Posted In:After Effects Archives | Greyscalegorilla


Watch This Stunning Tribute to Akira and See How It Was Created

May 3, 2018 - By 
Watch This Stunning Tribute to Akira and See How It Was Created - Pills Cover Feature

Revisit the world of Akira in this must-see short. Plus breakdown the entire process with hours of behind-the-scenes videos.

Designers Ash Thorp and Zaoeyo (XiaoLin Zeng) teamed up to create an absolutely beautiful tribute to Akira. Watch their short, Akira Awaken.

The tribute was a collaborative project that took over a year to create. For those wanting more, there is so much more content.

The Akira Awaken website not only includes the jaw-dropping renders and comparisons to original stills, but also hours of behind-the-scenes breakdowns.

Image via Ash Thorp / Zaoeyo.

Watch as the team shows you what went into creating each shot from the short. They’ll show you their sketches, as well as Cinema 4D and After Effects project files.

Image via Ash Thorp / Zaoeyo.

The guys tell you all about their challenges creating certain scenes, and having to turn to online tutorials and Wikipedia articles to help them learn.

Image via Ash Thorp / Zaoeyo.

Here’s a look at the first breakdown. There are a total of 26! Watch all of the videos on the Process section of the Akira Awaken site.

There are also some on set photos and a breakdown of the team shooting organic fluids for the project.

Image via Ash Thorp / Zaoeyo.

(If you are interested in playing with and compositing these type of fluid elements, I had the pleasure of making some free fluid elements with the team over at RocketStock. You can go download 19 free 4K fluids in their Nebula pack.)

Project Credits:

Be sure to head over to the Akira Awaken website for all the in-depth videos.

Image via Ash Thorp / Zaoeyo.

Want more?

If you are interested in more like this, check out our interview with Ash Thorp, in which he showed us how he created a cyberpunk western for Nike.

GIF via Ash Thorp / NIKE.


How Greyscalegorilla Got Its Start – An Interview with Nick Campbell

December 23, 2015 - By 

Rob Garrott of interviews Nick about his inspiration to start An in depth look at his background, how he got his start and how that morphed into what Greyscalegorilla is today.

Garrott also interviews other industry professionals in this course. Here is a summary of the series:

Rob Garrott,’s video content manager, got the chance to sit down with nine influential artists to talk about their work, their inspirations, their tools, and the industry as a whole. The series kicks off with a conversation with Kris Pearn, storyboard artist for Sony Animation, and one of the people “drawing the movement” behind movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. We also include interviews with the following industry pros:

  • Nick Campbell, motion graphics artist, photographer, and entrepreneur
  • Marc Potocnik, designer and 3d artist
  • Tim Clapham, VFX artist and educator
  • Alan Torres and Stephen Morton (Cantina Creative), design and visual effects artists
  • Aaron Limonick, concept artist
  • Mike Lowes, 3D animator and technical director
  • Lorcan O’Shanahan, motion graphics artist
  • Scott Keating, 3D artist and illustrator
  • Clear Menser, visual effects artist
  • John Robson, motion graphics artist and filmmaker
  • Grant Miller, VFX supervisor
  • Tomasz Opasinski, creative director and movie poster artist

You can watch the interview here on

A special thanks to Lynda and Rob Garrott for the interview.


Animating BB-8 With Cinema 4D And Signal

December 21, 2015 - By 

If you did not spend the last 30 years on a uncharted island, you probably heard about this thing called Star Wars. A couple days ago the 7th episode came out and introduced to us BB-8, a new spherical droid. Right after being introduced in the trailer, quickly became a fan’s favorite and the fastest selling Star Wars toy.

I became a little scared that BB-8 was just an attempt to replace R2-D2 or to sell merchandising, but in the end his place in the movie was totally justified and it did gain my affection. I stumbled upon this free model of BB-8 online, that is pretty accurate and seemed like it would look great in motion.

The first step was to build the floor. It is a simple plane with a tiling sand texture on it. A noise is used to have some details and displacement gives the relief. An FFD deformer is then applied to slightly curve the plane and hide the hard edges. Finally, Signal is used to offset the texture over time, creating the illusion of movement.

Then, three layers of mountains are built using the default Landscape object. Two of them are repeating so they can loop while moving, and a third, distant one is static. By offseting the two first layers a parallax effect gives a lot of depth, and makes the furtest-back mountain look distant rather than static. Each mountain is being moved at the same speed as the scrolling floor with Signal.


The Parallax effect is reinforced with foreground objects, as well as a repeating fence between BB-8 and the landscapes, all being moved at constant speed with Signal. Here’s how it looks from a different angle:

Next, BB-8 needs to be animated. For that, 4 Signal tags are needed. One drives the body rotation using constant motion, one drives the up-and-down motion with random noise, one drives the head position and the last one the head’s rotation, both with random noise as drivers.

It’s now time to put all the elements together, and make sure everything loops correctly and stays in frame. To make the motion seem more dynamic, two more Signal noises are added to the camera’s position and rotation.

Then, the scene was lit using a directional light and an ambiant light, as well as ambiant occlusion. It was rendered in the Cinema 4D Physical renderer with both Depth of Field and Motion blur. Finally, color correction and lighting effects were added in After Effects.

I did a few couple of high quality stills, and added some grain in Photoshop:

And that’s it! All it took was a couple of Signal tags and built in effects to make this little guy come to life.

Get the BB-8 model here.
See the project on Dribbble

Learn more about Ivan:
Ivan’s Portfolio
Ivan’s Dribbble
Ivan’s Free VJ Loops


Movecraft Open Source Demo Reel And Walkthrough

March 12, 2014 - By 

Motion artist and teacher, Colin Evoy Sebestyen has done something I have never seen before. He has posted his entire demo reel (shown above) as an open source project for anyone to download, play with, and learn from. Everything you see in his reel and in this post is available in a huge download of scene files, vector objects, and videos. So cool! I have learned a ton by opening up others’ scene files, and Colin gives us a ton of great ones to play with.

Colin also sent Greyscalegorilla this exclusive video (posted below) of him going through some of the project files to show you how they were put together and some of the thought that went behind making them. Thanks so much to Colin for putting this out for the community. Colin mentioned that you can thank him by following him on twitter, or liking his Facebook page.

Colin’s Video Walkthrough

Animated GIF Examples

Just as a painting you may own does you no good sitting in your basement unseen, your source files don’t do much backed up on a hard drive. – Colin

Visit Movecraft and Download The Project Files


Pasquale D’Silva – Designing With Animation

February 14, 2014 - By 

Computers are jerks and love to fill in the gaps linearly because they are lazy sacks of wires. A great animator/motion designer spends most of their days fighting computers to make sure they don’t mess this up.

In this presentation about designing with animation, Pasquale D’Silva goes through some great examples of how animation can be used to help design software interfaces. It’s a great talk about how animation can help make software easier to use. He also wrote this article that includes some great visual examples of these animation concepts in action. The best part… These concepts are great for ALL motion design. Not just software.


Also See… Guide To Keyframes In After Effects


A Look Back At Half Rez 2013

November 4, 2013 - By 

Half Rez was a great success! Thanks to everyone who helped make the night so wonderful. We managed to record most of the presentations (links below) and to have a great night of hanging out and chatting with other artists. Huge thanks to our sponsors that helped make this possible and to everyone who came out to enjoy the night with us. We hope to see you again next year.

Huge Thanks to our Sponsors

Video Copilot
The Pixel Lab
Red Giant

Presenters And Links To Their Talks

Nick Campbell (Greyscalegorilla) – What’s new in C4D R15
Watch The Presentation
Amador Valenzuela (Digital Black Book) – Designing For Motion Graphics
Watch The Presentation
Mathias Omotola (Maxon) – Live 3D pipeline between CINEMA 4D and Adobe After Effects CC Not Recorded
Chris Schmidt (Greyscalegorilla) – 30 minutes of C4D Tutorials, Tips, and Tricks
Watch The Presentation


Digital Production Buzz Podcast

July 16, 2013 - By 

Listen To My Interview on Digital Production Buzz

I was interviewed on the Digital Production Buzz Podcast. During the interview, we talk about my tutorial philosophy, If designers are designers from birth, and how I can’t draw.

Show Notes

Banana Camera Company
Brian Maffit: Total Training
Cineware FAQ
Tim Clapham
Five Second Projects
Intro To Cinema 4D Series


Cineware Proxy: Speed Up Your Cineware Workflow

June 24, 2013 - By 

NEWS: Cineware Proxy is 50% OFF this week only.

Render Once. Not All The Time.

Learn More About Cineware proxy

Introducing Cineware proxy

The swell folks over at Mamoworld and aescripts + aeplugins and have released a new script that really improves your Cineware workflow. It’s called Cineware proxy and it speeds up your Cineware workflow by managing your 3D caches and proxies inside of After Effects.

You Take Control

Having a live link to Cinema 4D using Cineware is really amazing. After Effects tries to intelligently cache your renders and does a pretty good job. But sometimes, it will re-render your Cineware layer when you don’t want it to. Cineware proxy changes this. This new script allows YOU to have control over when Cineware updates. Not AE.

Speed Up Your Workflow

First, use Cineware proxy to make a temporary proxy of your 3D render. Then, render that proxy using AE’s Render Queue. Or, even better, use aescripts + aeplugins own Background Renderer to render while you continue to work. When your render is finished, you can then use that proxy as your Cineware layer until YOU tell it to update. This significantly speeds up your compositing and makes for a much more “Real Time” After Effects experience. Then, when you need to make changes or update your Cineware layer, use Cineware proxy to go back to your current C4D file and all the compositing changes you made on the proxy stay on the layer. Pretty cool stuff.

BG Render Pro Bundle

Use the promo code “bgcine” when purchasing Cineware proxy and get 20% off BG Render Pro. It’s featured in the video above. It allows you to render After Effects while still continuing to work in After Effects.

Learn More About Cineware proxy


Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite Tutorial Series

June 17, 2013 - By 

Adobe Creative Cloud Launch

Adobe brought 2.5D to After Effects way back in 2001 with Version 5.0. Now they finally bring us full 3D with their latest version of their Creative Cloud available for download now for current subscribers.

It comes with a ton of fun new stuff. But, we are most excited about Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite. These new tools integrate Cinema 4D and After Effects tighter than ever before offering real 3D scenes inside of After Effects. If you are a current Cinema 4D user, Cineware will allow you to bring in your 3D scenes directly into AE without rendering.

Cinema 4D Lite Tutorials For Current After Effects Users

If you are a current After Effects Creative Cloud user and have always wanted to try Cinema 4D, now is your chance. Even if you have never used 3D before, we created a series of video tutorials specifically for the current AE user that wants to integrate the new Cinema 4D Lite and Cineware into their workflow.

Watch Our Cinema 4D Lite Tutorial Series

What Does All This Mean For Current Cinema 4D Users?

Sure, Cinema 4D Lite is exciting. There will be thousands more people that have access to a version of Cinema 4D that is included directly inside After Effects. But, what about people that already own a professional version of Cinema 4D? Well, you can still use Cineware in the same way to bring in your current C4D projects into AE. And, because you have a Profesional version of C4D, you will be able to bring in renders that use Dynamics and the full Mograph suite directly into AE.

This first series of tutorials is more for current AE users, but we have a TON of new tutorials coming out soon that will be more geared toward C4D users wanting to learn the AE/CINEWARE side of the workflow. Actually, head over to this post and watch the “Demo For Cinema 4D Users” video to get an idea of what Cineware can do.

In the mean time, be sure to tell your AE friends looking to learn C4D about the Cinema 4D Lite Training Series that we made specifically for them to get up to speed and learn Cinema 4D.

I Just Want More C4D Tuts?!?!

Tired of all the Creative Cloud talk? Relax! Go watch one of our hundreds of other tutorials over on our Tutorials page. We will have new Cinema 4D tutorials up soon.


Is Adobe Creative Cloud Right For You?

June 4, 2013 - By 

With the Creative Cloud launch on the Horizon, there is a lot of questions, discussion, and interest in Adobe’s new subscription model and what it all means for current users and future users of Adobe’s tools. The video above from Studio B Films is a nice primer to what Creative Cloud is and what all you get for the subscription price. Bonus: The animation is made with Cinema 4D!

Subscription Only

It’s not all good news. For some existing users of Adobe Products, this new subscription only model may create more problems than it solves. These two great articles by Aharon Rabinowitz get into most of the problems and advantages of the new Creative Cloud model. There are still a lot of questions and we won’t know their answers until the new versions are out. But, I think these two articles address many of the concerns of current and future Creative Cloud customers and help give context on whether you should upgrade or not.


As for all of us here at Greyscalegorilla and many of the other freelancers here in the office, the decision to upgrade is pretty easy for one huge reason. The new Creative Cloud is the only way to get the new Cineware layer and Cinema 4D Lite. We are way too excited to play with these new tools more not to upgrade. Even in our brief time with it, we already know it will make Cinema 4D and After Effects more compatible then ever before. We have a lot of playing around to do and tutorials to make showing how all these new tools work. We also want to make some of our tools like Light Kit Pro and Texture Kit compatible with the new Lite Version so that it works with all flavors of C4D.

For me, it’s a mandatory upgrade. But I understand why many people are hesitant. Our studio probably has very different reasons for upgrading instantly than you do. But, The bottom line is, if you want to play with these new tools, you will need to upgrade. I’m sure that isn’t enough of an reason for everyone, but that is enough for us.


Paper Tear Effect with Cinema 4D & After Effects

May 31, 2013 - By 

Robert Hranitzky made a great breakdown of how he made this torn paper effect for the GenArts Reel Intro using some scanned paper, the bend deformer, Cinema 4D and After Effects. I met Robert and saw him present at NAB this year. I loved his direct teaching style and his great eye for design and sexy compositing. The tutorial world needs more like him.

Breakdown Video

Scene File

Robert was nice enough to share a low rez version of his scene file for you to see exactly how the textures and scene is set up.

Download The Scene File

Scene file is for training purposes only. Please do not resell.


Using Form 2.0 with Cinema 4D

March 8, 2012 - By 

Chicago C4D released a video of Gavin Morrissey’s talk about integrating Cinema 4D and Trapcode Form 2.0.