Need Illustrator to Animator Tutorial - The Vector Basics.
For over a year now I have had some challenges getting from Illustrator to Pro Animator. Is there anybody in this forum that can point to... or create... an "Illustrator to Animator for Dummies Guide"? Pro Animator is amazing...but I have always been a novice at Illustrator...and the integration is just so critical.
I usually try to trace logos in Illustrator using smart auto trace. I am not totally versed in Illustrator and much as I am in video programs... so I get trapped by making compound paths, moving vector points, how to smartly modify points using the pen tool, repairing parts of a logo that are distorted in Animator, how to clean up or separate complex logo shapes, when and how to use outlines, how to break logos into several parts, how to have holes work out properly, when to fill and not fill, how layers translate, tricks on importing to Animator, and having AI logos stack and move predictably in Animator 3D space.
I must say that the dissatisfaction in using animator is not animator...its just that everyone else seems to know illustrator well... and they assume that most of us video folks are vector geeks too. The "send me your files" approach to helping here...doesnt train the whole community in what skills they can have and know themselves to be better.
Would someone here , or at the factory, be willing to help out and produce a fairly comprehensive "Illustrator to Animator for Dummies" set of guidelines/techniques in "plain video geek english" ...so we can get on with amazing our directors with Zaxwerks products?
To make animator use itself most successful...it would need to start out basic...and get us trained in all the important pitfalls, tricks, compound, outline, hard angle, correcting segments, export,import kind of ideas. "The Basics" of being good in illustrator...so I can be good in Animator!!
Can anyone help at this stage of the game.
I have already received the excellent Animator to After Effects DVD...and that only begins to approach the basics I am asking for here. Help!
I have to agree with Suzzie ..I have PA and have no clue how it works with Illustator..As a person with a video background
do we really need to learn another piece of software just to get PA to fuction at it's best
In this case, knowledge is power and the more you know about Illustrator, the more power you'll harness with ProAnimator or Invigorator.
The fact is, you'll be in great shape if all you learn is how to create your own paths using the pen tool, how to edit control points and how to use the pathfinder tools. You'll also find benefit in understanding compound paths and how to convert a stroked outline into a filled object using the path>outline stroke command and in understanding layers.
You can find tons of tutorials on Illustrator basics on the net... if you have a specific how-to question, we'll be happy to help here.
I guess I was a little tough...
But you guys at Zax just dont get it. We are asking you to provide what is important for your paying customers to know... in knowing how to use and optimize your tool to its best.
I have been following zax for two years and have constantly put it away on the shelf because of difficulties in translating from being a video geek to a vector geek.
How hard can it possibly be for you guys who know it in your sleep... to produce a 9 minute video tutorial for those of us who have to make transitions to make your product look nice?
Why dont you guys send us a file sometime...Cant you see its a constant repetitive thread and an area of difficulty and it constantly raises questions in one form or another from your user base?
I dont expect you guys to know everything Im an expert at...but if you would like to make money... and have your newer customers dazzle their boses and clients...then maybe...please...consider putting a definitive "Bridge" turorial together with your best practices and tips together. PLEASE?????
With all due respect, I want to respond to the "you guys at Zax don't get it."
My first response is that the people who answer questions in this forum do get it. Most of us are users just like you. We're here as unpaid volunteers. We're here because we really like Zaxwerks software and we like to see people create great work with it. We're here answering questions and looking at files because we like to help people learn. Sometimes examining files is the fastest way to help someone. We build tutorials and trainning based on what people ask about and may develop something along the lines of your suggestion.
I can also tell you that Zax and the people in his company get it too. You have no idea how much time and energy they invest in crafting a postive, intuitive user experience. This kind of effort shows up in a streamlined user interface and in software documentation that's easy to read and understand.
Having said all of that, I understand your frustration with learning Adobe Illustrator. I'm in the same boat when it comes to Lightwave. It's a very powerful tool, but it sits on a shelf because I haven't felt the urgent need to invest the time and energy required to really learn it. I imagine it'll stay that way until I either get lots of free time (right) or take on a project that demands that I learn it. I'm not upset at the people who make Lightwave - all kinds of instructional materials are out there. I realize I'm the one deciding what I learn and when I learn it.
I can't predict when a tutorial that matches your needs will arrive here in the forum. I can pledge that we'll be here to help you get through your projects, one step at a time.
Thank you for your understanding response. I apologize for the company reference. I must admit that "I do admire and appreciate Zaxwerks and company for producing such a fine and intuitive and innovative product". My frustration may be misplaced. And I also admit that I appreciate your efforts as a volunteer unquestionably. Thank you.
I guess what im frustrated about is that alot of the help here is "one off". Ask me this question, send me that file, Ill take a look at that. What I want to know is what tricks do you know that causes repeated questions that you could share with all of us. I have had so many unexpected illustrator related frustrations in making logos that dont come out in animator as I expected...that it is an embarrassment to come back and ask for a volunteer's help so many times over ...because im making that same small "unknown" mistake over and over. (Like in a complicated auto traced logo...how to get all the holes to come out correctly...or...I end up with spikes unexpectedly for example.)
So, Ive met Zax at a trade show...and he is brilliant, and your product is marvelous...and you are a volunteer Ive met here for the last year or two. But in two years, ive never ceased to have input problems into animator because there are some pointers in illustrator I wish I knew how to conquer... to look good with Zaxwerks to my boss. (Yes ive paid my dues and have an open account at Lynda's.com trying to learn illustrator, Ive purchased serges new DVD already, and im trying to ramp up to Zaxwerks expert level in inputting to animator by searching for tutorials...but... I and possibly many others...even if we knew the different parts of illustrator...are having a heck of a time trying to connect the dots...and understand whats important in illustrator as regards to inputting predictably into Animator.
John I love your volunteer spirit. Zaxwerks products and its people are brilliant. But most of us commercial producers are working too fast and have too much on our plate to come here one problem at a time...sending files and waiting for answers one at a time... from a volunteer...when we could be knowing what to fix ...ourselves...and what NOT to do...and what TO do.
I apologize for being a pain. Its embarassing and inefficient for me to be coming back here with these repeatable ones-e, twos-e issues...and not know if anyone over a 10 or 20 hour period will volunteer a solution that will actually produce a client solution. By that time... in my world, in a practical sense, ive lost the opportunity to use Zaxwerks...and im onto find out what else I can do to please the client. You dont know how many times Ive put away zaxwerks...because over the last number of years...I could not unfortunately master the spikes, holes, and layering into Zaxwerks to make things predictable, beautiful and production hardened.
Please consider helping many of us out, by sharing your information thoroughly once, and not one private file at a time...so that we can all make magic with your incredible products.
Once I get this "vector input rules and tips" stuff down...then maybe ill have fewer repetitive problems... and I wont feel so embarrassed and so billable time pressed... to come back here for some legitimate help. I dont feel comfortable or respectful in asking for your volunteer time every logo I have similar input problems with.
Thanks for your dedication and I apologize to have mis-spoken about the company and its beautiful products in my deep frustration.
I apologize for not going into details in this thread. I just came back home after a long shoot. (3:00 AM)
What I want to quickly say before going to bed is that just like Jon I do understand your frustration. The main point here is that (As I already stated in the Training DVD) Auto tracing is a PAIN! Jon and I advised not to use this method in many posts for obvious reasons. I wish someone would prove us wrong! Life would be much easier;-)
The reasons why spikes occur in Invigorator and how you can get rid of them were also explained in this forum as well as in my DVD. The problem is due mostly because of the autotracing feature. From what I understand you seam to have used this feature quite often and didn't get any luck either.
Last three things:
1- You shouldn't feel bad asking for help in this forum at any time as we all benefit from "QUESTIONS & Answers"
2- The "Send me your file", "Here is an example for you" etc... is in my opinion not a negative option. Each project is unique and having a look at a file (ai,AEP,PS...) helps us to serve you better.
3- Give us a concrete wish list on what could help you eliminate your weak points.
"InvigoMany" is back in stock! http://www.nyc-visual.com
Invigorator/Proanimator Training: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/hamad_serge/invig_training.php
I feel honored to have you reply. I just purchased and received your training DVD. It is excellent. Thank You very much.
In watching your new DVD this week...it is the first time I have definitively known what the spike problem is...and how to fix it. I have been trolling here on and off for over a year...and your DVD was the first time I understood that spikes are caused by crossed handles at a point...and I actually saw how you reversed them to make the problem go away. I was amazed to see and learn that. Seeing it and watching it for me was so much better than reading about someone else's post where they were asked to send a file over and the next thing I saw was "Hey, that fixed the problem, thanks."
Im not asking for a training DVD on this issue...just a 5-8 minute "desktop video" on-line. There is a myriad of things that real life producers are asked to implement quickly for customers...and whatever rules, steps, tips, organizations you can show us...will help us get from a customers idea to a real Zaxwerks showpiece...with no spikes, nice holes, and layers that create several levels.
I gave a pretty comprehensive laundry list in my first post for what I would like to have in my back pocket...so when someone asks me...can you do this...I can say Shure...I know just how to re-create that multi dimensional logo...No Problem!!! I can just do it in Zaxwerks.
I understand auto trace can be an issue...but sometimes real life complex graphics and quick customer demands make it a loathsome necessary tool. Id also like some..."here's how you create this... and this is how to fix this" guidance or general principles (use compound paths, use pathfinder or outlines or fills here to do this and that.) This may be stuff you know right off the top of your heads...but to us...it would be a veritable gold mine of practical seasoned assistance. The goal here is to advance the art of creating and using Zaxwerks...for newer comers. Who knows....it might even eliminate 15% of the questions here!
Jon and Serge...thanks for your feedback.
I just dont want to wait around for 9 hours hoping someone will be answering my question...when I have a customer right over my shoulder...I want to know MYSELF...how to spot those file things...so I can avoid or fix them on the spot...and then be totally freed up to be wonderfully creative with Animator...because ive seen it done once thoroughly...and now I can do it too.
Please consider sharing a small bit of your experience in this Zaxwerks input area, once...thoroughly...and in video geek language... so that we can become creative and make your product sing and not be burdened.
Thanks guys for considering this possibility.
You know with all the time you put into writting these long posts you could be expermentig with illustrator and Invigorator and see what does work.
I come from a studio art background (real paint and pencils) and it took me a while to get to understand illustrator and photoshop, and then AE. I'm still learning.
I have found tutorials are not (insert caveman accent) "here project, you make same" You have to do a little expermentation and always and ask a lot of questions. That what makes the cow so great because you are not alone. Having the Zax team available is an added bonus.
Just my 2 cents.
I agree with Ken. Play more with the programs.... save a version of your doc/image you want 3d called 'imgoingtoscrewthisupYEAH.psd/ai' then inevitably screw it up, and eventually get it right.
Here's some decent tutorials I found recently when I was learning how to do just this, just by searching for "vector path logo illustrator photoshop" and "how to use the pen tool":
vector paths from photoshop:
another alternative for 3d logo's, etc (no pictures though):
Hope these help a bit. The pen tool really is a hurdle, was for me at least, (THOSE BEZIERS MADE NO SENSE AND I WANTED TO DESTROY EXISTENCE!!) but then you get it, (and you don't want to destroy existence anymore. Just... trace it... with the pen tool.)
Sorry for the longer posts. Ive been a user of (or experimentor with) Animator for a year and a half and feel nicely comfortable and happy with it in text animation.
What im asking for here is what I see as a common recurring theme..."Im having an issue coming out of Illustrator...with a non-text element... and this is happening".
With all the Zax integration expertise around here at The Cow I would love for some community minded hero to consider doing a down and dirty brief 8 minute "Outputting Guidelines from Illustrator to Animator for Dummies". I think it would be a marvelous favor for hundreds of us... who ask similiar individual questions... Repeatedly... but in different forms... about guidelines and best practices and troubleshooting for inputting predictably, accurately and reliably from Illustrator to Animator.
Your guess that I dont experiment enough or put in my learning hours or my money is fairly inaccurate.
Ill keep this one and future ones short. Thanks.
Thanks for the links.
I agree, I have spent time googling illustrator as well...Everything helps! You can never tell when you will achieve the breakthrough to what youre looking for. I consider myself to be a constant learner. I have recently paid to take illustrator video training on Lynda.com as well as purchasing the newest Zaxwerks After Effects Animator Training ( I also work in After Effects). I spend an average of 4-6 hours a week learning new software. I work in a video production role in New York.
Please understand my question...I am not a newbee at this or other forums, I google, I study, I pay, I practice, I experiment. What I am asking for is for someone with specific knowledge of Zaxwerks and Illustrator Interfacing to help me... and hundreds of others...now and in the future...to understand from EXPERIENCE... what works... and what the best practices are... for getting effective and reliable input from AI...so that I can be freely creative and effective with non-text elements in Zaxwerks.
Just this one thing... could someone here or otherwise, please consider...For the benefit of existing zaxwerks users... producing a tutorial like some that you already have here(like the one on the Zaxwerks timeline for example). Did you experiment frustratingly for hours with the Animator timeline...or was a tutorial invaluable? Did you like getting those insights in one bite?..or would you rather learn the best tips... one by one... only when you get frustrated enough to have a problem at hand.
Thats all im asking. In New York City I cant afford not to know. And what a better place to get that knowledge possibly than here possibly from the fine creators and users of Animator!
I have the same frustrations as well. I wasn't prepared to spend so much time in Illustrator.
Dual 2.5 G5
FCP HD, Motion
It could be very helpful if everyone would put the Google links they found into one place for the newer users, so they could save a lot of time searching.
I also agree that a SIMPLE tutorial would be very helpful for new users.
Just a thought....
Dual 2.5 G5
FCP HD, Motion
I and others can certainly Google about Illustrator and take training in it... all day long.
What im interested in... is the successful and creative "INTERFACE" or workflow (best practices) between Illustrator and Animator.
Im looking for information from any Zax expert, who has the best practices, tips, and techniques...necessary to maximize the creative potential with Animator... when I have to create a non-text element...and make it work consistently and predictably...and smartly... to get a commercial job out the door.
Working smartly with illustrator is so "INTEGRAL" sometimes to being "Successful with Animator" in a commercial environment... that I am amazed at how much static I am getting on this thread.
I guess my very frustrated tone is sneaking out... about asking for specific, comprehensive, one source, one time, one place help like this. Not Illustrator help only...but the interface...and the smart working... from one into the other.
Its amazing how many posts have to do with this subject... in slightly different ways...over and over again.
I think it's a good idea and I can relate.
Hopefully others will gain a lot from it too.
Dual 2.5 G5
FCP HD, Motion
Zax has produced a brand new video tutorial covering Illustrator vector art basics:
Very informative! Thanks so much Zax for taking the time to do this. One of the best explanations to using Illustrator I've seen.
Zax has produced a brand new video tutorial covering Illustrator vector art basics:
Thank You John! Thank You Zax!
That is SO helpful... to have all the key information in one tutorial.
I am very appreciative.
Some other day...only when your priorities allow...I would love to see some best practices on:
- What to do to correct difficult spikes in Illustrator.
- What if a Hole doesnt Come Through as expected. Troubleshooting and fixing the above in Illustrator.
- How to Plan Out and Create a Logo that has several overlapping elements (An Olyimpic Medal for example with coin, text and leaves)
-How to best position, drag, and select overlapping elements within the 3D space in Animator (Centers, positioning several objects at different depths or positions in Animator. Any Camera tricks, Angle Views, or separate camera suggestions to get the best results with your product.
NICE JOB....Again THANK YOU!!
I've been away for a few days and just returned to find this new video.
Very nicely done and it's quick and to the point. It is just what I needed also.
I hope to see more of these "Illustrator for dummies" videos so I can use Zaxwerks to it's full potential.
Dual 2.5 G5
FCP HD, Motion
thanks for the response...Off to Total Training for me