago, but the public betas of After Effects CS3 and Premiere Pro CS3 are now available, beginning today, for both Windows and OS X.

The normally bundled third-party effects (Keylight, Cycore Effects, and Color Finesse) are not included in the preview. Also, a very important note (apart from that this is still beta software that might cause you do loose work and files) is that as usual the project files saved in the CS3 version will not open in After Effects 7.0.1 or any prior versions.

Here's the release notes for After Effects CS3. Discuss and ask questions in the new Adobe After Effects CS3 Forum, but please look at the list of new features first.

Please note that Adobe recommends that you uninstall the Photoshop CS3 Beta and Soundbooth Beta 1 and Beta 2 prior to installing the After Effects CS3 beta. Uninstalling After Effects CS3 Professional Preview will disable the Adobe Photoshop CS3 Beta, uninstall Adobe Bridge, and disable Adobe Device Central. Running the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta installer in repair mode will fix these problems.

You must request a new serial number by entering a valid and legitimate serial number for After Effects 7.0 Standard or Professional (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Production Studio Standard and Premium (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Video Bundle (full, upgrade, and education) or Adobe Web Bundle (full, upgrade, and education).

The Premiere Pro CS3 public beta version doesn't require a previous serial number, but it has some limitations in functionality, such as lack of HDV capture and editing (which will be included in the final version, of course.)

The list of new features for Premiere Pro CS3 isn't too long this time, since most of the focus has been on releasing a brand new Mac Intel version (the system requirements for OS X is a multi-core or multiple-CPU Intel Mac, so older PPC hardware is not supported.)
There's a forum for the Premiere Pro CS3 version as well.

- Jonas

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The Best Graphics Training Available Enters Term 4

If you only give yourself one thing this year, here's my advice: sign up for the new term of fxphd, the highest-level graphics training available online. Term 4 is just about to start (even though you can sign up later) with a bunch of interesting classes lined up. Not only do you get great classes, you also get real-world footage to work with (like 1080P motion control passes of miniatures shot by the DoP of "Superman Returns") that you can use on your showreel.

I've been a member since term 1, and even though I haven't been able to follow all the classes (the day only has 24 hours) my collection of classes is safely backup up on several drives, as I plan on keeping them for reference for a long time. I've even put them all on my iPod so I can learn something new every day.

Trust me, this is the best $300 you'll ever spend!

Complete Term Course Listing
  • AFX221 - After Effects Design and More
  • BKD204 - Background Fundamentals
  • DRW201 - Character Drawing and Development
  • FCP211 - Intermediate Final Cut Pro II
  • FLM101 - Introduction to Flame
  • FLM201 - Introduction to Expressions
  • MAX101 - 3DS Max for Compositors
  • MAX201 - Advanced Rendering and Mental Ray
  • MYA203 - Intermediate Maya III
  • PNT201 - Matte Painting Production Techniques
  • PSD203 - Photoshop CS3
  • SHK101 - Introduction to Shake
  • SHK201 - Intermediate Shake I
  • RTO201 - Rotoscoping Techniques
  • TOX101 - Introduction to Toxik I
  • TOX102 - Introduction to Toxik II
When you sign up, please enter "humlan" in your sign-up form under "Referring Member," which will give me access to an extra class (hmm, should I take the "Silhouette Roto" class or the "Matte Painting" class?)

fxphd tour movie

Podcast that discusses the different classes

- Jonas

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