… for Visual Effects

Tip #1563: Inspiration Resource

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Inspiration comes in small packages – that pack a punch.

(Image courtesy of Motionographer.com)

Topic $TipTopic

Looking for a resource for inspiration? Check out the “Quickies” page at Motionographer.

This website is dedicated to “unexpected inspiration” for visual effects artists, as well as news, festivals, awards ad blogs.

But the real fun is in watching the short – 1 – 2 minute – animations and motion graphics on the site.

Here’s the link.


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… for Visual Effects

Tip #1565: 10 Mo-Graph Artists to Follow on Twitter

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Ten creative artists with a strong Twitter presence.

An artistically rendered Twitter logo.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is a summary.

If you are a motion graphic designer or just interested in the art form, here are 10 mo-graph artists that you should definitely be following on Twitter.

NOTE: The article linked above has videos from each artist, along with a longer description.

  • GMUNK: @gmunk
  • Andrew Kramer: @videocopilot
  • Fraser Davidson: @FrazDav
  • Jorge Canedo Estrada: @jrcanest
  • Danny Yount: @dannyyount
  • EJ Hassenfratz: @eyedesyn
  • Ash Thorp: @Ashthorp
  • Markus Magnusson: @motionmarkus
  • Dave Chenell: @davechenell
  • Oliver Sin: @oliversin

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… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1556: Use Curves to Create Custom Gradients

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This technique would also work with gradients of other colors or shapes.

Custom curve settings (bottom) and the color results it created in a gradient (top).

Topic $TipTopic

I was messing with curves to create a screen shot for an ad promoting my new Color Techniques for Adobe Premiere Pro training bundle. What I discovered, totally by accident, is that this is also a great way to create custom gradients.

To start, I added a white-to-black gradient to the timeline. I created this in Photoshop; though you could also create it in Premiere.

Then, with the gradient clip selected in the timeline:

  • Switch to the Color workspace
  • Click the Curves text button
  • Select the color curve you want to adjust (Luma, Red, Green or Blue).
  • Option-click to create a keyframe in a curve, then drag the keyframe to a new location. As you do, you’ll see the color results reflected in the gradient.

EXTRA CREDIT

There’s no “right” way to adjust curves. Play with these and see what you can create.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1564: Premiere Pro’s Color Management

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Colors shift, especially with different playback platforms.

Image courtesy of Oliver Peters.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Oliver Peters, first appeared in ProVideoCoalition.com. This is a summary.

Read through any of the online forums and you’ll often see this common concern: “Why doesn’t my export look the same in QuickTime as it does in Premiere Pro?” This tends to be more common with Mac users than PC users, but it happens with Windows, too. The underlying assumption that they should match is a fallacy and Oliver explains why in this article.

Let’s start with displays. If you line up a CRT monitor, an older flat-panel plasma, and newer LCD, LED, and OLED displays, then you would be very hard-pressed to get the same image to match identically across all displays, even with calibration.

The world of Apple displays.If you are working on a newer Apple iMac, iMac Pro, or Pro Display XDR, then you are using an image system calibrated for a different display profile. iMacs use the P3 D-65 color standard with the ability to go up to 500 nits of brightness. The only consistent reference you will ever have is how the image appears through AJA or Blackmagic i/o hardware to a reference display.

Adobe Premiere Pro’s working color space. SDR sequences in Premiere Pro are designed to use Rec 709, 2.4 gamma as the working color space for the timeline and viewer. There’s a preference toggle for display color management to compensate for the interface display that you are using.

Solving the problem? My recommendation is to turn display color management ON in the Premiere Pro preferences. This gives you a proper visual match between the timeline and the output to a reference display. Unfortunately this leaves you with the dilemma of the exported file. The simplest answer is to first export a “standard” file for broadcast use. Then add an adjustment layer to your Premiere Pro sequence and apply a Lumetri effect to it. Increase saturation and lower shadows slightly. Test to taste.

But, if we are posting to the web, social platforms make additional changes to our color that are beyond our control.


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… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1567: A New Way to Create Color “Looks”

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Two new products enable colorists to improve their look.

(Image courtesy of color.io.)

Topic $TipTopic

Color.io just launched Photon 3D Color Grading and Match, both designed to enable colorists to create the visual looks they need.

Match is a free image color matching app that can copy colors of any image with one click. Use machine learning to create your own color grading presets and instantly change the color of your images with one powerful, simple-to-use web app that runs directly in your browser on match.color.io.

Photon is a new, revolutionary way of working with color. It’s easy to use and has powerful features that make it possible for anyone to create professional color grades. Whether you’re an artist, photographer or cinematographer, Photon will help you get the most out of your work.

Available as standalone software for macOS and Windows with optional OFX connector plugin for Resolve.

Here’s the link.

EXTRA CREDIT

This is a not a subscription application. Buy once and it will work without limitations for as long as you need it.


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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1552: Add Rain Drops to Your Video

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

When adding rain, be sure not to show sky or ground unless they look appropriately rainy.

Water Pane settings (top) and the effect applied to a clip (bottom).

Topic $TipTopic

Shooting video in the rain is rarely a pleasant experience. Fortunately, Final Cut offers the ability to add rain later, in post, where things are warm and dry.

Select the clip you want to add rain drops to, then apply Effects > Distortion > Water Pane.

This creates the effect of looking at the scene through a window with rain pouring down.

Fast and very effective.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1543: Use B-Roll More Effectively

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

B-roll illustrates what your audio is talking about.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Anthony Najera, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

B-roll, in a straightforward definition, is supplementary footage or alternative shots used in a video, in contrast to your “A-roll,” which is your main footage or primary shot. By definition, B-roll is secondary to the main image, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to the storytelling. I’d argue B-roll can be just as important—or even more impactful—than A-roll when used properly.

The importance of B-roll is multifaceted. There are quite a few reasons we use B-roll in video creation—in practical terms, for storytelling, and for aesthetics. But, if you boil B-roll down to one practical purpose, it would be its importance in editing. B-roll gives the editor options when cutting up a video and a way to mask cuts when just using main footage won’t work.

Not every cut and piece of information has to be rapid-fire, back-to-back. Let the visuals do some work and let the story breathe a bit. B-roll can be the perfect way to pace a story and give the information on screen a little time to settle in with the viewer. The video isn’t a sprint to the finish line, it should be an enjoyable experience.

[ Editor’s Note: AMEN! So many editors cut like they are being paid by the edit. Drives me nuts!!! ]

When used correctly, B-roll can supply the audience with information or context to the main subject of the video. B-roll can show the literal act of what’s being discussed on camera or show the location of where an event is taking place.

Types of B-roll:

  • Exteriors/Establishing Shot
  • Cutaways/Inserts
  • Reenactments
  • Stock Footage

Although its called “B” roll, that doesn’t mean it can’t be the main visuals doing most of the storytelling. B-roll isn’t inherently second string—give the B-roll footage an opportunity to do the heavy lifting within a project. An editor can create a sense of tone and environment through the use of B-roll that the main footage wouldn’t be able to accomplish. Lean into that.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article has lots more ideas on how to use B-roll effectively, along with several links on capturing and editing effective B-roll.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1544: Pick the Best SloMo Frame Rate

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Not all frame rates are created equal.

(Image courtesy of Lisa Fotios, Pexels.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Lewis McGregor, first appeared in ShutterStock.com. This is a summary.

NOTE: The key feature of this article is a video tutorial illustrating all these frame rates.

It wasn’t too long ago that shooting in slow motion was reserved only for cinema cameras. Or, at the very least, high-definition slow motion was reserved for cinema cameras. Today’s cameras now provide higher frame rates as a matter of course. However, which slow motion frame rate should you use for your online content? Too slow and a simple footstep may take five seconds to complete. Too fast and you may not slow down your footage enough.

  • 48/50 fps. Double the frame rate is, in fact, perfectly adequate to capture several elements in slow motion. Because it doubles a single second, it’s not slow enough to become fully evident that slow motion is taking place. Still, contradictory to that, it’s slow enough to emphasize a moment in time.
  • 60 fps. So, 60fps are great for the dramatic character moments. It’s slow enough to be noticeable and put emphasis on the given moment. Whether that’s the hero shot, closing in on an emotional moment, or slowing downtime in an important scene. Essentially, where there’s a human character involved and bringing you into the character’s frame of mind in a human moment.
  • 120 fps. Typically, any time something is happening faster than we can humanly see, or at least any subject that becomes obscured with motion blur—like animals running, liquid, or fast-action sports—can benefit from 120fps.
  • 180 fps. The same principles apply as 120fps, as we’ve moved out of the region of reasonable purpose to film humans at this speed. So, it’ll be useful for elements that have many fast-moving subjects that need to be slowed even further. When we push past 180, we’re moving into special use frame rates typically used for advertising, wildlife, and sports.

IN SUMMARY

  • 48/50fps for emphasizing small moments to mean something bigger.
  • 60fps for character/scene importance and bringing the audience into the bubble of the character.
  • 120fps for fast-moving subjects, elements, and sports.
  • 180fps will pull from above, but with greater emphasis on slowing things down.

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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1538: Working with PDFs in Motion

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Motion handles PDFs, but not well. Convert them to PNG first.

Topic $TipTopic

Motion handles PDFs differently from both Final Cut and Premiere. But, it still doesn’t handle them well.

Unlike Premiere, Motion supports importing a PDF.

Unlike Final Cut, it only imports the first page of a multiple page PDF. Worse, any white background is imported as transparent, which makes reading black text impossible.

Like Final Cut, though, Motion creates, essentially, a PNG of that first page of a PDF file that matches the size of your project. This means that if you scale the PNG, image quality quickly deteriorates.

Here are two workarounds that make using PDFs in a Motion project easier and with higher quality.

TWO WORKAROUNDS

If all you need to do is import the entire PDF page and fill all empty areas with white, use this workaround.

Workaround #1: Open the PDF in Preview, choose File > Export and set the export format to PNG. This exports the PDF at the size it was created and with a white background.

NOTE: Ignore the Resolution setting on export, even if you choose a higher number, the size and resolution of the exported image won’t change. I consider this a bug.

If you need to zoom into elements on the page – for example to provide closeups of an embedded image – this workaround is a better option:

Workaround #2: Open the file in Photoshop, or another image editing program. In the Page Options dialog (see screen shot) that appears: Set the Resolution to at least 400 Pixels/inch. This enlarges the image – while retaining image quality – so that you can easily zoom in or out of the PDF in the timeline.

EXTRA CREDIT

There are two types of PDFs: those that originated as bitmaps and those that originated as vectors.

Photos, scans and Photoshop documents will not scale very well, if at all. Text, Illustrator files or images created using musical notation should scale perfectly.


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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1540: Create Movement with a Zoom Blur

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Zoom blurs create the illusion of movement from a point.

Zoom blur settings (top) and the results applied to a diamond (bottom).

Topic $TipTopic

Here’s a fast way to make a still image – or other element – look like it’s moving: a Zoom Blur.

Filters > Blur > Zoom Blur creates the illusion of movement from a specific point. By default, this blur is located at the center of the frame.

However, as you can see from the screen shot, moving the Center of the Zoom blur to the edge of an object makes it look like the image itself is moving.

Apply the blur to an element, then:

  • Drag the white circle (the Center setting) to the edge you want to remain in focus.
  • Adjust Amount to vary the amount of the blur.
  • Be sure Crop is unchecked to allow the blur to extend past the boundaries of the element.
  • Tweak other settings and watch what happens.

Especially for elements that are moving around the frame, this increases the illusion of the speed of  the movement.


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