General Specialist

2011-01-27

Show Reel 2011 Posted



A quick collection of some of my broadcast work for SVT, including motion graphics, design, 3D, time-lapse photography, set design, virtual sets, visual effects and more. You can view it in full SD resolution on Vimeo.


- Jonas

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2010-04-10

See What I Find at NAB 2010




I'm at the NAB 2010 show all week, and want to share what I find. Head over to http://generalspecialist.posterous.com/ where I'll post everything that's worth seeing!

PS. If you're at NAB, give me a call at +46-733-970000 or check my Twitter feeds at @hummelstrand and @CasparCG

- Jonas

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Just Released: Free and Open Source Broadcast Graphics Server

Free and Open SourceWe’ve finally released the new version 1.8.0b4 of the CasparCG system, a broadcast graphics system that plays QuickTime and Flash out to SDI, HD-SDI, HDMI and DVI.
Download installers, source code and tools from http://casparcg.com/

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2010-01-20

Great stroll down After Effects' memory lane

Thanks to Matt Silverman for posting this great video with an informal talk by three of the engineers of Adobe After Effects.

SFMOGRAPH - After Effects Team from Matt Silverman on Vimeo.



- Jonas

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2008-12-11

Patches for After Effects CS4 and Premiere Pro CS4



Don't miss the updates!

After Effects 9.0.1 patch for Mac OS X
After Effects 9.0.1 patch for Windows
Read me file (PDF)

Premiere Pro 4.0.1 patch for Mac OS X
Premiere Pro 4.0.1 patch for Windows
Read me file (PDF)


Here's the goodies from the read me files:


Notable fixes in the Adobe After Effects CS4 9.0.1 patch:

  • Miscellaneous performance improvements with MediaCore video formats.
  • General improvements to Dynamic Link workflows.
  • Mocha AE doesn’t read v210 QuickTime files correctly. (49015)
  • On some systems, the application may suspend rendering when the display turns off due
    to power management or screen saver settings. (49146)
  • All Render Queue items are removed when opening or importing a saved project in which the first item has no comment, but other Render Queue items have comments. (49186)
  • Crash using “Open Layer” when multiple layers are selected if one of the selected layers does not have a source or has a collapsed transformation. (49207)
  • Auto-save is marking a project as saved; user can close project without being prompted to save changes, and multiprocessing can return old frames. (49209)
  • (Windows only) Custom eyedroppers in keying effects pick up wrong colors when clicked in custom thumbnail. (49248)
  • Exposure effect: negative offset values render garbage/underflow in 8bpc and 16bpc. (49294)
  • Puppet Tool: For a 3D layer, results are being clipped to layer bounds. (49267)
  • Importing a still sequence via Recent Footage imports only a single still instead of a sequence. (49265)
  • For some OpenGL effects in 32bpc projects, overbright colors are getting clipped.(1893997)
  • When the “Write XMP IDs to Files on Import” option is selected, MediaCore playback can make some files appear out of sync. (1880742)
  • Application may appear to hang for several minutes “Reading XMP markers from footage” (status message) with files that contain deeply nested metadata. (1874477)



New in the Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 4.0.1 patch:
  • OMF export
  • Final Cut Pro import
  • Edit in Audition (Windows only)
  • Surcode support
  • AAF import and export
  • High quality motion
  • Third-party support


Notable fixes in the Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 4.0.1 patch:
  • Attempting to trim locked tracks results in a crash (#1888355)
  • Crash on Win and error on Mac when using Numpad-Asterisk keys to generate marker when
    playing in Program Pane when Effect Controls pane is closed (#1890626)
  • Crash when the Metadata panel is brought into focus when a DVCPro HD clip is selected
    (#1884633)
  • When a filter/search is applied in the Metadata Panel and then a different asset is selected, the
    filter does not update (#1876954)
  • Custom schema causes Adobe Premiere Pro to crash performing many basic operations,
    starting with New Project (#1888938)
  • Render of transition in imported EDL-based sequence fails; on Mac, causes application to hang
    indefinitely, user must be force-quit application (#1873434)
  • After ASND is saved, an effect is always ON if it turns OFF while playing (#1864978)
  • Crash when attempting to load a project that contains a composition if headless Adobe
    Premiere Pro is serving Adobe After Effects (#1871578)
  • Exporting video as MPEG 4 will create a video file that imports at the incorrect length
    (#1851063)
  • Trimming both ends of a clip, then moving the clip will cause looped playback to be silent, or
    only playback portions of the clip (#1868409)
  • When exporting a timeline containing cuepoints, deleting a cue point via AME Batch-> Export
    Settings, the cue point is still present in the output file (#1866690)
  • Playing an audio-only file in the source monitor will cause the application to lock up (#1887330)
  • Exporting any MT session as 24bit WAV leads to garbled audio – Mac only (#1881684)
  • Adobe Premiere Pro allocates too much memory and reads too much data from disk when
    loading project files on the Mac (#1890579)
  • With camera connected, opening clip from Timeline into Source and selecting File  Debug
    results in a serious error (#1889197)
  • Export to tape is active from DVCPRO HD sequences (#1863718)
  • Application intermittently crashes when exporting a movie (#1868405)
  • Render and Replace of offline clips takes over 20 minutes (#1885273)
  • Application crashes when cancelling “Normalize Audio Track” dialog (#1887615)
  • When an AVCHD clip is inserted into a DV timeline with Scale to Frame Size applied, rendered
    previews of the clip show artifacts during Timeline playback (#1863988)
  • Using scale to frame size in a timeline lowers output quality and softens detail and sharpness;
    typing in scale attributes manually or using Adobe After Effects produces much better results
    (#1527669)
  • Multiplexed MPEG files exported to HD size and then imported back in to Adobe Premiere Pro
    show up as 601 color space instead of 709 color space and hence the colors of the imported
    files are off (#1852977)

Known issues in the Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 4.0.1 patch:
  • Important note: if you are using the Elemental Technologies RapiHD plug-in, you must update
    to the latest version in order to use Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 4.0.1. You can update the plug-in
    by visiting the Elemental Technologies web page: http://www.rapihd.com/?q=node/129.
  • Re-installing Adobe Premiere Pro CS4.0.0 after it has been patched will generate an error
    dialog at the end of the installation. This dialog can be ignored.
  • Uninstalling Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 after CS4 is installed will result in AME exports in CS4 to
    fail with ‘Could not read from the source’. Creating a shortcut named Premiere alongside the
    dynamiclinkmanager.exe that points to the Premiere.exe will fix the problem.
  • When converting Final Cut Pro project with Color correction applied, the color correction will be
    incorrect within Adobe Premiere Pro.
  • When converting Final Cut Pro project with Bins, the bins do not appear in Adobe Premiere Pro
    unless selected in the Final Cut Pro xml export.
  • Multicamera enable sequence with HDV clips does not playback as normal; severe drop frame
    or stopping playback occurs
  • Audio in a nested 16 channel sequence does not simultaneously playback all of its audio tracks
    in the Source Monitor.
  • File>Adobe Dynamic Link>Send to Encore selection is available when a 16 channel sequence
    is selected; however, Adobe Encore does not support 16 channel sequences.
  • File>Export>Export to OMF... selection is grayed when the Audio Mixer Panel is selected on the
    Mac.
  • File>Export>Export to EDL... selection is grayed when the Audio Mixer Panel is selected on the
    Mac.
  • 5.1 sequences use output mapping from the stereo channel column of the Preferences>Audio
    Output Mapping dialog when the audio device selected from the Map Output for menu has less
    than 6 channels.
  • All 16 channels of a 16 channel sequence are summed to mono without attenuation when
    exported as media when Audio>Basic Audio Settings>Channels is set to Mono.
  • Both odd and even numbered channels of a 16 channel sequence are summed to both stereo
    channels when exported as media when Audio>Basic Audio Settings>Channels is set to Stereo.
  • 16-channel selection does not appear in the Export Settings dialog Basic Audio Settings
    Channels menu when a 16-channel sequence is selected.
  • All channels of a 16 channel sequence are summed to Ls, Rs and Center channels when
    exported as media when Audio>Basic Audio Settings>Channels is set to 5.1.
  • Setting the Optimize Rendering preference to “Memory” is highly recommended when Max
    Quality or Max Bit Depth rendering is on. These settings are designed for high performance
    systems. Please check Adobe Online Support for recommended system requirements.
  • Loading an existing project with a P2 sequence that is missing media may cause a crash.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro crashes when importing AAF from Avid if it contains references to clips
    with OMF audio (WAVE or AIFF).
  • AAF may not provide consistent results for complex projects in formats other than DV or HDV.
- Jonas

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RED Finally Cuts in Adobe Apps


While RED has published a picture of the Premiere Pro 1.0 box on their RED Adobe CS4 Installer (beta) page, you'll actually need the newly released version 4.0.1 of Premiere Pro CS4 and version 9.0.1 of After Effects CS4.

The system requirements aren't exactly designed for the famed "soccer mom's" of this world; you'll need to have a 3.0 GHz quad-core system, at least 8 GB of RAM and a 64-bit OS such as OS X or Vista 64 if you want to work comfortably, but using lower resolutions with lesser machines will work as well.

Dave Helmly has posted a video workflow (but could someone please help the guy with the design?)

- Jonas

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2008-10-09

Learn VFX from the Masters of the Universe


The world's best supervisors including John Knoll, Scott Squires, John Dykstra, Pablo Helman, Dennis Murren, Mike Fink, Ken Ralson and Kim Libreri are part of a course in the new term at fxphd.com. Imagine learning stuff from the people behind such milestones as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars I to VI, Wargames, Back to the Future, The Abyss, Indiana Jones, Terminator 2 & 3, The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more of the films that have shaped the last decades.


You already know how much I can recommend fxphd, and the new term is even better than the last one. Make sure you look at the overview movie.

Here's a complete list of available courses. The term starts on October 13 2008, but you can join later and have access to all the classes you've signed up for.

I've been swamped with work, so I still have a couple of courses left from the last term to watch (a tip: convert the classes so you can watch them on a portable media player of your choice; I watch classes in bed while waiting for the kids to fall asleep.)

This new term I'll be taking the DIT course, the new RED course and either Mark Christiansen's AE course or Tim Clapham's AE+C4D course. I wish I had time to dig into the Fusion course as well, but we'll see how it goes.


Oh, if you enter humlan in the Referring Member field on the signup page, I'll get an extra class, which would be really nice. Thanks in advance!

- Jonas

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2008-08-16

After Effects CS4 Will Not Work on PPC Macs

The next version of After Effects (CS4) is dropping support for PPC Macs. While this may upset some people, I think it's better to spend development effort on new features and an improved software rather than supporting legacy hardware.

A cheap PC or Mac that will run AE just as fast or faster than an old top-of-the-line PPC Mac costs under $600. If you don't want to upgrade your hardware you'll need to stay on After Effects CS3 (but remember it won't be sold anymore once CS4 is shipping.)

Read more about the reasoning behind focusing on the newer platforms on Product Manager Michael Coleman's blog.

- Jonas
Photo by Dan Dickinson

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2008-08-13

Importing RED (.r3d) Files Into After Effects CS3 and Premiere Pro CS3

UPDATE 2: It's been a long wait, but it now looks like the plugins will be released on Nov 20th 2008.

UPDATE: Here's a sneak peak from Adobe with RED including workflow videos.

According to Jim Jannard of RED, they will soon release a plug-in that will let users of Adobe After Effects CS3 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 import the raw files from the RED camera(s).

- Jonas

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2008-04-09

Don't Miss the New Term at fxphd.com

Regular readers know I'm a big fan of fxphd.com and that you can't get any more current and professional training even for ten times the price. I've been a member from the start, and the things I've picked up from the past seven terms come in useful every day in my work.

I'm hoping to shoot a documentary in the fall, and can with confidence say "I really think we should rent a Red One for this shoot" based on that I know I have both fxphd's training and forum discussions to lean on for figuring out the workflow. Priceless...

Last term Tim Clapham held a great course on motion graphics in After Effects, and this term he's in charge of a Cinema 4D course. And the creator of 250 HD effects shots in 5 months holds an After Effects course.

I really enjoyed the Photography for VFX course last term which is repeated this term, and I am happy to see a SynthEyes course that I will definitely take.

Here's a complete list of available courses. The term starts on April 14 2008, but you can join later and have access to all the classes you've signed up for.

If you want to know more about fxphd, take a look at the fxphd Tour Movie. There's also a great FAQ and the Orientation Week movie (torrent link) that covers all the upcoming classes.

Oh, if you enter humlan in the Referring Member field on the signup page, I'll get an extra class, which would be really nice. Thanks in advance!

- Jonas

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2008-03-06

Locking After Effects' Layers So They Can't Be Moved

UPDATE:You can lock the position with a script put together by Jalea. If you want to lock more properties, Jeff Almasol (scripter extraordinaire) pointed out that Nab has a script that locks/unlocks all properties. Also, check out his plug-in experiments and scripting experiments. Truly amazing!

**********************************

When you lock a layer in After Effects, you don't just lock the position; you can't do anything with it at all. This is particularly frustrating when you have Adjustment layers, Solids and Mattes where you want to tweak effects but you definitely don't want the layer to be nudged (which is easily done just by selecting it.)

This is often a problem in complex compositions where you can spend hours figuring out what went wrong when you accidentally moved a layer. Users of node-based compositing program (i.e. almost all others, like Shake, Fusion, and Nuke) find this extra irritating since this never happens when you work with nodes.

Here's how to make sure your layers can't be moved:
  • Select the layer you want to save from accidental moves.

  • Hit P on your keyboard to reveal the Position property.


  • Hold down the Alt or Option key and click the stopwatch to create an expression on the Position property.


  • Look at the current position values for the layer, and enter the same values like this, depending on if it is a 2D or 3D layer:


  • Click outside the layer, or hit the Enter key on your numerical keypad.

If you animate masks and rotoscoping, this is almost a must-use tip, since AE is so sensitive to where you click on mask handles.

- Jonas

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2008-02-07

QuickTime 7.4.1 Fixes Rendering Bug

Those who were too fast to upgrade to QuickTime 7.4 were bitten by rendering problems, not only in After Effects, but also in RED and even Final Cut Pro. Apple just posted a patch that is designed specifically to fix these issues:
However, I'll still stay on QuickTime 7.3 (I even have a machine on 7.1.3.) I mean; who wants to find out what other surprises Apple has in store for us?

Also, don't miss John Montgomery's article Pro Living in a Consumer QuickTime World.

- Jonas

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2008-01-17

After Effects 8.0.2 Update Available Now

The update just went live via Adobe Updater (choose Update... from within a CS3 application) or via the web (8.0.2 for OS X and 8.0.2 for Windows) but before you do, please note that you should avoid QuickTime 7.4 at all cost, since the iTunes DRM causes rendering errors in all versions of After Effects.

Important installation note: Quit all web browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera etcetera) before running the updater, and stop yourself from starting any web browsers while the update is running. This is because the browsers lock certain Flash components that must be updated.

If you have created your own interpretation rules (by editing the interpretation rules.txt file) you need to copy and paste those into a new file, as detailed in this article: Custom interpretation rules don't work after the After Effects 8.0.2 update is applied.

If you have been having gamma shift issues (QuickTime renderings appearing darker or lighter compared to inside AE,) the 8.0.2 patch tries to circumvent these QuickTime issues by not following Apple's guidelines so strictly and instead applying different meta tags depending on what QT codec is use (matching the quirks in Apple's own products that don't follow the standard.) More about these gamma issues.

New features in 8.0.2:
Work with Panasonic P2 video


Here's the goodies from the Read Me file:

Noteable fixes in After Effects 8.0.2:
  • On Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard), Dynamic Link didn't work correctly in Premiere Pro when switching between UI and non-UI versions of After Effects. Fixed. (5482671/W1610284)
  • On Mac OS, clicking a folder alias in an import or replace file dialog box in All Acceptable Files or All Footage Files mode displayed a “Can’t import file” error. Fixed. (45378)
  • On Mac OS, OpenGL and hardware acceleration used all VRAM on the GPU until the driver failed, causing display corruption of the OS and After Effects, or possible crash. Fixed. (44855)
  • On Mac OS X v10.5 on PowerPC with OpenGL enabled, received an error "composition too complex..." on NVIDIA GeForce 6800 graphics card. Fixed. (45295)
  • On Mac OS with OpenGL enabled and project in 32bpc mode, colors were dropped. Fixed. (45475)
  • PSD layers didn't import properly from PSD files with layer groups. Fixed. (45320)
  • Crash when saving a project with a custom output simulation when output profile is the project's working color space. Fixed. (45404)
  • On Mac OS with OpenGL enabled, better memory management on low memory cards. (45492)
  • Fixed support for AJA's QuickTime codec suite. (45351)
  • On Mac OS X v10.5: After Effects dock icon was not updated while RAM previewing: the progress bar appeared on the AE icon after RAM preview starts and it stayed on. Fixed. (45791)
  • When Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously was enabled, there was a significant pause >12 sec, on an 8 core, 16gb Mac between when RAM preview finished building and when it started playback. Fixed. (45181)
  • When you import a PSD file with vector masks inside layer groups using the import Composition - Cropped Layers/Layer size option; the PS vector masks are no longer offset from their original location. (45319)
  • If you import a PSD file with Photoshop shape layers into After Effects 7, save the project, and then open that project in After Effects CS3, the masks created from the Photoshop vector masks are no longer scaled up to fill the composition. (45341)
  • Linear light footage setting is now preserved cross-platform. (45653)
  • When animating type to drift slowly, the tops of the type (when moving vertically) and side (when moving horizontally) of the letters were clipped on every other frame. Fixed. (45898)
  • Low-end laptops that don't meet minimum OpenGL requirements crash on quit in some cases. Fixed. (45937)
  • Adaptive motion blur for layers in collapsed compositions was based on the local speed in the composition, rather than the effective speed---so static layers only got two samples of blur even if the precomposition layer was moving fast in the containing composition. Fixed. (45967)
  • Preserve Underlying Transparency is no longer ignored when layer styles are applied. (45974)
  • Layers that are inside of a PSD layer set no longer have the layer set's opacity applied twice. (45975)
  • Photoshop clipping group was applied twice on import. Fixed. (45976)
  • Layers inside a PSD layer set with a mode other than "pass through" were cropped to document bounds rather than reflecting layer data. Fixed. (45977)
  • Footage conformed to a higher frame rate left footage frozen on a frame before the end is reached. Fixed. (45986)
  • After Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously was enabled, After Effects CS3 would show high CPU activity even when idle. Fixed. (45993)
  • QuickTime gamma handling scheme broke WYSIWYG color management workflow common to video users. Fixed. (46027)
  • QuickTime footage that imports with SDTV/HDTV profile will be assigned an sRGB profile on Power PC, or with the "Match Legacy After Effects QuickTime Gamma Adjustments" option checked on any platform. (46032)
  • After Effects CS3 v8.0.2 fixes Mac OpenGL support for supported video cards under OS X v10.4.10 and v10.5. See also http://www.adobe.com/products/aftereffects/opengl.html.
  • Multi-machine rendering rendering of Photoshop files failed with error "The Photoshop Library operation failed because the file name was not valid". Fixed. (46119)
  • Error occurred when using Increment And Save if the project was saved at the root volume of a boot drive. Fixed. (46120)
  • The current frame didn't finish rendering if you switched away from application. Fixed. (46128)
    To enable this fix, please modify the preferences file and restart the application:
    ['General Section'] 'Allow Idle Application Rendering in 8.0.2' = 01
  • Wav files listed as 24-bit 48 KHz played back as noise or highly distorted. Fixed. (46149)
  • Camera raw files now display correctly after being adjusted in the Camera Raw dialog box on import if color management is off. (46194)
  • Important bug fixes for encoding and decoding H.264-compressed content.
  • On Mac OS, support has been fixed for Apple's Uncompressed 10-bit (v210) codec when FCP Studio 2 is installed. (45324)
  • Incorrect layout and functionality of localized PSD choose-layer dialog/radio buttons has been fixed. (45273)
  • A mask path or shape path can now be correctly extended from its first point using the Pen tool. (45365)
  • Decoding of PAL v210, UYVY, and 2vuy formats has been corrected. (46201)
  • With Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously enabled, QuickTime footage was sometimes not included in rendering by background processes if any QuickTime footage was missing when the project was opened. Fixed. (45302)

Known issues in After Effects 8.0.2:
  • Layer blending modes and opacity are not honored for imported Illustrator CS3 files. Please set the blending modes and opacity in the After Effects composition in the Timeline panel after importing Illustrator footage items. (45067)
  • When Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously is enabled, Save RAM Preview and Save Frame As > File render slowly because they do not used the cached rendered frames. (45202)
  • Crash may occur with ATI x700, x800 graphics cards if the project's color depth is 32bpc and Transparency Grid is enabled during OpenGL interaction. Please check http://ati.amd.com/support/driver.html for availability of updates. (45250)
  • When you import or place a PNG file that was rendered from Adobe After Effects CS3 or earlier into Adobe Flash CS3 or Adobe Illustrator CS3 and earlier, the image is several times larger than expected. See also http://www.adobe.com/go/kb402369. (45274)
  • Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard): Crash when previewing per-character 3D text animation if the project's color depth is 32bpc. Please check http://www.apple.com for availability of OpenGL support updates. (45814)
  • When importing a Photoshop file as a composition, vector mask blending modes are incorrectly set. Please set the blending modes in the After Effects composition in the Timeline panel as needed after importing. (46017)
  • Launching After Effects CS3 v8.0.2 under Rosetta on Macintosh Intel hardware breaks P2 import. To reset the functionality, please delete the following file: ~/Library/Preferences/com.Adobe.After Effects.8.0.2.plist
    (46180)
  • Freeze or crash when you start on a system with Realtek HD Audio (Windows XP). See also http://www.adobe.com/go/kb402308
  • Multiprocessing performance issues with multi-core machines, especially high-end 8-core hardware. When all 8 cores try to render a complex or memory intensive composition with Render Mutliple Frames Simultaneously, the application can become memory starved if each process has insufficient memory. To remedy this, there is a text preference to control the maximum number of cores that Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously will use. Open the text preference file and look in the ["MP"] section for:
    "MaxNumberOfProcesses" = "0"
    "0" is the default setting, which disables this preference setting. For better performance on an 8-core machine with 8GB RAM, for example, change the "0" setting to "4" and save the preference file and restart After Effects. This restricts multiprocessing with Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously to 4 cores, each getting approximately 2GB of RAM.
  • For other performance tips using large dimension or complex compositions, see the "Improve performance" section of After Effects CS3 Help on the Web.

- Jonas

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2008-01-11

30 Courses to Die For

I've been meaning to post about great training resources for my beloved After Effects, but here's something even better; training for the entire video / animation / graphics / broadcasting / film business.

Regular readers know how I'm a big fan of fxphd.com and that you can't get any more current and professional training even for ten times the price of one term. I've been a member from the start, and believe me; you won't get as much value for your money anywhere else!

You have 30 courses to choose from, ranging from motion graphics in AE with Tim Clapham and typography with Frank Jonen, to RED production and 3D tracking.

Here's a complete list of available courses. The term starts on January 14, 2008, but you can join later and have access to all the classes you've signed up for.

If you want to know more about fxphd, take a look at the fxphd Tour Movie and the Orientation Week movie (torrent link) that covers all the upcoming classes. There's also a great FAQ.

Oh, if you enter humlan in the Referring Member field on the signup page, I'll get an extra class, which would be really nice. Thanks in advance!

- Jonas

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2008-01-10

Avoid QuickTime 7.4 for Now

UPDATE: QuickTime 7.4.1 Fixes Rendering Bug

*******************

Just like with QuickTime 7.2, the newly updated QuickTime 7.4 seems to be creating problems when rendering, not only from After Effects but even from FinalCut Pro. People report getting a errors like:
After Effects error: opening movie - you do not have permission to open this file (-54)
There are some suggestions that this is the movie rental DRM in iTunes that tries to verify the copy-protection in all open QuickTime movies every 10 minutes.

The work-around is to render to a file sequence, such as TIFF, and then either assemble that into a QuickTime movie in QuickTime Player Pro or by importing the sequence into AE and rendering out a movie from that sequence.

Apple's discussion board: QuickTime
Thread about AE and QT 7.4

- Jonas

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Better Corner Pinning with Mocha

When you import tracking data from Mocha, you get the four corners applied to the Corner Pin effect. To get better edges, use the same data but apply it to the CC PowerPin effect instead, which has better edge anti-aliasing and also supports expanding the layer outside the actual tracking points.
Just line up the corners of the two effects on the first frame and copy the keyframes from the Corner Pin effect and paste it into a CC PowerPin effect, or link each point with an expression.

- Jonas

Tip by Danny Princz on AE-list

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2007-11-04

Updated After Effects Troubleshooting Tips

I just wanted to bump my own post about Troubleshooting After Effects since I've updated it with lots of new tips, links and even an quick illustration.

- Jonas

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2007-10-24

Opening After Effects Projects in an Earlier Version


So you want to open a project saved in After Effects CS3 in an earlier version like After Effects 7.0? Wish there was a way to avoid redoing your entire project just because a client hasn't upgraded yet? Wish that Adobe would let you do a Save to XML just like in Final Cut Pro?

Sorry about the rant, but currently your only hope of opening a project saved in a newer version of After Effects is a manual process that involves a lot of copying and pasting.
  1. Firstly, you'll need both versions installed on the same computer. This usually doesn't cause any problems, I always have at least 2-3 versions of After Effects installed at the same time.
  2. Next step is to manually recreate your project in the earlier version. This involves importing all the sources, creating all the comps and changing all the settings to match the original project. It's a pain, I know...
  3. Open the original project in the newer version and highlight the top layer in your composition and hit UU on the keyboard to reveal all properties that has have non-default values. Great shortcut, huh? Here's a bonus tip: just hitting U will show just the properties with keyframes!
  4. Select all keyframes on the layer by click-dragging the mouse over the names of the properties.
  5. Copy and paste into a text editor (not a word processor, instead use something like Notepad++ for Windows or Smultron for OS X) and changing the first line that says:
    Adobe After Effects 8.0 Keyframe Data
    ... into ...
    Adobe After Effects 7.0 Keyframe Data
    If you are converting the animation into even older versions of After Effects, you'll have to change the number to match the version you are using (only use the whole increments such as 6.0 even if you are using version 6.5.)
  6. Select all text in the text editor, copy and then paste onto the corresponding layer in the older version of After Effects.
Not exactly great, but just a tad bit better than redoing every keyframe. I haven't tested this on earlier versions than 6.5, but if you really need to down-convert to a five year old software, you're in trouble anyway... :)



- Jonas

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2007-10-12

Planar Tracking for After Effects

There's a lot of things you can do with After Effects' pixel-based tracker, but they require good footage and a willingness to experiment and tweak the tracks to get usable results.

The biggest drawback is that if any of the points become distorted (by motion blur, grain or perspective shift) or move off screen, you must resort to keyframing every frame. Enter the planar tracking technique, such as in Mocha.

Here's the reasons you want to use a planar tracker:
Mocha video tutorial by Imagineer Systems
Mocha AE video tutorial by Aharon Rabinowitz



The Mocha AE costs around $300, which is drastically cheaper than the full version of Mocha which goes for a cool $2.800. However, please note that it is a stand-alone app and not a plugin, and that it only does tracking and that the rotoscoping features from the "full" Mocha are disabled. Why the same name if the features aren't the same? You tell me...

You can fake something similar in After Effects if you are willing to put in a bit more effort, but you'll still not get away from AE's pixel-based tracker and it's quirks.

Oh, there's a great course on how to use these tracking tools over at fxphd.

- Jonas

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2007-10-02

Best VFX, Graphics and Animation Training Starts New Term

So you think you already know everything you need to do your work? Think again...

fxphd.com has been a big success and when it now enters the fifth term of training, there's even more cutting-edge courses for anyone in the video / animation / graphics / broadcasting / film business. I've been a member from the start, and believe me; you won't get as much value for your money anywhere else!

As an example: last term we got an hours worth of vfx breakdown of the Pirates of the Caribbean by the legendary John Knoll himself. Priceless...

You can join anytime during the term (it starts on October 8th) and this time around you can get both advanced courses by After Effects gurus such as Mark Christiansen (blog / book) and Stu Maschwitz (blog / book) as well as exclusive training in the RED production and workflow.
Here's a complete list of available courses.

If you want to know more about fxphd, take a look at the fxphd Tour Movie

UPDATE: Here's a torrent link to the brand new Orientation Week movie that covers all the upcoming classes.

Oh, if you enter humlan in the Referring Member field on the signup page, I'll get an extra class, which would be really nice. Thanks in advance!

One last tip: don't miss the HD versions of the excellent fxguidetv from the same guys that bring you fxphd!

- Jonas

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2007-09-25

Import FCP Projects into After Effects

Dale at Creative Workflow Hacks keep churning out useful scripts. Lately he's been focusing on his FCPToAE script, and there's new updates almost every week, including CS3 compatibility.

- Jonas

Photo by Joel Washing

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2007-08-08

The Reason AE CS3 is Faster On Windows than on OS X

Surprised that After Effects CS3 is faster on Windows XP than on Mac OS X on the same hardware?

There's two reasons that the current OS X version of After Effects is slower:
1. The code generated by Apple's compiler is not quite as fast as the Windows compilers that Adobe uses.
2. Windows XP has been around for years, so the Windows-specific AE code has been more optimized over the years than the brand-new Intel-Mac-specific code.

I'd expect both things to improve in the future: Apple's Xcode will become faster and Adobe will have more time to optimize the platform-specific Mac code. Another benefit of Apple's switch to Intel hardware is that the Intel-specific optimizations can now help both Windows and OS X users of After Effects.

Still, there's one BIG reason why Windows on Mac hardware isn't the ultimate solution; that the Apple hardware only gives the 32-bit versions of XP and Vista access to 2 GB of RAM on Macs. The solution is to use Vista64 or XPx64.

Photo by Bekah Stargazing

- Jonas

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2007-08-07

DPI in Video: Totally Useless



DPI = dots per inch is only relevant when you output digital images to an output device, such as a printer (or a display,) since DPI is a measure of how many of pixels the output device will show on a line that is one inch long.

That means that the DPI measurement is totally useless as long as you aren't printing. Video and things like DVD menus have a fixed size in pixels (called resolution) and DPI has no relevance. As long as you create the document with the correct size in pixels, you can set the DPI to 1 or 3,000, it doesn't make any difference.

To demonstrate this, open Photoshop with any picture and choose the command "Image Size..." from the "Image" menu and uncheck "Resample Image". You can then easily see that if you change the "Resolution" in pixels/inch, the actual pixel dimensions aren't altered, only the printed width and height are changed!

If you want to measure the DPI of a DVD menu, you must play the DVD and measure with a ruler on the TV set itself. You'll get a much higher DPI resolution on a small portable player than on a big hunkin' 60-inch plasma display, since you you are pushing the same amount of pixels to displays of different sizes.

The pixel resolution in square pixels (which is the preferred format when working in for example Photoshop) for NTSC Widescreen is 864x486 pixels, for NTSC 4:3 it's 720x540, for PAL Widescreen 1,024x576 and for PAL 4:3 it's 768x576. Don't forget the action-safe and title-safe either!

PS: The correct term is actually PPI (pixels/inch) for displays. The term "dots" comes from the raster dots that are traditionally used in printing presses.

PS. The only time the DPI/PPI is relevant is when importing/exporting graphics, like this Flash bug.

- Jonas

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2007-07-10

Troubleshooting After Effects (all versions)

Having problems, crashes or installation errors with After Effects 7.0 or After Effects CS3 (8.0) or CS4 (9.0)? Here's a collection of tried and true remedies, but before you start reinstalling and trashing things, make sure you've tried to locate what part of your AE project is causing the problems.

Start by isolating the problem:
  1. What is causing this problem, and when does the problem occur? Every time you import something, every time you render to a specific codec, everytime you apply a certain effect? Can you reproduce the problem by doing something, or is it random?
  2. What did you do just before the problem occured? Can that operation have caused the problem? Can you do the same thing in another way without seeing the error?
  3. Does your rendering/preview fail at the same frame on both previews and renders? Isolate that layer with the solo switch and turn off every effect and then turn them on one-by-one.
  4. Does the error occur in all projects or just one? If in just one, what is special about it?
  5. Does the error occur on other machines with the same version of AE/plugins/drivers? If so, what is unique about this machine?
  6. Does it happen without third-party plugins? Are the third-party plugins compatible with CS3? Do you have a third-party video card such as AJA or Decklink? Have you updated those drivers?
  7. Have you changed anything about the system lately? Installed a new codec, driver, software or hardware? Try to revert your changes and see if the problem disappears.
  8. Do a search with specific keywords from any error messages you get. Enclose terms that have more than one word with quotation marks. Here's a good example:
    "image buffer" "after effects"

Workarounds to common problems:

  1. If you hold down the Shift key while opening an old project you will force AE to close all comp viewers, so if one of the comps are causing problems you will be able to identify which comp it is.
  2. You can also try to import the project instead of opening it.
  3. A third solution is to move all source files into a new folder so that AE can't find them, and then locate each source file separately by choosing "Replace footage -> File..." so that you can isolate which source is causing problems.
  4. If you are getting rendering errors it might be the codec that is hogging RAM. If you enable "Purge every 20 frames during Make Movie" you will probably get around the problem. You can do this in the Secret preferences by holding down the Shift key and then select Preferences... from the menu. In the Preferences dialog box you can then choose the "Secret" option that will give you hidden features (they are hidden since they will cause AE to render more slowly.)
    Don't enable the other checkboxes, just write "20" in the text field. Also, make sure you enable the "Prevent DLL Address Space Fragmentation" under "Memory & Caches" if your on a Windows system.
  5. If you are working with large compositions, images and video files, you may get an error message about creating the image buffer. Here's a tutorial on how to work around that problem.

OK, that didn't work?

Bigger problem-solving tools:
1. If you've had any of Adobe's public beta software installed previously, uninstall them and then use the Adobe CS3Clean Script.
If you're on Mac OS X you can't just throw the program folder into the Trash. I repeat: you can't just throw the program folder into the Trash. Instead, in your Applications/Utilities folder, you'll find an uninstaller called (for example) Premiere Pro Setup that you must use to completely uninstall any CS3 program.

2. Check that your system harddrive and the harddrive where you store your After Effects project and footage aren't full, and then run a disk check to make sure they aren't damaged.

3. Run Adobe Updater to see if there are any updates or patches. You can find a menu item called Updates... in the Help or the After Effects menus.

4. Uninstall QuickTime and then restart your computer.

5. Uninstall any third-party video and audio codecs for QuickTime and Windows Media, such as XviD, DivX, FFDShow, BlackMagic, Aja, Avid, Flip4Mac, etcetera. Restart your computer.

6. Reinstall the latest version of QuickTime (unless it is version 7.2.0 or 7.4, which are notoriously buggy.) Restart your computer.

7. Update your graphics card's drivers. If you're on Windows you can download them from the manufacturer of your graphics card's website, such as nvidia.com. If you're on OS X, make sure you're using the latest OS X version by choosing "Software Update..." from your Apple menu. Restart your computer.

8. Remove all non-system fonts (a corrupt font file can cause all kinds of problems.)
On Windows they are found here:
C:\WINDOWS\Fonts
C:\Documents and Settings\XXXYOUR_USER_NAMEXXX\Application Data\Adobe\Fonts

and on OS X the fonts can be in a lot of places.

9. Rebuild After Effects preference file (all you preference settings will be lost, unfortunately) by pressing and holding down Cmd-Opt-Shift / Ctrl-Alt-Shift directly after you've clicked the AE icon.

10. If you are still having problems, close AE and then remove the "OpenGL3D.AEX" plugin from the plugins folder found at
OS X:
/Applications/Adobe After Effects XXXVersion NumberXXX/Plug-ins/Support Files/Standard/Extensions

Windows:
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects XXXVersion NumberXXX\Support Files\Plug-ins\Standard\Extensions



Other tips & tricks:

How to install CS3 programs
I've written some tips for optimal installation of Adobe's CS3 software.


"License has expired"
If you get the dreaded error "The license has expired" with any of the CS3 applications, you have probably forgot to deactivate a previous Adobe product. A temporary fix is to set back the date on your computer if you just need to get through a deadline, and then reinstall at a later date.

Some users have also reported that installing the "Licensing Service Update" for Acrobat 8 via Adobe Updater (accessible by choosing "Updates..." in the Help menu) will solve a lot of licensing problems.


Finding and installing plug-ins
Most plugins will install into a subfolder of:

Windows:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects XXXVersion NumberXXX\Support Files\Plug-ins\Extensions

OS X:
/Applications/Adobe After Effects XXXVersion NumberXXX/Plug-ins/

However, some plugins will install themselves into a common folder to make themselves available in both Premiere Pro and After Effects, found here:

Windows:
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\XXXVersion NumberXXX\MediaCore\

OS X:
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/Plug-ins/XXXVersion NumberXXX/MediaCore/



Slow performance on multi-core machines without enough RAM
After Effects CS3 8.0 and 8.0.1 had multiprocessing performance issues with multi-core machines, especially high-end 8-core hardware. This was fixed in the 8.0.2 update.
When all 8 cores try to render a complex or memory intensive composition with Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously, the application can become memory starved if each process has insufficient memory. If you have less than 2 GB of available RAM per CPU core, your hard drive will be used as temporary RAM which is at least 100 times slower than real RAM.

To remedy this, there is a text preference in the preference file to control the maximum number of cores that Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously will use.
Open the text preference file and look in the ["MP"] section for:
"MaxNumberOfProcesses" = "0"

"0" is the default setting, which means that all available CPU cores will be used. Calculate how much RAM you have available for After Effects (don't count the RAM used by your operating system.) If you have 8 cores and 8 GB of free RAM, change the setting to "4" so that 4 CPU cores will be used and so they will each receive 2 GB of RAM.
Save the preference file and restart After Effects.

You can find the preference file Adobe After Effects 8.0 Prefs.txt in the directory (on Windows):
C:\Documents and Settings\XXXYOUR_LOGIN_NAMEXXX\Application Data\Adobe\After Effects\8.0
...or for OS X:
Users/XXXYOUR_LOGIN_NAMEXXX/Library
/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/8.0/



Data Execution Prevention (DEP)
On Windows, the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) may cause crashes at startup. You can disable it so that AE can start properly.



Icons not working
On Windows Vista all CS3 applications can refuse to start when you click their icons. This can easily be fixed by updating the Acrobat 8 licensing service.



Image buffer problems
Here's a blog post about how to avoid image buffer problems.



Flickering interface, buttons and menues that flash and don't work
Microsoft's IntelliPoint software is known to cause the GUI in After Effects to flash and flicker. Just uninstall IntelliPoint and everything will start working properly (and you IntelliPoint mouse and keyboard will still work!)



No sound or audio in previews and renders
AE doesn't play sound when you do a Spacebar playback. In fact, this is the most common mistake (I think this is actually AE's fault, all other applications use Spacebar) new users make. Instead of Spacebar, do a RAM Preview with the 0 key on the numerical keypad. You'll get both realtime playback and sound (after rendering of course!)

If you just want the hear the audio, use the period/comma key on the numerical keypad.

You can also scrub the timeline and hear the audio if you hold down the Ctrl or Cmd key, and if you hold down the Alt or Option key, you'll stop the comp viewer from updating so you can scrub faster.

Still not hearing any sound? Do the video files have sound when you play them in something like VLC, QuickTime Player or Windows Media Player? If other programs can't play the audio, you can't blame After Effects...

Do you see a green waveform under the preview in the Project panel? If not, AE can't read the audio track.

Try to apply the "Tone" effect to a layer and do a RAM Preview (numpad-0) and you should hear a tone. If you don't hear anything, make sure your Sound preferences inside AE is set to the correct audio card and output. If you use something like a BlackMagic or AJA card, they tend to route the audio to the card's outputs instead of through your normal audio output.

Check that you have the Sound button enabled in the Time Controls panel to hear the sound when you do a RAM Preview.

Select the layer which is supposed to have sound in the Timeline and hit LL on your keyboard to display a waveform. If no waveform is showing AE can't see the audio in the file.

Finally, when you render, do you have "Sound" enabled in the Output Module in your Render Queue?

A good workaround if AE can't read the audio track is to use QuickTime Player Pro to export just the sound as an separate WAV or AIFF file.



Slow and sluggish performance and GUI with GeForce 8800 GPU's
There's a newly discovered bug that only seems to affect Windows users with nVidia's GeForce 8800 graphics cards. The entire user interface in both After Effects CS3 and Encore DVD CS3 becomes slow and sluggish.
Some people have reported that a workaround is to use the programs logged in to a non-administrator account, but if you have these problems, please file a bug report.



Still having problems?
If you're still having problems, here's Adobe's own trouble-shooting tips for version 7.0:
Troubleshoot system errors or freezes in After Effects (7.0 on Mac OS X)
Troubleshoot system errors or freezes in After Effects (7.0 on Windows XP)

...and for version CS3:
Render fails on a computer with 8 or more processor cores
Troubleshoot OpenGL problems in After Effects CS3
Troubleshoot crashes, system errors, and freezes (After Effects CS3 on Mac OS X)
Troubleshoot installation problems After Effects CS3 (Mac OS X)
Troubleshoot installation problems After Effects CS3 (Windows Vista)
Troubleshoot installation problems After Effects CS3 (Windows XP)
Error "Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Error..." or crash when you install (Windows XP)
Freeze or crash when you start on a system with Realtek HD Audio (Windows XP)

...and version CS4:
Serial number not working



RTFM
Remember, you have the entire (and up-to-date) manual available at LiveDocs (it can also be downloaded as a PDF, plus tips and tutorials on the Community Help page.



Create a detailed log and report the bug to the After Effects team
If everything above fails, you can have AE create a log file for each session, but please note that AE will run slower because it has to write every operation into the text file, so make sure you remove/rename the file after you have had a crash!

Place an empty text file called After Effects Log.txt in the directory (on Windows):
C:\Documents and Settings\XXXYOUR_LOGIN_NAMEXXX\Application Data\Adobe\After Effects\8.0

...or for OS X:
/Users/XXXYOUR_LOGIN_NAMEXXX/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/8.0/

You can look in that log what the last twenty or so operations were and possibly get a clue what went wrong. You can then look at the great list of the often cryptic error codes that Mylenium is regularly updating with helpful tips on what the errors mean.

Make sure you also post a bug report to Adobe.


- Jonas

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What You Need to Know Before Installing any CS3 Applications

  1. Deactivate all previous CS3 versions
    If you've had any pre-release, public beta versions or if you're simply reinstalling, make sure you open each program and choose "Deactivate..." from the Help menu.
    Note to Adobe: Please add an automatic "Deactive" feature to the installer. You'll get sooo many support calls from people that forgot to deactivate.

  2. Backup all your data
    I know, I know; you keep all your files in a vault 400 feet below the bedrock. Great, just checking...

  3. Uninstall Apple Safari 3 beta
    It's known to cause conflicts with the CS3 installers.

  4. Uninstall all CS3 beta versions
    You don't want any of Adobe's beta programs installed together with the officially released versions. Trust me on this. Please use the Adobe CS3Clean Script if you've had any of Adobe's public beta CS3 versions installed on this machine.

    If you're on Mac OS X, here's another catch: you can't just throw the program folder into the Trash. I repeat: you can't just throw the program folder into the Trash. Instead, in your Applications/Utilities folder, you'll find an uninstaller called (for example) Premiere Pro Setup that you must use to completely uninstall any CS3 program.

    UPDATE: If you are having problems running the CS3Clean script on Mac OS X (mine would just flash and close the CS3Clean.app without doing anything, make sure you are running it in super-admin mode by opening Terminal /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app and then paste this command followed by the Return key:
    cd /Volumes/maccs3clean/MacCS3Clean
    ...and then this command followed by the Return key:
    sudo python ./CS3Clean.py
    Then enter your administrator password to start the cleaning script.
    Thanks to Mattias Werdenskog for the Unix skills required to pull this off!

  5. Defragment your harddrive
    It's 2007, and CS3 applications are huge. The more contiguous space you can provide on your harddrive, the better, so I suggest you defragment before installation, even if you're on OS X.

  6. Be patient, and don't surf while installing
    Make sure you don't need to use your computer for a while. Since the CS3 installers all use/modify the Flash plugin, you can't have any web browsers open during the installation. And even if you can restart your browser while the installer is running in the background, it is not recommended at all. Just grab a coffee instead, OK?
Finally, if you still can't get it to work, Adobe offers free installation support, check http://adobe.com/support/ for a local phone number.

I've also collected a bunch of steps to follow when troubleshooting After Effects.

Update: If the CS3 installer asks for CD 2 with the name of Adobe ExtendScript Toolkit2, the solution is to download this software, as described here.

- Jonas

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Smooth FCP Playback of HDV and XDCAM Renders from AE

Apparently XDCAM and QuickTime HDV renders from After Effects will cause Final Cut Pro to choke and skip frames on playback.

The current workaround is to render to QuickTime's Animation codec and either let FCP render that clip in the timeline, or open the clip in QuickTime Player Pro and export it from there to an HDV file that you then import into FCP.

- Jonas

Photo by aburt

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2007-07-05

Color Management in After Effects CS3

For those of you more bent on the geeky features of the newly released After Effects CS3, there's a new Color Management PDF that describes an entire managed workflow.

- Jonas

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2007-06-04

Move After Effects' Camera Data to Cinema 4D

Finally there's a way to move camera data and animation plus nulls from After Effects to Cinema 4D. Since you can already export the same data from C4D to AE, the loop seems to be closed.

I'm a bit skeptic, since all the solutions I've seen so far create brand new scenes upon import, with no way of only updating modified parameters. What I really want is a seamless way to go back-and-forth between After Effects and the 3D software, tweaking the animations on either end and have the changes updated in the other.

I've been so busy I haven't had time to test either the previous version, or the newly released version 1.3 of Paul Tuersley's script, but it seems quite a feat to pull off!

Update: Paul has confirmed that the keyframes are in fact "baked," so you won't be able to go back and forth; tweaking the camera animation in either app and have that change updated in the other app. You have to create the camera animation in either AE or C4D and then never touch it again without re-doing the export.

However, Boomer Lab's recently informed me that their MAX2AE plugin can actually update the things that have changed on either side, which is très useful.

Update 2: Eric Henry has posted a different method

- Jonas

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2007-05-18

Mask Per Vertex Like the Pros

Here's a cheap and easy way to get around one of the most asked for After Effects features: per-vertex masking. PV Feather is only $70, works in 32bpc and supports everything from version 6.5 to CS3.

The only downside I can see is that as an effect I presume there's no shortcuts, which is essential for big rotoscoping jobs. Also, hardcore roto artists will note that it uses Bezièr curves (just like regular AE masks) rather than B-splines.

RE:Vision Effects: PV Feather

- Jonas

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2007-04-18

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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2007-04-17

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

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2007-04-16

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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2007-04-13

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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2007-03-19

Ten Years of Interviews with the Prime Minister Airs Tonight

Tonight at 8 PM it will air, the first of four 1-hour episodes with secret interviews with Sweden's Prime minister for the last eight years. I was lucky to be asked to provide the graphics for this show, which will be all that the Swedish media will cover in the next week.

It's really quite simple, just a freeze-frame from an SD video with some heavy color correction, some text (modified for lower-case numerals) set in Orator, some Trapcode Particular and a bit of time. Also, there are about 350 lower-thirds created with a modified version of Dale Bradshaw's excellent After Effects script so I could generate all signs (just the AE project files weighed 360 MB.)

Since the project started over ten years ago, the Avid project was setup as 4:3, and everything was stretched to 16:9 in the color correction (done in a Valhall.) Therefore I had to provide both letterboxed 4:3 versions (use in the offline) as well as anamorphic 16:9 (added after the CC in the online) renders of all graphics, which was easy enough by using two Output modules, one with a negative "Stretch" (to get the letterboxing) in the Render Queue.

Official site (in Swedish)

- Jonas

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2007-02-18

Camera Mapping in After Effects

Stu Maschwitz has just posted an entry to a user-generated-ad contest, created entirely in After Effects and Premiere Pro. Unfortunately the compression doesn't do the spot justice, but an interesting fact is that the aircraft carrier is actually a still photograph mapped onto a 2D solid inside After Effects.

Stu's posted about the behind-the-scenes techniques over at his excellent blog, so do him a favor and vote for the spot by giving it a high rating since that's how the winner is decided.

- Jonas

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