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:

A new website design

Well it's more of a design refresh than anything else! If you haven't visited the site for a while you may notice some slight design changes here and there, I thought I'd write a quick post to run through the changes.

Let's start with the portfolio design - there's only a few small changes here, primarily in the width of the overall portfolio. The project tiles will now extend further across the page to make better use of larger screen sizes and help showcase my design and development work.

Freelance Tip #2 - Office Space

Following on from freelance tip #1 - here's the second tip I thought I'd share:

Consider getting some office space

When I first started freelancing I did what most freelancers do: I worked from home. It was great at first, no more commuting! I could jump into work straight away and once the day was over I didn't need to travel anywhere to get home.

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

Tracking link clicks with Google Analytics

When I released Skylights a few months ago, I wanted to track how many people actually clicked the download link to give me a rough idea of how many people were trying them out.

Luckily, Google Analytics lets you track particular interactions on your site using 'Events'. Setting up an event to be logged is pretty straightforward, all you need to do is add a tiny bit of code to the onClick attribute of a link like so:

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

Elementary - Drupal theme

I've finally had some time to start work on a new Drupal theme which I'm hoping to contribute back to the community. I've decided to call it Elementary, and my overall goal is to keep things as simple as possible & focus on written content above all else which I'm hoping will make it ideal for blogs.

An early screenshot:

Removing unwanted CSS files from a Drupal theme

If you've ever developed your own Drupal theme then you may have noticed that Drupal & other contrib modules provide their own stylesheets for you to contend with. Of course you could just override the CSS rules with your own, however the files are still being included on every single page load when they really don't need to be.

Just as an example: there were around 14 additional stylesheets being provided by core or contrib modules on my contact page alone.

Website bookmark icons for different iOS devices

A couple of years ago I wrote a short post on how to create an iPhone bookmark icon for your website which would appear if someone were to add your site to their homescreen. That post is getting on a bit now (the screenshot alone shows just how the UI has changed) and now there all sorts of new devices and perhaps more importantly: resolutions to consider when creating an icon.

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.