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By Chris Meyer | Tuesday, July 16, 2013

After Effects Apprentice: now updated for After Effects CC

After Effects CC & lynda.com

One of our priorities in the creation of the After Effects Apprentice video series is that it be relevant for a large number of users. So last fall we gave it a major update for CS6 users, and the day after After Effects Creative Cloud was released we updated it again for CC users. This now makes the After Effects Apprentice series compatible with all After Effects versions since CS5. Premium subscribers using After Effects CC should download and use the CS6 version of the exercise files.

By Chris Meyer | Friday, April 26, 2013

After Effects Technology Preview: Part 4

Better blurring, snapping, scaling, and more

In this final blog about some of the new features Adobe has revealed for an upcoming version of After Effects, I turn my attention to some small enhancements that fans have long been waiting for and that promise to save users a lot of time.

Layer snapping

Some of the best new features in After Effects don’t necessarily affect the images you see on screen, but make life easier while you’re working with those images. One such feature is the new snapping behavior in After Effects. It lets you easily align an edge, corner, center point, or even mask vertex of one layer with a similar (or dissimilar) feature of another layer. It even works in 3D, including finding the center of an extruded 3D shape, and snapping to individual letters in a per-character 3D text animation. This will make building virtual worlds and objects much easier in After Effects.

Snapping in After Effects

Muybridge sequence courtesy Dover

By Chris Meyer | Friday, April 19, 2013

After Effects Technology Preview: Part 3

Warp Stabilizer VFX and 3D Camera Tracker enhancements

Next in my review of significant new features that Adobe has revealed for an upcoming version of After Effects, let’s look at enhancements to the Warp Stabilizer and 3D Camera Tracker tools already available in After Effects.

Warp Stabilizer VFX

Many treat Warp Stabilizer as an apply-it-and-done stabilization effect. Now it looks poised to become a serious visual effects tool in its own right with the ability to take on many of the tasks you might have previously reserved for a motion tracker.

For example, in addition to stabilizing footage, you will now be able to reverse a stabilization. That means you can stabilize a shot for the sake of applying effects to it (including the After Effects Paint tool, which is rendered as an effect), and then reverse the stabilization to restore the original camera movement to the affected painted shot. The camera motion calculated in the original, unstabilized shot can also be applied to another layer to composite it onto the original.

By Chris Meyer | Thursday, April 11, 2013

After Effects Technology Preview: Part 2

Refine Edge: A new way to deal with hair

As you no doubt know by now, Adobe has started to reveal some plans for its next generation of pro video tools. I’ve had the privilege of working with a pre-release version of Adobe After Effects, and recorded two hours of lynda.com training about it. In this blog, I’ll give you an overview of the Refine Edge tool, an important addition to the Roto Brush technology that will make rotoscoping hair and other soft, detailed areas much easier than ever before.

Roto Brush and Refine Edge

The Roto Brush tool in After Effects has been significantly upgraded with the addition of a companion Refine Edge tool. To review, Roto Brush allows you to make a series of general paint strokes defining the foreground and background areas of an image (such as an actor over a complex background—in other words, not green screen). With this information, as well as judicious tweaking of its propagation parameters, Roto Brush then detects the edge between the foreground and background, and creates a matte. When used properly (as demonstrated in my course After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet), it can greatly reduce the labor involved in cutting elements out of video.

By Chris Meyer | Friday, April 05, 2013

After Effects technology preview: Part 1

Adobe has started to reveal some plans for its next generation of pro video tools. Using a prerelease version of After Effects, I’ve recorded two hours of videos for lynda.com to keep you ahead of the curve. Over the course of a few blogs, I’ll fill you in on some of the interesting features that are on tap. First up, the new integration between After Effects and CINEMA 4D.

Live 3D pipeline between After Effects and CINEMA 4D

A couple of weeks ago, Adobe and MAXON issued a press release announcing a “strategic alliance … to bring creative professionals new levels of digital media content creation.” Buried inside that release was the intriguing statement that “As part of the alliance, both companies are expected to collaborate and engineer a pipeline between Adobe After Effects software and CINEMA 4D to give users a seamless 2D/3D foundation.” Now we can finally see what they were hinting at.

By Dane Howard | Friday, February 01, 2013

The power of previsualization… what is “preVIZ”?

The power of preVIZ

PreVIZ is short for “previsualization.” It’s a technique that allows filmmakers to quickly visualize parts of a script to solve problems and inform planning and execution prior to a costly production phase. Oftentimes, this process creates momentum and excitement and helps you determine where to allocate your creative and financial efforts.

What if you had a looking glass into the future of your projects? What if you could help uncover what projects your firm would work on and what they’d look like? I discovered something amazing by watching several behind-the-scenes documentaries of my kids’ DVDs. This insight helped me identify an opportunity for a new type of design group at my company. I realized that filmmakers had developed a language and a methodology for creating their movies and telling their stories. I learned that the same process could be used to design anything from a website, product, service, or business strategy. Storytelling the future seemed like a very valuable proposition.

I was discovering the power of preVIZ.

By Jeff Bartels | Monday, January 21, 2013

Share and Share Alike with AutoCAD WS

Historically, exchanging Autodesk AutoCAD drawings with non-CAD-using clients was a challenge. That’s because viewing DWG files outside of AutoCAD required downloading and installing special software. For this reason, many clients preferred using PDF files to review design changes.

Nowadays, AutoCAD WS makes it easier for all stakeholders to participate in project collaboration, whether they have CAD software or not. AutoCAD WS is a free application offering virtually unlimited online storage for your project drawings.

Select File in AutoCAD WS

By George Maestri | Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Maya Essentials training series is now complete

If you take a look at our list of Maya courses, you’ll see six new Maya Essentials titles designed to introduce the basics of Maya in simple installments. Together, these six courses provide a more flexible approach to learning Maya.

In the series, I cover the nuts and bolts of Maya, from the interface, modeling, and materials, to rendering and animation. This modular series is divided into six courses, each no more than an hour or two long. Start at the first course and work your way to the end, or watch one course that interests you. The Maya Essentials courses are available to watch in any order at any time, so it’s your choice.

We’re also exploring the Essentials format for other large software packages, so let us know what you think of this new format. Your feedback is always appreciated.

All six Maya Essentials courses:Maya Essentials 1: Interface and OrganizationMaya Essentials 2: Polygonal Modeling TechniquesMaya Essentials 3: NURBS Modeling TechniquesMaya Essentials 4: Creating Textures and MaterialsMaya Essentials 5: Animation ToolsMaya Essentials 6: Lights and Rendering

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