Monday, April 30, 2012

Canadian FITC intro

This is the opening for the 2012 Canadian FITC festival(Future, Innovation, Technology, Creativity), a gathering of design and technology focused people that covers all creative ventures involving technology. It seems to be pretty simply made, focusing on one specific effect, but I can not figure out what in the world this is, or how it was made. Very cool. I wanted to do something similar for a title sequence in a project I'm working on, where the camera moves up a quickly-growing tree as it spins around it in 3D space, so this caught my eye as inspiration. I'm really curious as to what was done to achieve this sort of "growing rocks" effect for this one, though.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bringing Color to Life

With the end of the semester, I'm getting super forgetful, so sorry this is late. Also, this post isn't really motion graphics related, but I found it a few weeks ago and immediately knew that I should share it.  A creative studio Dentsu made a short film of paint sculptures using sound vibration (it was actually an advertisement for a Canon printer because Dentsu is mainly an advertising agency). The sculptures, which is basically paint splashing is amazing, and because of the way the paint moves in relation to the sound, every moment is different. But the video of the process is what I was actually fascinated by. So much work went into this film, from the creation of the rotating platform to the tiny speaker they used, to even how the paint was going to move.

Mike Gaines

I really could not think of anything class-specific to write about; so I am going to write about a visual effects artist that I personally know!

Mike Gaines is a "digital artist" -- his works has ranged from graphic design, camera work, visual effects, post production, producing, and teaching!

I attended the Summer Institute for TV, Radio, and Film Production (ITRP) at Boston Univ back in high school, Mikey was the post-production / effects teacher and we have become good friends

His personal production company is "a graphic design company focused on providing quality, budget conscious projects for film and television productions. Since its inception, Gaines Images has expanded to include visual effects, DVD menu design and web design"

although he has little footage / productions on his YouTube, I did find this one After Effects video he made -- unfortunately he doesn't show how he actually stabilized it, but it is just so cool that we have the capabilities/technology of AE to turn a shaky shot, into something so smooth and stabilized

like i've said, he also worked as a special / visual effects artist for various productions (some series of FX, TNT, also Never Back Down feature film and others) -- the most interesting stuff I have seen from him his the screen compositions. it seems kind of complicated, with having to keyframe motions and create the on-screen image ... after talking with him, he says it is relatively easy

at 1:25 -- examples of his picture fixes are shown and very briefly the process
at 2:45 of his reel -- he provides demos of the motion graphic / animation work he has done for the various projects
all of which are effects and tasks that I think we could easily do in class, from all the material we have learned

Title Sequence

Okay so my Internet and the blogger didn't seem to working and it has been horrible and I have been trying to post this since this morning, so I am hoping it is working this time. (fingers crossed). So lately I have been paying close attention everytime I watch either a movie or television show at the various title sequences or openings to see if I notice anything really interesting, or anything aspects that seem to possibly have some sort of motion graphics feature to them. However as usual, whenever I want to find a really interesting video of some sort I always resort back to my old reliable Vimeo. This time I was in search of some cool title sequences. I watched over a dozen until I found one I really liked. This title sequence was done for the F5 festival in NYC. I think it is a very unique video and I really liked the use of the bug in the beginning and different animals and how lens flares which were computer generated were used to transition from shot to shot. However my favorite part is when the solid black cube tips over and then sort of explodes into smaller cubes. But I think you should all take a look at it:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Proteigon Short

Since people are posting videos of cool stop motion they saw online I though I'd share this one that I found a while ago. It's am interesting use of stop motion with a guy interacting with pieces of paper that changes as if he was manipulating them with magic.

One of the things that makes it so good is that it has a great soundtrack. His movements go very well with the song and it was obviously chosen carefully. It's a good example of how important music is. Music is one thing that seems simple, but it makes all the difference in a project. The sound effects add a lot to the feeling and believability of it too. It's worth watching if you have a few minutes.


I know this has nothing to do with motion graphics, but it's late in the semester and I'm kind of running out of ideas.  So instead, I'm going to show you a video made by BriTANicK (Brian and Nick).  They both went to NYU and made use of their college degrees by making videos for youtube.  It is pretty astonishing how many people break into the industry through webisodes and other online videos.  Although it definitely worked out for them, Brian recently starred alongside Charlize Theron in Young Adult and Nick will be appearing in a show on MTV and in Louie.  The video below is a parody of stereotypical movie trailers, but if you have 15 minutes to spare, you could also check out their thesis film Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses (it's kind of ridiculous, but stick with it).  I recommend watching some of their other videos, they're short, but really funny.

For some people, media sharing websites like YouTube become their job.  If they have enough views, they can get money from advertising on their channel, product placement, promoting their band or comedy, and appearing on panels at conventions.  I guess all we have left to do is become amazing at motion graphics, get YouTube famous, and pay off all our student loans.

Cool Stop Motion

Well Blogger kind of changed up its look.  The other night I stumbled upon a video for a dubstep artist named Benga.  I had one of those classic, its so simple why didn't I think of this, thoughts.

Its a pretty cool use of stop motion. My favorite thing about being in this class is the wide range of ideas we are exposed to and by seeing all of these different things we can take them and remix them into videos and projects. This same sharing of ideas may have happened with this video. A person commenting on this video on Vimeo pointed out another video that uses a very similar technique.  The other video shows a program that can take an audio waveform and cut it into a bunch circles that can be pieced together to make a little art piece.

EuroTrip title sequence

So yesterday me and a couple friends were flipping through the tv stations and we came across EuroTrip, a comedy about teenagers and their adventures to Europe, so we decided to start it over and watch it from the beginning.  Right when the title sequence started, i knew that i was going to be impressed.  The title sequence takes you through the steps of the flight attendants speech when you are traveling by airplane.  It correlates directly to the movie, as they are traveling around a lot.  Check it out.

The Avengers

So the Avengers comes out in a week and I for one am very excited.

In case you haven't seen it here is the trailer.  Lots of explosions, lots of superheroes, what could be better?!  I'm sure the effects are going to be insane.  I personally love Tony Stark's computer interface at his house and in the iron man suit.  I thought those 3-d graphics were awesome in the Iron Man movies and I hope they are prevalent again.  Basically I'm just really excited for this.

Out in the Reel World

As it is the end of the year and several of us are heading out into the world of professionals, I thought it would be cool to look at a few more show-reels.  Some people just have some of the most amazing work. And there's quite a bit of it that is within our grasp!

My Personal favorite:

Friday, April 27, 2012


It is getting close to the end of the semester and I think that this class succeeded in making me more aware of effects and motion graphics in films. For example, I was watching SNL when a skit called "Laser Cats" came on. The link is down below because I couldn't find it on youtube. This skit is suppose to look crappy and amateur but in reality they did quite a lot of postproduction work to pull it off. As I was watching I was trying to figure out in my head how they did all of the effects. They used the green screen 3 different times. The first was when the bad guys threatened to take EAT, then for the giant cat in the hospital, and finally when they were flying through the air on their bikes.

Another effect that they used was drawing in a fake glowing jump-rope for Bill Hader to hold in the beginning. This was done easily by drawing in a purple rope and then applying some sort of glow effect. At the end of the clip when EAT gets taken away it looks as if they created a red shape layer, turned down it's opacity, and moved it across the screen.

These effects, with them being so simplistic, got me thinking about how I would create them using After Effects. It was really cool to look at the SNL skit and be able to say I could do that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I found this video on vimeo, it's a stop motion video. I think it is pretty cool because the records build like an audio wave track. I think that the idea was very well thought out and I'm glad that I came across this video.

Monday, April 23, 2012

CG fireworks

This video I found is pretty cool and definitely falls into the category of "stuff I could probably pull off in Ater Effects" at this point. It's a clip shot on a 5D of everyday objects being kicked or shot into the air, exploding into fireworks. The concept of the video is clever but the execution seems very easy. It seems that all you have to do is use something like Mocha to track motion in the frame and place a pre-made firework effect on a tracked point within the frame, and then mask/clone out the ball after the explosion until it leaves frame. Can't wait until the summer when I have enough free time to go out and experiment with stuff like this.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Seasons Animation

So kind of forgot about blogging this week, but I did find a pretty interesting animation for the week.

"Seasons" is short that represents the changing of the seasons. The video starts in spring, and moves through the different seasons, with illustrations that "come alive as they transform in color and rhythmic tempo to reveal the full seasonal spectrum". The piece was created using Maya along with After Effects, As I was watching it, there were definitely animations that I recognized as being able to do after the weeks of working in AF.

While I appreciated the animation, I was actually more interested in the director and animator's interpretations of the seasons. The flowers, animals, and flowing lines are all so different than what I think of when thinking of the seasons, so it was interesting to see it from another person's point of view.

For some reason, it's not letting me embed the video, so I had to link it.

Hillman Curtis

After searching for a different topic -- not green screen and not time-specific animation stuff -- I found this designer, who recently passed away; Hillman Curtis.

Although Curtis was not so much a digital animator, he created various types of graphic and moving design images: web, Flash, art for short films, and other non-animation design. He won a few design awards from various national and international organizations for his work. He has worked for big name companies as a web designer: Yahoo, Adobe, Paramount, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and others; as a filmmaker and motion design producer, he created material for Adobe, Spring, Rolling Stone, Blackberry, BMW, and more.

I first found the article about his work, through a posting on his death from this website:

The interview shown in that post explores his concept on design and reasoning for the style of his work. He wanted to keep his work short, simple, and to the point -- and always online, to allow immediate and cheap exposure. For the one

This link is an example of his art design for the moving camera. Designing and painting and positioning artwork, in this example, on the body to look good for the camera:

To see more of his work and read about him, as a person and designer; this is his website

"Be prepared to re-invent yourself and be prepared to go out on a limb and be prepared to do the things that you feel strongly about"-- Hillman Curtis

RIP David Hillman Curtis 1961-2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Counting to 13

I found this video that did something a little different with Motion Graphics. It's a short piece that counts from 1 to 13 using references to famous films with numbers in their titles. For example, Apollo 13 is last one. One of the things that makes the video good are the seamless transitions. It moves from one film to the next very quickly without it being too jarring.

It's a neat video for film buffs and people who are interested in animation. I had fun figuring out what the movies were. I had to watch it a couple of times to get some of them, and I still can't think of what number 3 is.

Best After Effects on Vimeo

So I was really bored today and decided to look up and see what are some of the most interesting After Effects videos that have been put on Vimeo over the years. One video that I came across that I really enjoyed was a short video by Andrew Juano called "0 Gravity." In the video they project a scene in which it seems that a guy is floating in zero gravity along with everyday household items which float and pass through the scene. When I first saw it I automatically assumed the character was on strings to create this anti-gravity visual. I was wrong. However, they made the character float through completely visual effects, no wires included. In order to generate this video they used various types of software besides After Effects such as, Maya, Nuke, PF track, and Photoshop. After the 3D animation, there is a short breakdown to quickly show you some of the techniques they used to create the video. I really enjoyed this video and especially when they included the breakdown because it gives you a small taste of what is done to create a video like this. Check it out:

Another video that I found, which was stop motion, I liked especially since it incorporates the polar opposite weather that we always get in Ithaca. It is called "Bottle." This one has a totally different feel to it, but a really good story instead! It was a really awesome short. Basically I am just included this one in the blog because it is enjoyable. However the producer and director of this short is called Kirsten Lepore, who is a 3d animator, and she has some really awesome stop motion videos, which most seem to include molding clay and other materials to generate her projects. I would definitely recommend checking out her account:

Heres the "Bottle" video as well:

Curse you embed codes

Well apparently none of those embed codes worked so here are the links to those videos.  Sorry...

The Video itself

The First Behind the Scenes Video

The Second Behind the Scenes Video

Light Bright Magic

So I'm guessing most of you remember Light Bright, that simple toy from when we were kids where you put the colored pegs in the board and it lit up.  Well the David Crowder Band did a really awesome music video utilizing the light bright and stop motion.
It's a three and half minute song so that is a ton of light bright pegs.  What I really like about the video though is how it incorporates not only the light bright but the real people as well as other props.  When they use what looks to be plastic wrap for the water, I thought that was a really clever effect.  I also thought it was really cool how they had the origami plant grow behind the board.  I also found the behind the scenes videos to be pretty cool.

In this video they talk about how time consuming using the light bright was.  They ordered giant sheets of metal with holes in them so they could mass produce the light bright sheets.  They also used after effects to make an animation to use as a guide for the actual pegs.

Finally this behind the scenes video is pretty cool because they describe how they did the tree at the end.  They actually had to do the final tree sequence in reverse.  They built the tree first and then came up with an equation for how much they would have to trim off the each branch at each time interval to make it look realistic.  It is also funny how the guys said they would never attempt such a project again unless they got paid gobs of money.  They have an amazing final product though, definitely one of the coolest music videos I've seen.

Titles design for film Thesis project

So, this week I thought I'd just share some screen shots from a title animation I am doing for a friends Thesis film . The piece is a stop motion animation titled "Stick it to the Pattern," with the pun in the title meaning exactly what you think. I started out by developing a concept for each the beginning and ending credits with the filmmaker (Siobhan Cvanagh, if you know her) and then working from there. Since there is a major shift within the attitude of the characters from the beginning and end, we both agreed that the titles should reflect this shift. So for the opening credits, which I have posted a few images of, we wanted to reflect the concept of rigid and exact patterns in the film. The look of the titles is supposed to reflect that of an old-school computer screen, which is actually one of the characters in the film. At first I was just going to use techy looking font but after a long (and worthwhile) discussion with Arturo I decided to bite the bullet and build each individual letter out of blocks. The advantage of doing it this way, however tedious it may be, is that I can now animate the blocks to at first appear random and then eventually form the words of the title sequence. The first image on here will be the last frame in the sequence and is an image identical to the pattern the factory workers in the film are forced to stick to, and subsequently eventually "stick it to". Although this project has already taken up a considerable amount of my time, it is one that I know I will be really proud of once it's finished. I would promise to post it on here once it's finished, but I think it would be more fun to wait to see it on the big screen at out screening, don't you?

Cowboys and Aliens Effect

This video is from the Youtube channel "Film Riot." I definitely recommend that everybody check them out because they have bunch of videos that are helpful to film makers. Everything from useful tips on how to shoot, special effects, and film recaps. The video that I have posted is particularly relevant to Motion Graphics because it is a tutorial on creating special effects in After Effects. In order to create the HUD for the wrist gun they simply made a few designs in Photoshop, transferred them over to After Effects and then moved the designs in z space. As you can see the final product looks very impressive with not much work involved. It also looks as if they turned down the opacity and gave it a blue glow to make it look as if it is a light display. If you are interested in doing this kind of an effect, they have made there designs available for free so you can grab them right offline. 

ProCreate & iPad

I stumbled upon this one day and i thought it was awesome.  It was mostly made on the iPad, taking four months to finally finish it.  It was created on an application called ProCreate, along with using Adobe After Effects and mocha.  I really like how it transforms from shot to shot showing the brush strokes of the "paint."  it amazes me that most of this was created on an iPad.

you can watch here how they made it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Compositing Me Exercise

Here is the compositing project I just completed. The footage is a clip from the latest Sherlock Holmes film and myself in front of a green screen. I am pleased with it, but if I were to critique one aspect of it I would say that the lighting could have been matched more closely. I feel they don't quite follow the same patter and shape as the shadows falling on the other passengers.

 On the other had, if I am most pleased with something, it is the timing of my movements in relation to the bustling atmosphere. This is definitely a fun little exercise as well as very easy to do as far as equipment, actors etc... All that's needed is a green screen, some lights and yourself! I think I'd like to repeat this exercise with some very different looking films.


I was searching on vimeo for a cool animation and I thought this one in particular was pretty awesome. It is an animation that bring a black and white drawing of cartoons into color. The weird thing that I thought though was most videos that do that do it in a settle way but not this one. A paint brush literally comes into the video and paints the colors in which is an interesting effect that the artist has used and that's why I decided to post this video.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Political Animations

So, I wasn't really sure what to write a post about so I was just looking at different animated videos. I came across an ad for Jon Hinck's senate campaign. The ad was completely animated, which was something that I had never seen before for a political campaign. It actually won a "Pollie" from the American Association of Political Consultants for best web video.

It was created by the company, Mode Project, in order to make Hinck's campaign stand out in an attractive way. It is very easy for political media to be overlooked, or to just change the channel whenever you see a commercial, but changing the way that people view these ads could be very beneficial. The use of visuals and animations is able to convey information in a more efficient and memorable way. Especially since an ad like this would be able to appeal to a larger audience, age-wise. It can also be beneficial to associate the politicians name with an image; in this particular ad, his name is surrounded by trees.

Mode Project is an award winning production company that also worked on the Obama campaign. They have been involved in many other projects, but I think that Hincks animation was one of the best.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tupac Resurrected!

At the Coachella festival last night Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg brought out several guests during their set, including the long been deceased Tupac Shakur.

More than 100,000 fans witnessed the “return of Tupac” as a hologram performing on stage with hip-hop music legends Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, made by advanced projection technology from AV Concepts. The production followed months of collaborative planning between Dr. Dre’s production company and AV Concepts’ creative and technical experts to design and engineer the special effect.

“This show was by far one of the most exciting yet challenging projects we have ever worked on,” said Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts. “A highly choreographed, live, outdoor holographic production of this magnitude with hundreds of thousands of people watching gave us the added incentive, and pressure, to deliver.

AV Concepts utilized Eyeliner display technology along with a custom rigging and mechanical solution to deliver the perceived 3-dimensional life-sized holographic illusion. AV Concepts partnered closely with Digital Domain Productions to shoot videos and deliver the life-like imagery.

AV Concepts’ success in Coachella comes on the heels of projection mapping projects for Chris Brown at the Grammy’s and the American Music Awards. These events utilized AV Concepts’ proprietary Liquid Scenic server to deliver uncompressed HD video, which can be projected as holograms in an entertainment setting or as 3-D imagery on building exteriors, interior walls, stage sets and other structures.

2pac Coachella 2012 (Tupac Hologram & Snoop Dogg Performance HD) from jimmyztv on Vimeo.

CS6 stuff

After Effects CS6 is nearing release and it has some really cool new features like this mask feather tool. Although you can't perform this tutorial without having the new version, it's nice to watch and see how convenient things are getting. The mask feather feature allows you to use a single mask to do something that would have taken you multiple masks before. It automatically creates a feathering around the mask that you've already created, and then lets you adjust how much to feather it at each and every spot on the mask, without having to layer and blend differently-adjusted masks together. Another new feature called CC Environment can quickly create panoramic 3D environments. I have a few panoramic pictures that I've stitched together in the past and this seems like a quick and dirty way of making a cool intro sequence with text and other things. I can't wait to somehow get my hands on this and try out the new stuff...I'm pretty much obsessed with staying up to date with the newest tech. (ugh. this was supposed to be posted saturday night but I guess I hit "Preview" instead of "Publish".)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I found this video on vimeo and I thought it look really cool. All the moving layer must have taken a while to put together and I give it up to the editor who did this because they must have had a lot of patience to do this. I find it hard to believe that someone can make this kind of video out of nothing. It's quite amazing!

green screen tips

I have been affixed on green screen discussion and videos lately, probably because of our project -- next will I will try to change it up!! anyway ... this week I have decided to post some helpful tips about effectively and correctly keying, masking, and tracking green screen-ed footage

there really isn't that much to say about these videos / tutorials, there are so many others out there-- I just picked these ones because they looked worthwhile!!

I wish I watched some of this guys' tutorials before working AE ... he is  simple and to the point, yet very sufficient

this tutorial is quite helpful with initially keying the object ... especially if there was "bad" footage -- bad lighting, or random taped colors, or wrinkled screen, or whatever!

While I was working on my original post for this blog entry I ended up finding this website that intrigued me so much I decided to write about it instead. Blog post is a little late as a result but I really wanted to look into it more. The site is, an experimental Flash animation website.

It's essentially a collection of 38 different Flash animation techniques. The site is mainly in Spanish (it seems to originate from Chile) but there are snips of English here and there. The animations cover a broad range of techniques, anything from curves to fractals. Many of them are customizable and all of them are interactive. My favorite is #36 (Nematobit), an animation of some tiny worms squiggling about. I really liked these animations because they reminded me of some of the animations we worked with in Processing (particularly #16). I also really liked these animations because they are great resources and I could come up with tons of ways I could use them myself. It appears that these animations are done with an older version of Flash but I'm sure the ActionScripts used could be referenced or reformatted to work in newer versions of Flash or other programs. 

I couldn't find any direct links to the ActionScript code used for the animations but some of the buttons linked to books that the animation descriptions often referred to. It seems that each animation is based off of the ActionScripts in these books:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Box Animation

So I was waiting to run my events at my track meet today, when someone on my team who has worked with motion graphics before was trying to help me think of a topic for my blog this week. Well, we went onto to vimeo and started looking at a handful of videos.

We came across this one video which I thought was pretty cool, and actually really simple to replicate with my basic knowledge of After Effects. He told me it was basically matchmoving and various compositing techniques. Apparently the boxes were hand painted and then scanned into the computer for use. I thought it was an interesting piece, because of its simplicity. Hopefully, if I get the chance I will have a chance to do something similar to this which takes a simple thing such as music and pairs it to the movement of random objects. So here it is and enjoy:

Also here is another short video made by the same exact artist Jordan Clarke, for the 2011 MMVA's. It was used for onstage screen between artist performances:

Vimeo Awards

I found this video from the 2010 Vimeo Awards. I didn't even know there was an awards show for online video, but apparently there is.

This is the award for the Motion Graphics category, and it's interesting because even in the short clips they show you seen how varied Motion Graphics is. None of the videos are alike at all. The presenter, a successful designer, has some notable things to say about doing this kind of work.

Here's the video.

Vimeo Awards- Motion Graphics Category from Vimeo Festival + Awards on Vimeo.

Another part that was really surprised me was that the person who accepted the award mentioned that in Turkey where he's from, they banned both YouTube and Vimeo. I can't even imagine that, especially if I was a Graphic Artist. The winning video is called Triangle, and here's the the full version.

TRI▲NGLE from Onur Senturk on Vimeo.

It's pretty cool and I recommend taking a look at it.

Interactive Triangle

Interactive Triangulation is on a blog by Emilio Gomariz. He mainly focuses on the art of the triangular concept and how different artists express themselves through it. This particular post is a series of different interactive "games" where the user uses their mouse to manipulate the shapes. There are about thirty or so but none of them stray from triangle shape, but instead, they use the environment around them (such as one where the user can change the gravity). It deals with solid shapes, colors, letters, lines, and even liquids that all end up as triangles.

It seems similar to the work we did with processing, where the act of one thing (such as the mouse moving those circles around) correlates with the end result.

The website itself doesn't only deal with interactive art, but also includes architecture, photography, painting, and other mediums (even sound). It is a collaboration between all different kinds of artists and is updated daily.

Looping Again

This week I decided to stick with famous youtube personalities and show you guys Mystery Guitar Man. Like Freddiew, MGM's videos are usually very heavily focused on postproduction and trying to create something cool through editing. This particular video called "Looping Again" is my favorite of his. In it, he uses mattes to make it seem like there are two of him running around his apartment complex looping the sounds that they make along the way. 

I had watched the explanation video once before I had started taking Motion Graphics and I was really lost on what they were explaining. Now that I watch it again I am blown away of how great they got all the mattes to be and how fluid it looks. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Making it Real

When watching tutorials or examples of effects on YouTube, I find it useful as an artist to do so from the mindset of: how can this effect look more realistic. Making not just composited actors, but also effects feel like they are in the space of your film is very important. An audience will always be able to tell if an effect is working or not even if they cannot tell why or how.

This is a good example of a hologram tutorial. Something very easy and cool to do. However there are a few small touches that would bring it to the next level.

Thevfxbro here on YouTube did a very good job and had a number of excellent tips for making the hologram feel real, but left out a few simple effects that I think would bring the effect to a close. There are three points that came to my attention right away. Firstly I notice that the glow of the holograms are stationary while the holograms move around and at one point almost leave the glow entirely. In this particular effect it appears the holograms fit each actor and so I would find it much more convincing were to be keyframed a couple of times to to ease back and forth with the movement of the actors. An effect needs to interact with what it is affecting and not feel as though it were merely placed over the subject. In this case the only two hints for me that this is an effect over top of an actor is the lack of movement and the shape and placing on the screen, which brings me to my second point.

The second thing I noticed was that the eye-line of the controllers do not seem to match the location of the holograms in space. This is because of two things: Placement of hologram actors and shape of glow. The hologram actors are supposed to be smaller than their controller counterparts, but if you are to look at the placement of their feet in relation to the feet of the controllers, they are not on the same line. The holograms need to be moved back in space just a foot or so. The angle of the shadow cast by the controller on the left gives the viewer the sense of how the space is oriented and the hologram's distance and glow overlap of that shadow detract from the realism. The glow overlaps uniformly over the surroundings, when if the holograms were in real space, the light would be bouncing off of the floor and unable to complete it's elliptical shape. Simply pulling up the bottom of the glow mask would take care of this problem. However, it brings me to the last point.

Almost any effect is going to have to interact not only with the subject but also the environment. In this case the glow of the hologram does not do this. If in fact the glow is glowing, I would expect to see reflections of the light on the floor and on the controllers. This could also be done very simply by adding another three or four solid layers. One or two on the ground to simulate the glow flicker on the floor, and one roughly masked to fit the front of the controllers. The layers would have low transparency values and match the color of their respective holograms. I think this more than either of my previous points will make the holograms feel 'in the space.' The controllers are the second major focal points in this clip and therefore need to be affected by the effect more than the floor or the position of the hologram.

For animators of any kind, it is vitally important to understand the functionality of the physical world because it is from these insights and innovation for stepping up the art  to greater heights. Any time you are waiting, for a bus, a plane, your lunch, your mother to stop yelling at you...try to notice small things such as the reflection of light or they way a jacket hangs off a chair because it's that stuff that will make your work top notch.

Suffice to say, I do very much like this method of doing the hologram effect and I think thevfxbro did an exceptional job on these two fighters. I certainly learned some useful tips from their tutorial and look forward to an excuse to do a hologram effect on some footage myself!

Mike Tosetto

I came across this short animation promotion that this artist, Mike Tosetto, created.  Its a quick, fun little animation that i thought was amazing.  I decided to look him up and look at a couple of his works.   He works a lot with 3D, motion grapics, and video.

Mike Tosetto Promo Animation from Mike Tosetto on Vimeo.

Check out his website at where you can find other work and his showreel.

Oh, and here is some news about ADOBE CREATIVE SUITES CS6

The work to make Gollum

So I love Lord of the Rings and Matt's post a while ago reminded me how much cool stuff is in those movies. I'm going to talk about Gollum.

So first of all, Andy Serkis is a pretty fantastic actor. Second of all, the amount of planning and foresight on Peter Jackson's part to put all of the Gollum scenes together is crazy. They at least shoot every scene three times: Once with everyone in the scene, once with just Sam and Frodo (or whoever is in the scene with Gollum), and then once with Andy Serkis alone on a blue screen using motion capture. The motion capture process is also really cool.

So many steps go into the process of making a character like Gollum. They use the real footage as a guide for the animators but they make decisions regarding the shaping of Gollum's character and his mannerisms and such. Ultimately they did a fantastic job integrating Gollum into the film. He is such a vital character, one that couldn't have been realistically portrayed through just makeup and costume, and the animation was spot on.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making of Walking With Dinosaurs

This post isn't going to be entirely motion graphics related, but there are parts of it that I think are interesting for animation. I'm in a class called History of Life on Earth, we watch movies a bunch of movies about hominins and dinosaurs. Some of the films we watch are really cheesy and terribly made, but last week, we watched the BBC America series Walking With Dinosaurs. While watching one class, I was looking at how realistic everything looked and wondered how it had been made. Coincidently, the very next class we watched a DVD extra about the making of the series, and I think I was the most fascinated I have ever been during this class. So much went into making the series, from finding locations that could match prehistorically, to recreating the dinosaurs and everything. I was unable to find the entire video shown, but I was able to find some of the parts online.

Obviously, they had to use animated dinosaurs. so to do this they made models that they then scanned and animated. But even after they did this, they then had to determine exactly how to make the creatures move and move realistically. So to do this, they studied living animals and tried to copy their movements.

scanning the models

studying how they walk

But for the close ups of the dinosaurs, they actually used animatronics and models.

There were other parts that I just couldn't find video of, but showed how they found the locations to film at and then how they had to almost predict what they were going to have the dinosaurs do. If a dinosaur was going to walk through water, they had to throw logs and rocks into the water to make the splashes that would have been there. The video also showed the process of then putting the animated dinosaurs into the shots, and how they then had to manipulate the lighting and colors to make the scenes look realistic, similar to what we are doing now with our scenes.

Not only was it fascinating to watch it, but also to watch how the paleontologists, film makers, and animators all had to work together to make a realistic series.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Today's Google Doodle

Hey guys!

So I don't know if any of you noticed or not but today's "Google Doodle" is an animation using Eadweard J. Muybridge's famous film animation of the horse galloping. If my memory serves me right Arturo introduced us to this short little film at the beginning of the semester, correct? Or maybe it was last semester in his 3D animation course that he spoke to us about it. Anyway, in case we didn't actually talk about it in this class or you forgot what was said, I thought I'd give you a little background on the history. This animation, which Muybridge made even before film strips were invented, was originally created to settle a debate over whether or not all four legs of a horse are off the ground at one time when it gallops. According to ABC New's Science blog, Muybridge was hired by the governor of California to settle this debate by taking a picture of a horse mid gallop. After proving that a horse does in fact have all four feet off the ground mid-gallop he decided to take the photo project even further by taking a series of photographs of a horse as he runs. He did this by setting up several cameras in a row. Each camera's shutter was linked to a line of string so that when the horse ran past it would release the shutter to snap the picture at the right moment. The images he took were then viewed through a device he invented called the "zoopraxiscope" which made the photos look as though they were moving. As ABC's blog post states, "The series of images as seen in the zoopraxiscope is regarded as one of the earliest efforts in taking motion pictures and probably inspired Thomas Edison’s invention of the kinetoscope."

Oh, and today is the 182nd anniversary of his birthday, which is why choose his animation as the inspiration for today's Google Doodle.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Star Wars ghost effect

For my project I am inserting myself into the final scene of Return of the Jedi where Luke burns Darth Vader's body, and he appears as a Jedi ghost next to Obi-Wan and Yoda. I am removing Anakin completely (because I'm using the re-mastered version where the old actor is replaced by Hayden Christianson....) and putting myself in instead. This is a "tutorial" that shows how to make this ghost effect to match the other two. Even though it is an annoying half-tutorial, half- vlog video where the kid talks about himself for the first minute, I am following it to complete my project.

making of ... king kong

so i have been slacking on my posts, that's why there are two posts from this week and I've just had an urge to look more into the making of some feature films -- Titanic 3D in my last post, and now King Kong (2005)

this first clip talks with creators of many different crew members of the animation and production crew of the 2005 King Kong. surprisingly, the process began almost 10 years before the release in 1995 ... for parts of the film, there were so many aspects that were completely remade from scratch and many used stop-motion animation to recreate scenes of the film!! from 2min onward, they discuss the King Kong film and around the 6:00 minute mark is when they start explicitly discuss the stop-motion and CG recreations of NYC and such

in this clip, NBC took a behind-the-scenes look at the whole animation and recreation process of the King Kong film at the Universal lot. I think its really interesting that so much of the animation is "outsourced" to other organizations and the producers / Universal just supervise. WETA Digital helped animate and graphically design the 2005 edition of the film. At 3:40, they start to discuss the audio animation and depth of recording the special FX and sounds.

i was first confused as to why the clip was called "king kong 360 3D" -- after a few minutes into the clip, i realized they were talking about the Universal studio animation park RIDE!!! but still, it is still so interesting to see the massive amount of time and energy to create a film, let along a real-life ride.

Pro reels I came across this list of 20 motion graphics reels by professionals in the industry. They're from the past three years and have some really slick compositions. I found these really interesting to go though since these reels have succeeded in getting people some high ticket jobs in the field of motion graphics. What's really cool is going through these and finding out the guys behind stuff that I've seen either in commercials or in sports replays. I'm working on building my DP reel and it's great to see the level of work that it takes to be considered for jobs when I graduate. I just need to keep working on my AE skills so I can show that off alongside my cinematography.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Thought Of You

One of my favorite ways to procrastinate is by watching videos of dances online. In one of my recent searches, I found this amazing video.

I really am fascinated by this. Not only is the choreography beautiful, but so is the animation. I love how sometimes it's the two figures, but sometimes it's just lines and shapes that resemble the dancers.

After watching, I started looking up the animator Ryan Woodward. He is actually an animator and storyboard artist and did this as a side project. Included on his site was a behind of the scenes of this video, which is actually just as great as the film.

Watching this made the actual film so much more meaningful. He talks about what inspired him to use dancers and how he felt when he came up with the idea. But it also shows the choreographer and rehearsals and everything that went into the film. As I was watching "Thought of You" I had been wondering if he just drew it or used some other technique, and this showed me how it was actually done. I also thought it was amazing when he said that he used over 4ooo drawings with multiple layers and colors. After the few short projects we have worked on, I can not even imagine how much work went into this film, especially seeing it was just a personal project. But i definitely think that the time and passion that Woodward put into it shows in the animation.

If you go to New Orleans

Ok, brace yourself for a blog post that is only mildly motion graphics related but something I feel everyone should know. I’m not sure if any of you heard but last week the 5 (or 6?) police officers accused of murdering innocent civilians on a bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were finally charged. Although they were charged with wrongful use of a firearm and not murder and it took 7 years to finally prosecute them, better late than never I say. The killings of these innocent people are not the only things Katrina related that the government has taken more than too long to fix.

This past January I went down to New Orleans with a group of 17 other students for a week long service trip. Coming back from NOLA each of us was hoping to find a way to use our media skills to share with people in Ithaca what we learned about some of the many misconceptions of the disaster that occurred in August of 2005.  Hurricane Katrina was not what destroyed New Orleans, the storm actually past 5 miles South East of the city. The real damage, which caused up to 15 feet of water in some places, was caused by a failed Federal levy system. This levy system whose construction started in the late 1960’s, was only supposed to take 15 years to finish, instead they never finished. Because of the broken levies many areas were flooded, and while most of New Orleans has since been cleaned and repaired, areas of historically lower income, such as the Lower 9th Ward, look as if the storm hit yesterday. I’ll leave it to you to form your own opinions about why this happened and what it means, but you can see how this could be seriously upsetting to many people. I and many of my friends who were on the trip with me, were very shaken by this. Myself and my good friend Connie Honeycutt decided to make a testimonial style video about what we learned down there. After learning how to use after effects I decided that it would also be beneficial to do a typography animation to go along at the end of the video, because sometimes reading the words yourself can be more effective than listening to someone talk. However, for some reason I can't get the video to upload on here so I am just going to pop it in the dropbox folder Arturo made. If you want to learn more about what really happened, come see me and Connie as well as 4 other friends present about what we learned and screen the entire video at the Whalen Symposium this upcoming Wednesday!

Color Correction in AE

One of the most important parts of green screen compositing is color correction. Now that we're working on the actual compositing and all of our footage is shot, I'd like to know more about the integration of it all, because keying is only where the battle begins!

Here is a video tutorial that is fairly short and gives a few cool ideas about correcting an image to give it a very punchy, saturated quality. Of course he is using a still image so he does not need to track any of his layers, however it is not a big jump to adjust it for moving images.


 This next link is to a Creative Cow  tutorial. Unfortuantely it is not a video tutorial so I could not embed it here, but I think it is at least as useful as the one above if not more so. It has a number of small tips for matching color that, though they aren't flashy, will really kick up the production value. He also keeps it simple, applying only 3 adjustment layers and a mask.

Color correction is something I know a lot of people shy away from, but I think these two tutorial sum up the basics well and take away the illusion of how frighteningly complex it looks at first glance!