#mochat 92 – Trends & Styles

On this week’s #Mochat, we talked trends and styles. Not everyone necessarily likes to follow trends, but it’s important to know what they are. Working for clients, you will probably be asked to work in one of those styles. And if not, it’s still important to know where the industry is so you can jump ahead. It’s also good to understand that trends and styles run in cycles, much like any fashion. Knowing the past will help you shape the future, and make you a better designer overall.

Some of the more recent trends include: cell animation aesthetic, hand keyframing, low poly, pastels, and pretty much everything in “Shit Showreels Say”.

Read on for the full transcript from the chat to see more trends past and future, a philosophical discussion of GIFs, and some guesses on future trends.

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#mochat 91 – Nuke

Many of us primarily work in After Effects, but for composting, Nuke is a really powerful option. This week on #mochat, @qsjcraig answers questions about Nuke and provides some perspective on why it works for him over other tools.

The main difference many notice in Nuke right away is that it uses a node-based interface instead of layers. This gives you the option of passing the output (or channels or individual channels) to multiple other nodes or or sending some outputs to one node and others to another. Another big advantage is being able to use 3D geometry directly inside of Nuke. It has a true 3D space to composite inside of.

Read on for the full transcript and more knowledge…

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#mochat 90 – Concepting

All ideas start somewhere. For this installment of #mochat, we talk about concepting. People get their ideas from all over the place. But there’s different things you can do to help get those ideas flowing and capture them. One of the big things people mention is getting away from the computer… use pen or pencil and paper, take a walk, look for patterns and shapes in the physical space around you. But digital tools like Pinterest can also be useful to grab and organize inspiration.

There’s a lot of good tips and knowledge in this chat. Read on for the full transcript…

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#mochat 89 – Particles

Particulae, X-Particles, Krakatoa… there’s lots of different particle systems out there.  For this #mochat, we discuss different particle systems, uses and examples, where to learn, and what we’d like to see in plugins/systems. And at the end of the chat, @AndreKrat won a one month premium Lynda membership!

Read on for the full transcript of the chat.

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#mochat 88 – After Effects 13.0

Last week, Adobe released version 13 of After Effects as part of the Creative Cloud 2014 update. This week on #mochat, several members from the After Effects team at Adobe joined us to answer questions about the update. For a lengthy description of what’s new and changed, see Todd Kopriva’s extensive writeup on the After Effects blog.

Some of the top features called out in the chat are:

  • Effect Masks/Compositing – Opacity settings and masks per effect (even third party). Combined with the mask tracker, this is a pretty powerful feature.
  • Editable Text Templates for Premiere Pro – Unlocked text layers are editable in Premiere Pro through Dynamic Link. More on AE/Premiere Pro integration. And with expressions, editable text templates can provide some unexpected functionality.
  • New Curves UI/Functions – Larger UI in three sizes, new auto-settings. The new UI is the result of feature requests (so make sure you submit yours). The new auto settings are the result of user research.
  • HTML5 Panels – New UI panels built around HTML and Javascript. ExtendScript is still used for control over AE. SDK and more info is available at the Adobe Developer Connection.

When upgrading, it’s pretty easy to migrate settings, plugins, and scripts. Very few changes were made to the plugin architecture. The only notable incompatibility seems to be Element 3D.

A few interesting tidbits arose during the chat. The most notable might be that the raytrace renderer is EOL. 3D efforts will be instead focussed on Cinema 4D and supporting 3D plugins. No major changes to Cineware were made in this release. Also, pseudo/custom effects are not actually supported by Adobe. Though there’s a lot of interest on the user side of officially implementing something like this. Lastly background rendering can be accomplished in Adobe Media Encoder, which now supports 32-bit and alpha channels. It still does not support color management, but a workaround is to use an adjustment layer with Color Profile Converter inside of AE.

And direct from Adobe, these are the sites to keep an eye on: After Effects Blog, After Effects Forum, After Effects FAQ, and of course the Feature Request Form.

Read on for the full transcript of the chat.

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#mochat 87 – Scripting

Scripting is one of those skills that can seem daunting at first, but is a huge asset to have in your toolbox. Last night Charles Rowland (aka @RaginClaw) introduced us to the ins and outs of scripting.

Scripting in After Effects is one way to really help automate a lot of tasks and open up new creative opportunities. Several of us are familiar with Expressions—the small bits of code used in the timeline to automate certain parameters. Scripting, though, involves writing a form of Javascript called “Extendscript” and can be run as commands or even panels inside of After Effects.

Several resources are available to learn Extendscript including the Adobe help site, forums, and Creative Cow. And Lloyd Alvarez has his Intro to AE Scripting course available on aescripts. One of the best ways to learn, though, might be to look at scripts found online and dissecting them to see how they work. Unfortunately—but understandably—a lot of commercial scripts are compiled into ‘jsxbin’ files and are unreadable to humans. And once you start creating ScriptUI Panels, Boethos is one way to help create the UI.

In Cinema4D, the analog to Expressions is Xpresso—the node-based system for linking parameters, automating motion, and much much more. But scripting involves writing plugins or tags to extend capabilities even further. The two languages of choice are Python and C++. Python seems to be the more common language for C4D. There are several places to learn including Cineversity and Code Academy. Nick Fox-Grieg (@n1ckfg) wrote a toolbox to help simplify the C4D Python API as well.

There’s a lot more in the transcript, so read on!

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#mochat 86 – Technical vs Creative

Tecnical vs creative. Left brain vs right. There’s two sides to motion design—and it turns out a lot of us consider ourselves in the middle. Perhaps because of that, we notice that there’s a constant give & take between the two. Sometimes it results in losing creative momentum due to technical exploration. Other times we find ourselves setting up systems to free ourselves creatively later.

Read on for the full transcript of the chat to see what how people balance these two side, how they complement each other, and how they are sometimes at odds.

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Lynda.com Sponsors #mochat

Recently, lynda.com has signed up to sponsor #mochat, which includes a bi-weekly giveaway of a 1-month membership! If you are unfamiliar, lynda.com is an repository of extensive online video training to learn software such as After Effects, Cinema4D, Maya, ZBrush and topics including character animation, modeling, particles, and more.

The giveaway will generally work as follows:

  • To be entered, participate in #mochat (Tuesday nights 9PM ET) on Twitter
  • Posts must include the #mochat hashtag to be eligible
  • Just RTing another #Mochat post will not get you entered… participate!
  • Once you post, you are entered, that’s it!
  • One participating chatter will be randomly chosen at the end of the chat to win
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