Design Essentials Resources

Design Essentials Resources

Design Essentials Resources provides chapter links for Angie Taylor’s book, Design Essentials for the Motion Media Artist. There are several references made to influential work from other designers, file downloads and websites of interest in the chapters of my book. Here is a list of them broken down, chapter-by-chapter;

Design Essentials – 01 Drawing Chapter

Here’s a summary of links quoted in the Drawing Chapter;

I usually use a propeller pencil for sketching when I’m on the move (sometimes known as a propelling pencil or a mechanical pencil). Rotring makes a great range of propeller pencils including their Tikky range.

I use a variety of pens but for disposable fiber-tips or roller-balls visit

Obviously you can’t easily erase pen marks in the same way that you can with pencil marks. A solution to this is to use correction fluid (or liquid paper) such as Tip-ex to cover over any errors. Once the correction fluid has dried, you can then draw on the surface

Brushes are described by shapes and sizes. The shapes include round, flat, fan, and angled. Sizes range from negative values denoted by 4/0 (can also be written as 0000), to positive values indicated by single numbers such as 4. Here are the most common sizes; 4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24You can refer to this web page for some free brush measurement charts

Graphic tabelts provide you with much more freedom and versatility than a mouse. You might even find a new style that you wouldn’t achieve from traditional drawing. If you want to find out about Wacom tablets you can visit their website at

There are some great tutorials about the Vanishing Point tool and other Photoshop features to help you draw more successfully on Deke McClelland’s fantastically informative, yet compellingly entertaining website at I’d recommend signing up to for fabulous freebies, podcasts and tutorials.

Design Essentials – 02 Planning Chapter

The Alister Buss example seen here was inspired by the famous Saul Bass title sequences for “Anatomy of a Murder”

The Roarke Pearce example seen here was inspired by Anni Albers;

There are a few software applications that are good for brainstorming like the fantastic Omni Group applications ( or my personal favorite, Zengobi’s Curio

I have provided you with an A4 storyboard template to download from here. Just click on the link on the following page. This will enable you to download an Adobe PDF file that can be re-sized to your chosen dimensions without losing resolution. Print out a copy so that you can develop your own storyboard for your project.

In this movie I shamelessly used lot’s of influences from the 1960’s. Pop Art – opening title sequence – a series of documentaries about design and music from the swinging 1960s.

Design Essentials – 04 Animation Chapter

Here is a link to the example of a Bouncing Ball animation from the Animation page of the website.

The opening titles for Barbarella (by Arcady and Maurice Binder) feature text animation that dances weightlessly around Barbarella in her space ship. You can see this online at the wonderful “The Art of The Title Sequence” website.

One of the most inspiring projects I worked on was Aphex Twin’s infamous “Rubber Johnny” video. I worked alongside director, Chris Cunningham for a year on that project (it was a six-minute music video!). I learned a lot by watching Chris at work.

Another music video artist whose work is worth watching is Michelle Gondry who also has a knack for matching music to imaginative and innovative visuals.

An example of an animated sequence created by rotoscoping (drawing on top of footage or photographs).

In this chapter you can see drawings of a dog’s walk cycle. Here are two examples of the final animation, one where the drawing and animation was done with Corel Painter. Here’s the second animation where the character was redrawn in Adobe Illustrator and then and animated in Adobe After Effects.

A fairly common job that you may be asked to do as a motion graphic designer is to create moving footage by animating around a still image. Panning and Zooming is easily controlled in the Layer panel in Adobe After Effects, here is an Example of panning and zooming around a street map of Edinburgh.

One of the characters I designed for Children’s BBC series “See You, See Me – The Inventors”. John Logie Baird, the Scottish inventor of the television. This was drawn in liiustrator with each body part on a separate layer, ready to be animated in Adobe After Effects.

Design Essentials ResourcesA good practice exercise is to use an application like Adobe After Effects to animate some ordinary text. If you can use animation to convincingly bring life to an inanimate object then you know you’re doing a good job. In this example I’ve taken the word “Accelerate” and animated it as if it is a car being driven off the screen.

Design Essentials – 07 Editing Chapter

The opening title sequence for Midnight Cowboy is a great example of an establishing shot, both character and location are established during the opening title sequence. You can find out more about this title sequence in the Communication chapter.

A little forward planning goes a long way in video and film production and can save oodles of time and money further down the road. You can find out more about how to do this in the Technical chapter. Here’s a Chip Chart to download and print out to help you set up your cameras correctly before shooting footage.

Design Essentials – 08 Communication Chapter

The opening title sequence for Midnight Cowboy is also referred to in the Communication chapter.

Bob Kurtz’s wonderful sequence for the Pink Panther 2 Film is another good example where the opening titles are used to establish the main characters as well as the rough plot.

You can see “Anémic Cinéma” by Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, as well as many other avante-garde films at a fantastic website named UBUWEB.

Save time by creating a single presentation template that you can use for all clients and pitches. Keep your presentation simple and concise. There’s more information about presentations in the Communication chapter and I’ve included a  Design Essentials Presentation Template for you to get started with.

Lady Sovereign’s music video for her track, Hoodie (directed by Family) sees a gang of rough-looking kids, dressed in hoodies, chasing a woman through a shopping precinct. The audience (and the woman) assumes that the gang is planning to mug the woman but at the end of the video it turns out that they are chasing her in an effort to return her bag, which she dropped while shopping. The video is intended to turn stereotypes on their heads and makes the woman look foolish for thinking the worst of the young people.

Creative After Effects Bonus Tutorials

Creative After Effects Bonus Tutorials

These Creative After Effects Bonus Tutorials are ones created specifically for readers of my “Creative After Effects”books but are also freely available to everyone who visits my website.They were designed for previous versions of After Effects but still contain useful tips, tricks and techniques. These books contain many more in depth tutorials on Adobe After Effects and related topics. It also includes a free CD full of goodies and training materials for your delectation!I welcome feedback from readers as it is essential to the growth and development of the book and website. If you have any comments or feedback please feel free to leave comments.
Keylight Training movie This is a sample movie from my book “Creative After Effects 7″. The tutorial focusses on how to use The Foundry’s Keylight in After Effects to key out really badly shot DV footage. Angie shares tips and tricks on how to avoid problems and to fix them once they occur.
Character Animation tutorial I’ve done a fair bit of character animation using After Effects, mainly cut-out animation, similar to the style Terry Gilliam used in the Monty Python animations and not too dissimilar to South Park’s style of animation.Till Parenting was introduced, I always used complex nesting procedures to link the individual parts of my characters together. I would draw them in Illustrator with each part on a separate layer, bring it in as a Comp and then Pre-comp the body parts together as needed.Parenting gets rid of the need for complex nesting hierarchies, I can now link the body parts together in one composition. This tutorial simplifies and demystifies the processes, making them less intimidating to those who have never used Parenting.
The Talking Dog Lip syncing Tutorial for After Effects 6 is based on the After Effects 5.5 Production Bundle but can also be followed using the version 5.0 PB. If you want to get hold of an updated After Effects CS5 version of this tutorial, complete with new footage, it’s available as part of my After Effects CS5 Learn by Video DVD in association with Adobe’s Todd Kopriva.
This tutorial shows you how to use Motion Math scripts and Time Remapping on a 3D – rendered character to automate the process of lip-synching. I used this technique in an animated program which was broadcast on a major UK TV network.
Multipass for After Effects 5.5 and Cinema 4DXL These comprehensive tutorials cover techniques for creating multipass renders as well as importing and manipulating the multiple passes in After Effects 5.5.Using a whole host of old and new features to bring your 3D scene to life you will learn the basic principles and discover the power and flexibility that can be achieved by rendering out your 3D scene in passes.

Download files:

Cinema 4DXL (Version 7.303)

Multipass tutorials

Tutorial notes: Cinema 4D Multipass Project files: Cinema 4D project files

After Effects 5.5

Multipass tutorials

Tutorial notes: After Effects Multipass Tutorial Notes

Project files: After Effects project files Footage files: Movies, Lights, Footage files

The Cinema 4D tutorial was co-written by myself and Tim Clapham of HelloLux. Find out more about Tim and HelloLux by here.

Updates & Fixes

Updates & Fixes for my Creative After Effects 7 book
Sadly, even though the book and accompanying DVD were tested and proof-read, some errors were still overlooked – very annoying for both myself and the readers. I hope that it doesn’t stop you from enjoying the book and learning from it.

CAE7 DVD Error Fixes

The DVD contains extra bonus information that I could not fit into the pages of the book. These documents are referred to in the book as seperate documents named individually, for example ‘Workflow.pdf’. These have now been consolidated into a single
PDF document named ‘CAE7-BonusInfo’.

CAE7 Book Error Fixes

Throughout the book; Due to some last-minute re-ordering
of chapters, some of the folders referred to in the Training folder have been given the wrong Chapter number. Please refer to the name of the chapter as opposed to the number in these cases.

Page 40 – RMS_Logo file
In the Import chapter a file named ‘Logo’ is referred to. This has been named wrongly, the correct file name to use in this tutorial is RMS_Logo.psd.

Page 53 – Step 40 – lines 3 and 4 should read;
‘Hold down Shift after you start to drag’

Page 121-123, Fig. numbers 4.2 and 4.6;
One of these screen shots shows the red car following the top-most path, the other shows the car following the bottom-most path. The Red car should follow the top-most path.

Page 154 – Step 3 should read;
Change the frame rate to 5 frames per second

CD Error Fixes

Chapter Nine: Time

There is an error in the T_Remap.aep project in Chapter nine: Time.
When you open this project there will be a missing piece of footage named “closeup”. The movie is, in fact on the CD, it is simply named differently so AE can’t locate it without your help!

To resolve this, please open up the project and double-click the missing “” in the Project window. Locate the “” file from the Training>Source Movies> Angie Movies>MacDonna folder. Double-click this file to select it (or hit the Import button) to replace the missing footage. Finally, re-save the project to fix the problem.

Chapter Fourteen: Expressions
On page 206 you are instructed to open the project named ‘BasicExpStart.aep’. Due to a last minute oversight, this project does not exist in the Training folder. The project you need to open is named BasicExp.aep, the end project for this chapter (with all steps completed).

Below is a down-loadable file containing the missing project. Please download the appropriate file and continue the exercises using the project file and footage contained within. BasicExpStart.aep

Chapter Sixteen: Type
On page 296, Chapter 16: Type you are asked to import a file which is,
in fact missing from the CD. The file is named Here is a link to download this movie file.