As of right now we are no longer adding new content to this blog. In the meantime we are working on our new project which is the CMG Monthly Mega Pack.
Next Generation Simplifies Character Animation, Adds Stereographic Capabilities and Physical Rendering.
Today, MAXON announced CINEMA 4D Release 13, the next generation of its industry- leading 3D motion graphics, visual effects, painting, and rendering software application. With all new character tools, integrated stereographic capabilities, stream-lined multi-artist collaboration and physical rendering, CINEMA 4D Release 13 builds on the company’s 25-year legacy of enabling digital content creators around the world to produce highly engaging content quickly and easily for a variety of industries.
Everyday is a battle to get your work done on time, on budget and to the highest standards possible. To increase your productivity you need to inlist the help of other applications and services to fight beside you on the front lines. Here is a list of resources we use on a daily basis that keeps our team on target.
- Dropbox – Dropbox allows you to easily transfer files between you and your clients, sync files between your different workstations, backup important files and create public links to share with the world. Go get your free 2GB account today and start integrating cloud based storage into your workflow. You will soon wonder how you lived without it.
- Skype – Forget MSN and ICQ! Skype is the leading tool to interact with your clients, associates and friends. With features like video calling, screen sharing and group calling, this is way better than what any landline could ever offer.
- Evernote – Gone are the days of scrapbooks full of clippings, print outs and notes. Evernote is your digital scrapbook and filing cabinet that captures anything you want and keeps it organized using notebooks, notes, titles, tags and web links. Start storing your text, images, webpages, audio recordings and video clips with a free account.
- CloudApp – Quickly share images, links, music, videos and files with a drag and drop of a mouse click. This small application will take your piece of media, upload it to the web and create a shortened URL that points directly to it. Plus it keeps track of clicks! Could we ask for anything easier?
- Wunderlist – Life is a list and Wunderlist keeps them up to date across platforms and devices. You will not be disappointed with the rich features this simple application possesses.
- MailChimp – This is your one stop shop for all of your mailing list needs. It has every feature you would ever want in a mailing list service and a ton of extras. Don’t bother trying the other services out there because this one is the best!
- Twitter – As the online world becomes more social, so must you! Start building a social network using Twitter and get immersed into this new form of communication. Feel free to add us now! @jmdesign
The applications we are gravitating towards are those that sync with the cloud. To stay nibble and mobile we need tools that are accesible from any Internet enabled device so our data, networks and communites go where we go.
We see a lot of demo reels roll through our doors and we see the same mistakes happen over and over again. Here are the top 7 mistakes we see regularly.
- Using template material – Come on designers! Stop using material in your reels that is not your own. If you can buy it, download it or learn it in a tutorial it should not go into your reel, no matter how cool that sparkly lens flare looks. You may fool the average consumer, but any design firm or agency can sniff someone else’s design work in your reel from a mile away.
- It is so long we fell asleep – Your reel should be no longer than a minute. Only put work in your reel that shows that you have the skills and the experience to get the job done right. If it is outdated, poorly designed or doesn’t show well than don’t put it in your reel. The purpose of your demo reel is to get more work, not deter it.
- Poor render quality – You could have the best work in the business, but if it doesn’t show well than you will have a hard time landing that big contract. If you work in HD then render in HD! Who doesn’t love watching great reels in 720 HD at fullscreen? When you output your reel at standard def or lower it demonstrates that you lack the care for quality and preservation of detail.
- Who made this? – We hate coming across great reels and having to hunt and peck to determine who made it. Open or close your reel with your contact information. This could include your name, email, website and phone number.
- Lacks presentation skills – When we look at reels we look at everything and take it into consideration when we hire. This includes your website design, branding, video quality, typography, color theory, communication and overall professionalism. We also snoop past your reel if it is linked to a Vimeo account, Twitter feed, YouTube account, website or blog. Make sure your links, sites and accounts are squeaky clean. The more professional you look, the more likely we will trust you with our cherished clients.
- Stale hard bread – Just the other day we were sent a reel with a date that was four years old! In the design industry four years is like four decades. Especially when it comes to motion graphics. As times passes, design style change and your level of craftsmanship should be improved . Your reel should be updated yearly and only contain your most current and best looking work.
- Flat out lying – Not too long ago we received a resume from a designer who stated they had twenty years of experience in motion graphics and After Effects. We found this hard to believe because the most early seedlings of After Effects weren’t born more than 18 years ago. Nonetheless we gave the designer the benefit of the doubt and let his reel do the talking. If his reel could speak it would say, “I’m an average designer that lacks creativity, style and experience.” Let’s just say they never got a call back from us. In short don’t lie. It will be obvious your a fake when we watch your reel or past work examples.
For more tips on creating a better motion design reel check out “Five Steps to a Better Motion Demo Reel” by GSG.
Lloyd Alvarez made this plug-in and you can go buy it here:
Check out this great tutorial by Chris Torroza of Fretless Media.
The new version comes with these hot new features:
- Powerful new dynamics like hinges, springs, motors, soft bodies and more.
- Enhanced render features.
- New character tools
- New deformers
- Open GL 3 support
- Python scripting
For the past couple of months JMDesign has been tweeting on Twitter. If you would like to follow JMDesign on Twitter please do so here: JMDesign Twitter
Over the past year I have produced a few videos that needed a voice over track. I tried a few local shops to do the work for me and everything turned out great, but it took a long time to book the talent, book the studio and wait for the track to be edited and sent to me.
It wasn’t until I found Voice123 that recording VO tracks became fun again. Voice123 is a free service for the buyer that connects you with great voice talent. It only takes a few minutes to post a project, set your budget and within 24 hours you should already have a few auditions to review. Make sure to try Voice123 for your next project.
Web link: Voice123
Over time your website runs the risk of having out dated technologies and may lack features that allow it to play well with new technologies. When I created the JMDesign website a year ago Flash videos players were all the rage. I decided to use JW Player as my Flash video player because of its rock solid platform, options and support. Times have changed and as Apple steadily becomes a force in the web standards industry, HTML 5 is in and Flash is being phased out to play video on the web. As you probably know any iOS device such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch cannot play Flash natively. I looked for alternatives, but none presented themselves until last week. Vimeo announced an embed code that detected device connectivity and delivered content accordingly. This was huge because I could now create a site that would work across any platform.
Over the past week I have made these updates to my site
- Changed all the video embed code (JW Player and Vimeo) on my website to Vimeo’s new embed code.
- Uploaded all the videos my website to Vimeo that were being played from my server as MP4 and FLV files.
- Added a Twitter feed to the Pro Blog and a Follow us on Twitter link to all site footers.
- Added social media links to every post on the Pro Blog.
- Added social media links to the player page.
I use Vimeo to showcase a lot of my work and as a Vimeo Plus member, Vimeo offers a lot of powerful tools to make my embedded videos look great. Today Vimeo announced a slick new embed code called Universal Player for both Vimeo Plus and regular members. This new embed code (it is actually an iFrame) can automatically detect what kind of device is being used to view your video and will choose the optimum player based on the device’s capabilities. This is great news for anyone who wants to play their videos across multiple devices such as iPhone, iPads, desktops, laptops and HD boxes.
After Effects is a great program that packs a lot of punch right out of the box. However as an experienced motion graphic designer you need more than what AE offers off the shelf. When looking to create particle, lighting and film effects it is best to go with a 3rd party plug-in to get the job done quickly and easily. Here is my short list of six powerful plug-ins that any serious After Effects designer should add to their arsenal.
1. Trapcode Particular
Trapcode Particular is one of the most talked about After Effects plug-ins of all time for good reason. Its powerful and easy to use particle system makes it the ideal choice for creating an array of effects like smoke, dust, clouds, grass, bubbles, rain, snow, debris and anything else you can think to throw at it.
More info: Trapcode Particular
2. Video Copilot Optical Flares
In 2009 Video Copilot launched the incredible After Effects plug-in Optical Flares. This affordable add-on creates stunning real life and artistic lens flares. Its ability to track 3D lights make it a truly indispensable tool and “wow” maker.
More info: Video Copilot Optical Flares
3. Magic Bullet Looks
Red Giant Software continually produces innovative plug-ins for After Effects users. Magic Bullet Looks is a toolkit for designers to add film moods and effects to their compositions. With over 100 presents and the ability to tweak your own, Red Giant Looks will not disappoint you with its overwhelming number of features.
More info: Magic Bullet Looks
4. Trapcode Shine
Trapcode Shine is an oldie but a goody. This simple plug-in can breath life into a composition by adding majestic light rays and glorious shine.
More info: Trapcode Shine
5. Trapcode Starglow
Trapcode Starglow is another classic plug-in that everyone should own. Similar to Trapcode Shine, this plug-in can add shinning twinkle and glow to your composition.
More info: Trapcode Starglow
6. Lenscare by Frischulft
Although this plug-in is the most obscure one on the list, it does not make it any less important. Lenscare is a remarkable plug-in and is in a class of its own when it comes to blurring effects. With a few simple steps this plug-in creates realistic rack focus blurs. Go check out this plug-in for yourself and get ready to fall in love.
More info: Lenscare by Frischulft
The great folks at Red Giant Software put together a useful resource for motion graphic designers called Red Giant People. Much like the now defunct Trapcode People website, Red Giant People is a place where anyone can submit their own After Effects presets. The library is already off to a good start and is a growing resource of free goodies.
Ever wanted to add some spice to your data being presented in After Effects? Get ready to be blown away by Yanobox‘s new plugin called Nodes for After Effects, Final Cut Pro and Motion. This plugin offers editors and Motion graphics artists a unique tool to combine text and graphics into beautiful 3D animations. Nodes lets you play with a number of different presets, or you can create your own graphic vocabulary by customizing all available parameters.