Thursday, February 26, 2015

3D Printed Animation

This is an example of a type of animation I had never seen before. Not 3D animation... 3D printed animation. This animation, called "Bears On Stairs" by DBLG, was created by using a 3D printer to individually print about 50 frames of a bear walking up stairs. The 3D printed bears & stairs were all placed and photographed one-by-one, then stitched together to create the animation. The result is something that I think looks much more interesting and organic than anything that could be made using CGI.
Watch a short video about how it was made here:

Photoshop turns 25!

Well, it looks like we messed up and forgot a rather important birthday last week. Last Thursday, Adobe Photoshop celebrated its 25th birthday. Since it's inception back in 1990, Photoshop has become a household name. It has affected every facet of media from tv graphics, to magazines, and even internet memes. It has revolutionized the concept of art.

Adobe released this video celebrating 25 years of Photoshop.

Also, here are some pictures from some earlier versions of the application.

 So lets all wish Photoshop a happy belated birthday! For more information, check out the posts on Adobe's website.

Element 3D

Element 3D is an After Effects plugin that lets users more easily create 3d items in After Effects. This is a quick rendering tool and Compatible with After Effects so it is ideal for quick graphics and animation.

This was used in the creation of the Star Trek title sequence in order to create the planets and other objects. This plugin is powerful and a great tool if you know how to  use it. 

Here is a link to the title Sequence:

I just downloaded this plugin earlier today however I have already started using it and my personal opinion is that it is great. If you like animation and have some money to spare I would suggest downloading it. 

Music Video Inspiration

This is the music video for the song Better Than by the John Butler Trio. It's a funky tune, with a pretty cool music video. The video is a bit old, originally being put on YouTube back in 2007, and I have no idea what software was used to make video, but we can do everything featured in the video with After Effects. The video features some spray pain effects, and a camera movement effect that looks very similar to the Sure Target tutorial that we just went through. The effect that is featured throughout the entire video, having John Butler be superimposed onto walls and posters, can easily be accomplished with some chroma effects, and the color changing can be done using an Adjustment Layer. This video may serve as some inspiration for our upcoming Title Sequence project. I know I  got some pretty good ideas from the video. And even you don't get any inspiration from this video, you can still enjoy an awesome musician with dreadlocks playing the banjo, and what can be better than that?

Animation in Advertising

Every couple weeks I like to go through Vimeo's animation section and see if anything new and interesting has popped up. A couple days ago the studio Motion Authors posted a new short animation they had done as an advertisement for an App. The thing that was a little different about this advertisement is that it was specifically designed as a Youtube Preroll advertisement.

With everything we've learned in this course so far, I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say we all could make something similar to this advertisement without too much trouble. The designs are pretty simple and the movement in the animation isn't anything too crazy. However, what I thought was interesting was the timing.

One thing I've noticed when watching Youtube prerolls, is a lot of the advertisements clearly weren't made with Youtube in mind. Many ads that pay for their pre-roll spot, if played in a "skip after 5 seconds" context, fail to get enough of a point across so that people still know what you're talking about. They spend too long on a "catch" that most likely won't work, and fail to say what their product is. This advertisement however hits all the milestones. In the first 5 seconds, there is a catch, name of the product mentioned, and logo displayed. By the 15 second mark, we know what the product does. And of course, by the full 30 seconds we learn how its relevant to our lives.

With all these things in mind, do you think you could market yourself as being a useful member to an advertising team?

Ibotta YouTube Shorts from Motion Authors on Vimeo.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Title Sequence

Today in class we wanted the title sequence of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" which is one of my favorite books.  I did not see the movie for fear of it not sticking with a book, but watching the title sequence alone gave me the sense that the movie captured the essence of the book.  Instead of putting a title sequence together with cookie cutter like shots, instead the director David Fincher chose to do an abstract and surreal sequence which in my opinion was an amazing choice.  The main character Lisbeth is not a character who the reader can categorize and put in a mental box.  She is permeable and adaptive, never solid in emotions or actions, which the title sequence captured perfectly since the book series and the movie is really about her.  Anyways, the title sequence is below and you should totally take a look at it.

Disney's Animated Short: "Feast"

A teaser of the short film, "Feast."

Patrick Osborne pitched his animated short idea about showing the progression of a romantic relationship through the perspective of a dog to John Lasseter. It was chosen, and Walt Disney Animation Studios began the tedious process of creating a new animation.

"Feast" played in theaters before "Big Hero Six," and received amazing reviews from critics and audiences alike.

The creators studied real Boston Terriers in order to achieve just the right hand-drawn look.

"Feast" just won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Watch this short video that shows some part of the creative process behind "Feast."

Google Launches YouTube Kids Application

It's amazing to think that YouTube was founded when I was in 5th grade; it sure has been a long time since 2005. But, it has become abundantly clear, in the past nine years, that online streaming media has become a staple in electronic entertainment (alongside television, radio, and the telephone); And YouTube, has always been the one leading the way. Recently at the 2015 Kidscreen Summit in Media, Google Inc. launched a new mobile application aimed specifically at children by providing a broad selection of family-focused, age-appropriate YouTube channels and videos. What was once an on-demand television parental setting, has now become an operational streaming service dedicated to media consumption without the threat of inappropriate content in commercials.

As the company's first official standalone application for children, the unveiling received great reception when it was simultaneously added to the Google Play Store and was made available on all Androids and iOS devices. More specifically, the application selects and manages content in four respective channels: shows, music, learning, and explore. Some of the most popular content offered on the application includes National Geographic Kids, DreamWorksTV and Talking Tom and Friends, as well as episodes and clips from PBS's Sesame Street.

As a strictly educational media streaming service, YouTube Kids is completely free to the user and is subsequently funded by age-appropriate advertisements (similar to Hulu's advertisement arrangement). It's great to see Google moving in the educational direction with media consumption and content recommendations. Google believes that the future is in educational streaming media; it's evident that many more educational institutions are making a transition to online homework submission. Streaming video is just the beginning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Avatar and After Effects

Avatar was revolutionary in terms of 3-D animation and use of various digital effects. This video explores some of the post-production work involved in the process of putting the final cut together. I found it interesting that the video explains some of the terminology we have gone over in class such as rendering and the use of green screen. It's crazy to think that we are working on the same software that has been used to produce films grossing billions of dollars.

Bring old photos to life

This week in my senior seminar class, exploring the documentary, we checked out the film The Kid Stays in the Picture. It's a documentary about Robert Evans life, an old time Hollywood actor and producer who ran the Hollywood game for a while. The film is almost entirely old photographs that with Robert Evans himself narrating his life story. But this isn't simply a Ken Burns film. The entire film is brought to life with after effects. Here's a cheesy trailer where you can get an idea of the film.

The film itself is worth checking out but I think this demonstrates how powerful a tool aftereffects can be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kyle Cooper- Title designer

Hey everyone. So Last week when we were showing our progress on our name designs Chris mentioned to me that my design reminded him of the title sequence from Se7en. I had never seen Se7en or its opening title,  but I did know that my creative "idol" if you will, Kyle Cooper, designed that sequence as well as American Horror Story. AHS's title design has been one of my largest inspirations and really captures the style that I've always had and admired. So here is a breakdown of Kyle Cooper's Se7en title sequence and a link to the AHS titles.

An interesting thing about Kyle is that he enjoys doing things on film or in the camera by going out and shooting things and then compositing them on the computer as opposed to building every effect in CG.

Here are the first titles I had seen by him and continue to inspire me:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Letter Inspiration

I stumbled upon this video on Vimeo designed by Jessica Hische. Since we are all making progress with our name projects and soon going to be moving into title sequences, I thought this would inspire some of you with font design and font choices. The color and design used in the video makes something so simple as just a letter seem more intriguing and personable. 

                           Penguin Drop Caps Animation from Down the Street on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Building Fire

It's been a cold week here in Ithaca, reaching as low as -30 last weekend. Therefore, I decided to heat it up this week by posting a tutorial on how to build fire in After Effects.

So my name project involves an onion volcano so one of the things I had to do was build a fire. While I was expecting to need some stock footage or some fancy plugin, I found a way just to build it with a particle system. Here is the tutorial I found. The guy is austrian, his english isn't great, and its pretty long, but it gets the point across. I found it to be very helpful. Check it out.

Note by Arturo

This one is probably better and shorter

Autodesk Technology in the Film Industry

One of the most interesting aspects in my enrollment in this class is the ways in which my education can be applied to the motion graphics industry. Even though we've predominantly working with After Effects, the work that can be done using Autodesk's Maya is just astounding. Within the last two days, it has been announced that all 5 of the best VFX and 7 Best Picture Academy Award nominees were designed using Autodesk and Shotgun Software. It has become increasing evident that the role of technology in the service of great storytelling continues to evolve. As the creators of some of the best CG tools in the world, Autodesk has allowed animators rise to the top of the global computer graphics industry. Some of these films are as follows:

                                                                        Big Hero 6

                                                    Captain America: The Winter Solider

                                                         Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

                                                          How to Train Your Dragon 2

Even though we haven't started using Maya, I'm intrigued to learn how animators take full advantage of all of the tools that Autodesk has to offer. This is definitely a type of animation that I want to pursue in the future.

High Speed Robot Meets High Speed Camera

Although this video does not have any animation in it, I thought it was very interesting. These guys designed a robot to move at high speeds while carrying a high speed phantom camera. By moving the high speed camera rapidly around the action being performed you can achieve a super slow motion parallax effect that looks amazing. I love phantom cameras and I am always checking out what people are using them for.

Majora's Mask

As many of you probably know, I'm a massive fan of Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series. This past Friday, Nintendo released a remastered version of the game for its mobile 3DS platform 15 years after the original was released. I've been playing it pretty much non-stop all week and while I've been going through it I was really interested in how, 15 years ago, the base game was created. For the time, this was a really complex game, not to mention having only been made start-to-finish in a year.

Majora's Mask was Nintendo's second game using 3D graphics and they did use a lot of the character models from Ocarina of Time in order to meet their one year deadline. The remaster has added a host of new features and they're just as impressive as the original game.

When people talk about 3D Graphics and Animation, and the evolution of those, video games are frequently overlooked. I definitely recommend at taking a look at the original game if you haven't before, and if you have--the 3DS version is a new improvement to an old classic.

Fringe and Floating Text

Not too long ago, we learned how to utilize motion tracking in After Effects. The ability to have an image or piece of text that you've created follow the camera movements to appear as part of the environment is a very valuable skill. As a media production major, the more tricks of the trade I learn, the more I start to see them used everywhere, and motion tracking is no exception. Lately I've been binge watching the Fox series Fringe on Netflix, and old favorite of mine that makes heavy use of motion tracking techniques.

Fringe is a show about the investigation of pseudo-science and unnatural phenomena. As you can imagine, a science-fiction show like this would make use of a lot of effects, but perhaps most notably are the floating text effects that the use during their establishing shots. Multiple times each episode, there are giant 3D letter floating in establishing shots, indicating where the story is taking place at the time. 

These words move with the camera movements, making them appear as though they are a part of the environment. The show creators also use other effects to really try to make the words appear to be in world, by including reflections in glass buildings and puddles, and even having the weather interact with letters. To see effect in motion, check out any episode, you'd only have to watch the first couple of minutes before seeing this effect used. Or you can check out this quick little demonstration video.

Creating Wallace and Gromit

Nick Park started creating Wallace and Gromit in 1982. The first film was A Grand Day Out.

He came up with the name Gromit from his brother, an electrician. A grommet is a rubber device used to insulate wiring. He was originally going to be a cat, but once he found it was a lot easier to make dogs out of clay, Gromit became a dog.

Park had never written a script before, and his first version of A Grand Day Out would have been four hours long. Aardman took Park on and helped him cut down his ideas to make them better and makeable in a shorter amount of time. A Grand Day Out took seven years in total.

The next film, The Wrong Trousers, came out in 1993. The train chase in the film is something that they had never seen done before in stopframe animation, and none of them knew how to do it. They built a 20 ft long living room wall, 2 ft high. They fixed the camera to the train and filmed on a long shutter speed to make the background blurry.

In an interview with The Guardian, Park talks about once they made The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Dreamworks: "We made The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Dreamworks, and it was often a struggle to keep things as we wanted. They'd say: "Why do they have to have an Austin A35? Can't they have a pickup truck or something cool?" But I love it because it's not cool. We were going to call it The Great Vegetable Plot, but research showed that vegetables were a negative with American kids, and they didn't know a plot is a place where you plant vegetables."

Co-founder of Aardman, Peter Lord, says, "Nick manages to convey in animation what Wallace and Gromit are thinking – and that's something most animators can't do. The lack of sentiment is the most charming thing about them: their affection is never saccharine, never obvious, just kind of real. I love their Jeeves and Wooster thing: the master being such a dope and failing to properly value his lower-status companion – I won't say servant – who is so much more intelligent."

Nick Park ends his interview by saying, "Digital animation is getting better all the time – they can make it look so much like clay now – but for me, there will always be a difference."

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Just last week the world was graced by the release of the newest epic movie to be released to theatres, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. The animated/live action film is the second Spongebob movie to be released. The biggest difference between the two feature length films is that this one takes place in the real world, rather than just Bikini Bottom. The trailer gives a good idea of what the film is going to look like and how they are going to bring the characters from the 2D world of Bikini Bottom into the 3D real world.
As you can see from the trailer the formerly flat characters from the Spongebob series have been moved into the 3D world and animated into living creatures the move alongside us humans. The 3D rendering technology made the characters come to live and look like they were really part of this world. They has real shadows and lots of other distinctions that made them look like they thoroughly belonged in the world they were in. However, the animators had to find a balance between keeping the characters true to their original looks while still bringing them to life and having them be a part of the 3D world. This is where the magic of the 3D rendering technology comes in because they can use the original characters and build them in 3D space while keeping them as true to their original designs as possible.


Disney and Marvel have had great success recently through their live action features. Guardians of the Galaxy took this summer by storm, and Marvel has treated that success as a launching point for other media based on the film. They've recently announced the creation of a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon.
Now, this is nothing groundbreaking; superhero cartoons have been a staple for a long time. What is interesting, however, is how Marvel is using the show as a launching point for other media. They recently released a comic book of Guardians that has the same exact art style as the cartoon.

Additionally, they've used the same style for the Disney Infinity toys. This streamlining of look of the superheroes shows a strength in brand which I find to be very cool. 

The Oculus Rift and what it means for Film and Interactive Media

When this first came out I initially didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it because it didn't look too different from virtual reality equipment I've seen before. But when the POV office obtained one while I was interning there last semester, I realized that it is the beginning of a powerful tool for films and interactive media. Brian Chris works as the digital technology developer at POV and has a interesting blog involving the oculus rift and what it means for documentary film makers. Here is a link to his blog where you can find it all explained much better than here. Brian Chris's Blog - POV. One of the uses for documentary films is to show the audience physically what the numbers represent since in so many films it's difficult to communicate what the numbers actually mean. Or for issues like climate change it's difficult to show it's affects since it's happening at such a comparatively slow rate to how we exist although in reality the changes are significant. So with this tool people are able to design entire 3D worlds or alternate realities for the audience to simply play around in. For example Brian posted a 3D city that you can navigate through.

Animation and 3D design seems to be bridging the gap between reality and a virtual reality. Animation has been an amazing tool to help share and explain ideas in a simple way but now that we can emerge ourselves in a world that we can design. We can even use it as a medium to interact with our own world. When it comes to films I feel like we will be able to gain a much stronger perspective on what the directors are trying to communicate. 


I was browsing the web looking for something to make my blog post on when I stubbled across this.

 I don't know anything about the creator as of now but I watched this short animation and was mesmerized.

 Not only was the animation phenomenal, but what ever the message behind it is... is something powerful. This video is intriguing and if you can find the time you should really check it out.

I would explain my own opinion on its meaning but after watching it a third time i think everyone should decide what it means on there own.

Very impressed.

Note from Arturo: how about embedding the video:

I, pet goat II from Heliofant on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Interactive Digital Projection and Dance

So before I say anything, I want to say that this is SO COOL!  As a dancer for 13 years, watching this video makes me want to dance to something with this projection system.  The project is called Pixel and it was performed in 2014 in France.  I loved how not only were the dancers choreographed, but the animation was as well.  Both elements of the performance were in balance with each other, playing off one another.  (1:16 in the clip at the top of the page blew my mind right out of the water)

Link is here for the site.

Note from Arturo: embed, embed!

Image Stabilization

With image stabilization becoming very accessible in the form of software programs such as Hugin Panorama CreatorBlenderDeshaker, Adobe After Effects, etc. people can do their own image stabilization very easily. This has brought forward a lot of creative applications of image stabilization. What was originally meant for stabilizing shaky footage has become a tool for creating totally new ways of looking at otherwise normal footage. For example, here is a video of a street performer doing contact juggling with the video stabilized on the crystal ball:
Here is a time-lapse video of the night sky with the video stabilized on the stars, revealing that the earth is spinning rather than the stars revolving:
And here is a video of an award show with the video stabilized on Weird Al Yankovic floating past an interview:
With more easy to use, free software programs coming out, I'm sure people will take image stabilization to a whole new level in the next couple years.


While I have never done any myself, I believe claymation is one of the coolest forms of animation out there. Basically, it is a form of animation using either clay or this material called plasticine, which has been around since the early 1900s. In claymation production, the artist will sculpt the characters out of either the clay or plasticine, while also using wire molds underneath to support the sculpture. Shooting claymation is extremely tedious and time consuming. A full length 90 minute feature film using claymation would require roughly 64,800 stops to change the figures for the frames. Notable claymation films include Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and More.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lyric Videos

Hey Everyone, now that we covered working with Audio in AE,  I thought I would share this tutorial about creating lyric videos. I personally love working with music and making music videos and I found this to be very helpful, maybe you all will too.