'Ugly Joe' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Getting My Head Around Adobe After Effects

Whilst lamenting the problems I was having recently animating in Flash someone suggested a better program to try would be After Effects. So yesterday I decided to give it a go!

After Effects has been languishing on my PC for quite a while now as, like Adobe Bridge and Soundbooth, it was part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Despite the fact that I had heard great things about the program, I have never been sure quite what to do with After Effects. Part of this dilemma came from being slightly unsure what it did! I had originally been introduced to it as a motion graphics package but quickly discovered that it was equally, if not better, known as a VFX tool. However, since neither VFX or motion graphics were my immediate concern when I got the Suite my attentions strayed to Photoshop and Flash and After Effects was put to one side.

A much more significant part of the problem I had with After Effects was, since I had never had need of it, I had never learnt it and thus hadn’t the foggiest how to use it! But yesterday, with an intimidatingly hefty tome on the subject beside me and a screen full of free video tutorial, I started to find out what dark magic I had to master to master After Effects and today I tried to implement what I had learnt on a completely new project.

Here’s the result…

Ugly Joe himself was created in Photoshop and the sequences were put together and titles added in Premiere Pro, but all the animating was done in After Effects… possibly proving that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ;P

Monsters Without A Monster Budget

Sometimes a film comes along that gives hope to all of us struggling to break in to the world of film, VFX or animation and Monsters is one such beast. Made on a shoe string budget the film is the brain film and directorial debut of Brit VFX artist, Gareth Edwards.

Reminiscent of movies like Cloverfield and District 9, Monsters again takes a look at how humans would deal with alien guests. However unlike previous films, Edwards attacked his idea with a tiny crew of 5, an even smaller cast of 2, a camera, a van, a laptop and the beautiful and distopian vistas offered by South America. There was no script, no storyboard and no huge team of post prodcution staff waiting at the other end! Instead what editing and VFX wasn’t done on his laptop on the road was done on his PC at home.

http://www.monstersfilm.com/media/playlistPlayer.swf

Were they crazy? Possibly. But in these times of austerity, where smaller studios are finding it hard to support themselves and big studios are happier to sequels then risk huge investments on new ideas, it will be film makers like Edwards who make sure that cinema isn’t left to stagnate.

The film is released in cinemas on 3rd December in the UK and is already available to download on itunes.