Reminiscence: My Universe

I haven’t touched the After Effects since in the early 2000.  I’ve been wanting to get back into doing more video work.  I’ve decided to take a class on After Effects and made my first fun try-out piece.

Things have definitely changed.  Back in those days After Effects (AE)was not compatible with vector files – I couldn’t use Illustrator files then but now you can easily import them.  This allows you to have a better control over the typography, the clean crisp alphabets.  Also, now, it’s compatible with flash.  In early 2000 Flash was becoming to be popular but still it was not as a dominant tool as in mid-2000, so there was no features like “Export” as .swf file that you find in the current version.  Flash was not a tool to handle videos on the web in those days.

Another impression I got by using the current AE was that it seemed like they are aiming to turn the composite tool into a 3D tool.  Some of the 3D affects you can create in current AE is amazing. Has came a long way from the flat 2D features they created in the late 90’s (still it was a powerful tool then).   Unfortunately, for a 3D tool, it’s still very primitive and needs a lot more improvements.  The capabilities are not fully there and is rather like a 3D wanna’ be tool (trying hard yet the goal is undefined.  The control of the 3D elements such as camera, lighting, fog and etc… is not very sophisticated (they are limited in the 2D module – e.g. need to go out of your way to observe the movement of the camera).  It’s difficult to use if you had been exposed to more sophisticated 3D tools.  I give credits for their efforts and still is a very powerful tool.   It is amazing that I just imported some rather boring images created in Illustrator but it’s beyond what you would anticipate some flat vector files to look .  These images were nothing fancy.  I just used mostly default brushes and color swatches (I didn’t have an access to a 3D tool so everything was in 2D but could some how fake it in unusual way). This try-out movie posted here is a work in progress and I plan to add some different camera shots and some audio files.

I am posting my very old piece below.  This was done in Quadra (not even a PowerPC).  The second digital video I made.  In those days, I’ve spent hours just trying to see the preview of a movie (it took long, especially, using a slow machine like a Quadra).

What software did I use to create this piece?

Adobe Premiere.

This was created before Adobe bought After Effects.  In my graduate program we had no manuals or classes to learn the softwares.  They were just considered as tools and we were responsible to somehow figure out the ways to use them and incorporate them into our projects.  I nearly lived in the lab just to figure out  the way to use the software.  Like for this piece, I’ve spent hours creating and manipulating the graphics in PhotoShop to get the kind of effects I wanted to achieve using Premier.  Since most people never thought Premier could be used to get some affects you see in AE, I  ended up using the tool in a rather unexpectedly original way.  You had to go through a lot of tedious re-touching and graphics productions but doing so had a sense of craftsmanship to work around the limitations of the tool.  Looking back it was such a fulfilling experience to focus and engage in a time consuming process.  Now, the tools have become more powerful yet still it’s up to the user to come up with their own creative solutions to express their visions, the creation of their universe.  Of course the vision is the most important part of any creative endeavors and persistence to discover the best possible execution.

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