Posts By: John Dickinson

Sapphire 9


Sapphire 9 has been released and includes fantastic new effects such as BokehLights and Aurora, Builder enhancements and new presets.

Zero Day


Mike Winkleman a.k.a Beeple has done it again, this time blowing our minds with his new production Zero Day.

Trapcode Tao


Peder Norrby, the genius behind ubiquitous Trapcode plug-ins such as Particular and Shine is neck deep in coding again, this time with the stunning Tao effect.

Spotlight On Andy Needham


I met the talented and cheerful Andy Needham a few years back at NAB and am excited to finally learn more about Andy’s approach in this latest Spotlight.

iExpressions 2.0


Mamoworld has released iExpressions 2.0, a range of powerful, interface-driven expressions for After Effects.

Making The Switch


Up until recently it had been over 6 years since I had purchased a new workstation. After some consideration and helpful comments from the Motionworks Twitter audience I decided to buy a PC

Spotlight On Beeple


Mike Winkelmann a.k.a Beeple is a true one-of-a-kind motion graphics designer with incredible commitment and staying power. Learn more about him in this very first Motionworks designer spotlight.

Speed Lines


Modio has released Speed Lines, a clever script for quickly adding speed lines to objects in Adobe After Effects.

Easy Walking


Save time animating a 2D character walking in After Effects using this handy script from Victor Bandiera.



The gorgeous black and gold theme and mesmerizing blend of 3D and real images makes this music video for Cerrone by SUPERBIEN a winner.

Orpheo’s Mind


Paris-based SUPERBIEN teamed up with Insula Orchestra for this beautiful, dreamlike audio-visual poem. “It started with a cloud sculpture designed with Grasshopper and mixing plexiglass and tulle, onto which we projected animated content created with After Effects. The sculpture was also equiped with programmed LED strips. We added projection onto the background of the studio made from Cinema

Sapphire at NAB


Here’s a short, impromptu interview I did with Trilogy Tech Talk for Sapphire during NAB 2015.



Amsterdam-based creative production studio PlusOne made this stylish album teaser for Dutch electronic outfit Leadsmen.

Double-Blind No.1


Double-Blind No.1 is a VFX design project by Zenon Kohler, Jasper St Aubyn West, Ian Anderson, Ricky Marks and Raoul Teague.

Maze Runner Breakdown


This ident, inspired by a teaser poster for The Maze Runner, was created using Adobe Illustrator, Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects.

Element 3D 2 Released


Video CoPilot has released Element 3D v2, with a host of new features. We’re working on compatibility with MovieType for Element 3D and will announce soon.

Using Sapphire Effect


Sapphire 8 is out now and the biggest new feature is Sapphire Builder, which allows you to create custom effects and transitions from existing Sapphire effects and presets.

Ae Experiment 16


For this experiment I focussed on Shape Layers and while they aren’t particularly user friendly, they can be pretty handy.

Transforming Gradient Ramp


A quick tip on how you can use the Transform effect instead of Transform properties for more predictable results when working with the Gradient Ramp and other effects.

Light Fest 2014


This spot caught my eye today and is by Moscow-based, 2 man studio “AEVA”. The spot is an entry in the Moscow International Festival “Circle of Light” competition.

InterBee Japan 2014


Just finished a great week in Tokyo presenting for GenArts and Flashback Japan in the InterBee Exposition in Tokyo. Here are some shots from the week.



Not sure how I missed this terrific music video created by Christophe Hockler for Lusine, from his recently released Arterial EP. Great track combined with eerie, mesmerising visuals.

87 Bounces


Collectif HOTU has done it again with another well executed, quirky spot. 87 Bounces follows the journey of a runaway basketball across the globe and into outer space via famous scenes from various movies.



Text2Spreadsheet from Mamoworld exports the text of an After Effects project to a spreadsheet and applies the modified spreadsheet back in a single click.

Project Animal


Animal works in After Effects and accesses your computer’s webcam, tracking the movement of your head, mouth, and eyes—including blinking, glancing, and eye-brow raising and more.

Thriller Ident Breakdown


Continuing with the recent Foxtel On Demand rebrand breakdowns, next is Thriller. This ident was created using Maxon Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects and plug-ins from GenArts and Red Giant Software.

GQ Man Of The Year


Check out this great spot from Moscow-based Shavkerbros. I asked designer Alexandr Gorin to give us some insight into the production.

Amex Invites


London-based motion artist Tiago Higgs created this spot for American Express using Cinema 4D and After Effects.

Tim Clapham


Tim Clapham is an in-demand motion designer, trainer and Cinema 4D expert. In this episode we discuss Tim’s background, learning Cinema 4D and more.

Action Ident Breakdown


This ident was created using Maxon Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects and plug-ins from GenArts, Boris FX, FX Factory, Video CoPilot and textures from Greyscale Gorilla and The Pixel Lab.

Motion Design with Cinema 4D Lite


Learn how After Effects was used together with Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite to create a look for my recent Adobe Create Now masterclass presentations in Sydney and Melbourne.

Cineware 2.0


A quick overview of the new features and enhancements in Cineware 2.0, included in the upcoming After Effects CC 2014 update.

Universe 1.2


Red Giant Software has announced Universe 1.2, including 9 new effects and transitions bringing the total library of effects to 68.

Sci-Fi Ident Breakdown


As part of the recent rebrand for Foxtel On Demand I created some genre-specific indents that play before the movies. This first spot for science fiction was created using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D.

Ae Experiment 15


For this After Effects Experiment type is the main element. Here I used full stops with animation created using Text Animator Groups including Position, Scale and Blur properties and a Wiggly Selector.



Mamoworld has released a new tool for supercharging the After Effects mask tracking feature, which is a powerful and robust tracker but limited.



With a great conversational style, designer Carey Smith discusses composition in design – what it is and why it’s important.

Channel Splitter


QHQ Channel Splitter is an After Effects script and Photoshop action for automatic splitting of the image/footage into discrete RGB or CMY channels.

Cinema 4D R16


Maxon has announced the upcoming release of Cinema 4D R16 which includes terrific new features and enhancements.



Greyscale Gorilla has released Signal for Cinema 4D which allows you to create procedural animation quickly and easily without using the timeline.

Motion Poems


Gentleman Scholar created this beautiful spot featuring striking, hand painted imagery for the Motion Poem Foundation.



Maxon has announced WinC4D, a new competition website, and are kicking off the competitions with a chance to win Cinema 4D Broadcast Edition.

Mocha Pro 4


Imagineer Systems has released Mocha Pro 4 including such features as stereoscopic 3D workflow and Premiere Pro support.



Motion adds customisable expressions to After Effects layers for a range of different animation looks.



Formatting text for dynamically generated numbers in After Effects just got a whole lot easier thanks to QubaHQ.

After Effects’ 3D Future


In today’s #Mochat discussion about new features in After Effects Creative Cloud 2014 on Twitter, Adobe’s Todd Kopriva was asked about the future of ray-traced 3D in After Effects

Universe 1.1


Red Giant has updated Universe to version 1.1, which includes 9 new effects, plus updates to 3 existing products.



France-based Collectif HOTU shared this fun spot about what happens when 5 Russian guys find a robot.

Creative Cloud 2014


Creative Cloud 2014 includes new features and enhancements in all the major applications including After Effects.

Transform 1.2


Greyscale Gorilla has released a new update to Transform. Transform makes building and destroying layers in Cinema 4D easy.

Background Design With Primitive Shapes


Harry Frank shows how to use very simple shapes in Cinema 4D to create an awesome looking background. Then composite the render in After Effects with finishing touches including glows and fake reflections.



Ouroboros is a new After Effects preset that allows you to create multiple trimmed Shape Layer strokes on one path.

Rampant Studio Flares


Rampant Design has released Studio Flares, containing 531 Clips of 2K, 4K and 5K real organic flare stock footage shot on the Red EPIC camera system.

Memory Stream


Memory Stream by artists Peter Clark, Daniel Uribe and Yeojin Shin incorporates a variety of digital and analog techniques, with stunning results.

BCC Grunge


Learn the basics of the Boris Continuum Complete 9 Grunge effect, and see how I used it and other BCC effects to create a grungy neon look.

Save Me


Both Cinema 4D and After Effects were used in the production of this beautifully executed music video by French design house SuperBien.

Supply & Demand


Cyril Izarn and Pat Grivet created this terrific spot explaining the concept of supply & demand to students of Phoenix University.

Traveling Lights


Traveling lights is minimalist and beautiful, and once again demonstrates what is possible using the standard After Effects tools.

The Trip


Brazil based Antonio Vicentini created this quirky animation of a bus going on a psychedelic trip, using Adobe After Effects and Flash.

Ripped Paper


Learn how to use standard After Effects tools, including Turbulent Noise and Turbulent Displace, to create a textured and ripped paper look.

Misadventure In Time


UK based illustrator and animator Lee Daniels’ new short “Misadventures In Time” is fun and smartly animated using Adobe After Effects.

Red Giant Universe


Universe is a continuously expanding library of plugins for After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X and Motion and is a bold new direction for Red Giant.

Frosty Window


Learn how to combine stock footage with default Adobe After Effects tools to create a realistic frosty window.

Ae Experiment 12


With a focus on CC Griddler, this experiment also uses Curves, CC Composite, Levels and the Gradient Ramp effect for colour.

Sparkle Rays


An ethereal After Effects background using a shape layer, Turbulent Noise, Optical Flares, Particular and Starglow.

Ae Experiment 11


Watercolour on paper is a popular motion graphics style, so for Experiment 11 we’re concentrating on watercolour looks made entirely from effects.

C4D Experiment 4


For Experiment 4 I used the Explosion Deformer with a Fracture Object, Random Effector, Spline Effector and the Multi Shader.

Warm Bodies


Learn how Adobe Illustrator, After Effects and Cinema 4D were used to create a promo for Warm Bodies.

Drifting Smoke


This useful After Effects preset uses duplicate Turbulent Noise effects animated using the Time expression to create fast drifting smoke.

Ae Experiment 10


Trapcode Form is one of my favourite plug-ins for all kinds of organic and abstract looks. Here I focussed on the Quick Map settings.

Ae Experiment 9


Experiment 9 combines the Circle effect with CC Griddler, CC Mr Mercury, CC Color Offset, Brush Strokes for painterly flower look.

C4D Experiment 3


For this Experiment 3 we’re going to jump out of MoGraph and into the Deformer category, starting with the Displacer deformer.

Ae Experiment 8


Mir is powerful, fun to use and fast as hell, making it really easy to experiment with. I couldn’t stop at just one.

Ae Experiment 7


Turbulent Noise is one of the most versatile effects in After Effects. Using it again recently to create the human iris reminded me that it’s an important effect to know.

C4D Experiment 1


We’re going to kick start the Cinema 4D assignments by exploring the MoGraph menu, beginning with the MoGraph Extrude Deformer.

Ae Experiment 4


Fractal is one of those effects that gathers dust at the bottom of the effects draw because no one really knows what to do with it!

Ae Experiment 3


For Experiment 3 we are going to stick with After Effects’ Generate category, this time focussing on Cell Pattern, CC Glue Gun and CC Light Rays.

Ae Experiment 2


With Radio Waves it’s possible to create some really beautiful looks, so dig deep and see what you can come up with.

Adobe Creative Cloud?


The announcement that future versions of most Adobe products are only available via subscription has been greeted with mixed feelings.

Ae Experiment 1


For Experiment 1 we’re going to ease into the experiments by keeping the brief more open and using After Effects’ entire Stylize category.

Learn and Earn?


Should every project be built starting with a blank screen? Can you focus on being a technician and still survive in business?

Oscar Month


Learn how I used Cinema 4D and After Effects with some help from Greyscale Gorilla, to create a glamorous Oscar look.

Model a Mask


In this sample lesson from Making It Look Great 10, host Rob Redman demonstrates how to subpolygon model a mask.

The Courier


Learn how I used Cinema 4D and After Effects with help from Greyscale Gorilla in this Courier promo breakdown.

Smokey Rays


A moody, volumetric rays background based on the After Effects Fractal Noise and Optics Compensation effects.

Total Recall


Learn how I used Cinema 4D and After Effects, with help from Greyscale Gorilla and Motion Designer’s Toolkit in this Total Recall promo breakdown.

Model a Net


In this sample lesson from Making It Look Great 10, host Rob Redman demonstrates how to model a dynamic net.

Shadows, Swords & Snow


This set of quick-turnaround graphics all have a similar look and feel and were created using Cinema 4D, After Effects and various plug-ins.

Snapping to Whole Pixels


After Effects sub-pixel interpolation is helpful most of the time but can be a problem when working with layers that you want to remain sharp.

Hulk Walkthrough


In this webinar for Boris FX, I breakdown the Hulk animation created using After Effects and Boris Continuum Complete 8.

Angie Taylor


Motion artist, trainer, presenter and author Angie Taylor chats about her background, her books and training products.

Time Travellers


Here’s a stills breakdown of the Time Travellers title graphic, created using After Effects with Element 3D.

Difference Matte


Learn tricks for creating a clean plate using Photoshop’s Smart Object settings, then use that plate with Difference Matte in After Effects.

Moneyball Jumbtron


Learn how I used After Effects with GenArts Sapphire and Noise Industries FX Factory Pro to create a Moneyball trailer style jumbotron look.

CC Page Turn


Guest host Adam Everett Miller demonstrates the basics of CC Page Turn. Check out Adam’s full length tutorial on AeTuts.

Alien Meteor Storm


Learn how I used After Effects with Trapcode Particular to create an alien meteor storm reminiscent of the film The Darkest Hour.

CS6 3D Template


This free After Effects project will give you some ideas when working with 3D ray traced scenes in After Effects CS6.

Peter McAuley


Peter McAuley has been involved in the development of state-of-the-art graphics technology for print, video and film since the mid-1990s.



Are there plug-ins in your toolkit that have fallen out of favour, perhaps you used to love them but the look got old?

Jesse Rosten


Jesse Rosten is skilful yet modest, with a great eye, loads of heart and a passion for film and motion graphics.

Captain America Shield


Learn techniques and workflow used to create a battle-scarred Captain America Shield using Cinema 4D, Photoshop and After Effects.

Chemistry by Pierre Magnol


Motion graphic artist Pierre Magnol’s Chemistry comprises beautifully shot imagery with fine graphics. I asked Pierre to give us some insights into his approach.

Advanced Type Fade


After Effects has a very powerful type engine for creating all kinds of dynamic type animations, but what if you want something a little more subtle?

Grungy Makeover


Learn how to use one of the Digital Juice Toxic Type After Effect templates as a starting point for a grungy promo.

Cell Pattern


Cell Pattern is handy for background creation and with a little experimentation you’ll be surprised what you can create!

Rob Redman


In the past few years Rob Redman has blasted into recognition as a 3D artist and teacher through his website Pariah Studios.

The Warriors Way


Learn how MovieType for Cinema 4D, After Effects, Sapphire, Key Correct and Optical Flares were used for sweeping title graphics.

Type Animation Tips


The After Effects Type tool is amazingly powerful, and when you understand the basics it’s straightforward to create a wide range of styles.

CC Ball Action


Guest host Adam Everett of gives an in-depth breakdown of the After Effects CC Ball Action effect.

Spooky Hallway


Learn how I used Vanishing Point in Photoshop to create a 3D hallway, then animate the After Effects camera up the hallway for dramatic effect.

Video Blocks


As a motion designer it’s always good to have a large assortment of stock footage in the toolbox.

Freeze Frame Titles


The look where a shot is freeze framed and graphics build around a cut-out element isn’t new, but surprisingly this was a first for me.

Pierre Magnol


Motion artist Pierre Magnol produces consistently breathtaking graphics that most of us can only dream of.

Mini Breakdowns 2


The Hurt Locker is a good example of taking a concept from a tutorial, in this case Andrew Kramer’s Animating a Still.

Sam Loya


If Video Copilot is the most popular site on the planet for After Effects tutorials, then Sam Loya must be the most recognised tutorial talent.

Refine Edge


Learn how to you can use Photoshop’s Refine Edge tool to take much of the hard work out of refining intricate selections.

Bezier Warp


Learn how you can use Bezier Warp to make subtle adjustments to the position of elements in your scene.

Buddha Jones


Buddha Jones is the design house behind countless trailers for a variety of films including Inglourious Basterds.

Easy Scripting


Tim Clapham demonstrates a must-know and surprisingly simple technique for creating custom scripts in Cinema 4D.

Jumbotron Column


Learn how to identify the field order of footage and interpret it collectedly, and create a realistic Jumbotron-style look.

Ross Shain


Ross Shain shares his journey from art college to Avid to Imagineer Systems – makers of the powerful Mocha.

Jim Geduldick


Jim Geduldick reveals how his passion for cinematography was born out of his love for skateboarding.



Guest host Eran Stern demonstrates the After Effects Bulge effect.

Harry Frank


Harry Frank of Graymachine discusses how he went from button-pushing audio engineer to accomplished motion design artist,

Nick Campbell


Nick Campbell has quickly established himself in the After Effects world, with his popular site Greyscale Gorilla.

Eran Stern


Based in Israel, Eran Stern is well-known in the After Effects world, thanks largely to his tutorials and podcasts for Creative Cow.

Aharon Rabinowitz


Aharon Rabinowitz is widely recognized in the world of motion graphics but how much do you actually know about him?



Learn about the After Effects Beam effect and two unusual ways it can be used.

Peder Norrby


Peder Norrby is the mastermind behind Trapcode. A gentle genius with a passion for art, music and programming.

Robert Sharp


Robert Sharp got into video in the early 1990’s as one of the early members of Terran Interactive – makers of Media Cleaner Pro. In 2007 Robert relaunched Digieffects – makers of Cinelook, and the more recent  Camera Mapper plug-in. In this frank and open discussion Robert talks about the early days with Terran, founding Toolfarm,



Guest host Harry Frank demystifies and offers ups some creative uses for the After Effects Arithmetic effect.

Angle Control


Guest host Maltaannon explains techniques for using the After Effects Angle Control effect with basic expressions.

Jerzy Drozda Jr


Jerzy Drozda Jr, the quirky host of, is a talented motion graphics and visual effects artist based in Warsaw, Poland.

Zax Dow


Zaxwerks is one of the veteran After Effects plug-in developers, with the 3D Invigorator range of 3D title and logo plug-ins as popular as ever.

Add Grain

Have you ever looked in the Adobe After Effects Effects menu and wondered what some effects are used for?

Sean Safreed


Red Giant Software offers some of the most popular plug-ins on the planet including Magic Bullet Looks and the various Trapcode plug-ins.

Damages 2 Teaser


Recently I posted a 3 part series on creating a shattering glass effect. This is the project that inspired that series.

Grungy Text Look


Learn how to use After Effects Fast Blur, Turbulent Displace, Roughen Edges and other effects to give text a grungy look.

W Trip


For this shot my client wanted to place a logo in the path of the actor and have it appear as if she trips over it.

The Vibrate Tag


Learn how the vibrate tag can be used to add automatic animation and save time when working in Cinema 4D.



This project was created using a combination of Cinema 4D and After Effects with Zaxwerks ProAnimator and Knoll Light Factory.

Bond Classic Bond


Learn the techniques used in After Effects and Illustrator to create the silhouette look used in the Bond Classic Bond teaser.



The Trapcode Particular snowflake background is based on a confetti background created by Peder Norrby from Trapcode.

K1 Promo


This project is another good example of taking poor quality 4:3 vision, making it 16:9 and giving it some polish.



Psunami, originally designed by Brian Maffitt, was acquired by Digital Anarchy and then by Red Giant Software.

Saw 4


Learn various After Effects and Photoshop techniques for creating the grungy, dark look of Saw 4.



Here’s a handy Electrocardiogram created in After Effects using the Vegas effect.

Leave Color


Learn how to use the After Effects Leave Color effect to create black and white footage with a single colour.

Light Streaks


This light rays background, used in a boxing promo, was created using Fractal Noise, Directional blur and Trapcode Shine.



A while back Motionworks ran a challenge to see who could create the best explosion using After Effects and Trapcode Particular.

Binary Grid


This uniform grid of random ones and zeros was created using Trapcode Particular and the After Effects Grid effect.



Here’s a simple sparks preset created using Trapcode Particular.

Spiral Text


This After Effects project uses a simple index expression to offset the text layers and nulls.

Radial Pulse


This Sci-Fi background uses a series of Shape Layer dots animated using the wiggle expression.

Particular Bars


This background was created using Trapcode Particular. The basic straight bars can also be modified using the Wave Warp effect.



This seamlessly looping After Effects background is based on the Cell Pattern effect and includes a number of adjustment layers.

Mirror Ball


This seamlessly looping mirror ball uses CC Sphere, Fractal Noise, Grid, 4-Color Gradient and Trapcode Shine.

Vietnam War Month


For this promo for Vietnam War Month on the History Channel, I wanted the look to be gritty but still maintain a sense of dignity.