After Effects Quick Tip: Pan & Zoom Image Inside A Mask

It shouldn't come as any surprise that editors today are being asked more and more to create motion graphics in addition to their many other tasks.  Budgets are getting smaller and producers are trying to squeeze every dime of value out of each team member.

As such, video editors that keep up their motion graphics skill sets are in a much better position to stay marketable in a competitive environment.

I have been getting lots of questions from my video editor friends about how to do some basic things in After Effects, and to clear up some mis-conceptions about tools and best practices for quickly creating professional looking graphics.

The first lesson in this series of quick tips talks about the best way to animate an image inside of a mask.  The "Ken Burns Effect" is a common request and pretty easy to pull off full-screen. 

But what happens when you want this to occur inside of a matte?
Watch the video to find out!  

It also reviews the difference between the Anchor Point Tool and the Pan Behind Tool, which are often confused.  

Make sure to Subscribe to the YouTube Channel as there are many more lessons to come.



I Interviewed Keiichi Matsuda for Motionographer about Hyper-Reality

Hyper Reality was one of the most jaw-dropping cinematic experiences I have ever had.
(If you haven't seen the film, watch it here:

After viewing it, the concepts and images would not leave my brain, and I wanted to know more about the making of the film.

So I asked Justin Cone of Motionographer if he would be interested in me interviewing the film's creator, Keiichi Matsuda, on behalf of the website.  

The interview has gone live and can be viewed here.
Check it out!

AWESOMESAUCE: Minimaforms Petting Zoo

OMG. This installation is absolutely bonkers.

I wish I could have experienced it in person, but thankfully we live in the age of the internet, and can get a glimpse of it without traveling to the FRAC Centre in France.

Here's a video of the installation in use.
And to make it even more awesome, there is a pretty in-depth look at the process of how it was built.

The combination of technology, interaction, and a movement that seems highly organic creates an otherworldly experience which peaks the interest of a viewer on many different levels.

I find this intersection of technology and fine art installation to be totally fascinating and belive it could even change my mind about the current state of contemporary art.

In all honesty, most contemporary art installations leave me unfulfilled and wanting more. Many of the ones I've witnessed have been built on high-level concepts that may mean a lot in thought, but don't deliver a truly engaging experience.  

I much prefer these types of in-your-face environments, which are stimulating on many levels, so that the viewer ends up completely losing themselves.  When I go into a space like this, I want to suspend all thinking and just let my senses be my guide.  


Check Out The Minimaforms Website for more detail on the project:


Design Is In The Details: Highway Signs Typeface

The more I dig into Experiential Design, the more I realize that it is all around us, and that I've been mostly ignoring it for my entire life.

This is an interesting article about the typeface used on highway signage throughout the United States.  

Click the original link to the right to read the whole article, or here's the TL;DR summary:

In 2004, the US Federal Highway Administration (USFHA) approved usage of a new typeface called Clearview, for highway signage.  This was to replace the previously used typeface, Highway Gothic.

Clearview was designed by Meeker and Associates, specifically for highway signage.  Legibility was a primary concern, particularly at high speeds of travel.   By opening up the letters and widening slightly, they were able to make certain letters more readable.  After testing in Pennsylvania, improved legibility was confirmed, and the go ahead was given for other states to follow suit.

However, that decision is being re-considered, after further testing has questioned whether Clearview is indeed more legible.  Arguments have been made that for certain uses, the old typeface Highway Gothic, is more preferable.  And so the USFHA is no longer giving approval for states to use Clearview.

This decision is upsetting to the designers who toiled over those small details in each letter.  Matters are made worse by the fact that the USFHA is having a hard time giving concrete evidence that Highway Gothic is a better option than Clearview.

Whichever typeface is indeed a better option for highway signage is open for debate.  But at the very least, this article gives some insight into the design decision-making process, particularly at the governmental level.  

And it is also a signal that experiential design is creeping into our everyday lives and not just seen as a luxury to make something more "cool".  It can have a very real, and impactful use.


One of my many New Years Resolutions is to write more often, so here goes my first shot at what will hopefully become a long series of blog posts.

Experiential Design is a topic that is of particular interest to me lately, as I believe this is the future direction of design, and will ultimately converge with the field of motion graphics.

Currently, experiential work is most often employed for more artistic pursuits, such as public space installations, museum exhibits, and concert visuals.   This isn't to say that there aren't large brands making use of experiential design, but by and large, it is safe to say ED has not reached the marketing mainstream yet.  

Of course, this won't be the case for long.  Brands are already thinking more about experience, and employ these techniques at corporate meetings, trade shows, and in building lobbies.

So what is the next phase for ED? Allow me to make a prediction.

Experiential Design will be the trigger that gets people out of their homes and back into the stores.  

As consumers purchase more of their needs online, they go out for in-person shopping experiences less.  And stores have little power in persuading shoppers to come in person rather than purchasing online, as shopping online offers so many more conveniences.

So what can a brand do to make their brick-and-mortar locations seem worthwhile to customers?

Raise the level of experience!  And I'm not just talking about having customer services people there.  It will be about the brand connecting with consumers on a more emotional level, and make the store a place shoppers WANT to visit.

The leading edge of this can already be seen, with some brands maintaining flagship stores, even though many of their sales may occur online.  They understand that branding is about making a connection with consumers, and that giving them a great experience in person keeps the brand at the forefront of mind when an online purchase decision is being made.

And the companies that choose to ignore Experiential Design?  I believe that companies like this will not be able to maintain their brick-and-mortar locations and will end up operating strictly online, or shutting down business altogether.

Bold predictions perhaps.  Or maybe its obvious.  I don't know.  But I can't wait to find out.

Unity Game Dev: Andrew Shaw's Head-Buttin' Pucks & Shootin' Ducks

Use Arrow Keys To Move, Click To Shoot

Use Arrow Keys To Move, Click To Shoot

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the full throes of the playoffs, which means late night games, heart palpitations & palm sweats.  

One such moment of anxiety of jubilation was when Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw managed to use his head to score, which would have been a game-winning goal had it been counted.

Nonetheless, the play was so inspiring that I decided to create an interactive game using the game development program Unity.  

I've been learning Unity for a little bit by doing tutorials, one of which was a Space Shooter game.
I realized that I could probably change out the assets in this tutorial game with my own hockey-related assets.  

One extra functionality I wanted was to have two separate obstacles, each behaving differently.
The Ducks should be able to be shot, but the pucks should just bounce off the player.

While I was able to figure out how to get this coded and working properly, I could not get it so that "heading a puck" would add to the score.  However, I realized that this is accurate to true life, and released the game as is.

After all, Heading Pucks will not count as a goal...

....But it sure is fun.

Click the image above to play the game.
(Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera Only, Sorry no mobile or Chrome support)
(May Require Installation of Unity plugin)

Use Arrow Keys to Move Around. Click To Shoot.