After Effects: Making Text 3D.

5 03 2009

In my previous post we learned how to make text transition into different colors. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you read up on it because we’re going to be moving slightly faster now. You can find that post here.

With that, let’s open up After Effects and make a:

1. New Composition (cmd+N for Mac, ctrl+N for PC). It will be black at first.

2. The go up to Layer – New – Solid and choose whatever color you want.

3. Then go back up to Layer – New – Text. You can then change the text in the character palette. (Like in Photoshop) if you don’t see it then go up to workspace (in the upper right hand corner) and go to “reset standard” in the drop down menu.

If you followed those steps correctly you’ll have something like this (minus the word DEFgraphics).


All right, since we got the hard part over with, it’s now time for the fun part. Making it move in space. With that we’re going to look at the comp window below where you see your layers. In the layers palette there are several different things – but the one we’re focusing on is the 3D tool. (If you don’t see this, then at the very bottom there should be a bar that says “Toggle Switches/Modes”, click it and you will see what I have) It looks like this:

With the picture above you want to click on that 3D box, thus making your text now 3D. You will notice that when it is in 3D space your text looks like this:

The green arrow represents your Y axis, the red arrow represents your X axis, and the blue arrow represents your Z axis (I like to call it zoom, since it pushes your text farther back or forward).

Now for the fun part. Go back into your layers palette and click on your text layer (mine is DEFgraphics). Click on the drop down arrow (to the left of your layer name, right next to the colored box). Go down to Transform and click that drop down arrow. You can now see there are more options for 3D text than there was for 2D Text in the previous tutorial.

For this tutorial we’re mainly going to focus on the Orientation more than anything. So you can forget about the rest of the intimidating stuff, which I’ll cover later. – For right now, go ahead and play with it without hitting the stop watch and see how your text moves. Pretty cool stuff huh?

I’m just going to do a simple 360 rotation. So if your text is all in a weird place just go back up to where it says Transform and to the right of it, it should say Reset and reset it. There, now everything is back to normal.

First off we want to hit our stop watch next to Orientation – don’t change anything right now. Then we want to go to our blue: 0;00;00;00 which is to the left and click on it. We want to move 2 seconds in time, so type in 0;00;02;00.

It should look like this right now. Though if you didn’t specify a time you can always go into Composition – Composition Settings – and then change the time. For this tutorial I made mine 4 seconds. That would be written 0;00;04;00. Then click OK.

All right, so in the Orientation part you want to click on the middle figure and type in 180.You will see your text appears backwards. Then move ahead in your blue 0;00;00;00 1 second in time. So therefore, you would write 0;00;03;00. Then you want to go back to that middle figure and type in 359. Now your text rotates like this.

Rotating 3D Text

So I added what we learned in the previous tutorial with this one. Though if you forgot, this is how we make our movie.

How to make it a movie:
Now you want to go up and click on Composition – Make Movie. Mind you if you haven’t saved your project I’d recommend saving it now. All right so once you click on Make Movie (cmd+M for mac, ctrl+M for PC) your Render Queue will open up. This will be next to the comp window you were working on earlier. So With the settings you want to go down to Render Settings and make sure that Best Settings is showing. Now you want to go to Output Module: and click on Lossless

You then want to go to Format Options then go to Compression Type and change it to Sorenson Video 3 (What I’ve been using and have been taught). You want the Quality to be at Best then click OK. Make sure that your Format in Main Options area is a Quicktime Movie. Then hit OK again. Now you can name your movie by clicking on the Output To: area and naming it. This is where you can choose where to save it to.

After that you want to hit the Render Button – Now depending on your Ram it could take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple mins. Mind you my video is only 3 seconds long so it shouldn’t be that bad. Once you hit Render wait for it and it should playing a ‘bringing’ type of noise, meaning your video is finished. Now double click and enjoy.

If you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment. Anyways hope it was helpful guys.


Social Media: My Friend Twitter

7 02 2009

To me, I believe most things are good and bad. I mean most things have either a positive or negative response with the actions you take. Then again you’re only as good as you are responding. – This thus leads me to the whole meat and potatoes of this post, social networking and social media.

To me, the whole reason for the social networking/media sphere is to communicate not blast me with ads to try and sell me something. I guess turning off ads to me is second nature, unless of course you catch my attention, but that’s a whole entire blog post in itself (Which I’ll possibly elaborate on).

As far as communication goes it’s usually between two people, though with modern technology it can be with several different people all at the same time. Thus this is where the social networking sphere evolves. Networking sites such as Twitter are usually a good place to start. I for one am on twitter and there are people who I enjoy talking with. Though there are some people who I wonder what their sole purpose of using it is?

So I’m usually notorious for lists, and I suppose I’ll list some things that I’ve learned from other people as well as being social in general. I think the main focus is going to be on my favorite networking system which is Twitter, so here we go.

1. Communication is the sole purpose of how we connect.
If you start up a conversation with me, I for one am likely to talk back with you. Most of my fellow twitter people could vouch for me on that one. The way for social media/networking to work is for you to actually socialize with your crowd. Really sometimes a simple hello is enough to strike up a conversation. The more you engage the more information you’re going to gain, the more knowledgeable you’ll be, and well you’ll potentially earn friends who keep you entertained as well as informed.

2. Don’t be a douche bag/asshole.
Just because you have a couple thousand followers, if you’re a real jerk about certain things you’ll be losing them just as fast as you’ve gotten them. Remember these people follow you because they either a) find you a valuable person with valuable resources b) everyone else follows you (or so it seems that way) or c) they’re mooching off your friends list. – I’d go with A, but the other options are also possible. Be nice, you make a lot more friends that way.

3. Stop trying to sell me things.
I know that Twitter is a potential market, but it doesn’t mean I want to buy anything from you. For one if you’re there just to blast spam the likelihood of me following you back is slim to none. There’s a huge difference between spam and valuable link resources within your close knit circle. No I don’t want to see how I can make $5000 dollars in a week and retire at 21, but I do want to see valuable resources on package design, logo design, and things that are going to appeal to me.

4. Interact.
It sort of goes hand in hand with number one. Interaction is key, ask questions and answer questions. Ask for help and there’s a likelihood someone is going to help you. The more you interact and engage with your audience the more positive of an image you have. Now, as reference to number 3, if you’re a douche bag people are just going to think you’re a douche bag, if you’re nice and valuable and talk with people then I’m sure they will pass along the word that you are indeed someone who personally gets back to people and does not ignore them. No one likes being ignored.

5. Be Helpful.
If you’ve ever had someone tell you that there’s no such thing as a stupid question then they were probably right. Unless you’ve tried really hard to form a question that is stupid (which I’m sure is possible for some people). Mind you, you don’t have to know everything or even pretend you do. Everyone has valuable knowledge to share with other people and keeping that knowledge to yourself is kind of selfish if you think about it (I mean really think about it). Besides being helpful makes most people feel good. It’s better to be helpful than useless.

6. Quality over Quantity.
This issue could be debatable, but on my terms I value quality over quantity when it comes to socializing. I respect being dedicated to answering questions and listening to what others have to say. There are people I know who have few friends on twitter, but make a difference, then there are people I know who have thousands of friends on twitter and can’t simply reply to all of them. To me, I’m there to build relationships with people not try and see how many followers I can get because I want to be number one. Ironically I do actually listen to the people I talk to and respond back. I’m not in it for numbers or ranking, I’m in it to be helpful and useful for the folks who I do consider my friends as well as the people who do follow me.

Hope this post was helpful to you and feel free to add any more things that you think are useful in the comments below.

Harvesting Creativeness/Inspiration

4 02 2009

Harvesting Creativeness and Inspiration.
Usually I’m plagued with the question of ‘How do you do it?’ Usually stated with another question of ‘How do I do what?’ thus leading into the real question of how I harvest my creativeness and inspiration. To be truthfully honest it’s really quiet simple.

To me, my creative process never stops working. Yes there are times where it feels a little stagnant and I’ve got to prod it with a stick and try and come up with something, but when I do get that lucky strike things just happen. Though I never know exactly when those things are happening. . Which thus leads me to my list of things that I personally do to harvest my creativity/inspiration. So here we go.

1. I usually carry a sketchbook and pen with me.
Really I do, but then again sometimes sketchbooks are quite tedious to lug around especially if you get that strike and you have to pull it out etc. Though small sketchbooks are relatively easy to conceal and they get the point across. I usually doodle ideas or words etc. Which soon leads to other words and doodles and brain mapping and then sparking new ideas that I have to jot down before I forget.

2. If my sketchbook isn’t handy and/or I don’t have anything to carry it in I bring a notepad
Same concept with the idea stated above. I usually just shove them in my pockets and go on my merry way. These are usually ideal when I’m shooting photography and come up with a quick idea to just jot it down that or I’m busy with other things where a normal sketchbook would not suffice for me. – Mind you don’t forget to take it out of your pants pocket or it mind end up destroyed by the local washing machine. Really, it’s happened to me.

3. Collect something.
It could be anything honestly. For instance I have a real bad habit of collecting things I like design wise, such as brochures and magazines and calenders, books are also another good one. I like having them as reference material when I can’t think of anything. Since we are visual people looking at visuals usually helps spark something creatively for myself. Mind you my collecting has upgraded from rocks and seashells, but if that’s your thing I don’t judge.

4. Listen to music.
Art and music go hand in hand like when the dish ran away with the spoon. I usually like setting my itunes on shuffle and going from there, but if you’re like me and listen to any type of genre of music you will come to understand why a minute ago you were listening to ABBA then suddenly Ill Nino starts playing. Usually if I’m trying to design clean looking pieces I’ll listen to peaceful calming music, if I’m designing for something more non-conformist I’ll break out the heavy stuff. Though it always puts me in the mood/zone.

5. Do something other than designing.
I for the life of me can not paint to save my life, though I do rather enjoy water colors and being tactile and making books of that sort of nature. Remember those times when you were a kid and you’d finger paint – yeah you know what I’m talking about, and yes I’m telling you to go finger paint. Seriously once you do it you’ll remember why you had fun doing it when you were a kid. Honestly I find that the key to my success half the time is tapping into that inner child we all have. Yes, some of us have probably shut it out and shut it up, but it’s time to relive certain things. Remember when board games were fun? I know you probably now want to go play monopoly even if it takes forever and somehow someone cheats and they get the boardwalk – but you know something? Least you’re having fun right?

6. Stop being practical and realistic.
Remember that thing called imagination? Remember the crazy things you use to be able to come up with on a whim because you didn’t care what other people thought about it as long as it made you happy? I say screw being realistic when it comes to creativity, who hinders how you create? Clients? Screw clients! (not literally). Creativity is about you and what you like doing, sure clients want something on a whim and what not, but meshing clients and raw creativeness kind of dampens how much potential to creativity you’ve got. Thus this is why keeping a notepad is important when that evil client won’t let you design comfortably, you can always design it for yourself later.

7. Relive a day when you were a kid.
Seriously? Break out the damn crayons on construction paper along with the Elmer’s glue and scissors. You know what I’m talking about, Arts and Crafts. Come on there was a whole Arts and Crafts movement! Who’s to say someone won’t still like making macaroni pictures? Hell I do, that is when I have the time to make pictures.

8. Have fun.
I figured when I’m having fun I’m not really thinking about anything else and I’m not stressed and I’m not trying to pull my hair out. My mind is clear of any stress at that very moment which leads to more creative function etc.

Hopefully those tips have helped you somewhat in trying to harvest your own creativity/inspiration or have lead you to want to play a board game or two. That or make arts and crafts and doodle. Whatever it is I hope you enjoy what you’re doing. Remember if what you love doing isn’t what you love to do anymore then why are you doing it? – Have fun.

Deconstructing the Creative Process

31 01 2009

While checking my Twitter updates, I came across a follower by the name of Carter Harkins. I’m usually one to follow back on twitter, considering I do like socializing, and socializing with Carter lead me towards his blog. In a recent blog post where he had gotten inspiration from Graham Smith (Who I also socialize with on twitter), he had asked questions about creativity.

Since I had been designing just a couple minutes before hand, I was compelled to answer these questions, since they made me think about why is it that we create. So without further ado here is my take on it:

What constitutes creativity? Is it a uniquely human process?
As far as I see things, creativity is something all of us has in us, because if we aren’t artists (which creativity is usually associated with) we all have the ability to create things. Creatives are usually classified under different names such as engineers, artists, designers, etc. Creativity is a process, sometimes a new process to solving problems. Problems that can be solved in numerous ways, which is why if you gave a group of people cameras and told them to shoot a picture of the same object, you’d come out with pictures that are somewhat relatively the same, but are also different. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are many different ways to solve things and even if one way is the most popular way, doesn’t necessarily mean that trying to go about it in a different prospective is necessarily the wrong way.

Are there “Creatives” and “Non-Creatives”, or is everyone inherently creative?
As stated above, I believe everyone is creative. Then again not many people live up to their creative potential. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are people who are more creative than others and then there are some people who don’t realize they’re creative. I guess it depends on the degree of tapping into your creative spark, to know what you’re good at. Some people are earlier starters and they automatically know, then there are some people who are late bloomers and don’t find out until later that they have creative potential.

Are there hard creative limits or only self-imposed limitations?
As far as limitations with creativity goes I suppose it has to do with surroundings. To my knowledge at least, that’s how I see it. I mean if I’m relaxed and not having to think about things and I’m just observing my surroundings I find that ideas come easier to me (why I usually carry a note pad with me everywhere I go to jot these things down). Though if I’m in a high level of stress situation and I’m required to think creatively it seems more so impossible to think of something good, because I actually have to think about. – Meaning when I’m not thinking about being creative something sparks, when I have to think about being creative I’ve got nothing.

I suppose creativity to me is like a roller coaster, there are times where things go smooth and I’m happily doing things, then there are the peaks where I get a ton of ideas rushing at me at once, but then you slope down and you have the hardest time trying to come up with something.

How do we grow creatively? What holds us back or keeps us in a rut?
Hm, this is a tough question. Growing creatively is a process, though through praise and even sometimes negativity it somehow shapes how we process things. I guess to better say it, is that we gain exposure to things and with that exposure we have reactions, whether they be good or bad is a matter of personal preference. Creativity to me is always a learning process, I’m always learning from people I socialize with and just observing. I guess to grow creatively we have to be open to new things and new experiences.

That being said, there are certain things we’re not always opened to or we don’t have enough exposure to and don’t really feel the need to progress with it. I guess that’s what holds one back from progressing into a new media/medium. That or the new media/medium seems so intimidating that we shoot ourselves in the foot before we even decide to try it out.

I guess what holds us back is intimidation and fear. Intimidation coming from those around you who can do certain things – for example I have an intimidation of web design. I think it’s because I have the fear of things not working out right or turning out as I planned. Though I’m sure with more exposure to web design and web designing I’d eventually feel comfortable working with it.

Can creativity be a community-centered experience, or is it only an individual pursuit?
I think it’s both. I’m surrounded by artists most of the week and now with social media I’m surrounded by artists all over the world. There’s a sense of community with the artists I socialize with on an everyday basis, those people help me become more creative when I’m not in my creative frame of mind. They help me break through creative blocks, which in turn gets my creativity flowing.
I also think it’s an individual pursuit as well, like I stated before we’re all creative, but just because there’s one popular way of doing things doesn’t mean that an alternative way is the wrong way. We all draw inspiration from different sources which shapes how we think creatively, my perception of a dog for example could be totally different from your perception of the same dog. So in a sense yes, it’s an individual pursuit as well as a community experience.

DEF Graphics: The Person.

28 01 2009
This post is to better understand what I do and well half the reason why I do it. So I guess I’ll give you the basic rundown on what’s happening. Here we go:

Name: The name’s Bernie.

What I do: I’m a Graphic Designer/Freelance Photographer/ Novice Blogger. When I’m not designing I blog about designing and other things. – I know, sort of a question of ‘why’, but I enjoy it endlessly.

What the blog is about: Graphic Design/Designing/Me. (Somewhat).

What’s with the eye logo?: Well I am one of the many graphic designers who hates logo design. Well not so much hate, more so logos and I have a love/hate relationship. I had to redesign my logo for a portfolio class and I was working with a typographic treatment. If you look closely the eye actually says DEF and the eye in itself represents an eye for creativity.

Why do you sign most of your blog posts DEF?:
Because DEF originally came from a day of spray painting in my garage with stencils. DEF is in fact the 4th,5th, and 6th letters of the alphabet. I coined the term DEF to mean definite or definitely then graphics because I am a graphic artist/designer. Thus becoming DEF graphics and more so DEF. DEF is an alias, and if I’m making things I usually sign it with a heart and DEF in the graffiti style. Therefore having it say ‘Love always’ without having to really say it. (I will post the ‘Heart DEF’ I’m talking about shortly).
The infamous heart I sign most art work with.

How long have you been a Graphic Designer?:
I would say that being a Graphic Designer is always a learning process so I can’t really tell you when I became one, because honestly I’ve been working in editing programs since I was around 13/14 in high school. You know, that one kid who would mess around and made things, that was me. Though if you’re asking me when I really got serious about it, I would have to say around my junior/senior year of high school.

Is it true that you use to hate Photoshop?:
Where did you hear that? Yes, unfortunately it’s true. I use to hate Photoshop with an infinite passion. To be honest, I use to be a Paint Shop Pro person, Paint Shop Pro 8 to be exact. My first design software I picked up. I hated Photoshop, but was forced to use it in my photography class when we had to design a portfolio. Now I don’t hate Photoshop, me and Photoshop are two peas in a pod. I’m a Photoshop junkie.

What other programs do you use?:
Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, most of the Adobe Creative Suite. I’m still learning how to use Flash and Dreamweaver though.

Do you have a website?:
If we’re talking on a personal basis with a domain name and everything; No. I’m still trying to figure that whole situation out. Though if we’re talking about a website tht showcases some of my portfolio/design/photography then yes. They’re located on the blog on the right hand side. I’m actually working on a portfolio based website as of late; it’ll be up soon. I still need to work out the kinks in it.

Do you have any advice for beginning designers/design students?:
Some advice? I’d have to say that the computer is just merely a tool in your arsenal. Don’t rely on it to create works of art with a few simple clicks. That and always write down/sketch out (whatever you’re comfortable with) your ideas. It helps build new ideas, that and you can never stop learning, just because you may think you know a lot in photoshop/illustrator etc doesn’t mean you know everything. Strive to be better, but also remember to have fun.

Being social and why you should be.

19 01 2009
Being social is something that most every human possesses. By basic sounds, to words, to hand gestures, we are able to communicate feelings, thoughts, and ideas with one another.

Though there are some of us who aren’t as social as others, and I, for one, am one of those people.
Even though I, for the most part, like being quiet, I do have to socialize with others to get my ideas across a broad spectrum. My point is that the more friendly/social you are with people you don’t know (I know this sounds a bit scary) the more likely you are to have people to network with. That and possibly people to drink with, but that’s besides the point.

I am sure that most everyone has felt social anxiety, though there are ways to overcome these butterflies and help you become more comfortable with those surrounding you. From being able to talk one on one with a person, to a huge crowd, here are some things I find valuable when meeting new people.

1. Observe what is happening around them, not yourself.
I usually meet new people while I’m at school, therefore I’m always interested in what they’re doing. With this being said, striking up a conversation with someone over a photoshop technique or what they are currently producing helps me get rid of that anxiety I feel. Then again, there are some people who, like myself, do like being left alone and are some what suttle with their answers. For the most part, people are usually happy to tell you about stuff that they are doing.

2. Find a common interest and roll with it.
This can stem from rule number one, which will eventually sprout into more common interests if you further the conversation. The warmer you appear and seem to a person the more likely they’ll be warm and friendly towards you.

3. Practice what you’re going to say.
This is more so with public speaking. If I’m going up for a critique on my work, I’m more so nervous and filled with butterflies when I haven’t thought things over in my head about what I’m about to present. Mind you I should know what I have done to achieve certain aspects of my project, but if I haven’t thought it through then I’m just as blank to telling you as you are blank of knowing how to do it. Before things like this I usually run through a list of points I want to make sure I get across in my head, but if you are really nervous you could always try writing down what you want to say on paper and practice it in front of a mirror.

4. Know what you’re talking about.
No one likes a liar or an ‘extender of the truth’ – If you don’t know how to do something don’t pretend like you do. You’ll be losing friends instead of making them. Seriously.

5. It’s okay to talk about yourself in moderation.
People you first meet aren’t going to want to know about your relationship problems and/or any scary health conditions etc, you’re going to scare the person off. Though talking about interests you have or a movie you saw (and your opinion on the movie) is quite all right. Mind you, when you start boasting and bragging about certain things, the only thing a person is going to think is that you are probably materialistic and fake, that and you use money to buy friends. No one likes a show off.

6. Be on the same level with the person.
Don’t try to talk down or downgrade someone because of achievements you have gained or you don’t think they’ll understand your form of ‘superior intelligence’ – this is not only rude, but it makes you look like an asshole as well as pompous. Talk to people in a way you would want to be talk to. I doubt you want a new person to talk to you the way some of your friends do (you know what I’m talking about), I doubt they want you talking to them like that either.

That is pretty much how I deal with social situations for the most part when encountering new people. Hope it is useful for you and social situations you get yourself into. Until the next post.

What to get the graphic designer in your life.

16 12 2008
With the holidays fast approaching, I’m sure there’s a lot of reasons to want to pull your hair out right this instant, but do not stress, I am here with a list of things that will possibly cut your time in half while trying to search for the perfect gift for the designer in your family. These are sure fire ways to keep your designer happy as well as yourself. So sit back and be relieved.

1. Tap into their amazon wishlist.
Nothing sinks in better than a list that has been already made and conducted with all the things your designer could possibly want. Instead of socks and colored pencils (yes, I’ve gotten both when people didn’t know what to get me) why not know what they’d actually like? Make a new mouse for their laptop, a laptop cover, CS4, etc. Endless possibilities with a simple click, or well asking.

2. Money
If we have to talk bare basics, money is something all designers and everyone else would like to have more of. This again, possibly going towards what we so wish to buy on amazon or any other online store of our choosing. Mind you, a computer is basically strapped to us most of the time, online shopping is just another thing in our arsenal when we don’t have the time to run to the store.

3. Gift brochures/gift cards
We’re artsy type of people, I’m sure certain things pop into your mind when you think of what we enjoy doing. Coffee and reading are a few of my favorite things and I do enjoy hanging out at a bookstore. Why not give them something special with a gift card to barnes and nobles? That or we’re always looking for new music to jam to, itunes is a worthy cause as well.

4. Sketchbooks
It’s one of those things that I never (well, mostly) leave home without. A small simple sketchbook works for me. I like the canson hard cover ones, but a moleskin one is one of choice. This is so we never lose track of ideas or if we’re occasionally bored sitting in the doctor’s office and need to pass time. Small and discrete is nice.

5. A camera
Though some of us have them, they’re possibly the bigger bulkier DSLR cameras. You know, the kinds the professionals use where you have to switch lens all the time? I’m talking about an easy point and shoot ones that are really convenient. There are days where I wish I had just a normal point and shoot instead of having my D50 hang around my neck and cause neck strain. Rechargeable batteries and a memory card will have to come with the package too.

6. Printer/Ink
So some of us usually outsource printing, which is fine. Though for a college designer (and possibly a professional) a printer would be nice. I’m not talking the type of printer that prints only 8x10s. I’m talking ones that print up to about 13×19, such as a Canon Pixma 9000. It’s a little on the pricey side, but your graphic designer will love you for it.

7. Storage
This can come in the form of external harddrives, DVDs, and CDs. Something that can hold up and can save us time when we need to archive things. The bigger in size (1TB vs 160GB) the more effective it’ll have, but as dreaded as it sounds these things crash. Why we would need DVDs and CDs to back them up so in case they did, our valuable files would not be lost.

8. Bookcase/Book Ends
We’re visual people, though sometimes (as with myself) I tend to leave my books laying around, and mysteriously they disappear. I have thus resorted to bookends upon my desk and now I can easily access my design books when I need inspiration. They’re cheap and afforadable and well, I haven’t lost anymore books since I got them.