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VideoCopilot Element 3D By Ko Maruyama It's been about 2 years since VideoCopilot introduced the Element 3D plugin for After Effects. Now, Version 2 is out, delivering more control over the ability to integrate 3D models, textures, lights, and animation using many of the Adobe After Effects controls that you're already familiar with. ...Read More »
2014 RoundUp By Ko Maruyama As 2014 comes to an end, there are some products we've seen this year that continue to look good, moving forward into 2015. Although we'll see lots of new tech at CES 2015, there are some great products that you can get without waiting. Beacon Audio has a small bluetooth speaker that you can take with you wherever you want to enjoy audio. ...Read More »
MAXON'S NEWEST By Ko Maruyama Once you learn a piece of 3D software, it?s hard to switch into another piece of software. The language of good 3D design and animation doesn?t change, but the interface and toolset does change when you switch between software packages. However, switching between something your comfortable with and CINEMA4D is even easier now. So making the transition between what you?re using now and R16 doesn?t have to be an On/Off operation. ...Read More »
Pinnacle Studio 18 By Ko Maruyama Pinnacle has been around for a long time, and, as the version number implies, Pinnacle Studio has undergone several changes since it was first launched. Pinnacle Studio 18 is a robust consumer editoral system for anyone who is interested in getting into video editing. Moreover, it contains other tools to help create and publish your editorial content. ...Read More »
RED GIANT OFFLOAD By Ko Maruyama It's a media copy application for easily backup and - hey - OFFLOADING your footage from a removable camera media card to somewhere else. Simple enough for almost anyone on set to use. ...Read More »
Vectoraster by LostMinds By Ko Maruyama Vectorizer for the Mac (and iOS) allows you to create fantastic shape based translations of raster artwork or photography with just a few clicks. The great part about this new software is that it is really easy to use. Like any good design software, it?s full of options that will allow you to create unique pieces, even when you?re starting from presets. ...Read More »
Quick Sketching with Ron Husband By Ko Maruyama The first thing you should know about this book is that Ron Husband is not only a great teacher but an amazing animator who has worked on several movies, including Beauty and the Beast, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The great Mouse Detective, The little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King and others you might share on your favorites list too. ...Read More »
Motion Composer By Ko Maruyama MotionComposer is a new way to create and deliver HTML5 or Flash animation. Designed by French company Aquafadas, the software is available in both Mac and PC versions to allow anyone the ability to start animating right away. Although Adobe Flash animations have recently been the subject of scrutiny, there are many advantages to using HTML5. With MotionComposer, you can easily make your content much more engaging. Adobe's Flash content is a very rich experience. There is a wide range of interactive animations that you can create using animation tools that develop for Flash player. However, Flash does require Adobe's Flash player in order to let your audience experience that content. ENTER: HTML5. ...Read More »
Design A Cloud By Ko Maruyama SoftSkies is a music visualizer created by SoundSpectrum. If you're an iTunes user, you may be familiar with the visualizer that comes packed in with your Mac software. These are those same guys, and they've just come up with a new way to watch your music. These cloudscapes can fit your chill music library. Clouds are always relaxing. Pair the visual with some of your favorite chill out music, and your afternoon downtime just got a lot more relaxing. ...Read More »
iStopMotion for iPad By Ko Maruyama Last year, I wrote about the fun application called iStopMotion by Boinx.com. In returning to iStopMotion on iPad, I'm glad to see that the app has gone through many changes and upgrades. Most recently, Boinx has announced the ability to export up to 200 frames in an animated GIF! It's not only a fun application to have as an animator, but it's a teaching opportunity too. When I teach older animation students, they usually understand the importance of timing and number of frames per second. At home with my kids, iStopMotion for iPad is a fun way to craft stories and express creativity. For both older students and young kids, iStopMotion is an accessible way to start making stop motion animations right away. ...Read More »
Monsters run Rampant By Ko Maruyama Rampant Design Tools have created a series of images for post production FX in the past. Their newest offering is just in time for the Halloween holiday. MonsterFX Undead provides a series of images that you can use in post for video or still photography. ...Read More »
Sorenson Squeeze 9 By David Hague For as long as I have been shooting and editing video, there has been a version of Sorenson Squeeze available. Quite simply, Squeeze has always been the premiere transcoding utility used by professionals. It is simple to use, effective, fast and covers almost every known codec and format type available. Squeeze 9 is the latest version of this venerable product, and while certainly not an inexpensive package, with pricing ranging from USD$799 to an eye watering $1999 for the server version, if you are a professional in the video game, it is an almost indispensable item to have in your toolbox. ...Read More »
Sony Spectral Layers Pro 2 By Dr. David Smith Digital audio editing software has made amazing signal processing and manipulation possible with the click of a mouse, but until now it has been virtually impossible to take a fully mixed track and un-mix it. Sony's new Spectral Layers Pro allows you to do just that. ...Read More »
Astute Graphics Mirrors Your Moves By Ko Maruyama Astute Graphics makes plugins for Adobe's Illustrator. Great plugins that make your design process not only faster and easier, but plugins that allow you to discover designs that you might not have considered before launching into Illustrator. With the holiday season coming around, it's time to start thinking about winter. Astute Graphics' MIRRORME plugin can help. ...Read More »
Using Prodrenalin To Save Your Video! By David Hague If you are the proud owner of a GoPro (or similar such as the Sony Action Cam or the Kaiser Baas Sports Cam) you'll be all too familiar with a few problems. Not the least of these is the sheer amount of camera shake followed by distorted footage due to the 'rolling shutter' effect of these cameras. Also in the equation is fish eye distortion, and who hasn't missed that the camera wasn't exactly level when shooting? Or you need to flip video 180 degrees as the camera could only be mounted upside down. This is where ProDad Prodrenalin comes in. ...Read More »
The RØDE Podcaster Microphone By David Hague An often overlooked aspect of video is the voice over dialogue. Of course this needs a good mic... While there are many, many 'broadcast' mics available to perform this, for many hobbyists and professionals not creating actual broadcast video, these are overkill and let's face it, probably too expensive. This is where the RØDE Podcaster Mic comes into its own. ...Read More »
Canon's XA20 Professional Camcorder By David Hague Some time back we awarded the Canon XA10 Auscam's Camcorder of the Year. It was a truly ground breaking beast with its professional features such as twin XLRs, superb low light capability, brilliant lens and all crammed into a wonderfully ergonomic but small and light compact form factor. So what has changed in the XA20, and is it better? ...Read More »
Flame Painter 2.0 By David Hague The premise of Flame Painter is that brushes simulate streaks of colored light - flames - and using this method, some amazing images can be created from scratch, or existing photos and images can be over painted. Version 2.0 extends the capability of Flame Painter in a large number of areas, some minor, but others notable indeed. ...Read More »
Artbeats Driving Plates By Stephen Schleicher Problem: Your project has a scene where two characters are driving in a car and having a discussion. You don't have the budget to tow a car around town, and you certainly don't want to risk damaging your camera by attaching it to a moving vehicle and driving on a busy street. Solution? Artbeats Driving Video! ...Read More »
Camera Tripods By David Hague We are often asked when a tripod should be used, and the generic answer is "whenever you have one with you". Unless you purposely want that jerky, jumpy video look that was a trademark of some TV shows for a period, there is nothing worse than a video that is not rock steady. There is a reason that TV camera operators routinely use them no matter the circumstances. Trust me, you wouldn't lug one of those dirty big TV camera tripods around everywhere with you by choice! But not all tripods are created equal. The one you can buy for $15 in Big W has nothing in common with any of the tripods you'll see in this story other than it has three legs and a screw to mount a camera! ...Read More »

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