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!

Work On Your Business, By Working On Yourself

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I’ve been very fortunate in business. Since I first started Edit Creations in my basement in 2003 I’ve been blessed with having multiple clients follow me into business based on our work history together and friendships. And over those years, word of mouth has filled in the rest of the time. Within the first 5 years business grew from me working in my basement to having a 2000 sqft office with multiple edit rooms, vo booth, graphics, travel gear and 4 employees. Things were going great. Then, the fall of 2008 hit.

At the end of 2008 work dried up and 2009 was the most difficult year since the business was started. During this time a few things happened that changed the way I looked at my company.

First, I didn’t lose any clients. I still had the same clients that I’ve been working with for years, in some cases close to 15 years. The problem was that those clients were no longer getting the jobs they used to. Projects were being scaled back, rescheduled or flat our cancelled. In one case a job that was normally 4 weeks of editing in 2 suites (a job that we received every December running into January) just went away and has not yet returned.

Second, for the first time in my career I was faced with having to find new clients. Two years ago I would have said you were crazy if you told me to go out and find new clients. I was already working 10+ hours a day and the thought of looking for more work seemed like self abuse.

Third, I realized that you can’t count on jobs that are promised to you, even if you have a long standing relationship with those clients. For example, in 2009 there were no less then 3 major jobs (one a broadcast TV series) that were promised to us. In one case actually scheduled for the last half of 2009. “Great!” I thought, the year is covered! The pressure is off! And then, one by one the projects just went away, in large part due to the economy. So I was left with open edit suites and very little work to fill them, but the same overhead as if it was business as usual.

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The Nintendo Editing System


OH WOW! BREAKING NEWS!! In case you you didn’t hear last night, there has been some exciting news in the world of post production in the wake of the Apple announcement of the iPad. Lovable video game company Nintendo has just announced they would like to join the editing world with the release of the Nintedit System!

Whether or not this ends up being any kind of major player in the editing world is still in question, but I was blown away at the potential capabilities of the system, yet completely shocked in general that they are even deciding to make this. I’ve loved Nintendo for years, dating all the way back to NES, and I think it’s crazy that they would try and make this jump into post-production. I guess they wanted to make the case that video editing should be fun and universal, and shouldn’t be left alone to the technical folk.

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The Top 25 Movies of 2009

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Today I join the extremely rare air of millions of internet folk. Today I do something that everyone from Roger Ebert to CindyCinema.com to your Aunt Rebecca does. Today I will list my favorite movies from 2009, to the excessively high amount of 25. Why 25? Because I go to the theater almost every weekend, I’ve seen about 60 movies from this year, so listing only 10 would inhibit my urge to talk about what movies I’ve seen. Plus everybody loves a list!

So let’s get right into it. I’ll be SPOILER-FREE. Here are picks for my favorite movies from the Year 1 A.D…K. (After Dark Knight)…

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Super Editing Tips with Winston Randall Montgomery IV

There are a plethora of resources everywhere to teach you how to be an editor. There’s training websites like Lynda.com and Creative Cow. You can buy assorted training books at some coffeehouse-bookstore hybrid, where some homely fellow is likely playing new age music on a grand piano for Ramen noodle money. You could even go as far as to attend a terrible, terrible place called film school… But I laugh at you for doing these things. Laugh right in your pathetic face! You know why? Because I’m an elitist. I am better than you.

I eat dinner with 12 different solid gold forks. I have have different solid gold forks for different areas of the $800 steaks I eat. I only drink the first sip of a glass of $6000 wine, because I’m only satisfied with the first sip of a full glass of expensive wine. Then I throw the rest of the glass away and request a new drink just so I can take the first sip again. It typically costs me $150,000 to get drunk. What?! You’d like the rest of the glass?! How dare you! I would never allow someone who learned editing at film school to have my unused wine. I would rather destroy an entire wine field than give it to you, which is something I normally do once a month anyway, just for the sport of it.

I’d apologize to you for such a berating of your character, but my servant is currently cleaning the wheels of my Lexus with a toothbrush, and I normally have him apologize to commoners. But the reason I yell at you is because I love you, we are fellow editors, we are required to love each other by United States law. And I don’t want another tedious lawsuit on my hands. I just wanted to let you know that everything you know about editing is wrong.

I’m about to retire, so I’ll let you in on my biggest industry secret, since I have nothing to lose. There is an unimaginable resource located in the nether regions of the internet FULL of brilliant ideas by brilliant people. I take these ideas, and compile them into the greatest workable resource known to post production. So sit back and enjoy infinite knowledge! All you have to do is type in www.youtube.com.

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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.

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