Archive for ‘blog’

How to learn After Effects the interesting way

Learning a new program is quite amazing, but it can be boring as well. I mean, you need to know where to find the right menus, learn principles how everything is working and so on. But the day comes when you want to do the amazing stuff. Of course you can Google for some tutorials that are based on creating a specific project, but you can also learn from observing and discovering.

It’s not important if you’re just a beginner or intermediate user that looks for additional ways to sharpen your skills. This approach will work for both. You can purchase After Effects template projects and learn from them by reverse engineering them. I’m reviewer on biggest After Effects templates marketplace called Video Hive and I’m also an author there. I see those projects every day and create some of them myself. What I’ve discovered is – nearly every template project is built around some interesting technique that author came up with.

quote openThe bad thing is – great authors usually don’t have enough time to create tutorials to pasquote open on their skills. What this means for you? Instead of just learning to build another project that looks exactly like everyone’s else project who followed the same tutorial – now you can learn the techniques behind the original project. The bad thing is – great authors usually don’t have enough time to create tutorials to pas on their skills. No doubt we could learn a lot from them, but since they’re not creating tutorials – we can suck out their knowledge from their brains projects.

To start off you need some basic training to understand how things work in After Effects. You’re good to go as soon as you’ve learned the simple things like:

  • How to open comps
  • How to see what effects are applied to each layer
  • How to reveal keyframes and expressions
  • How to turn of the shy layer which often times hide the real treasures

What to look for when you dive in and scout for great templates to learn from? Most importantly – search for templates that amaze and inspire you. Remember we’re trying to escape from those boring basic tutorials. Therefore go wild. Find the ones that you like and have fun discovering how they’re built. Avoid all kind or pre-renders. If some elements looks like generated with 3D software – read the description to find out if they really are pre-rendered or is everything made with pure After Effects. Pre-renders generally are useless for learning as they are elements, hard coded into video files and you can’t find out neither what effects are used nor how they’re animated.

For your learning pleasure I’ve put together a list of some great projects that are excellent for learning new skills and techniques.

Click here to start browsing the projects

See projects I’ve created


How to use AE for Free Legally

How to use After Effects for free legally
Adobe’s software is one of the rear that offers demo versions with full functionality. Usually there are some limitations like disabled save or export functions, audio or visual watermarks overlaid and so on, but not with Adobe. Only limitation in Adobe After Effects demo is absence of Cycore (CC) plugins and time limit – your software will be usable for 30days only. But, hey, now there is a way to extend this 30day period. And here is how.

Extend 30 Day period

If you don’t close the program – it will run much longer than 30days. In fact even if you’ve already exceeded the 30days period and accidentally close your software, try opening it again and it will say: “Your Demo period is exceeded, but you can run this software one last time”. So Adobe is really generous. Now how do you keep your software open? Most mac users already don’t perform shut down for their computers. They rather put it to sleep – therefore never really turning it off. This also means you don’t need to close programs before putting your computer away. Windows has similar options called Sleep and Hibernate. Now this easily works for Laptops, but what about desktop workstations? If you’re like me- you need to disconnect and move your iMac to another place every now and then. Once you disconnect the electricity the “Sleep” is interrupted and computer has to restart. In This case you can use Deep Sleep desktop widget, which offers the same functionality as Hibernate for Win users. Now you can even disconnect the power cord without closing down the programs and shutting down your computer.

Well, this can get quite annoying – you might think. Yes it could. Therefore eventually you have to buy the full version of After Effects, but extending Demo to 60days instead of 30 gives you enough time to fall in love with this program. During this period of time you can Learn to Use After Effects, or customize some of the templates you bought or maybe even start to create your own templates and earn money with the help of this great software.


Marketplace Tips&Tricks video series

I’ve build some experience being a reviewer on VideoHive for almost a year now. Several small issues that seams so logical, but still so many people just seams to miss them. So I decided to put together a small tips& tricks video tutorial series. At the moment there are 4 videos and will be added more as soon as new tips comes into my mind.
Some of the things you might now already, some might be new to you. After all – those small tiny things are those who either make your client happy or frustrated. For example: Did you know that if you use a custom work panels set in After Efects – this layout is saved with your project and whoever opens your project gets his workspace re-arranged in your way? Reviewing tons of submissions every day I’ve noticed this and I think not many authors knows that they’re potentially messing-up their client layout.
Keep your clients happy and they’ll come back for more.

See them here:


Why should I buy AE Templates

Why should i buy AE Templates
You don’t have to be marketing guru to understand – visuals and images work much better than plain texts when it comes to product or service promotion. But wait- there is something that works even better – moving images. They’re called Video, Animations or Motion Graphics. Most popular motion graphics software is After Effects. After Effects allows you to create those stunning animations as well as combine animation with video footage.

So you’re in need

If you own a website and want to have your logo reveled in really nice way, add product promotion video, instructional presentation or just promote your photographer, designer, or other services – “Motion graphics”, “After Effects”, “Animations”, “VFX” might be the keywords that define your search criteria.

I believe there are three types of people that buy template projects: Professionals, Hobyists and Clients who try to save some money Once you realize that – you have two options. Either to hire professional that creates everything for you, but costs several hundreds to several thousands. Or you can create it yourself. You can even get fully functional After Effects Demo version for free that will work with no hustle for one month. Unfortunately one month is usually not enough to learn and create high quality animations by yourself. But wait – there is third option.

You can purchase project template where everything is prepared and you only need to add/edit texts drop in your logo/images/videos and customize some colors. That’s usually an easy task that even beginner could do in one day. Besides templates only cost from 6$ to 25$ depending on quality and type (logo stings, titles, openers, video displays)


I believe there are three types of people that buy stock or template projects.
First ones are professionals that buy one or several motion graphics templates, customize or combine them and provide to their clients. That way they’re able to create high quality projects in short time. They can also incorporate some parts in their own projects to save time that they would otherwise spend creating this elements from scratch. Or they can even create projects that might be above their current knowledge level. If you are a motion graphics professional or want to be one – this is a smart thing to do. One people team that combines knowledge of thousands. Low financial investments. No time consuming. High profit because final product goes for several hundreds to several thousands, but you only have to invest 6$-25$ in template + time spent customizing it.


After Effects tutorials
Then there are learners who want to become AE pros one day. They watch every tutorial out there. From tutorials, that teach step by step – beginner to advanced level. To high quality tutorials that concentrates on specific technique. Unfortunately it takes time to understand how those techniques can be universally applied to create something else – Not just example that were shown in tutorial. This is where template projects comes in. You can find a lot of high quality projects that pushes the limits of AE. You can watch those and wander how they do that. Now you can purchase project files of those amazing projects and observe yourself. Often times there are no rocket science or anything. They’re basic techniques and effects used by professionals to achieve stunning results. And you can learn those unique things that no tutorial will teach you.

Clients who want to save some money

And third group is people that have no connection to Motion Graphics what so ever, but they want to save some money while still getting high quality results. With template projects it’s possible. You can learn AE basics in one evening. Then purchase desired project and customize it yourself. All projects comes with help files that covers basic customization. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty you can ask author to customize this template for you. Usually that would add additional costs but still 100$ is not the same as several hundreds or even thousands that you would spend hiring a professional. And who knows professional that you hire might still be someone from first group that purchase template, customize and offer final result at full price.

Weather you’re a professional, learner or someone who is trying to save some money – template projects might be really useful to save you some time, teach you new stuff or save you a lot of money. Ready to try your luck? Here are few resources that will help you getting started.


Make your marketplace items SEO friendly

Make your marketplace items SEO friendly

No doubt it’s a great opportunity to upload your files on Evato marketplaces, because they get a lot of traffic and your item will get some as well, but there is something we can do to get even more traffic to our items and help the whole community. It’s not a secret that these days people use Google or other search engine to find what they’re looking for. So it’s important that Google can find your items. What’s also important – marketplaces without our items would be just wiki/help with some forum threads. You have to understand – you’re the one that makes the marketplace and it depends on you (as well) how great it is, how easy to find, how relevant to keywords etc.

quote openMake sure you list out in plain text every feature that you listed in your preview video or image because Google can’t read video/imquote openage/audio content One big mistake that authors does – and here I’m mostly talking from my VideoHive experience, but it can be applicable to other marketplaces as well – is advertise their item features in preview video or preview image. While it’s a great way to communicate those features to potential buyers that are watching your video/image – they’re invisible to search engines. Google can read file names, but can’t read video/image/audio content. Recently I realized – if you’re adding video tutorial in your package – cut out some parts from it that talks about item features and put those in your preview video. That way buyer will get a glimpse of tutorial and learn about the additional features your item has. But what’s even more important is that you list out every feature as a written text in item description. Basically everything you mentioned (verbally/visually) in your video has to be listed in plain text in item description. Also make sure you list features that you listed in your preview image as well, because Google can’t read text from audio/video/image content.

Also remember listing your most important things at the top and leave the less important down to the bottom as Google reads from the top and is quite lazy for long texts. You also might want to keep logical text flow through your item description. What if there are some things you want to list, but don’t know how to include them in the sentences? Well – you have tags. They’re several different words that don’t need to make sense as a whole text, but they do need to make sense as each separate tag. Therefore don’t waste your time listing same tag several times just to make others sound nice. e.g. 3d titles, 3d text, extruded text etc. Mentioning 3d just once is enough. the same goes for text. mention it just once and you’re fine. you don’t need to repeat that in various combination.

quote openSearch engines doesn’t understand “All colors” tag and would not return your item when user seaquote openrch for red items Being a reviewer on Videohive for quite some while i noticed that people don’t pay enough attention to tags. Back in the days when we had separate tag for color 99% of items came in with “All colors” tag and half of them this was only color tag. While you might feel that “All colors” tag really tells user that your project can be customized and used with any color – tag field is not item description. Users don’t read tags to understand your item’s features. Users use search engines to find stuff and search engines use tags and other keywords to return results. Now think. If user searches for items in red color will or will not he find item with “all colors” being only color tag?

quote openThere is nothing worse as preview image with random number sequence as a file name or just “preview_image.jpg” that makes it equal toquote open thousand others. We talked previously that Google can’t read audio/video/image content however they can read and they do read file names. Lately Envato changed their scripts and now when you upload your preview image, thumbnail, preview video – Envato saves those files with original filename that you provided. This is your chance to tell Google whats in your videos/images. There is nothing worse as preview image with random number sequence as a file name or just preview-image.jpg What I do is – put the item name and some description in file name. For example “video-podcast-opener-logo-sting-ae-template-project-file.jpg” which includes the item title “video podcast opener” then tells it’s alternative use “logo sting” and then says what it is “ae template project file” the same file name can go for thumbnail and preview video. except you can add thumb or video at the end – so you can store those files in one folder before upload and know which is which when you’ve uploaded and need to set those from drop down list. Also remember it’s better to use dash or underline to separate the words rather than make the file name as onelongword. Just like you – Google will have a hard time knowing where each word begins/ends and what it says.

SEO tutorials

See my marketplace items


Withdraw money from Envato marketplaces cheeper

Withdraw money from Envato marketplaces cheaper

Out of curiosity I compared PayPal, MoneyBookers and Envato SWIFT transfer rates to see what is cheaper. I’ve used those three. Unfortunately I have no data about Payoneer card rates.


PayPal rates are similar to anyone who lives outside US – They don’t charge any commission for receiving money. They charge 2EUR (around 2.73$ per withdrawal) and they don’t let you withdraw more than 500$ at a time. So if you get 1000$ in your PayPal and want to get it to your bank card this will cost you 4EUR which is 2EUR twice for each 500$ transaction. If you have 1020$ in your PayPal and want to get it to your bank card this will cost you 6EUR which is 2EUR two times for each 500$ + one more time for last 20$ You might call this fixed rate, but actually it’s variable – it get’s bigger with every 500$ you withdraw.
Also they have low currency exchange rates which means – you’ll get less than if you would go to local bank and exchange the same amount of $ there. You might say – no big deal – I’ll withdraw in $ and exchange to my local currency in my local bank. That’s not going to work. PayPal only allows withdrawals in your local currency so you have to accept their bad exchange rates. This is variable as well. More you withdraw the more you loose on this exchange rate difference.


If some has variable rates and some has fixed rates – there must be threshold where one become cheaper than other ones. And this is the main point of this article. If you’re lucky and they still think Envato is your grandmam who sends you money every month – you don’t have commission for receiving money. This is against their policy though because when you signed up you promised to inform then whenever you start to receive commercial payments. If you’re selling with Envato and Envato is paying commission – that’s commercial payment. If they don’t know – you’re lucky. If they find out – they will start to charge you for receiving money according to how much you’re receiving in month and according to where you live (EU or non EU).
What commissions do MoneyBookers charge. Basically they charge the same 2EUR per withdrawal like PayPal does. Good thing is they don’t have withdrawal limit per day. So you can withdrawal your 1030$ and still pay only 2EUR instead of 6EUR like PayPal does. So this is fixed rate. But wait- there is one more thing they don’t advertise out loud. It’s their exchange rates. They carry out withdrawals in EUROS only. Which means – your hard earned $ get transferred to EUR using their low exchage rates (similar to what PayPal has) and then you need to exchange those EUROS in your local currency – again loosing some money. Again this is variable commission. The more you withdraw the more you loose.
Now – if you’re lucky – this is all they’re charging. If you’re not – they’re taking 2.9% from every money that comes into your account. Or even 3.9% from every money – if you live outside European Union which again is variable commission that depends on how much money you get.

SWIFT transfers

Now SWIFT transfers. They are normal bank transfers from Envato bank account into your account. Since they’re in Australia and you’re not it’s international transfer which has some commissions as well. Transfers to my country (Latvia, EU) cost 20$ some people reported it’s 25$ to their country, but whats good to know itš fixed. no mater if it’s five hundreds or five thousands – the commission stays the same. Since it’s more complicated to carry out SWIFT transfers Envato introduced their own commission for SWIFT transfers. It’s 35$ per transfer. So in my case SWIFT transfer costs 20+35=55$ per transaction. Swift transfers are available if you withdraw 500$ or more (Envato policy)

Now with all that said. If some has variable rates and some has fixed rates – there must be threshold where one become cheaper than other ones. And this is the main point of this article.

The comparison

If you’re making up to 1000$ PayPal and MoneyBookers are almost the same. Abowe 1100$ Swift transwer is a way to go. If you’re lucky and MoneyBookers don’t charge you merchant fees then up to 1075$ Moneybookers is the cheepest. You’ll loose around 61$ on their withdrawal fees and curency exchange (USD to EUR to your currency) Actually Paypal is almost the same difference is around 1$ and it’s even less for smaller amounts. So If you make up to 1000$ a month – PayPal or MoneyBookers is a way to go. When you start to make around 1100$ – SWIFT is cheaper.

If you’re not lucky and Moneybookers charge you 2.9% (EU standard merchant rate)
PayPal is the cheapest up to 1030$ if Paypal isn’t available – MoneyBookers is cheaper up to 720$ then SWIFT transfers takes lead.

If you’re not lucky and Moneybookers charge you 3.9% (non EU standard merchant rate)
PayPal is the cheapest up to 1030$ if Paypal isn’t available – MoneyBookers is cheaper up to 640$ then SWIFT transfers takes lead.

If you check the Merchant Fees on Moneybookers website- you might notice as you start to earn more your merchants rate could go as low as 1.9%, but that doesn’t make sense. Because if your rate is 1.9% – Payal is still cheaper all the way up to 1030$ and if PayPal is not available MoneyBookers holds up only to 800$ then SWIFT transfers takes lead again. But to get this 1.9% you have to transfer more than 65 000$ a month through their system which is muuuuch higher than 800$ starting from which SWIFT is cheaper.

How I did this

I’m selling with Envato since August 2009 and withdrawing money every month using different strategies. I compared my PayPal, Moneybookers and Bank statements with the historical currency exchange rates to calculate how much I lost. Those calculations might not be the most percise, but definitely lays out some guidelines for which payment method to choose.


See my marketplace projects


Earn some cash from late night games

The title doesn’t say it all, huh? Well the other night i was playing with After Effects. Particularly with text animations and came up with this project as a result of it. Later decided to give it a try on VideoHive and turned out it could earn me some money. The main point of writing this was the project turned out to be interesting enough to get featured on VideoHive. Thank you Envato community for this honor.

© 2011 Placdarms