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April 2018

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Page 37 of 43 36 POST APRIL 2018 REVIEW recently read an article about the Black Panther film that debuted this year. The article criticized the quality of VFX found in the film, compar- ing it to the quality of films made 10 years ago. In doing so, the author interviewed several current and former VFX artists to try and get to the bottom of why "we appear to have peaked at Avatar in 2010?" The general consensus was lower bud- gets, tighter schedules and overworked VFX artists. In today's ultra-demanding, post production environment, effects and motion artists need every tool available to streamline their workflows and automate mundane tasks. The Creation Effects collection of After Effects templates and animations are ready-made to help artists get ahead in this competitive line of work. Creation Effects is the company name for Noel Powell, a motion graphics and special effects designer. Noel has devel- oped dozens of templates and pre-built, customizable After Effects projects over the years, and the themes of his most recent additions have remained true to his company name. Recently, two complex, nature-themed animation templates were released: Flocks and Schools. And this summer, Noel is expected to release a third: Swarms. No doubt the company name Creation Effects alludes not only to the author's Christian worldview, but also to the theme of many of his products. I had the opportunity to spend time with both Flocks and Schools, in addition to another set of effects, which will be mentioned later in this article. These two templates revolve around easily animat- ing groups of airborne and aquatic crea- tures of various types, sizes and levels of authenticity. Flocks and Schools, which sell for $49 each, come in the form of an After Effects file ready for your customi- zation. Upon opening the project, you're greeted with a composition with instruc- tions explaining how to use the different resources in the file. These instructions can be somewhat simplistic given the extensive customization available in these projects. That being the case, as well as included PDF files, offer much more extensive in- structions and video tutorials on how to get the most out of these templates. Flocks and Schools share many simi- larities in how they function. You're given an array of flying or swimming creatures to choose from and assign to a compo- sition which will (in theory) immediately provide realistic motion to these 2D PNG files. The Flocks project provides birds in different complexities from single segment all the way up to 15 segments. The greater the number of segments, the more realistic the movement of the bird is in flight. In fact, the 15-segment option even includes different imagery for the top and bottom of the wings, since both sides will be visible in flight. Schools works in much the same way Flocks does, but this project file offers a larger number of sea creatures to animate. From the tiny clown fish to the mam- moth whale shark, Schools gives you the resources to make your very own Great Barrier Reef on screen. It even provides a host of additional scene elements and pre-built animated scenes that your fake fish can swim over, under and through. The last set of Creation Effects that I worked with is their Art Effects package. This bundle includes more than 30 differ- ent video effects and image manipulators to use with your footage. Some of these aren't much different from fairly stan- dard effects already provided in Adobe creative software, but others are really impressive. A few that stood out to me were the Claymation, Paper Cutout and Watercolor Painting Reveal. CREATION EFFECTS FLOCKS AND SCHOOLS I READY-MADE AE TEMPLATES AND ANIMA- TIONS FOR ARTISTS IN A COMPETITIVE MARKET BY PAUL SCHMUTZLER KNOXVILLE, TN EMAIL: PAUL@ THESCHMUTZLER.COM TWITTER: @ THESCHMUTZLER VITAL STATS MANUFACTURER: Creation Effects PRODUCT: Flocks and Schools PRICE: Flocks ($49 download), School ($49 download) WEBSITE: • Finely crafted and expertly organized • Clear instructions • Offers projects a unique look The Watercolor Painting Reveal effect.

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