CategoryDesign

Delectable Gradient Maps

I am excited to release this fun pack of 45 gradient map presets for both After Effects and Photoshop. Perfect for creating quick duo-tone or tri-tone images for your social media needs or for just subtly adding interesting color corrections to your images. These presets are flexible and easily modifiable, so you create nearly infinite varieties of looks. Installation instructions are included in...

The More the Merrier

When I first started in design, the tools of the profession were—as far as I was concerned—fairly expensive. Granted, at the time I was unemployed and only had a few thousand dollars to my name, and thus every expenditure on equipment and software stung. The first computer I bought was a refurbished 2006 Mac Pro (the big cheese grater one), and while I had been running Illustrator on my old 2001...

Variable Width Write-On Text

If you’ve ever wanted to animate the write-on of any text, you know that it can be tricky. It’s even more difficult when the text has a variable width; for example, a lot of brush or script fonts. This technique uses one shape layer with multiple paths to give you fine-tuned control over your text write-on, and helps you achieve a more natural and organic look. As a bonus...

How To Use After Effects Shape Layers Without Tearing Out Your Hair

One of the most versatile tools in After Effects is Shapes, which can supplement or entirely form the totality of your project. They can be endlessly malleable, but are also kind of a pain to work with. But with the proper tools (some free and some paid), you can quickly improve your shape wrangling tools and save your hair in the process. 1. Set Anchor Point to Center You’ve no doubt experienced...

The After Effects Killer Killer

At the beginning of 2011 I had a motion piece I needed to create, and as I was putting together the concept I realized that I needed a scene where I had a rope falling down from the top of the frame, to then have two opposing hands pulling on it. I was still using Apple’s Motion as my motion graphics creator, and I think this may have been the first point where I ran into a limitation that I...

How To Motivate a Creative

If you have a bunch of creatives in the room, getting them to do what you want can be a bit like herding cats, except they (the creatives) may be even more obstinate and willful, if that’s even possible. Fortunately, you probably won’t have to buy kitty litter. Motivating creatives can be tricky, because creatives are often motivated by different things than other positions. But learning what...

How To Give Feedback to a Creative

If you are a client, one of the most important things you can do to aid the creative process is to give good feedback. We’ve all heard about how we should provide consecutive criticism, but in my experience very few people actually know how to put this into practice. But consistently giving good and constructive feedback to the creatives you work with is one of the best ways to build trust and...

How To Have A Meeting With A Creative

Having worked in the creative field for many years, I can safely say that the part I hate the most about it is the meetings. I mean, come on, interacting with a client? Who wants that? 😉 Tongue-in-cheek aside, I have always struggled with meetings. And while I doubt that anyone truly loves meetings and eagerly desires to attend them, it is hopefully safe to generalize that creatives probably rank...

How to Use Music With Video

If you create videos on a regular basis, you’ve no doubt discovered the importance of a great soundtrack. Usually more than anything else, the music you use will be what either sells the video on an emotional level or causes it to fall flat. The visuals are- of course- extremely important. But music has a way of connecting with your audience on a deeper level, often in ways that they don’t even...

Cloudy Day

One of the experiences I used to meet with mixed emotions was Adobe’s yearly update of its applications. It was naturally exciting to have new toys to play with, but in previous iterations it always meant opening up the wallet. Now that Adobe has moved over to its Creative Cloud subscription model, the updates lose a bit of the sting, since the total cost is spread out on a month-to-month basis...

After Effects Add-Ons You Can’t Live Without

After Effects in and of itself is a powerful application for creating motion graphics, but it really shines when coupled with some amazing 3rd party scripts, plug-ins and effects. These range from time-savers to things which further extend After Effects’ capabilities. So I wanted to take a peek inside my toolbox and see which ones I use on a day-to-day basis. Enjoy… and hang on to your wallets! 🙂...

How To Be A Luddite Iconoclast

I am convinced that one of the favorite pastimes for American Christianity is fear and self-loathing, and it is never afforded a better opportunity than when the Pew polling data on the state of religion in America comes out. Then come the predicable laments from some quarters about how the culture is packing up the hand basket to take a picnic to Hell, the rationalizations from other quarters...

Morph Cut and the Philosophy of Editing

Recently in a tech forum on non-linear editing (NLE) I was reading reactions to some of the new features included in the forth-coming update to Adobe Premiere Pro (Adobe’s NLE). On the whole most editors and those involved in post-production (and who were inclined to use Premiere Pro for that matter!) who commented on the feature updates were optimistic and excited, especially about a particular...

99 Designs Away From Financial Peace

This past year or so I’ve become a pretty big Dave Ramsey fan. For much of my life I haven’t paid much attention to personal finance, but largely due to his books and radio show (as well as to Megan being a financial genius) I’ve come to be more intentional with not only how I spend money, but also how I perceive it. All in all, I find his financial methods to be incredibly sound and have found...

Jason Watson

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