After Effects Tutorial: Creating a fluttering 3D leaf with Zaxwerks 3D Warps Plug-In

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In this After Effects tutorial I’ll show you how to make a fluttering 3D leaf effect using Zaxwerks 3D Warps plug-in. I’ll show you several tips to speed up your workflow and quicken rendering and previews with the 3D Warps plug-in. I use particles and other built-in AE effects to create a realistic scene from a still image. And I also take a look at refining motion paths with After Effects graph editor to create smooth organic motion. All this, and more in this action packed tutorial!

Review – Lite Panels Micro Pro and Chimera Color Correction Screens

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What’this? Production gear reviews on a post-production blog? Yup, that’s right. We’re not all just codecs and compression here at SuiteTake; we do actually put on our shoes and socks and get to shoot too. In fact, there’s nothing better to appreciate parking your rear in a comfy edit chair all day long that luggin’ production gear around on an old fashioned shoot now and then.
So yes, we do shoot here too and have come across a few nifty little production gadgets that have proved very helpful in the field: The Lite Panels Micro Pro and Chimera’s Color Correction Screens for their softboxes.

What’s this? Production gear reviews on a post-production blog? Yup, that’s right. We’re not all just codecs and compression here at SuiteTake; we do actually put on our shoes and socks and get to shoot too. In fact, there’s nothing better to appreciate parking your rear in a comfy edit chair all day long then luggin’ production gear around on an old fashioned shoot now and then.

So yes, we do shoot here too and have come across a few nifty little production gadgets that have proved very helpful in the field: The Lite Panels Micro Pro and Chimera’s Color Correction Screens for their softboxes.

Read moreReview – Lite Panels Micro Pro and Chimera Color Correction Screens

Creating a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro

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As promised here is part 2 of creating custom buttons and a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro. You can find Part 1 here.

In this video tutorial we pick up right where we left off in the last tutorial and show you how to take the custom button we made and incorporate it into a custom menu. Then, with a little bit of setup, we take that custom menu, save it as a template and then use that template to automatically create a series of chapter index menus with one simple drag and drop.

A recap from part 1…

“One of the most tedious things to author in DVDSP is creating chapter index menus with links to all the various chapters within a project. If you’ve ever had a multi-hour long video with dozens of chapters, creating chapter index menus can take hours and be extremely frustrating, especially if you make a mistake or there are changes after the fact. This 2 part video tutorial will show you how to easily create custom buttons and menus, complete with video drop zones, save them as templates, and then automatically create a chapter index menu series with one simple drag and drop.”

Read moreCreating a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro

Creating button templates, menus, and a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro

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Have you ever had a huge DVD project come across your desk that you just knew was going to be a nightmare to author? One of the most tedious things to author in DVDSP is creating chapter index menus with links to all the various chapters within a project. If you’ve ever had a multi-hour long video with dozens of chapters, creating chapter index menus can take hours and be extremely frustrating, especially if you make a mistake or there are changes after the fact.

Well, fear no more, there is actually a function built right into DVD Studio Pro that will create a chapter index for you automatically! All you need to do is either use one of DVDSP’s pre-made templates or easily create a template of your own then drag and drop; all the menus, buttons, text, and links are automatically created and set.

In this 2 part tutorial I’ll first show you how to make custom buttons, complete with video/image drop zones, that can be saved and inserted into any other menu. Part 2, coming later, will demonstrate how to incorporate those custom buttons into a custom menu, save it as a template, then create an entire 24-chapter index with one drag and drop.

Read moreCreating button templates, menus, and a chapter index automatically with DVD Studio Pro

The Traveling Editor

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Ahh the joys of being a freelance editor. You get to make your own schedule, take time off whenever you want, sleep in on weekdays, pick and choose only the best, most highest-paying jobs, live the jet-set lifestyle hopping from post-house to post-house all across the country…

ZZZZZZCHHHHSSSSSWOOOOSSSSHHH (sound of vinyl record scratching)!

Wait, that’s not what it’s like at all. Probably back when you were in film school some eccentric tweed-jacket-with-the-patches-on-the-elbows professor filled your head with romantic notions like that. Then what happened, you got into the real world and found that most of the time you had to scrounge for any job you could get, from cutting your uncle’s boss’s LARPER themed wedding to that gastric surgery post-operative care demonstration video.

It seems like it was just yesterday
It seems like it was just yesterday

But that’s not the point, the point is that either you’re doing what you love or you’re considering cutting the cable and going out on your own or just graduating and still have that un-blemished innocent vision of the wealth of opportunity that awaits you out there. In any case, as a freelance editor, you need to focus on three main objectives: being a good editor, being mobile, and getting hired again. To do this you need to have a slick and portable system in place that enables you to jump from place to place, dive right in a get to work without wasting a lot of time getting situated. After all, your client is paying you to edit, not set preferences and adjust your chair.

Here are a few things you can do to make your setup time at a new place quick and easy and add value to your service.

Read moreThe Traveling Editor

Live Previews with Zaxwerks ProAnimator

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Zaxwerks ProAnimator plug-in for After Effects is a great tool for creating 3D object animations right inside After Effects. We use it all the time for text and logo animations, animated background elements, and  various other elements.

Recently a project came across my desk that called for an intricate and precise animation of an airplane flying across a globe. The graphic was supposed to be your typical red line that traces itself across a globe hopping from country to country. A job for ProAnimator? Yes. Was there a catch? Yes.

The problem I faced even before I started was that as far as I knew there was no way to preview custom layer maps in the ProAnimator interface. I was going to have to create the globe and then animate its rotation precisely to the points that the “airplane” was supposed to travel to at the precise times. By default ProAnimator displays a generic place-holder image on your objects when you apply layer maps to them, you can’t preview the actual layer map within ProAnimator. This would obviously make for a lot of tedious trial and error when trying to precisely rotate the globe to specific countries.

Read moreLive Previews with Zaxwerks ProAnimator