Managing different types of employees: Management Tips

Published by | Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

This week I’ll tackle a fun case: managing those employees who approach their jobs a bit differently than the rest. Say hello to your creative and technical teams.

In this week’s first tip we’ll address the creatives on your team. Creative professionals can be colorful, unique individuals; by nature they tend to view problems from different perspectives. Your real management challenge with creative professionals is nurturing and channeling their creativity while protecting them from team members who don’t understand their processes.

Previewing the next release of After Effects CC

Published by | Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Previewing the next release of After Effects CC

In preparation for the 2014 NAB Show, Adobe has begun previewing new features slated for the next release of their video applications. I’ve had a chance to work with the upcoming version of After Effects CC, and I’m working on a new chapter for our After Effects: Creative Cloud Updates course to demonstrate them. In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about some of the goodies planned for this release.

Adobe Premiere Pro integration
A main focus of Adobe’s upcoming releases is to strengthen the integration between After Effects and Premiere Pro, making it easier for a Premiere editor to tap into AE’s power. To that end, Adobe is introducing Live Text Templates, allowing you to create a composition (or chain of compositions) that includes text layers; lock the layers you don’t want the editor touching (e.g., the title of a show); and leave the layers you do want them to edit unlocked (such as a name in a lower third). You can then designate the project and this comp as a Template in Composition Settings.

Production rendering from the Maya Camera Sequencer

Published by | Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Production rendering with Maya's Camera Sequencer

Maya’s Camera Sequencer is an amazing tool for nonlinear editing and previsualization. It lets you create a cuts-only edit of multiple cameras and shots within a single scene, and render the edited sequence out to a Playblast. There’s just one catch: By default, the framing and aspect ratio of the exported sequence doesn’t match that of the cameras. I wasn’t able to cover this in my recent course Cinematography in Maya but in this article, I’ll describe how to work around the issue.

With the following steps, the Maya Camera Sequencer can render movies and image sequences with the same crop factor as the Batch Renderer. Depending on your needs, you may even be able to render final production animations using Viewport 2.0! Imagine that: You can stage, animate, and edit an entire movie within Maya, basically erasing the distinctions between pre-production, production, and post.

Working with Photoshop 1.0: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Working with Photoshop 1.0

One of the goals of Deke’s Techniques is to keep you, our members, up to date with the latest technology. That’s why Deke is here today to introduce Adobe Photoshop, a new way to digitally manipulate scanned photographs. Right now it’s only available on Apple Macintoshes—still a niche product—but it’s worth exploring this clever little program if you can get your hands on a Mac IIci or even an IIfx model. Take a look at features like 2-megapixel image support, large and small brushes, one level of Undo per file, and partial support of color. Plus, there’s the brilliant Save As dialog box, which allows you to save your image as a PXR, or PICT Resource file. But only if you have enough memory.

Write a claim letter to a company: Monday Productivity Pointers

Published by | Monday, March 31st, 2014

Write a claim letter

I’ve slipped a few nontechnical topics into Monday Productivity Pointers over the past year and they’ve proven to be popular, so this week I’m doing it again.

In today’s video, I’ll show you how to write a claim letter to a company for a faulty product or a bad experience. When you don’t get results from a claim letter, often the problem is that you never actually asked for a claim in the first place.

3 Ways to Get Your Novel Ideas Approved (AUDIO)

Published by | Monday, March 31st, 2014

3 ways to get your novel ideas approved

What do we do when we present a great novel idea to our higher–ups and they don’t approve it? We often start generating less novel ideas—and that benefits no one. Listen to creativity expert Stefan Mumaw as he explains how to sell your novel ideas to stakeholders so they see their value, and put them into action.

Know what’s important to your audience and then sell it through that lens.

Create a film look with color grading: DSLR Video Tips

Published by | Friday, March 28th, 2014

Create a film look with color grading

It’s very expensive to shoot with film, but there are ways to create a film look in post–production. DaVinci Resolve and Adobe SpeedGrade are two popular apps you can use to color grade, and create film looks for your footage. Join Robbie and me along with our special guest, colorist Dan Moran, a London-based expert in DaVinci Resolve, as we demonstrate different ways you can use Resolve to transform your digital footage into a stylized film look.

Digital matte painting is just good painting!

Published by | Friday, March 28th, 2014

Matte painting is just good painting!

Matte painting is meant to fool the viewer’s eye. It is a special effects technique that combines live-action footage with painted imagery that dates back to 1907— the very dawn of filmmaking. Mattes were originally painted on a sheet of glass, which was suspended in front of the camera. Today, with digital imaging, artists can work in Photoshop, and combine their paintings with a live-action plate in programs such as After Effects, Maya, or Nuke.

The tools and techniques I advocate aren’t just helpful for matte painting, but form the building blocks of all good paintings. If you want to learn the tools and techniques I use for creating a strong digital matte painting, here are five artistic principles to set you on the right path: