Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Weekly Rupert

Contemplative canine at the EMU labyrinth.

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Adventures in After Effects – Expressions

I can see how one could just move into After Effects and never spend time in the real world again – it is so powerful and endlessly intriguing. Here is just another tiny example of what AE is capable.  The function featured on this short clip of my friend Annabelle is called an expression.  The camera was static when I first shot this piece of footage and we were able to easily set key frames to shake the position of the video and rotate it to mimic a quake.  This is videocopilot.net Basic Tutorials Lesson #9.

We’ve now moved out of the 10 Basic Tutorials on videocopilot – woohoo!  And now we are onto 99 additional free lessons.  I’ll call you when we’re finished!

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Aspirational Animation

Jeff at Digico sent over these links from the industry website Motionographer.  When he said “particles are hot” – this first link is what he was talking about.  Millions and millions of particles – click here for an Audi commercial.  It’s fluid and beautiful.

1 – The “fluidity’ is too accurate,  Particular doesnt offer quite this exacting level of physics.

2 – The sheer # of particles,  Particular can handle alot,….but some shots in here have millions and millions.

3 – The “true” 3D nature of some of the particle effects (e.g. type) inform that it is a real 3D app.

Never forget AE only has 3D space,….NOT true 3D with ‘volume and mass’.

This spot required banks of computers rendering……and was done using a propriety ICE script in Softimage XSI 3D software.

You get something that is so hot it is almost indescribable. Note: This is not particular, or AE for that matter………..not even close.

Haha…..dont be uncomfortable about your progress,….it is the journey that you are documenting yes?  And how would that be possible if you were already ‘there’?

-Jeff Dobrow

Here’s another piece Jeff sent over that was created entirely in After Effects.  After so many years in very literal documentary work – I am dying to create something like this.  It’s so sweet. Thanks, Jeff.

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Quotable – A Mighty Thanks!


I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves

To my terrific fall 2009 classes and  to my stunning co-instructors Dr. Howard Zehr of Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuildingand Dr. Amy Sarch Schopick, director of General Education at Shenandoah University.  Thank you all for a profound and engaging introduction to teaching.  I am thrilled and grateful and moved to action.

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PauletteVoodles – The 3D Reprise

Our Adobe After Effects goal for the past few days was to improve on our original PauletteVoodles title which used a particle world, but no 3D, no camera.  This version was guided by videocopilot.net’s video tutorial #8 Part 2 on Titles.  We tried to make the particles look like snow (the dog in the logo has snow on his head).  We put drop shadow on the text, a light behind the dog pic and a gradient on the black solid background layer.  And the most fun of all – we flew the camera around the field linked to a null object.

We were happy with our progress – then ran into a snag.  When we rendered, an artifact of the dog logo showed up in the first few frames of the title.  There should only have been particles.  We deconstructed the entire logo, re-imported it, slid it all around the work space.  We noticed what we thought was a ghost behind the logo later – that slid around independently of the logo layer – we still don’t know what that was about.  We then isolated every layer, ran the scrubber over every frame – we could not find this weird artifact. Yet kept showing up in the render.  Hours later, we called our lifeline, Doug over at SpartanEye.   His quick phone fix – reduce our workspace by a few frames at the top.  Voila!!!  Thanks Doug! We’ll keep trying to figure out what’s at the core of that.  But we were able to output. That made Patience do the animation dance!

Here’s the new PauletteVoodles Title:

Q. What would improve this?   Do you have any idea why the dog logo would appear in the first few frames?   We welcome and encourage feedback!!!

And now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!

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The Weekly Rupert

Doggie grounded until further notice.  Two months post knee surgery – this poor lad still is not allowed to run free…  maybe soon.

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PauletteVoodles in After Effects – Particles are Hot

A saavy designer recently told me that 1) Flash is dead – (long live the Flash) and 2) Particles systems are hot.  Here’s a recent After Effects composite for PauletteVoodles using a particle system.  The text and photo are flat and the particles are way too big and not so subtle – but this is so much fun, I can hardly stand it.  Watch for our next installment, when we fly the camera around PauletteVoodles linked to a null object.  Love it.

We’re using the free online video tutorials videocopilot.net

Q.  What do you think ?  How else could I improve this piece?

Many, many thanks to designer Doug Stanford of SpartanEye for patiently walking me through an After Effects primer.

Oh!  And what’s a Voodle?  It’s a video doodle – a piece where I am just playing, experimenting, making mud pies.

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