Just Talkin'

Thoughts and such...

Floyd Norman: Once in A Lifetime Experience

The oxford dictionary defines the phrase “once in a lifetime” as a chance or experience that’s unlikely to occur more than – once in a person’s life. Kinda makes sense, right? This June, Floyd Norman will be our honored guest at motion 2017 in Santa Fe. If you’ve never met Floyd, I invite you to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. What makes Floyd so unique that he warrants such a prestigious introduction? Sure. Floyd Norman was the first African American animator hired by Disney. And yes, it’s true. Floyd has over 65 credits to his name including The Jungle Book, Toy Story 2, and Monster’s Inc. Awards. You betcha. ASIFA Hollywood’s Winsor McCay Award and the International Family Film Festival for Lifetime Achievement in Animation to name a few. Not only that, Floyd was named a Disney Legend in 2007. And for many of us, Floyd is fondly referred to as “the ambasador” of the industry. In fact – filmmaker Michael Fiore found Floyd to be so fascinating, he made a documentary about his life. For many of us, Floyd is fondly referred to as ‘the ambasador’ of the industry. While credits like these would distinguish any artist as being in a category of their own, exulting them to “Hall of Fame” status, it’s more than this that puts Floyd Norman in the “once in a lifetime experience” category. You see…I know this first hand. I was fortunate to meet Floyd in person last year at motion 2016. As emcee for the event, I interviewed the legend as we took a unique look back at his life based on the chronology of some of his books*.... read more

Why do you do what you do?

Simon Sinek presented a TEDx session in which he said, “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it…”. Later, motion 2011 speaker Joel Pilger, Creative Director at Impossible took this a step further in an interview with the The Denver Egotist, where he asked each of us as creatives to ask ourselves: “WHY do you do what you do?”

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Getting Creative Things Done

It’s hard for creatives to get things done. With constant deadlines, and being bombarded from all directions, being creative for extended periods of time is difficult. Cal Newport on the99percent.com recently wrote about this. The following are some excerpts – consider it the ‘Cliff Notes’ of the article. What Is Needed for Good Creative Work? In his oft-cited essay– Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule, Paul Graham highlights the unique demands of creative work (the type of work produced by a “maker,” in Graham’s lexicon). The maker’s schedule, he explains, is defined by long, open stretches of uninterrupted work. For a maker, “a single meeting can blow a whole afternoon.” Graham describes his own schedule, from his time working in a software start-up, as starting after dinner and lasting until 3am, explaining: “At night no one could interrupt me.” In Graham’s construction, Newport identified two justifications for the importance of long stretches of uninterrupted work: Shifting Mental Modes: When the mind knows it has no interruptions looming, it can shift into the flow state required to produce high-quality output. Providing Freedom to Explore: Real creative work is non-linear, often requiring long, unexpected detours to uncover the contours of the problem at hand. Long stretches of time provide the freedom needed to feel comfortable indulging in these detours. As Newport states, the problem faced by to-do list creatives is that we cannot afford to integrate Graham’s long stretches of uninterrupted work into our schedules. With this in mind, Newport came up with the ‘GCTD system’ which attempts to replicate the two benefits of uninterrupted work, as described above, in a more realistic, logistics-respecting... read more

Minimalism. A New Approach for Adobe.

I’m an avid fan of Adobe software applications. I love the way Adobe products easily integrate with one another and facilitate efficient workflow. I have been a long time user of After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash – in fact, most of the applications in the Adobe Master Collection.

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The Saga of a Blackberry Praybook … er Playbook

I remember years ago when people commonly called windows technology “Plug and Pray” instead of “Plug and Play”. Fortunately, the Windows world has evolved beyond this point. But I think Research in Motion has stepped up to reinstate this concept with their new Blackberry Praybook – I mean Playbook. In my case, I’m still praying…but nothing is happening. Here’s the story. Becky, motion.tv co-founder got a 16GB Playbook a couple of weeks ago. Just like being a kid on Christmas morning, she immediately opened the package – excited to check out her new ‘toy’. She plugged it in, pushed the power on button, and started the setup process. The first step was to connect to our wireless network. Hmmm… let’s try that again. The first step was to connect to our wireless network. After numerous attempts, Becky couldn’t connect to the network, and asked me to give it a try. I admit. I’m a geek and almost always can resolve technical issues. We both had a lot on our plate for the day, so I told her I’d give it a quick look, and if I couldn’t figure it out within a short time, I’d have to try again later. After several attempts to connect to the network – both automatically and manually – without success, I told Becky I’d try to look at it over the weekend. Like a kid on Christmas morning who rips open their present, only to find the words ‘batteries not included’ – Becky’s plan to play with her new Playbook, wasn’t going to happen. • combined wasted time calculator: 50 minutes But like the kid... read more

The Ultimate Production Premium CS

Working smarter, faster, and more efficiently is critical – when time is of the essence. For me, the silver bullet centers around a customized Adobe Production Premium workflow. Much of my custom workflow centers around Adobe Dynamic Link. For those of you not familiar with Adobe Dynamic Link, wiki describes this as a feature “that eliminates intermediate rendering between programs”. Currently, Dynamic LInk integration exists between Premiere Pro, After Effects and Encore. I love Adobe Dynamic Link, and I love the time I save using it when I work between After Effects and Premiere Pro. Having said that, I believe there is a marketing disconnect with the term ‘Adobe Dynamic Link’. What do I mean by this? I think the best way to explain, would be to describe my concept of the ‘ultimate’ Adobe Production Premium Creative Suite. Production Premium includes: Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Audition, Flash Catalyst, Flash Professional, Illustrator, OnLocation, Encore, Device Central, Bridge, and Adobe Media Encoder. Each of these applications has their own native file format. For example, .aep for After Effects, .psd for Photoshop, .sesx for Audition, and so on. Currently, many of the applications integrate with one another to varying degrees. For example, you can bring a native Photoshop .psd file into Premiere, click Edit in Photoshop (or Edit Original), make changes, and the changes are automatically updated in the Premiere timeline. You can also select File > New Photoshop File to automatically launch Photoshop and create a file that matches your existing Premiere Pro sequence settings. Sweet. But other applications in the Creative Suite require a more complex integration process, utilizing... read more

No Stupid Questions with Colin Smith – Illustrator to After Effects Motion Paths

Have you ever tried to create a complex motion path in After Effects? This tip will show you just how well Illustrator and After Effects communicate using a simple copy and paste to the clipboard and transfer illustrations to motion paths in After Effects! Now you can make Illustrator’s powerful drawing tools work as motion path creation tools in After... read more

Adobe creative mobile apps

I’m excited about Adobe’s new creative mobile apps! I just attended an online session that talked not only about Adobe Ideas, which many of us are already aware use regularly, but three new Adobe Photoshop mobile apps – Adobe Eazel, Adobe Nav, and Adobe Color Lava. The cool thing I love about Adobe Ideas is the ability to create both raster (Photoshop) and vector (Illustrator) files. This opens the door to tons of possibilities! Remember – anything you create that is vector based, can be enlarged to any size you need. So even though you may be creating a design for a billboard on your iPad, you actually can use the same file to print the actual full-size billboard! Paint a portrait on your iPad, and print it as a 4-foot Giclée to hang on your living room wall. The potential is unlimited. So, let’s take a look at the new mobile apps Adobe just announced on Photoshop.com. Adobe Eazel Adobe Eazel, is a great way to illustrate – anywhere. All you need is your iPad and your fingertips. Whatever you paint on your iPad screen can be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 from any location—all you need is a network connection between your iPad and computer. Or if you want to send it to a friend, simply send it via email. Adobe Nav Adobe Nav is next in the lineup. Just what is this? Basically, Adobe Nav serves as a network utility that allows you to create an external tool palette for Photoshop. You can now use your iPad to easily access the tools you use most. It’s like having an... read more

When Time is of the Essence

A few years back, I started presenting a session at industry events like motion, NAB Post|Production World, and Adobe MAX, called “When Time is of the Essence: Creating Motion Graphics on a Deadline”. If you haven’t had a chance to take part in this session yet, watch for it the next time I speak. I think you’ll find it an eye-opening experience.   I found this subject to be particularly fitting, because it directly relates to…my life. More often than not, I feel like there’s never enough time. Between creating content for motion.tv or cgnews, preparing the next motion+connect, or producing motion – it always seems like time really IS of the essence. I remember the first time I presented “When Time is of the Essence: Creating Motion Graphics on a Deadline” at NAB in 2009. I was concerned that participants might not be able to relate. But what I discovered was…I am not alone. Crazy deadlines, long hours – not to mention the stress that comes with it – seem to be a common phenomenon in the industry. There’s always a silver lining. Because time is of the essence, I’ve had to come up with ways to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently. For me, the silver bullet centers around a customized Adobe Production Premium workflow. Be warned though…Working Smarter, Not Harder does have its side-effects: – less stress – more time to create – and more free time …which ultimately leads to enjoying what you do, remembering why you got into this business to begin with, and creativing a positive life/work balance. Remember, it’s not only work... read more

the motion group – An Adobe Success Story

It was a month of acheivements for the motion graphics, animation, and VFX industries: The Annies, The VES Awards, The Oscars. And… the motion group wasn’t left out. Sure – it wasn’t as big as winning an Oscar, but it is near and dear to us nonetheless. motion was honored to be selected by Adobe as a Success Story. These case studies highlight businesses and organizations that have unique workflows, allowing them to benefit from Adobe software solutions – in our case, ‘an all Adobe workflow‘. From creating moton graphics for our annual motion event , to web-design and development, post-production for motion.tv, print – and even ticket badge automation using Adobe Illustrator, the motion group utilizes the complete Adobe Master Collection for everything we create for motion, motion+connect, and motion.tv. read more »... read more

The Oscars Missing Category: Title Design

I love motion picture title design. I love creating motion picture titles. I love looking at the work of amazingly talented title sequence designers like Kyle Cooper at Prologue, Karin Fong at Imaginary Forces, William Lebeda at Picture Mill, the work of yU+co. With the Oscar’s just around the corner, the question begs to be asked, “Why isn’t there an Oscar for motion picture title design?” English journalist Alice Rawsthorn, design critic for The New York Times – and a fellow connoisseur of motion picture title design, recently came up with her nominees for the strictly unofficial award – as she sees it. Ms. Rawsthorn’s nominees for Best Film Titles are: Sofia Coppola’s film “Somewhere” designed by Peter Miles, a British designer based in New York Luca Guadagnino’s film “Io Sono L’Amore” (I Am Love) designed by Marco Cendron of Milan Joe Carnahan’s film “The A-Team”  designed by VooDooDog in London David Fincher’s film “The Social Network” designed by director David Fincher Adam McKay’s film “The Other Guys” designed by David Midgen of Picture Mill in Los Angeles. And the winner is: The Other Guys. Title sequence design by Picture Mill – one of the creative companies who share their creative insight each year at motion. Check out the full article in the New York Times: If There Were an Oscar for Film... read more

Steve Forde Named Product Manager for Adobe After Effects

It’s official! Steve Forde has been named the new product manager for Adobe After Effects. For years, Michael Coleman was the name we all associated with After Effects. Michael became hooked on CoSA After Effects 18 years ago with the very first release. And as they say – ‘the rest is history’. Highly regarded in the After Effects community, we were concerned when Michael announced earlier this year that he was moving on to another project at Adobe. The search for his replacement was on. Today, Steve Forde announced he is now the new Senior Product Manager for Adobe After Effects. While he has some big shoes to fill, Steve’s got what it takes to make it happen. Prior to his new position, Steve was the Founder and CTO of Gridiron Software – makers of Nucleo Pro 3, the ‘ultimate productivity tool’ for After Effects, Nucleo and... read more