I recently completed a promo clip for the friendly folks at the NWU's corporate communications department. The project brief called for an effects clip that tie closely into current corporate identity graphic design. I love FX work and this project was right up my alley even if the deadline was desperately tight - only five working days available from the first phone call to the delivery of the final video media in multiple consumer formats!

Technical projects like these seriously appeal to my inner nerd, so here's the workflow basics:

First, build a multilayered comp composed of high resolution stills, in this case supplied by the client from the NWU's substantial image bank. The most time-consuming job here was to select and cut individual images into separate elements and layers for animation later. A graphics tablet, a high resolution monitor, good knowledge of Photoshop keyboard shortcuts and plenty of patience is essential to keep yourself from going insane.

Next, pull the image comps into the coolest graphics application ever invented - Adobe After Effects. This was my first big project on the new AE CS 5.5 and the app absolutely flies on a 64-bit OS with plenty of RAM. The tricky part here is keeping track of multiple 3D layers in multiple comps.

With the entire sequence completed I rendered out individual segments in pristine Avid DNxHD-format QuickTime movies.

This is really where the marriage between Adobe and Avid works – the Adobe apps took care of the moving bits, but it is the Avid HD codec that preserves the quality of my hours of work right into the final timeline. And jumping back and forth between the original stills and the Avid timeline was a snap. I'm lucky to have the very best tools currently available and to be honest I really can't imagine working with anything else on a project like this.