Frequently Asked Questions

Tutorials

Will you make tutorials starting from the beginning and going through step by step?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is here: Workbench Tutorial Style.

Can you record your tutorials at a lower resolution or zoom in so I can see it better?

Nope, sorry. That's how we set up our workflow. We make the tutorials like this for a reason. Here's why: Regarding Resolution

What is that cool looking thing on your screen?

It's probably Flow. If not, it's probably Labels. If not, it might be one of our scripts. And if it's none of those, it's probably listed here. We need to update that one.

Can you make a more beginner focused tutorial?

We have something in the works, but until then we recommend you check out Andrew Kramer's Basic Training over on Video Copilot. Aharon Rabinowitz also taught me a ton of what I know on Creative Cow. While those tutorials are over a decade old at this point, there's still a lot of things to learn from them.

Where can I go to learn more about expressions?

We're working on a series to take you from the ground up, including explaining concepts. But that won't be around for a bit. So until then we recommend you check out Dan Ebberts' MotionScript.

Can you show me how to make your intro?

Our goal isn't really to make specific tutorials like that, but to show concepts and ideas. However, every concept you need to know is actually already on our channel! Get some ideas from our glitch playlist. The tutorials involving displacement and time displacement will be the most helpful. More specifically, check out Tutorial 04: Quick Displacement Maps and Tutorial 68: Outline Reveal if you want to know how to build the 2017 version. There's also a partial time lapse build for the original intro and another for the 2017 update. On YouTube you can set the speed to be less than 100%.

What do you shoot your tutorials on?

All of the tutorials from 28 on were shot on RED Raven. That's overkill, but Yellow Dog Party does production as well as mograph, so it's on hand. Most of the earlier tutorials were shot on a Canon 50mm 1.4 using Fool Control, some were shot on Nikon glass to go wider, and some of the more recent ones have used Contax Zeiss lenses since Sev and I recorded intros together and had each other to focus. The lighting used to be either natural light from the windows in my studio, or an LED panel bounced into a white reflector so the source is large. Lately, we've been experimenting with lighting. We've also switched to using an A7III around Tutorial 153, and we eventually switched to using Sony's e-mount 50mm 1.8 for autofocus versus the Contax Zeiss lenses.

How did you make the flag waving in Tutorial 01: Sine Wave?

OK, so I kind of botched this one a bit. It was my first tutorial, give me a break! I found the curved option in the zig-zag shape modifier after I had already made that waving flag animation for a client. So I used the flag as an example of something that can be built using that technique, but it wasn't actually built using that technique. The flag was built using straight strokes with the Wave Warp effect applied to it. That's a much easier way to make a flag if that's what you're after. You can use track mattes or masks to do this as well, but you won't be able to maintain a rounded end cap on your strokes where it cuts off. I tried using Merge Paths with a rectangle to cut off the line, but it doesn't work since Merge Paths makes closed paths. So I'm sorry for showing an example that wasn't exactly achieved with that technique. It's still a useful option in zig-zag though!

Why aren't the expressions in this project file working?

Most likely, you have your project set to use the wrong expression engine. Older projects might be formatted for the Legacy ExtendScript engine, and most of our tutorials from the last year are formatted for the JavaScript Engine. The project should open using the correct settings as the setting is project-level, however if you import our projects into your own it will use whatever you have set, so things might break.. You can change this setting using the little rocket or bpc channel buttons at the bottom of the project panel, or by going to File > Project Settings.

What's the beef with solids about?

Oddly enough, early on in my career when shapes were introduced, I hated them. I didn't bother to learn about how powerful they were. That was a mistake. Over time, I started to use shapes for everything. The solids folder always kind of bothered me. I didn't really see solids as "footage" like After Effects treats them—especially for things like null objects. But I continued using Adjustment Layers and nulls, despite how I despised the solids folder with tons of poorly named and linked footage items for every null and adjustment layer in the project.

That all changed one day when I was working on a project with a lot of expressions on nulls. When I went to clean up the project and merge it with something else, I deleted the solids folder because everything was built with shapes. I just thought they were left over, and I probably just command-deleted them to suppress the delete confirmation dialog. AE didn't throw any errors about my expressions because I was in a comp that was unaffected. So after hours of working, I went into one of the old comps and found nothing worked anymore. Then I realized what had happened. Because I had built new stuff before discovering the error, I had to merge my project once more and it took me 3-4 hours to go back through the old projects and rebuild what I had.

It was total user error, sure. But I still can't see why nulls of all things—I mean null means zero!—are a footage object. I don't think of them that way and I didn't then. So at that point, I decided I was going to stop using nulls and use something that makes sense. I built a shape like a null so that it basically had all of the same characteristics but it doesn't have a footage item in the project panel. If I'm going to delete it, I have to actually do that in the comp where it resides. So that problem can no longer happen to me.

And I did the same for traditional "solids" and adjustment layers too. It's a lot easier if you have to change comp size to resize your adjustment layers—especially if you use an expression to size it to the comp. In fact, now AE even has optimizations for expressions that don't change over time so it probably isn't even a performance hit. Changing size is compounded if you copy an adjustment layer/solid from one comp to another. I tend to resize my comps to make them as small as possible so they're faster in AE, but if you need change a solid's size in one comp for some reason and you've copied it, it'll change in all comps. Not fun.

There are some minor annoyances with only using shapes, but the benefits outweigh them. And I've built a panel to make it easier—that I will release at some point.

Products

Do you refund purchases?

Yes we can. If you're not satisfied with the product, contact us and we'll do our best to help you out or refund your purchase!

When should I receive my purchase?

We use Gumroad for payment processing and file delivery so you should receive your files immediately. Failing that, check your email and your spam folder to make sure you received your receipt. If that doesn't help you, get in contact with us and we'll help you sort it out.

What do I do if I find a bug?

We're sorry about that, we truly are. If you find a bug, contact us and provide us with as many details as you can. We might ask you for a project file that demonstrates what's going on. If you can do that, that's awesome, but we understand if you can't. Either way, we'll do our best to get to the bottom of it.

Are these files compatible with Mac/Win?

Yes. Every file on this site with the exception of plugins will work on Mac or Windows unless noted otherwise. We develop on a Mac, so all of our plugins will be Mac-only. Sorry.

Can I request a script?

Definitely! We're always looking to figure out new products to offer! We love helping people save their time—you can probably find that written here in tons of places. If we can help you, us, and others to save time we're definitely down. Contact us and we can figure it out.