How Editing Experience Translates to Better 3D Motion Design

Imagine yourself as a skilled samurai in feudal Japan, adeptly wielding a razor-sharp katana, only to find yourself suddenly transported back in time to a distant galaxy armed with a gleaming lightsaber. Surprisingly, many techniques learned as a samurai remain applicable in this new realm of Gungans and Ewoks. Similarly, while video editing and 3D motion design may appear as distinct domains, they share significant commonalities. Drawing from my experience in both fields, I’m eager to impart insights on how skills acquired in video editing seamlessly translate to enhancing outcomes in 3D motion design. Whether you’re a video editor aiming to elevate your craft or a 3D motion designer seeking workflow enhancements, stay tuned for valuable insights and takeaways.

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Playback as smooth as butter

Imagine yourself sitting at your computer, engrossed in a composition filled with numerous effects, perhaps even in 32-bit, but experiencing frustratingly choppy playback. Amidst this dilemma, thoughts of pizza momentarily distract you, before refocusing on the task at hand. The solution? Pre-rendering. Simply render out the composition using an intermediate codec, then place it atop the layer stack and solo it. This allows for layering additional elements seamlessly. Should adjustments be necessary, re-render and replace the pre-rendered section. When ready for the final render, deactivate the pre-rendered layer and revert to the original layers. Not only does this approach save time, but it also optimizes RAM utilization, providing ample space for further creative endeavors.

Get a rough cut going ASAP!

An additional strategy applicable to both video editing and 3D motion design is to incorporate elements into the edit at an early stage, analogous to sketching the overall shape of a pizza before adding details. Similarly, in the realm of 3D motion design, rendering out viewport previews enables the creation of a rough cut at the outset of the process. This approach facilitates swift modifications and refinements before committing to more intricate rendering, offering several advantages such as gaining a comprehensive understanding of the piece, experimenting with timings and shot sequences, and incorporating music and sound effects. Presenting the rough cut to the client allows for early feedback and adjustments. As the project progresses, witnessing the viewport previews evolve into final renders evokes a sense of satisfaction akin to the anticipation of a freshly baked pizza.

Some cuts don’t hurt

Motion designers often become engrossed in elaborate transitions, sometimes overlooking the impact of a well-executed cut. While fancy transitions can add flair, they often demand considerable effort. Therefore, I advocate for finding a harmonious equilibrium between creative transitions and strategic cuts. Among my preferred cutting techniques in 3D motion design are the match cut, eye-trace, cut on action, whip pan, and smash cut, each serving distinct narrative and aesthetic purposes. Exploring these techniques through resources like videos can deepen understanding and proficiency. Just as a perfectly sliced pizza enhances the dining experience, mastering effective cuts can elevate the impact of a motion design project. Experimenting with various cutting styles enables designers to strike the ideal balance, leaving viewers eager for more.

Use timeline markers

Consider timeline markers as akin to using a highlighter—they serve as guides, directing you to the crucial moments you wish to revisit within your project. These markers offer numerous benefits: they enable swift navigation to important keyframes, aid in organizing sections of your animation, facilitate synchronization with music, assist in duration measurement, and serve as reference points for transitions and effects. Furthermore, they facilitate seamless collaboration among designers and editors by providing a means to communicate ideas and feedback effectively. Embracing timeline markers as your secret weapon enhances productivity and organization, akin to leaving post-it notes for teammates or collaborators, ensuring attention to specific points in the timeline. Leveraging timeline markers is undeniably a transformative practice for boosting productivity and organization in your workflow.

Speed is king in 3D motion design

In this field, achieving both speed and high-quality outcomes holds significant rewards, a principle embraced by professional editors. Observing their workflow reveals a heavy reliance on keyboard shortcuts over mouse usage, highlighting the efficiency gains they offer. While familiarity with shortcuts is common, dedicating time to learning and customizing them can substantially enhance productivity. Moreover, establishing repeatable workflows is essential for optimizing efficiency, enabling swift project completion and elevating your value. Leveraging project templates featuring standardized elements like folder structures and color palettes further streamlines processes. However, prioritizing speed should not compromise quality; maintaining high standards is paramount. Striking the delicate balance between speed and quality, akin to crafting the perfect pizza with an ideal array of toppings, is key to success in this dynamic industry.

From an ex-pro editor to 3D motion designer

In conclusion, similar to how a samurai’s mastery of the katana can seamlessly transition to wielding a lightsaber, expertise in video editing can significantly enhance one’s proficiency in 3D motion design. I trust that this post has provided valuable insights and inspiration to elevate your craft. Whether you’re an experienced professional or a beginner, the journey of learning and experimentation should never cease. Embrace the opportunity to merge various skills and techniques, as it may lead to the creation of something truly remarkable. So, continue honing your abilities, and may creativity guide you in all your endeavors!

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