Posts By: John Dickinson

Acronis True Image 2020

Having experienced my fair share of  hard drive and software update failures over the years, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a regular back up plan

AEC4D v1.03 Released

If you’re doing any work between Cinema 4D and After Effects you need the brilliant AEC4D script created by Lasse Lauch.

Beretta Pistol

In 2014 I attempted to model a Beretta pistol and definitely bit off more than I could chew at the time!

Ae Experiment 24

Combining HexTile layers set to various sizes gave me this neon-like look, which has a surprising amount of depth for something that uses no 3D layers.

AE Experiment 23

I spend about 20 minutes on this look. It’s amazing how much detail you can created duplicating and combining layers and effects with various blend modes.


Having been a fan of Jean Michel Jarre for decades I thought it might be fun to recreate the Oxygene album cover illustration in 3D

3D Modelling Drills

I regularly practice modelling various objects to sharpen my skills and will keep updating this post as I complete each task.

Grit Kit 2

Over 160 real, macro-photographed, animated & royalty-free high resolution textures

Do you have a backup plan?

Having experienced my fair share of  hard drive and software update failures over the years, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a regular back up plan

Cinema 4D R20

Cinema 4D Release 20 is out now with useful new features including CAD model import and volume modeling.

Iron Man Mark III Helmet

This Iron Man Mark III helmet was modelled in Cinema 4D, unwrapped in 3D Coat, textured in Substance Painter and lit and rendered in Redshift for Cinema 4D.

Rest Robot

This Robot character for Rest was modelled and rigged in Cinema 4D, textured in Redshift for Cinema 4D and composited in After Effects.

Infiniti Launch

For this project I was contracted by The Pulse to create graphics for Infiniti launch at the Beijing International Motor Show

Turnip Head

I’m a big fan of Studio Ghibli and thought it might be fun for my next modelling project to recreate the Turnip Head character from Howl’s Moving Castle.

Tech Sphere

I was inspired to model this tech sphere after seeing the Technodrome on an episode Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Lego Knight

I’ve modelled Lego bricks in the past but this character which is a combination of Nexo Knights and Ninjago, created by my son Jay, looked like a worthy challenge with plenty of interestingly shaped pieces. I decided to start with the wings, modelling flat to establish the base topology. Next I selected the inner feather


This mouse was modelled in Cinema 4D, unwrapped in 3D Coat, textured in Substance Painter and rendered in Redshift for Cinema 4D.

Color Wiggle

Rowbyte have made their Color Wiggle plug-in for After Effects available for free download


Battleaxe has released a new workflow plug-in for Illustrator and After Effects.

Nerf Gun

For my next modelling challenge I’ve chosen this Nerf gun which has a number of topology challenges.

Spray Gun

Process images and final renders of the spray gun, modelled in Cinema 4D and textured in Substance Painter.

Welding Objects and Materials

In this tutorial, Merk Vilson (@merkvilson) demonstrates a welding effect with different objects and materials that can be used for procedural modeling techniques.

Sci-Fi Chamber

This original design for a sci-fi chamber was modelled in Cinema 4D, unwrapped in 3D Coat and textured in Substance Painter.

Adobe Make It 2017

I’ll be presenting a workshop at Adobe Make It 2017 in August covering 3D for After Effects users.

C4DAE Script

AeScripts has launched a new script for easy export of Cinema 4D projects into After Effects.

AE Experiment 21

I created this look for a project recently using only native After Effects, five Solid layers and no masks or Shape Layers.

After Effects Backgrounds

These After Effects backgrounds were created by me as part of the Creative Background Design in After Effects training ten years ago this year.

Toby Pitman

Toby Pitman is a music producer and insanely talented guitarist in his day job and at night a keen and equally talented 3D artist.


After years of development, Stardust – a modular 3D particle system for After Effects – is here.


This computer monitor was modelled in Cinema 4D, UV unwrapped in BodyPaint and textured using Material Pack.

Halloween Webinar

Here’s the recording of my 1.5 hour live webinar featuring Mocha Pro, Sapphire and Boris Continuum Complete.

3D Model Gallery

Here are some examples of the Cinema 4D models I’ve created for practise, and some that have been mentioned in Breakdowns.

Wooden Peg

This simple wooden peg was modelled in Cinema 4D, unwrapped in Body Paint and textured in Substance Painter.

Jerry Can

This jerry can was modelled in Cinema 4D, unwrapped in BodyPaint and textured in Substance Painter.

Stranger Things

I watched the first episode of Netflix Stranger Things last night and was impressed by the opening titles, which pay homage to Stephen King and horror films of the 80s.

Tiki Idol

I’ve been busy freelancing with the design team over at Network Ten for the past 4 weeks and one of the projects I particularly enjoyed was modelling this Tiki idol in Cinema 4D for Australian Survivor.

Spotlight on Rich Nosworthy

I was introduced to the work of Rich Nosworthy only fairly recently, and as a big fan of Cinema 4D and modelling, Rich’s work is the kind of thing I aspire to.

A Handful Of Bricks

My son Jay created a Lego challenge where we each pick up a handful of bricks from the Lego box and see what we can make with it.


Learn how I used After Effects with GenArts Sapphire to create a tech-style background and title reveal.

Motion Design 101

Mograph Mentor founder Michael Jones has announced Motion Design 101 – a new course designed to teach foundation motion design skills.

Trapcode Suite 13

Trapcode Suite 13 is out now and includes the brand new Tao effect for creating 3D geometry along a path, 3D aware Shine, an Effects Builder for Particular and more.

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.

Test Drive: HP Z34c Display

I sat in front of my first computer back in 1992 which means I’ve spent a good part of the past 23 years staring into computer displays…

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.

Drama Ident

This Foxtel Store ident was created using Maxon Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects and GenArts Sapphire.

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.

The Maze Runner

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

Holiday Ident

This Christmas holiday ident, created using Cinema 4D and After Effects, was inspired by an ident from Proud Creative.

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.

Thriller Ident

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

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

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.

Shooter Suite 12.5

Red Giant Software has released Shooter Suite 12.5 which now includes Denoiser 2 and Instant HD 4K.

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.

Ae Experiment 14

After Effects Experiment 14 is based on Shape Layers. Take a look at what I created and then try your own experiment.


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.

Color Suite Update

Red Giant Color Suite 11.1.1 has shipped. This is a free maintenance release for all current users.

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.

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.

Split Screen Looks

For this project I explored split screen looks in After Effects. It can be a tricky look to use and not look retro.

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.

Olympus Has Fallen

Learn how I used Cinema 4D, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator in this Olympus Has Fallen promo breakdown.

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.

Ae Experiment 6

If you’ve been keeping up with all the experiments well done! For Experiment 6 we’re using Advanced Lightning.

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.

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.

OSX Workspaces

Learn how to use Mac OSX Mission Control and Workspaces to save time and streamline your workflow.

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.

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.

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.

John Montgomery

For the past 3 decades John Montgomery has lived his dream, honing his craft as a visual effects artist.

Phil Bates

Artbeats is arguably the most recognised stock footage provider in the world today.

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?