At what point should you look to get extra tools to help with your job?
I spend a lot of time working in After Effects, which is where we do most of the animation for our videos. This means lots of time spent surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of keyframes.
I believe it’s important to understand how to do things manually, so if an automated thing breaks down I can still go in and create it by hand.
A great example of this is the graph editor in After Effects. It’s very powerful and is vital to getting fine control of the motion in our animations. There are times when it is the difference between boring animation that’ll lose your interest and dynamic, exciting motion. The downside to it is that it is a slow and fiddly to work with pain in the, um, timesheet.
While being able to build things from scratch is a good idea, using 10 keyframes where 2 would do is wasting time.
I’ve recently bought a script for AE called Motion by Mt MoGraph, and I’m kinda in love with it. The one big thing it does is allow me to get fine control of the graph editor using 3 sliders, rather than going in and having to tweak every parameter by hand. This has already saved me loads of time, and the time I’ve saved means I can develop the look further in the same amount of time. Win!
To me this is different to buying a plugin that has a signature look - you might get exactly what you want from it but if all you do is use the default settings regardless of your content then you might not be doing yourself justice.
I guess the message here is that buying something that makes you more efficient can have massive benefits, if you choose carefully.