The freelance checklist

I've been doing quite a bit of reading recently, first up was: Thinking, fast and slow; a wonderful insight into how people think, and how humans make decisions in everyday life. The second was: The checklist manifesto - a fascinating read about the power of the humble checklist in the world of aviation, medicine, and construction.

Making a motion design video for your business

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau UK, Video was the fastest growing format in 2016, Up 56% on a like-for-like basis since 2015. With statistics like that it’s not hard to see why companies are turning to motion design and animation to get their stories heard.

Creating Chronos - a futuristic interface kit for After Effects

I’ve always loved sci-fi, it’s my favourite genre by far. The world building, the rules, the foresight, just the wonderful creativity involved in creating something out of this world is what fascinates me the most.

As a motion designer, I've always wanted to have a go at creating a futuristic project in After Effects, creating my own little sci-fi world, a project that could have been pulled from the pages of William Gibson or Phillip K. Dick.

Glitch effect presets for After Effects

Fragment is the latest project I've made for Loop - a set of 15 glitchy transitions and presets for After Effects.

Had a lot of fun making the promo for this one too:

Skylights Pro - Vintage filters for After Effects

Following on from the ever popular Instagram style Skylights filters I made a while back, I decided to make a pro version - 30 brand new filters, plus an additional 15 noise and grain overlays to give your footage that extra vintage feel.

Microphone setup for voice over work

Following on from my post about starting voice over work as part of my motion design projects I thought I'd do a quick run down of the setup I use:

voiceover work mircophone setup

Before I started I did quite a bit of research into the different microphones available and the best setup for recording high quality audio. Here's what I went with:

Handicons icon pack

Throughout a lot of my motion design work I find myself needing different hand icons; perhaps a hand pointing to something, or swiping on a phone screen.

That's why I've made Handicons! A set of 30 different hand icons, take a look at the preview:

A set of 30 hand icons

The set is available to buy from Gumroad - as a special treat use the code thomas10 for 10% off!

Voiceover work

If you take a look at a couple of my most recent motion design projects, you may notice the voice is actually the same:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

More motion design for The Guardian

Over the past couple of weeks I've been down in London working freelance on some more motion design projects at The Guardian.

This time I worked on a couple of different projects, the first of which was a video detailing what the Ebola virus is, how it's transferred, and what it does to you:

The second video was all about the new Guardian design; it details the various stages of The Guardian's online presence since it launched in 1999.

Motion design at The Guardian

Over the past couple of weeks I swapped Manchester for a freelance motion design contract at The Guardian in London.

I had a great time working there, as you can imagine the projects are pretty varied. In the first week I worked on this from the 99 seconds series:

When I joined the animation had already been started by Alex; the resident motion designer, and another freelancer. A great collaborative effort all round!

Keep vectors sharp in After Effects

Over the past few weeks I've been working on a new motion graphics promotional video for my own website (something similar to my old motion graphics promo).

In this new promo I've used plenty of shape layers, halfway through animating I ran into a slight problem though: I'd finished animating a section of the video and found I needed to scale it up for the final version. When scaling it up I found it became really blurred like so:

Freelance Tip #1 - Side Projects

I've been freelancing full-time for a couple of years now (I freelanced part-time while at Uni so I've actually been doing it for quite a while!) and in that time there's been a fair few ups and downs. As a result I've decided to put together a couple of blog posts on freelancing, nothing major just a few tips that I've found useful while working freelance.

Creating a 3D blueprint in Cinema 4D

Ever since Adobe added Cinema 4D to After Effects I've been trying to use it more and more in my motion graphics work. Every now and then I'll discover something cool & I just can't help experimenting with it!

The most recent thing I've found is the "Cel Render" effect (Edit render settings > Effects > Cel Renderer). Enabling this function allows you to render the edges and outlines of an object as you'll see in the example renders below.

A motion graphics business card

I had a random idea the other day while I was looking at my current business card design - why not create a business card with a bit of a difference? Something which showcases the motion graphics work I do, something which could act as a little introduction to what I do and the services I offer.

So I decided to create a motion graphics business card! A very short gif that introduces me, the website design and motion graphics services I offer, and tops it off with a call to get in touch:

A motion graphics design gif!

After creating a few different motion design gif experiments, I decided to incorporate one into my site to help advertise what I do.

This is the result:
motion graphics design gif

Texture experiments in Cinema 4D Lite

With Cinema 4D Lite now included in After Effects I've been getting back into producing more 3D motion graphics work. As a little side experiment I wanted to test out some texturing within Cinema 4D to see what is and isn't possible.
I created the text and textures in cinema 4D then imported them into After Effects via Cineware.

The first texture I wanted to create was a grungy steel look - something with a nice reflection accompanied by a rough surface.
steel cinema 4D texture

Another motion graphics gif experiment

Following on from my previous motion graphics gif project I decided to create a new experiment, this time with shape layers!

trim paths after effects

trim paths swirling lines gif

Tutorial for the Computer Arts Photoshop magazine

I was recently asked to create a short tutorial for the new Computer Arts Photoshop Studio Training magazine.

video timeline tutorial

The tutorial aims to provide a basic overview of the video timeline feature in Photoshop. As well as covering how to import and work with video footage, I also look at how you can create simple animations using keyframes.

Infinite floor not working in After Effects & Cinema 4D Lite

I recently upgraded to the Adobe Creative Cloud & one feature I was really looking forward to trying out was the Cinema 4D Lite package within After Effects. I've experimented with Cinema 4D before, mainly just creating a couple of random objects here and there, but only ever with the trial version.

Skylights Deluxe - 25 After Effects Filter Presets

Introducing Skylights Deluxe! A set of 25 new filter presets for After Effects.

Following on from the original Skylights filters I created, I've decided to put together a deluxe version that includes 25 brand new presets as well as 30 high resolution texture files.

Skylights Deluxe

Animating a still photograph in After Effects

I was looking through some of the pictures on my phone from last summer and decided to have a go at creating a short animation from a still photograph. Here's the result:

Here's the original photograph:

speckled wood butterfly for animation

Skylights: 15 Instagram style filters for After Effects

instagram style filters in after effects

I wanted to create an Instagram style filter using the standard tools within After Effects to help liven up some old footage I was working with. After creating a few different styles I ended up creating Skylights! A set of 15 presets that you can use to help liven up a bit of old footage or give your videos a slight colour boost.

Motion graphics project: gifs

I've been working on a motion graphics project recently that involved creating an animated gif version of a client logo in After Effects.

Before taking on the project, I decided to experiment slightly and put some trial animations together to help get a feel for the gif making process:

circle loop

elipse rotation

Creating different shape masks in After Effects

I've always loved watching video tutorials on the web, I find having someone talk you through how to do something and being able to watch them do it is far more engaging than simply following a blog post with some screenshots.

BBC Olympic trailer - "Stadium UK"

The BBC revealed the "Stadium UK" trailer/ident for their coverage of the Olympic games during the Euro 2012 final last night - if you haven't already seen it, take a look:

After Effects motion tracking experiment

Another short motion graphics test, this time experimenting with motion tracking in After Effects to "parent" some visuals to the movement of my eye:

I'm pretty pleased with the results, using motion tracking like this can be a great way to annotate live action footage rather than having a static title displaying information.

Shapes - animation

Another little motion graphics piece I've created, this time to experiment with a couple of different techniques when animating 2D shapes in After Effects.

Assassin's creed logo animation

I wanted to have a go at animating the futuristic Assassin's creed logo in After Effects:

Motion graphics promotional video

To go along with my website redesign I thought it was time for a brand new promotional video as well. Here's the finished video:

Once again the music was provided by my good friend Andy - http://andyhudsonmusic.com

Motion graphics experiment: "Annotation"

As a little experiment into mixing live action footage with motion graphics I created the short sample videos below. The process involved tracking the motion of the video in After Effects and linking the position of the graphics to the tracked keyframes - this basically helps to keep the titles steady as the camera moves around slightly.

Version 1 -

Motion graphics: kinetic titles.

With the phase 1 changes to my site now live, I finally had the chance to work on some motion design work.

To get back into the swing of using After Effects I created the video below, it showcases some 'kinetic titles' as well as some other cool visuals, check it out & let me know what you think:

5 Second Project: Countdown

A couple of months ago I came across Greyscale Gorilla - a blog dedicated to all manner of motion graphics and 3D design.

Whilst traversing the wealth of posts over there I found out about the "5 second projects" - basically they provide you with a theme and all you have to do is create an animation based on it. The animation can literally be anything you want it to be as long as it has something to do with the theme they set.

Motion graphics: textured title fade

I recently wrote about the visual design within games and how I am inspired by the visual aesthetics of certain game environments & landscapes.

Following the post, I decided to have a play around with some of the aesthetic elements seen in one of the games I mentioned: Fallout 3.

Here is what I came up with:

The end of a few busy weeks...

Phew! The past couple of weeks have been properly busy for me; finishing various projects, revising for exams and finishing coursework. Today however: I am finished. At precisely 11.19am today I finished the last exam of my Msc and quite possibly the last exam of my academic career!

If you are following me on twitter then you will probably be glad to hear that my exams are over as I do tend to tweet about revision quite a bit!

New: Motion Graphics Promotional Video

I recently completed a new promotional motion graphics piece to advertise my services in a fun and exciting way. The music used in the video was produced by my good friend Andy Hudson.

The video makes use of the new Video Copilot Sure Target 2 plugin.

The video will take pride of place on the front page as a short description of what I do.

Check out the video below and feel free to leave your comments!

Visually stunning: Gorey Castle besieged by projection

Now this is how you attack a castle in the 21st Century!

The effect was achieved by mapping out the castle and then creating the various animations to fit the map - it was then projected onto the castle using a very high intensity projecter: the Christie 25K projector.

The end result is truly magnificent, especially the final 5 seconds!

The project by Seeper, was displayed at the Jersey Branchage Festival 2009.