LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Kurt Murphy looks at Zaxwerks Invigorator Training: Vol 1

COW Library : Adobe After Effects : Kurt Murphy : Kurt Murphy looks at Zaxwerks Invigorator Training: Vol 1
Kurt Murphy looks at Zaxwerks Invigorator Training: Vol 1
A CreativeCOW Product Review


Kurt Murphy reviews Zaxwerks Invigorator Training: Volume 1
Kurt Murphy Kurt Murphy
Buffalo, New York, USA


©2008 Kurt Murphy and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
Broadcast designer Kurt Murphy has been using After Effects since it went by the name of CoSA, but even then, Kurt found its one big drawback was the inability to create true 3D objects in 3D space. That is until Zaxwerks Invigorator came along. And now Zaxwerks Invigorator Training (Volume 1) by Serge Hamad is the perfect solution to get up to speed using this plug-in.

I've been using After Effects ever since it went by the name of CoSA. It's the most liberating software that I've ever used and makes sitting in front of a computer for hours on end a joy. Its one drawback (and it's a big one), is that it doesn't allow you to create true 3D objects in its 3D space - it is after all, a 21/2D program. That is, until Zaxwerks Invigorator came along. This powerful little plug-in finally allowed you to create three-dimensional logos within After Effects and fly them around the screen. The program was pretty logical and if you already knew how to animate in After Effects, you'd be able to animate Invigorator objects. Finally I was able create true 3D objects from within After Effects. Later versions of After Effects allowed you to use After Effects' 3D camera to move about both my AE scene and Invigorator objects.

Zaxwerks Invigorator is the perfect solution for someone not versed in the 3D world. And Zaxwerks Invigorator Training (Volume 1) by Serge Hamad is the perfect solution to get up to speed using this plug-in. It's a must for anyone starting out, and I must say, equally a must for those experienced users looking to take their work to the next level. (it's called the Creative Cow Master Series because Serge Hamad is truly a master when it comes to Zaxwerks Invigorator). Serge's DVD contains almost 3 hours of training covering every aspect of Invigorator. He covers it all - from correctly creating a logo in Illustrator to mapping, materials, creating custom edges, to animating and lighting.

As I said, the DVD is a must for the beginner. Though, it's best to have a good working knowledge of After Effects, beginners will be pretty much up to speed after the first very first 48 minute lesson. For fifty bucks you'll save yourself considerable trial & error... And frustration. Where I think most people think of using Invigorator as a way to fly logos around the screen, this powerful plug-in actually does much more than that. In his second lesson Serge explores this by creating a photo realistic iPod that rivals anything created on higher-end 3D programs. He shows many tricks & techniques that he's obviously honed over the years. In the third & fourth lessons he creates an animating Ninja Star. Here he really explains and demonstrates the importance of creating the artwork correctly in Illustrator first. He then imports the file, adds various textures (many of which he builds within After Effects), bump maps and then animates the star. He clears up many 'gotcha's that you would encounter along the way. He really goes in-depth on how Invigorator maps images - Especially to complex edges. He's even created a colored checkered map which I find myself using all the time to get a correct map (thanks Serge, I don't know how I lived without it). Lesson five deals with avoiding 'spikes' which is a common problem for invigorator when using existing clipart or logos sent from clients. He shows a streamlined procedure to recreate or hone existing Illustrator artwork. This alone will save you many hours of frustration.

The final lesson shows you how Invigorator deals with Illustrator lines that are used as Custom Edges to create 3D objects. At first blush Invigorator seems like a modeler that simply extrudes flat Illustrator artwork. But that's not always the case. Invigorator is capable of creating various complex objects if you know how to build them in illustrator. Serge explains this in great detail and even creates the quintessential 3D lathe object - The wine glass. Zaxwerks Invigorator is truly great plug-in, but it's not without its idiosyncrasies or limitations (some due to After Effects' API). Serge uncovers these and brilliantly solves many which are not covered in the manual (to be fair though, as manuals go, Invigorator's is a pretty good one).

The DVD comes with all supporting files for each tutorial so that you can work alongside the lessons.

The only thing I was disappointed in was the rather mundane looking cover art. When I first got the DVD I thought the lessons would be very basic because of the lone image that was represented on the cover. I think Serge could display more impressive examples of his work on the cover (Serge has done some really incredible work), to entice the intermediate user. I also thought that he delved into using Expressions a bit too early (lesson 1) and that it might scare some beginners away. I think I would have used them towards the end in the more advanced section.

This DVD has been touted as a learning tool for beginners, and it certainly will get beginners up to speed after even the first lesson. But I see this also as a 'must have' for the intermediate and advanced user. Serge takes Invigorator way past flying chrome logos. Hey, I think I know Invigorator pretty darned well. I had been waiting for a plug-in like this ever since about After Effects 3.0. I was probably first in line as soon as it was released. I even demoed Invigorator at their NAB booth a few years back... And I learned stuff from this DVD. I give it 5 COWs. I'm sure you will too.

Zaxwerks Invigorator Training Zaxwerks Invigorator Training by Serge Hamad
The Fusion of Adobe After Effects and Zaxwerks Invigorator, Vol. 1
$49.95

The industry's first complete training for Zaxwerks Invigorator, the leading plug-in for 3D model creation inside Adobe After Effects. Even if you've got no 3D modeling experience whatsoever, you'll see how easy it can be, and how great it can look.



Related Articles / Tutorials:
Adobe After Effects
VFX in Adobe After Effects: An Artists Panel (NAB)

VFX in Adobe After Effects: An Artists Panel (NAB)

Join panelists Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot, Jayse Hansen, and Mary Poplin of Boris FX, along with moderator, Victoria Nece of Adobe, as they discuss the world of visual effects from an artist’s perspective.


Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe After Effects
Scars, Tattoos & Digital Makeup: After Effects & Mocha Pro

Scars, Tattoos & Digital Makeup: After Effects & Mocha Pro

How do you add SCARS, TATTOOS or DIGITAL MAKEUP to a person's face? Learn how to use Mocha Pro's planar tracker and the Mesh Warp tool to insert a flat image/video on a (non flat) human face! Join VFX guru Tobias G from Surfaced Studio for a closer look!


Tobias G
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use, Pt 5: Brightness

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use, Pt 5: Brightness

The first challenge to understanding the nature of brightness in compositing starts with remembering that we're not actually seeing color at all, but rather something of an illusion that appears to us as color! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 5 of the best look behind the technology of compositing that you've ever seen, as he takes a look at the math behind brightness, and how to apply that to the compositing toolsets in your favorite editing, compositing, and color grading applications.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
60 Second Tutorial: Alien Invasion in Adobe After Effects

60 Second Tutorial: Alien Invasion in Adobe After Effects

Here's a fast, fun one! Sixty seconds to create and animate an alien using the 3D and Track Camera tools to animate your character in Adobe After Effects. Use the included files, or bring your own!

Tutorial
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe After Effects
What Are Adobe Motion Graphics Templates?

What Are Adobe Motion Graphics Templates?

A Motion Graphics Template, referred to as a MOGRT, is an animated sequence that is self-contained and can be used in Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Premiere Rush and Adobe After Effects, combining graphics, text, audio and video files, as well as vector or still images (including logos), to create a still or animation that can then be customized by the MOGRT user. The result is a dynamic creative tool that provides design freedom and is consistent to its users across apps and devices. Reuse, share, and even sell them!


Rod Harlan
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use Pt. 4 - Advanced Alphas

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use Pt. 4 - Advanced Alphas

When most people hear the words "alpha channels", they think "transparency", but that's not exactly accurate. The truth is more complex, and a quite bit more interesting! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 4 of the best look behind the technology of compositing that you've ever seen, packed with practical advice for applying the secrets of alpha channels that's simply not possible before understanding these underlying principles. No matter which applications you're using for editing, compositing, or visual effects, this one is a must-see!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 3 - Alpha Channels

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 3 - Alpha Channels

When most people hear the words "alpha channels", they think "transparency", but that's not exactly accurate. The truth is more complex, and a quite bit more interesting! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 3 of the best look behind the technology of compositing that you've ever seen, packed with practical advice for applying the secrets of alpha channels that's simply not possible before understanding these underlying principles. No matter which applications you're using for editing, compositing, or visual effects, this one is a must-see!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use 2: Advanced Blend Modes

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use 2: Advanced Blend Modes

Whether you're a full-time compositor and VFX artist, an editor working in one of the many NLEs that supports Blend Modes (including Adobe Premiere, Apple FCP and FCPX, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Rsolve, and VEGAS Pro), or whether you just want the additional graphics power that comes with insight into the secret world of pixels, this is the tutorial for you! Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for Part 2 of the best look behind the technology of blend modes that you've ever seen, with some practical steps you can start taking today to make your work look better than ever.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Compositing Secrets Everyone Can Use: Pt. 1 - Blend Modes

Join longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell for the best look behind the technology of blend modes that you've ever seen. This isn't just for graphics and VFX, but for video editors too -- anyone who puts anything together, and wants to learn more about HOW images combine at the most basic level, in a way that applies to every application you might use, whether Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple FCPX, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, VEGAS Pro, and yes, graphics and VFX programs like After Effects, Motion, Fusion, Nuke, Scratch, and many more.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe After Effects
Disintegration VFX in Adobe After Effects

Disintegration VFX in Adobe After Effects

Join VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio for a classically energetic Adobe After Effects tutorial combining difference mattes, displacement maps, edge glows, and compositing tricks to dissolve (or explode!) one element in your frame while leaving the rest alone.

Tutorial
Tobias Gleissenberger
MORE
© 2019 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]