Hey Guys

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Hey Guys

Postby Nipahcha » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:45 am

So I will confess to being a complete and utter beginner to these programs as I just started using them in late 2011/early 2012. I am not very good with my special FX yet, but I adopted a lot of my idealisms and stuff from graphic designing, which is what I do for a living. I have a decent grasp on my Premiere Pro aspect, but AE is one tricky little thing. I don't understand what most o the effects are or do, but I have been watching tutorials and playing around with them. Between Text and visual effects, masking and colorizing, saturation and hue, I followed Video Copilot as a guide for the AMVs I am currently developing as well as CorsairAMV's AMVlogs. So my question is, will it become so much easier with time? I fear that I will not properly figure out the interface of AE and will never truly shine as a AMV editor. It's hard to make a name for yourself when you are just starting out.

However, these are done as my hobby and I love doing them. Whenever I accomplish an amazing result in my video I sit back and watch in awe as I managed to pull it out of my pure imagination, inspired by others... and that's probably why I take forever to produce videos :awesome: . It's a great feeling. Do you guys feel that way too? The only notable video of the 3-5 I have made was "Come Home" that placed at Otakon 2012. It felt amazing to simply make the finals and know I could be a good editor, but to place... I was just without words. But... I want to challenge myself so much more, and instead of simplistic edits, I want to become more elaborate and versatile. Can you direct me to any other awesome tutorial places for me to learn other then Adobe, Video Copilot, Brad and CorsairAMV?

Thanks for reading guys and gals. :up:
Nipah~
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Re: Hey Guys

Postby Brad » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:56 pm

Well, if you come from a graphic design background, I'm going to assume you're probably pretty familiar with Photoshop (or maybe Illustrator). This is a really great thing because you can think of After Effects as being like Photoshop + motion/time. They both use the same layer structure, blending modes, etc. The major difference (aside from working with video or keyframes or whatever) comes in the fact that nearly everything you do in AE is "non-destructive." For example, in Photoshop, if I take one of my layers, and I want to blur it, once I do, it's done. It's blurred. I can't adjust it from there without undo'ing. If I decided later on that I didn't want that layer blurred, too bad for me. I either have to remake it as it was before or undo all the other work I've done. In AE, I have a layer that I want to blur, I add the blur effect to the layer, and I can adjust the parameters of the effect as many times as I want, whenever I want. And where the TIME aspect comes in, I can keyframe those parameters over time.

I realize that you probably already know a lot of this stuff, but I just wanted to stress the idea that using AE isn't all that different from doing traditional graphic design, if you think about it in that aspect. As far as I'm concerned, learning how to animate is the easy part (I should say, easy to learn, hard to master). Learning to make a really compelling looking frame takes work and experience. And having a background in graphic design can only help you down that path (I really mean that. I work as a motion designer for a major post-production house in Chicago, and we've interviewed people in the past that have little to no experience in After Effects, but are amazing designers in general, because we figure it's easier to teach them to use AE then it is to teach them to make things look good).

Here's my advice. Really sit down and think hard about an idea you want to execute in your video. Don't think about what you'd use to do it and don't confine your ideas to things you already know how to do. Maybe it's as simple as, you're making a romance video about two characters and there's a specific shot you like, but one of the characters doesn't visually represent the mood you're trying to convey (ie; should be a happy scene, he looks angry). How would you go about changing the look of that in Photoshop? Got an idea on how you'd do it? That's a great starting point! NOW try and figure out how you'd make that work in After Effects, knowing the basics that you already know.

Say, knowing what all of the built-in effects do isn't really all that important if you don't have a good use for them. There's certainly nothing at all wrong with just going into a new composition, making a new solid and just throwing random stuff on it to see what it does. But when it comes to practical application, have a reason. I can't speak for the general audience, but for me, the videos that have always really impressed me with their effects-usage are ones where the effects served a greater purpose than just "make look shiny/bad ass" (not saying you're doing that. Just a general rule of thumb for me personally).

To answer your tutorial question, to be honest VCP is definitely the biggest game in town as far as AE tutorials go, but there's also good ol' standards like Creative Cow (though to be honest, only go there looking for technical help. The technical stuff they teach is legit, but they're just not great designers), Malta Annon, & AE Tuts.

And if you ever have specific questions about anything, please feel free to ask me :) Good luck!
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Re: Hey Guys

Postby Nipahcha » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:57 pm

Thank you for the response, Brad. I am indeed very familiar with AI and PS, and I've been fiddling with AE a lot within the past 24 hours and I did take a notice as to how close they actually all are, as you said. I gotta admit, I love the non-destructive nature of AE, because if that effect I used turns out to not look so good to me later down the road, I can just remove it without having to start all over. Same with AI's Appearance panel.

After my PS class today, I continued my self-lesson on some of the effects in AE. What I messed with was Wave Warp, CC Rainfall, and CC Drizzle. I took a nice HD still of water in the ocean from a Bird's Eye View, and applied the wave warp to a duplicate of the original image, then I added an adjustment layer for curves and levels to make it look more like the water was darker, as the sky tends to be dark and reflects a darker look on the water. I messed with wave warp's settings to make it look like it was moving around like waves were being formed. After that, I made a new adjustment layer and applied CC Rainfall to it and eyedroppered a nice color from the duplicated layer to make the rain blend better with the duplicate as it poured down the screen. I messed with the wind, variance, and other settings of the effect until it looked like the rain was actually falling into the water. That's where I found CC Drizzle. I added another adjustment layer and applied CC Drizzle to it and messed with it's settings to make it looke like the raindrops were hitting the water and rippling away. I did all of this without even really thinking about it until I rendered it out. I took a look at it and I was like, "HOW DID I DO THAT WITHOUT A TUTORIAL?" Why is my subconscious more creative then my actual self? The best part: I did the comp in less then 20 minutes and the people behind me were quite impressed.

So my questions to you are:

What defines a good editor?

Storyboarding is important, but how do you think up the effects when you get to that point?

One thing I've always wanted to know is, when people make AMVs, they often use super-colored up scenes, like they sort of glow from the middle out to the edges and fade more towards the edge. This effect has always surprised and confused me. Can you shed some light on it? Is it really as simple as a Glow effect in AE or do they adjust the levels and curves to make the colors brighter and more rich? Or is it just a Hue/Saturation thing?

Thanks for your time and advice.
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Re: Hey Guys

Postby Brad » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:58 pm

Haha that's awesome! There's a lot to be said about having a base of an idea for what you want to make, then just playing around until you get what you want. I've taught myself a lot by doing exactly that. Then maybe later on I'll see somebody elses project or a tutorial or whatever and learn something that would've made what I did before much easier. But that initial satisfaction of figuring it out on your own is pretty priceless.

Now, I'll answer your question with another question. When you say "editor" are you really saying "AMV creator" or "motion graphics artist" or what? In both cases, the answer is ultimately very subjective, because it comes down to what I think is a good AMV or a good motion design piece or whatever piece of visual art it is. But I can try and generalize it by saying, it's the ability to HAVE a creative vision and the WILL to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Personally I think the 2nd virtue is more important, because a brilliant idea is worthless without the execution. This is my number one problem. I'll come up with ideas for various projects I want to work on (mostly non-AMV related), and I'll be really excited and jazzed about it, but due to my own laziness and attention-span, I don't follow through. The opposite problem can happen as well. You can be super determined and make all the time in the world, but if your idea is just bad (subjective, I know), it's doubtful it'll turn out any good. BUT, I'd rather see people making things they're passionate about than making nothing at all.

For me personally, non-generalized, I really love AMVs that give me something completely unexpected or take disparate visuals to create completely unique. This is why Qwaqa's work really impresses me. Both Pencilhead and PaperHeart are truly original works of visual art, that use the source material (combined with all original visuals) to create something totally unique. Now, that's not to say I don't love a lot of videos that just use the story/idea of the original source to make something awesome or funny or emotionally vibrant. But for me, the ones that show me something I've never seen before really really work. And it's one of the main reasons why I'm interested in helping people learn After Effects. Sure there's a ton you can do with just straight cuts or simple compositing within an editing program to make your own story. But with something like After Effects, you really have a total engine of creation at your finger tips, and with enough time and effort, you can let your imagination run wild. It's why I started up Ask Brad an AE Question (which I just realized is locked.. sad) and an old multi-editor project* (* = not an actual multi-editor project) called "Project Make Cool Shit." The idea behind it being, I just wanted to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones with editing and just play around and make interesting original things and just learn things and experiment with design and storytelling. It didn't really go that far, but I liked the spirit behind it.

Now as far as your color question goes, there's really a ton of different ways you can do it, and the way you described is a perfectly valid one. I don't really know exactly which videos you're referring to (in all honesty, I really don't watch AMVs that often anymore...). The more important question to ask yourself is, why do it? Does it serve a purpose to the look of the video? Does it distract from anything or highlight something you want it to highlight? Color is super tricky business, especially in my line of work. We have an on-site Colorist whose only job is to color-correct and grade footage for on-air use. It's part science, part art. At the end of the day though, you've just gotta go with a look that appeals to your eye.
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Re: Hey Guys

Postby Nipahcha » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:54 pm

Thanks for all the help and responses, Brad. I'll see what I can come up with in my future journeys as an editor.
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