Friday, December 21, 2012

The Glitch

So this may or may not be my last post on this site and I wanted it to go off with a bang. Attached are two videos by a YouTube group called Corridor Digital (and their secondary YouTube account all about how they make their videos). The VFX in their videos are great and they even show off the stuff they do for us viewers so we get more of a personal connection with the group. They're located out in California and they post a lot of videos. Happy Hollandaise Sauce and a Merry Candlenights to all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit

It's finally here! The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey is now in theaters for everyone to experience and enjoy. I've been a Lord of the Rings fan since the first movies came out back in 2000, and have read the books twice since then (as well as any other readings that Tolkien and his son have offered). I was one of the few millions who went out and saw it at the midnight release and I can happily say that it does not disappoint. One issue I had was that I saw it in 3D and was forced to sit in the front row due to the theater being packed; so I unfortunately am not a good judge of whether or not the 48 FPS that everyone is talking about is a good or bad thing. The 3D was certainly a cool feature however, and I would like to see it again from a better perspective! The story holds up incredibly well. Peter Jackson does an absolutely faithful representation of the books through his movies, and that still holds true for the Hobbit. It is a little goofier than the original Lord of the Rings were, but that was expected, as the Hobbit is a more kid-friendly story to begin with. The effects are stunning as well. There is more magic this time around and fantastical elements that Jackson seems to rely more on green screen and digital animation. The video above shows how they work in the green screen technology as well as the new RED 3D camera systems. It's really interesting to see how goofy everything looks in real life, but is translated to look gritty and realistic in the film. This is in no way a bad thing either.  The story is now framed as a tale being told to Frodo by Bilbo; which I feel justifies a lot of the more ridiculous and animated moments as exaggerations to the story. An Unexpected Journey is to be followed by two more movies, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again.

Here's a link to the official Blog for the movies:

Please, do yourself a favor and go see this movie,

And good luck everyone with finals and have an awesome break!

adios amigos

Tis the season so I, as several others also have, decided to post a good ole Christmas video. This is just a little animated snow man and some lasers and beams. It's just a nice little video. I hope all of you have a great break and maybe I'll see some of you next semester. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, of course only if we all survive past next Friday.

Last Blog!

So I must say that this has been a great class. Looking back to my first blog and seeing my 'Kayla' name project in After Effects is pretty funny. Some classes I am slightly glad to have end, but this one I really wish I wasn't done with. I am definitely going to continue to develop my country music video and play around with video copilot tutorials. This stuff is so exciting and I can see myself working out in the real world someday at a job where this is incorporated.

And you know what... after all of this I finally feel like all of the times Arturo says, "You guys can do this right now with what you know!" I actually can do. Thanks everyone for a fun semester. Have a great break!

(Here is a little Holiday Greeting created in After Effects.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Drake Equation

     Happy last post!  Well, isn't this a bittersweet moment?  Over the past few months I have posted about motion graphics from things like movies and especially music.  I think my favorite post on here was in regards to Flying Lotus's Layer 3 live set-up.  As an avid music connoisseur, I find it exciting to see two of my favorite things, music and post production coming together.

     For my last post I am changing up a little bit.  This is a video that would not be too hard to replicate in After Effects, it is using motion graphics to explain the Drake Equation from Carl Sagan's Cosmos.  None of it seems particularly difficult, most of the objects just grow and shrink as well as fly around the screen.  The only one I am not sure about is the rotating Earth.  See the video to get what I mean.

Visual Loop Daily Video - Drake Equation by Visualoop

 My guess is the image of the Earth was originally a flat .png and the editor grabbed the edges and pulled them back as to make the image like a cylinder.  Then they warped the top and bottom so that they were touching opposite ends.  The middle may have been "puffed" out to make it appear like an orb.  But this is just a guess!  :)


So if you don't already know, I am a huge Pendleton Ward fan. If you already knew though, I am still a huge Pendleton Ward fan. I have seen every single episode of the ever popular Cartoon Network show "Adventure Time" and when he backed the kickstarter of LA Game Space by creating a video and tee shirt, I funded the program because (aside from it being a fantastic and wonderful idea) I wanted that tee. Anyways, Mr. Ward recently came out with a new show through Frederator Studios' adult production label Cartoon Hangover simply called "Bravest Warriors." The show features four teenage heroes-for-hire as they warp through the universe saving adorable aliens and their worlds by using the power of their emotions. Below is the fourth episode which features some 3D animation of a flying space-bus crashing onto the marvelous city of Mars.

Something I think is really great about the show is that whenever they release a new episode they also release a "behind the scenes" video, featuring the voice actors acting and some of the animation process, and an animatic storyboard. This is a fantastic way of not just drawing in viewers but giving them more of a personal relationship with the show and how its made. Below are those bonus videos for this episode.

This may not be completely related to this blog but I feel that motion animation is still animation, making cartoons just as serious. This episode was released on Thursday December 6th and there is a new episode every Thursday so keep your eyes peeled for the newest episode coming out today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let's Get Smokey

So I've spent the past couple days devoting all my time and energy to my Fiction Field final project, a film called Dog House. It's awesome, and it looks GREAT. I can safely say that despite the sleep deprivation, I loved working on this film. I'm so happy I got to spend so much extra time on After Effects, because I can definitely say I feel a lot more comfortable using it, as well as more confident in my color correcting capabilities.

Apart from coloring the film, I also did most of the graphics for it, including the intro sequence, which required a smoke .mov file I downloaded for free from a free stock-footage website courtesy of By following this tutorial, I was able to quickly and effectively adapt the smoke title lesson into a great title sequence for the film.

I've looked at a few other videos by this guy, HPnoticTutorial, and he's pretty good. His accent can be a little hard to understand at times, but so long as you increase the player quality to 360p you're good to go. 

So yea, that's it for this post for me! I'll see you all tomorrow!

(Also, the Fiction Field Production 1 screening is from 10-12 this Saturday, December 15th, so be sure to stop by if you're free! It'll be a great time!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Publicized in Newspaper

My recent post of the 2012 Muscular Dystrophy Video I produced has gotten national attention. This included as of recently, the media. My hometown newspaper did an article on the story behind me producing the videos because of my Mom, who has Muscular Dystrophy. The picture that is shown above is from the Reading Eagle Newspaper. Along with this, The Ithacan is also doing an article on me too. My goal was to get this story as far out as possible to help find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. I believe I have mostly achieved this goal.

Final Holiday Movie: A Christmas Carol

This is the epitome of motion graphics and animation.  From making Scrooge look like Jim Carrey to the life like images telling a classic christmas story.  They are able to capture the comedic timing of Jim Carrey with the vivd images of Charles Dicken's story.  The 3 ghosts are exactly what I pictured when reading this story.  I love this movie even more than Polar Express.  It always leave me in awe how detailed the images are; from Scrooge's grimy teeth to his large pores in his crooked nose.  It is definitely  a film worth watching this holiday season.

Stan Winston Interview

Just a really short interview with the VFX master Stan Winston. He designed the creatures in films such as Jurassic Park (1993), Terminator 2 (1991), Aliens (1986), Predator (1987), The Thing (1982), and the list literally goes on and on. He used traditional puppets and animatronics as opposed to CGI which wasn't available at the time. I still think his work looks exponentially better than anything that's put out today. He also won four academy awards. Booyah.

Below is an example of his work from The Thing. Oh it's too good.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Incredible Camera...

The camera shown in this video is incredible. Ramesh Raskar and a team of MIT students/professors developed a new camera that can record at a trillion frames per second. Some of the ramifications for this technology are shown, like advancements in medical technologies to help with invasive surgeries, firemen in rescuing survivors from a building. I believe that there are numerous possibilities not discussed in the video, particularly in a military setting. On the other hand us creative types could make some extremely cool motion graphics with this camera. I just wonder what someone could accomplish with a camera like this and creative intent. It is hard to describe exactly how powerful this new technology is, but I feel like the video really speaks for itself. I recommend everyone watches it; this camera could have a big impact on media in the near future!

why did it take me so long to discover this song?

One day I was very bored and decided to do a YouTube power hour. It started out with me looking up hockey highlights which led me to football and one of the videos had this song (300 Violin Orchestra by Jorge Quintera) as it's background music. I fell in love with the song. There are no words. Just some great violins and and great beat. I found a cool visual effect video for this song. At first it appeared very simple to me, but as I watched, I found it appeared as though it was growing towards the top of the screen and that it grows and dies in sync with beats in the piece. It's not very complex, but I found it to be very fascinating. Do yourselves a favor watch the video.

This is the video that led me to this masterpiece:

How I Met How I Met Your Mother

One of my best friends from home and I had a tradition when we were in high school where on New Years every year she would introduce me to a new TV show that almost always ended up being one of my new favorites. Degrassi, Bones, and How I Met Your Mother are just a few of those shows.

HIMYM has been one of my favorite shows for years. The main characters, Ted, Robin, Barney, Lily, and Marshall are brilliant, hilarious, moving, and talented. And the story, told through narration by Ted, is being recounted to his kids years in the future. It is a brilliant concept, and it makes the story that much better.

ANYWAYS, for the motion graphics portion of this post, I thought I'd mention the intro credits. They're in a really cool pop-up style that we've seen in class before that uses different camera angles to transition between stylized photos of the characters meant to represent the premise of their friendships over the years. I think it's super cool and I love how it ties into the show without loosing its audience.

Anyways, I hope you guys have a great weekend! See you next week for our last few classes!

Game Of Thrones: Opening Sequence

One of the more impressive opening sequences that I've seen is the opening to Game of Thrones on HBO. I've seen other people post the opening video but here it is again for people that haven't seen it.

The opening goes through the map of the world. The producer of the opening sequence said they wanted everything to look organic and full of nature. But they also wanted to mirror the complexity of the world and the show. Here is a video about the making of the video.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm-a Let You Finish...

But Kanye West and Marco Brambilla's music video for the song "Power" is the greatest music video of all time. No joke. This video screams excellence in the regular West-ian fashion, mixing themes from Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Greek Mythology, Occult tarot cards, and Egyptian Mythology. Although the song was created by Kanye West and the video was directed by artist Marco Brambilla, the real work is the visual effects in the video. It features moving images, slow-motion, mirrored duplicates, and a whole slue of other effects. Not to mention the censored version of the video has Mr. West's eyes illuminated, the background has changed from a stage setting to more of a cosmos, and all of the previously naked women are now donning very loosely draped cloth.

The Director's Cut

The visual effects are all done by ARTJAIL and additional computer graphics done by UVPHACTORY. First off, ARTJAIL is a visual effects boutique and art space, residing on the amorphous border of Chinatown and the L.E.S. NYC, that have done many of projects with numerous groups like Levi's, Nike, IBM, Google, Mentos, and a plethora of car companies. They were involved with many aspects of this project from pre-production to post and finishing, giving them a real understanding of what the Director's vision for the piece was. UVPHACTORY, on the other hand, is an award-winning motion design, visual effects, and production company. Working with Brambilla, they created additional 3D graphics for the video. The director wanted this video to be less of a music video and more of a piece of moving art where two artists collaborated to make something beautiful and they really did. If you don't believe me, watch both versions of the video then we'll talk.

The Censored Version

"Power" is the third song off of Kanye West's fifth studio album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" released in November 2010. The original music video for the song was released in August 2010.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stop Motion Animation

This is just a cool video I came across on Vimeo. It's facts about the GIF file and it's interesting how they show it through different material. I like the clay animation they use to make words and the sound effects are really cool and bring it to life.

A Short History of the Gif | Moving the Still from LEGS MEDIA on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On the Second Post of Christmas Ashley McGinnes Gave To Me... The Grinch?

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is a Dr. Seus classic come to life.  The bright costumes, sets, and special effects make this movie a "must watch" during the holiday season.  The colors are absolutely fantastic and the movie makes you feel like Who-Ville could be a real place.

My favorite part is how the movie first sets the stage:  a snow flake falling.  Then, with the help of AfterEffects no doubt, you zoom into the snowflake and see that a town resides there.  This is just one of the reasons why this movie is so magical and well done.

Commercial - Toyota Prius "People Person" Campaign

Toyota and Saatchi and Saatchi teamed up to advertise the Toyota Prius, which has expanded its line to four vehicles. The Advertisement features a man going about his daily routine in the morning who just so happens to be made up of 18 different people. As the commercial goes on, the individual people “peel off” and rush to their respective cars and into the horizon while the voiceovers chimes in the background: "There's the original one, the bigger one, the smaller one, and the one that plugs in. They're all a little different. Just like us." The goal of the commercial is to show us, the consumer, that the Prius is still the same car, only now suits different people and their needs. Unfortunately, although very different, this ad is borderline creepy. It makes me feel like I’m watching the short film sequel to the human centipede. The last thing this makes me want to do is buy the Prius, and I think I speak for more than just myself. I’m not specifically sure what makes this ad so weird; it might be the lady who cheerfully doubles as a hand, or perhaps the butt who just so happens to be the nose? What the heck were Toyota and Saatchi and Saatchi thinking when they aired this commercial?

Monday, December 3, 2012

"Tiny Tortures" by Flying Lotus

Hey yall. So the artist Flying Lotus just released another music video from his new album "Until The Quiet Comes." It's really an amazing video which features a ton of 3d and most likely some after effects. Plus you have Elijah Wood in it, which is very surprising. The song is so atmospheric and just plain cool. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Music Video!

Hey guys!! My friend/roommate is a big fan of this band Timeflies. He showed me this music video that looked like it was made in all After Effects. It is definitely make-able at our level of knowledge.

SPEAKING of music videos. Guess who finally finished theirs (a minute of it at least). A little late, but i got it done.

Have a great weekend everybody!!

Nice Job Andy

A few days ago, I went down to WENY-TV to talk with them about interning there next semester. I met up with Andy, a former IC grad, and he showed me some of the stuff that they do there. He told me that when I'm there next semester, we'll be covering a lot of high school basketball. He wanted me to get a glimpse at what it will be like so he showed me a reel of high school football from a few months ago. He bragged about how he made the opening in after effects before he showed me the video. I was ready to be blown away with what a TV "professional" could make. Then he showed me the video. Needless to say it was pretty cheesy. You can observe the cheesiness yourselves. Let's just hope I get better with after effects so I can make them a better opening next semester.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Matrix Code

Today I decided to write about a tutorial remaking one of the most famous and recognizable title sequences ever.  The movie The Matrix is very well known for the green digital rain, much so like Star Wars is for the text crawl through space.

In this tutorial,  a text grid is arranged so it appears to rain down, and to show differences in distance rained, there is a mask applied with a varied height across the screen.  So while it looks like it stops at a certain point, it is because there is a mask covering up the text.  He also uses a gradient ramp to change the color of the text as it falls.  This effect can also be done with Trapcode Particular in half the time of this forty minute video, but as not everyone has Particular, this will work just as well.  Best of luck!

Captain Planet is a Mother Earther

WARNING, the following videos may contain language and images not suitable for children.Viewer Discretion is Advised.

Hello one, hello all! Welcome back to my weekly post, today we are making like Oreos because we are double-stuffed! That's right, it's double-Jeopardy, double-Whammy, double-trouble, and it's double the flavor, double the fun. What I'm trying to say is that I will be talking about two videos today and the theme is... CAPTAIN PLANET! (The title was a spoiler in itself and I apologize).

The first video is from one of Adult Swim's Best Shows Robot Chicken. The premise of the show is simple: Seth Green and Matthew Senreich play with toys and we watch the madness ensue. The clip below is from the second season episode titled "1987" and features media mogul Ted Turner turning into one of his beloved  characters he made, Captain Planet. The show is mostly done with stop-motion animation with the occasional use 3D animation, for example in the video Ted Turner a.k.a. Captain Planet ziplines from one building into another which would be extremely difficult to do in normal stop-motion so they use 3D animation to make it work. The show implements other visual effects such as title sequences and motion tracking.

Now onto our second clip. It's from and it features Don Cheadle as Captain Planet, if Captain Planet becomes mad with power and saving the world by turning every living thing into a plant such as a tree or a shrub. The first video (see below) was made over a year ago and since then its reached over 4.5 million views and now has a whole series devoted to an insane Captain Planet saving the world, one tree at a time. The series offers a number of visual effects, from transforming people into trees to Captain Planet's Iron Man-like hand blasts. Sadly FunnyOrDie doesn't list who does most of the visual effects but I was able to find that Trevor Durtschi worked on the series as a colourist who works with colour grading, the process of altering and enhancing the colour of a motion picture, video image, or still image either electronically, photo-chemically or digitally. They work with colour correction, masks, mattes, and motion tracking. The final episode of the series comes out tomorrow so look out for that, and for Captain Planet because he's watching you and will turn you into a TREE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Welcome back... TO THE FUTURE!

I dunno if you've noticed but the future is here people. Phones, tablets, tvs, computers... the more advanced they become the more integrated they become. Soon we'll be in the matrix. But until that day we must prepare! And we can start soon, once the Oculus Rift comes out later next year.

The Oculus Rift is a head-mounted display for virtual reality gaming developed by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. That's right. Put on a set of goggles and get whisked away to your favorite video game and be immersed in strange new worlds while controlling the movement of the camera with your head.

It's not the first time that virtual reality has been attempted, but it is apparently the most fluid and natural feeling rendition to date. Its been endorsed by John Carmack, the founder of id software, and Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve. The Oculus is set to be fully functional with the re-release of Doom 3. I'm upset that I didn't jump onto the Kickstarter over the summer when it began; for those who backed the project in its infancy they will receive a working unit once it is commercially available. The company only asked for $250,000 and was blown away by nearly 10 times that amount. In fact the reason I'm posting about this now is because there has been  a delay of its release due to the overwhelming reception for the product; calling into question the effectiveness of the Kickstarter program and whether it is more helpful or hurtful to these start up companies. But that's another story for a more boring time. Right now too many exciting things are happening! Like virtual reality!

This isn't the only foray into the virtual world soon to be available to the public. Obviously we see things now like the Wii, the Kinect, and Playstation Move (Wii U is up there I guess with its tablet to tv integration... but we'll see about that one). Apparently Microsoft and Sony have been filling out patents for some serious tech. Maybe it won't land at first with the next generation, but you can be sure that add ons will probably come about for the next systems. Microsoft has plans for glove-based controllers, which will enhance and refine motion controls; as well as concepts for a projection screen device that would work on all 4 walls of a square room, to completely immerse oneself into a game. Wow. Some crazy stuff going on.
(Sorry no video)

So keep your eyes glued to your tvs, (and laptops and tablets and phones) and your heads in plastic buckets with pretty pictures painted on the inside in preparation for this glorious event. And in 10-15 years, when we're all plugging into a virtual world, we can talk about the good old days when trees existed.


So for my other class with Arturo, Fiction Field I, we're currently in pre-production for our final projects. My main role in the production is in post- editing, as well as in graphics.

For this film I really wanted to create a credit sequence that would not only compliment the film, but also the things I have learned in this class on After Effects. I came up with a few ideas for sequences, but before I could finalize those I realized that I would need a proper font to represent the film and its theme.


Basically, this website is the business. It's got a gazillion fonts and you can search based on certain preferences, so you can find just about any type of font you want. So yea, it would be super helpful if you needed a new, free font for an animation or film!

Documentary Featured Nationally

Every year I make a documentary for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. These videos are a donation from me because my mom has Muscular Dystrophy and I love to help out using my talent every year. I started my first one in 2006 and now I just released the latest one, which has got some national attention by the headquarters of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Let me know what you think! Share with your friends so we can help raise awareness. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A visit from John Levenstein

This past Monday I went into my Mass Media Research Methods class taught by Jack Powers expecting to work on our semester projects, but to be pleasantly surprised by a guest visitor: John Levenstein!
John is a comedic television writer, most famous for the show Arrested Development. Since then he has been involved with series such as Lipstick Jungle, The Life & Times of Tim, and The Inbetweeners. Hearing about his career,as well as a handful of funny stories, was really awesome. Initially he went to school for acting, but ended up enjoying writing and producing the scripts more. But recently he was asked to be an actor for part of the show Portlandia. They wanted John to be the voice of a rat for a stop-motion scene. John said that it took so much time to do all of the stop-motion that they could only get about seven seconds a day. I found the clip that we watched in class quite amusing so here it is for you to watch as well: (John is the fat rat.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

All I Want for Christmas... Is AfterEffects

For this holiday season, I will be posting all of my favorite Christmas movies that utilize motion graphics and animation.  My favorite Christmas movie of all time is The Santa Clause.  This movie is about a divorced toy marketer who tries to convince his son there is a Santa, even though he does not believe.  One Christmas Eve, their lives changed.  Santa falls off their roof and Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) becomes the new Santa Claus due to the "santa clause".  Scott puts on the Santa suit and now has to take on the full responsibilities of Santa.  It is a great story teaching kids that "seeing isn't believing  believing is seeing".  

Besides the heart warming story comes some awesome 1994 special effects.  Scott Calvin goes through dramatic physical changes, reindeers fly, the north pole holds magical powers, and Scott Calvin fits in some pretty small chimneys.  Although to the trained eye you may see some cables that Tim Allen is hanging from, it never takes away from the magic of this movie.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Life of Pi

So I haven't heard much about Ang Lee's Life of Pi, except that it is supposed to have amazing special effects. I did a little research and this movie looks pretty interesting. It is about a boy whose family decides to move their zoo. There is a shipwreck and the boy, Pi, has to survive. That is the very basic jist of the plot. The reviews so far are pretty good (it has an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes). The movie is based on a book that was supposed to be "impossible" to film, which I think makes it even more impressive that it is good at all, let alone great (supposedly). It came out on Nov 21, so hopefully I will get to see it soon.

Here is the trailer, the special effects don't really come in until the end but when they do, they look awesome.

Happy Batsgiving or Happy Bat Friday!

This week we are taking a look at a video from CollegeHumor's BADMAN series. This series has been racking the views for quite some time now on their website with videos over 500,000 views, some even have over a million views. They take scenes from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and parodies them, turning everyone's favorite hero into the worst version of him yet (and that means worse than the time that Batman was also Green Lantern). Here's a clip:

Just the pits, ammiright? The series uses a number of effects to make it as close to movie quality as possible, including motion tracking with fire and eye color displacement. The series' visual effects are done by a group called Gloo Studios Inc. Based out of British Colombia, this post-production/visual effects/production group has worked with a number of producers and post-production managers of broadcast content for TV and Film. They work with all styles and genres of productions, from multi-million dollar productions to indie producers and filmmakers. Their collaberation with CollegeHumor on many videos, not just including the BADMAN series, has really taken humor to the next level of online videos.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Unity and The Butterfly Effect

Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone!

The clips I have this week are made from a program called Unity which I may or may not have talked about before. It is a game development program which is free to use and offers a pretty professional interface for beginners like me to get their feet wet in developing 3D games. With the release of Unity 4 a lot of new features have been added, so the developers teamed with Passion Pictures and Nvidia to create an animated short showing off the goods. Passion Pictures is primarily an animation studio, unfamiliar with working with game development software. The team at Unity knew this and wanted to see how their technology could be pushed in the hands of an animation studio outside of gaming and, well, the results are nothing short of fantastic! I was particularly intrigued by the highly detailed facial animations, created entirely by the free technology which exists with Unity. There's a lot of technical talk that I can't even begin to understand in the Making Of video... however next semester I'm enrolled in Game Dev and Technologies which plans to work with Unity in creating games so hopefully I'll begin to understand some of it. I'm extremely excited to begin learning this incredibly powerful tool for the industry I plan to work in.

And if you really enjoyed the video, I suggest watching this Making Of trailer, which shows the challenges and triumphs of each scene:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Green Screen Review

Hey everyone, considering our current project of chroma keying ourselves into a movie, here is a good review that I watched and refreshed some things I forgot.

Take note at a couple of parameters in After Effects that you may forget when chroma keying in Keylight...

Screen Pre Blur- use this after adjusting your screen matte, in the video he uses a setting of 2 and it helps to "feather" the edges through blurring.

Screen Shrink/Grow- use this to get remove the soft green edge around your subject, the video uses a setting of -3.5, (*negative* because you need to take the green out) but this is determined on a case-by-case basis.

And most importantly to get a good chroma keying result- use the eye dropper as close to your subject as possible!

Best of luck with your keying.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to morph an object

Back in the day (like late elementary school/ early middle school) there was a book series "Animorphs".  The books were about a group of teenagers that got the ability to transform into animals (there were aliens involved as well but that's not relevant to this post)  I never really read the books, my older brother was more into them than I was. What I did think was really cool was the covers of the books.

Each book cover had one of the protagonists turning into a different animal and it was one of those hologram pictures, where from a particular angle you can see only certain of the images. I was pretty young at the time but I always enjoyed those covers. 

Later there was a television show on nickelodeon that only lasted a season or two. One of the effects on the show was the characters turning into an animal. Sometimes these were shown and sometimes they were implied by shadows and sounds. 

At the time I thought this was really impressive. Now, I know that they probably used after effects and that this doesn't even look that difficult (although I haven't tried it yet) 

I also found this tutorial on YouTube that shows how to morph objects. It is probably similar to what was used in the show. Enjoy

An Unlikely Band of Misfit Effects

Earlier in the year, a friend of mine recommended I watch the English show Misfits on Hulu. Being a fan of all things superhero related I decided to give it a shot and I loved it. The series came out in the UK in November 2009 and since then there have been 4 series, and have received a numerous number of awards. The show is produced by Clerkenwell Films and has a lot of visual effects in it. After doing some research, I was able to find out that the promo for the show was created by a group called Machine Shop but the majority of in-show effects are done by a second group, known as Shadowjack Visual Effects, which has worked on many different projects including the Harry Potter series. Below is the promo for the first series and the Visual Effects showreel, put on YouTube by one of the show's compositors, Antonio Rodriguez Diaz. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chuck TV Series Opening Sequence

So as things are winding down into Thanksgiving break I've come to the realization that I'm just about creatively tapped. I don't know about you guys, but this past month or so, I've been running around non-stop. This break is about to be so wonderful for my sanity.

ANYWAYS. My point is that I've spent the last hour sitting here trying to think of something interesting to post about- and I've got nothing.

All I have for you this week is the rather interesting opening sequence to one of my favorite NBC shows, Chuck. Sadly, Chuck was cancelled last year after five years on the air, but it was a great show, and the intro credits are kind of cool (as is the Cake song...)

SO. Enjoy some Chuck. Enjoy your turkey (or tofurkey, if that's what you're into) and I'll see you later!


I'd like to share a video that features New York City when it was mostly without power. The guy who produced this went out on the streets and recorded timeless of the city without power. This was to show how ghost like and odd it was without power. You also have to respect the producer's framing with his time-lapse shots. You can tell they were very carefully chosen.

NYC Dark from Already Alive on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teach Me How To Green Screen.

As we start another project, I have been compiling a lot of tutorials to help me figure out what I want to do and how to accomplish that look.  This video is all about how to set up and use a green screen.  This video will help you avoid the common mistakes newbies make when first using a green screen.  If I learned anything from this video, it is that to have a successful green screen, you need great lighting.  So for those of you that haven't lit anything since that first production class, I suggest brushing up on those skills.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Meet some friends of mine

One of my favorite animated shows of all time is South Park. I mean, who doesn't love South Park? And ever since I've been watching it, I wondered how they were able to create an episode in such a short amount of time. They always keep up to date on current issues and always satirize them in their most recent episode. Take this week's episode for example where they poked fun at the election results and Disney buying the rights to Star Wars. I found a video that explains how they are able to do it. The job is "easier" due to advances in technology, but the way they go about their business has been relatively unchanged over the last 15 years.

This is the link. The video is part of an article


Last night my life forever changed:
Yes, I finally bought a three button mouse! (Round of applause) And in dedication to this marvelous purchase I thought it would be appropriate to post some Sketchup shortcuts that use a mouse because that's my new cool favorite program to play with.

Right-click~Depending on which tool is selected a right-click will bring up a menu of several options for that surface.
Center-click~This switches into orbit mode. As long as you press and hold the center button the mouse will continue to maneuver with the orbit tool.
Scroll~The center scroll wheel zooms the object closer or further away.
Shift+Center-Click~This combination temporarily switches to the pan tool. As long as they're held the pan will be active.

In addition, after hearing that Cornell architecture students have had to make campus buildings in Sketchup I got curious to see what they created. In the 3D warehouse there are some really impressive models! Here are just a few photos of Cornell buildings.
These are pictures of Lincoln Hall, Sage Hall, and the Uris Library models. Pretty awesome!!

Have a happy Cortaca weekend! :)

Here's Some Advice: DoYaThing

In the past 14 years, the band Gorillaz has went from being a side project of visual artist Jamie Hewlett and Blur's Damon Albarn to the greatest virtual band on the planet, expanding their universe not just musically but also visually. Earlier in the year, Gorillaz teamed up with Andre 3000 and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy to collaborate on a song called "DoYaThing" for Converse's "Three Artists, One Song" program, which brings together musicians from different disciplines to make one track together (a previous collaboration consisted of Soulja Boy, Andrew WK, and Matt and Kim). Along with the song, Converse released a line of Chuck Taylor's All-Stars featuring Hewlett's designs.

In addition to the great song and shoes, Converse also put out a music video, directed by Hewlett, depicting the animated characters of the Gorillaz universe in a modern day setting in a flat in England. The video takes the 3D animated bandmates and mixes it with real world footage and 2D imaging, not to be confused with images of Gorillaz' lead singer 2-D. Here's some footage of the making of the video.

The final depiction of the video shows off how much work was put into making this video and the characters in it as real as possible. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The CGBros

Hello Hello Hello,

So I was browsing through YouTube the other day and found a fantastic channel! It's called TheCGBros. They have these really great and short VFX breakdowns for recent popular movies such as Cloud Atlas, Prometheus, and The Avengers. They show the compositing layers and every different effect that goes into creating a scene. Check it out!

Dragon Baby

So I saw an article about this video on youtube and I thought it was pretty cool. I've actually never seen Kill Bill (which partly inspired the video), but I love movies with cool kung fu and karate, and wire fu. The first thing that I really thought was cool about the video was getting the stuffed animal to move. Both the dragon and the baby are animated very well though.

After watching this video and thinking it was pretty cool. I saw that there was actually a video that the creator made before this. Except this time, it was more of a trailer, and also it was for Iron Man

And finally, this video led me to one which I found more interesting. The creator explaining how he managed to animate the scenes. I'm only going to put the first clip up, but there are 8 of them. And I think he does a pretty good job of explaining the process he went through.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4 is here! With all the hype and excitement surrounding the latest installment to the series I figured I would share a bit of it with the class. With the release of the game, 343 Industries, the new studio in charge of Microsofts cash-cow intellectual property, has also released a series of live-action shorts to promote it. A lot of money was put into the making of this series, with some pretty interesting actors and actresses filling the roles (Anna Popplewell of Chronicles of Narnia fame!). It is written by Aaron and Todd Helbing and directed by Stewart Hendler (2009, Sorority Row, 2007 Whisper).

This is the fifth installment in the series called Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. Some of the effects are incredibly cool, but all look like they came from After Effects and similar programs. The opening sequence to this involves a really cool particle distortion which looks to have been made in Particular. At around 1:49 a firefight begins after an exploding grenade hits the front wheel. Its interesting to see the alien bullets flying around in the scene, because they are clearly edited in with After Effects. In the 4th episode, there is a lot of really interesting effects that they use with a camouflaged alien enemy. As he moves through the scene, he distorts the image just slightly to reveal his position. When he strikes, he uses a glowing energy sword that lights up just before the gore. 

Its interesting to see the direction media is taking. Multi and transmedia projects seem to be the way to go for marketing and promoting new products. We will be seeing a lot more of high budget, live-action mini-series to support video game franchises. There are a lot of really cool effects in this series and I urge anyone who is a fan of the series or is interested in seeing some cool effects in a game to film setting, it is definitely worth checking out.

Putting Yourself Into A Film...Like Ellen!

I'm not sure how many of you are fans of Ellen DeGeneres or her talk show, but I like Ellen, and therefore this post is about her.

One of the many segments that can be found on the Ellen Show features Ellen when she inserts herself into films, much like we're about to do for our final projects. Two such films she's done this with are Titanic, when it was rereleased last April for the anniversary of the sinking of the ship, and the other was last year for Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 1. In typical Ellen fashion, she makes the scenes in which she inserts herself comical, and I really enjoy it when she does this.

I'm adding the videos to these two films for you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Adding Life to Objects

I thought this video was really cool. First off, I loved the music that went with this piece. It fit perfectly. Second, adding life to the clock made it look to cool. I love what they were able to do with that object. I also like the fact that they kept it classy by going with just black and white for this video. The title of "Stress" also seems like a great title for a piece like this. This has a lot of energy in it and that's what attracts me to it.

Stress from Babusjka on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MoMA: Design and the Elastic Mind: 3-D Printing

      3D printing also know as Additive Manufacturing was originally created in 1995 on MIT’s campus, when two graduate students Jim Bredt and Tim Anderson decided to alter a regular inkjet printer so that it would release a binding solution onto a bed of powder instead of the traditional ink on paper. Since then the 3D printer has evolved into one of the leading ways to create one-off prototypes and might very well be the way we mass-produce most man made products in the future.

         The process of 3d printing is actually quite simple you start off by making a computer aided design, the computer then breaks down that image into thin vertical horizontal cross sections, which the computer then processes and sends to the printer. The machine then starts creating the object with successive layers of material. This type of printing is basically a sophisticated inkjet printer and it is the most common way of 3d printing. Other ways of 3D printing include digital light projection (where UV and visible light sensitive material are held in a reservoir and wiped across a platform then set with a LED) Stereo Lithography Apparatus (UV sensitive liquid resin is hardened by UV lasers) Selective laser sintering (fuses powders) and Direct Laser Metal Sintering (where metal is laid down and fused together layer by layer). Although there are many ways to 3D print it is still very much in development.

         Currently 3D printing focuses on small-scale production. One-off Prototypes were what it was originally created for and what it is mostly used for today. The ability to create your object quickly and in a cost effective manner is what draws many people to 3D printing. Its creation has really opened so many doors for creative minds all over the world however the goal is for 3D printing to become much bigger. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Putting Yourself in a Movie Tutorial

This is a great tutorial that makes this next project seem like a breeze!  The host is really funny and great at what he does.  I really like his idea of adding people to a scene to make it comical.  I think the one difficult thing about this project will be the lighting and camera angles.  If you don't get that right, it will ruin your project.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Layer 3 and Flying Lotus

      It is hard to pinpoint a genre to throw music producer Flying Lotus into.  His music takes a little bit from everything, whether it's jazz, hip hop, electronica, you name it.  Over the past few years he has been met with more and more acclaim from fans and critics alike and has had the opportunity to work with other artists like Radiohead and Erykah Badu.

      Very recently he has launched a unique visual experience to coincide with his music performances.  It is called Layer 3, which is a fitting name for a stage setup which uses just that- three layers.  Layer one is a transparent screen with visual overlays. the second is Flying Lotus and his musical equipment and the third layer is a background with more visual effects.  The two visual layers are separately controlled by two different VJs who try to use their layers together to make an interesting tandem act.  Flying Lotus says that the animations were inspired by one of his favorite movies, 2001: Space Odyssey.  I have never seen Flying Lotus live before, but if I ever have the opportunity I will want to see him especially because of this Layer 3 system.

Flying Lotus 'Layer 3' – A Red Bull Music Academy Film from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

Friday, November 2, 2012

cool effects in a cool video for a great song

This post coincides perfectly with my last post. Well, kind of. My previous post was the blowing up of the CDC in The Walking Dead and I mentioned how the clip was altered and a song by the group Evanescence was put in at the end. Well, I was perusing the video copilot tutorials and noticed one that is used in one Evanescence's videos. The tutorial is number 43, the Demon Face Warp. If you watch the video closely, you can see audience members faces change and distort as the video progresses. The most noticeable warp is the one at the very end with the guitar player. Again, I apologize if this type of music is not in everyone's taste. At the very least, turn the speakers down and just watch the faces contort. It's pretty cool and very creepy.

Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure

I'm here at Ithaca busting my ass learning to make video games and a 5 year old already beat me to it...WHAT! But actually, it's incredibly adorable and really cool. Apparently she made all the art assets and did the voice of the main character and her dad imported it all into a working game at TOJam; a 48 hour lock in where independent developers design the best game they can. The story is simple: collect all the Ponycorns in jars. Through the use of magical rainbows, Sissy is able to travel to different dimensions and help the inhabitants with their problems, or stop the evils that threaten the safety of the mythical Ponycorns. The game is a point and click adventure and uses puzzle elements, like collecting key items, to disrupt the linear flow and challenge the player. There is so much heart in this game it makes sense that it became a viral hit in 2011. I highly recommend people check it out; it won't take more than 5 minutes out of your day and it will take you back to a very special moment in your childhood!

Here is the game:

Here is the story behind it (really cute too):

Have fun!

Born This Way - Lady Gaga

Saying this video is strange is a bit of an understatement.  However, the special effects and what the editors did makes this video very visually interesting.  This video is about Gaga's space utopia.  There is a very futuristic kind of feel with the costumes, lights, sets, and special effects.  There are many mirror effects and x-ray like shots.  I especially love at the end when Gaga is wearing gloves and she turns into a dancing shadow with brilliant white gloves on.  Even though I feel like I need to take an art history class to get all of Lady Gaga's references, I can appreciate the special effects in her music videos.

Ich R U

      Today I have found my favorite music video of all time.  It was uploaded on October 12th and I can not believe it took me this long to see it!  It is for a song called "Ich R U" by Boys Noize, off of his new album, Out of the Black.  Why is it so great?  Almost everything in this video is made out of keyboard keys.  The lighting and filter effects are spot on.  Stop motion with these keyboard pieces is a fresh and fun way to revitalize this sometimes over done style and the lighting and colors make it that much better.  Check it out right below here to see what I mean.

      I found a making of video on Youtube, it is very impressive how this was made.  At first I though the person might have been made in After Effects but it is a person in a keyboard suit.  The coloring effects are certainly done in AE though.  The warm and cool color filters are so beautiful!

Today's forecast

is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Kind of... my post for today is about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I have a secret obsession for little kid animated movies and this is one of my top three. What draws me in are a few things: the fact that it rains delicious food, the quirky characters, and especially the vivid colors of every scene. The whole movie is eye candy to me.
The movie is based on the children's book. For those who don't know the plot I'll sum it up for you. The main character is Flint Lockwood and he makes a serious of failed inventions his whole life, but finally he finds a breakthrough invention where a machine can turn water into food. It's all dandy until the machine flies out of control and is sucked into the atmosphere. Over a span of a few days the town of Swallow Falls experiences some weird weather, where it rains food. This turns into a huge (literally) uncontrollable issue and Flint needs to deactivate the machine before the town is ruined. Of course it has a happy ending because it's rated PG. It's a really cute movie and if you have a little brother or sister you could watch it with because you don't want to look like a weird 20 year old watching a kids movie, I recommend it. Have a great weekend!

Take Shelter (2011)

Last year a film came out that flew under the radar called "Take Shelter" (2011). Really a fabulous film that had these unbelievable graphics that just looked so realistic. It's about a man who has these intense dreams about the world ending and then basically goes crazy because of them.  Check out the trailer below.

I found an interview with Jeff Nichols, the director of the film, talking about the VFX of the film.


How did you pull off the film’s visual effects?

I’m pragmatic, I’m not just a crazy artist. It doesn’t do me any good to sit down and write $40 million films in my bedroom. But I wrote this film with no real clue of [how to accomplish] the effects component. I didn’t think that one through. Luckily, my agent at the time was representing the Strause Brothers from Hydraulx, and he sent them [my first film], Shotgun Stories, and he sent them script for Take Shelter. They were willing to come on board and do the effects for a very, very reduced price.

Technically, they did algorithms to map bird formations based on starling movement, and they 3D-modeled an entire room [for one shot]—they told me they hadn’t done so much work on a single shot since Avatar.

What about the storm cells? They’re incredible looking—very ominous and very real. What was the secret there?

With a ton of money and a ton of time, they would build fake 3D cloud models, and that way you could spin them all around, make them move as fast or as slow as you want. But they weren’t going to 3D-model all of our storm cells. So Hydraulx found a guy who had taken pictures of a lot of amazing storm cells in the Midwest, and they bought some of his photos for their library and put them up in 2D. There’s a lot less maneuverability, but I didn’t need them to be crazy storms spinning around. I just needed the slow, ominous movement. So the clouds in the film look very real, and that’s because they’re real clouds.

It’s a great example of constraints on budget, and constraints on time, playing to your favor. Because if we’d had the time or the money to 3D-model all those clouds, we would have been sitting there going: Does that look real? As opposed to: Are those real clouds moving enough? I’d much rather be in that position. Independent films are breaking ground on this stuff because we’re doing things that other people [with bigger budgets] won’t try, because, why would you?

It's so interesting to hear how these effects were done with a constrained budget. It's really an awesome film, you should definitely check it out!

Here's the link to the full interview.

Read more: Take Shelter: Behind the Movie’s Storm-Shelter Tech and Wild VFX - Popular Mechanics