Post Magazine

June 2010

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was working for a notable entertainment ad agency in Burbank. One day my boss walked in and asked By ROB GARROTT Freelance Artist ( Instructor Art Center College of Design in Pasadena ( The education never ends A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, a fresh-faced print designer that I sometimes see in the mirror Get out there and learn! with urgency, “Which one of you guys knows animation?” Well, I had always wanted to learn animation, and I enjoy putting one over on “The Man,” so I said, “I do, but we don’t have the software.You’ll need to buy a copy of Cosa After Effects.” Two days later it arrived at the office, and five bleary-eyed days (and nights) after that I had my first motion graphic piece: a logo an- imation for the The Dating Newlywed Game, a take off of the shows from the ‘70s. Back then, the Internet barely existed, and video over the Web was unthinkable. There weren’t any learning resources avail- able; I had no choice but to read the manual! Now, however, there are tons of re- sources — everything from online video tu- torials to fully accredited degree programs. But each option has its pros and cons for a working professional or a full-time learner. Notice I didn’t say “student.”That’s because you can never really stop learning in this business! There is too much competition. The information buffet comes in two broad categories: Structured, and unstruc- tured. Structured is great for folks just start- ing out, giving you a framework to learn in. Once you reach a certain point in your de- velopment though, you begin looking for specific techniques or nuggets of informa- tion, and that’s where the unstructured con- tent on the Internet is of the greatest value. LEARNING ONLINE is an amazing resource for The end result of the tutorial looks like a finished, network- style promo. both structured and unstructured video training. (See 10/resources.html for a link to a free trial). I’m currently in production on a new series for that will provide a detailed and structured look at how to create a :15 network-style promo using Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects. Even if you’re just learning both apps, I think you’ll be able to follow along and have something pretty cool at the end. If you al- ready know After Effects, but are looking to get into Cinema 4D, then the series gives you a truly real-world yet-accessible exam- 42 Post • June 2010 Garrott’s tutorial series on provides all the steps needed to create a finished project. ple of how Cinema 4D can be used to cre- ate motion graphics. The tutorials walk you through the cre- ative process from analyzing the script and creating a sketch-based animatic all the way through final rendering.The promo for the “Adventure Channel” features a photorealis- tic shark that is modeled from scratch, tex- tured and animated in Cinema 4D.The Cin- ema 4D rendering uses global illumination to create a convincing underwater look. The compositing and finish work is all done in After Effects. My personal goal for the series was to create a truly comprehensive expla- nation. At nearly 70 movies total, I think this lesson gives a great look at all the aspects of creating a graphic driven,multi-shot promo. BRICK & MORTAR The courses that I teach at the Art Cen- ter College of Design in Pasadena (www. are part of a structured de- greed undergraduate program in Graphic Design, where you can get an emphasis on motion graphics. Art Center’s curriculum takes a design-oriented approach and mo- tion is one aspect of a much larger philoso- phy that places an emphasis on artistic qual- ity and creative problem solving rather than one technique specifically.The advantage for full-time undergraduates is that you get a wide range of experiences that aim to make you a more well-rounded artist. For working artists though, the time re- quirements involved in a full program aren’t usually feasible.That’s where continuing edu- cation programs come in, and the Art Center at Night program provides a selection of some of the same courses full-time under- grads take without having to enroll in school. KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN The Internet abounds with a wide variety of unstructured and free tutorials. So if you’re just looking for that quick “nugget” of info, you have a lot to choose from.The re- sources page on my Website, (www.bend- has a list of places that you can start your search.The quality of these free tutorials varies wildly though. Key fac- tors I look for in a tutorial are background of the instructor — does that person have a lot of experience using the technique in pro- duction? Personality of the instructor — can I understand what the instructor is saying? Completeness of the tutorial — does the tutorial take you from beginning to end without skipping anything important? The vast majority of tutorials have something good to offer, and hey, they’re free! In the end, it all boils down to your situa- tion.I’m a working pro with a family and not a lot of time. I have to have unstructured train- ing. A 20-year-old, living at home, has more options.Whichever route is best for you, the most important thing is to have a specific goal in mind for what you want to learn. Rob Garrott is a graphic designer, animator and editor who owns his own shop, Bending- pixels, in North Hollywood.

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