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After Effects users, are you happy?

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Jeremy Garchow
After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 5:42:21 pm

I don't know about you, but Ae feels pretty messy. I get a lot of weird crashing, a lot of indecipherable errors, a constant battle with the new caching system (although when it works, it is good), and a lot of freezing.

Is anyone looking around to find After Effects replacements? This seems like a very daunting task. Motion could be argued as one, but the third party support isn't as pervasive as After Effects. What else could replace or mostly replace After Effects?


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Steve Connor
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 5:45:03 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "What else could replace or mostly replace After Effects?"

Not much really!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 6:44:56 pm

Fusion is free... And, its integration with Resolve is pretty awesome I hear.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 6:46:53 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Fusion is free... And, its integration with Resolve is pretty awesome I hear.
"


But can it supplant After Effects?


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Oliver Peters
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 6:55:27 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "But can it supplant After Effects?"

Fusion and Nuke and others are node-based compositors and as such can only do part of what AE does. Especially in the area of motion graphics. Plus there's the whole track versus node issue. Some of this is probably a comfort zone. Obviously Motion gets closest of all the alternatives, but I have yet to encounter a Motion artist locally who is as good as the AE specialists I can choose from.

Adobe has been on a path with AE of UI clean-up and general optimization. They are in the middle of that process. It will probably take another update or two before it truly settles down.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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David Roth Weiss
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:01:42 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Plus there's the whole track versus node issue. Some of this is probably a comfort zone. "

Oh come now Oliver, don't tell me that suddenly people on this forum would have an issue with an app because it doesn't have tracks, because it takes them out of their comfort zone. That would be way too ironic.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:03:42 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Plus there's the whole track versus node issue. Some of this is probably a comfort zone. "

Oh come now Oliver, don't tell me that suddenly people on this forum would have an issue with an app because it doesn't have tracks, because it takes them out of their comfort zone. That would be way too ironic.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:14:02 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Fusion and Nuke and others are node-based compositors and as such can only do part of what AE does. Especially in the area of motion graphics. "

Motion graphics is mostly what I am talking about. Compositing is another area, but I think Nuke and Fusion have some advantages there, although Ae has it's place as well. I am wondering, specifically, about Ae's versatile tool set. It is really really hard to replace. I think nodes vs layers can be learned, if the person wants to learn, and I wouldn't get too hung up on all of that. I am am more concerned about actual replacements.

I can't get away from Ae simply because everyone I collaborate with on a Motion graphic level uses it. I have to supply Ae material all the time. Therefore, I need to use Ae a lot, and I know it's in a "state of transition" but it is getting harder and harder to use without these weird slow downs in performance (in the name of speeding it up).

For my own work, I'd love to explore other options. I'd look more at Motion if had more third party support (like Mocha 5's new plugin for example).

I was hoping that I was missing something.


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:22:57 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I was hoping that I was missing something."

What about Ae CC 2014 (13.2)? CC 2015 project files are still perfectly compatible with the previous release. Is there a new feature in CC 2015 that you have to have?

Personally, it pains me to go back -- there's a lot to like in CC 2015 -- but I have heard from some others that the issues folks are having with Ae on recent releases are more pronounced on Mac than they are on Windows. If you like how it was before better than how it is at the moment, that's still an option.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:25:52 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If you like how it was before better than how it is at the moment, that's still an option."

I could always walk everything back to FCP7, too!

:-D

I'm sure Adobe knows what they are doing, but there is a lot to dislike in general usability at the moment, and I think they can only get away with it because there isn't a suitable replacement.


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Oliver Peters
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:39:11 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I'm sure Adobe knows what they are doing, but there is a lot to dislike in general usability at the moment, and I think they can only get away with it because there isn't a suitable replacement."

You might want to also pose this same question in the Adobe AE or Creative Cloud Debate forums. I'm sure others are having the same concerns.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:45:41 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I'm sure Adobe knows what they are doing, but there is a lot to dislike in general usability at the moment, and I think they can only get away with it because there isn't a suitable replacement."

Adobe is damned if they do, and damned if they don't. They're trying to modernize a 23+ year old architecture, but they're trying to do it without starting from scratch, breaking compatibility with their entire ecosystem, and requiring tons of retraining among their user base. Basically the exact opposite of what Apple did with FCPX, for better *and* for worse.

I really wish they were moving faster, but I also think this is the sort of thing that's necessary for the long-term health of an application, and that we users will be better off for it once it's done.

Flame went through a couple of rebuilding years a little while ago, but now that they've modernized their internals, they're piling on all kinds of cool creative features. DS didn't go through a couple of rebuilding years when they had the chance, and then sales slowed because development was slow, and then development slowed because sales were slow...

I see your point, but I see it the other way around. If there were a suitable replacement for After Effects, it might well have already been dead in the water, because it was so gosh-darn slow, limited in performance and potential for new creative features by a creaky old architecture. Adobe wouldn't have even had the chance to try to modernize Ae for the next 20 years. It would have been another DS -- a product that started out as this awesome, ahead-of-its-time solution for problems no one even knew they had yet, and then ended a barely-functional relic.

I'm glad they're taking this risk and doing the right thing, especially without any real competition to force their hand on the poor performance that Ae has suffered the last decade... but yes, I do see the glints of torches and pitchforks at the horizon, too.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:04:33 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I'm glad they're taking this risk and doing the right thing, especially without any real competition to force their hand on the poor performance that Ae has suffered the last decade... but yes, I do see the glints of torches and pitchforks at the horizon, too."



I don't mind the effort, but it seems that the state of the software is some form of beta.

When Apple did this, it nearly upended the industry (well, not really, but you know what I mean ... there was a LOT more anger).

It's a weird way to go about it. Sometimes, Ae is exhausting to work in do to these slow downs. I don't know if that's necessarily "the right thing to do" our perhaps the slow downs don't reach the majority of users, and it's a calculated risk. I'm not sure the previous version was much better either.


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:04:08 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If you like how it was before better than how it is at the moment, that's still an option."

[Jeremy Garchow] "I could always walk everything back to FCP7, too!"

I get the humor, but I meant it as a serious suggestion. Ae is under very active development, but if that's too bumpy for you, why not hang out on a version that worked well for you for another couple of releases while the re-architecture is still in progress?

I'm currently working in CC 2015 and rendering from CC 2014. We bounce files back and forth between versions all day without issue.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Oliver Peters
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:25:32 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "but I think Nuke and Fusion have some advantages there, although Ae has it's place as well"

Oh, I completely agree. However, I have worked with a number of excellent compositors who have created VFX for projects I've work on and they've all done this with AE. And in some cases, done a better job than side-by-side work with someone else using Flame. Clearly it's an issue of talent. My only point is that in this neck of the woods, I can find good AE compositors. Not so much with other tools. LA or NYC would probably be different story.

[Jeremy Garchow] "It is really really hard to replace."

Yes. Not to mention what's now included. A very comprehensive set of plug-ins. Mocha. Cinema 4D Lite. Plus integration with other commonly used tools, like Premiere Pro and Photoshop.

[Jeremy Garchow] "I can't get away from Ae simply because everyone I collaborate with on a Motion graphic level uses it. I have to supply Ae material all the time. Therefore, I need to use Ae a lot"

That's my point, too. I'm sure there are other options - Motion for motion graphics specifically. Or even Smoke. But as we all know, penetration has been marginal. It's like ProTools. Plenty of good alternatives, but the majority of go-to audio post folks are almost all on PT. It's the tool they know. They have an investment in plug-ins and compatible peripherals. So why change? It's easier to suffer through the occasional pain points than to change. And less costly.

[Jeremy Garchow] "I was hoping that I was missing something."

I don't think you are.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:29:04 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I think Nuke and Fusion have some advantages there, although Ae has it's place as well."

I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that for compositing Ae simply cannot touch node-based solutions.

(I always like a good argument.)

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:06:25 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that for compositing Ae simply cannot touch node-based solutions.

(I always like a good argument.)"


I am mostly with you, but I am also mostly not a compositor.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:12:25 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] " I am also mostly not a compositor."

But don't you find that the boundary between mograph and compositing is blurring more and more over time to the point where plain and simple mograph in the old-fashioned sense almost doesn't exist anymore?

I do appreciate your more general point though that Ae (and Ps and Ai and a few others) have become such dominant industry standards that interchange is very problematic once you step outside the Adobe zone.

In a sense Adobe dominance does have to do with the superiority of their products, but in another sense it's very much to do with the demands of interchange within the industry.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:23:29 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "But don't you find that the boundary between mograph and compositing is blurring more and more over time to the point where plain and simple mograph in the old-fashioned sense almost doesn't exist anymore?"

I do, especially with the advent of "easier" 3D modeling and animation, and the state of the art in terms of tools being more available to everyone, and general advancements in production technology, speed, and cost.

But there's still, at least in my world, lots of use for pure motion graphics that don't need much in terms of compositing in the traditional sense.

The timeline is really the only thing that I see as an advantage to Ae layers. I routinely submit consolidated timelines to mograph artists. These timeline may be edits, some of them may be timing suggestions, some of them have text built in for further animation, some of them are stacked layers for further compositing. I don't see any other application that would allow me to work in a similar manner, although I have not tried the Resolve/Fusion combo in that manner.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:32:29 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] " I routinely submit consolidated timelines to mograph artists. These timeline may be edits, some of them may be timing suggestions, some of them have text built in for further animation, some of them are stacked layers for further compositing. I don't see any other application that would allow me to work in a similar manner, although I have not tried the Resolve/Fusion combo in that manner."

Fusion Connect does now in fact allow you to do just that out of Resolve - and you have a perfectly conventional Ae style Timeline once you're in Fusion as well. The implementation is really very good indeed and hugely impressive for a brand new feature.

However, the big challenge from your perspective would be finding enough talented artists with the kind of mograph experience who could produce Ae style graphics for you in Fusion.

That part, I will admit, is not easy ...

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:37:06 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Fusion Connect does now in fact allow you to do just that out of Resolve - and you have a perfectly conventional Ae style Timeline once you're in Fusion as well. The implementation is really very good indeed and hugely impressive for a brand new feature.
"


I have to check this out, if not for my own work, but for external work as well.


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Shawn Miller
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:37:41 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that for compositing Ae simply cannot touch node-based solutions.

(I always like a good argument.)"


I think there's some truth to this - but I also think it's fair to point out that it's a narrow subset of compositing tasks that AE is less suited for; deep pixel compositing, using specialty AOV's, reading OpenVDB sequences, compositing very complex scenes with thousands of elements, color space management per element/layer etc. For straight compositing and procedural animation, Nuke, Fusion, Mamba, et al are hard to beat... until you need to add complex animation and keyframe wrangling to the mix. This is why AE is so hard to replace (IMO), it's a great animation tool with decent compositing capabilities... there just isn't anything quite like it on the market.

Shawn



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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:40:11 pm

[Shawn Miller] "This is why AE is so hard to replace (IMO), it's a great animation tool with decent compositing capabilities... there just isn't anything quite like it on the market. "

I wouldn't argue with that at all - it's just that I find that Ae's compositing abilities are often seriously oversold. I think your perspective here is just the right balance.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Shawn Miller
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 10:10:54 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "I wouldn't argue with that at all - it's just that I find that Ae's compositing abilities are often seriously oversold."

I completely agree!

Shawn



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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:56:06 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I'd look more at Motion if had more third party support (like Mocha 5's new plugin for example)."

Motion does support Mocha (to an extent):

https://www.imagineersystems.com/videos/motion-tracking-tutorial-for-apple-...

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:13:31 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Motion does support Mocha (to an extent):

https://www.imagineersystems.com/videos/motion-tracking-tutorial-for-apple-....."


I have both the stand alone and plug-in versions of Mocha 5.

I was super resistant the plugin version at first. But now that I have some time on it, I really really like it.

Mocha's tools, not just the tracking, but the Insert, Remove, Stabilize, and lens options are really cool to have right in your compositor. It is currently not possible to render those modules within FCPX/Motion (and from what I hear, there are no plans to support it either). So yes, I can get some of the stuff from Mocha to Motion, or I could render out mattes and composites from Mocha itself and use those in Motion as media, but as far as getting the data from Mocha to use in Motion as "native data" or use the data to generate mattes, or tracking data, I can't. The plug-in version does all of this in Ae. (And Fusion, and others, I might add, just not Apple ProApps).


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:17:56 pm

Indeed, you are absolutely right. And these are very important considerations.

Which is why I only said it was supported "to an extent".

I'm certainly not convinced that Mocha and Motion will ever get any further than this.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Erik Lindahl
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:22:50 pm

The natural choice would be Motion, that said its sadly sort of dead in the water. It's support - even from its developer Apple - is weak at best. In the past Motion has scaled increadibaly poorly. You get amazing realtime until you hit some wall where performance does.

Fusion might be a decent bet. At least it's free to try out. And available for OSX / Windows / Linux.

Personally I'm happy with AE. I do however feel Adobe should and could do way more to improve things:

1. Unify their apps more. Consistencies with rendering, filters, format support - you name it. Today this is a massive head ache. Want an EPS in Premiere? Go from Illustrator to After Effects to Premiere. And remember to do the scaling in the right app as well as the CMYK > RGB conversion.

2. Make undynamic link dynamic. Copy & paste from any to any app. Today it sort-a-kind-a works here and there. But even simple things such as blurs don't translate correctly from PP to AE.

3. Project management. Today I setup my projects and edits in Resolve, Premiere and After Effects. It's sort of a pain. Adobes apps should be able to sort this better.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:28:10 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Fusion and Nuke and others are node-based compositors and as such can only do part of what AE does. Especially in the area of motion graphics."

Would you care to elaborate on where you think Fusion (and/or Nuke) doesn't stack up in terms of motion graphics?

It's an interesting question - I have seen some outstanding mograph done in both applications. But what are the theoretical and/or practical limits?

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Oliver Peters
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:36:16 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Would you care to elaborate on where you think Fusion (and/or Nuke) doesn't stack up in terms of motion graphics? "

And I've seen some of your tutorials on Fusion lately, so you are certainly ahead of the curve on that. I still think motion graphics tend to work better with layers and a timeline. Plus a lot of these start as layered Photoshop files, so there's a natural integration there with AE. I'm not sure if Fusion preserves PSD layers with layer effects or not.

A lot of the motion graphics I need get handed over to an artist not as a series of individual files, but rather as a set of shots or a flattened sequence as the base layer or plate. Then the artist embellishes that with graphics. So they are working across several shots, not just clip by clip. For instance, this might be an overall treatment of a complete commercial. It's my impression - and I could well be wrong - that AE is more conducive to such a workflow.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:26:35 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Plus a lot of these start as layered Photoshop files, so there's a natural integration there with AE. I'm not sure if Fusion preserves PSD layers with layer effects or not."

Fusion works just fine with layered files - PSD, of course, but just try working with multi-pass renders of EXR! Very flexible and powerful.

[Oliver Peters] "So they are working across several shots, not just clip by clip."

It's certainly possible to do with in Fusion - Fusion Connect now supports exactly that. But I take your overall point.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:07:42 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Would you care to elaborate on where you think Fusion (and/or Nuke) doesn't stack up in terms of motion graphics? It's an interesting question - I have seen some outstanding mograph done in both applications. But what are the theoretical and/or practical limits?"

Flow graphs don't change over time. Timelines do. I think that this vague concept of "length*seamlessness" in a mograph piece favors timelines more as it increases.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:20:08 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Flow graphs don't change over time. Timelines do. I think that this vague concept of "length*seamlessness" in a mograph piece favors timelines more as it increases."

But it's not entirely accurate to suggest that Nuke/Fusion don't have timelines ...

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:33:11 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "But it's not entirely accurate to suggest that Nuke/Fusion don't have timelines ..."

You're right. Precision in language matters.

I don't mean to suggest you cannot vary properties with time (keyframes on a dopesheet), or the timing of footage elements within a composite in a nodal system. I do mean to suggest you cannot practically vary the structure of the comp itself over time. You have one static flow graph that must accommodate every frame in the range.

There's a tradeoff between nodes and layers: what do you want to make easy? Order of operations? Shared references? Nodes. What/how you are compositing elements at a specific point in time? Layers.

(Of course, under the hood, a layered timeline is itself one static flow graph, but it's the UI that counts.)

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:38:00 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I do mean to suggest you cannot practically vary the structure of the comp itself over time. You have one static flow graph that must accommodate every frame in the range."

To what extent is this true/not true?

I can go into the timeline view in Fusion and slide my clips around in time just as I would in Ae. If I have animation associated with that clip, I can move the animation with the clip or not as I choose.

That to me, is varying the structure of the comp over time.

What more did you have in mind?

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Oliver Peters
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 11:14:50 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Aug 30, 2016 at 11:16:00 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Would you care to elaborate on where you think Fusion (and/or Nuke) doesn't stack up in terms of motion graphics? "

Here's a hypothetical example of something that I would consider very much in the wheelhouse of mograph. I presume Fusion or Nuke can do this, but would it be as easy as in most track/timeline tools (including nearly all NLEs)?

Let's take a standard broadcast open of :10 to :15 for "Sports Center". There's a base layer of live action sports shots that change to a music track. They have a stylized treatment, maybe colorized or something like that. On top you have full screen letters animating across the screen right to left. The letters are fullscreen tall, so you keyframe the moves to play out S-P-O-R-T-S and then C-E-N-T-E-R over the total duration. There's a fullscreen wipe of some sort between the SPORTS and CENTER sections. On top of this is some element that goes throughout - a banner or maybe glints on the top and bottom of the frame.

The SPORTS CENTER letters are created as a layered PSD so that each letter has a metallic texture and a bevel. There's an alpha for the interior of the letter, as well as the full letter with bevel. In the layering of the letters moving across the screen, the interior of each letter is filled with a separate live action sports video, with a bit of the metallic texture still showing through. The bevel stays solid.

It seems to me that this type of look is very easy and fast to achieve in After Effects. What about node-based software?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:22:36 am

I don't think that this is all that tricky. In fact, I think looking at a layer-based system, the idea that a track-matted layer has to be adjacent to its matte leads to a disorganization that you can very easily overcome with a free-form flow graph. Matte management is the bane of layered compositors.

IMHO, one of the areas where Ae shines the most for mograph are its design tools: text and shapes. I can't think of why this should be an inherent advantage of a layer-based system, and I think it's more of a target-market situation, but it is interesting to note that Ae/Motion seem to have markedly better toolsets for straight graphic design than NUKE/Fusion.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:03:22 am

[Walter Soyka] "In fact, I think looking at a layer-based system, the idea that a track-matted layer has to be adjacent to its matte leads to a disorganization that you can very easily overcome with a free-form flow graph. Matte management is the bane of layered compositors."

This is indeed one of the real weaknesses of Ae from a compositing point of view, making for a really clunky workflow. It works, but it certainly doesn't work elegantly.

Of course, as you know, this is not something that is a problem in Motion, where you can apply a matte from anywhere without the need for the layer (or group) to be adjacent. So this is not in fact a limitation of track-based systems, just a quirk of Ae's ancient architecture.

But yes, the real beauty of node-based systems is the power and flexibility in terms of being able to patch anything anywhere very quickly and simply which is the key to complex compositing.

One of the often overlooked features of node-based compositors that Ae lacks (and Motion too) is the option to use Effect Masks, i.e. the ability to use any bitmap or shape to mask the effect of any process (using RGB, alpha, hue, saturation, luminance, auxiliary channels, etc.). The lack of this very powerful and flexible feature in Ae again makes for some really clunky workarounds that mostly don't achieve the same result as an effect mask would.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:10:13 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "One of the often overlooked features of node-based compositors that Ae lacks (and Motion too) is the option to use Effect Masks, i.e. the ability to use any bitmap or shape to mask the effect of any process (using RGB, alpha, hue, saturation, luminance, auxiliary channels, etc.). The lack of this very powerful and flexible feature in Ae again makes for some really clunky workarounds that mostly don't achieve the same result as an effect mask would."

Adobe half-implemented this in Ae CC 2014, adding a "compositing options" feature with the ability to mask an effect using arbitrary masks on the layer. Perhaps "half" is a bit generous, because this is still nowhere near as flexible as an effects mask in a node-based system, and it's a lot more obscure and difficult to manage.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 2:57:26 pm

Walter has already answered this, but I'd just like to concur with him that this is all very simple indeed to do in something like Fusion - maybe even simpler than in Ae?

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:20:19 am
Last Edited By Walter Soyka on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:21:41 am

[Simon Ubsdell] "That to me, is varying the structure of the comp over time. What more did you have in mind?"

In my mind, for nodes, the flow graph sets the structure of the comp. Time is expressed and can be manipulated, but it is entirely independent of the the structure. For layers, the timeline sets the structure of the comp in the X dimension and varies over time in the Y direction. They are linked.

Fusion has a rocking timeline, but you have to jump to the flow graph to get at the compositing structure.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:44:03 pm

[Walter Soyka] "In my mind, for nodes, the flow graph sets the structure of the comp. Time is expressed and can be manipulated, but it is entirely independent of the the structure. For layers, the timeline sets the structure of the comp in the X dimension and varies over time in the Y direction. They are linked."

A very insightful formulation. (Though I think you've got your X and Y mixed up?)

In many ways though it encapsulates the limitations of layer-based systems.

Because the "structure" of the comp can only be expressed by the way that layers are superimposed/stacked in the Y direction, there are limits to how complex you can make the compositing. Or rather complex compositing makes for a great deal of redundancy in that you need to duplicate layers unnecessarily rather than simply piping one instance wherever it is needed.

The other point is that although the layered timeline is showing you something about the structure of the comp, it's a fairly incomplete picture. You're only really seeing the layer order (and a few other things), rather than the processes that are being applied. To see those processes you have to step through each layer and examine what's happening.

With nodes, of course, you can see the entirety of the structure, including many of the key processes, at one time which is a huge bonus. (Obviously, there's still a great deal you're not seeing without stepping through each node, but it's a lot more feedback than tracks give you.)

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:16:37 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "A very insightful formulation. (Though I think you've got your X and Y mixed up?)"

Just turn your head!

Of course I agree with everything you're saying here. Layers trade away fine-grained control for simplicity in presentation and the context of time -- until you get a complex comp, and then simplicity goes right out the window.

Also worth mentioning (and certainly something you know), Motion shows you processing in the timeline context (as did DS, right? And as does Mistika), so there are other ways of making a meaningful layer-based system beyond what Ae does. In fact, Mistika lets you switch freely between layers in their time-space and nodes in a flow graph.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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Simon Ubsdell
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 2:09:11 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Also worth mentioning (and certainly something you know), Motion shows you processing in the timeline context"

Yes, indeed. I was forgetting that ;-)

Actually I used to use the Motion Timeline far more extensively for this, which is obviously the method that the original developers had in mind, but over time I have come to use the Layers pane instead and only access the Timeline for finessing timings rather than "compositing", which I think is a more efficient way of working with the Motion model.

I should take another look a Mistika, I know, but I was among the early adopters of Jaleo and quickly gave up on it on account of its many design quirks - which you would either love or hate.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Scott Witthaus
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:46:31 pm

[Walter Soyka] "but you have to jump to the flow graph to get at the compositing structure.
"


Avid|DS had node-based compositing and effects inside a track based NLE. Loved it. Certainly better than the barely comprehensible timeline AE presents (love what AE does, not a fan of the interface). JHMO

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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James Culbertson
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:14:01 pm

With the latest version of AE 2015 I have only one issue: the sync audio bug... which is mostly workable if irritating. Otherwise, no issues with errors or crashing. I'm already enamored enough with the new caching system that I don't want to go back to 2014.

I've been using AE since 1995, and can't imagine using anything else despite any growing pains.


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David Mathis
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:11:05 am

I am interested in the Saphire Efeccts Builder for adding effects to clips but at this point it is not supported in Final Cut Pro X which is a bit disappointing. I would definitely use it in Resolve, so much better then digging through effects. I know this is not exactly motion graphics work but thought it somewhat relevant.

Motion is a good alternative for basic to intermediate work. Parameter behaviors are a nice alternative to After Effects expressions but not as powerful. Groups are better then pre-comping though the other has benefits.

The realtime performance is whats differentiates the two the most. Then again there are features that matter. One is better then the other. Why not learn as many as you can? Just my simple minded thoughts.


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Oliver Peters
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:46:42 am

[David Mathis] "The realtime performance is whats differentiates the two the most. "

Actually one of the things that I find really useful in AE is the fact it severely throttles done resolution while you scrub a complex timeline and then refreshes the image when you stop. That makes it fast to use without the "stickiness" of scrubbing through other apps' timelines.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 2:33:59 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I get a lot of weird crashing, a lot of indecipherable errors, a constant battle with the new caching system (although when it works, it is good), and a lot of freezing."

I know you're not necessarily looking for help, but I am curious. What kinds of errors are you getting? What doesn't work with the cache? Anything in particular that you think is leading to the freezing?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 2:56:28 pm

I used to have a folder of screenshots of all the weird errors I was getting, but I trashed it as it seemed useless. I'm sure I can dig one up somewhere, they are usually gibberish.

I don't know what causes the errors, it usually happens when plugins get involved, the cache seems to get kinda sticky and full and I need to purge everything and restart as it seems to lose its way (like it can't keep track of all the changes and iterations).

I can't nail down anything in particular which is the cause of the frustration. Sometimes editing a mask, or roto, or paint will cause the whole UI to go grey and become unresponsive. Auto saves seems to cause a lot of harm in the middle of caching.

Basically, all of the UI feels like it's disconnected at the moment. It is hard to stay focused and get work done.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 4:02:19 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I know you're not necessarily looking for help, but I am curious. What kinds of errors are you getting? What doesn't work with the cache? Anything in particular that you think is leading to the freezing?"

Here's a few:







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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 4:10:15 pm

Sorry to ask the obvious, but are your plug-ins up-to-date? There were some changes to the API in 13.5 to support the new preview functionality, and some developers had to release compatibility updates. Are there particular plugins you're using a lot when you have these errors?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 4:12:00 pm

As far as I know, they are up to date but I can double check.

There really is now rhyme or reason that I can find. If it was one thing all the time, I feel like I would be able to identify it.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: After Effects users, are you happy?
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:14:50 pm

I think AE users may be a bit happier next week (IBC) - at least that's the rumor...

It was at a Vegas premiere that I resolved to become an avid FCPX user.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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