Category Archives: Graphics

Personal projects and the occasional bit of commentary.

Drummer - Treated

Jazz Up Your Footage With ‘Leave Color’

I’m working on a set of short films to accompany a jazz concert later this month (more info when I can share it), and I’d like to show off a cool looking — yet very easy — effect we’re using. All the video is treated to give it that soft, silvery nighttime ‘jazz club’ look, with a bit stronger contrast for the performance clips. We didn’t want just straight black and white, though, so instead I’m using an oft-forgotten After Effects filter that’s been around for ages: Leave Color. Continue reading

Proposal Design: Setting the Right Tone For the Film

A big part of my job is designing proposals for films my company hopes to produce. They might be aimed at potential investors, production partners or networks that might want to air an already completed documentary, but the goal is always the same: proposals should be more than just basic reading material. Their design should give a sense of the overall look and feel of the project, draw attention to the elements that their audience will find most interesting, as well as simply convey the idea that we’re professionals and know what we’re doing.

Sometimes it takes a couple tries to get it right.

We have a fairly substantial library of short educational films that we’d like to repurpose into a television series. They’re a bit unconventional, as civics films go — informative, but with an edge — and I think they’re actually entertaining enough to attract a wide audience. But before we recut for TV, we have to convince someone to air them.

Continue reading

Wall decals are awesome.

I have a solid white wall in my bedroom that’s more than eighteen feet long, and I had the hardest time figuring out how to decorate it. (The fact that most of the walls in my apartment are solid concrete and won’t accept nails definitely doesn’t help.) But I put up some wall decals this weekend and am really pleased with the results:

Both the branch and the birds came from individual Etsy sellers. The dark woodgrain portion is from and is repositionable; the red-orange birds are from and, while not movable, are removable and won’t damage my walls — super important since I’m not allowed to paint.

They’re very easy to apply — not much to it beyond peel and stick!

Oh, and here’s the geeky bit: I actually plotted out where I wanted to put the decals in Photoshop before I applied them. I set up a really simple scale (something like one inch = one foot) and turned on the grid, which made it quite easy to get a fairly accurate rendering:

Now, if I could just get my curtains up…

Jurors: Set 3

Bite-Size Jurors

I’m working on a series of films about juries at the moment. They should be pretty fun to do (I get to animate trial by ordeal, for one), but there’s a lot of character work and not a lot of time. Thus, digital puppetry.

I was hoping to work with After Effects’ extremely fun Puppet Tool, but the results I got while experimenting were just a little too squishy for this project. (Anyone know some tricks for getting convincing, not-too-exaggerated motion out of it? Even liberal use of the starch tool seemed unhelpful, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out a way to make elbows and knees bend properly.) So for the moment it’s back to IK rigging — and a lot of carefully placed anchor points.

I’m much more satisfied with the results, particularly now that I have a keyframable checkbox parameter that switches the bend direction of the joints. In plain English, I can make someone’s elbows bend both ways — e.g. a character can go from having their hands on their hips to picking something up off the table next to them with very little trouble.

Creating the jurors themselves was a lot of fun — the characters need to function more as archetypes than individuals. The result: a wide range of ages and races and a complete lack of faces.

I now present… my little jury guys (and girls!):

Warning: Do Not Eat.

It’s Photoshop Phriday!

This week’s Photoshop Phriday feature on Something Awful was “Reverse Magazines” — take a magazine, find the reverse of the title (i.e. Bad Housekeeping or Illiterate’s Digest), and make a cover for it.

So I had some fun with Cosmpolitan:

A tornado stole my husband!

My first Photoshop Phriday. And I got in! I’m very excited.

Check out the rest of the magazines, though — there are ten pages of covers posted, and lots of great ones.