Originally posted on digitalfilms:
Time to come back with a look at photography – just for the fun of it.…
December 4, 2013
by Jackie Dove–Senior Editor, Macworld
Now that Adobe has made Photoshop CC the linchpin of its Creative Cloud subscription strategy, photo enthusiasts are more than ever seeking alternatives to the engine that has driven the modern image-editing industry for more than 20 years.
Subscriptions to Photoshop via Creative Cloud cost $50 per month and are popular with a certain segment of Adobe users, mostly the cadre of commercial artists, graphic designers, Web developers, and photographers who use multiple apps for high-end professional work.
To sweeten the deal for photographers, Adobe is now offering a special photo-oriented subscription package targeted to previous users that includes Photoshop and Lightroom for $10 per month (based on a year’s commitment), until December
31. A similar offer targeting everyone else, regardless of past Photoshop ownership, runs until December 2. The upshot is that for photographers who considered $50 a month excessive for purchasing programs they will not use, there’s a less expensive option available until the end of the year.
But a subscription is still a subscription. And even some Creative Cloud cheerleaders may now be pausing to reconsider this path, especially in light of recent issues with Adobe security. That, added to general consumer opposition to subscription software, may play a role in an accelerated quest for a Photoshop alternative.
Even when Photoshop was available as a perpetual license, the $699 standard edition price tag was steep, as was the $350 upgrade price, though a hefty portion of enthusiasts were willing to fork over that amount for the best image editor money could buy. Adobe continues to sell Photoshop CS6, the last per-subscription version.
We poked around and found nine good prospects that would be suitable for most amateurs and photo enthusiasts. Some of those alternatives, not surprisingly, come from Adobe itself, while others emerge from familiar vendors like Apple and Corel, as well as more recent players in the software marketplace. Note that prices can vary, and those below are the latest from the vendor’s websites.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 ($100)
Photoshop Elements is a full-featured photo-editing package, a light version of Adobe’s flagship Photoshop CC.
Click here to see the rest of this detailed article.
September 10, 2013
by Larry Jordan
One of the promises Adobe made when it went to its new subscription pricing was to make much more frequent updates to all their software. This evening, less than five months after the initial CC release, Adobe emphasized its promises with updates to:
- Adobe Prelude
- Adobe Prelude Live Logger (new)
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Adobe After Effects
- Adobe SpeedGrade
- Adobe Media Encoder
- Adobe Story Plus
Plus, they’ve beefed up Adobe Anywhere, Adobe’s server-based collaboration environment for enterprises and large production groups. The announcements were made Sept. 9. Software will be previewed at IBC in Amsterdam starting Sept. 13. Product release is scheduled for October, though the specific release date has not been announced.
NOTE: These updates apply only to the CC version of Adobe’s software. The CS6 release remains unchanged.
You can read their press release here. And this is the news as I got it from Adobe.
WHAT’S NEW – ADOBE ANYWHERE
New with this release of Adobe Anywhere is integration with After Effects, support for “growing files” (which are video files you can edit while they are still being recorded — think sports), Network-based voice over support, project data redundancy, project archive and restore, plus a new iPad app and extended API support to allow custom development.
The iPad app is interesting because it allows users to view productions and play back sequences directly from the Anywhere server to an iPad located in the field or a remote location. The iPad app does not require Premiere in order to play back an edited sequence.
NOTE: In conversations with Adobe, I was told that they want to roll-out Adobe Anywhere to companies large enough to have internal IT departments to make sure the initial server architecture is properly setup and implemented. Adobe’s goal is to roll this out to smaller groups in coming months.
WHAT’S NEW – ADOBE PRELUDE
- Prelude now supports live logging, where you can start logging a live event, or during shooting of a production, using an iPad, then combine the logging notes with media during ingest using Prelude.
- Prelude has always allowed logging clips and creating rough cuts. Now we can export clips and subclips from Prelude using Adobe Media Encoder to Premiere or a video logging site.
- Prelude now imports still images into a rough cut.
- Prelude now generates a list of markers that you can print. This is especially useful for loggers to share notes with producers.
- Plus, support for new media and metadata formats. Specifically, Prelude did not support logging GoPro cameras, now it does.
WHAT’S NEW – ADOBE PREMIERE PRO
- Premiere now supports a round-trip Direct Link (meaning no exporting) between Premiere and SpeedGrade. This allows faster experiments with color corrections and looks.
- Streamlined editing, with a new monitor “overlay” that allows editors to see key data such as time code and camera angle on top of media during playback.
- Expanded native 4K, Ultra HD and RAW format support. This includes a laundry list of new file formats: Cinema DNG, Sony RAW, Phantom Cine, Sony XAVC Long GOP, Panasonic AVC Ultra, 64-bit ProRes decoding and more.
- Improve multicam editing allows for viewing output change during multicam editing. Plus, editors can easily rearrange angles or turn them on or off.
- Improved closed captioning.
- Improved clip relinking to support linking low-res proxy files to high-res camera masters.
- The ability to mix down multi-channel audio to stereo for monitoring.
- And a new XML export to Autodesk Smoke.
WHAT’S NEW – ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS
- Yay!! Adobe has combined a mask with a motion tracker to make it much easier to track a mask as the image moves. If you’ve never needed to track a mask, I can hear you yawning. But if you have… well, yawning never crossed your mind.
- Improve up-resing (also called “up-scaling”) tools to retain image quality when scaling an SD image up to HD frame sizes.
- Live property links between clips. Adjust one and the linked clip adjusts by the same amount.
- Faster warp stabilizer and 3D camera tracker; up to 80% faster.
- Better GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) optimizations, especially for the ray-traced 3D renderer for extruded text and shapes.
- The Media Browser from Premiere now is in After Effects; plus, the Media Browser can access media stored on an Anywhere server. This makes it much easier to share comps between team members.
- Support for Apple Retina displays to make sure you see every pixel in your project.
WHAT’S NEW – ADOBE SPEEDGRADE
- The new Direct Link with Adobe Premiere Pro means fast and easy opening of Premiere projects in SpeedGrade for color correction, then a single click to send graded projects back to Premiere.
- Create and save multiple masks in one .look file. Plus, copy and modify looks between shots or projects.
- Quickly apply camera patches to balance the color spaces between different cameras.
- All the file formats supported by Premiere Pro are now supported by SpeedGrade.
- Premiere Pro sequences now appear on their own Timeline in SpeedGrade.
WHAT’S NEW – ADOBE MEDIA ENCODER
- AME now supports “filters” to add watermarks, burn-in timecode, and apply color “LUTS” (Look-Up TableS) when encoding files.
- Preference files can quickly be synced between multiple computers using Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
- AME is now GPU accelerated for rendering and compression.
WHAT’S NEW – ADOBE STORY
- Story now shares lists more easily and can now import set lists, character lists, and tag lists.
- See the status of everyone to whom you have shared a project.
When I met with Adobe to discuss some of these new features, I was impressed with the sense of urgency they have about updating their applications and responding to the needs of the market.
As Bill Roberts, director of video product management at Adobe, said: “Broadcasters and video pros have limited resources and are under increasing pressure to deliver more on shorter timelines and smaller budgets, so they need solutions that streamline workflows and enable more efficiency.”
I’m looking forward to working with these new applications when they get released in October.
As always, let me know what you think.
Originally posted on digitalfilms:
Over the years, Adobe Photoshop has become the go-to photo and design application for many editors, yet others simply never warmed to it. Naturally there is an interest in alternative solutions and one of those is Pixelmator. The company was an early adopter of selling through the Mac App Store and that move quickly vaulted it to the top of the Mac App Store’s sales list, earning it the “Best of Mac App Store” honor in 2011. Recently they released version 2.2 “Blueberry” with a whopping 500,000 updates in one week! Some of that may have been accelerated by the reaction to Adobe’s Cloud-only announcements or by the $15 introductory price. This new version is also a free update through the Mac App Store for existing customers. No matter what the reason, Pixelmator is clearly gaining attention.
Pixelmator is a paint, design and graphics application built specifically around core OS X technologies. It’s 64-bit and taps into Apple’s Core Image for GPU-based acceleration. By building upon the OS technology itself, the Pixelmator team has been able to develop an application that is well-integrated and can be sold at a far lower cost than would otherwise be the case. The application is new, streamlined and clearly fits into the same interface design aesthetic as Final Cut Pro X or DaVinci Resolve. Previous versions boasted a nice set of paint, effects, retouching and layer tools. Pixelmator 2.2 adds several new shape and vector tools, gradients, shape styles, color popovers and a new light leak effect. If you own FxFactory Pro filters, they also show up as image effects available to be used inside Pixelmator – a serendipitous byproduct of their common use of Core Image.
July 12, 2013
With Adobe’s Photoshop moving to the cloud and a subscription basis, there has been a strong movement of hobbyists and amateur photographers to seek an alternative image editing software that is less expensive and untethered.
I have been teaching workshops on Image Editing for the past thirteen years and in the past few months the inquiries and requests that I teach a workshop with alternative image editing software have increased. I had absolutely no skills in any image editing software other than Photoshop and so I began to look into other ways to edit images to see what was available.
Right on time for my needs Rocky Nook sent me a review copy of Klaus Goelker’s new book Gimp 2.8 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source Software, and I immediately opened the back of the book and removed the DVD that is attached there and loaded Gimp 2.8 onto my computer.
Since Gimp 2.8 is an open source software, it is designed to run versions on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Though the screen shots of the application may look slightly different on each platform the essential elements and tools remain in the same menu places in each version.
The DVD explains how to install the application, and in addition to the application itself, the DVD contains a PDF version of the book. I immediately downloaded a copy of the PDF to my Dropbox account and then retrieved the PDF on my iPad mini so that I could read the book where ever I was and that it would lie flat (as an iPad is wont to do) and would not entail fighting the tendency of book pages to flip themselves out of position.
It took a while for the PDF to upload to Dropbox, and an a slightly less equal time for it to be retrieved by my iPad. Transferring the PDF to a reader as my iPad mini gave me choices of iBooks, Notability, GoodReader, NoteTaker HD, Skitch, FileApp, and FileApp Pro, Bluefire Reader and Kindle as these were all reader applications I had loaded on my iPad mini. I chose IBooks for no other reason than it was the first of my options. I downloaded it first to my iPad mini but found the diagrams a bit small for my old eyes so I dug out my older iPad 2 and downloaded it again, and again opened it in iBooks. My old eyes appreciated this larger display of the screen shots that are used continuously throughout the book.
As an aside here, I think that including a PDF version of the book along with the printed copy is a fantastic benefit. One of the things that I have always hated when I am trying to follow a step-by-step procedure in a printed book is the usual need to put weights on opposite sides of the book to hold the pages down to keep the book open while I work on the computer. The ability to use an iPad or similar reader to lie nicely flat beside my computer while I am working is of great value to me. This keeps me from having to break the spine of the book so badly in order to lie flat that the pages start to break away from the binding. Damaging the book seems like a real waste when it is printed on acid free paper and of really excellent printing quality. OK, that’s my $.02 on that subject. On to Klaus Goelker’s excellent instruction book itself.
He begins his instruction with an introduction to the GIMP program itself and a general look at the arrangement of the windows and menus encountered in beginning to work with the program. This is followed with a discussion on printing and the drivers necessary for GIMP to work with various makes of printers.
Scanning and image calculation for scanning follows, along with the usual problems encountered in scanning. This includes moire effect and unsquare scanning that requires rotation to solve the unsquare image. This is done in a step by step manner that the newcomer to GIMP should practice. Moving on, the author picks up correction in levels and color and exposure. (I should mention here that all the images that the author uses as examples are available on the DVD that accompanies the book and it is suggested that the student new to GIMP download the images and follow the step by step procedures as Klaus Goelker demonstrates them.)
Curves and the placement of control points (as well as how to remove them) are next demonstrated. Hue and saturation adjustments are next. Then there’s an overview of the functions from the Colors Menu. Saving an image for the Internet is next.
As demonstrations continue, Touchup work is the next topic. This includes Color Casts, then we move on to removing spots, dust, and scratches. Cloning for retouching and rebuilding damaged images is shown.
(While not all key commands are the same between the Mac and the PC and while it seems that most of these commands are demonstrated in the Windows versions, translating each to the Mac is relatively easy with a little experimentation –using only a single button mouse on the Mac is the culprit.)
Healing, filters, sharpening, noise reduction, Gaussian blur, Non Linear, Edge Enhancement, Simulating Film Grain, are all demonstrated in step by step procedures which use the sample images provided on the DVD which accompanies the book.
Part 3 of the volume introduces us to Masks and Layers and the corresponding painting, filling, and color tools. Selections and edit menus give us means of modifying our selections. Red eye removal is demonstrated along with suggestions as to how to avoid it in the first place. The seemingly magic abilities of layers and how they work is explored. Correcting over and under-exposed images can be corrected in layers. Using Perspective Correction shows how to eliminate out of parallel appearing lines in images taken at less than optimum camera angles. Removing Lens Distortion, Making Perspective Corrections, and Reducing Vignetting are next.
Freshening a Dull Sky gives us another eleven pages of step by step procedures, and this is followed by adding a sun and sunlight modifications. Now the author introduces the procedures of adding text to an image; this includes creating three-dimensional text and drop shadows. Creating Vignettes and picture frames are next, followed by Lighting Effects and Shadow Layers.
Next in the step by step procedures is Extracting Image Objects with Select and Masking Tools. Using the Paths Tool to create Vector Forms and Selections is followed by the use of Filters for Light Effects.
Paths and Text are demonstrated, aligning images with the alignment tool, and the Cage Transform Tool are defined and demonstrated step by step. Cross-Fading with Masks and Selections are followed by ways to modify the canvas size. This is well explained in nine pages of diagrams and screen shots.
One of the more interesting tools is the Foreground Select Tool and it is thoroughly explained over another seven pages. Then another six pages cover how to do the same masking technique with brushes. It’s complex, but the illustrations are more than adequate to grasp the technique. My only complaint up to this point is to wish that the author had at times used an annotation program to draw a square or circle around a particular menu so it was easier to more quickly follow just where an item was located.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging is defined. HDR imaging is beyond the standard download of GIMP until a number of add-ons on plug ins are added, but the author tells you where to go on the Internet to find the appropriate PC and Mac software to add HDR techniques.
Layer Masks are introduced with five pages of step by step instructions, and will work slightly differently than what the Photoshop user will expect. However, following the steps that are demonstrated will suffice for the novice user of GIMP.
Section 4 of the book concerns Working With Black and White and Color Images and is broken down into a number of exercises. It begins with Converting Color Images Partly or Entirely Into Grayscale Images. Using the Channel Mixer begins the discussion of converting color images to black and white, and using the GEGL techniques are briefly discussed. But GEGL techniques are an as yet incomplete part of GIMP 2.8 and leave much yet to another discussion when completed. Threshold, De-saturation, and simulated Infrared techniques are discussed and shown as exercises. The tricky techniques of using the Threshold function to separate hair from a background is demonstrated. It’s followed by the method of using Channels to extract an object from the background, and that section was followed by methods of Coloring Grayscale Images. That took another fourteen pages so you can see that it covered a number of techniques.
Section 5, looks at working with Other File Formats. Raw, Gimp and UFRaw (a user installed addition to the basic GIMP 2.8.0 but not the 2.8.2 version, but UFRaw can be operated as a stand-alone program), and RawTherapee take twenty five pages of discussion and explanation.
Finally, the use of PDF Formatting to Share Print Layouts begins to end the book. How to use GIMP to produce PDFs and a discussion of the available free alternative PDF Creation and Viewing Software. Open Office, Libre Office, and the PDF Import Plug-in for Open Office are introduced. NitroPDFReader includes PDF editing tools—available in both PC and Mac versions. Exporting and reading Photoshop’s PSD files with GIMP are not 100% compatible as so functions of PSD files fail to make the translation. A chart shows which functions are compatible.
An Appendix gives a couple of “Easter Eggs”—almost hidden gems of wisdom and a THANK YOU to the translator (Mr. Jeremy Cloot) who took the original text and translated it into English, and who did a very good job of it in my opinion.
It’s taken me 1,600 words or so to cover this review, as well as a solid week of following the exercises on my computer. I’ve taken the time because I honestly wanted to learn GIMP as an alternative Graphic Editing Program. A week is not enough time to become totally proficient with GIMP, but it is enough time to decide that Klaus Goelker’s book is an excellent one. It will most certainly be read again as I try to become competent with GIMP, and I can recommend it whole-heartedly to the beginning photographer or graphic designer who cannot enter into the long term contract with Adobe in the company’s new approach to renting their software as opposed to selling it. I wanted to itemize the contents of Mr. Goelker’s book so the reader can have a full idea of what the book covers. It’s 400 pages (in paperback) of thorough instruction, with a DVD of GIMP and a number of Plug-Ins or add-ons, as well as practice images. It’s a good buy!
GIMP 2.8 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source Software by Klaus Goelker, Rocky Nook Press, ISBN 978-1-937538-26-2, US$ 39.95, CAN$ 41.95 and $24.65 from Amazon. Amazon can also deliver a Kindle version alone for $16.95 and if you have good eyes and a larger screen iPad or Kindle device that $16.95 is a real deal; it might even convince you to buy the full sized book version just for the ease of reference usage.
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March 13, 2013
So you like freebies, eh? Looking for anything in particular? Need a specific PSD photoshop image to pull apart for your website or video? Need some 3-D models, icons, wallpapers, or…?
I’ve got the place for you! I needed some kind of (free) obscure item for a project I’m working on…and actually found it here. Seems almost anything you can think of, you might just find it at GlossyIcon.com. Yes– they have those, too. Along with a vast choice of imac, iphone & ipad imagery… among others.
Go check it out & tell us if you found it (below)
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January 31, 2013
OnOne Software has released Perfect Effects 4 Free that is, obviously, available for free. It is a stripped down version of their image editing software Perfect Effects 4, which is included in onOne Perfect Photo Suite Premium Edition. It runs in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture and as a Standalone. (Note: Please do not install this product if you own the Perfect Photo Suite or the full version of Perfect Effects.)
Add a heavy dose of excitement or a subtle amount of elegance to your photos with Perfect Effects 4 Free. Choose from over 70 effects to enhance and stylize your images, including effects to create the popular HDR and vintage looks, textures to add depth and dimension, and borders to add a finishing touch. Instantly add any effect with a single click or combine them to create a look of your own.
Perfect Effects 4 Free can be used as a standalone or directly with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Apple Aperture.
Note: this is a free, stripped down version of the software included with onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite Premium Edition.
IMPROVED! LIBRARY OF EFFECTS
Create images with impact using over 70 professional effects that help you enhance detail, add contrast, evoke moods, and more.
Design a look all your own by combining multiple effects and adjusting the strength of each effect. With the live previews in Perfect Effects 4 Free, you can see what each effect will look like on your photo before applying it. Your creative options are limitless and easy to achieve with the easy-to-use tools in Perfect Effects 4 Free.
Selectively apply any effect to specific parts of your photo with the powerful masking controls in Perfect Effects 4 Free. Use the Masking Brush to apply effects to specific areas and the Masking Bug to quickly create vignettes and graduated filter looks.
NEW! PAINT-IN EFFECTS
With a handy set of Basic Brushes, you can solve some of your most common digital photography problems exactly where you need. Use simple brush strokes to make areas darker, lighter or warmer. Add detail, glow or more color. You can also reveal highlights and recover shadows.
NEW! PERFECT BRUSH
Smoothly apply or remove effects to the specific areas you’re working on without going “outside of the lines.”
Turn on the Perfect Brush when using the Masking Brush or the Paint-in Effect Basic Brushes.
NEW! BLENDING MODES
Blend effects to create amazing and highly stylized looks in Perfect Effects 4 Free. By changing the Blending Modes, you can control the brightness, contrast and color of the image to dramatically alter the appearance. And, by adjusting the opacity, you can control the strength of the effect.
COMBINE IMAGES FOR ENDLESS CREATIVE OPTIONS
In the Layers home module, you’ll find tools designed specifically for photographers to combine the best parts of multiple photos and quickly retouch your images. You’ll easily be able to swap faces or create a balanced exposure. You can also blend images for creative effects, create layouts, build composites, and more. Enjoy all of the benefits and creative power of a layered workflow, even without Adobe Photoshop. Your creative options are endless.
Learn more about Perfect Effects 4 Free
Download Perfect Effects 4 Free (It’s under Freebies – check out what else you can get for free!)
November 21, 2012
by Michael Zhang
Two years ago, director Ross Ching created a viral hit by showing Los Angeles in a time-lapse video in which every trace of cars and people was removed. That project was such a success that Ching tells us he’s now planning to create an entire series based on the same idea, showing what iconic cities around America would look like if the humans within them suddenly vanished. The first stop in his “Empty America” tour was San Francisco, captured beautifully in the haunting video above.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video showing how the magic was done:
Basically, Ching uses a large number of photos from each scene to create a single Photoshopped photo in which all the moving cars and people have been removed. He then layers this still image on top of his time-lapse video, selectively showing the still in areas where they is human activity and the time-lapse footage in portions where there isn’t.
You can actually detect this trickery in the video if you pay close attention to the shadows in the frame. You can subscribe to the “Empty America” series through this YouTube playlist. It also includes Empty New York and Washington DC.
May 1, 2012
by Richard Harrington & Rafael Concepcion
Richard Harrington & Rafael Concepcion show you how to work with video in Photoshop CS6…
Plus, Scott Kelby & Crew show you everything there is to know about CS6 on the Adobe CS6 Launch Center… including cool videos of new enhancements!
Videos of the New Features
Using Vector Layers
The Character Styles Panel
The Paragraph Styles Panel
Erodible Brush Tips
Mixer Brush & Projection Brush
Patch Tool w Content Aware
Skin Tone Selection
Changes in the Cropping Tool
Wide Angle Correction w/ Plane Tool
Field Blur & Blur Effects
Iris & Tilt-Shift Blur
Oil Paint Filter
Changes in Camera Raw
Video: Trim, Transition, & Export
Video: Music, Picture Effects & Text
Photoshop 3D Part 1
Photoshop 3D Part 2
Tips and Tricks / JDI
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April 23, 2012
By Angie Taylor
- Knowledge needed: Intermediate After Effects and Photoshop skills
- Requires: Adobe After Effects CS5.5, Adobe Photoshop CS5.1
- Project time: Two to three hours
- Download source files
Creative director and motion graphic artist Angie Taylor (@theangietaylor) shows how to use Photoshop and Adobe After Effects for kinetic typography – combining text and motion to express ideas in the form of animation
In this useful and practical tutorial you’ll learn valuable techniques you’ll want to use over and over again in your Photoshop and After Effects work. Please watch the final movie below to see some of the techniques covered. This is an experimental, art project – created in response to the song, That Day by artist, Richard Walker.
In Photoshop you’ll discover how to use the often-overlooked but powerful Variables feature to automatically enter text into type layers from a regular text file.
In After Effects you’ll use markers to create visual reference points that make animation easier, add nulls to group words together into sentences so they can be animated easily as groups, use text presets to create per-character animation and add expressions to create flickering light effects. I’ll also show you how to control the new Light Falloff properties to help control 3D shadows.
Variables are an overlooked feature of Photoshop but are very useful if you design text for on-screen graphics. We’ll use variables to automatically import text from a document into individual Photoshop layers, saving you tons of time – not to mention typing.
Open 01_Variables_Start.psd and go to Image>Variables>Define.
2. Setting up Text Replacement
In the dialog box, click the Text Replacement checkbox and you’ll see the Name field populate with the text – TextVariable1. Basically, we are assigning a code to each layer that we can use to refer to variable data in a text document. Bear with me; you’ll understand why soon!
3. Assigning names to layers
Click on the Right arrow, next to the Layer drop-down menu to advance to the next layer, that’s named Text 02. Click on the Text Replacement checkbox again. The Name field will populate with the text – TextVariable2. Repeat this process till all 11 layers are matched to equivalent names.
4. Importing data from text files
Click on the Next button to open the Data Sets. Click the Load button and then the Select File button in the Import Data Set dialog. Select the Lyrics.txt file from Angie_Taylor_Kinetic_Typography folder then click OK. A list appears at the bottom with corresponding names, values and layers.
5. Applying data sets
Click Apply and then OK. In the Layers panel the text is updated with the text from the file. Imagine how much easier this makes life when working with lots of layers in multiple documents. Simply edit the text file and update the data set to automatically update the layers.
6. Preparing files for After Effects
Plan the style the layout in Photoshop. Use title-safe guides to help layout the text and the Type Tool Presets menu to quickly format it with font styles. In the Layers panel organise the words into sentences within Layer Groups for each section of the song. This will save time in After Effects.
After Effects steps
7. Understanding project structure
Open Angie_Taylor_Kinetic_Typography.aep – 01_Main Setup_start comp. The Photoshop file has been imported into an After Effects project. Layer Groups appear as nested comps within the main composition. An audio file containing the soundtrack has been added to the comp. An animated background comp has been created using a combination of effects.
8. Add markers in time with the audio
Select That Day.mp3 and double-hit the L key to open up the audio Waveform. This will help guide you as you follow the next few steps. RAM preview the comp and while listening to the audio, hit the * key (Shift+8) to add markers at the beginning of each sentence spoken.
9. Adding lyrics to Comments field
Double-click each of the markers one by one to edit them. Type or paste the song lyrics into the Comment field and then click OK. The comments will appear on the layer as a visual reference to help you navigate the timeline. Use the J and K keys to jump between markers.
10. Trimming layers
Each layer from the Photoshop file should begin at the corresponding marker. Jump to the first marker by hitting K. Select the 01_June 1st layer and hit Alt+[ to trim the In point. Jump to next marker then hit Alt+] to trim the Out point. Repeat to trim other layers accordingly.
11. Moving Layers
Double-click 10_So often layer to open the nested comp. Jump to the first marker on the That Day.mp3 layer by selecting it then hitting the K key. Select the But layer and click [ to move it’s In point to the time-marker. Repeat this for the other layers so that each begins on the subsequent markers.
12. Using nulls and parenting to create groups
Go to Layer>New>Null Object to add a Null layer. Select all the Photoshop Layers and then choose Null 1 as their parent from the Parent drop-down menus. This gives us one single set of controls for animating the group of words while retaining their individual animations.
13. Animating the Null
Move to 30:10. Select Null 1 then hit Alt+A to add a keyframe for the Anchor Point property and simultaneously expose it. Move to 31:11 and scrub the Anchor Point X value till you see the word Not in the centre of the screen. This will automatically add a new keyframe. RAM preview.
14. Adjusting Motion Blur
Open 02_Things that are Transient comp from 01_Main Setup_Start comp. Here, Scale, Rotation and Anchor Point have been keyframed to create a complex animation. Notice at 09:04 the motion blur is not detailed enough. Go to Composition>Composition Settings and click on the Advanced tab. Increase Shutter Angle to 200 and Adaptive Sample Limit to 64.
15. Making Photoshop text editable
Double-click 05_When I went out comp. Notice the text from the Photoshop file appears here as a rendered layer. To convert the Photoshop layer to editable text, select it then go to Layer>Convert to Editable Text. Open the layer to see the Text property group is now available.
16. Applying animation presets
Presets can automatically animate the text on a per word basis. In the Effects & Presets panel, type Blur By Word to isolate the preset. With the Time-marker at 14:10, drag it onto the text layer. Hit U to reveal the keyframes. Drag the last keyframe to 17:04. RAM preview.
17. Adding lighting
From the Project panel, open 04a_Here_to_stay_Start comp – RAM preview. Switch on Ambience layer – it darkens the scene by reducing the ambient light to 20%. Switch on Point Light layer and notice shadows being cast. Double-click Point Light to open Light Settings. Change the Falloff Menu to Smooth – notice the light beam has a hard edge. Click OK.
18. Adjusting light falloff and shadows
In the timeline, change the Falloff Distance to 300, this softens the edge as the light gradually fades. Change the Radius to 800 to widen the ‘beam’ projected by the light. Change the Shadow Darkness to 80% and the Shadow Diffusion to 30 for softer, subtle shadows. RAM Preview.
19. Animating the Light with Expressions
To make the light flicker, select the Intensity property of the Point Light layer by clicking on its name in the Timeline. Go to the Animation menu and choose Add Expression. An expression is added to the selected property and a text field appears beside the property in the timeline.
20. The Wiggle expression
The Expression reads:
Edit the expression text so that it reads:
Hit Enter (Not Return!) then RAM Preview to see the light flashing on and off. You can adjust the frequency by changing the first value in the parentheses. Adjust the amplitude by changing the second value.
So there you have it, some valuable tips and tricks that I find useful when creating kinetic typography animation. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and find these techniques useful – happy keyframing!
Extend your knowledge
If you’d like to learn more techniques like these check out Angie’s video workshop. This comprehensive course includes over seven hours of video tutorials and covers other techniques used in the final video:
There are some free example movies from Angie’s workshop available to view here on her blog: