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#mochat 78 – NAB

NAB is a great place for video professionals to view soon-to-be and recently released products, take classes and see demos, and meet those people you’ve been typing to on Twitter for years. Unfortunately, not everyone can go. So we did the next best thing… talk about it.

A few of the highlights from the chat about the show (links are to blog posts for posterity, not product pages):

Read on for the full transcript…

[photo courtesy of Robb Cohen/NAB]

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#mochat 76 – NAB Survival Tips

This week on #mochat, we talked about surviving NAB with co-host Toolfarm, who also has their own page of extensive tips. Kylee Wall also shared her article on Creative COW for thriving at NAB. At the end of the chat, we were able to give away 5 Toolfarm t-shirts to @Motionworks, @qsjcraig, @steveHardawa, y@kyl33t, and @EllsDynamic. @FakeGreenDress was the lucky winner of a $100 Toolfarm.

Here are just some of the tips shared during the chat.

  • Monorail is your friend
  • Wear comfy shoes
  • Bring a water bottle with filter
  • Coffee lines will be really long—bring your own caffeine if you can
  • There’s a little grocery store behind the Flamingo—get snacks there
  • Cuban & Dominican places across form Sahara are cheap & good
  • WiFi & Cell service might be scarce
  • List of free WiFi hotspots
  • Bring a portable charger along with a wall charger
  • Bring a power strip & make friends
  • Be sure to visit to small booths
  • Don’t commit to too many events
  • Wear something with your Twitter handle
  • Meet people… lots and lots of people

Read on for the complete transcript…

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Color Linking in After Effects

Learn how to link color across your entire project. In this tutorial, I show how you can use a color expression control to drive color for text across a project. This can also be used for shape layers or any other single-color element. Why would you do this instead of just setting all colors individually? This makes it easier to change colors for a few reasons—in my case, while I’m concepting, for later client changes, and versioning a video to different brand/product/style colors.

As you use this technique, I’d recommend defining color controls based on the color use, rather than the color itself. For example, I have “Item”, “Brands”, and “Price Point” instead of just “Blue”, “Gray”, and “Red”. This makes it easier later when colors inevitably change.

Steps in this tutorial:

  • Setup a comp, in my case called “_control”.
  • Create a new adjustment layer and Add an expression control – Effects:Expression Controls:Color Control.
  • Lock Effects panel so it is still visible from other comps.
  • Add a Fill effect to the text layer you want to control – Effects:Generate:Fill.
  • Option-/Alt-click the stopwatch for color.
  • Pickwhip the color control to your expression control.
  • Copy & paste effect or text layer as much as needed.
  • Change the color control as needed and see it reflected across your project.

#mochat 75 – Women in Motion Design

This week on #mochat, we talked about women in motion design. We had three guest hosts— Lisa Poje, Caitlin Cadieux, and Katie Hoch—help lead the conversation.

With few exceptions, nearly everyone in the chat noted women were underrepresented in motion design and animation where they’ve worked. Some women participating also noted they’ve felt marginalized and treated differently because of their gender. Some even noted the “big boys club” atmosphere of some places they’ve worked. However, nearly everyone noticed more and more women participating in various aspects of motion design, animation, and post over the last several years.

An hour long chat is barely enough time to solve the world’s problems, but a few points stood out:

  • Guys, respect ladies (applies to life, not just motion design)
  • Don’t take crap from anyone.
  • Encourage anyone interested in animation and design to pursue it
  • In the end, men & women aren’t that different

Read on for the full transcript…

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#mochat 74 – Education

This week on #mochat, we talked about education. Many of us went to college, some didn’t. What was the best way to make the most of the experience? And what should you do if college isn’t right for you? There’s a lot of good wisdom in this conversation. Some highlights…

  • Talk to and learn from your professors/teachers outside of class
  • Network
  • Take classes outside of your field
  • A degree often isn’t necessary
  • Take an internship
  • Focus on fundamentals… you can always learn tech later/on your own time
  • Take classes online (like FXPHD, Digital Tutors, or MographMentor)

Much more in the transcript below…

[photo credit: Sean MacEntee on flickr]

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#mochat 73 – The State of VFX Industry

This week on #mochat, we revisited the state of the VFX industry… what are the problems it’s facing and do they carry over into motion design? You might recall that last year just after the Oscars we discussed this topic. A lot of last year’s issues still persist today with no real fix in sight…

  • Subsidies
  • Fixed bids
  • Misclassified workers
  • Long hours/unpaid OT

What’s changed this year seems to be a little more focus around the protests. Working against subsidies is the general talking point right now, but will it be enough? [Transcript follows…]

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#mochat 72 – Hidden Gems

This week’s #mochat was all about those plugins & scripts that don’t necessarily get the attention they deserve. I’ve compiled all the posts into linked lists for After Effects and Cinema 4D. Full transcript follows.

After Effects

  • CC Vector Blur + particles = stringy particles (built-in)
  • qp Grade Assistant – Video scopes & more in AE ($99)
  • True Comp Duplicator – Duplicate comps and all dependent precomps ($24.99, or name your own price)
  • Transform effect – transformations pre or post effects, combined transforms, HQ scaling in CC (built-in)
  • Layer Groups 2 – Layer grouping in the timeline ($44.99)
  • Elementary – 3D layer functions like depth passes, reflections, etc. ($29.99 or name your own price)
  • Orient World – Set ground plane after tracking ($19.99 or name your own price)
  • MochaInport+ – Easily get Mocha data into AE ($39.99)
  • Save Comp As Project – Saves a composition as a stand-alone project ($12.99 or name your own price)
  • Rift – Shift, sequence, stagger, randomize layers or keyframes ($29.99 or name your own price)
  • Keysmith – manipulate multiple keyframe values ($29.99 or name your own price)
  • Sortie – Layer sorting methods for the timeline ($9.99 or name your own price)
  • Amortype – Preset for dampened text animation (free)
  • Brainstorm – Button in AE that generates multiple random settings to spark ideas (built-in)
  • YY_Ramp+ – More powerful Ramp/Gradient Ramp plugin ($39.99 or name your own price)

Cinema 4D

More Cinema 4D scripts on CG Society.

[photo by Chris Bartnik on flickr]

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#mochat 71 – Getting Clients

Tonight on #mochat we talked about getting clients and leads. The conversation covered a fair amount of ground, but a few points seemed to resonate with many people:

  • Cold calls/emails don’t always work. But if you do it, do your research and be polite. (@videoaaron apparently has a very nice cover letter he sends out.)
  • Keep clients happy and they might pass your name along.
  • Network with other designers!
  • Network with people in other related fields (producers, editors, colorists, post-supers…)
  • Start referring other people. It build good will and they may return the favor one day.
  • Have a strong presence online. People may find their way to your portfolio.
  • Go out and meet people face-to-face.

Read on for the full transcript and even more advice…

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#mochat 70 – Rates & Billing

This week on #mochat we discussed the fragile topic of money—billing & rates. It worked out well with no one feeling pressured to reveal specific numbers.

For most people, learning what to charge is an ongoing process, with few figuring it out right away. What helped people was talking to others in their area to get a sense of what their rates are. Experience, type of work, and location are all factors. Fortunately, an anonymous (and interactive) survey from Coroflot can point you in the right direction, too.  One of the big points to consider is that by freelancing, you need to not only cover your own salary, but also expenses like equipment, software, and taxes.

On billing, people vary between charging per hour or day and a flat rate. It seemed to depend on the client and personal preference. Whether or not to charge for rendering also came up.

Read on for the full transcript of this week’s #mochat…

[photo by Andy on flickr]

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