Meeting Summary October 1999

October rolled in with yet another enjoyable MGLA meeting where we showed new hardware, new software and also featured a presentation from a talented artist - just the kind of balance we strive for. Special thanks to Adobe and ICE for sponsoring the meeting, so that admission was free!

Co-host Chris Meyer opened our initial discussion by commenting on his experience with SDI (Serial Digital Interface), a method of transmitting uncompressed video between a computer and video deck. The range of equipment supporting this interface is growing which means that the prices of available equipment are dropping into the range that project studios can afford. The quality of uncompressed video, as Chris put it, makes it look like youíve just wiped the grime off your video monitor; he even thinks analog video studios should consider uncompressed SDI video cards and external converters (for example, those from AJA. Group members also commented on the quality improvements they were seeing using SDI transfers with compressed video solutions, such as the SDI option for the Media 100.

We began the main section of our meeting with the presentation of Adobe's 4.1 upgrade to After Effects. David Trescot of Adobe Dynamic Media came down to show us the many new features that make this much more than a simple ìdot oneî upgrade. Among the new features are improved masking, automatic sequencing of layers in a comp, text stroking and the ability to create effects ìfavoritesî where you can group a combination of effects. Even more significant additions include network rendering, comp sizes of up to 32,000 x 32,000, and Z depth support from RLA, ZPIC, and EIZ files, etc. Many of the workflow enhancements came from meetings with users, including the visit the After Effects team paid to MGLA earlier this year.

Next up was ICE who presented their latest updates, including a new pricing structure. One of the most heralded features is acceleration of some of the core geometrics of Adobe After Effects. The most obvious first step in this direction is vastly accelerated motion blur, which now incurs almost no rendering hit. Dave Lewis of ICE also promises that "we will be adding some interesting new features to the ICE'd AE Module in the very near future and customers who have purchased the product will be receiving these features as part of free software update." Dave also flew and rented in some (unfortunately balky) gear to demonstrate their new SDI option card, which can capture and play back uncompressed video, plus mirror out the current AE composition window to video.

The "ICE'd" version of After Effects also features OMF support (of particular interest to Avid users). It is available on the Mac and NT, so you can not only natively import OMF files to AE and write them back out to OMF without the Quicktime conversion, you can also convert AVR files to Meridien or Meridien to AVR with this feature, available in the Output Module in the Render Queue. This is a unique feature and has obvious value when working with different versions of Avid media. Look for a separate email that also contains some special pricing extended to MGLA members.

After our break, traditional and 3D artist Paul Sherstobitoff returned to MGLA to show his work, discuss his techniques and demonstrate how he uses Play's Electric Image Modeler for creating his striking 3D images. To be honest, modeling is often the most daunting and least creative task associated with producing content. Paul, whose background is in airbrush painting, showed us that with the EI Modeler, modeling can actually be a very creative undertaking. Paul also dissected an image he created for publishing in MacWorld and showed some images he created with an early version of ElectricImage Universe which will feature raytracing, light refraction and other new effects. Two of the images he discussed recently appeared in the MacWorld article on 3D: http://platter.anapraxis.com/galleries/PaulS/Stills/Mac3D.jpg and http://platter.anapraxis.com/galleries/PaulS/Stills/Mac3D%202x2.jpg

Next up we showed a number of MGLA members' demo tapes (presenters are listed below) and had our traditional raffle where we gave away Adobe's Illustrator 8 and GoLive as well as Play's Amorphium.

Finally, Richard Patterson of Royal Garden Post, one of the presenters in last month's film-rez extravaganza, dropped off copies of a detailed summary of his presentation. (Thanks Richard.) In addition we had a set of CD-ROMs from ToolFarm that included demo versions of virtually all After Effects plug-ins...

See you next month!

***********Partial List of Demo Tape Presenters************

(Remember, if you don't sent info to MGLAMail@aol.com after you've shown your tape, or give Lucky information after the meeting, we cannot post your information in the subsequent summary):

Paula Archuleta paulaarc@gte.net 562-438-2416

Charlie Gibbs (Program Shown produced with EditDV) CHARLES GIBBS PRODUCTIONS 2086 S. June Place, Anaheim, CA 92802 (714) 663-8687, charlie@cactours.com CGP produces commercials, special events, point of sales and promotional videos from concept to conception.

Michael Jackson 3925 Riverton Ave. #315 Studio City, CA 91604 mjackson@gte.net (818) 487-1721