This is the first thing I ever made in After Effects

Behold this greatness. I started using After Effects in summer of 2005. Prior to that I was mostly just a Final Cut Pro guy, editing short videos and home movies. I knew Photoshop to an extent, and eventually I got to the point where there were things I wanted to do with video that I could do with photos in Photoshop.

That led me to After Effects. The date on these files is marked as 6/8/2005, so they are almost 7 years old. I guess this could be considered my entire demo reel in 2005. I worked at an ad agency that made car commercials by the bushel, and they were fast and cheap designs. Well, maybe not designs as much as they were car salesman screaming this sketchy and misleading deal RIGHT NOW before it’s too late.

The footage of the Mustang is from Ford. They rotate the camera and car around and give you the clip and a matte to work with in case you want to composite. And composite I did!

In the first clip, I placed the car behind a stylish premade background from Digital Juice. Then I designed a speedometer in Photoshop and angled it in a 3D layer. I shrewdly separated the needle from the rest of the speedometer so I could do that sweet rotation move as the car’s speed revved up, despite it not driving anywhere. And somehow the whole speedometer starts getting all shaky and crazy but the needle stays perfectly still. You were supposed to feel the raw power of the car with all that shaking but now it just looks weird to me. I give myself an A for effort!

In the second clip, I merely took a dark sky stock footage and placed the car in front of it. I must have had the car filled with a black layer or used the matte to cut out the shape of the car from a solid, then I faded it out and brought the car to light.

MY work has gotten better since then (I hope), through nothing but absorbing tutorials and building project after project. You force yourself to get better by learning how to do things correctly or by creating projects that are based on an effect that people consider quality work. I think it’s important to remember what’s not on your reel and why, and it’s worthwhile to go back and look at work that really isn’t THAT old and see how far you’ve come.

Yep, They Bother Me Too

99% of the work I create nowadays is car commercials. Compared to anything and everything else you see on TV, they set the quality bar pretty low. You know exactly what I mean.

I’ve done hundreds of them. My work tends to look better than those extreme examples, but nonetheless, most car commercials are doomed before I even get to edit one thing.  I can only imagine that most people who see car commercials on TV either:

a. Tune it out completely, rendering the advertising message useless.

b. Change the channel.

c. Groan/roll eyes/ sigh/other symptom of aggravation.

d. Some combination of a, b, and c.

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Waving Pennant in Cinema 4D

So here is a clip form a commercial I did that had to do with UCF Athletics. Instead of just using regular-old text, I constantly try to think of different methods to present title work. In this sports themed commercial I added the title work onto a material in Cinema 4D and created a waving pennant using the cloth tag.

I would recommend using the cloth tag to create any sort of waving flag like this rather than the wind deformer. The Cloth tag is very easy to set up and with some trial and error you can create a much more natural looking movement than with the simple wind deformer. Don’t forget to make it a child of a hyperNURBS object to make it even smoother.

There are several tutorials on this subject already out there, including this one.

I’d really like to get more in depth with the cloth tag to better understand how the settings can alter the movement and reaction of your object. I haven;t been able to find an in depth review of what certain things like flexion, global intersection analysis, global drag, etc. actually “do” when changed. If anyone has a breakdown of this to link to or would perhaps put it in writing please let me know.

Money Mailbox

So I had to come up with a design relatively quickly (That’s like 6 hours or so) that conveyed how owning a Ford vehicle already can save you a lot of money if you really want to buy a gas-guzzling F-150 that Ford is practically giving away.

I modeled the mailbox in Cinema 4D and made it fully functional with a door and a flag. The money particle was easy to make, with a wind deformer modifying a plane object with both sides of a $100 bill as the materials. The emitter works well, but it lacks collision detection so the particles tend to intersect and overlap in ways a giant stream of money flying out of a mailbox wouldn’t here in the real world. Without using Xpresso and Thinking Particles I couldn’t get it to react properly, but the bills are moving fast with a motion blur and rotating so you really can’t tell. And thats what it’s all about, getting it done ASAP by finding corners to cut.

Thinking Particles is something I want to get good at, but there are no great books or resources I have been able to find to teach me. 

Toyota Tundra Rough Cut

Here’s a spot I did that shows off the toughness of the Toyota Tundra. It came out pretty cool, but unfortunately the compression knocks the visual quality down a notch. I used Apple Motion, After Effects and some Photoshop. The last 5 seconds are where you insert a dealer’s logo and location information.

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