Monday, October 29, 2012

Stop Motion with Legos

So I was wandering around the internet this weekend while I was on duty and I found this little production group called Brotherhood Workshop that makes fantasy story videos. The use A LOT of stop motion and I am not complaining about it. The first video I watched was this one where they took one of the new Lord of the Rings Lego sets and made the funny video below. They even edited in sparkling candle flames and torch flames! (Keep an eye out for Gollum and for a Star Wars cameo)


Here's an image from the behind the scenes of my favorite video called "Orcs" featuring two orcs, one chilling on a laptop and the other enjoying a mug of joe.

Each video seems to based on different Lord of the Rings lego sets but have a variety of other LOTR sets included in them. Watching these videos reminded me of when I was younger when my dad, brother, and I would sit around for hours making stop motion videos with the Legos my brother and I owned and then my dad helping us with recording the audio later. I would have included an example clip but those videos have been lost for many a year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Walking Dead Season 2 Finale

First off, I'd just like to point out how incredible of a show the Walking Dead is... if you haven't started watching it, you're doing yourself a disservice. It is an incredible story of survival from the viewpoints of many diverse characters. Nearly every episode someone is faced with an incredibly difficult situation or mind crippling decision. It causes you to think about life and humanity, and what those high-concepts truly mean. I just finished season 2 and the finale was nothing short of a masterpiece. It begins with everyone's life in jeopardy as a horde of Walkers (the shows pet name for zombies) breaks through the defenses of the farm which the survivors have taken refuge in. From that point; the onslaught begins. The survivors desperately hold down their position, using cars as their cavalry and the farm as their castle. During these gruesome scenes it is easy to see that After Effects was used to simulate the gunshots and the bloody display of projectile brains. Beyond the makeup and acting ability, it seemed relatively simple to replicate using the tools we've learned (i.e. motion tracking, masking, and utilizing layers). The effects were incredibly realistic and made for some really brutal and horrific shots. During the course of the episode, many beloved characters are lost, either to the zombies or separated from the group, and the feeling of desperation skyrockets for the viewer. To add to the drama, some of the characters begin to change their dispositions; from friendly, heroic and righteous to borderline evil. The show definitely makes use of filters through After Effects. In several scenes they use fire to destroy zombies, and in another they sit around a campfire and and discuss their plans. In both scenes you can tell that the actors are not actually in front of fires, but rather they are using filters in After Effects to give the viewer the impression that it is night, and they use special lighting and glow effects to enhance the illusion. In reality, fires would cause too much brightness and would ruin the shot due to the intensity of the light. The closing shot of the episode reveals a fortress in the distance, foreshadowing the plot of the next season. It too appears to have been created using After Effects by superimposing it onto the final frames of the shot; leaving us viewers with a wild cliffhanger. I am incredibly excited to begin the next season, and follow it each week. For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, the first two seasons are on Netflix and I highly recommend them to anyone who claims to be an avid fan of sci-fi, drama, action, or horror.

JP Heroux


The first time I saw a trailer for Inception I was pretty excited.  Aside from the fact that it was being made by Christopher Nolan who directed The Dark Knight (a movie that I also really liked a lot), and that the ensemble cast was amazing, the trailer just looked really really cool.  Since there wasn't a lot of plot points shown in the trailer, the things that got me excited were the special effects.  Inception used special effects really well to help create the atmosphere and help explain the story.  It also used those effects very realistically considering how out of the box some of them were.  I like that there was a mixture of complex and simple effects. Some things I feel like I could do now (like slow motion shots) but other effects seem very complicated. At one point the city seems to fold on top of itself and it doesn't look fake, it looks like the world is just changing. The scope of some of these effects is super large too. Like in the dream world, there are establishing shots of a city that is literally crumbling. And of course there are some really cool zero gravity scenes that look awesome. I would love to learn about how they managed to do all of the special effects in this film. 

Walking Dead

As we all know, fall break came and went much too quickly. I know many people went home, but if you're like me and live too far away, you just stayed here. And if you stayed here, you know how boring it was. Well, I was bored out of my mind and decided to give the show "The Walking Dead" a try. Many of my friends rant and rave over it and I decided I would see for myself what the fuss was about. I must say, the premise of the show really sucks. I've never been one for zombies and all that jazz. But I do find the story lines and characters to be quite intriguing and enjoyable. But this isn't a critique. This clip is from season one when the main characters arrive at the CDC hoping to find a cure for whatever disease is turning the dead into zombies. The lone scientist at the CDC knows there's no hope and rigs the building to explode. I found the explosion to be pretty cool. You can tell that it is CG, but I like how the building collapses and how there are also subsequent explosions and how you can faintly see a shock wave at the 1:01 mark. This is something I would like to learn how to do in After Effects- explosion, building collapse, shock wave, everything. The clip has been edited by the person who uploaded to video to YouTube, so this isn't the actual scene that was shown on TV. Some stuff has been added. The explosion starts at the 46 second mark in the video. The one thing the uploader did that I agree with is adding a song by Evanescence. They're pretty darn good. Sorry, I digressed again...

Vertigo Effect/Dolly Zoom in AE

One of my previous posts was about a tutorial I had found that I really liked and implemented in my music video.  Today I am back again with another effective tutorial with a fairly simple application.

I am sure you have seen the famous Vertigo effect (aka dolly zoom), which originated from famous Alfred Hitchcock movie, Vertigo.  Interestingly enough, Hitchcock gets all the credit when in fact it was one of his cameramen who figured it out.  It works by having the camera dollied forwards while the camera zooms out.  If done at the correct pace for both, the z-axis is expanded upon thanks to zooming out while the object stays in the same place.  This interesting shot is effective for showing a moment of intense calamity for a character, like seen in this scene from Jaws.

The tutorial explains how this can be made possible in After Effects and it takes advantage of a tool we seldom use, but I now know its true power.  This small tool is none other than the ruler.  You can expose the ruler with Command-R on your keyboard.  I had known of its existence just by accidentally hitting Command-R in the past but I did not know you can make guidelines to use on your screen by clicking and dragging away from the ruler while you are hovered over them.  In my music video I am using the dolly zoom with a camera based in After Effects in combination with a photo on stage, but the science still works the same.  Maybe you can find a neat application of the dolly zoom in your future works.

Tutorial: Creating a "Vertigo-Effect" in a Timelapse Shot with After Effects from T-RECS Timelapse Recordings on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


In honor of Halloween, I thought I would post about a zombie movie.  This movie is called ParaNorman.

This summer I was an intern at VideoLink in Newton, MA.  Cassie Affleck came in the office one day to promote his new movie, ParaNorman.  He played the voice of Mitch Downe.  For several hours I rolled the ParaNorman trailor so the organizations interviewing him could throw in clips of the movie.  Besides pushing play and record buttons, I learned a lot about how the movie was made, and it fascinated me.  The makers of Coraline made this 3D- stop motion movie.  It was also the first stop motion film to use a 3D color printer to create each character's face.  It is the second stop motion film to be shot in 3D.  The film was in production for about 3 years with the animating stage of production lasting 2 years.  So pushing buttons had its benefits that day.  I got to meet Casey AND learn about the production process.  

It is amazing how "life like" this movie is.  The 3D effects don't distract the audience, but rather give the stop motion another dimension.  This kind of convergence of stop motion, 3D, and animation is what makes me so excited for the future of films.

The Man with the Iron Fists

Something I have been waiting for a long time is finally going to happen next week. No not Halloween (but if you liked Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, look for me), on November 2nd, The Man with the Iron Fists comes out in theaters! This film is directed by, co-written by, co-composed by, and starring RZA who developed the soundtrack for the film, so essentially this film is his baby and will hopefully be his big breakout in film. The setting of the film is nineteenth century China where a blacksmith, simply named The Blacksmith (RZA), is forced to make elaborate weapons of death for a small village. When a traitor threatens to destroy the village, he joins both warriors and assassins to protect their community. The film also stars Russell CroweCung LeLucy LiuByron MannRick YuneDavid Bautista, and Jamie Chung, is also written by Eli Roth and is presented by Quentin Tarantino.

I know what you're thinking: "Cody, how does this relate to Motion Graphics and Animation?" Well I'm glad you asked! In the past few days, a promo video for the film recently emerged featuring a very stylized motion comic with narration by RZA himself. Its essentially a prequel to the upcoming film and it was all done in....... AFTER EFFECTS! That's right! It was made in After Effects by Manabu 'Gaku' Inada and Trevor Von Klueg, with assistance by Moises Jimenez, and Eric Calderon was the Animation Director. The video is a composition of sound, art, and effects, where the use of layers and opacity are emphasized by close-ups of drawn profiles, scrolling text, and a grainy, misty presence looming in the background of most shots. This video is sure to get you psyched up for the film's release next week.

Motion Grahpics

Just thought this would be a really cool video to watch. I always thought time lapse was so cool to watch in any form. This adds some art to the time lapse accompanied by some real creepy music.

Flawed Symmetry of Prediction from Jeff Frost on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


So I thought this summer for the most part was pretty disappointing when it came to new movies. I was looking forward to Prometheus for a very long time and Scott's return to the sci-fi genre. Turns out the movie was mediocre, but the special effects were amazing. The very beginning sequence shows an alien called an Engineer drinking some black soup which disintegrates his body. His DNA is the building blocks for life on Earth. This sequence is just stunning. Check it out. 

It's really interesting to see that the visual effects artists went into so much detail as to create a skeleton for the character, even though only the skin is shown. The coolest part about this video is the explanation of the practical effects for the DNA being destroyed. The artists physically made the DNA out of silicon and shot it, which opens my mind for so many possibilities in visual effects. Pretty cool stuff.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wreck-it Ralph

I know I post about animated films a lot, but I really can't help it. But, I went to the movies over the weekend and I saw the trailer for Wreck-it Ralph, and I really just can't wait to see this film.

Wreck-it Ralph is the story about video game characters after the game ends. Ralph, tired with his reputation as a bad guy, goes on a quest to become a hero. Personally, I think this concept is a great idea. It will definitely appeal to a lot of people both because it is a Disney film, but also because it centers around a lot of classic video games that I think we're all familiar with- while also introducing some new characters. Sonic the hedge hog, Bowser, Super Mario, and Luigi are among some of the classic characters featured in the film, and I think it'll be really interesting to see how Disney incorporated them into the storyline of a new and different character.

Wreck-it Ralph hits theaters on November 2nd!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I am just brainstorming some ideas on some of the things I want to do with my projects for class. I wanted to do a sports oriented introduction preferably for football. In that project I want to use still pictures of football players and layer them. After I layer the pictures I want to add a moving background of like a field or something like that. I also want to add some 3D animation to the piece by going through the different layers of players in a cool way. For my other project I wanted to use the tracking lesson we learned in class and use it for the nature footage we shot last week.

Friday, October 19, 2012

FRANKENWEENIE Trailer 2012 Movie - Official [HD]

Literally just finished watching this movie tonight and Tim Burton has somehow done it again! I just am absolutely obsessed with everything he does, how he can make such dark subjects so absolutely BEAUTIFUL is beyond me. Frankenweenie is about a young boy who finds a way to bring his pup back to life and the adventures they face together. Tim actually gained the inspiration for this movie from his own childhood dog which is unusual for Burton bc most of his characters are usually completely fictional. The entire movie is black and white which was a very unusal stylist choice (especially for an animation) but if anything i think it added to the movie. I LOVED this movie and highly recommend it.

Web Advert

During one of my web surf sessions I noticed this ad for the Walking Dead. It caught my attention because I noticed that it definitely utilized the puppet pin tool we learned about in class. In the ad, the screen flashes with images of zombies to scare the viewer and grab their attention. Once the flashing stops, the main character displayed in the image, Rick, fires his weapon. To animate the still image, the ad designers pulled his elbow down and his forearm back, which warped the image ever so slightly, revealing the use of the puppet pin tool. To add to the effect, the end of the gun flashes in sync with the arms reaction. To finish off the feeling that the still image was alive, the makers of the ad put a flock of birds in the background, just as we did in that early project. With all of these different elements in place the still image really came to life, and pulled the viewer in. It felt really good to know that I could recreate all of the elements of such a professional product as this. I wish I could find a working .gif of the ad to post but unfortunately I don't think it would work! I can try again in class next week to find it if people are interested.

Midterms Hunger Can Lead to Weekly Blog Solutions (UPDATE: Now with Behind the Scenes!)

So this week is midterms here at Ithaca College. Studying, papers, long nights, and most especially: hunger. Since this week has started, I decided that after midterms on my way home I would reward myself with a delicious, succulent Chipotle Burrito. Oh dear, typing that even made my mouth water. Anyways, this video was made by Nexus Productions and directed by Johnny Kelly, who has worked on ads for Google, Bacardi, and Adobe. This video was done completely in beautiful stop motion and took over 4 weeks to make. It features the farm-loving Willie Nelson covering Coldplay's "The Scientist" which can be purchased on iTunes with 60 cents from every purchase going to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

When I was a kid...

...I loved Wallace and Gromit! My family owned A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, and A Close Shave in a VHS boxed set (I know, pretty shnazzy.) My favorite was A Grand Day Out because I loved the story- the idea of building a rocket ship in your house, traveling to the moon just to get a bit of cheese to go with some crackers, and encountering an old robot that loves to ski. For those of you who might not know what the Wallace and Gromit movies are, they are a Claymation series of short films produced by Aardman Animations which is a British animation studio. There are two main characters: Wallace who is an inventor, but a little less than intelligent at times, and Gromit who is Wallace's pet dog. I envy the skills it took to create this because working with clay for animated movies must be one of the most tedious and challenging forms of stop-motion. If you haven't seen Wallace and Gromit before, it's definitely worth watching!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Space Nebulas

Hey everybody. I was just browsing through After Effects tests on YouTube and I found this one. I think it's pretty neat. 
I've always been fascinated by space and the beauty of the universe. It's pretty cool if you go on NASA's website, you can look at pictures of nebulas and other crazy cosmic stuff that the Hubble Telescope has taken. You can even download some super high quality photos for use. These tests of realistic nebulas looks pretty simple. It looks like the creator downloaded some photos then used 3d cameras to give the illusion of flying in space. I'm definitely going to try and make a scene like this in After Effects, just because the universe is so amazing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweet Video (pun intended)

I just thought this video was cool. It doesn't use any hi-tech programs, just simple sidewalk chalk, a camera, and a talented artist. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups just surpassed 10 million fans on Facebook and this was their way to thank them. The video reminds of the Blu video we watched in class a few weeks back. The design is far simpler and there is no motion to the art. It's simply a 3-d drawing on a 2-d surface. It took 37 hours, 27 pieces of chalk and 3700 photographs to create this piece. I enjoyed the video. You probably will too.

Artist: Chris Carlson
Photos by Mike Larremore

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Broadcast Safe in AE

Here is a video tutorial on how to ensure broadcast safe colors in AE — for some reason it wouldn't let me embed it in the post.

Pixar Short Films

This is one of my favorite animated short films.  Before the Pixar movie, A Bug's Life, this short film played.  I was five-years-old and I still remember this.  It is amazing that this short film with no diaglogue captivated me at that young age.  This is animation at its finest.  Pixar has a ton movies, but this is still by far my favortie animated short film of all time.

Imagine Dragons and It's Time

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the band Imagine Dragons, but if you aren't prepare to be introduced.

Imagine Dragons.
Imagine Dragons was formed in Utah in 2009 and currently the band is based out of Las Vegas where they got their start. Their first studio album, Night Visions, was released on September 4th, 2012 and features their hit single It's Time.

I personally love "It's Time" because I really like this kind of alternative style of music. Some of my favorite bands are cut from the same cloth as Imagine Dragons, like The Black Keys, Parachute, Passion Pit, and others.

Imagine Dragons' first album, Night Visions

The music video preceded the release of the album, as it was a single,  and features the band in what appears to be a post-apocaplytic world. The video opens on a vast, bleak desert littered with remnants of civilization and devoid of vegetation. I really love the animation in this video because I love how forlorn and enigmatic the colors of the desert are. The use of blues and grays to make the viewer feel like the world really ended. Apart from the colors, I think the scene towards the end, where the storm breaks out and the band is seen running across the desert in an attempt to avoid it is really cool. And of course, when they drop that little glowing seed into the ground and all hell breaks loose, the animation used to show the smoke monster emerging from the explosion is incredible. That kind of animation must have taken forever because of the way in which it moves. It replicates the natural movement of smoke really well and it looks amazing in the video. The end especially is really cool when the smoke column rises into the sky and breaks the storm up allowing the sun to come through.

Overall the use of animation in this music video is amazing, and I thought it would be something everyone else might want to see.

Finally, if you recognize the song, it's probably because you heard it in the Perks of Being a Wallflower film trailer. I've added that just in case you wanted to see/hear it in a different context. Enjoy!

(starts at 1:16)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Motion Imaging Journal

I work in the back office space at the library on campus and one of my tasks is to check in the new periodicals. It's one of my more fun tasks because I get to read the cool magazines like People, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, etc. But there are also a bunch of educational periodicals- which greatly outnumber the entertainment news. One of the periodicals that would pertain to our class is the SMPTE (which stands for Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) Motion Imaging Journal. Their website sums up the publication concisely, "Each issue covers a special topic including file-based workflow, compression, 3D, audio, distribution formats, advances in lighting, sustainability, digital cinema and much more." The journal is published eight times a year and every article is peer reviewed by a great board of editors. Some of the editors are affiliated with groups such as 20th Century Fox, HBO, Avid Technology Inc., and many more big names. If you are curious to look at the Motion Imaging Journal in the library the call number is 'Per TR845.S6' and it's up on the 4th floor. Found right beside the Motion Imaging Journal in the stacks is The American Cinematographer which discusses major motion pictures in theaters and the technical production for each one. I have found skimming through these is very interesting too!

Game of Shadows

      One movie that had impressed me with its detail is Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.  I remember watching it with my friends and commenting on how we take all the hard work put into making these industrial era sets and landscape for granted.  I always it funny with movies with large amounts of computer generated graphics, how so much work and money is put into designing the setting, despite it not serving a purpose more than as a backdrop.  Not that I have a problem with that though!

      What really blows me away is how the street ends after just one block and how it is actually just a green screen wall.  When I watched the movie initially I thought that they used a lot from a big movie studio like Paramount to film a long stretch of city blocks which they then decorated to look like the 1800's.  Another point I find interesting is how the cannons towards the end of the video are real, I wonder why they chose to use real weapons as opposed to building them on the computer?

Friday, October 12, 2012


I was watching my friends television show, Couples Clash, on ICTV.  It is a game show where two best friends or people dating, compete against another team by answering questions about their counterpart.  One segment had a 3D timer, in the shape of a heart, with numbers on it, that counted down every time the heart rotated.  I thought this was really cool because the heart was actually 3D with lighting and shadows and everything. I asked my friend Josh how he made the heart. He mentioned after effects and directed me towards a mutual friend that made it for him.

Having worked in After Effects for a little bit now, I am relatively sure that there is a way to make 3D models ( and since creating a light is an option for a layer, shadows and that kind of thing are definitely do able). I went and talked to Josh's friend.  Josh's friend said he used after effects a little but he also used maya. Maya is free for students and there are many tutorials online.  I am hoping to start messing around with maya soon since it works well with after effects and also because making 3D models intrigues me.  I thought it was pretty interesting that Josh also said that there aren't to many people (that he knows here) that can do after effects or maya.  It is comforting to me to know that we are learning programs that many other students do not know because I will be in L.A. next semester and knowing these things will help me get an internship, as well as a job once I graduate.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When Comics Come to Life

Last week, I explored a painting about the Boston Tea Party which took a 2D image and broke it down into layers. This week, I'd like to show you another example but go further. I present you with Coldplay's latest music video "Hurts Like Heaven".

In the video, the viewer is brought to a world where silence and grayscale is law until a few rebellious youths decide to break the norm and throw "sparks" all over town. These "sparks" are colourful and musical and they bring hope to the town. Everything seems fine until they're ambushed by the villainous Major Minus and his army stop the youths, and the viewer is left with a shot of another character named Mylo, foreshadowing events in future videos/comics.

Something to be said though about this music video is that it starts out showing the viewer that this is a comic book setting but begins to break that whenever the youths begin doing wondrous things with the "sparks" or when they are being chased. And by break I mean turn the 2D comic world into a 3D world where the camera travels through the motions of the kids.

This video was a collaborative piece from production company Passion Pictures, visual FX/animation studio Fortiche Production, Grammy-award winning British rock band Coldplay. and many other artists. I am looking forward to future videos that continue with the story and the exciting visuals.

Hurts Like Heaven is the second track off the Coldplay's fifth studio album titled Mylo Xyloto, released on October 24, 2011 by EMI.

Lap Slap App

Tomorrow I'm excited to be a part of the Park School's "Pitch It!" idea pitch session. Cody and I will be presenting a game that we developed last year that is in its prototype stages. I don't want to talk too much about it (we don't have our idea protected yet) but it is a 2D game developed in Unity, a 3D engine. I am extremely proud of the work we have put into it and truly believe that the game will be a success if it can make it to the android and mobile markets. Working on this game was my first real foray into the world of animation and motion graphics. One of the members and I worked on getting hands to animate. We began by looking for models of hands, or the assets of such, to work with and manipulate in Unity. What we found nearly blew our minds...getting hands to animate in 3D space was much more difficult than we anticipated. I'd never heard of rigging before this point and even now it sounds like an incredibly daunting task (but I really hope to get into that sort of thing). So we switched over to 2D animation, which I was just beginning to learn (and still am). My fellow art designer and I used Photoshop to construct the sprite sheets which were then loaded into the game and animated through code. It was fun and in the end I am proud of the prototype we built for the game. We hope to develop it further over the course of the year, if, i mean WHEN we are chosen by the panel of Park alumni. Here is a sneak peek screenshot of the up and coming big hit to the mobile markets: The Lap Slap App

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Sooooooo I don't know if any of you have had to opportunity to see the Disney film Tangled, but I seriously love this movie. Tangled is the story of Rapunzel with a twist: Rapunzel was kidnapped as a baby when it was discovered by an evil witch that her hair of gold had magical properties. Her famous locks had the capability to heal injuries and restore youth and beauty when she sang a magic song. It sounds kind of weird, I'm well aware, but once you dig a little deeper into the story, it makes much more sense.

There are many things that make this film so enjoyable. The cast who voices the characters was simply perfect, led by Mandy Moore as Rapunzel and Zachary Levi (CHUCK, for those of you who might know him from the NBC comedy of the same name) as Flynn Rider, a thief who finds Rapunzel by chance and agrees to help her in her quest to go to a festival in the castle (where she doesn't know it, but she is actually the princess. Sorry I'm not sorry for that spoiler...). In addition, I thought it was pretty interesting that apart from Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, not very many of the characters actually speak. For example, Rapunzels' best friend is a chameleon named Pascual, and Flynn Rider is aided in his quest to save Rapunzel by a white horse named Maximus. Neither of these characters speak (because they're animals-DUH.) but they provide a lot of comedy in the film. The king and queen never speak either, and upon being reunited with their long-lost daughter, I think it makes all the difference to how the audience reacts to the film. You wouldn't necessarily think that an animated film would reconsider the use of voice in this way, but I personally think it makes it that much more powerful.
Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, and the chameleon, Pascual

However, I think the best part about this film, apart from the flawless animation is definitely the writing. In any animation, the story is almost always the most important aspect, and in this case that is most definitely true. Writing a film that is animated and making that film suitable and enjoyable for all ages is an admirable feat, and Tangled accomplishes this and much more.

I'd also like to take a moment to appreciate the animation of Rapunzel's hair in this film. To me, animating hair seems like a really tough job, and I feel like more recent animated films, such as The Incredibles, have done a really cool job of making hair look super realistic. In a film about a girl with super long hair, it definitely has to look as real as possible, and I think their use of animation is fantastic. It looks so realistic, as does the entire film, but I think learning about animation and then watching this film gave me a greater appreciation for how this film was made.

If you haven't seen Tangled, I highly recommend it. Even though it's a G-rated childrens movie, it's very classic disney and it will not disappoint. If you do give it a chance, let me know, I'd love to hear what you think! See you all tomorrow...


I didn't have a whole lot this week to talk about. However, I did realize from my experience in the LA Program that the suspects cars and cop cars from CSI: NY had tags on them that said demo car and such. I was always wondering how they can cover that up with a real license plate in the actual television show. I realized it's done through tracking just like in the project we did in class with replacing and advertising sign on a taxi in New York.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This video includes animation and time lapse.  I love that these natural scenes are enhanced by motion graphics.  This takes something so simple and makes it even more beautiful.  After Effects does some pretty amazing things, but just utilizing a few effects can really enhance footage.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Batman Gotham Knight.

    One of my best friends is obsessed with comics so being the great friend that I am I promised him I would watch this Batman series with him this weekend. It's not that i don't like comics I just never really got that into them however this series definitely might have turned me over to the dark side.
     There are 6 fast paced unique episodes to the series and what I love most is that they all are directed and written by different industry professionals  (Writers: Josh Olson, David S Goyer, Brian Azzarello, Greg Rucka, Jordan Goldberg and Alan Burnett; Directors: Shojiro Nishimi, Futoshi Higashide, Hiroshi Morioka, Yashuhiro Aoki, Toshiyuki Kubooka, Jong-Sik Nam). This makes the series so interesting to watch. The reason being is that although there is a clear connection in between each episode within the story you really get to see how one idea (batman) being interpreted in so many ways. Its really quite beautiful and it really captures the essence of storytelling and how one story is unique to every viewer.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shinedown Music Video

Staying with the theme of posting music videos, I have decided to post a lyric video for the song "Bully" by the band Shinedown. I first heard this song on the radio back home in June or so and I found it kinda catchy. I looked it up on Youtube and found this cool lyric video. I watched the video over and over again, but not because of the song, it was because I was fascinated with the graphics. Some of my favorite graphics include the flames and smoke at the :22 mark, the words that turn into a fist at the :32 mark, and how the word "bully" fades when the chorus kicks in. This effect is clearly intended to work in conjunction with the "fading memory" line. Also, I think the "push them to the dirt" graphic is cool. The "them" is pushed into the bottom of the video as a dust cloud flies up with the following words stepping on it. Again, this is being used in conjunction with the lyrics on the screen. I also think the synchronization of lyrics is perfect. The words pop up as their being sung. This must have been a tedious video to create, but I feel it was worth it. It's a great song with an even better video. Even if you don't like this type of music, I urge you to give this video a watch. It's only 4 minutes long. I think you'll survive.

Awesome Music Video

One of my favorite artists, Flying Lotus, just released his new album "Until The Quiet Comes." His music is a blend of hip-hop and electronic, with insane pulsating beats. Most of his tracks are instrumental with amazing energy just flowing out of them. He released a new music video which is all animated. Check it out.
It looks like After Effects was used in creating this video! I'm not a huge fan of performance based music videos and definitely enjoy videos made based off just the music. The video is pretty weird, but I think the visual style is so unique. Everything moves to the beat of the video. Watch the legs of the robots and how they walk. It's pretty cool to know that our class knows how to achieve this. I would really enjoy creating an animated music video just because you could do anything!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Checkbox Effect

My last few posts have been related to movies or to music, so I feel it's time to change it up.  So today, I have decided to share a tutorial with you.  I stumbled upon this tutorial when trying to make something for my music video, and it helped a ton with what I used it for.

The tutorial is all about on and off expression combined with an expression control called checkbox.  In the tutorial they apply it to opacity to make it turn wholly off and on again.  However this will work with any kind of parameter, the possibilities are wide open here.

Ryan Boyle has many other tutorials, not just for After Effects but a few other programs as well like Maya.

After Effects On and Off Expression from Ryan Boyle on Vimeo.

Keyboard Shortcuts For Mocha

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Revolution That Mattered

So some of you may know that Assassin's Creed 3, the next game from the titled series, will be coming out this month. It will feature half-English and half-Native American character Connor Kenway, an ancestor of the series' main protagonist Desmond Miles, and is set in Colonial America before, during, and after the revolutionary war where the story brings up the fact that maybe America wasn't fighting for freedom from the British but actually from Templar influence.

The reason why I want to talk about this upcoming release that has been buzzing around the video gaming world is because the marketing behind it's release is fantastic. Seriously, I've heard people get giddy over the trailers alone without ever seeing a second of gameplay. This is the Ubisoft's, the developer and producer, biggest marketing commitment in company history and even built this game to be able to be a standalone game for new people to the series. The company has even stated that in the first three weeks you could pre-order this game, they already surpassed the total pre-orders for the past two games, and the company allowed people to begin pre-ordering 7 months before the release which means that those numbers must really be staggering.

Attached below is one of the numerous videos from the marketing campaign that features a portrait of the Boston Tea Party that the camera flies into to see multiple different things from different angles, turning the 2D painting into a 3D world in itself. This choice really allows the people interested to get more flavor of the game while being submerged in the detail of the world before they could actually play and it is grand. A game that can express its story and setting using only smooth 3D animation instead of quick cuts of gameplay is really interesting and I look forward to not just playing this game when it is released but also watching more videos like this.

Assassin's Creed 3 is set to be released on October 31 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Windows PC.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Animation in The Hunger Games

A few weeks ago, the film The Hunger Games was released on DVD. Being a fan of both the books and the film, I was really excited to buy it. The best part about having it on DVD, though, was that it came with a lot of behind-the-scenes features, and I'm a total nerd for those. One of the coolest aspects of the special features, was definitely learning about how animation was used to build parts of the film.

film poster
While I'd seen the film in theaters- twice- I had never noticed just how graphics-heavy it was (which is probably a testament to how good they are). They even essentially built an entire city (the Capitol) using motion graphics. The architecture alone of the buildings is amazing, but the fact that they also had to make the gamemaker's control room almost entirely in 3D was really cool. I thought it was really interesting how nothing in that room was real except the tables and the chairs, and yet they made such a complex and detailed room.

The Control Room used by the Gamemakers

The Capitol city in the film

Overall, I think the use of animation in this film was perfect. It provided the film with enough futurism to make it seem like it was taking place in a different time and era without being over the top or overkill. If you haven't seen the film yet, I highly recommend it. I'm a big fan of Gary Ross and I think he did a beautiful job on it (apart from the abrupt ending, but we won't get into that now.)
See you all on Thursday!

Shapes to the beat

I really like the example of this video to be incorporated in my project. The elements in this video see really doable. Every time the bass hits, the square gets big and shrinks back down. And then later on they use different shapes and patterns that go to the beat of the music. Maybe I would want to take some of the shapes and place them in my own project as an overlay or something like that.

Dynamics of the Subway / Haisuinonasa (Official Video) from Keita Onishi on Vimeo.

3D Cube Tutorial

If you are having trouble with creating a 3D cube, here is the tutorial I used to figure it out!  As far as the gaps in between the solids, just play with the anchor point.

The VFX Bro Tutorials

I found this YouTube Channel that is a really cool addition to video co-pilot.  This guy shows you how to do some pretty cool stuff with clear direction.  He creates videos using different visual effects and then breaks it down for you so you can do it yourself.  His channel is broken down into After Effects Tutorials, Action Tutorials, VFX Downloads, and Cool Videos.  Below is a video that helped me catch up from the last class I missed!  Enjoy and I would highly suggest exploring the VFX Bro Channel!