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.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easier Easing

Have your keyframes ever found themselves bored with the drab, grey predictability of "Ease" and "Easy Ease"? Do they often complain about plain-jane temporal velocity adjustments? And do you select keyframes, apply an ease, then sigh as your layers move with the predicable monotony brought on by the After Effects defaults? Oh, sure, you might get brave and wander over to the Graph Editor now and again to alter the velocities of your items by hand, but really, how often do you just settle for an "Easy Ease In" and call it a day?

Is there a better way?

Thanks to Ian Haigh, there is. Ian was good enough to recently adapt some Flash-based easing equations originally designed by a fellow named Robert Penner, and he's brought them to After Effects. Check it out at his website.

I've tried the script and was very happy with how it all worked. I've now got a one-button solution to not only creating variations on 'eases', but also the opportunity for consistency. I pretty much always go to the graph editor to make my eases 'more extreme', but the trouble is when applied to multiple keyframes across many layers, they're all slightly different. Now I can use this script and all KF's that I apply it to will have the same 'movement personality'.

There are two drawbacks to the script*, both with workarounds. One, it only works on the first two KF's in an a given parameter. The workaround is to apply the script on multiple 'transform' EFFECTS instead of on to multiple keyframes on the 'transform' PARAMETER. And two, you can't view the resulting velocities in the Graph Editor (should you so choose) unless you select the KF's and go to Animation-> Keyframe Assistant-> Convert Expression to Keyframes. But I would surely recommend that you give it a try, I think you'll like it.

*Edit: take a gander at the comments to this post. Ian addresses both of these considerations.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Making It Look Great 2 with... Me!

You may have been wondering why I haven't been posting to the blog much of late, and now I can finally reveal the reason. I've been hard at work creating a full length, comprehensive motion graphics tutorial for Motionworks' "Making It Look Great" series.

I'll be walking you through all the techniques necessary to create a sophisticated "News Show" opening, plus how you can adapt the intro to create fast and effective Lower Thirds and backgrounds. It's not just a discussion about "how" to design the spot, I also talk a lot about "why" I make certain design decisions during the process.

Topics will include:
• Learning how to think like a designer.
• Secrets of effective project workflow.
• Pro-level modeling and texturing with Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator Pro.
• Advanced techniques for transforming and deforming 3D Invigorator objects.
• Building dynamic transitions using text.
• Beyond–the–ordinary background design.
• Creative color grading with Blend Modes.
• Quick and easy lower third design.
• Mastering the After Effects Graph Editor.
• Tips and tricks for taking control of masks.

My colleague Harry Frank is also contributing a title to the series, and you'll be able to choose either a download or a DVD of the package. It will be available for purchase via Zaxwerks.com very soon. I'll let you know when it's officially released.