After Effects

Chicago Motion Graphics Festival 2008 Re-Cap

The CMGF08 was a smashing success and we had a great time. We came in on Thursday morning and after getting settled in, we headed to the Stash Screening. I had forgotten that my laptop doesn’t reset the timezones automagically like my phone does and I arrived over an hour early.

Well, it’s a great thing that I did because I got to catch most of Reiner from LeftChannel Industries presentation. LeftChannel, of Colubus, Ohio, worked with a Japanese company on a project for Kirin Hyoketsu, an adult beverage flavored with Hyoketsu, a Japanese apple variety. He talked about how they made animatics and how the shots were incredibly detailed, even though the shots lasted all of 2 seconds. The video is on their website if you want to have a look.

He also talked about an amazing video that they produced by pulling two words out of a hat, ‘Blissful’ and ‘Devil’. They passed around the posters that they came up with, based on those words, and in the end animated it. They entered it into film festivals all over the place and received several awards and new jobs too. Not half bad for pulling two words out of a hat!

I got to sit by my old friend Rani Stack, who worked with me 7-8 years ago at Postworks. She’s now doing digital signage for big hotels. She presented earlier in the day, but unfortunately, I missed her presentation by a couple of hours.

The Stash Screening was excellent – the Best of Stash 2007. Check out some of the highlights.

There was a studio tour that evening, but I decided to get some sleep and be bright eyed for my class in the morning.

On Friday morning, Harry Frank and I met up in the doorway of the SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). We taught a class together on intermediate to advanced After Effect use. I first taught Harry’s lesson called ‘DJ Roto’ and went on to show s few things about the new Shape tool in After Effects. Harry filled the afternoon with some great examples from a Sherwin Williams spot he just finished with Digital Kitchen, and also showed us how to make incredibly cool 3D grass with CC Hair and a few other plug-ins.

CMGF Class

Friday night was the tour at Bridges Media, a post house and studio in Chicago. It’s the third year I’ve been there and they’re pretty much all FCP HD suites and running all Macs with the Adobe video tools. The CEO gave us a tour. The food at the party was very interesting and vegan. They had really delicious (and hot!) stuffed jalepenos, plus mini salads served on a leaf of endive with watercress, grape tomatoes, and these crispy brown onions. Truffles too. Very frou-frou, and I loved it! They also had a DJ spinning some great tunes. It was a lot of fun meeting new people and seeing the folks I met in the past years at the fest.

Bridges party

Saturday morning was my Apple Motion class. It went really well and I plan to put some tutorials and presets up at Toolfarm/AE Freemart soon. Maybe I’ll make some full training… not sure yet.

On Saturday night there was a video installation from 9pm-2am, but I missed it. I was very tired and it was very cold. When I say very cold, I mean frigid. I wasn’t just being wimpy. The high was 3° and the wind chill was -40°

On Sunday, Harry taught After Effects Expressions at the SAIC and he said it went very well.

The event is really well organized and they have a terrific lineup of activities and guests. My only complaint is the weather. Chicago in January. Ick. How about having the fest in May next year?! It was also the same week as Mac World, which I know caused a few conflicts.

Also, I’d like to mention, for being such a hot dog/deep dish pizza place, I had some of the best food I’ve ever had in one city in Chicago. Chicago really is a culinary destination.

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More on Chicago Motion Graphics Festival


Harry and I are both teaching at the festival, so come out and see us!

After Effects

Chicago Motion Graphics Festival 2008

I hope you can all make it to the Chicago Motion Graphics Festival 2008 in mid-January. Harry and I are both teaching classes. We’re tag-teaming on an AE class, Harry will be teaching a second full day class and I’m teaching a full day class for Apple Motion. Register online now!

The festival is loads of fun and if you’re from the south, chances are you’ll get to experience a real Chicago winter. Yeah, enticing. 😉 It’s a really well organized festival and so worth the trip. If you’re already in Chicago, I hope to see you there.


Harry and Michele at the Chicago Motion Graphics Festival

Harry and I both taught Master’s Classes at the Chicago Motion Graphics Festival. This photo was taken at Bridges Media Group at the mixer last Friday night. It’s a great facility and Bridges puts out some really sweet motion graphics work. We met a lot of very cool people, many from a surprisingly long distance from Chicago.

The Festival was a lot of fun. I taught a Master’s Class in After Effects where we dove deep into masking, keying and expressions and also spent some time with 3D, cameras and lights. Harry taught a Maya class. We also attended a couple of screenings of professional and student work, which were really good. I’ve added one sample to Toolfarm’s Inspirations section and I’ll be adding more as I find them. There was one called “Duct tape and Run” that I can’t find anywhere. It was done by a student at Columbia College in Chicago. If you know where I can find it, please drop me an email.

On Sunday, we attended an educational panel. I especially enjoyed the panel on motion graphics, which discussed workflow, attaining clients, networking and so on. There were panelists from post houses, gaming firms, freelancers, Feedburner. Adobe had a speaker come in the afternoon, which I unfortunately missed because I had to catch my train. Eric, my former student stayed and said it was a terrific presentation. I won a book and DVD in the raffle and so did Harry, and the same former student Eric won After Effects 7.0! Congratulations to Eric!

I’d like to thank Mason Dixon and the Chicago Motion Graphics Festival for having us. The festival is so well organized and has so many different elements to it. You MUST go in 2008!