How to change After Effects CC 2017 Keyboard Shortcuts when using non english keyboard layout.

Recently Adobe decided to improve the keyboard shortcurt interface for Premiere Pro. It was a long overdue change and very well received. But for some reason they have forgotten about After Effects users, as we still have to tinker with TXT edits and obscure key codes to make everything work. Even more so for users that happen to have After Effects in English but use another type of keyboard, for example one with European ISO Layout.

In the following example I will show you how to change the Trim In and Trim Out shortcuts, as well as Zoom In and Zoom Out. These are completely broken if the user has the software in English but a Spanish layout keyboard.

First of all open After Effects and go to Edit -> Preferences -> General and then click on Reveal preferences in Explorer.

Once in that folder you have to edit the file Adobe After Effects 14.1 Win en_US Shortcuts.txt. I like using Notepad++ (free software).

The easiest way to solve the Trim In and Out problem is to search the txt file for the following text: “TimeTrimIn” and assign our desired shortcut. In my case I like using “(Alt+I)” for “TimeTrimIn” and “(Alt+O)” for “TimeTrimOut”. Note that these shortcuts are defined in different sections of the txt file, so they need to be replaced in different lines.

To fix the zoom behavior you have to search for [“CCompCompCmd”]. In that section you will find “CompTimeZoomIn” and “CompTimeZoomOut”. These have to be set to “(Plus)” and “(-)” respectively.

To make the changes effective you have to save the file and restart After Effects. Be specially careful if you use the Creative Cloud auto-update for preferences, as it might overwrite your preference files and roll back the files!

From Canon Rebel T2i to Panasonic GH3

Finally, two years after buying my first DSLR, it’s time for a change. I will be selling my Canon Rebel T2i (named 550D in Spain) and replacing it with a mirrorless Panasonic GH3 with a 12-35mm f2.8 lens.

The decision was really not that hard, seeing that after hacking the GH2, Panasonic decided that they wanted to do the same thing the hackers did, but themselves for the new model. Being video my primary use for the camera, it made sense to go for a more lightweight, video-oriented approach.

What do I like about it?

· All-INTRA: Up to 72Mbps datarate, unprecedented quality compared to other DSLRS, allows for more flexibility in post. Sure, it’s not a BlackMagic Cinema Camera that shoots RAW, but it will do for me.
· 1080p 50fps: My rebel T2i only did this in 720p mode, so now we can do some great slow-mo shots on Full-HD.
· Audio monitoring: Sure Magic Lantern allows you to see audio peaking in the OSD, but having a standard 3.5mm headphone jack is so handy. I had hacked my Rebel T2i’s RCA cable to monitor audio, but this way is just completely hassle-free.
· HDMI Clean Output: Again, one of the features that Canon cameras had with ML (I think) is available out of the box in the GH3. Need something better than 4:2:0? Just throw an Atomos Ninja in the mix and enjoy 4:2:2 for keying and VFX.

Overall I think it’s a great addition to my toolset, I’ll try to pick it up tomorrow morning or early next week and give it a try 🙂

Cinema 4D R14 and Camera Mapping

So recently i’ve been trying to create high quality renders in Cinema 4D, integrating 3D objects into real environments. Instead of using camera tracking, i gave camera mapping a try, using an old picture i shot in LA two years ago. Solving the camera was really easy thanks to the Camera Calibration tool in Cinema 4D R14 (and GSG of course). Once solved, building  the geometry accordingly was easy, bearing in mind that my photo was easy to replicate and didn’t have many tough spots. Some of it had to be redone in Photoshop, and what was really a challenge was creating the grass that had to stand out along the the curb.

Fortunately, using an alpha channel did the trick, and it certainly helps to sell the effect and add an interesting parallax to the picture. Next up was modeling and texturing a mailbox, which is completely another topic. Anyway, fast forward to the next day and i had my geometry in place and my camera moving around my 2D-3D picture.

But obviously, without having any reference whatsoever on the original lighting of the scene, there was no way that i could make the mailbox completely realistic. Yeah, it can be faked somehow and adjusted in composition to make it look like it was there, but the results are not as good as what you could get with a light probe.

So that will be my next step, getting a nice “gazing globe” to take HDRI and use them as environment maps.

How to convert XSplit FLV files to MP4

Recently I have been recording some of my gaming sessions (specially DayZ), livestreaming them through using XSplit. I wanted to edit some videos in Premiere, but found out that the FLV files that are created locally use a strange audio codec, making it impossible to edit them in Premiere, Sony Vegas or any other NLE I know of.

The next step for my was trying to figure out how to convert them. I tried using different converters I found on the net, but always ended up with audio problems, wether it was sync issues or jitter…Until I found XMedia Recode. This software, which is totally free, will convert your XSplit FLV files to H264, allowing you to later edit them wherever you want.

Once installed, all you have to do is:

  • click Open File
  • select your FLV
  • then in Format tab pick H.264
  • in video tab select your preferred settings.
  • Finally click on the green + sign and on Encode.

You will have a hassle-free MP4 file to work with.

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