Stay Tuned!

Other than watching Game of Thrones, all I've done is since April is work and sleep. Oh, and go to Blend Fest and the MODE summit. But other than that, all work and no play has made Nol a very dull blogger and social medi-er.

And for that, dear faithful readers*, I humbly apologize. 

I am itching to tell you more about what I've been up to, but I still need to gather up a few threads. I'll leave you with a few clues, to drive you mad with slavish anticipation..

 

*I assume you're out there.

Introduction video for School of Motion’s "Kickstarter” course, open this summer. https://www.schoolofmotion.com Score by Ryan Griffin: ryangriffin.media/index.html
Can't wait to tell you more about this!

Can't wait to tell you more about this!

Definitely going to share this soon!

Definitely going to share this soon!

Someone likes us!

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In that case, whoever designed this video for TracksRacks really, really likes me a lot!

Note the similarities with this piece I made for Fashion GPS a few years ago:

Right?

You know, everyone rips off everyone else all the time. I've done it myself. But a general rule for stealing is to remove it a few steps from the original. If you are a tech company that makes apps for the fashion community, don't rip off a video from another tech company that makes apps for the fashion community. That's really lazy.

3 Quick Texture Methods for AE

I've been getting a few questions recently from MoGraph friends and students about texturing methods for After Effects, so I thought I would put together this quick tutorial going through a few tricks and tips that I have on this subject.

Method 1 involves a scanned piece of newsprint given to me by my buddy Chris Roth from The Other House in 2006. I love this method because it's completely low-tech and has a friendly, hand-made quality to it.  If you want a copy of this legendary newsprint texture, here is a link.

Method 2 uses fractal noise. I believe I saw this technique a few years ago on Lester Banks, and it's super easy and fast. Plus, since fractal noise comes native with AE you can share settings and comps easily.

Method 3 involves creating layers in Photoshop. I heartily recommend Kyle T Webster's amazing brushes, which you can find here. Additionally, this method uses the awesome combination of two expressions: posterize time and wiggle.  

Check it out!

9 Squares Round 30

Warning: Staring at these images will undoubtedly lead to madness.  

This was my first time playing 9 Squares, and it was hella fun. Al, Skip and David recently adopted a two-color palette, which at first I thought might be limiting, but in the end really forced me to be creative. 

The theme for this round was Perception, which I was way into. Maybe to much, even. I found it hard to limit myself to one square.

I started out with an homage to an artist I recently discovered, named Pedro Friedeberg who often incorporates intricate geometrics in his paintings and sculpture.  

But then I wanted to play more with the idea of depth in a flat, two-color world. How would it look? I also experimented with different frame rates and exactly which ones caused epileptic seizures.

Eye popping goodness!

Eye popping goodness!

At the last minute I had a whole different idea that I worked on for while and then ultimately ran out of time before completing. The idea was to paint the whole 3 second sequence frame-by-frame in Photoshop, dividing up the frame into a series of smaller squares. 

I really like the quality of the test, and want to do more of this in the future. Maybe in a different, less ... abrasive ... two-color palette. :)

Check it out!  9 Squares Round 30

Thanks to Al, Skip and David, as well as the other eight contributors to this round!

 

WIPER PACK - Evolution

 

Some time in the Spring I saw a transition in a project that I liked -- honestly I don't remember what -- and of course I wanted to copy it. Well, more precisely, I wanted to know how to do it so that I could copy it. But, you know, in my own way. 

So I did what any self-respecting motion designer would do: think about it for five minutes and then ask a talented friend on Slack. In this case, I asked my buddy and Motion Corpse co-Founder Frank Suarez, and he said something like "I think they just painted it frame by frame in Photoshop and used it as a matte."

This was a moment of clarity for me, and it set me off on a frenzy of experimenting and playing around with different methods of making textured transitions for my own work. As a bonus, I had just won a Cintiq 13HD tablet -- thank you School Of Motion! -- a few months prior and had discovered the insane life-changing beauty of Kyle T Webster's Photoshop brush sets.  So I was set.

And from that humble beginning arose a large, sprawling, disorganized mess of a folder on my drive named Wipers. On the jobs when I had time, I made more of them and stuck 'em in Wipers. And on those other jobs when the pressure was on to turn something around quickly, well who could resist a folder named Wipers? I mean, come on! It's right there.

And then, of course, it was only a matter of time before I realized ... these might be useful for other people too! People with tight deadlines, or people who didn't want to hand-make their own transitions, or even worse -- the unfortunate souls who didn't win a HD Cintiq in an animation contest against a bunch of other ridiculously talented motion designers like I had (sorry, hard for me to resist the humble-brag).

And thus I realized I could potentially make money from all this stuff I was already doing for myself. And, even better, it could actually really benefit some folks! 

If I have enough time in January, I really want to make a tutorial that will go into some detail about how I made these, in case there are enterprising souls who want to make their very own Wipers one day, and don't have a Frank Suarez to ask. 

 

 

 

New Graphics Reel

 
 

Oh man, I do not like making new reels. Does anyone? 

First you have to find just the right music track. That always takes forever.  I drove Robert -- my biz partner and master music editor -- crazy making :45 cut-downs of track after track. 

 
 

At some point I was really close to using this mid-tempo cover of the classic John Denver song by Toots and the Maytals. It's a great tune, to be sure, but ... what was I thinking? 

Luckily I stumbled across that killer instrumental track "Beats For The Listeners" by Erik B and Rakim from their sophomore classic Follow The Leader, and everything got a lot easier. After asking Robert for one more cut, that is.

 
 

My goal for this reel was to show only new work, and get rid of all those old projects that were awesome a few years ago and now seem dusty and dull. Luckily I've been pretty busy in the last two years since my last reel, so there was a lot of new material to choose from.

In the end I got very close to including only new work. Everything on the reel is from 2015 and 2016, except a few shots from the documentary Greedy Lying Bastards that I animated in 2012. Still, I'm considering this a success.

The opener and closer were super fun to make, and helped me push forward the collage/mixed media aesthetic I've been enjoying so much recently. Plus I got really into the idea of using as many different, clashing patterns as possible in one frame, while still looking coherent.

I built a simple little rig so I could control the X and Y Position and Scale, as well as the Copies property of a Repeater I had on the word REEL, all with one slider. Nothing too fancy. Depending on the size of the images I wanted to show on screen, I used different multipliers, positive and negative to move them in a range.

scan014 copy.jpg

Collecting and assembling the vintage images and patterns was especially gratifying. Not sure why this midcentury American imagery inspires me so much, but I think it has something to do with the combination of optimism, glamor, and downright strangeness. 

I still haven't worked out this collage bug I'm feeling, and want to play more with accidental processes. I might have to learn more about coding. Darn.

Finally ... gratitude. All this new work makes me realize how much amazing teaching and guidance I've been given recently. Thanks very much to Joey Korenman, Michael Jones, Jorge Estrada, Ariel Costa and Colin Hesterly for continuing to push me. Almost every piece on this reel was directly influenced by one or more of these super fellows.

 

Obsessive Layers 2.0

Excited to say that we just released a 2.0 version of our popular tool Obsessive Layers, with some sweet new improvements.

For example, you can now Trim by Markers!

Most exciting for me is that we added an option to display the functions as graphic icon buttons, so the tool takes up much less space than before and works just as well.

Lester Banks wrote up a pretty thorough review on the updates here:

http://lesterbanks.com/2016/08/obsessive-layers-adds-new-trim-ae/

MOTION CORPSE 16

Another great round of Motion Corpse, this time with 5 of our favorite female animators: Bee Grandinetti, Linn Fritz, Rachel Yonda, Bethany Levy and Kelli Anderson.

Music and Sound Effects provided by Wesley @ Sono Sanctus.

Check out Kelli's excellent process on her blog here:
kellianderson.com/blog/2016/08/experiments-alive/

More kudos for Nix + Gerber

"Nix + Gerber" named Short of the Week on One Room With a View

Sweet review by Lina Jurdeczka:

"When it comes to the spaces we live in, there are few topics as contested as clutter. While some people are devoted to and even thrive in the midst of creative chaos, others feel oppressed and anxious being surrounded by random objects. For those of us who are not committed to or simply can’t up-keep a Muji-esque minimal space, working on any kind of larger project ironically goes hand-in-hand with living in an environment that resembles what is left after the end of days. The creation of one thing seems to go on a par with the destruction of another. This premise is at the heart of Robert Hall’s and Nol Honig’s extraordinary documentary short Nix + Gerber.

Since 2005 the artist Lori Nix and her partner Kathleen Gerber have explored the idea of a world post-mankind in their series The City. With extreme attention to detail, they create miniature models of subways, churches and libraries as they crumble and have nature take back some of the spaces. An anonymous graffiti from the May ’68 riots in Paris features the slogan “Sous les pavés, la plage!”: “Beneath the paving stones, the beach!” Nix and Gerber’s work explores a similar idea, that of a repressed nature claiming back its ultimate superiority over man-made urban environments.

With this tension between creation and destruction at the core of their work, Nix and Gerber appropriately conclude the series by portraying their own studio. Once the picture of the diorama is taken the pair gleefully destroys months of their work. The lovingly crafted tiny copies of Sleater Kinney and Kate Bush albums end on a dumpster in Brooklyn, while the photograph is hung in a gallery. In just under eight minutes, Nix + Gerber manages to convey an incredibly rich meditation on the creative process and the space it occurs in."

 

 

Flip The Script: The Underwear Perception

Check out my guest post today on Motionographer about the legendary Lloyd Alvarez, creator of aescripts.com

To quote Justin Cone "aescripts + aeplugins is an essential marketplace for the contemporary motion designer. But how did it come to be? Who's the man behind it all? And, perhaps most importantly, are you wearing pants?"