After Effects Animation Tutorial – Motion Sketch

Once you have introduced yourself to the stopwatch feature in After Effects, you are ready to begin learning about some of the other related features and ‘assistants’ that are built into this application. The stopwatch is fundamental to everything. Every setting you animate will be set using that attribute’s stop watch, creating keyframes along the timeline. Our first tutorials have been about position because this may be the most basic of all attributes to animate.

If you are animating position a favorite keyframe assistant is the ‘motion sketch’ tool. This is a very simple, clever tool that literally animates one of our earliest artistic expressions … scribbling on a tablet! Who hasn’t been inspired, tapped their thoughts, used a scribbling pad to connect idea and imagery?

The motion sketch tool lets you sketch a path producing keyframes along the way. Like all the assistants, the best way to learn is to get your feet wet working along with me as we describe how to access and define the motion sketch tool.

Create a new project and go with the Web Video preset for your stage dimensions. We’re going to animate a ball moving around your stage as you define it’s ‘flight’ with motion sketch. Create new shape layer, choose ellipse from your drawing tools, and draw a small circle (holding ‘shift’ while defining your ellipse with make it a true circle). Position your circle in the upper left hand area of the stage so you’ll have plenty of room to fly!

Be sure you have the motion sketch panel available (click under Window menu if it is not visible). Now, before we begin flight, note the default settings of motion sketch, ‘Capture speed’ at 100%, ‘Smoothing’ set to 1, ‘Show wireframe’ checkbox selected. Simply click on ‘start capture’ and begin moving your circle on your stage. This is the ‘inner child’ part where your simply draw a sweeping arc or an ‘S’ curve, something easy to define.

As you are moving your circle about on the stage, the motion sketch is recording your positions, creating keyframes just as you would if you clicked each new position yourself clicking on the stopwatch, only this is much faster and much more freeform. When you have completed your ‘sketch’, releasing the mouse will stop ‘Motion Sketch’. Enter ‘Home’ to return to the beginning of your timeline and review your work! Or is it After Effect’s work ?

This is a great technique to produce an animated path by simply drawing it. It does create quite a number of keyframes and there are other parameters that will help you tune your path and apply it to other objects in your composition. Try it out !



Smartphones – Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry, iPhone, Samsung?

The new breed of mobile phones, the smartphones are taking over the mobile market and there are several variants flooded in the market. Which one to choose is the question that needs to be solved. Giants of mobile phones, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry or iPhone, all of them trying to make their niche in the clutter of smartphones, each of them master in their own right!

iPhone has managed to get maximum market share in the Americas while in European countries, Blackberry and Nokia still have presence at large. India and China and other Asian countries are dominated primarily by Nokia and Sony Ericsson. Each company trying to get into the markets of the others by adding new features every now and then. If we look at the strengths of each of the manufacturers, Nokia is known for its amazing variants, their latest offering E7 smartphone seems promising and they have, if i have to speak from an Indian context, launched the phone at a premium price before Sony Ericsson is launching a similar phone in their XPERIA series ie. Sony Ericsson XPERIA Pro. What could be the primary reason behind it?

The reason being simple, symbian operating system, after enjoying popularity over the past decade, has been overshadowed by the android operating system. Although, Symbian is the proprietary operating system of Nokia, they must try and come up with phones that are android driven, primarily because they might be able to fight more effectively against other competing phones. Blackberry is known for its amazing operating system Blackberry OS, but they are more known for their secure form of email sending communication.

iPhone is also at a very high position when it comes to features in smartphones. Steve jobs has done a tremendous job in making iOS a success. Also, all one has to do is browse “App Store” and download whatever application one wants. Nokia also has its own “Ovi Store” on similar lines. iPhone are also known for its stylish and sleek designs. Android driven phones have, again on the similar lines of “App Store” and “Ovi Store”, a on phone “Android Market”. But the number of free applications available on Android Market is far more than their counterparts. Sony Ericsson one of the leading manufacturers of android based phones has made an entire series of XPERIA phones based on Android technology.

Sony Ericsson is known for its amazing quality of phones be it aesthetic sense, battery life, operating system, the processor speed and design. Another giant in the smartphone market Samsung is also competing heavily with its counterparts, primarily in the Asian market. They have come up a combination of phone series, some of which run on Android, while some others run on their proprietary Operating System “BADA OS”. If one has to talk about the camera and picture quality, it is generally noticed that given a particular megapixel, Sony Ericsson phone cameras are far superior than any of their competitors’ cameras.

Pricing for all the phones shall vary based on the geographical area, the competition amongst the companies in the area and hence no insight can be given on this aspect with certainty, but since Sony Ericsson, iPhone are famous example of companies using market skimming strategy, you can safely assume that they shall try to sell their products at a premium price basing the hike in the price on their “quality” of product. Nokia and Samsung on the other hand, if i have to speak from an Indian market aspect, would try to have two sets of phones, one would be highly prices but generally not higher than competing Sony Ericsson or Apple phones, and another set of phones which would be affordable and would be if not very low, moderately priced thus trying to use market penetration strategy and try to reach the middle class income bracket. Thus one must choose their phone after doing thorough research in and around their neighborhood, you never know your phone of your dreams might just be cheaper there!



Personal Tips For Saving Web Favorite Flash

We are often interested in the Flash animations which are being played when we browse a web page. Because of the Flash files are vector graph and the animations are smaller than other video formats so that they are very suit for browsing on-line. But the links of these Flash files are hidden very well in the web pages, so we can not download them simply with the downloader which we have used usually. Want to extract the favorite Flash animations from a web page simply? No problem! It is a little case as long as you have a powerful Flash tool that allows you save the Flash files from the opening web pages. Now I will commend some popular and excellent Flash downloaders to you. They are: EZ Save Flash, Flash Saver, Flash Saving Plugin, FlashCapture and FlashFavorite and Flash Miner. Following are the detailed introduction of them.

EZ Save Flash is an Internet Explorer add-on that enables us to easily save Flash (.swf) files to our hard drive. It integrates into the IE context menu, and toolbar, and adds new right-click option to save selected or all flash files on the current page. In addition, it also offers a floating toolbar that appears whenever we hover our mouse over a Flash animation, as well as an IE cache browser to view/save previously browsed Flash animations. EZ Save Flash provides a compact, friendly interface. Not only can beginners use it simply but also experienced users can also use it for advanced application. EZ Save Flash is an ideal solution for Flash animations fancier and webpage designer. It is the fast, affordable way to extract Flash files from a webpage.

Flash Saver is a tool to simplify the way of downloading Flash files to our local hard drive. It can work as a standalone application or as a handy IE plug-in, that will automatically list all .swf files on the current page by pressing F7. We can then choose which files to download, preview them and also select a category to classify them. To speed up download times, we can also choose to download the file from our local browser cache rather than the Internet.

Flash Saving Plugin allows us to easily save Flash content from Internet Explorer (and other IE based browsers). It adds a new button to the Internet Explorer toolbar that lets us save Flash movies from any web page to a specified folder. In addition, it provides access to cached Flash files (Cache Browser) and comes with a Flash Gallery features, that lists all the Flash items contained in a page, along with their URLs, file sizes and last modification date.

FlashCapture is an Internet Explorer add-on, that enables us to save, email, snapshot and categorize Flash (.swf) files in just one click. FlashCapture integrates into the IE right click menu and makes new option available when right-clicking on a Flash item. We can choose to Save as…, Send by Email and more. We can create custom categories and automatically save Flash files into a selected category by using the Save Flash into… menu item. In addition, FlashCapture offers a floating Flash toolbar, similar to the IE image toolbar that offers the same functionality whenever we hover our mouse over a Flash file in IE. To speed things up, we can also use the new tool-button on the IE toolbar to save multiple Flash files at once. It opens a dialog that displays thumbnail version of all Flash items on the page and then allows us to select the ones to be saved to disk.

FlashFavorite allows us to browse downloaded Flash files in our Temporary Internet Files and the currently open web page. We can preview each Flash file (.swf) with the built-in viewer and optionally rename it and save the Flash clip in a user defined category. FlashFavorite also integrates into the IE toolbar, so we can quickly save a currently playing Flash movie.

Flash Miner is a tool to mass download Flash (swf) files from a given URL. It can spider the site to find files that are linked from other pages as well. We can set additional filters to exclude or include certain parts of the site based on keywords in the URL and also set a limit to the number of files and their sizes. Flash Miner comes with an integrated Flash viewer to play the downloaded files.

Overall, EZ Save Flash is an Internet Explorer add-on that enables us to save Flash (.swf) files to our hard drive easily. It is an ideal solution for Flash animations fanciers and webpage designers. Flash Saver is a tool to simplify the way of downloading Flash files to our local hard drive. Flash Saver can work as a standalone application or as a handy IE plug-in to save Flash files from the Internet. It is the fast, affordable way to extract Flash files from a webpage. Flash Saving Plugin adds a new button to the Internet Explorer toolbar and comes with Flash Gallery features, which list all the Flash items contained in a page, along with the detailed information of them. FlashCapture is a multifunctional Flash saver with some handy functions, such as a floating Flash toolbar. FlashFavorite allows us download Flash files from the Temporary Internet Files and the currently open web page. Flash Miner allows us to download Flash (swf) files from a given URL and comes with an integrated Flash viewer to play the downloaded files. Is there a favorite Flash saver for you? Well then, why are you still reading? Download it and experience how handy and simple it is!



11 Great Guitar Smartphone Apps

You can do amazing things with a guitar and a  smartphone  these days. Joe Satriani mentioned in a recent interview in Guitar World that he demoed all the tracks for his latest album on his iPhone in his hotel rooms on tour.

I dug around and came up with 11 of the best and most useful  smartphone  guitar apps out there. Not just dopey little apps that let you “play guitar” by strumming your phone. You’re a real guitar, so we’ll concentrate on apps that really help your guitar training and productivity.

 Tool  Kits

Ultimate Guitar Tools – Ultimate-Guitar.com brings us this guitar tool kit app that includes a chromatic tuner that supports standard and alternate tunings, a metronome with custom presets, and an expansive chord dictionary to help you find any chord you need. $3.99 and available for iPhone and Android

Gibson Learn and Master Guitar – This one, from the fantastic Learn and Master Guitar guys, is similar to UGT above. The metronome includes a tap tempo, but the chord library is a little smaller. It’s also comes with video lessons from the Learn and Master Guitar series, which are very good. Best of all… It’s free. Available for iPhone and Android

Theory Apps

Guitar Web App – This guitar app has a terribly bland name, but it’s actually very useful. Not only is it a chord dictionary, but it also explains the relationships between the chords, chord substitutions, and good chord choices for particular melody notes. Useful when you’re trying to harmonize a melody or work with a fake book. $0.99 and available for iPhone

Guitar Fretboard Addict – Through the use of fun games and exercises you’ll learn the fretboard inside and out, plus it helps you learn ear training, sight reading, and theory. Ask me how much I paid to learn all that stuff in college. A bunch more than $4.99, I’ll tell you that much. Available for iPhone

Star Scales Pro – Chord dictionaries are easy to find, but there’s not a lot of scale dictionaries out there. This is a good pick for a scale trainer. It’s got tons of blues, rock, and jazz scales that you’ll be able to learn in multiple patterns all over the neck. It also gives options for lefty and 7-string players. $5.99 and available for iPhone.

Tab Apps

Ultimate Guitar Tabs – More useful stuff from Ultimate-Guitar.com. You get access to all the tabs on their site and tools to make them very useable on your phone screen, with auto-scroll and such. I like the “now playing” function that will look up the tab for a song you’re listening to. $2.99 and available for iPhone

Guitar Pro – This is the great tabbing software from Guitar Pro. You can display, playback, and write tabs (and standard notation). Never again will you have an excuse to forget that brilliant riff or melody line you came up with. $7.99 and available for iPhone and Android

For Practice

Riffmaster Pro – This is my favorite program to slow down a song with. Great for slowing down those lightning fast solos so you can really hear what’s going on and learn from it. You have your choice of changing the pitch or not. $4.99 and available for iPhone

Amplitube – effects/amps – This is the big daddy for amp and effect modeling. A little pricier than most apps, but well worth it. It works for guitar and bass and includes recording capabilities. 11 stompboxes, 5 amps, 5 speaker cabs, and 2 mics. You can import and export tracks and change their tempos. Also includes a vocal/lead guitar remover. This is a must-have. I believe you could even run your effects for a live show with this, though I haven’t tried it. $19.99. They also have an LE version (2.99) and a free version. Also require iRig to plug your guitar into the phone. $39.99 Available for iPhone.

Everyday Looper – For practicing over a chunk of music or for doing loopy stuff in your live shows. This app will perform admirably. $5.99 and available for iPhone

Recording

4 Track – A great little 4-track recording app with a ton of functions. Great for demoing your songs on the run. Requires the Guitar Jack from Sonoma Wireworks to plug your guitar into the phone. $5.99 and available for iPhone. Guitar Jack is $149

Of course, nothing will ever take the place of a great amp and a full blown recording set up. Not yet anyway. You may not experience the most beautiful sound quality from some of these tools, but they are fantastic for on the go fun, practice, and learning.



The Memory Revolution: OTG USB Flash Drive

With the increased popularity of smartphones, people also are increasingly spending significant amounts on phones with high memory capacity. Ironically though, even that huge memory is ultimately bound to be full after a certain time. The multiple hassles involved with transferring inactive data from the mobile also mean that people often end up delaying their data transfer for a long while, until the point that they are forced to delete some valuable files. All this however can be solved by the revolutionary device known as the OTG USB Flash drive.

What is an OTG USB Flash drive?

It can be summed up in two words ‘memory revolution’. OTG, stands for ‘on the go’ and OTG USB Flash drive is the memory device that you can use with your smartphone, just like the internal storage of your phone by simply connecting a miniature flash drive device with the micro port on your smartphone that is frequently used for charging or memory transfer. It basically is an external flash memory drive that you can use with your smartphone. Perhaps all of us remember the enormous troubles saved when we first used a ‘pen-drive’ with our PC: the OTG USB Flash drive in this sense is a modern pen drive that can work with both your phone and your PC.

Save your money

With the tendency to change a phone model among customers becoming increasingly popular, the extra expenditure on buying phones with a lot of memory is an expenditure that just can’t be justified. Alternatively, buying an OTG USB Flash drive with a phone of a lower memory capacity saves you plenty of money. A lot of modern smartphone manufacturers, including prominent manufacturers like Apple and Samsung, build devices are OTG enabled. Thus, customers now have the option to save a lot of money on their devices with the OTG USB Flash drive.

Transfer data seamlessly between phone and PC

Transferring large amount of data between any phone and PC is undoubtedly a somewhat annoying activity primarily because of the time consumed for huge data transfer as well as the procedures and time involved with the connection. But all of these troubles can be eliminated by the use of an OTG USB Flash drive. A popular model of OTG USB Flash drive is the Pastel OTG, which comes with two ports that can easily connect to the phone and the PC through which data transfer is fast and simple.

Enjoy the extra memory

Have you ever had to delete those videos taken from your camera, just because your device lacked extra memory? Then you are certainly one among the overwhelming majority phone users who are forced to do that more often. Files like movies, videos and music often consume a lot of memory in a phone. The limitation in the memory size often devoid a lot of phone users from being able to put such high memory consuming files. But, with the OTG USB Flash drive, users can easily store large files as a backup that can easily be utilized on the go.