Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a digital pen?, part of After Effects Breakdowns: N-Trig Commercial.
- [Voiceover] As you may already figured, this is a commercial for a digital pen. So before we analyze the client brief, let's just explain what is a digital pen? The reason this is so important is because the first stage of any good movie is to make sure that you understand the product. This usually calls for some sort of a research before you sit down and start the design process. As I speak about this, I'll play this video of Microsoft Surface Pen in action.
I'll mute the sound so it doesn't compete with me, but if you want to see the full spot you can go to this URL presented on the screen and watch the full video. So a digital pen is an input device which captures the handwriting or brushstrokes of a user and then converts the handwritten analogue information into digital data, enabling the data to be utilized in various applications. The pen looks like a regular ballpoint pen and can be used as such but requires special digital paper or screen if the user wishes to digitally capture what he or she has written.
Digital pens are more sensitive and accurate than your fingers and will allow you to digitize every word, doodle, sketch, or scribble and convert them to a digital information, which can, of course, continue to change later. It is also the natural choice for painters, architects, and video artists because it offers more options than the usual desktop mouse. Now, many digital pens comes with handwritten recognition software that will allow the user to import their handwritten notes into typed text.
Some of the newer high-end digital pens are wireless, taking advantage of the Bluetooth technology. These pens do not need a docking station but instead send their captured notes or drawing directly to the user's PC, tablet, or cell phone. Some of the criteria you'll want to consider when choosing a digital pen are: performance, and by that I mean pen size, accuracy, latency, and, of course, battery life; features set, such as pressure sensitivity, language recognition, and, of course, storage capabilities; and ease of use, and by that I mean do you need to learn how to use it or what are the accessories you get with it, et cetera.
It's always a good idea to research this kind of information before you meet with the client so you understand better about their company and you know what it's all about. So now that we have a basic understanding about digital pen in general, we can analyze the client brief and see how to come up with a promotion commercial for this kind of product.
The featured product is the N-trig pen, a digital pen that "draws the line from idea to technology." You will reverse engineer the finished project to understand the practical steps and creative decisions the filmmakers made along the way.
Eran Stern shows how to decode a client brief, present design concepts for signoff, create previsualizations and animatics, and then transition the design to After Effects. Many of the effects, such as dust layers, streaks of light, and geometric lines, are achieved using some of Eran's favorite third-party plugins (Particular, Form, and Plexus). The lessons are full of practical examples for broadcast television as well as online distribution. Along the way, Eran weaves in tips, shortcuts, and professional techniques that will amaze both veteran After Effects users and new motion graphics artists.
- Analyzing a client brief
- Presenting to a client
- Creating animatics
- Integrating 3D renders with After Effects
- Animating lines and particle effects
- Creating an animated paper-to-digital transition
- Modeling a digital pen with third-party plugins