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Articles by Simon Ubsdell

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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.


Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Building A Music Visualizer

Apple Motion 5: Building A Music Visualizer

Here's an especially fun one from longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell, showing how to build and animate a music visualizer in Apple Motion 5. As usual, you can count on Simon to go beyond the basics of simple construction to dive deep into the nuances of controlling this deceptively powerful application, highlighting such features as the Replicator, animation rigs, audio behaviors, glows, glints, lens flares, masking, filters and more. Turn it up!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Fusion: Frequency Separation Retouching

Blackmagic Fusion: Frequency Separation Retouching

Blackmagic Fusion offers a variety of powerful retouching tools (as does DaVinci Resolve of course), so why would you want to build your own? As longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell explains, once you understand the underlying principles of the tools, you can use them better! In this tutorial, he shows how building a custom 3D keyer and a custom Linear Light Blend Mode allows a Low Frequency pass to smooth imperfections in the footage, and a High Frequency Pass to restore detail, allowing exceptional control, and producing outstanding results.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Water Drops And Advanced Displacement

Apple Motion 5: Water Drops And Advanced Displacement

Following up his popular Rain on Glass tutorial, here's a more in depth look at how to create water displacement effects in Apple Motion 5 from longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell. This installment includes some useful background theory on how to work with Fixed Resolution, and tips on how to use the Glass Distortion and Bump Map filters correctly without running into tricky problems.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Animating Raindrops On A Window

Apple Motion 5: Animating Raindrops On A Window

Ready to have your mind blown? Longtime VFX artist, editor, software developer, and business owner Simon Ubsdell is inspired by an Andrew Kramer AE tutorial to combine Apple Motion's particles, displacements, 3D compositing, and advanced blurs to create an incredibly realistic animation of raindrops on a window. You're not going to believe how fast and fun this effect is to create, and how realistic it looks.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
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
Art of the Edit
Always Be Editing: Sculptors & Bricklayers Revisited

Always Be Editing: Sculptors & Bricklayers Revisited

Do you edit like a sculptor, or like a bricklayer? It seems a simple enough question, but as longtime editor, post house owner, and VFX software developer Simon Ubsdell shows, the implications for how this affects the way you edit can be profound. His advice, regardless of where you land on the spectrum? Always be editing.


Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Fusion 9's Most Powerful Tool: The Custom Tool

Blackmagic Fusion 9's Most Powerful Tool: The Custom Tool

Meet The Custom Tool, the most powerful and versatile tool in Blackmagic Fusion's entire toolbox ??" which ironically appears to do nothing when you first apply it. That’s because it’s a tool designed for building your own tools from scratch. That may sound daunting, but under the guiding hand of longtime VFX artist, editor, and business owner Simon Ubsdell, it’s engaging, empowering, and just plain fun. If you are new to Fusion and to compositing you'll find plenty of useful information here, including how to work with channels to create complex effects surprisingly simply. Bonus tips on expressions and keying, too!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Fusion 9 Advanced Keying: Fixing Problem Edges

Blackmagic Fusion 9 Advanced Keying: Fixing Problem Edges

In this advanced keying tutorial for Blackmagic Fusion, longtime VFX artist Simon Ubsdell addresses a common problem: edges too brightly lit, along with light wrap that makes compositing a challenge. Learn how to build custom keyers using Fusion's node-based compositing that solve the problem more quickly and more completely than traditional layer-based approaches.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Design Fusion 9 Tutorial: The New Planar Tracker

Blackmagic Design Fusion 9 Tutorial: The New Planar Tracker

Editor, VFX artist, post-house owner, and plug-in developer Simon Ubsdell draws on over 25 years of experience to dig deep into the compelling features found in the new Planar Tracker found in Blackmagic Fusion. Along the way, Simon offers a wide range of tips and tricks, as well as new perspectives on the relationship between tracking and compositing: in short, tracking done right.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro: Edit Faster with Overlay Editing

Adobe Premiere Pro: Edit Faster with Overlay Editing

Editor, VFX artist, post-house owner, and plug-in developer Simon Ubsdell shows you how to edit faster and more easily using the very useful but not often known-about Overlay edit function in Premiere Pro. This Quick Tip tutorial also offers tips on grouping.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Design Fusion Expressions & Macros Made Easy

Blackmagic Design Fusion Expressions & Macros Made Easy

In this two-part guide to some of Blackmagic Design Fusion's most powerful compositing and effects features, visual effects veteran Simon Ubsdell offers an easy-to-follow introduction to using basic expressions and creating macros in Fusion -- with some very useful tips for After Effects users along the way. In Part 1, you'll create a chromatic aberration effect with these techniques, and in Part 2, you'll work with bounce/spring, orbit and "look at" expressions. No matter what your level of experience (or inexperience!) with After Effects or Fusion, you're in for quite a ride!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Final Cut Pro X
Hawaiki Keyer 3.0 Upgrader Tutorial

Hawaiki Keyer 3.0 Upgrader Tutorial

After 25 years as an editor, compositor, and VFX artist, frequent Creative COW poster and tutorial author Simon Ubsdell knows what he needs from a keyer -- and knew he wasn't getting good enough results from FCPX or Motion. Discussions in COW forums led him to create the highly regarded Hawaiki Keyer for Mac users using Apple Final Cut Pro X, Apple Motion, and Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro on Mac as well. Enthusiasm expressed by COW members for its latest release led us to ask Simon for a tour of the even more advanced Hawaiki Keyer 3.0.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Advanced Keying in Blackmagic Design Fusion

Advanced Keying in Blackmagic Design Fusion

Following his well-received exploration of the power of customized keying inside Blackmagic Design Fusion, Simon Ubsdell goes even further into his look at the liberation from the inevitable limitations of other people's keyers by building your own inside Fusion. Along the way, you'll learn about Channel Booleans and many other insights that you'll be able to use in all of your Fusion projects.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple FCPX Debates
FCPX Workflow: One Smart Collection To Rule Them All

FCPX Workflow: One Smart Collection To Rule Them All

The first key to workflow wizardry is to exploit an application's strengths. In exploring the nuances of FCPX, famed workflow wizard Simon Ubsdell opens up some of the secrets around one of its most uniquely powerful, but sorely underused tools: Smart Collections. This isn't about replacing your existing project management (although it can). It's about leveraging some of the ridiculously awesome power of the Smart Collection to make your work flow far more easily than you might have imagined.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Design Fusion: Building Your Own Keyer

Blackmagic Design Fusion: Building Your Own Keyer

In his latest tutorial for Blackmagic Design Fusion, Simon Ubsdell points out that you can of course simply use Fusion's built-in keyer, and quickly get a good result, but here he shows how combining visual effects nodes to build your own keyer helps you understand the processes to refine trouble keys. Even if you'd prefer not to build your own, you will gain practical insights into channel operations and other techniques to help you unlock Fusion's unique visual effects power.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Design Fusion 8 Intro Tutorial: Fusion Reactor

Blackmagic Design Fusion 8 Intro Tutorial: Fusion Reactor

Blackmagic Design Fusion has long been known as an incredibly powerful node-based 3D compositing and VFX environment, responsible for some of the most indelible cinematic imagery of our time. Tokyo Productions Creative Director Simon Ubsdell has been a Fusion fan and user for years, and here provides a dramatic introduction to Fusion's interface and toolset, as well as a closer look at the motion graphics prowess in Fusion that you may not have been expecting!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Crystal Spheres

Apple Motion 5: Crystal Spheres

Apple Motion 5 has many powerful compositing and graphics features, but its 3D feature set is, alas, limited. (For those keeping score, it's only 2.5D). Simon Ubsdell applies his his VFX and motion graphics expertise to cleverly working around those limitations by exploiting the best of Motion's behaviors, filters, lights, cameras, blend modes, refractions, and more -- along with everything you'll need to customize the effect to your liking, and to deepen your own Motion skills.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Science Fiction-Style Glitchy Interference

Apple Motion 5: Science Fiction-Style Glitchy Interference

You've seen the effect: video noise and glitchy interference, now a staple of contemporary sci-fi visuals. Simon Ubsdell shows you how to build it yourself inside Apple Motion 5, with no plug-ins or third-party software!

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5 Volumetric Fog Tutorial

Apple Motion 5 Volumetric Fog Tutorial

Building on his popular "Volumetric Lighting" tutorial, Simon Ubsdell raises the game once more with this Apple Motion 5 tutorial that adds lights, fog, and text into a true 3D environment. As usual, it's packed with extra tips and tricks to help turn every Motion artist into an expert.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Final Cut Pro X
Hawaiki Keyer 2.0: A Tutorial Introduction

Hawaiki Keyer 2.0: A Tutorial Introduction

After 25 years as an editor, compositor, and VFX artist, frequent Creative COW poster and tutorial author Simon Ubsdell knows what he needs from a keyer -- and knew he wasn't getting good enough results from FCPX or Motion. Discussions in COW forums led him to create the highly regarded Hawaiki Keyer. Enthusiasm expressed by COW members for its latest release led us to ask Simon for a tour. If you're keying on a Mac, you're going to want to check this out.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5 Light Streaks Tutorial

Apple Motion 5 Light Streaks Tutorial

Apple Motion is capable of sophisticated motion graphics. The trick is unlocking its power. Join editor and motion graphics expert Simon Ubsdell to explore the possibilities opened up by a creative variation on the very powerful particle systems built into Motion 5, apply modes, parenting, behaviors, 3D space, and more.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Volumetric Lighting

Apple Motion 5: Volumetric Lighting

Volumetric lighting creates a dramatic look of real light in a 3D space, and works especially well for title animation, even with 2D text. It's a nifty magic trick, created with a finesse that some people don't associate with Apple Motion. You of course know better, and Simon Ubsdell is here to help you create the magic.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5: Shockwave

Apple Motion 5: Shockwave

An explosive shockwave. Think you've seen it all before? Not until Simon Ubsdell has shown you how to take advantage of unique tools in Apple Motion 5 to make your own. Simon's experience has been built over 25 years in motion graphics, sound design and mixing, music composition, visual effects and compositing, as well as writing, directing and producing. Follow him as he takes you deep inside keyframes, caustics, camera behaviors, and customizations, as well as sharing real-world tips for finding your way around Motion.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
Apple Motion
Apple Motion 5 Title Tutorial: Weld

Apple Motion 5 Title Tutorial: Weld

In the first of what will be an ongoing series, "Title Animation: WELD" uses the particle system in Apple Motion, as well as support for EPS outlines, to create the photo-real impression of a title burned onto the screen with a blowtorch, complete with sparks and smoke. Part 1 covers the set-up ,including a stop in Adobe Illustrator, and Part 2 features the compositing, lighting, and filtering finesse to really make it pop.

Tutorial
Simon Ubsdell
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