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By Nick Brazzi | Monday, August 18, 2014

Sneak Peek: SIGGRAPH Interview Series


Last week I went to the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver with Rob Garrott, the Content Manager for all of the lynda.com training in Video Production and Visual Effects.

SIGGRAPH is one of the oldest running conferences in the computer graphics industry. Each year graphics pros from all over the world gather to exchange ideas and demonstrate new techniques and products. 

While I was exploring the SIGGRAPH show floor, Rob was busy interviewing some of the visual artists at the conference—folks who specialize in visual effects, motion graphics, storyboarding, and 3D print design.

By Rob Garrott | Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NAB 2014: Panasonic GH4 First Look

The Panasonic Lumix GH4

I’ve been going to the annual NAB Show™ in Vegas for a long time, and rarely get excited about anything in particular; there are usually so many announcements from so many manufacturers that it’s hard to keep track! Each NAB Show ends up having a bit of a theme to it: Two years ago, 3D stereoscopic imaging was all the rage (thank goodness that’s over now). Last year’s NAB was all about drones with quad-, hex-, and octo-copters buzzing all over the show.

This year the big theme was 4K resolution cameras. Every camera manufacturer that didn’t already have a 4K system on the market announced one. But for me, the most exciting new camera this year is the Panasonic GH4.

The GH4 is a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format camera with a mind-boggling amount of features, all directed squarely at the video market. Its feature list reads as if Panasonic looked at every video-capable still camera on the market and asked a simple question: What’s missing? The GH4 answers that question in many ways: 4K? Check! Clean, uncompressed HDMI out? Check! Solid microphone pre-amps? Check! Headphone jack? Check! Clamp on outboard device for high-end inputs and outputs? Double check! The list goes on and on.

By Rob Garrott | Monday, December 23, 2013

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 Releases

On Thursday, Dec 19, Apple released an important new update to Final Cut Pro X, its flagship editing program. The update is free for all current users of FCP X and available through the Apple App Store. We’re updating our Essential Training course to include this version. In the meantime, here’s a rundown of things you need to know about the update.

First, FCP X 10.1 requires OSX Mavericks, so if you’re on an older system, you’ll need to download and update Mavericks before you can update FCP X. Mavericks is also a free update from Apple, and we’ve got a great course to get you up to speed with the new features of this latest OS from Apple. As with all updates, it’s crucial that you back up your important data before proceeding. I’ve had no problem on my system, but there have been reports of problems with Mavericks upgrades, and it’s always better safe than sorry!

standard setup

By Rob Garrott | Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to use XRefs in CINEMA 4D, and why they’re a good idea

Efficiency and flexibility are not just marketing terms, they’re what make motion graphics achievable. Creating moving images is incredibly labor intensive, and once all that labor is done, you still have to hit the render button and wait to preview the result. Being efficient is crucial to meeting deadlines.

Creating a workflow that allows you to swap and modify key elements at any point in the production process is what XRefs are all about. An XRef is a special object that points to a scene file much in the same way a print program, like Illustrator, points back to a master image and uses the original file from the hard drive for printing. Visually, the XRef appears to you as a single object, but it actually represents all the objects in the scene that it’s pointing back to. This means that you can make changes to that scene file, and any XRef that points back to it will automatically update. This also means, since R13 XRef objects allow you to reference a CINEMA 4D file as a single object, that you can manipulate an XRef from an entirely different scene, thus allowing for distributed workflows where one person is modeling while another person animates. This makes for a very flexible way to work.

In this week’s Design in Motion video, I’ll show you how to add an XRef into your animation, and I’ll show you a real-life scenario where having XRefs set up allows me to easily swap two cars in a chase scene, with two completely different cars—all without having to update my animation. If you’re new to XRefs, this tutorial quickly breaks the process down to help you get started. XRefs have made last-minute director swaps quick and easy for me many times, and they can save you, too!

The overall XRef experience has been significantly improved in CINEMA 4D R13. To learn more about those improvements, check out my full CINEMA 4D R13 New Features course on lynda.com. If you are a lynda.com member, make sure to check out chapter five, where I discuss R13 workflow additions, including a specific video on the Xrefs format rewrite.

Interested in more? • The full Design in Motion weekly series on lynda.com • All CINEMA 4D courses on lynda.com • Courses by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:CINEMA 4D R12 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D R13 New FeaturesAfter Effects CS5 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects

By Rob Garrott | Friday, May 4, 2012

Two ways to create a reflective floor in After Effects

Floors create a sense of visual depth and give your designs a sense of space by giving your graphic elements something to ‘sit on.’ Making a reflective floor can be a great way to add an elegant look to your motion graphics layout. When you first see a reflection on a graphic element, trying to recreate it can seem like a daunting task. Really though, there are some techniques that have been carried over from the world of Photoshop that are simple to do, look great, and render fast.

On this edition of Design in Motion, we’ll see two different techniques for creating a reflective floor, one that explores transformation of a duplicate layer, and one that creates your reflective floor with a mirror. Both techniques yield final products that look very similar. The real difference in the two will be the amount of control you need. Using the reflective mirror route allows you to finalize this technique using only one layer, but this route gives you less control. Using the transformation of a duplicate later route you will end up with more layers, but also more control.

If you’re interested in learning more about working in After Effects, a great place to start is the lynda.com After Effects Apprentice series from Chris and Trish Meyer.

Interested in more? • The complete Design in Motion weekly series on lynda.com • All video courses on lynda.com • Courses by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and KeyingAfter Effects CS5.5 New FeaturesAfter Effects CS5 Essential Training• After Effects Apprentice 02: Basic Animation

By Rob Garrott | Friday, October 28, 2011

Introducing Design in Motion, by Rob Garrott

Many of you know me as an author for lynda.com, but I’d like to introduce myself as the new Content Manager for the video segment of the lynda.com Online Training Library®. In this new role, I’ll be responsible for our overall video curriculum strategy. I will also be actively working to find and recruit the very best authors for video and motion graphics. It’s a very exciting time for me, and I’m particularly excited that we’re finally able to bring you a brand new course, Design In Motion, by… me!

Weekly for members, and bi-weekly for the blog, I’ll be bringing you tips, techniques, and inspiration from the world of motion graphics using After Effects and CINEMA 4D. In this first episode, I explore the very important idea of using color to communicate a sense of emotion in a video clip.

Storytelling is much more than having a script and shooting a bunch of footage or creating animation. While those are important, there is one thing that does more than anything else to communicate a sense of mood for a viewer, and that’s color. Color has always been an important component of the psychology of art, but when color film photography techniques made color movies possible, directors were quick to incorporate the language of color into the language of film. Creating color in After Effects is a simple and non-destructive process that should have you speaking the language of color in no time at all.

I hope you enjoy this very first edition of Design In Motion! Let us know what you think in the comments section, below.

By Megan O. Read | Friday, May 7, 2010

3D training round-up at lynda.com

There have been a lot of new releases in the 3D category at lynda.com lately, with more to come.

First-time lynda.com author Rob Garrott was just in town recording a new project-based course using Cinema 4D training. Rob has worked in the industry for 17 years as an art director, animator, editor, and an instructor at Art Center College of Design teaching 3D motion graphics, compositing, and motion design.

Rob Garrett

Rob Garrett on the lynda.com live action set.

Veteran lynda.com author and channel manager for 3D and video, George Maestri, just wrapped up recording new Maya 2011 training. Maya 2011 is a really significant upgrade, and George’s new training will explore the numerous upgrades and functionality.

George Maestri

George Maestri in a lynda.com recording booth.

Jeff BartelsAutoCAD 2011 New Features course was released recently, and covers all of the new and cool features AutoCAD 2011 has to offer, from transparency, to the new 3D surfaces, to hatch creation. Look for more AutoCAD training from Jeff soon.

The highly anticipated Rhino 4 Essential Training by Dave Schultze was released this month, and is proving to be an exciting addition to the Library. In addition to building with the curve, surface, and the solid, members can learn how to create shoes for their robots and watch as their sketches come to life.

And in case you missed the New Deal Studios, Visual EffectsCreative Inspirations documentary that was published in February, you might want to check out how this visual effects house uses Rhino and other 3D applications to create models, miniatures, and other computer graphics you will probably recognize from major motion pictures like Shutter Island, and The Dark Knight.

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