Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bokeh

Folders in the After Effects timeline

Recommended Posts

Guest Sao_Bento
As a motion graphics professional I have to say there is noting much that gets me excited about the new version. The new features are more directed towards the ambitious hobbyist rather than people who want to use it as a high-end compositing and vfx solution (Maybe with the exception of Intel support and proper color management).

There is so much stuff that I don't quite understand, for instance why they didn't implement Photoshop layer styles as additional plugins and instead made things more complicated by introducing them as a special dropdown in there layers options. Doesn't make any sense.

Why is it so hard to give us mask handles that have a reasonable size (or at least can be sized to personal taste) and masks that are not deselected whenever you accidentaly click on the wrong spot. I don't know how many times I have moved a layer instead of the leyers mask because i didnt click one of the masks points before I tried to rectangle select some points. How about per-point mask feathering and how about locking certain attributes of a layer instead of the whole thing.

The folders thing is also a very nice concept, even though I didn't think of this before. Could be used to limit adjustment layers to a certain set of layers (to name one).

Instead we get a brainstorm tool (kinda nice gadget, but I rather tweak the FX settings myself, plus it's cluttering the interface), a puppet tool (am I the only one who thinks puppet tool animations look retarded?), a bridge to Photoshops vanishing tool (Sorry, I rather use C4D for camera projection) and shape layers (might be useful even though I wasn't missing them before).

I really don't know where they are going with this current release. Pro market? Advanced amateur? Both?

 

Too bad there is really no alternative to AE for now because I would really like to work with something that is truly dedicated to the pro market.

For "high-end compositing and vfx solutions" there is Fusion, Shake, Nuke, Combustion, Flint, Flame, Quantel Henry, etc. Motion graphics is really the only industry where AE is essential and the choices are limited. I expect that we're reaching a point where it's becoming easier for someone new to get into the market. More choices is a good thing for everyone. Imagine what a company like Maxon could do with a motion graphics app (good multi processor support, good render quality, same on both platforms, proper F Curves, massive interoperability with C4D, etc.). I think they could give both Adobe and Apple a run for their money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Imagine what a company like Maxon could do with a motion graphics app (good multi processor support, good render quality, same on both platforms, proper F Curves, massive interoperability with C4D, etc.). I think they could give both Adobe and Apple a run for their money.

 

Damn, I would buy that hook line and sinker. The only thing that makes me dubious about their ability to think of serious compositing is the lack of a node tree in the material manager (as of yet).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, guys.

Keep bringing the flak.

I'll offer my views, in case it's useful in any way.

 

As a motion graphics professional I have to say there is noting much that gets me excited about the new version. The new features are more directed towards the ambitious hobbyist rather than people who want to use it as a high-end compositing and vfx solution (Maybe with the exception of Intel support and proper color management).

 

I'd say that VFX professionals find adaptive/high-sample motion blur a must-have enhancement. Getting rid of the cheesy, steppy MB in AE was always a TOP request among VFX and pro mograph designers. Don't you as a mograph professional find 3D text animation an important feature? I know I wished that feature since the text animator group thing first appeared in AE6. Doesn't super-fast rendering in 2/4/8 core machines sound like a good thing for pros?

 

There is so much stuff that I don't quite understand, for instance why they didn't implement Photoshop layer styles as additional plugins and instead made things more complicated by introducing them as a special dropdown in there layers options. Doesn't make any sense.

It's a common, and reasonable concern.

However, they wouldn't be layer styles if they acted as you mention. The very definition of layer styles is that they are post-everything and they have a fixed rendering order. The idea of having the PS layer style engine in AE is mostly keeping PS layer styles live and animatable. You may not need it, but tons of people use it to design broadcast elements. You can now animate the original PS parameters. Since they are there, they also allow you to apply layer styles per se... but seriously, if you just want to add a drop shadow or a glow, there's already an effect for that.. If they worked like you say, PSD files with layer styles would look different than they do (because of the very specific processing order they use in PS).

There are a couple of hidden gems in the layer styles thing. For example, all the custom contour profiles and most of the advanced blending options in PS are retained in a live way (I'm thinking conditional blending, to insert elements in space for example) even if there's no UI to apply them directly in AE.

 

 

Why is it so hard to give us mask handles that have a reasonable size (or at least can be sized to personal taste) and masks that are not deselected whenever you accidentaly click on the wrong spot. I don't know how many times I have moved a layer instead of the leyers mask because i didnt click one of the masks points before I tried to rectangle select some points. How about per-point mask feathering and how about locking certain attributes of a layer instead of the whole thing.

 

I don't know why it is so hard (or how hard it is, actually). I agree with you completely on this one.

I would like node selection to be easier and per-point feathering control like PV feather does would be sweet.

 

The folders thing is also a very nice concept, even though I didn't think of this before. Could be used to limit adjustment layers to a certain set of layers (to name one).

Time! Time! Time!

See how this works? The second you add layer folders in AE, the second users will start demanding (or assuming) they behave like pre-comps. He is already talking of altering rendering order (limiting adj. layers to certain layers is for all practical purposes a pre-comp). This is why I think: don't go for a temporary patch, let's go for the whole thing. You want to use it just to organize layers? Nothing would prevent you from doing so. That's just my opinion.

 

 

 

 

Instead we get a brainstorm tool (kinda nice gadget, but I rather tweak the FX settings myself, plus it's cluttering the interface), a puppet tool (am I the only one who thinks puppet tool animations look retarded?), a bridge to Photoshops vanishing tool (Sorry, I rather use C4D for camera projection) and shape layers (might be useful even though I wasn't missing them before).

 

I respect your opinions here on everything. But frankly you're missing the point with shape layers. Please go and turn on the TV. Pay attention. Then come back and tell me that a version of the Illustrator engine adapted to motion concepts is not an important feature.

FWIW, I really like Puppet and VPE. Brainstorm, I could live without.

 

I really don't know where they are going with this current release. Pro market? Advanced amateur? Both?

Those two and many other niches. That's why it will be certainly impossible to make everybody happy. But IMO, this tension between the needs of VFX people and mograph people is what makes AE so interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've noted that you have been kind of negative about this, and seem to be looking at it as "if they put folders in the way you want, I won't get my precomp ubertwirl thing".

 

Not at all, I promise. I am just expressing my opinion, stubborn as I may be. When I filed the FR for layer folders, I quoted heavily from what users posted in Labs and here, and didn't ever mention my opinion there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Sao_Bento

>> Pro market? Advanced amateur? Both?<<

 

Just be glad there's not an AE CS3, AE CS3 Extended Home Edition, and AE CS3 Extended Pro Enterprise Platinum Edition to choose between.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
>> Pro market? Advanced amateur? Both?<<

 

Just be glad there's not an AE CS3, AE CS3 Extended Home Edition, and AE CS3 Extended Pro Enterprise Platinum Edition to choose between.

 

Damn, I was going to go all the way and get the exclusive AE Black edition. I heard it actually has a modern color correcter in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Sao_Bento
Damn, I was going to go all the way and get the exclusive AE Black edition. I heard it actually has a modern color correcter in it.

Please don't say the the curves in AE CS3 still don't update in real time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please don't say the the curves in AE CS3 still don't update in real time.

 

 

Sorry, I don't think the curves effect was updated at all.

Question: do you like the new PS curves display? Would you like that in AE?

 

I myself would really like to have scopes in AE. In fact, I believe it's one of the truly must-have omissions.

 

Chris: AE (as you surely know) does include a very modern color corrector that it's sold separately for a lot of money: Color Finesse 2. I understand that it's a modal interface and I would prefer something more.... non-modal, and more integrated. But it *is* modern in terms of the feature set.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris: AE (as you surely know) does include a very modern color corrector that it's sold separately for a lot of money: Color Finesse 2. I understand that it's a modal interface and I would prefer something more.... non-modal, and more integrated. But it *is* modern in terms of the feature set.

 

Yeah, I'm aware of CF. There are so many great things about it cobined with so many obviously useful workflows that are missing I gave up on it. I was mostly ribbing that there are still stone age PS type color correction built in. But really now that Red Giant Software made the perfect AE Color Corrector (Colorista), the point is moot now. Especially for me as I gave up a long time ago and do CC in another system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Sao_Bento
Sorry, I don't think the curves effect was updated at all.

Question: do you like the new PS curves display? Would you like that in AE?

 

I myself would really like to have scopes in AE. In fact, I believe it's one of the truly must-have omissions.

 

Chris: AE (as you surely know) does include a very modern color corrector that it's sold separately for a lot of money: Color Finesse 2. I understand that it's a modal interface and I would prefer something more.... non-modal, and more integrated. But it *is* modern in terms of the feature set.

I think the new curves dialog in PS CS3 EX is an improvement, but AE's curves should work like the AE plug-in "RGB Super Curves" by Buena Software - live interaction between dragging a point on the curve and the color changing in the comp window. That plug has been around for years, Adobe should buy it or figure out their own way of replicating the functionality.

http://digieffects.com/products/Buena-effects-pack.html

 

I agree that modern scopes would be handy as well. Color Finesse has all those things, as does the new Magic Bullet and Scopo Gigio, but they each come with their own problems and limitations. These kinds of fundamental tools should be integrated into the core product rather than limited to third party plug-in solutions. I generally try to avoid using any third party plug-ins because you can't count on every place you work at having them. Adobe suggesting or including third party plugs is just a workaround for something they should solve once and for all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ Sao Bentp:

For "high-end compositing and vfx solutions" there is Fusion, Shake, Nuke, Combustion, Flint, Flame, Quantel Henry, etc. Motion graphics is really the only industry where AE is essential and the choices are limited.

Ok, I know what you mean, but wheater or not AE is a program for high-end compositing is a very controversial subject. As far as I know the Orphanage are mainly using AE for compositing (They added Nuke some time ago), I've seen a making-of where ILM used AE as comp tool for a shot in VanHelsing and Stargate (I believe it was them) used it for some shots in the last season of Heroes. It's probarbly not top of the line, but I thing there is hardly anything that you can't do compositing wise in AE if you have the right set of plug-ins, though I have to admit, that other packages might get you there faster.

I personally think that AE is constantly underestemated (Especially by people who work with Infernos and the likes).

 

@arozenfeld:

I'd say that VFX professionals find adaptive/high-sample motion blur a must-have enhancement. Getting rid of the cheesy, steppy MB in AE was always a TOP request among VFX and pro mograph designers. Don't you as a mograph professional find 3D text animation an important feature? I know I wished that feature since the text animator group thing first appeared in AE6. Doesn't super-fast rendering in 2/4/8 core machines sound like a good thing for pros?

 

I don't like the motion-blur in AE either. But for the most part you can do the trick with CC Force MB or RSMB. I still agree, that a proper, built-in motion blur would be best, but as far as I know it hasn't happened yet. 3D text is nifty but for really advanced and controlled movement of the letters in space I still might have to switch to C4D. And yes, multi core support is also very cool, but can't you kinda expect a program to use the natural recources that your computer has to offer? This feature could have been in the last release and I think this is just something that was long overdue.

By the way, do I sense a glimpse of sarcasm towards me referring to myself as a mograph professional? All I'm saying is, that I make a living creating commercials in AE and C4d. Wheather or not I'm good enough to be considered a pro by you is something I seriously can't estimate.

 

There is so much stuff that I don't quite understand, for instance why they didn't implement Photoshop layer styles as additional plugins and instead made things more complicated by introducing them as a special dropdown in there layers options. Doesn't make any sense.
So it's the processing order. Now I get it! Wasn't thinking of that.

 

I respect your opinions here on everything. But frankly you're missing the point with shape layers. Please go and turn on the TV. Pay attention. Then come back and tell me that a version of the Illustrator engine adapted to motion concepts is not an important feature.

FWIW, I really like Puppet and VPE. Brainstorm, I could live without.

 

Maybe I don't value the shape layers enough yet. It's because I didn't have the chance to test them out properly. I think once I see someone do something really amazing with them I be in the first row cheering (No, the strange inverted star doesn't count).

 

Anyways, all I was saying is that I'm not too excited about AE CS3. I could continue working in AE 7 for a while longer and wouldn't miss a whole lot. There is certainly stuff in there that's very useful, but there is also many issues that Adobe hasn't worked on yet. I'm also very afraid that AE is drifting towards a prosumer maket that doesn't care about the needs of people who have to work with the app on a daily basis.

 

Cheers,

Johnny

 

BTW: I know my spelling is horrid. It's because I'm german. So, please don't hate. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Damn, I would buy that hook line and sinker. The only thing that makes me dubious about their ability to think of serious compositing is the lack of a node tree in the material manager (as of yet).

If I had to make a prediction based on user requests, I would say a node tree is in our future.

The last time people were so fervent about a feature was when C4D was missing n-gons and sub-poly displacement.

I think they definitely had take the time to revamp what they had (v10) before they went any further.

Overall, MAXON does seem to listen.

 

-m

Edited by the_Monkey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If I had to make a prediction based on user requests, I would say a node tree is in our future.

The last time people were so fervent about a feature was when C4D was missing n-gons and sub-poly displacement.

I think they definitely had take the time to revamp what they had (v10) before they went any further.

Overall, MAXON does seem to listen.

 

-m

 

One can only dream...wiggle ..wiggle...dissolve slowly...wiggle...harp sounds....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Sao_Bento
@ Sao Bentp:

Ok, I know what you mean, but wheater or not AE is a program for high-end compositing is a very controversial subject. . . .

 

@arozenfeld:

I don't like the motion-blur in AE either. But for the most part you can do the trick with CC Force MB or RSMB. I still agree, that a proper, built-in motion blur would be best, but as far as I know it hasn't happened yet . . .

 

Yes, AE is a compositor, but I'd say that the majority of high end places are much more divided among all the choices out there than they once were. For pure compositing and VFX purposes, there are many compelling reasons to consider the other apps. In the motion graphics space, however, there is pretty much just AE and Motion.

 

 

Regarding motion blur, the new smooth motion blur IS a new feature of AE CS3, it just doesn't garner that much attention because it's a little too complex to explain to a new user.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much fun as I have with node trees, it is not feasible when working with hundreds of layers and precomps. You have a tangled gob.

 

The After Effects people stopped listening to their user base. Apparently they take direction from Adobe marketing strategists.

In CGI, that direction has always meant the kiss of death. I think that the program reached its peak in 6.5 and is on the cusp of a tailspin.

I predicted the demise of EI with the appearance of "Coach". Any geriatrics remember that character?

 

Damn, I would buy that hook line and sinker. The only thing that makes me dubious about their ability to think of serious compositing is the lack of a node tree in the material manager (as of yet).
Edited by bart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the new curves dialog in PS CS3 EX is an improvement, but AE's curves should work like the AE plug-in "RGB Super Curves" by Buena Software - live interaction between dragging a point on the curve and the color changing in the comp window. That plug has been around for years, Adobe should buy it or figure out their own way of replicating the functionality.

Sao: That's a very good description of how you want it to work. Now, even if you find it futile (!), PM me a paragraph with a brief explanation of why it is important for you that it works that way. Don't assume it's obvious. Also, could you take a snapshot of the RGB super curves UI?

BTW, Darrin from Buena is now with Apple. I don't think licensing is an option, but who knows.

 

These kinds of fundamental tools should be integrated into the core product rather than limited to third party plug-in solutions. I generally try to avoid using any third party plug-ins because you can't count on every place you work at having them. Adobe suggesting or including third party plugs is just a workaround for something they should solve once and for all.

 

I agree completely. The exception for me are plug-ins that are not content related, ie, if they are not installed projects work just fine. For example, if AE came with Synthetic Aperture's Test Gear as its' default scopes, I would be perfectly satisfied.

 

 

Regarding motion blur, the new smooth motion blur IS a new feature of AE CS3, it just doesn't garner that much attention because it's a little too complex to explain to a new user.

Same for 3D text animation. AE has a tradition of powerful, pro features that are not advertised enough... or at all. It is a mainstream application, after all.

 

By the way, do I sense a glimpse of sarcasm towards me referring to myself as a mograph professional?

 

Not at all. Just like you, I am not a native english speaker. So the subtleties of some word constructions may be beyond my intention :)

 

Ok, I know what you mean, but wheater or not AE is a program for high-end compositing is a very controversial subject.

Mark Christiansen wrote in his blog that AE is more used overall in feature film work than all the options one would think.

 

The impression I have is that the very high-end VFX studios are way more fond of AE than people believe.

It's very clear for them that Shake, Fusion or Nuke are the main tools to use when flexible rendering order is the priority, because of the flexibility of nodal interfaces. But AE is always there for shots where there's a lot of properties to animate. I read one top VFX sup say (and I quote without the exact words) that the AE timeline is its' killer feature for compositing.

 

 

I personally think that AE is constantly underestemated (Especially by people who work with Infernos and the likes).

 

I couldn't agree more. Mind you, many people who use Infernos, Smokes and Flames, like Matt Silverman (who BTW used to work for Puffin/Commotion), are the ones who like AE better. They are very aware of what those expensive systems do and how AE compares to them. They are also probably less influenced by the hype that makes people think this app is "in" and this other app is "out".

 

Maybe I don't value the shape layers enough yet. It's because I didn't have the chance to test them out properly. I think once I see someone do something really amazing with them I be in the first row cheering (No, the strange inverted star doesn't count).

 

Dive in the documentation for shape layers and produce that amazing incarnation yourself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Same for 3D text animation. AE has a tradition of powerful, pro features that are not advertised enough... or at all. It is a mainstream application, after all.

 

Replying to my own message :)

 

Talking about features that don't get exposure.

AE CS3 has a new expression called sampleImage().

 

Think of it as Soundkeys for visuals. It allows you to sample image values at a specified location, and drive animation with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As much fun as I have with node trees, it is not feasible when working with hundreds of layers and precomps. You have a tangled gob.

 

Wow, you share the opposite view than anyone I've heard of. One of the benefits of complex composites with node trees is that you are not mining through tons of precomps hunting down where all the parts are and having to do duplicates of mattes rather than just creating a new stream. If you look at the sreen grabs shown for some high end films like Hell Boy and Titanic Shake projects, they are in the many hundreds of nodes and very well organised. How you organize node trees down to your own cleanliness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My case for nodes is like this.

 

I have a folder with comps and precomps for Version 10 of a 3D render, maybe six multipass and object buffers feeding into six precomps feeding into various subcomps and a main comp, for maybe seven precomps and one main comp. Meanwhile I'm rendering Version 11.

 

When I bring Version 11 into AE, I want to have a backup of Version 10's comping solution in case i blow it with Version 11 or Version 10 was better all along. The way I see to do it is to duplicate ALL my Version 10 comps/precomps, rename them, put them in their own folder. Then I have to go in and swap in all my footage and the right comps. This process can take a long time and really isn't optimal. Alternatively I guess I could reduce project and do Version 11 in a new project, benefitting from 'replace footage' speeding things up, and then import it (never thought of that).

 

A nodal compositor makes it so that I can copy my comp solution's nodes and just wire in the new footage where it goes. Faster that way, I think, and I bet someone here who's a real film compositor can tell me just how much.

 

Also, the ability to rename a bunch of comps at once, and change their settings at once, would be a big old help. That'd require more functionality out of the Project Window. Another useful thing would be an Unfold Selected that opens hierarchies down to the bottom level all at once, rather than just one level at a time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, you share the opposite view than anyone I've heard of.

That's interesting because all of the nodes motion graphics programs were beaten out by after effects years ago.

There was Avid Media Illusion, there was something called Fusion or whatever. Now, there is SHAKE, a terrific program used by composters,

but not motion graphics artists who work in after effects because it is a better, although less flashy, way to get the job done.

Edited by bart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's interesting because all of the nodes motion graphics programs were beaten out by after effects years ago.

There was Avid Media Illusion, there was something called Fusion or whatever. Now, there is SHAKE

which is a terrific compositing program that is used by composters, but not motion graphics artists who

work in after effects because it is a better, although less flashy, way to get the job done.

 

I think maybe you need to brush up on the use of programs especially the one called "Fusion or whatever" which is one of the top used programs in the world for VFX compositing. Nuke, Fusion, and Shake (although dying slowly due to Apple's future canning of it) are used to do the majority of all the compositing you see in Films. If you are talking STRICTLY motion graphics then AE is king. But we're talking in this thread about AE's usefulness outside of motion graphics where very few people support it primarily due to a lack of a node tree.

 

Here is a "nodes vs. layers" blog from Stu (from the Orphangae) who is one of the few "Big names" in VFX that pushes using AE for some VFX compositing:

 

http://prolost.blogspot.com/2004/07/nodes-vs-layers.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's interesting because all of the nodes motion graphics programs were beaten out by after effects years ago.

There was Avid Media Illusion, there was something called Fusion or whatever. Now, there is SHAKE

which is a terrific compositing program that is used by composters, but not motion graphics artists who

work in after effects because it is a better, although less flashy, way to get the job done.

 

Bart: the howls for nodes in AE don't come from motion graphics designers but mostly from the VFX people.

Despite what the cliche may suggest, AE is huge in the film effects industry. For example, it was used prominently in the movie that won the fx academy award this year :) These guys want nodes in AE vert badly. They already have them in Nuke, Shake, etc. but they want nodes interacting with the AE timeline animation model. That would make AE very hard to beat.

 

I believe we motion graphics artists would find them very useful afterwards. Bear in mind expressions and 3D were originally requested more by compositing guys than designers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here is a "nodes vs. layers" blog from Stu (from the Orphangae) who is one of the few "Big names" in VFX that pushes using AE for some VFX compositing:

 

 

Chris: There's also this John Knoll guy, who was last seen holding a golden statue somewhere in Los Angeles :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am truly sorry. I thought this was a motion graphics forum, and we were talking about nodes suitability for

heavy motion graphics design.

The whole wide world . . . Wow! I wonder why those stupid mograph artists still use after effects.

A top composting firm in our little town works exclusively in Shake. I'll inform them that they don't know what they're doing.

 

I think maybe you need to brush up on the use of programs especially the one called "Fusion or whatever" which is one of the top used programs in the world for VFX compositing. Nuke, Fusion, and Shake (although dying slowly due to Apple's future canning of it) are used to do the majority of all the compositing you see in Films. If you are talking STRICTLY motion graphics then AE is king. But we're talking in this thread about AE's usefulness outside of motion graphics where very few people support it primarily due to a lack of a node tree.

 

Here is a "nodes vs. layers" blog from Stu (from the Orphangae) who is one of the few "Big names" in VFX that pushes using AE for some VFX compositing:

 

http://prolost.blogspot.com/2004/07/nodes-vs-layers.html

Edited by bart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...