tips & tricks

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Roto Quick Tips: alpha RAM Preview and Caching

After Effects doesn’t let you RAM preview an alpha channel. Here’s a workaround. Continue reading

After Effects: Express yourself with Expressions

One of the most powerful and yet often under utilised additions to After Effects from version 5 onwards is the inclusion of expressions. While its implementation may not be as strong or as easy as using Action Script in Flash 5, it has one critical advantage. Continue reading

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Getting that Big Break

Moving up in the effects or motion design field isn’t structured like a law office. How do you get ahead?
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Nuke: Project managment

For project management you can easily customize nuke.
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Roto strategies in FFI

A basic tutorial on approaching Roto in FFI Continue reading

Digital Counter – Expression Tricks Series

Flame artist Alan Fairlie’s killer setup which allows you to use one axis to create a digital counter using expressions. Continue reading

3D tracking in action: Part 2 – Automatic 3D tracks

Flame 6 offers automatic background 3D tracking. In this second part of 3D tracking inside flame we examine this new feature. Continue reading

3D tracking in action: Part 1 – Manual 3D Tracks

Flame and inferno now have 2 different 3D trackers. In part 1, Jake Parker outlines detailed points for producing the best results using the manual 3D camera tracker. Continue reading

Tracking 101 – An Introduction to the Discreet Tracker

Andy Milkis takes us through an entry-level introduction to the Discreet Tracker. This tutorial is useful for flame, fire, and combustion artists, even though some of it only applies to the effects products. Milkis is Visual Effects Supervisor and Senior Effects artist at DesignLab, the design and visual effects division of Broadway Video, NYC. Continue reading

Directional blur by using simple expression

Directional blur by using simple expression. Continue reading

12 bit goodness in an 8 bit world

With v5/8 of FFI, you can now benefit from 12bit rendering without switching to a different partitions. In fact, you can even use most of that 12 bit goodness without using a single 12 bit frame on your framestore.
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Blend modes for sky replacement

Getting rid of the unwanted edging around sky replacements. Continue reading

inferno: Clean up/Fix Less Frames

Use motion estimation to help with fixes. Continue reading

Flame: Camera Zoom Stabilization

Using 3d z space to nullify zoom. Continue reading

Fake Ground Shadows for 3D Objects

This trick will allow you to fake 3d shadows on a ground plane for just about any 3d object or objects. Continue reading

flame: Take Control of BiLinear Offsets

Easily adjust offsets to compensate for corner points. Continue reading

flame: Who’s using my framestore?

Perl script for seeing who is using framestores. Continue reading

Flame: How to get a fresh action node

A “reset all” tip for pre-v5/8 users Continue reading

55/85: broadcast monitor focus tip

Use the new broadcast monitor focus hotkey to make multiviews even more useful. Continue reading

55/85: scan mode tutorial

One of the biggest changes in workflow in version 5.5/8.5 is a new “Scan Mode” flag which is saved with each clip. This way, the software knows whether or not the clip is a F1, F2, or Progressive Clip. While … Continue reading

Mike Seymour shows a jet plane fly by using mixed resolution features of 5/8.
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Poor Man’s Mosaic

Here’s a way to create a mosaic effect using action and expressions. This will work very fast because its processed with graphics hardware and also without having sparks.
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Camera & Action in batch

If using 4.7.2 with dve’s etc. & a camera move, you may find that using or importing the same set-up / scene into other action nodes within batch doesn’t work. Continue reading

Adjusting garbage mattes in scene context

This is a simple workaround to allow you to edit garbage mattes, with their shape releative to the scene rather than just on the full 2d plane. Continue reading

Using Projectors to Achieve Camera Distortion

Here is a quicktime using mixed resolution projectors to achieve camera distortion. Continue reading

v5/8 Gotchas (Updated 3/4/03)

There have been numerous changes in effects version 5/8. We’ve broken down some of the changes by module, in hopes of letting you avoid some of the pitfalls we ran into when first running the software. Thanks, also for the contributions from Rich Bobo. Continue reading

Intro to Batch – QuickTime Tutorial

With the new integration of action in batch, considerable changes were made to batch workflow and navigation. fxguide has created an introduction to version 5/8 batch. Continue reading

Edit Bilinear Offsets While Viewing Result

Adjusting the offsets of a bilinear is difficult because you cannot interactively adjust the offsets on the image while viewing the result of the manipulation in action. You can use the channel editor to adjust the values, but this is sometimes problematic.
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Using built-in shapes in Keyer

There are a few handy wipe shapes built into the mask section of the keyer, things like circles, diagonals, stars… and the ever handy heart wipe. Here is how to access them. Continue reading

Cartoon Shader in Inferno

I get some cool tips from browsing Opengl/Gaming books, and I found an easy technique for rendering 3D objects with the cartoon look. Continue reading

Deinterlace and field merge

A tip that removes most of the blurry and the double edge look of the field merge while keeping most of the definition of the image. Continue reading

Pulling a key on MiniDV

Instead of re-digitizing your footage through an analog connection why not try this… Continue reading

Animating to Audio in Action

Animating layers to audio in Action. Continue reading

Batch HTML Status Page

A tutorial on setting up an enhanced batch status web page, as well as tips on how to remotely start batch renders. Stay at home, have a few cocktails, and get that high resolution render done without being chained to your inferno! Continue reading

3D Text blur and shadow without expressions

This is an easy way to blur 3D text without using expressions. It works because you never change the color of the 3D geometry and instead use a texture layer for the color. Normally, when you change the color of a geometry node under a matte source node, you lose the matte (it becomes transparent). This tip works around that bug. [note by John Montgomery] Continue reading

Blur Trick – split focus

A simple trick for whenever you can’t hold focus – such as photographing miniatures. Continue reading

Blur 3D Text in Action Using Source Nodes

Here is a simple way to blur 3D text in action. Continue reading

Selective color correction using the Color Warper

Before the color warper there were many tricks to do selective color correction, we have a tip on using the keyer curves as another tip here. The color warper, new to Inferno 4.0 / Flame 7.0 makes this so much easier and provides more flexibility
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Hungry Pirhanas – Multi Select Expressions & LookAt

Using the new 4.6/7.6 selection order expression entry tool, as well as the new “LookAt” function.
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Stupid FFI Tricks

Fxguide, Discreet and their distributor in Australia, Future Reality, recently held a training session with Martin Heile.
This tip covers a range of small and hopefully useful tips that came out of that session, which we have called Stupid FFI tricks.
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Selective color correction using the Keyer

For those without access to the Color Warper, here is a method to do selective color correction using the keyer.
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More Particle Tips

I need a particle generated in the following way: the particle is generated and as long as lifetime passes the particle should fade in size to make it soft at the end, or particle generator would create a hard particle stream. What I mean is the following: in the real life as far as you go from the emitter as soft you get the effect. Imagine a smoke from a jet fighter that is strong near the exhaust and fades away with distance to a point that it is very soft… so that was the problem. Continue reading

Bilinear Offsets

Sometimes you need to move your bilinear offsets closer to your subject, but once you exit the EditOffsets menu, you find that your controls points have resized to the corners of the screen and have distorted your subject. The trick inherent in this tip is to get your subject back to it’s original size and shape while retaining the offsets. (I can’t take credit for this, Chris at Method is the clever guy who figured this out) Continue reading

Grid Making

Various methods to make a quick and easy grid of any size. Continue reading

Page Turn in Action Using a Deform Node

Creating a page turning motion in Action. Continue reading

Keyboard Shortcut to Drag a Frame Out of a Clip

Here’s one of those shortcuts you may have missed when it was added to the interface! Continue reading

Simulate Z Motion

While tracking an object manually, use the axis’ vertical size to fit a particular feature of an object. Continue reading

Day for Night

In general, night is all about brightness ratios, and having something of orange color to contrast to the blue fill of the night. (Actually, moonlight is pure daylight bouncing off of the moon, but we think of it as blue … Continue reading

Tracking Two Moving Images

This tutorial explains how to track one moving clip to another moving clip using one point tracking.

March 2nd 2000
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Combining Two Mattes via Source Nodes

Here is a sample setup to take two mattes and combine them using source nodes Continue reading

Optical Mix

This technique will give a result closer to a true optical film mix than any other method available using Discreet tools alone. Continue reading

Blood Stains

How to add blood stains to multiple “drive by victims” (producer wanted more blood)
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Motion Blur on Still Objects

This technique will add motion blur to objects that have no axis movement (rendered 3D animation, cel animation, etc.) Continue reading

Separating RGB in Action

Using Action to split out an image into separate RBG channels. Continue reading

Scanline look via interlace

If you don’t have a scanline spark, this is an easy way to create a scanline effect.
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BetacamSP Dropout Fix

This is a very generic trick we have been using for a long time. We used this even when we were using Harry. The classic Betacam SP dropout problem.  Many broadcast type Analog Betacam VTRs have a board to loop … Continue reading

Flame: Displacement Tricks

In this tip, Professor and Dean Mike Seymour shows how to use Flame’s 3D compositing work space and tools to add extra realism to a package shot using black wrap and a bottle of milk. This simple 5 min quicktime … Continue reading

Flame: Camera Shake Expression

Professor and Dean John Montgomery walks you through creating a reusable, customizable camera shake node from scratch. The technique involves some commando shooting, animation massaging, expressions, and even a bit of manual editing of setup files to create the end … Continue reading

Flame: Stabilization Trick

Sometimes a scene looks like it will track and stablise perfectly but shots like ocean horizons filmed from a boat or open spaces can sometimes just fail to have anything to lock on to horizontally. It seems like an easy … Continue reading

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List Files by Size

Here is yet another way to list the contents of your directory sorted by size and without using either awk or ls Continue reading

List Files by Size – Unix Command line Philosophy

Reformating file lists using different unix commands Continue reading

Unix – List Files by Size – The Real Deal

The previous entries in the tips section really won’t produce a valid, sorted list of files in the current directory by size descending. Here’s an improved version…. Continue reading

Finding Files by Name and/or Date

Ever worked all day on a few different jobs and ended up writing files to the wrong directory? You see the result of your render named in your library, but the setup is gone? Unix has a find command to help. Continue reading

Unix – Renaming (Removing Spaces in Filenames)

Stephane Harnois : foreach f (“`ls -1`”) set file2 = echo “$f” | nawk ‘{print $1$2$3$4$5$6}’ mv “$f” $file2 end Kevin Tengan : Tested with perl 5.004 … It will change all the spaces in a filename to a “_”. … Continue reading