Thoughts

The Power of Planning: why video projects live or die in pre-production

If you're creating video, pre-production is vital. Over the years, we've created an enormous number of video projects: everything from animated explainers through tradeshow videos, "About Us" videos, pieces for social media and promotional films for entertainment venues, industrial processes, fitness equipment ...
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Crossing the Time Gap: Working with clients across time zones

As clients and businesses increasingly connect on a global scale, relationships need to be effectively managed to allow for good quality tailored work to emerge. The internet allows for communication to take place across time zones, but ensuring that it's high quality and ...
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Hollywood and the CGI Problem

Hollywood and the CGI Problem (Alien Covenant case study) Hollywood cinema is in essence a whole different beast to any other kind of media content. The term Hollywood blockbuster instantly generates an image of a huge set, big explosions and A-list talent ...
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Our Favourite Videos from 2016

Our Favourite Videos from 2016 2016 has been a year full of great videos showcasing new techniques and styles, with ever increasingly ambitious motion graphics and promos being released each month. Below are some of our favourites, including work from individual animators, ...
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Storyboarding made… enjoyable?

Storyboarding (ani)made... enjoyable? Storyboarding is an important part of the animation production process. Essential even. Over the years we've explored various methods of storyboard creation but when changes are required, it quickly become a monster to wrestle with. That’s why we were so ...
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Further thoughts on a fully 4K workflow

Last year, we wrote about our experiences of a 4K shoot we carried out for stock footage library Pond5. Since then, we’ve done a number of other shoots using a fully 4K workflow, so I thought it would be a good time ...
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The Importance of the Creative Meet-up

I’m writing this the morning after the first Glug Reading Creative Meet-Up and, as I’m sure many of the other attendees are doing this morning, trying to remember some of the more useful and inspirational nuggets that came out of last night’s ...
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Documentary Films; Cheap Cuts

Documentary films are awesome. Fact! Not only  can they be thoroughly entertaining and moving, like the recent Amy (Winehouse... you may have heard of her), they can also be used bring political and social issues to the attention of millions of people ...
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Camera Kit

Just as there’s no such thing as a “standard” video, there’s no such thing as a “standard” shoot. Locations, subjects, lighting, sound, tone of voice and style all vary tremendously from project to project, meaning we have to be prepared for anything ...
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Thoughts on filming in 4K UHD

Back in 2012 at IBC, I walked past the Sony stand (which is so big it fills the whole of Hall 12) and they had a large screen showing stock shots of landscapes, flowers and architecture in 4K. I hadn’t seen anything ...
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The virtual world of 360 video

As technology develops, the way in which we watch video develops too. People no longer settle for just being a passive observer; they want to feel like they are completely immersed in an interactive world. While 3D film technology continues to grow ...
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The Path to Creative Collaboration

Ideas are elusive things, and we all have them, whether we realise it or not. I tend to carry around a notepad (and these days, I also have Evernote on my phone) to jot down ideas when they occur to me: no ...
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5 Great Tips on Writing a Video Brief

Sometimes we’re asked to produce a video for a client who doesn’t really know exactly what they want, and haven't thought about their Video Brief… they just know that video works, and they want one! But they wouldn’t walk into a gallery ...
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Animation – Making Learning Work For You

I came to the realisation recently that nearly everything I enjoy doing, or am in any way good at (the two things often go together), I’ve taught myself how to do. Case in point: animation and graphics are my day job, yet ...
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Choosing a Video Production company?

If you’re looking to produce some video content for your company, choosing who to work with is a difficult decision. How do you choose between the hundreds of video production companies that exist? Perhaps you you take a look at the videos ...
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9 ways to ensure success when filming in your office

Many companies make the decision to film videos for their company within their offices. It makes sense – it cuts down on studio or location hire costs, travel costs and time taken out of the office. It also adds an authentic “on ...
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Animation Style – a short introduction

Animation is everywhere; from creative adverts and short stories to website explainer videos and blockbuster films. It’s an incredibly creative way to engage with people and to tell a story but the difficulty arises from narrowing down the available options to find ...
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Technique

Side Project – Cel Animation in Photoshop

On the rare occasions that we've got some free time in the No Magnolia studio, we like to create side projects. These can be technical tests, trying out new techniques and ideas, or just ideas that don’t make it to fruition, and ...
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Stop-motion animation

Introduction to stop-motion animation part 5 – A summary of the last couple of years, and looking to the future

In this post we take a look at stop-motion animation over the last couple of years & look to the future with the release of Nick Park and Aardman’s Early Man. Laika, 3D Printing and Visual effects After releasing The Boxtrolls in ...
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After Effects Tools – #004

After Effects Tools – #004 With the list of After Effects tools and plug-ins growing all the time, it's important to stay updated on what's available to help speed up your workflow, create more stylish animation and work more effectively on collaborative ...
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After Effects Tools – #003

After Effects Tools – #003 The animation tools we use within After Effects vary with every project. Below is a reflection on the tools we’ve harnessed recently to create cartoon arms, connected dots, handwritten text and much more. Paint & Stick Paint & Stick ...
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3D Hair Experiments: Fuzzball, Inc.

3D Hair Experiments: Fuzzball, Inc. 3D hair can be a great tool to master to create unique effects for your next animation. Below is a short clip from a side project we created recently to explore 3D hair creation, using the built-in tools within Cinema ...
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After Effects Tools – #002

This month's post features a selection of After Effects tools covering animation, layer management and editing, helping to make your workflow more efficient. Take a look below to see what we're currently using in-house. After Effects Tools - #002 Ease & Wizz, by ...
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After Effects Tools – #001

On its own, After Effects can create stunning graphics and animation. But sometimes it can be enhanced even further with scripts, plugins and presets. Below is an initial selection of some of the tools we're currently using to create animation, motion graphics and much ...
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Stop-motion animation part 4, further reading and inspiration

Throughout June we covered an introduction into stop-motion animation. We hope that you found these informative and interesting and we hope you are inspired enough to be planning your first stop-motion animation. In the last part of our stop-motion series, we'll be ...
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Introduction to stop-motion animation, part 3

In part 2 of our introduction into stop-motion animation, we covered pre-production. This week we continue with part 3 and will talk about equipment and software. Cameras Capturing your animation is an important process of creating a stop-motion animation, so to begin, ...
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Introduction to stop-motion animation, part 2

Introduction to stop-motion animation, part 2

In last week's blog post we began our introduction into stop-motion animation, covering a brief history. This week, we cover pre-production and more! Pre-production Think about what you want to create. For your first animation, you might want to create a test ...
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Introduction to stop-motion animation

Introduction to stop-motion animation, part 1

Stop-motion animation is a style of animation that has captivated audiences for over a century. It involves making a model which can be moved in small amounts, taking a still image of it, moving the model and then taking another image – ...
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Side Projects: Compositing a CG Photo Book

Side projects are a great way to challenge yourself and to test out new ideas and techniques. Recently, we tested our compositing ability by animating a photo being added into a photo book from a smartphone app. This would test various techniques in one ...
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5 Great Tips on Writing a Video Brief

Sometimes we’re asked to produce a video for a client who doesn’t really know exactly what they want, and haven't thought about their Video Brief… they just know that video works, and they want one! But they wouldn’t walk into a gallery ...
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Tutorials

AE link points and tangents to nulls

After Effects tutorial: link path points AND tangents to nulls

After Effects CC2018 introduced a really neat script which allows you to create nulls based on the position of points on a path, that you can then use to control the path's shape. While this is really useful (and hasn't been an ...
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Basic After Effects tutorial: Star Wars opening crawl!

Recreating the Star Wars opening crawl - tutorial for After Effects We've all seen the movies – that iconic opening crawl at the start of Star Wars, which sets the scene for the 2 5 8 movies to follow, has often been ...
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After Effects tutorial: create a dynamic iPad keyboard

In this After Effects tutorial, we'll look at a method for creating a dynamic iPad keyboard. You might use this in an app explainer video (like we did), or for UI animation or screen replacements - it's licensed under a Creative Commons ...
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Laying out a neat logo grid in After Effects

The Problem: Laying out a logo grid This should be easy, right? Just plop your logos in the arrangement you want, and tidy them up with the Align tools. The problem is that not all logos are the same aspect ratio: some ...
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Create this gridded effect in After Effects

After Effects tutorial – a Mondrian-inspired effect

We came up with this for a project a while ago, and thought it might be useful if you use After Effects. It divides the screen up into 7 frames, into which you can put video, stills or whatever you want, and ...
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