Category: News

Export After Effects to C4D

Maxon just announced the availability of a new free plugin to export comps from After Effects (CS5 or CS5.5) directly to a .c4d file. There were some scripts that previously existed to get some 3D data out of After Effects. However, this plugin looks to be much more robust. According to the press release:

The CINEMA 4D export appears directly in the After Effects export menu and generates a .c4d file containing 3D layers, cameras, lights, solids, nulls and footage. Even nested compositions are supported. All major layer attributes including animations (rotation, position, parameter, anchor points, POI, etc.), expressions, layer parenting, layer locking and layer visibility are retained. Render and document settings in CINEMA 4D are adapted accordingly to the After Effects’ project settings.

We haven’t had a chance to thoroughly test this yet. But when we do, we’ll post the workflow, any potential pitfalls, and workarounds necessary. The plugin is free, so go grab it now!

Free AE Preset: Stop Motion Wiggle Type

Stop Motion Wiggle Type is a preset I developed a while ago for an animation. I’ve decided to share it here for anyone to use.

The usage is fairly simple:

  1. Apply the preset to a type layer.
  2. Adjust the settings as follows:
    • Random Seed: Changes the seed for the random position.
    • Wiggle ƒ: Frequency of the wiggle. Think of this as your stop motion FPS.
    • Wiggle A X: Amplitude of the x wiggle.
    • Wiggle A Y: Amplitude of the y wiggle.

That’s all there is to it. Have fun!

[Update: As pointed out below, the preset will not work in CS4. I’ve now uploaded a CS4 version of the preset as well.]


Free #C4D Model: Girder/Scaffolding




Another free Cinema4D model for you today, this one is of a metal scaffolding/girder.  I used this in a industrial looking promo for the an NHL team and figured I’d let all you fine folks mess around with it.  Included in the download is a C4D 12 or higher compatible file, along with an .OBJ for those of you stuck in R11 or earlier.  Enjoy!

Download here.


Q&A with Manuel Creignou on MLC001

Recently, we highlighted entries from the first Motion League Challenge. One of our favorites was this piece by Manuel Creignou.

[iframe_vimeo video=”29225930″]

We got a chance to ask Manuel a few questions about the animation.

Motion League: First , the details. Which effects/techniques were used in your animation?
Manuel: I used a lot of masks and animated them with a lot of keyframes. Then I applied basics effects in After Effects :

  • few fractal noises for the background
  • tint and colorama for the colors
  • few more effects for the style

You can take a look at the screenshots.

(For the curious, here’s a list of the effects used: ≈36 masks, Echo, Colorama, Hue/Saturation, Fast Blur, 6 Beam effects, CC Vector Blur, Glow, Fractal Noise, Circle, Mosaic, and 4-Color Gradient. We recommend looking at the keyframe screenshot full-size to get a better idea of what’s going on.)

ML: Once you decided to take on the challenge, where did you begin?
Manuel: I began just by putting a lot of effects randomly on one layer. It’s not very common to use just one layer in motion design, so I didn’t really know what was the possibilities. Then I’ve tried different combinations of effects which looked interesting together.

ML: Was there anything in particular that inspired the work?
Manuel: I wanted to make keyframes animation for a long time. I used to make 2d animations with flash in my first job and I missed that. So, with this idea, the fish-ish character came up as well as all the masks animations with different shapes like triangles.

ML: What was the most difficult aspect of your animation?
Manuel: The timing of the keyframes animation of the fish-ish character was quite difficult. I animated everything without music to focus on the timing of the animation. I did the animated sequence few times before being happy with it. And then, when I put the music on it, I was surprised that the song fit perfectly with the animation.

ML: How long did it take you to animate?
Manuel: It took me 3 days (on extra-work time) to achieve it from the first tests. When the main idea came up, it was quite fast to make it.

ML: What are your tools of choice?
Manuel: Of course, I’m working a lot with After Effects. I’m also using Cinema 4D when 3D is needed. And I can’t work without a pen and a notebook for few sketches.

ML: Do you have a favorite designer or motion graphics piece?
Manuel: Jr Canest is one of the most inspiring motion designer for me. He has such a good style… and he rocks with keyframes. Studios like Psyop or designers like Matt Pyke or Sergio Saleh (Lumbre) are also a good source of inspiration. But more generally, I’m a big “liker” on Vimeo… just take a look at my page and you’ll see I’m inspired by a lot of diiferent things.

The Motion League – Now with More Communication

Just a quick announcement that we’ve added a Contact page. This is an easy way to ask questions, let us know about any errors in posts, or just send a quick hello. There’s also an additional Job Postings form to complement the new discussion category on Unite.

So if you have a job opening and want to reach out to our community, or you just want to say hello, don’t hesitate to contact us!

[Image credit: feverblue, edited by Paul Conigliaro]

Words as Image

A great short animation by Bran Dougherty-Johnson for Ji Lee’s Words as Image. Lots of great, subtle keyframing going on here. Bran was kind enough to answer a few questions which follow after the video…

[iframe_vimeo video=”30168074″]

Motion League: How did you come into the project?

Bran Dougherty-Johnson: I actually came across a tweet by Ji Lee which was RT’ed by someone who works at AIGA. He was looking for an animator to work with. After taking a quick look at his portfolio, I responded, to see what he had in mind. Once he showed me the proof of the book, I remembered that I had actually used it as reference in an After Effects Class I taught at Pratt – to show my students how type could be design[ed] with motion in mind.

ML: Were you given any direction from Ji Lee, or were you free to create the animation as you saw fit?

BDJ: He had suggestions for some of the words and others I just came up with simple animation ideas for. We worked back and forth on the ideas, but it was a pretty quick process. Lots of them are dead simple, just a reveal, a rotation, falling, down, etc. Which is something I quite like – making things easy, apparent and legible.

Ml: Did you draw from any other sources of inspiration, or strictly the images from Ji Lee?

BDJ: Really just the book and the rules themselves. We didn’t really have anything else to go off of. The Marilyn one references the scene from Seven Year Itch and Vertigo references the Saul Bass title sequence from the Hitchcock film.

ML: There’s a lot of fluid, subtle animation in the piece. Is this all keyframed or were you using any expressions or scripts (which ones)?

BDJ: Everything is keyframed except for the Gravity animation. I did use a bounce expression on that.

ML: Sound design played an important role in the piece. Can you describe the process?

BDJ: Joel Pickard is a composer and sound designer I work with often. I handed off the Work-In-Progress to him and he sourced lots of effects. Ji and he worked closely on revisions and I stepped out of the way.

ML: Lastly, which word was your favorite to animate and why?

BDJ: I think Oil was. I love doing little fluid stuff and using masks. Probably should do something for myself using that technique.

Bran Dougherty-Johnson is a film-maker, animator and motion designer based in Shelter Island, NY. Challenge Your World, Coalition Of The Willing, Gel Conference Real Design Associates, Scion, The Webby Awards,Yo Gabba Gabba, and others.

MLC001 Highlights

A couple weeks ago, we announced our first Motion League Challenge. The response was light, but off to a good start.

[iframe_vimeo video=”29054743″]

I liked the ethereal, glitchy feel to Bill Meeks‘ piece.

[iframe_vimeo video=”29225930″]

Manuel Creignou had a great entry. There’s a lot going on here. While he did use a separate music track, the effort and polish in this piece is too great to ignore.

A “well done” to these two. We’ll be announcing our next Motion League Challenge in a couple weeks.

Post Haste – Folder Organization

There have been a few posts over the years about the importance of a project folder template. By using a template, you don’t have to wonder where to put assets as they are delivered or created. The template will give you all the folders you need from the start.

A few years ago, I wrote a script to help take care of this at a post studio where I was working. A few ideas came up for improvements and it turned from a script into a full-fledged application (written in AppleScript Studio). Eventually, that utility was released as Post Haste. I maintained the app as best I could. However, several people wrote me with great ideas that I just couldn’t implement—I’m a motion designer & editor first, not a software engineer (despite a year as a CS minor).  You can read more details about the progression on my own blog, but long story, short: I handed the development over to Digital Rebellion.

Last week, Digital Rebellion released Post Haste 2.0, and it’s a great update.

If you’re not already familiar with it, Post Haste lets you enter a few details upfront (client, project number, project name, etc), and it creates project folders for you. The input fields are completely customizable, and 2.0 even supports multiple templates. You can have separate templates for motion design, editorial, web design, or anything else you can think of.

[iframe_youtube video=”4jdj_lE_er8″]


I know I’m biased, but I highly recommend taking a look at Post Haste. It’s completely free and can save you lots of time and headache.

Avid Motion Graphics

Avid just sent out an email touting their newest edition to the post-production process: Motion Graphics. From the looks of it, it will be a basic, object based motion graphics application/hardware platform with 3D and text capabilities. As a mostly After Effects based motion designer, two things caught my eye:

  • Ability to import 3D objects and animate in true 3D.
  • Dynamic info for charts and type from RSS feeds, XML files, etc.

It will be interesting to see how this product develops. While I’m skeptical it will grab much market share away from After Effects, Nuke, Cinema 4D, Maya, or 3D Studio Max, I can definitely see it gaining traction in the live news world, where speed is essential—in both rendering and workflow. I don’t think it will have much in the way of compositing, more intensive 3D, or other workflows which require more time. Also, due to the (apparent) hardware-based nature of the platform, it won’t be a simple install on your current workstation.

As of this writing, no pricing or availability was available.

Avid E-Mail Release.

Avid Motion Graphics page.

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