Yearly Archives: 2013
I’ve had this mesmerizing (for me at least) video clip of three minutes in the life of a seagull on my computer for a few years now and I wasn’t sure what to do with it for the longest time. Then I realized that there really wasn’t anything that should be done to it. I just needed to add some non-intrusive intro graphics, some nice, serene music and let the video play. What is it about this video that I like? The sounds of the ocean breaking on the beach, the plane flying above, the other seagulls flying around, the people on their wave riders coming on screen as the seagull walks off, and, quite simply, life at the shore. I hope you like it.
This video was created using a Flip HD Video Camera, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe After Effects.
The song “The High Heat” can be found in The Wilco Book which can be purchased at Amazon.com and other fine stores.
Okay, I’m not famous but I did have my first custom TV graphic put on the air for Fox Business Network not too long ago and I’m sure at least one million people saw it. The graphic aired during the Lou Dobbs Tonight show for a story about methamphetamine use in North Korea. How anyone in the U.S. knows about meth use in North Korea when the North Koreans don’t know what’s going on in North Korea themselves is an interesting question but it was talked about very convincingly on Lou’s show.
I must say that I was very nervous starting at FBN but the graphics staff there have been nothing but super nice, professional, incredibly patient, and supportive. The whole system in which a graphics order is made and passed over to the designers and then passed back to the producers so the graphics can be plugged into VizRT (not too sure how to explain this program but it seems to me to be the program that controls all the graphics that you see on TV) and put on the air is pretty cool. I never gave much thought to how the graphics system worked, I just remember saying to myself that I could do that, especially when I looked at the over the shoulder graphics made for the local New York City news. How hard could it be to do that? Well, it’s harder than you think but FBN, and I’m sure other networks have a similar system, has an incredible “bank” of templates for pretty much every type of still graphic that they air. What kind of templates do they have? Generic fullscreens, custom full screens, logos, baseball cards, head shots, cyber images, maps, promos, graphs (line and bar!!), and a ton more. Phew!! Below is the file that I handed off to the producer and the image below that is the way the graphic appeared on my TV on FBN. So, I guess I’m a tiny bit famous…
Wow! It’s been more than a month since I last updated my blog. I’ve been pretty busy freelancing at Fox Business Network creating on air graphics and teaching myself Cinema 4D. Now back to Cinema 4D! In the process of learning about extruding, lighting, texturing, and animating I figured that I was far enough along where I could actually apply what I’ve learned so far. So I decided to “update” the Brooklyn Nets Promo that I created in After Effects awhile ago. In the original version of the video the Brooklyn Nets logo is flat and there’s no real movement to it. In the new version, I replaced the flat Brooklyn Nets logo with a 3D version and there’s a lot of movement to it (basketball spinning and shield swinging from left to right).
The whole process was a very good learning experience, especially when it came to the integration of Cinema 4D with After Effects CC. I’m a big fan of how you can make changes in Cinema 4D, save the changes, and once you move over to After Effects the changes from C4D are almost instantly reflected. The only issue that I ended up having though was with the “in-box” shaders (textures) that came with C4D showing up in AE. For some reason AE doesn’t recognize the shaders and as a result you get a flat, dark C4D object in AE. I did a little research on the interwebs and this issue appears to be a bug between the 2 programs. The work around was outputting an animation sequence from C4D and importing the sequence into AE for final output. Below is a screen shot from the original video showing the flat 2D Brooklyn Nets logo. Hope you like the update. Let me know.
I had to take a short break my Cinema 4D training to design this poster which was commissioned by coLAB Arts for the upcoming Love New Brunswick Music Festival at Boyd Park in New Brunswick, NJ.
Here’s the next step in the evolution of my Cinema 4D office. A simple light over the desk has been added as well as floor trim and crown molding which is conveniently not pictured (the profiles were created in Adobe Illustrator, imported into C4D, and extruded using the Extrude NURB). The windows were created using two Boole objects. I still need to add materials to the vase, desk, and the office chair. I’m kind of curious to see how the desk will appear when I assign a texture to it. I think that the texture on the desk will probably need to be mapped so that the texture is going in the right direction when applied to the desk.
In the next post I should be adding more textures, more lights, and shadows. This is getting a lot more fun the deeper I get into the tutorial.
It’s been awhile since I last worked with Cinema 4D so I figured I start with something simple so I could get used to the program again and continue with my Cinema 4D self-education. I decided to use a book called Cinema 4D Beginner’s Guide by Jen Rizzo for my reintroduction. Going through the book I found that some of the text was written in a confusing manner but having some prior knowledge of Cinema 4D helped me get through those issues. Despite a few glitches in the text, I would say that this book is a pretty good guide for a beginner so far. The initial exercise has been to create an office with furniture in it and in the process learn about the different kinds of modeling techniques that can be used with Cinema 4D. The book teaches you how to model using the building blocks of modeling – Edges, Faces, and Points. Once you’re done with that you move on to the “cool” modeling tools like Splines, NURBS, HyperNURBS, and Deformers. I’ve become a big fan of Deformer tools, one of which I used to bend a skinny flat box into the curved seat of the desk chair. Pictured above is the initial part of the exercise. I’ll be posting my progress every few days and hopefully ending up with a pretty cool short animation. After I’m done with this book I think that I’ll try Greyscale Gorilla’s Introduction to Cinema 4D which should take my C4D schoolin’ up a notch.
This is the continuation of a project that I’ve talked about in a previous post. This odd machine is based on a Jean Tinguely kinetic sculpture that I saw in Basel, Switzerland.
The animation was created in Maya and composed & outputted from After Effects.
This is my first attempt at creating a 3D character in Maya and then making a simple animation from it. The figure is based on a character that I created in the 90s, Spaulding Zagmuire. My Jean Tinguely kinetic sculpture 3D model is still a work in progress. I hope to have a video of the final product up in a week or two for your viewing pleasure.
The animation was created in Maya and composed & outputted from After Effects.
Here’s my first Cinema 4D model (top picture) created for a commercial by Core Studios for the Biscotti TV Cam. It’s an interesting thing to learn two 3D programs at the same time (the other program I’m learning is Maya). It’s definitely a good opportunity to compare the similarities and the differences of the two programs. Though I like Maya very much, I think that when my internship has concluded at Core Studios and my Maya class is over at Mercer County Community College I’m going to continue learning Cinema 4D and abandon learning Maya. To me, Cinema 4D is just as sophisticated as Maya but an easier program to learn. The other reason for this decision is the just released announcement that Maxon, the makers of Cinema 4D, and Adobe, the makers of After Effects, are integrating Cinema 4D and After Effects with an even tighter workflow than before. Once I get the knack of integrating Cinema 4D and After Effects I’m sure I’m going to be able to make some really interesting videos.
As soon as the commercial is online I’ll post a link showing how my model was used in the commercial. Stay tuned…
I grew up reading superhero comics. I used to be a real fanboy. John Hulme and I used to walk to the Rt. 1 Flea Market every Sunday, buy our comics and a small paper bag full of greazy French fries, walk back to his house, and then read that week’s pile of books while eating our fries and watching NFL football. Inevitably, I would get kicked out of John’s house because the Jets had lost in some painstaking way or because I had told John the ending of a story before he had even read the comic (the worst example being when Guardian was killed off in Alpha Flight #12). Despite growing up a fanboy, I never really got into going to comic book conventions. I do remember going to two small local cons at the Travelodge in Somerset, NJ where I purchased a Keith Giffen drawing of Polar Boy from the Legion of Substitute Heroes for $10 and a drawing of Cyclops from the X-Men by Dave Cockrum for $25 (that was a lot of money for a 13-year-old!). Despite buying those drawings and the wonderful experience of talking to the artists that drew my favorite comics, comic conventions were weird to me. I just couldn’t get into them; they just seemed kind of depressing.
Why am I writing about this? I’m not really a fanboy anymore but I still love comics (with the hope of someday doing my own). Show me a cool indie graphic novel and I’ll eat it up. Anyway, it’s been a little over a week since the first really big version of the Asbury Park Comicon was held at the Asbury Park Convention Center (the first two cons were much smaller and held at the nearby Asbury Lanes) and I’ve been thinking about my experience ever since. When I attended the Asbury Park Comicon my primary mission was to learn more about working on a professional video shoot with professional video gear at a live event with the guys from Core Studios and in the process, get footage of the con for my buddy and one of the co-founders of the Asbury Park Comicon, Cliff Galbraith.
Two things ended up happening at the con. First, the mission to learn some new techniques about shooting with a professional camera and how to deal with the audio and lighting issues was accomplished (though there’s still SO much more that I need to learn). The Core Studios guys were great to work with and very patient with all of my questions. The second, and more surprising thing was that I realized that this wasn’t a depressing scene like I remembered from when I was a kid. In my wanderings around the con shooting B-Roll video, I don’t think I saw one unhappy person. It seemed like everyone was having a good time – not only the fans but the vendors and the publishers too. Towards the end of the con, while I was shooting video of Cliff interviewing the artists, I realized that the happiest people at the con that day were probably the artists themselves. Cliff and Robert Bruce, the other co-founder of the con, did something that other cons don’t usually do – they celebrated the older artists. The vets were the stars of this con, not a WWE wrestler or a Playboy Bunny or a TV star from when I was a kid. The comic book guys were the stars! Wow! What a concept! The other thing that I realized and that I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere was that this con was affordable for almost anybody to attend. The cost was $12 if you bought a ticket from the con’s site before the con and $15 at the door the day of the con. I don’t think that you can really beat that entertainment dollar. How much does it cost to go see a 2 hour movie these days? $11 dollars? I think that an all-day event like the Asbury Park Comicon for $15 that features the comics of my youth and the kind of comics that I read now can’t be beat and because of that I will be back next year even if I’m not shooting video for the con.
The Core Studios team interviewing the Imperial Guard. For more pictures of the 2013 Asbury Comicon please visit the Meat+Potato Brand Graphics Facebook page.