Category: News

Week in Motion – Dec. 13th

We are starting a series of posts where we will cover a few motion design related events that occurred during the past week. These might be bigger posts/announcements you have heard, or some smaller things that slipped through the cracks. This week:

Greyscale Gorilla announced the latest 5 second project winners.

AE Scripts announced the availability of gift cards, just in time for the holidays!

AE Scripts also released LayerMonkey, promising automated 2D and 3D layout & camera generation, similar to TypeMonkey.

Beeple is at it again, releasing a new set of creative commons VJ clips titled“übersketch”(ZIP download). More on beetle’s VJ Clips page.

Of course, #mochat 63 happened.

What didn’t happen this week? The 2013 Mac Pro release.

What did we miss? (I’m sure a lot.) Let us know.

The New America and Process as Art

Over two years ago, Nando Costa announced his ambitious animation project The New America on Kickstarter. The project was born out of an earlier set of illustrations engraved in blocks of wood. Nando had enjoyed the process so much, he wanted to produce an animation using it.

After successfully funding the project on Kickstarter, a technical hiccup or two, and a few discussions with neighbors over noise from the process, the final animation was released. Nando describes the story…

The abstract storyline showcased in this piece is a concoction of a variety of ideas and can perhaps be described as a union between concepts and experiments born during the Situationist movement and real life events experienced during the last few years in American society. Particularly the duality between the economic downturn and the shift in values and beliefs of many citizens.


Engraved blocks from The New America.
Photo courtesy of Nando Costa

The end result is an ethereal, often dark, and masterfully crafted animation. If this animation were simply rendered out in a more traditional manner, it would still hold up. However, the process behind the animation—and the resulting physical imperfections and variances—somehow enhance the story and emotion evoked from the piece. Seeing photographs of unique blocks of wood in a physical setting at a lower frame rate (6fps) grounds the animation and more strongly ties it to recent events. It is almost as if we are in the future, viewing the records of a long-lost civilization. To be perfectly honest, my reaction to the finished piece surprised me.

I’ve made little secret of the fact that I believe process is normally irrelevant to the audience, or at least should be. If an audience is too aware of process, they spend less thought on story, on emotion. Awareness of process can be a distraction. Instead, process should fall away, only maintaining importance to those involved and who wish to study and learn from it.

I became a backer of The New America. I received the updates from Nando. I eventually received my finished frame. I was more aware of the process than for most films and animations I view. Upon viewing the finished piece, I was prepared to be so focused on the process I would somehow enjoy it less. However, The New America seems to benefit from its process in a way I rarely see. Being aware of the process actually enhanced the viewing for me. I somehow saw Nando’s struggles and passion in the society portrayed in his animation. If I had just seen his raw renders on a screen, that would not have come through.

I still maintain process should usually be invisible to the audience. Yet I have learned from Nando Costa that when used carefully, process can be art not only beneficial to those who wish to study it, but to a general audience as well. I guess my values and beliefs are shifting, like those in the society in The New America.

The Saga Continues…

What Once Was

A couple years ago, a few people on Twitter joked about having motion designer-based superhero identities. The jokes snowballed into the League of Motionographers, a group of like-minded designers hanging out and thinking about bigger things in motion design. This was later refined to The Motion League.

We started the site as an avenue for each of us to write about motion design and post interesting links and tutorials. We added a community forum to give others a voice and a new place to hang out. We wanted something less exclusive than Motionographer and less intimidating than

Two things happened: we lost track of our original focus and we found ourselves with less time to devote to the site.2 That lead to a laps of both content and participation. That needs to change… and it is.

Welcome to the New Motion League

Today we start a new Motion League with a single focus: voice. We consider everyone to be in the league. We want everyone to have a voice both here and in the broader motion design community. We hope to accomplish this in two ways.

First, we are simplifying the Motion League: Unite forums. This should provide an easier way to just get to posting without having to think too much about where something belongs or fitting your thoughts into refined categories. We want you to be able to ask questions and participate without drop-downs and extensive clicking/tapping getting in the way.

Second, we are opening up the blog.

Be Heard

Part of having a voice is being heard. We realize not everyone has their own blog, or if they do it might not have the reach they would like. We want to provide people with an outlet for their writing, tutorials, or even interviews. Starting today, you can sign up to be a contributor on Motion League.

We won’t have quotas… no minimum word count… no contracts or complicated hoops to jump through. This won’t be a fully open free-for-all, though. We know all-to-well that systems can be gamed and spam just plain sucks. So there are a couple things we are asking.

First, we ask that people not to sign up to be a contributor until you have an article or tutorial idea ready. We’ll be approving these by hand and don’t want a flood of signups unless people are ready to write or record. This will also help us keep spam accounts out of the system.

In order to keep a certain standard of quality and as a second filter against spam, posts will be reviewed/approved by an editor. There might be revisions asked of or suggestions made to content. We want to avoid simple “Hey look at this cool thing” links and overly-blatent self-promotion without much more to say. There are more details on our signup form, but the main idea is to have substance to a post. Why is this a cool thing you found? How does this idea affect the industry? What makes this new and original?

Open registration will begin in a couple weeks once we get the logistics worked out. If you want to have your articles posted on the site sooner, reach out to me on Twitter and I’ll manually add you as a contributor.

Let’s Go

So that is the new Motion League in a nutshell. We hope our changes encourage more participation both from us and from the larger motion design community. As with anything here, this is a work in progress and we will adapt, change things as needed, and respond to suggestions and criticism.

  1. We love both Motionographer and and have nothing but respect for them. We just felt there was room for a different kind of community. 
  2. Everyone running this site has a full-time job or freelance, some of us have families as well. While we’d love to, none of us can run this site full-time. 

Designed by Apple – Intention

This animation caught my eye at the open of the WWDC keynote yesterday. It features simple, but nuanced animations and transitions, a monotone color palette, and excellent sound design. The lack of any unnecessary design elements really lets the viewer focus on the progression of simple dots throughout the piece. If anyone has any information on who created this, we’d love to know.

Low Poly Paintings

This came across my radar last week, and it’s too good to not post. Tumblr (and Twitter) user Sock Gardner has a collection of classic paintings recreated in low-poly 3D. The low-poly thing seems to be just about peaking as a trend, but this seems like a great use of it. This also seems like a great way to practice modeling skills as well. For archival purposes, I’ve included several of the renderings in this post in case the Tumblr goes away or migrates to other posts in the future.

The Noun Project

Unite user joedonaldson recently posted a project he recently completed for The Noun Project. If you’re not familiar with the site, its purpose is to build a collection of royalty-free symbols & icons the entire world can use to visually communicate. It’s been amazing to watch it grow over time into the vast collection it currently is. Take a look at Joe’s work below and let him know what you think on Unite.

[iframe_vimeo video=48846655]


Inspiration: DON’T WORRY, DRIVE ON: Fossil Fools & Fracking Lies

I stumbled across this piece a few days ago, and frankly, it’s just too great not to share. This is my favorite type of design; engaging, informative, and beautiful. There are some great transitions here, as well as a very functional color scheme. Enough rambling, just enjoy.

DON’T WORRY, DRIVE ON: Fossil Fools & Fracking Lies from MONSTRO on Vimeo.

GM FoldLayers

For a long time now, several people have voiced opinions on wanting to have layer groups in the After Effects Timeline. We even covered it a while back and included a mockup of how it might work. Well, the good people of Goodmotion—pun intended—have just previewed something they’ve been working on: GM FoldLayers.

This plugin appears to intelligently hide/reveal and color layers as a group using Nulls named with a ‘|’ prefix. Take a look at the video (only on Facebook at the time). The best part is this will be a free download. Someone please buy these people beers… lots of them; they deserve it.

Cinema 4D R14 Features Review by @eyedesyn


Cinema 4D R14 Announced!

It’s Christmas in August!  Cinema 4D version R14 has just been announced and I’ve had the opportunity to be able to play with R14 over the past few weeks and check out all the new features. While you may be hearing most about the new Sculpting features in Cinema 4D, I’m going to focus on some of my favorite new features that I think I’ll be using heavily.

Continue to article…

•  Be sure to participate in next weeks #Mochat session where I’ll be answering questions and discussing the new features in Cinema 4D R14.  The next Mochat will be on August 9th at 9PM EST.  Find out more about MoChat here.


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