Welcome! My name is Alan Shisko, and I'm a freelance motion graphics artist working out of Toronto, Canada. I've been very lucky in my career to have had many inspiring teachers, and decided to start this blog to give back to the community that has enriched me both technically and aesthetically. Perhaps my words and images will inspire you to do the same! If you wish, take a minute to view my demo reel at Shisko.com, or view a comprehensive gallery of my past work Here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Big Move!

I started this blog way back in 2006 for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I felt that it was important to give back to the motion graphics community that had supported me when I started shoving pixels this way and that way back in 1996. Second, it's good karma. And third, writing posts and tutorials kept me sharp as I've always felt that teaching is the best way to learn.

The past number of years have been very interesting for me, both personally and professionally. I recently had the great good fortune to work for a company that was creating a fully-automated online motion graphics content creation ecosystem, using After Effects as the host application. It was a geeky-awesome time, and was certainly the highlight of my professional career so far. And now, I am back to freelancing, both creatively and as a consultant in motion graphics design and automation using After Effects.

In the past, I've had a blog site (which you're reading now), a portfolio site (Effektor), a past work gallery and some photography sites to boot. I've decided to bring it all together into a single place, and so this will be my last post on this blog.

So, drop by www.shisko.com for all of the latest and greatest. While you're there, I would also invite you to start following my new blog that promises to be as informing and insightful as this one. And you can also follow my twitter feed @AlanShisko.

Thanks, and catch you after the jump!


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Hear Hear!

I'll be a guest on the Digital Production Buzz podcast this evening. It promises to be an interesting discussion, as there's almost nothing I like better than to talk shop :) If you come to this post after the podcast, you'll find that it's archived on the site.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New After Effects Toronto Group

Some of you may recall that I started up the MOGRATO (MOtion GRAphics TOronto) users' group some years ago... hmm... was it 1999? It was great fun, and we had some awesome meetings. However, work and life intervened, and I had to let it go after a good run.

It's always nice to get out of our dark little holes and have some quality face-to-face time with our colleagues, though, so it was nice to hear that an After Effects users' group was being formed. Take a gander at the web space HERE.

I'm not involved in AETO, but Chris & Russ asked whether I'd like to present at the inaugural meeting. Never one to turn down an opportunity to stumble through a demo on an underpowered laptop with one teensy little screen, I accepted.

So, tonight (Wednesday, April 22nd), I will be talking about two recent projects (here and here). Topics to be covered will include 'Creative uses for CC Sphere, including faux-3d space using expressions', and, if there's time, 'Parenting and expressions to create realistic, organic movement'.

Check out AETO.com for the meeting location. Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mr. Roboto

I recently uploaded a fun little 'accessory' project to my stable of AEP's for sale at Revostock. It's what I call a 'motion widget', which is to say it's a project that you can use and adapt to solve any number of visual problems. It can be used for full-screen presentations, gallery sequences, a little lower third, maybe even a kind of 'thought bubble'. Take a look at the promo HERE.

I've used parenting to create a Robot Arm and combined it with some fancy-dancy expressions to create a flexible, easy-to-modify project. If you've never used parenting before, then this little tutorial is a great introduction to how you can use it to create interdependent 'arms' that convincingly mimic the movement of a robot. Take a look at THIS Quicktime tutorial (h264, 20.5 megs, 9:51)

If you'd like to get into it a little bit deeper, do consider purchasing the project from Revostock.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Own Me!

Things on the blog front haven't been very productive of late, and now I can tell you why. I've been hard at work putting together a series of After Effects projects that are now available for purchase.

This is a huge step beyond mere 'stock backgrounds'. These projects are sophisticated, professionally designed cutting-edge spots of the highest quality. And I have also taken great care to ensure that they are easily modifiable by you. Adding your own imagery and text is simple, and I use a lot of on-screen controls for modifying colours. You rarely- if ever- have to visit the effect control window.

Use them for broadcast intros, product promos, transitions, galleries, corporate productions or wedding and event videos. And of course they aren't just After Effects projects. They also serve as 'tutorials'. Dive into the projects, take them apart, discover all my little tips and tricks, then apply this knowledge to your own designs.

But fear not, I'm not abandoning my past. I'll be continuing to discuss my techniques both here on this blog and over at the PVC. I'm planning to continue adding projects to the Revostock collection fairly regularly, and would invite you to consider picking them up should you see a title that interests you.

View the full collection at Revostock here, and check back often!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Just came across this nifty little site... yourfonts.com. It let's you create a custom font based upon your own handwriting. It's quick, easy and (for a basic font without too many weird characters), free. I downloaded the image template, brought it into Photoshop, used my tablet to create the characters, uploaded the image et voila! "Big Al.ttf", a true type font that only a mother could love.

It would also be great for creating other design elements, say your own set of wingdings created in Illustrator, your signature, glyphs, custom characters and such. A great time-waster, to be sure.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tiling Strategies In The 21st Century

And I'm not talking kitchens! Seamlessly tileable images are an important part of motion graphics design. If you’re looking for a way to create your own using Adobe Photoshop, then this short video tutorial is for you. I cover two different methods for creating the tiles using two very different source images. I then show you how to quickly and easily use the images in Adobe After Effects. I've posted this one to the PVC blog, so click HERE to watch the tutorial.