Motion Science: How to be a better motion designer

Greetings! Today I want to share an article I stumbled upon from "Mr. Black" at MotionScience.tv, that is a perfect fit for what I'm trying to accomplish with MotionApprentice. I want to push myself, and push you to keep learning. Keep improving and perfecting your craft. Let your passion for design and animation drive you to being the absolute best artist you can be.

The article is titled HOW TO BE A BETTER MOTION DESIGNER: THE STORY OF MR. BLACK. In the article, Mr. Black talks about his own path, the dangers of complacency and becoming too comfortable, and how one should never stop learning.

Hop on over and check out the article. It's a good read!

TOOLS: 21 Scripts to Supercharge Your After Effects Workflow from Tuts+

Well hello there! Today I wanted to drop a quick post to share this article from Tuts+:
21 Scripts to Supercharge Your Adobe After Effects Workflow.

The article lists 21 workflow enhancing scripts available on VideoHive.net. Layer Manager 3 looks particularly interesting!

Anyway, all of you AE users should check it out!

PS - In case you missed it, I recorded a video detailing my Top 5 After Effects Scripts. Check it out below!

RESOURCE: Craft

A couple posts ago I shared a Youtube channel called Onion Skin. In that post I talked about the importance of breaking down and examining work that inspires you - scrubbing through it frame-by-frame and trying to figure out what techniques were used to accomplish that piece of work. Today, I want to take that concept to the next level.

Craft is a relatively new subscription-based website that is dedicated to showing you the behind-the-scenes work that goes into high-end animated projects like films and games. The site covers many different aspects of production, from art direction, backgrounds, character design and animation, to things like script writing and sound design. It's really an incredible resource that I suggest checking out if, like me, you want to learn from the best. Click the image below to go there now.

INSPIRATION: Giant Ant

Today I wanted to share another dose of inspiration from one of the best motion design studios around: Giant Ant. I've embedded one of my favorite Giant Ant productions below, but check out their whole site. It's just chock-full of top-notch mography goodness.

Love this use of texture:

Onion Skin: Read Between the Frames

One of the best ways to improve your skills in any creative field is to study the work of others. Find some killer piece of animation, and then go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Tear it apart, find out what makes it work. Try and decipher what techniques were used to create it.

With that in mind, I want to share a Youtube channel today called Onion Skin. On his channel, which is dedicated to the topic of animation, Colin has a series of videos called "Read Between the Frames" in which he examines animated sequences on a frame-by-frame basis, and figures out how they were put together. My favorite example of this (from my favorite animated show Rick & Morty) is embedded below. Check it out, and then check out the rest of what Onion Skin has to offer!

William Vaughan: Shut Up and Get Back To Creating!

Today I wanted to share more wise words from the one and only William "Proton" Vaughan. In this article posted over at Pixel Fondue, William talks about how, as digital artists, we tend to get too caught up and focused on the tools we are using, rather than actually using those tools to create art. This is an attitude that I have found runs particularly rampant in the 3D community, and I have to admit that I have even fallen victim to the "grass is greener" distraction when Software X releases a new feature that I wish my software of choice had. Sometimes you have to learn to forget about those limitations and just get back to creating. Anyway, check out William's post below!

Shut Up and Get Back to Creating!

TOOLS: MotionSound.io

One often overlooked, yet incredibly important aspect of motion design is the use of sound. A lot of times it's tempting to drop a quick stock music track behind a piece and call it a day, but as motion designers we should try to be aware of the role that sound plays in the viewers' interpretation of an animation. We should also try to focus on the interplay between visuals and audio, as the combination of fantastic visuals seamlessly interwoven with great sound design can be far more impactful than either element on its own.

I plan on diving into this subject much deeper down the road as I continue to learn, but for now I want to share a resource for sound effects specifically geared toward motion designers: motionsound.io. I've purchased all that Motion Sound has to offer and can absolutely attest to the quality of their libraries. Take a look if you are interested in expanding your toolkit!

Until next time!

 

TOOLS: Krita

One aspect of motion design that seems to be having a resurgence lately is the use of traditional hand drawn frame-by-frame or "cel" animation (I know, it's all digital now but plenty of people still refer to it as cel animation). I personally really need to up my drawing game before I get too serious about hand drawn animation, but if you'd like to give it a shot, try downloading the FREE open source drawing/painting program, Krita. They have integrated animation features as of version 3.0, so check it out!

https://krita.org

By the way, here's the link to the animation section of their documentation to help get you started.

TUTORIAL: Character Rigging (Moho)

Guess what! I'm re-releasing another slightly older tutorial today, although the information is still all totally relevant. This tutorial on character rigging was originally recorded when Moho still went by the name Anime Studio, but the process is still the same in Moho. I take you through the process of working with bones and actions, and even get into some really simple animation. Check it out, and let me know if you have any questions!

TOOLS: My Top 5 After Effects Scripts

I work in After Effects almost every day. I LOVE After Effects. However, as with any piece of software there is definitely room for improvement. I plan to write a post at some point about my top 5 feature requests for AE, but until then take a look at my top 5 scripts that have already solved many little annoyances or improved my workflow significantly. These scripts are invaluable and allow me to get work out the door faster, which means I have room for more projects, and ultimately I make more money! Now, on to the list!

1. TurboLayers - This is such a simple little script, but it really does save me time. It's a tiny panel that you can dock in your interface that has little buttons for each kind of new layer you can create. I dock it right above my timeline. When you click a button, it automatically inserts a layer into the selected comp. If you have a layer selected, it automatically inserts the new layer right above it, and trims it to the length of the selected layer. A real time saver.

2. Rubber Hose - If you are at all interested in character animation in AE, you have no doubt already heard of Rubber Hose. It is a script created by BattleAx (also the creators of the excellent ButtCapper script) that allows you to instantly set up quick IK limbs using shape layers. I'll post a tutorial on using this script at some point, but it really is a must-have for anyone interested in character animation in AE.

3. Tidy Up! - I'm a pretty messy worker, I admit it. After starting a new project, my project panel quickly turns into a mess of unnamed comps and random folders with no organization to speak of. That's where Tidy Up comes in. This little script (also available as part of the Corner Cutters pack) automatically sorts your footage and comps based on type, and puts them into appropriate folders which you can name. There's also a bunch of options for only organizing certain folders, naming your own folders, etc. I won't get into all that here, but it's a great little script that really does help keep projects more organized!

4. Snap! - This is a great little free script created by the makers of AE Sweets. Basically it allows you to instantly snap a still frame PNG of your composition and save it to a directory. I tend to create my storyboard frames in After Effects so that I have a leg up when it comes time to start animation. This script has saved me a ton of time: move the timeline indicator to where you want a still frame, click the snap button, move to a different point on the timeline, click the snap button... you can get a bunch of still frames exported in seconds!

5. Motion - This may be my all-time favorite script. It was created by Matt Jylkka over at mtmograph.com. This amazing script has a ton of features integrated into it, and you should really check out Matt's Youtube video to get a full explanation, but the main aspect of the script is that it allows you to use sliders to adjust the intensity of easing on keyframes, or even switch between keyframe types. If you'd rather avoid messing with the speed graph in AE, this is the next best thing, and it is so incredibly quick and easy to use. If I could only keep one script for the rest of my life, this would probably be it.

TUTORIAL: Mouth Rig (Moho)

What's up ladies and gents. Today I'm sharing a similar tutorial to my recent Mouth Rig for After Effects tutorial. This one is focused on creating a simple mouth rig in Moho. I recorded this tutorial a little while ago when Moho was still called Anime Studio, but don't worry - all the information is still relevant. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions or requests!

INSPIRATION: Buck

One of my plans for MotionApprentice.com is to frequently share work that inspires me, whether it's mograph, CG, graphic design, music.... anything really. To get started, I wanted to share the website of one of the motion design studios who consistently create incredible work that is very inspirational to me. One day, my goal is to regularly produce work that wouldn't look out of place on Buck's portfolio. A lofty goal, indeed!

Check these guys out: http://buck.tv