Angie’s Pool Decking Design wins gold!

Angie’s Pool Decking Design wins gold!

Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs took the gold medal for the swimming pool installation that was co-built with EH Treecare Ltd and designer Angie Taylor

Home Counties entered the awards. In this picture the design wins gold award in the Domestic Above-Ground Pool category at the third European Pool & Spa Awards. Hosted by the European Union of Swimming Pool and Spa Associations (EUSA), the award had stiff competition from across the continent.

Craig Trusson (pictured, far left), who co-owns Home Counties with his wife, Gil, was ecstatic to receive such a high honor. “We are thrilled with our European win,” he gushed. “To be highlighted in the EUSA awards alongside such strong competition across Europe is a significant acknowledgement for our company and our entire team.”

The winning installation was eligible for the award having previously taken the gold at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards.

© Angie Taylor 2015 - Award-winning  pool design with views over the English Channel across Brighton

The clean lines and natural tones integrate with the surrounding environment, helping to make this Endless Pool installation a gold-standard winner! Designed by Angie Taylor and Ed Haunton of EH Treecare Ltd. The pool was installed by Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs. The decking and pool cladding was built by EH Treecare Ltd. The installation won gold at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards, and now has taken the gold again at the European Pool & Spa Awards.

© Angie Taylor 2015 - A swimmer in the award-winning Endless Pool installed by Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs
This Performance Endless Pool was featured at the 2013 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final London before being purchased for one family’s swimming and recreation. The Perfomance model boasts a larger, smoother, and (at top speed) faster current than the Original Endless Pool. Its compact frame makes it more affordable to heat … even in Brighton!

EUSA represents over 3,000 swimming pool and spa companies across Europe; a panel of top industry professionals from EUSA’s membership juried the awards, which were handed out in Barcelona earlier this month. The organization was founded in 2006 to promote unity among the members of the wet leisure industry across Europe.

Textonomy Presets for Sapphire Edge

Textonomy Presets for Sapphire Edge

My brand new Textonomy Presets for Sapphire Edge are now available from the Genarts FX Central Website.

OK, sometimes you need text, but no-one says it has to be boring. These ten effect presets, designed for text will have your viewers sitting up and taking notice.

Camoflash A Camouflage-style of pattern is applied to text to give it texture. The Jitter Frames value adjusts the sped of the flashing animation of the texture.

Disintegrator Added to text this will have the effect of giving it a slight disintegrated quality. Great for adding a bit of damage to your motion graphics.

Damage Limitation Scratches, stains, dust and shake are added to text to give it a more organic appearance. Perfect for those “”Seven”” inspired film titles.

Steeley Glare Adds a textured steel effect to layers. Specifically designed for use on text to add an interesting textured fill.

Searchlight This grainy effect plunges your text into semi-darkness and highlights it by adding a searchlight to it. Vignette Centre property is keyframed in the preview movie to make the light move over the text.

Textatic A groovy, tiling pattern that looks great applied to geometric text. In the preview movie animation is added by keyframing the Inside Rotation property.

Trippy Hippy Tiled instances of your text move together in a fluid way to create a groovy movement reminiscent of 60’s dancing. In the preview movie the Zoom property has been keyframes to create additional movement.

Mittageisen Designed to add a metallic look to outlined text.

Interference Animated scan lines and a dodgy reception effect make your text look slightly damaged. Less than perfect and much more interesting as a result.

Metal Postcard A great preset for adding a metallic sheen to your text layers. Who’d have thought you could use a half-tone effect for that!

Post-Digital Aesthetics make a welcome return

I’ve been speaking at events for a long time, in fact I can’t believe how long, after fifteen years now I’m classed as an industry veteran! (I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad about that one!). It’s been great to be in this position as I’ve seen the industry develop both technically and in terms of design. I’m happy to say that I’m beginning to notice a change. We are now entering a new age where technique is gradually becoming less prevalent – aesthetics and messaging are being rediscovered as the most important aspect of our work as designers. My friend, Birgitta Hosea (now a Doctor of animation!) has coined a new term to mark this era, “the post-digital aesthetic age”.

During most of my career as a motion graphic designer I’ve witnessed so many projects that are led by technique or by the latest “how cool is that” type-of-effect.  “How did they do that?” is all fine and dandy for your average man in the street, or for those concerned with visual effects or the more technical aspects of production. But for artists, designers, philosophers thinkers and appreciators of fine art it and design, I’m afraid it just doesn’t cut it every time. We like substance as well as style. Why did they do that is just as important as how, please don’t let us forget the saying “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”

I’m going to be teaching on the Graphic Design and Illustration courses at Brighton University this year and am so excited to be going back into an academic environment. Of course I’ll be teaching digital software techniques, I’m there to provide guidance to the students from the perspective of a motion graphic designer. But I’m also looking forward to emphasising to them the importance of the core design skills they’ll need to set themselves apart as artists and communicators. I’d love to hear the views of others on this subject. How do you ensure that the technical aspects of your work as a designer/ illustrator/ artist don’t dictate the content or quality of your work? Answers on a well thought out and constructed postcard please! 🙂

Basics on Solids in Adobe After Effects

Basics on Solids in Adobe After Effects

When designing motion graphics in Adobe After Effects there are times you just need to create a plain old layer to apply effects to. Solids are just right for this purpose, and for lots of other uses in After Effects.

This video is aimed at a basic level. It shows you how to create solid-color layers and walks you through some of their uses.

You can find more free videos like these from our After Effects CS5 Learn by Video product on the video2brain website. Please enjoy them – happy keyframing!

Animated Character Design in Adobe Illustrator

Animated Character Design in Adobe Illustrator

I’m very pleased to offer my readers a couple of free tutorials from my very first video2brain workshop on Adobe Illustrator. This workshop will teach you how to use Illustrator’s tools and features to prepare 2D files for animation in Adobe After Effects.

You’ll learn how to make the most of Illustrator’s drawing tools and Autotrace feature, and to how use Live Paint and Kuler to recolor artwork. You’ll also get tons of tips and tricks for giving artwork a hand-drawn look and find out how to set up layers, aspect ratios, and transparency options for importing into After Effects.

I’ll share many of my techniques for using Illutrator’s extensive drawing capabilities to create characters for animation. Topics covered include:

  • Setting up your workspace for video and animation
  • Working with Autotrace, Live Paint, and Kuler
  • Using multiple artboards for creating storyboards
  • Taking advantage of views and workspaces
  • Drawing freehand in Illustrator using a variety of tools including the new improved Eraser tool and the Blob Brush tool

Whether you’re a motion graphic designer, animators, storyboard artists, video editors or illustrators, if you want to create 2D animation from flat, vector-based artwork, this workshop will be an invaluable resource.

The lessons are wrapped in a feature-rich interface that lets you jump to any topic and bookmark individual sections for later review. Full-Screen mode provides a hi-def, immersive experience, and Watch-and-Work mode shrinks the video into a small window so you can play the videos alongside your application. Also included are exercise files that give you an easy way to try out the techniques you learn.

Click here to get an overview of the workshop and download free tutorials using the following links;

Working with Live Paint

Working with the Brush Tool

Reviews for Design Essentials for the Motion Media Artist

Reviews for Design Essentials for the Motion Media Artist

I found this to be a really great book and is suitable for anyone who works or has an interest in motion graphics or animation. It would help someone who is studying at college, but is also very useful for those that have been in the industry a long time. I fall into the later category and was formally trained at art school in the early 80’s but I found it very useful to revisit many of the fundamental ideas that I was taught in those days which give me a solid grounding. It also gave me many new ideas and covered areas that did not exist or were in their infancy when I was a student.

I really liked the sections on colour, typography and especially the section on composition which everyone in the industry should be familiar with but clearly are not. I’m sure this would fill in the gaps for people such as avid editors who have a purely technical background and would also inspire those who are creative technophobes to get stuck in with the computer packages today which frighten many with their complexity.

I have shown the book to my manager at Sky and he will be buying some copies for the post production dept to read. He was was also very impressed.

5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon
Paul Mark Provencher “ppro” reviewed Design Essentials for the Motion Media Artist: A Practical Guide to Principles & Techniques,

I live in the corporate world of information technology. For the most part, this existence for me is based in an engineering mindset – plan, design, build, test, deliver.

In my IT world, artists are thought to be undisciplined in these areas. Angie Taylor’s book makes it clear that successful artists clearly execute in much the same way as the best scientists. While they bring a creative streak that may not appear in engineering and science, they owe their success in business to their ability to plan, execute and deliver a satisfactory product on time, on budget.

The author takes the reader through a series of concepts, starting with sketching. At first I didn’t understand what this had to do with Motion Media. But it very quickly became obvious why this was important. The book gives a great primer and cites numerous references (including current online resources) that may be used to dig in deeper.

From there the book explores a number of concepts familiar to practicing artists – composition, story-boards, software packages (again with numerous references to some terrific resources), and all while developing the concepts in a way that follows the workflow of projects.

I am reading this book (and several others) to gain a better command of the concepts I hope to apply to the use of my HD-movie capability of my DSLR. I believe that making movies, even if they end up being glorified home movies of my family, will benefit from a basic understanding of what goes into good motion media.

This book has something to offer beginners like me as well as practicing professionals who need to update their understanding of motion media. I will probably read this book twice – the illustrations are wonderful, and perfectly on point, the explanations are very understandable, even for someone with little experience in this field (though I have been a photographer for a long time).

The many resources cited as places to dig deeper are all quality products and have clearly been vetted thoroughly by the author.

This is a solid book with much to offer. If you’re just getting into motion media like me, or perhaps you’d like to step into the latest tools and concepts, don’t hesitate to buy and read this book.

View this book’s reviews on