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View Full Version : AE + Trapcode Suite or C4D, Nuke, Maya?



hojomo
06-30-2015, 07:22 PM
I have been getting progressively more interested in motion graphics over the past year and have learned to do 2D & 2.5D in AE CC fairly well. I am realizing more and more that I want to at least try to learn more 3D, to see how it could improve my skillset and give me options to realize ideas.

I downloaded Blender and despite the horrific UI, I find it to be serviceable. I am not considering purchasing the programs mentioned in the title for a while. I am more wondering where the market is -- as far as what professional mograph artists are using -- and some advice on what is the best fit for me.

What kind of work am I trying to do? Kind of two tracks really. Video production/camera operator who also provides motion graphics services to corporate, event, real estate. I would love to freelance for TV productions, but am not banking on that.

The second track is my own narrative/creative endeavors. I have been talking to some friends about doing sketch comedy. A lot of my ideas would really benefit from sophisticated effects/animation. Think Monty Python/Adult Swim-ish animated shorts, fake commercials, etc. There would also be compositing and FX on top of live footage.

I donít want to, and wonít be the only person to handle those needs should we actually do something like that, but Iíd like to be capable of doing so. Which brings me to the ultimate question: I you were me, what software would you put your time into learning? Forget the cost as a factor please.

I am currently thinking AE + Trapcode and/or C4D as an initial purchase (I will continue to use Adobe CC regardless, as I currently earn most of my living in print production and am a stills shooter). I do wonder about just actually taking on Nuke or Maya, telling myself it would make me the most skilled and marketable both for freelance and B2B.

What is the communityís experience? Are there better mograph/cg forums (I donít actually know any)?

legrevedotcom
06-30-2015, 08:18 PM
If I were you Id go for C4D.... That, 3ds and maya has some great potential to use for stills also......

El Director
07-06-2015, 09:48 AM
Nuke and Fusion are definitely more geared to high end compositing work. For starting out, AE would be a good choice, especially if you're familiar with Photoshop and layers from the stills side. Also, with AE, you get a lite version of C4D that you could try out and see if you like how they do things compared to Blender. I'm personally a Blender guy, but I've been using it for 15 years too. It was the first 3D app I learned, so anything else I try to use never makes sense to me. If you're freelancing and doing your own stuff, you don't need to worry about what others use, just use what feels comfortable to you.

hojomo
07-06-2015, 10:21 PM
Legrevedotcom, could you elaborate on the stills use in C4D and Maya?

legrevedotcom
07-06-2015, 11:08 PM
Legrevedotcom, could you elaborate on the stills use in C4D and Maya?

Well, I only base my statement on what I have seen others do and what has gotten me very interested in those programs.
I mean sometimes you can't get that perfect location you want, and if you aren't aiming for fast turn around business use, but more in the lines of concepts and visualisation / art, then you could play around with rendering those locations / setups yourself and then integrate them with the stills you have or will shoot of say fx a person / model / car / choose your poison.
What teases me is that you once you have built your scene, you can explore it and find the exact spot to render out that still that you want to use. So you are not locked to one vantage point but can choose from several.
Yes, the work load is a lot heavier than just going out and find something that comes close, but I like the idea of creating the scene and see how authentic you can make it appear.
And with the vast amount of resources available on fx YouTube, you don't need graphics or film school to learn to use it, you just need time, effort and an opinion and if you are already a film maker by trade than you already know the basics by far; ie. lighting, composition and such.

hojomo
07-07-2015, 07:42 PM
...but more in the lines of concepts and visualisation / art, then you could play around with rendering those locations / setups yourself and then integrate them with the stills you have or will shoot of say fx a person / model / car / choose your poison....

Yes, the work load is a lot heavier than just going out and find something that comes close, but I like the idea of creating the scene and see how authentic you can make it appear.

It can certainly be done well. I don’t see it very often however. If I was going for something intentionally unrealistic I could see going that route, but I have to admit I have no experience as of yet, but I share your intrigue.



And with the vast amount of resources available on fx YouTube, you don't need graphics or film school to learn to use it, you just need time, effort and an opinion and if you are already a film maker by trade than you already know the basics by far; ie. lighting, composition and such.


This is so true. It’s one of the greatest things about living in this age.

hojomo
07-07-2015, 07:56 PM
Nuke and Fusion are definitely more geared to high end compositing work. For starting out, AE would be a good choice, especially if you're familiar with Photoshop and layers from the stills side. Also, with AE, you get a lite version of C4D that you could try out and see if you like how they do things compared to Blender. I'm personally a Blender guy, but I've been using it for 15 years too. It was the first 3D app I learned, so anything else I try to use never makes sense to me. If you're freelancing and doing your own stuff, you don't need to worry about what others use, just use what feels comfortable to you.

See I don’t want to find myself in a few years down the road struggling to work in Maya or Nuke because I have put a lot of time into Blender (nothing against Blender).
When I mentioned freelance I meant taking jobs where the client might dictate the software (to be compatible with their existing assets), have me edit/composite on-site, etc. I would have to consider myself as marketable as possible adding Maya or Nuke into my toolset. Blender, not so much.
I actually have a few friends who use Blender. One is doing it for jewelry design, and the other to service the construction industry and individual builders. If your focus is motion graphics, what are you giving up using Blender compared to Maya/Nuke? What aspects about the approach of the Blender developers differs most?
Also, no one has commented on Trapcode Suite. I realize it’s more of a canned set of effects in most cases, but is it still a useful one to be able to produce quality text animation/quicker standard stuff for a typical video production?

legrevedotcom
07-07-2015, 10:53 PM
It can certainly be done well. I don’t see it very often however. If I was going for something intentionally unrealistic I could see going that route, but I have to admit I have no experience as of yet, but I share your intrigue.




This is so true. It’s one of the greatest things about living in this age.

Here's an example of a guy doing hyper realism with 3ds and vray
102883

Im impressed :D

Michael Carter
07-10-2015, 10:58 AM
Here's my 02 - in the same boat as the OP to some extent, want to have serviceable 3d. (I started 3d with Raydream which over the years has morphed into Carrara. It's not hyper-real but I know it well and can do corporate graphic stuff -no camera tracking with AE though.)

I really think there comes a point where you decide to be a one-man-band and maximize what you can reasonably learn… or you decide to learn something like Maya and get closer to Hollywood-level modeling and rendering, and do that full-time and really excel at it.

But at that level, as I understand it - there are people who just model, and Maya (which is pretty high-end for semi-pros and dabblers) is sort of entry-level for that. The big shops have someone else texturing models, someone else doing environments, someone else setting up renders, and they use 3rd party renderers (even more big $$) and also use a lot of proprietary software, written in-house for hair, water, etc.

I imagine C4d or Maya or even Blender gets you understanding 3d space and concepts and tells you if you have a knack for 3D. if you wanted a career path as a Hollywood-level effects guy, you probably want to start there as basic training.

But for a do-it-all shop, or using 3D for your personal projects? I'd say C4D and AE. You've got 2 very powerful packages that are hooked together. Getting a fuller version of C4D is (I believe) a $1k+ proposition - but probably as good an investment as a $1k lens if you're going to learn it in and out. C4D can do amazing things, though I think for really Hollywood-level stuff, you'd still need to use a high-end rendering package (can't say for sure but I haven't seen C4D stuff that looks completely "real" - still has that stylized "rendered" look.) I've seen some great work, but for creating a whole environment, not so much, but still amazing for the cost.

Camera tracking is absolutely essential for this kind of work, and AE's tracker is serviceable and hooked into C4D. There are aftermarket packages that are more powerful, but it's free with AE. (I still don't get how the damn tracker chooses points - I've done parallax tests with a set stuffed full of cards with various sized dots - stuff the regular tracker eats right up - but the camera tracker seems to want tiny little pieces of actual "stuff". I'm sure I can dial in my shots to guarantee trackable results, but it can really suck to get back from a shoot and find footage that has been planned to track just won't, and random shots do fine). (rant over).

Another thing to investigate is Element 3D which is a really powerful and affordable AE plugin. Look at their videos and browse things like model packs - it can do a lot of stuff and do it fast.

robster180
08-11-2015, 06:36 PM
From your goals I would say that After Effects would suit you best. If you know how to shoot then it becomes invaluable in what you can do in post along with Premiere.

Nuke will benefit you if have to composite plates, or blend 3D models in with footage. It's a compositor first and foremost.

3D is a completely different beast altogether in that it's a career decision. I did an MA in CGI and there were too many aspects for students to learn over 2 years, so some became very good modellers, others became very good animators - to do both would require a huge investment in time.

So I would go with Adobe and After Effects and Premiere as your base understanding of software as a shooter

legrevedotcom
08-12-2015, 01:44 AM
What ever you decide, you should look into Digital tutors courses. Once you are a member you can access all their courses and they teach in pretty much all the software you could be needing. I'm learning Maya myself atm. You get to choose between two types of subscription, one is with the project files and the other is without the project files. Sometimes you need the files other times you don't.... even if you do Google is your friend *wink*