<![CDATA[Alan Shisko - Blog]]>Thu, 03 Mar 2016 09:48:46 -0800Weebly<![CDATA['Clean Buttons': A Navigation Icon Set for Kolor Panotour Pro v2]]>Mon, 06 Jan 2014 15:09:09 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/clean-buttons-a-navigation-icon-set-for-kolor-panotour-pro-v2
IMPORTANT: See note at the bottom of this post re: compatibility with PTP v2.2 and earlier, and PTP v2.3 and later.

I recently started using Kolor Panotour Pro v2 for my commercial work over at Firstshowing.ca. I quite like the software, but missed having a nice, simple, clean icon set for the navigation controls. As a little holiday project I decided to put together a new set loosely based on the stock 'iControl Bar' plugin and decided that I would release it to the wider community for those that missed a clean look as I did. I am not offering any warranty nor support for the set, so please test very carefully to ensure that it meets your needs.

It can be used in both your personal and professional projects, but I would ask that if you make any money using them that you consider making a donation via Paypal to alan@shisko.com Thanks!  

Simple install instructions are included in the ZIP file linked to below, and you can view a sample site that uses the navigation buttons HERE. I've also uploaded a short video install tutorial that also documents usage for the set on YouTube, available HERE.

HERE'S THE IMPORTANT NOTE: Use the link for v91 below if you're using Kolor Panotour Pro v2.2 or EARLIER. Use the link for v93 below for PTP v2.3 or LATER. Difference between the two is to fix a change in how tool tips show up.
File Size: 467 kb
File Type: zip
Download File

File Size: 467 kb
File Type: zip
Download File

<![CDATA[Raymond Trade Show Booth]]>Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:18:10 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/raymond-trade-show-boothI had the opportunity to design the media for a trade show booth, and here is the result. Booth media is always a fun and challenging project. There are often technical restrictions that one must conform to, and in this case it was a very tall, very skinny display that ran up the side of the booth. Fortunately, the content lent itself very well to the physical structure: the machine features is also very tall and skinny!
<![CDATA[Automating After Effects: What is possible?]]>Fri, 22 Mar 2013 15:39:31 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/automating-after-effects-what-is-possible
Scripting and expressions are great tools that allow you to bring a great deal of automation to After Effects projects. When properly configured, it is possible to quickly and accurately populate AE projects with all manner of content automatically so that all assets will fit within the confines and strictures of your designs. Using scripts and expressions, it is possible to:
  • Automatically resize images to fit pre-defined spaces (aka "auto scale").
  • Fit or Fill images based on horizontal and/or vertical pixel count.
  • Dynamically justify images to the left/right/upper/lower (or combinations thereof) of any defined composition or space.
  • Dynamically justify text to the left/right/upper/lower (or combinations thereof) of any defined composition or space.
  • Scale text automatically to fit inside a pre-defined space.
  • Break up a text strings into independent comps based on number of characters, spaces, sentences, paragraphs etc. Each word (or character, or paragraph) can be treated and animated differently.
  • Dynamically define duration of an entire animation based on any parameter; for instance, an animation can be timed to the duration it takes to read a line of text (as defined by number of characters). More text = longer duration. Also, comp duration can be based on the duration of a video clip.
  • Turn design elements on or off based on any parameter: for instance, if there is an image in a composition, then a "carrier" design element will be automatically turned on and scaled to compliment the image.
  • Automatically populate text layers based on a consistent data stream (for instance, an XML file).
  • Automatically import images based on a consistent data stream (for instance, an XML file).
  • Sample a region of an image to automatically generate a complimentary colour fill.
  • Dynamically create and place design elements based on arbitrary measurements. For instance, if a picture is submitted, calculations could automatically create "photo corners" that would then be placed accurately at each corner of the image.
  • Assets can define the layout of the animation. For instance, if there are one, two or three images submitted to a project, the design will be different for each eventuality. One image = a large, primary image in the design comp. Two images = a composition that has two images in the comp equally sized, etc.
  • Consistent data streams (XML, spreadsheets, tab-delimited files) can be used to automatically populate entire compositions.
In a general sense, there is very little that CAN'T be automated within After Effects. This opens up all sorts of creative and technical possibilities in situations where you've got a great deal of repetitive design tasks to accomplish, or if you'd like to accurately define creative for an AE template, with no need to type text or import/replace image assets.

<![CDATA[Case Study: Semi-automated content creation for the DOOH (Digital Out of Home) digital sign industry using After Effects]]>Mon, 25 Feb 2013 17:31:26 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/after-effects-and-automation
After Effects is a very powerful application and is the de facto standard when it comes to motion graphic design. It also happens to be a vast program that takes years to master. Fortunately, the AE scripting language is a very powerful thing, and lends itself perfectly to automating content creation. 
If you can imagine it, it can be automated in After Effects
The screencast below demonstrates how scripting in Adobe After Effects can quickly and easily automate the creation of AE project files. It's possible to use scripting so that you can populate a project with visual, audible and text assets without knowing a thing about After Effects. The approaches illustrated are not exclusive to the demo project file: ANY After Effects template can be turned into a simple, highly-automated project. This approach is perfect when you've got a situation where you would like operators that are not highly trained to prepare a file, or if you'd like to automate the process using a consistent data stream, or if you've got a project that calls for a great deal of repetitive tasks. If you can imagine it, it can be automated in After Effects.

Check out an example tutorial featuring content designed for the Digital Out of Home (DOOH) industry below (best viewed full-screen, in HD)
<![CDATA[Explainer Video: Handwritten]]>Thu, 18 Oct 2012 14:22:20 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/explainer-video-handwrittenI recently had the opportunity to shoot and composite an 'Explainer Video'. Recent web start-ups (that likely don't have any vowels in the company name :) often feature a video prominently displayed on their home page explaining exactly what it is that they do, and why it would benefit you. They're short (a couple of minutes) and sweet, and usually use a particular style to get the message across. One popular style is the 'hand drawn' look, and that's the style that was used in this spot.

It can be a very challenging method, but one that also allows for a great deal of flexibility in post-production. Each of the 'frames' were hand written on a white board, then composited in After Effects 3d space with camera moves. It involves a great deal of pre-production work to ensure that everything is going to fit where it needs to, and a lot of oversight during the shoot to make sure everything is both included and (we discovered) spelled properly :)

Click below for the spot!

<![CDATA[AE Tutorial: Object removal using 3d Camera Tracker & Rotobrush]]>Wed, 17 Oct 2012 19:30:38 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/ae-tutorial-object-removal-using-3d-camera-tracker-rotobrushPicture
I just wrapped up a small (or, rather a MINI (ha ha)) gig where I was asked to do some object replacement on a short video clip. It was a surprisingly challenging little shot: the car needed the tire rims replaced, and the roof and side mirrors were to be changed to black. After puzzling over how to approach the project, I settled on a three-pronged strategy: Using the 3d Camera Tracker for the tire replacement, the Rotobrush for the roof, and brute-force keyframed masking for the mirrors. The end result, of course, had to be perfectly photo-realistic.

Follow along on the video tutorial below as I discuss the use of these tools and how they all worked together to achieve the desired outcome. Best watched full-screen, HD of course!

<![CDATA[A Gallery Of My Past Work]]>Wed, 03 Oct 2012 14:58:57 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/a-gallery-of-my-past-workI'll be publishing examples of all my future work here, but in the meantime I've got a vast gallery of past projects available for your viewing please HERE. Enjoy!]]><![CDATA[Back To Blogging!]]>Wed, 03 Oct 2012 14:44:14 GMThttp://www.shisko.com/blog/back-to-itPicture
Well, it's been some time since I've I've updated my old blog. The intervening years have been interesting, exciting and, at times, challenging, both for myself personally and for the industry as a whole. I recently had an amazing opportunity to work with Jugnoo creating a fully-automated motion graphics ecosystem based on the After Effects platform. It was a geeky-awesome experience getting a square peg (Ae) to fit into a round hole (full automation), and certainly ranks up there as being one of the highlights of my career so far.

I will also be getting back to blogging on this, my brand-spanking new website, so you can expect more of the snappy, insightful, informative posts that I (used to be) famous for. I say "used to be" because for the longest time, I was first page in google rank when you searched "motion graphics blog". But three years of inattention, sadly, pushes even the best blogs to the hinterlands of the third page :(  So, back to it!