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Everything posted by ChrisC

  1. Masked effects on layers are great actually, makes doing spot colour corrections etc very clean and contained, rather than having deep comps with multiple copies of the same layer, each having a track matte. Love this. HDMI out to a second screen used as a monitor might come in handy. .exr loading seems faster - but also flaky? I keep getting half-loaded files displayed - so the bottom half of the screen is blank. Need to investigate this before doing a bug report, it's only during fraction-res previews, full renders are fine. One silly bug - if you're outputting a movie, and it over-writes a file that's referenced in your comp, then as soon as the original file is deleted AE complains that it's missing and can't be imported. Well, duh, that's because you just deleted it you dullard. Sometimes this is followed by a crash. Which is nice. This has been reported. And disk cache keeps on holding onto the wrong frames, but nothing new there.
  2. The whole CC/protection racket isn't great ... but I'm actually OK with the versions setup. I'd rather deal with two versions than upgrade AE to get feature 'x' and suddenly find some obscure plugin doesn't work any more, or be unable to open a legacy file without it imploding. So I download 'CC 2014', run it for a month or so in tandem with the existing CC, drop back if it breaks anything, and hopefully make the move permanent at some stage. If we're stuck forever with minor upgrades, continually patching the same creaky old app and always keeping the current version compatible, then AE may as well just sit tight and say thanks guys but we're all done here. I don't recall anyone saying that an advantage of CC was that you'll never have to run two versions. At least this way the AE guys have leeway to introduce something really, truly shockingly innovative - you know, like folders in the timeline or something batshit crazy like that, without being shackled to supporting whatever dusty old layering setup it is that's currently grinding grooves into my CPU. (BTW - GM FoldLayers still works in CC2014 - first thing I checked ;-) FWIW, I've got versions of C4D back to R9 installed in various places, and see no problem with losing a bit of SSD space to new stuff in the overlap.
  3. I already had a Lacie 256Gb thunderbolt SSD kicking around - it was a carry around drive, now it's a cache. Not the best SSD by any means, but faster than eSata/USB3 by a handy margin, and the fact that it's a dedicated cache keeps everything frosty. I'm looking at some sort of main media drive, Thunderbolt for sure but not sure what.
  4. Plenty of benchmarks, specs, ranting around these machines, but thought I'd report my reaction, having had one for a couple of weeks now. Pretty happy with how it's performing, it's not an astonishing leap - but it can easily handle the stuff that was making my old machine (MacPro 8-core) choke. Rendering is about a third faster, editor speed is around doubled on high-poly scenes. Big mograph setups get grindy, no change there. AE obviously doesn't use the graphics cards, and filters still churn along in AE - but the SSD system drive is really great - I went for the 1Tb option here, the read/write speeds are a massive jump up from the HD RAID I was using before - and having a separate thunderbolt SSD for the AE disk cache is killer - opening up an AE project and watching the whole timeline fill blue in an instant is tasty. Hard to express, but my feeling is that it's a well balanced machine, not stellar in any department but entirely capable of dealing with what I throw at it. Shape, colour - who cares? - but the silent running is almost eerie, and I likey. I guess time will tell if this is a novelty machine or something sustainable from Apple; I've not seen any Mac-PC conversions happening at the places I work but I've also not seen many tubes kicking around either.
  5. Tasty Simon - will have a look at those files. Cute brollies ;-) The APT movies were excellent weren't they? I love being reminded how little I know. Came away from each one buzzing with ideas - always a good sign!
  6. You mean this one I think: http://www.neekoe.com/PTEROIS
  7. Looks neat Aaron. Some rather tricky looking tracking shots in there! Nice design work too.
  8. Single platform is a bit odd -- but that aside, this is a great, deep & versatile plugin. Gives quite a different effect to the obvious comparison - Plexus. Not just the bendy lines which are nice of course, but it's a bit softer all round, the output is a bit more 'plastic' than plexus, which is hard to explain. And the extra primitives and coord transforms make it pretty easy to get to some interesting forms and movement. I can see me using this a lot. Here's a pic after 20mins of noodling around. Lots of options here! Wish it had depth of field though.
  9. Yup, they're usually irrelevant to anything but print work anyway. "I checked your design on my iPhone and the logo was too small, it says it needs to be at least 8mm wide". And all those cruddy rules about spacing, 'leave at least the space of the upper case 'B' all around my gorgeous creation, because it needs that much for you all to appreciate its beauty'; arbitrary BS and useful to no-one. Been getting some much better ones recently though - framed in a positive light, with suggested uses, examples they like, options for customisation, and barely mentioning prohibited uses. Actually made my job a whole lot nicer, because I could bring it up as ammo - 'look, they did something similar on p35 of your book so it must be OK if I break your logo into water and have the drops make a swirly pattern on screen.' But the norm is a product of exactly the sort of 'One Concept' thinking that the guy's post describes, where only his highly refined aesthetic sense has any sway, and everyone else had better agree or else.
  10. I do like this idea, and I've always thought it seemed weak turning up with five different logo ideas, and getting the client to play 'eenie meenie' on which one they like best. Especially as the answer always seems to be some kind of bastard child of all five. I've got around this in the past by showing choices with rational reasons for picking each - saying version a is friendlier and version b is more conservative, or whatever. That way the client sees reasons for taking either direction. But the post above does reek with arrogance, and pre-supposes a couple of dodgy statements: 1) That the designer has a better handle on what a business' customers are like than the business owner. 2) That design is a 100% objective process 3) That the logo is, in the end, the property of the designer, not the client 1 is dubious, 2 is questionable, 3 is the big trap. People can fall in love with calling themselves design professionals, and treat their process as sacred and unquestionable. The result is usually those tediously negative logo usage guide books, where they list out all the things you're not allowed to do when using their masterpiece. There's a really great presentation that cuts through all this posturing, Michael Bierut on clients, 50 minutes but really worth a watch:
  11. I'd buy it again in an instant. Don't stress about the learning curve, it's got a straightforward workflow and great developer support too. Got a few of its own quirks but once you get into it the speed is incredible, and the tools are getting better with each version.
  12. Look with alarm at major competitor gaining ground on key products. Buy Softimage. Kill Softimage. Wait a decent interval for the fuss to die down. A week? Yeah, that should do it. ** ¡->LOOK<-! SHINY NEW STUFF OVER HERE!!! LIKE US ON TWITTER?**
  13. From nothing better than experience, I think if we're talking about frames you've made yourself, rendered sequences, then making it look pretty+consistent is the start and end, especially for online delivery. Personal favourite is freshcurves, but Colorista does a nice job too. Where it gets fiddly is taking footage from different sources, say a multicam shoot with different cameras, and trying to get a clean look for the finished piece. This is where I start to rely on the numbers a bit more, and people start using LUTs and custom curves. I guess I should. The idea is that you have remove the differentiating factors first, then once it all looks the same, you apply the creative grade to the corrected footage. Nice blog here - a lot of this sounds like witchcraft to be honest, but it's nice to see what the big developments are: http://www.jayfriesen.com/
  14. Cool - here's a patronising link explaining what the difference is, 444 422 and 420. http://crewofone.com/2012/chroma-subsampling-and-transcoding/#comment-7299 Know what you mean about Premiere - but if you think that's a bit awkward, try firing up Speed Grade for a real walk on the weird side...
  15. Here's what I do, based on rumour, half-truths and assumptions. Probably mainly erroneous ;-) I usually base transferring stuff between these two on ProRes4444. 422 implies a loss of colour resolution, so for 1920x1080 the colour info is squidged down to 960x540, with only the luma staying full HD. Also I think 422 is limited to 10-bit, and 4444 limited to 12-bit. I'd do any major colour/comping on the frame sequences, and only export to ProRes once each shot was ready for the edit. If you're going to tweak the grade for the Premiere sequence, why not grade in there? The main plugins (colorista, freshcurves, Looks etc) are compatible. Going either way is a bit hit and miss as far as sequences go. The Dynamic Link usually breaks, I tend to just copy/paste from one to the other. Cheers! C
  16. Thanks for the links Simon - that's all great info. Things I didn't know I didn't know ;-)
  17. Useful… but I'll add one more question - 'Do they look rad?'. Clients/audiences care about story, they sometimes care about composition, they very occasionally care about originality, but they always care about shit that looks cool. This isn't just superficial window dressing. Screens want different stuff than paper IMO to make a design work - the rules from the print era are being re-written, amended, abandoned... I'm not talking about lens flare and tons of particle effects - a simple infographic can have a ton of detail sitting inside the animation purely to sell that animation, and make it look interesting in itself, not in service to any story. But the example of Moebius is a good call - an artist whose work is stacked with overwhelming detail, pages of tightly packed pen strokes but the scenes are immediately 'readable' because he helps the viewer with contrast, colour, composition.
  18. Yeah I don't think there's any easy answer here, although I'd be happy to hear different. Matching Plexus and C4D is easy enough, I think it's just y that needs inverting when you bring in the OBJ - but Element has it's own special normalised scale, so objects all fit in a certain amount of 3D space. So it's eyeballing. Having said that, once they're aligned, can't you fire up an Element control null and have that also control the Plexus coords? Or do all your animation via cameras if that's simpler? Then they should stay in touch. EDIT - scratch that - looks like there may be an answer to aligning the C4D and Element view here: http://www.videocopilot.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=91763 So if you bring the C4D file in via Cineware, and extract the camera, it should line up OK according to the link. Untested by me though...
  19. Nice question. Sounds facile, but I've found monitor and viewing size has a big impact on how I view the progress when I'm working. Viewed using the default AE layout, with the viewport at 50% or less, and surrounded by palettes and icons, distorts the scale of a scene, and especially things like type size. Try instead a double monitor setup with one monitor mainly or purely showing the rendered output, with palettes etc on the second. When doing this I suddenly realise that the strap type looks monstrous, the effects look crude and the minor details jump out and smack me around the face. Another shift that's a bit more subtle but has worked for me, is not to begin with a camera, and then shoving things in front of it, but instead create a scene, and place a camera in it, give enough space for the camera to comfortably look and move around the scene. That helps give your camera compositions some space for the non-narrative elements and details that bring a piece out of simple 1-2-3 progression. I don't think considering adding extra typefaces, colours etc is any help. Some of the craziest, most intricate scenes are monochrome and use a single font.
  20. Great, thanks Todd. By the way, what's the verdict on the recent prores codec updates from Apple? There was a vague 'watch out!' note knocking about last week but I've not heard anything official. Cheers - Chris
  21. AEC support is still in CC. I get a couple of error messages on launch, but just click OK and carry on as normal. As for TR, it has annoyances, and limitations - but it also has its uses. I've yet to find a sensible use for Cineware, but it's only meant as a start I guess, there's potential if the speed penalty can be overcome. R14 can open and render most R15 files, so you can keep that installed and just use the improved modelling features, bevel etc in R15, if NET is crucial. I'm using this to get around the annoyance that zook mentions too - render in R14 on one machine, work in R15 on another.
  22. You could try DEM Earth to get a good looking terrain. Choose somewhere craggy and remote but not too obscure or the satellite images won't be available. http://cinemaplugins.com/c4d-plugins/demearth/ Then once you've got the view you're after, site the castle somewhere high up and paint up the landscape in that area to the res you need, using the downloaded imagery if you like as a starting point. Lighting, foliage, sky - these are all complicated subjects, you need to clarify what you're hoping to do with the scene when it's built, and only add what you really need to. If it's a moody setup shot with little camera movement then theta's suggestion of projection mapping is the best bet. If it's a full 360° aerial fly over and you need to see the whole landscape, convincing forests, craggy rocks, the odd waterfall - then I'm afraid you're going to need a bigger boat ;-)
  23. There probably is - AE has so many arcane corners that I've barely peeked into, maybe some fancy shape layer paths setting would work, with trim paths doing the animating? Can shape layers have variable width strokes? But the advantage for me of using C4D was that I could give the movement some pen-like fluid flicks and flourishes, animating the sweep without messing with AE's horrid curve editor; and also retain control of the stroke tip, using the cap settings to shape how wide/pointy the stroke became. Fiddly setup, but solid and flexible.
  24. Thanks for that. Yup, centre-lines are hand traced. The outlines were hand-traced too actually, from drawn calligraphy, these aren't fonts - but not by me ;-)
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