Free After Effects Tutorials online

12 03 2009

The web is a great resource for learning software, and I’ve pulled together a few of my favourite Free resources for learning After Effects. Adobe After Effects is post production software for Motion Graphics, Compositing, Visual Effects etc. After Effects is a bit of a beast in comparison to video editing software, and although a bit tricky to get your head round initially, with a little practice you’ll find out why so many people use it.

So I’ve included below some of the best sites for AE tutorials and resources. Of course, you should remember that a tutorial should be a starting place, something where you learn a technique or process, but you should alter and adapt it to suit your needs, rather than slavishly copying it. 

 

Video Copilot

Hosted by the inimitable Andrew Cramer, Videocopilot offers a wealth of easy to understand tutorials covering Motion Graphics and Visual Effects. This is certainly the best place to start off if new to After Effects, as his excellent Basic Training will get you up to speed. http://www.videocopilot.net/basic/

http://maltaannon.com/

Jerzy Drozda Jr presents an interesting selection of tutorials, often more detailed than video copilot, but not quite as accessible. Jerzy also follows them up with an interesting array of plug-ins. check out the 3d shape extruder for example, which fixes the eternal problem with After Effects – making text more solid.

http://visualfxtuts.com/

A new kid on the block, but very good. A well updated resource with loads of new tutorials daily. It looks like their aim is to link to every tutorial of merit on the web. There’s a lot of After Effects on here, but obviously lots of other visual effects software as well.

http://aetuts.com/

Another new one, and also very good. The quality is very good, and they pay people to publish their tutorials so if you have a great idea then you could make a few quid.

http://www.graymachine.com

Harry J Frank is an old hat at this After Effects game. Very good for Trapcode plugins and expressions, he also does a great range of detailed paid for training. Also while I’m at it you should check out the Trapcode site to see how great their plugins for AE are and they also have some good tutorials as well.

http://aescripts.com/

Lots of add-ons for when you get a bit more advanced. Scripts add floating windows for a multitude of uses. Check them out and bolt them on.

 

Sorry – I’ve got a bit bored now, but here are a few more links

http://aenhancers.com

http://www.ayatoweb.com/ae_tips_e.html

http://library.creativecow.net/tutorials/adobeaftereffects

http://www.maxafter.com/tuts.htm

http://vfxschool.blogspot.com/

http://www.aeioweyou.blogspot.com/

http://www.adobeforums.com/





Candas Sisman – Edicisum

3 02 2009

A great experimental audiovisual piece by Candas Sisman, Edicisum features a soundtrack by Isambard Khroustaliov. Lots of macro, very rich use of colour and real experimentation with the relationship between sound and image, it certainly ticks the box for me. I’d like to say more, but this will have to be a quick one. I’ll let the video do the talking. 

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Also check out his other works at his vimeo page

And the collaborative group between Experimental filmmakers and musicians at Not Applicable





Visuals, Club Visuals & Tour Visuals

20 01 2009

This is an astoundingly exciting and creative area of moving image production, and something that has been growing smaller and smaller in the category cloud (on the right, just under the strip of videos) on my blog, just because I can’t think where to start writing about it. But I’ve abandoned it for too long, so here’s part one of a (hopefully) long running series of posts…

We now increasingly expect to see interesting visuals when we see a gig or go to a club. As video projectors get cheaper and brighter, more and more clubs can afford to have them installed, and as more and more people enjoy seeing exciting visuals, it becomes the norm. It has also been breaking out of the club and gig environment, with very interesting work now in art installations, public displays, fashion shows and events of every kind. Then when you invest in a number of screens and use the space more fully you can create beautiful compositions that take us away from the single boring rectangular screen we are used to seeing in our homes.

Example – YSL Triptych – Click on the above to see an interesting use of three screens for a fashion show (Credits here) (Article here).  Once we can break away from the convention of a single screen then great possibilities are afforded to us. Multiple screen installations look fantastic, and give us another option to play with, as the image on a screen is affected by what surrounds it.

There are a lot of applications of visual material. One obvious use is in gigs, and a couple of examples are below. First,  Charles Lee and Dstrukt have posted their visuals for the Linkin Park world tour. These are generally themed around a song. In this case “We used Flowers to represent the progressive growth/development of a teenagers personality.”

Second, Etienne De Crecy Live 2007 Transmusicales de Rennes.

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Due to the nature of a video projector, we can choose to change the image at a touch of a button. In contrast a film projector would need to be turned off, the film changed and then started again. This opens up great creative possibilities for everyone from musicians, filmmakers and artists. If laptops and cameras are being used to provide the visuals, rather than just playing them off a dvd player, then you can have a level of interactiveness and experimentation that can be really exciting to play with. A wealth of software is on the market for producing live visuals/installation. There is also a thriving scene with fans and forums helping each other. 

Enough for now. I feel happy that I’ve scratched the surface, but there’s so much more to say. Hopefully soon.





Motion Graphics as a political medium

9 12 2008

There is an increasing use of motion graphics as a political and educational medium. Short viral videos are produced and set out into the virtual world in the hope that they will inform and influence people. As we become more visually aware as a society, the video-makers have decided to use motion graphics to keep peoples interest levels up. This style is increasingly used along conventional documentary filmmakers as well who also include elaborate reconstructions of battles and other events in order to stimulate the viewer.

Knowledge – Alex Rudolph.

This aims to explain the middle east crisis in a short form. Based on research for his dissertation, where he has decided to impart a cooler look onto subjects potentially seen as boring by a younger audience. 

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Also another few below as well. This is becoming an increasingly prolific format, so the examples are only a drop in the ocean – but good to give you a flavour of what is out there.

The Girl Effect, n. The powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society.

 

What Barry Says.

Iran – a nation of bloggers





Don’t Forget about me – posts from the past

19 10 2008

Ink Tank Experiments

Here are a couple of companies who have been doing really interesting things with the classic film technique of filming ink and other substances. By experimenting with this technique and then treating it in after effects or other post-production software you…

Pixilation 

Pixilation is a great technique for producing quick and fantastic looking animation. Based on stop motion, where the animator places clay figures or other 3d objects in front of the camera, takes a frame then moves the objects and repeats. The difference…

 The Action Cats

a group of designers, animators and filmmakers who use interesting experimental and traditional techniques to produce an innovative and dark look for their piece “The Experiment”. “The Experiment” was produced for Adobe’s “See what’s possible”…

David Anderson – Door

There is a great power in inanimate objects and architectural features, and exploited here is the door. A closed door is a very powerful image. Just seeing it places questions into the audiences mind, raising their emotional expectation. A closed…

Dangerous Parking

This shows some really interesting text, being deformed in a wispy, smoky way…

Rojo TV

Full of really interesting creative video work, this site really spans a wide range of artistic video and motion graphics work. This should prove to be a great source…

Richard Fenwick

Richard Fenwickis a designer/filmmaker/animator who works across a wide range of formats. He goes where the idea takes him, flitting between animation/design…

 

Mark Lewis

I saw his work at the BFI Southbank gallery in October 07. He often uses strong effects, like the ‘vertigo shot’ / dolly zoom (or whatever you want to call it)…

 

Rosie Pedlow / Joe King – Sea Change

A beautifully simple idea executed very well, Rosie and Joe’s film takes a seaside caravan park as its subject, and reveals through a series of smooth tracking shots…

 

Idents

Is there anything worth watching on TV anymore? Not a great deal, but there’s usually a lot of nice idents about. For a while BBC2 and Channel4 have been… 

 

 Jan Svankmajer

Jan Svankmajer is a real influence for me. Often miscribed as an animator, he should really be classed as a surrealist filmmaker as his work moves effortlessly between…





John Smith – Video Artist

27 09 2008

John Smith’s work is always a treat. He effortlessly mixes innovative use of moving image, often playing with the way that the soundtrack and images combine. His work is very strong conceptually, and contains a lot of passion. His sense of humour and personality is always present as well, and the often simple strength of his ideas make me want to see more from him. Unfortunately his work has not been released on DVD to my knowledge, but I’ve included some links to some small, short video clips which give a little indication to what he does.

The first piece that I saw of his was ‘Blight’. This was a collaborative piece for a experimental BBC commission. I think it was called ‘Sound on Screen’, but it paired up composers and filmmakers to explore the relationship on screen between sound and image. They created a strong piece about the M11 link road, which at the time was being built straight through old east end housing, and people who had lived there all their lives were forced to move out. Protesters were very active in stopping the destruction of the communities for a while, but eventually the road was built.

This film interviewed the residents before they moved out, and built a strong message about the destruction of their communities, by showing the physical destruction of their properties. The clip available below shows the beginning of the film. It starts off in a very abstract way, the properties feeling like they are pulling themselves apart. The voices from the community are abstracted, at times you are not sure what they are saying, the voices used like instruments. But someone says “Kill the spiders”. This is a metaphor which is repeated throughout the piece, seemingly abstract until a strong image at the end (not in this clip) gives the audience it’s real and powerful meaning.

I can’t recommend this enough, and although I taped it at the time of broadcast, the tape has unfortunately been lost. If someone does have it, then please let me know. While this clip is great, it only shows a small part of the piece, which keeps on adding new and exciting ideas throughout its duration.

”A stunning montage depicts the destruction of a London street to make way for new roads. The rhythmic, emotive soundtrack is partly musical and partly a collage of the residents’ voices. Shots and sounds echo and cross-link in the film’s 14 minutes to reinvent a radical documentary tradition.” A.L. Rees A History of Experimental Film and Video 1999, British Film Institute.

”In the first few minutes of his film Blight, derelict houses appear to be dismembering themselves. Bricks rattle, mortar falls, and wooden beams are dislodged, seemingly by poltergeist activity (a feeling reinforced by a poster for the film The Exorcist, on a bedroom wall that has become newly exposed to daylight). The claw of a bulldozer is filmed, ominously caressing a chimney stack it is about to tear down. But the shot stops short, and the inevitable destruction happens in our heads, not on the screen. The restraint of John’s editing beautifully undercuts the emotive quality of the music (composed by his collaborator Jocelyn Pook), and the music in turn replaces the drama that hits the cutting room floor.” Cornelia Parker ‘John Smith’s Body’ in John Smith: Film and Video Works 1972-2002.

 

Another piece of his is ‘The girl chewing gum’. Absolutely brilliant in its simplicity, a voice over dictates actions to a street full of people. I won’t say any more as the piece really speaks for itself. It’s also very funny.

There are plenty more films of his for you. Good places to look are

Luxonline – a great resource for researching British film and video artists

CanyonCinema have a list of his films

An interview with the artist can be found here

 

Update – more links, and also see comments below.

http://www.vdb.org/smackn.acgi$pkgdetail?JOHNSMITHP_002

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/03/29/john_smith.html

http://www.vdb.org/smackn.acgi$tapedetail?BLIGHT





6pli – Experimental visualisation of bookmarks.

21 09 2008

I know, It sounds rubbish. But I’ve been investigating the 6pli visualisation tool for delicious bookmarks. A bit geeky maybe. But it does look great and it’s really useful for working your way around hundreds or thousands of bookmarks – which I have. I’m looking at using it when building my new creativevideomovingimage weblink archive for students, so this is a test run. 

The only problem I’ve found is that it seems to start you off on a random page. In order to get home, and to a nice starting point I suggest clicking on the CLICK ON THIS IF YOU’RE LOST AND WANT TO GO HOME link that should be on most pages – if not then try clicking on a few things, especially the floating tag categories and it’ll soon appear.

PLEASE CLICK ON HERE OR ON THE PICTURE BELOW – GO ON IT’S REALLY NICE. 

Every time you click on something the whole thing animates and reveals new links and tags. If you want, you can spin around by this 3d visualisation clicking and dragging the mouse in an empty piece of space. 

I’m not sure really how useful it will prove to be, but please try it anyway. Especially as there’s a lot of really useful links out there. The direct link to the page is http://www.6pli.com/cvmi