Prior to getting into tech, I spent 5 years in the film industry doing special effects for movies, commercials, and the networks. Back then CGI was in its infancy, so I did everything from cel animation to physical models.
I learned how to create flying logos using down-shooter cameras. Now I can whip one up in After Effects in under an hour. Whether you call it parallax or multi-plane, a lot of those "old school" techniques are still relevant today.
It was at Electronic Arts that I got my real introduction to digital animation. I used Macromedia Director to prototype my game front ends and user scenarios and Maya for building the in-game models they used. Now there's a plethora of great prototyping apps out there that incorporate both – like Unity, XD or Sketch.
After Effects is valuable for prototyping too, but I still love using it for the pretty arty/marketing stuff. It takes me back to those halcyon film days.
Download Video Copilot's 100% free Saber Plug-in for After Effects.
Video Copilot is a collaborative resource for training, design tools and artists. The company has published over 150 tutorials and dozens of digital products that are used by professionals around the world.
My client wanted a 10 - 15 second video that conveyed the urgent need to take action on climate change but without using stereotypical billowing smokestacks and eco-disasters.
Instead of pushing impending doom or deploying guilt, they were looking for more subtle messaging that if humanity works together, we can all heal our home.
The objective of Cloud 9 was to build an animated 3D scene entirely from still images and stock clips.
From the sky to the cabin to the clip of the jumping girl, every piece of art in this short literally came from a different source. The entire scene was carefully created in Photoshop with After Effects in mind.
So, by simply using the 3D camera and some basic compositing tricks, you can add depth to 2D images and bring a fantasy scene to life. Of course adding elements like birds and particles always help sell the illusion too.
Lake house photo by Aurélien Bellanger
Forest photo by Sebastian Unrau
This was a total free association personal project where I could explore some new techniques and effects. I decided not to worry about maintaining clean AE file structures.
Sure I had fun doing it, but the project file quickly became a big mess. Previews and renders took forever and it was a massive pain to tweak anything. On the up side, I learned some valuable things by doing it sloppy, but I still prefer keeping my file structures tidy.
The other thing I wanted to try was to convincingly lip sync a still image using only the puppet controls. Let me know how I did!