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.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Bear with me for a second here as I pitch some commercial imagery...

A couple of months ago, Artbeats released a new package of backgrounds called "Chromatica" (standard and hi-def) that was designed by this really super, uber-talented artist named... Me! I designed the package because I found that I often had editorial imagery that I had to support with some aggressive backgrounds. The soft, flowing fuzzy stuff doesn't always cut it!

I used a lot of 3d in the imagery, mostly metallic chromy-y 3d gak and the likes, with some strong use of grids and lines and such. Not much news there, really: you can find this stuff if you look hard enough. But I included a couple of things with the package that give you a lot more flexibility when it comes down to using it in projects.

First, you'll discover that there are a lot of black and white looping matte clips that echo the visual impact of the backgrounds themselves. If you know a thing or two about either editing or visual compositing, this means that you can use the mattes to 'cut out' things to composite over the backgrounds (or vice versa).

The second thing that comes with the Chromatica package (just the Standard Definition package... but see the tip below) is a clever little After Effects project (v 6.5 or later) called "Blender". Basically, you open the project and through the tricky (and to you, invisible) use of expressions, you use After Effects as an graphical user interface to create thousands and thousands of different backgrounds. It's simple: you click and drag to select foreground and background imagery, do the same to choose a matte cutout, select your render composition (D1, DV, PAL and others) and render. It's super intuitive, and you don't need to know a THING about After Effects to make the changes! In fact, I'd say that it's downright fun (in a geeky sort of way) to play with: click, drag, see changes. It's pretty addictive.

As the Quicktime will show you, it works super well with the Adobe Video suite (available only on PC thus far) when you use the Blender AE project as an Adobe Live Link in Premiere Pro. You can make changes really fast with clients looking over your shoulders and update your GFX in real time.

And here's a tip if you purchase Chromatica: you can use Blender with any and all of your existing background (or other) footage by doing a 'replace footage' of the Blender footage items, thus extending the 'life' of your backgrounds library. One other tip: Blender "comes only with the Standard Definition Chromatica Package", but the good folks at Artbeats told me that if folks say "I want the Blender project", they'll include it with the Hi-Def versions of Chromatica as well.

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