>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)
>Adobe just announced that the CS3 version of Photoshop will be made available in two flavors, Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended. The public beta that’s is available for free download is the regular version, so the extended features aren’t made public yet.
No much info has been released, but the brief chart states that the extended version will have the ability to open and edit videos and 3D “content” (probably the textures.)
Of less interest to me seems to be another added tool set for counting and measuring.
Coming soon: Two editions of Photoshop CS3 (adobe.com)
Just a quick picture of this monster. I haven’t calibrated it yet, but with a Sony HC3 (HDV 1080i), a RedRock Micro M2 adapter, a Canon EF-lens mount plus the Canon 70-200mm 1:4 L lens, and a DeckLink Intensity card for 4:2:2 HDMI capture to Premiere Pro, this setup will be able to provide a pretty decent picture.
The camera is on loan, I’m thinking of getting the yet unreleased Canon HV20 which is a 1080p25 camera, if it supports 4:2:2 HDMI capture.
I’m not sure what I’ll shoot yet, but any ideas are welcome…
>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.
>I’ve been posting a lot at Adobe Forums: After Effects lately, after I unexpectedly was asked to become an Adobe Community Expert. I just thought I’d share a reply I just made to a question about how to avoid quality reduction while rendering and moving video between applications. Perhaps I’ll make a small table listing the codec options and their advantages/disadvantages, if you post a couple of nice comments!
Both AVIs and QuickTimes can be “uncompressed” but the file sizes are huge! In the case of AVIs, the only advantage is that “uncompressed” is the old AVI format that supports an alpha channel.
Better is to use lossless codecs such as QuickTime Animation: Best and QuickTime PNG: Best which have so called “RLE” compression just like ZIP files, which has no quality-loss whatsoever, but still manages to shrink the file sizes considerably. Both these codecs also support alpha channel, but only QT PNG supports 16-bit.
There are several third-party QuickTimes codecs such as the BlackMagic Design‘s codec that also have similiar options, but they need to be installed separately on every machine.
For really small but almost lossless renderings, I normally use QuickTime PhotoJPEG: Best which is a standard 8-bit QT codec that has been around for a long time. At 100% quality very few pixel values are changed at all, making it virtually lossless.
The other alternative is to render to file sequences such as TIFF, SGI or TGA. This has several advantages, but unfortunately file sizes is not one of them. However, they are great for multi-machine renderings and if you need to re-render parts of your video it’s easy just to replace just those frames. Also, it’s easier to split up large renderings across DVDs, CDs and portable disks since you don’t have to split up a huge video file, you can just copy all the frames that fit on to every disk. Network transfer speeds are lower for file sequences because every file has more over-head and many network protocols start out by only sending small chunks and only increase the packet size if the initial transfer was OK. Remember that if you have sound, you’ll need to render that separately to an audio file if you use file sequences.
One file sequence format to avoid (unfortunately) is PNG since it has cross-plattform and cross-application problems with gamma-shifting. The options in the PNG file format let applications enter gamma values into the file, which are only read by some other apps, resulting in shifts, so you should unfortunately avoid PNG sequences.
>Update: I’ve added a bunch of links contributed by Ben Grossman.
It wasn’t until the 32-bit mode in the AE 7.0 beta that I finally took the plunge and “saw the light.”
Here are a few starting points that explain the workflow in AE 7.0 Pro:
- CreativeCow.net tutorial: HDR Imagery and 32 BPC
- TotalTraining’s GuruLounge: 32-bit image processing
- Adobe Resource Center: Work with natural light in HDR
- fxguide’s podcast interview with Stu Maschwitz
- Stu Maschwitz: Linear Color Workflow in AE 7, part 1
- Stu Maschwitz: Linear Color Workflow in AE 7, part 1.5
- Stu Maschwitz: Linear Color Workflow in AE 7, part 2
- Stu Maschwitz: Linear Color Workflow in AE 7, part 3
- Stu Maschwitz: Linear Color Workflow in AE 7, part 4
- Stu Maschwitz: Linear Color Workflow in AE 7, part 5
- Stu Maschwitz: Linear Color Workflow in AE 7, part 6
- Dave Simons from the AE team: HDR Demo at MGLA meeting
- Steve Kilisky and Dave Simons from the AE team interviewed on fxguide’s podcast
- High-speed Conversion of Floating Point Images to 8-bit
- XSI Wiki: Gamma, Linear Color Space and HDR
- Frequently Asked Questions about Gamma (PDF)
- Gamma-Correct Rendering
- Linear Workflow in 3DSMax and VRay
- Stu Maschwitz: Color correction in linear vs. gamma corrected space
- XSI Blog: Gamma, Linear Color Space and HDR, Part I
- Tips & Techniques for HDR inside Cinema 4D
- Paul Debevec, inventor of HDRI
These tutorial movies for the (now unnecessary) eLin plugin will also give you an aha-thaaaat’s-what-it’s-good-for moment even though they discuss a lot of LUT layers that are no longer used since that functionality is now handled by AE internally.
>Despite its name, the new version 2.0 of MAX2AE actually goes both ways, letting you start your designs in After Effects and at a later stage import the AE cameras and lights into 3ds max for further work, and then re-import into AE again.
As someone who has sort of left 3ds max for Cinema 4D just to get better integration with After Effects, this little nifty plugin sheds new light on 3ds max. If only I could get the damn Autodesk network license to work…
>Do you hate to go back and forth between your 3D app and After Effects, just to tweak the lighting so that it will match your composite? If you render out a quick normal map, you can easily and quickly move and change the lighting of your 3D renders.
Now there’s a free alternative to the commercial ZBornToy and WalkerFX Channel Lighting. Stefan Minning has kindly released a set of plugins for free, called Normality & Reality, so check them out.
They’re Windows only for now, the OS X version is apparently waiting for the Universal release of After Effects.
If you’re on Windows, please help the good people at Frischluft to beta test this long-awaited plugin that brings curves to After Effects. I’ve been a Levels-guy myself, but when you start to use the revamped Curves in the Photoshop CS3 beta, you quickly get hooked.
The plugin seems a bit unstable, but with a lot of power. It’s Windows-only right now.