Here are two themes I’ve made and been using for it: mnml & mnml dark.
I’ve been beta testing it for over a month now. If you’ve used Alfred 1.3, you’ll love the improvements in 2.0. If you’ve never used Alfred, go check it out. It’s free to use, but the Powerpack (about US$22) is well worth it for the workflows & themes alone.
So I started something up a while back… and realized I never linked to it.
If you are on Twitter and work in motion design (or animation), or even if you just have a passing interest, you should check out #mochat. It’s a weekly chat hosted through Twitter using the aforementioned hashtag. So far, we’ve gone through 13 of these, and it’s been fairly well received. Adobe has even been participating when they can. By far, the most popular chat was “Improving After Effects”.
It takes place on Tuesday nights at 9PM Eastern. Next week’s chat will be on staying sharp and maintaining your creative edge. Hope to see you there!
“Something that is often overlooked with creatives is time management and getting shit done. You can be the most talented designer in the world but if you don’t follow through and get stuff out there, it doesn’t matter. I have several friends that are incredibly talented. They will start on projects but rarely follow through. They get bored or distracted or discouraged that it’s not “perfect” and give up. Following through and finishing things is one of the most important things you can learn.”
I use a lot of extra, smaller programs to make my work easier. After gauging interest on Twitter, it seems many people are curious about what I use. A while back, I wrote about some iOS apps, but an expanded and updated list including Mac apps is due, since many of those apps have been abandoned, or have been replaced in my workflow with others.
Post Haste (Free) As the original developer of Post Haste, I may be a little biased, but it’s such an indispensable app for preparing a folder structure (and template project files) to keep everything organized. Digital Rebellion has done a terrific job with version 2 and is continuing to take it places I never could have.
Alfred (Free, £15) A long time ago, I was an avid Quicksilver user. But Alfred has since taken it’s place. Alfred is a great way to not only launch apps, but quickly browse or search the file system, open 1Password logins, assign system-wide hotkeys to nearly anything it can control, and so much more through extensions. To get the most out of Alfred, you’ll need the Power Pack, but it’s well worth the cost of entry.
iStat Menus ($16) I like to keep an eye on my system, especially now that I’m on a laptop. iStat Menus is an easy way to do that. With a quick glance to my menu bar, I can see how hard my processors are working, how much RAM I have available, the ambient temperature of my machine, disk activity, and network activity. There’s also a free dashboard widget available with access to the same info, but I’m not sure if it’s still actively maintained.
Transmit ($34) FTP is just a part of online life1. Transmit is my go-to FTP (and more) client. It’s just very well polished, and can even keep favorite connections in your menu bar, or mount servers right in the Finder. There are other free FTP clients out there, but Panic really knows what they’re doing.
Carbon Copy Cloner ($20) Although many might dismiss this as simply an rsync wrapper, Carbon Copy Cloner is such a great utility to have. For me, it makes a weekly bootable clone of my system drive, and will also be used to make incremental backups of project files and assets to archive on a 3TB Guardian MAXimus I have coming in.
CrashPlan (Free, $1.50-$12/mo.) I know I am no longer biased since I work for Code 42 Software, but CrashPlan has been such an integral part of my backup solution for many years prior. It’s free to use if you just backup locally or to a friend’s computer. If you wish to backup remotely to CrashPlan’s servers, a CrashPlan+ subscription is required. I have the Family Unlimited plan which allows me to back up up to 10 computers.
Growl (Free for OS X 10.6 and lower, $1.99 for OS X 10.7) I really don’t like pop-ups interrupting me while I’m working, but sometimes they can be extremely useful. Growl lets me configure notifications from supported apps and even has a Boxcar plugin, which is great for getting notifications from BG Renderer.
ColorSchemer (Free) I’ve only recently started using it, but ColorSchemer is a great app for browsing and generating color palettes. You can arbitrarily set up your own color schemes, or pull them from a photo. This has replaced both ColorSlide and cliqcliq Colors (the latter has since been abandoned).
Animator SW ($2.99) Sometimes, you just need an easy way to time out actions when animating. Animator AW allows you to time frames of action. For example, if you’re animating a character, you can act out the motions yourself, and mark a keyframe at each important step. You’ll then have a list of how long each action takes and on which frames they occur. FPS is fully customizable and a log can be emailed out.
KataData ($4.99) Video footage takes up a lot of space. KataData can calculate storage for various camera & codec formats. Just enter the total running time of your footage (or renders) and it will show you how much drive space you’ll need.
Timecode ($6.99) Panoptik’s Timecode is just a great timecode calculator. It can even display comparative timecodes of different formats (eg, DF vs NDF, PAL vs NTSC, frames vs 35mm 3-perf, etc).
Due ($4.99) I usually need reminders or timers running. Due is the best timer/reminder app I’ve seen for iOS. It’s extremely fast and easy to set up reminders or timers on my iPhone 4, which is important because I want to do stuff, not spend time setting up a reminder to tell me to do stuff. There’s also a companion or stand-alone OS X app available.
Clear ($2.99) While a simple list app, you really have to use Clear to see how smart it is. Completely gesture driven, Clear a fun way for me to keep lists throughout the day, and check things off or remove them as needed. Are there other apps that do the same thing? Definitely, but this just works for me.
So there it is, the list of small but important software in my daily workflow. Do you use anything you think I should check out or that might work better? Let me know. I’m always willing to try something new.
Personally, I prefer not to use services like YouSendIt, DropBox, etc… It just never seemed very professional to me. But I realize not everyone has access to their own FTP server. ↩
I really just wanted something to keep on hand and easily reference in a separate window. It turned out, quite a few options were available. I just wanted to highlight these and some of their pros & cons.
First, the standard Adobe document available from the help menu. (Really, this works fine and it’s what I’ve been using.) It’s fairly straight forward and categorized. It just seems there would be a more elegant way of displaying & searching this info.
Gfx Hotkeys is an app I’ve had available on my phone for a while. It’s got a lot more than just After Effects, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Cinema 4D, Maya, Nuke, FCP7, and a lot more. Unfortunately, this app hasn’t been updated since June 2011. Since then, CS6, C4D r13, and FCPX have been released. with new additions come new shortcuts…
If you download the Additional Scripts available for After Effects, you can install the KeyEd Up script. This allows you to easily change the keyboard shortcuts within AE. It also allows you to export your shortcuts as an HTML file. The upside to this is if you customize any shortcuts, this reference will be accurate. (You should get these scripts regardless, and I’m not sure why they’re not included with AE by default.)
I had high hopes for CheatSheet (OS X only, free). This app runs in the background and is triggered if you hold down the command key for about two seconds. A sheet is displayed on the screen showing you keyboard shortcuts, but only for actively available menu items. This is still a nice app to have running for other apps, but didn’t really help my AE situation.
Lastly, there is another script from AE Scripts fittingly titled Shortcut Key Reference. This is a dockable script that you point to the AE Keyabord Shortcuts file. (On a Mac with CS6, that file is in ~/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/11.0/Adobe After Effects 11.0 Shortcuts.) This provides a searchable list of all shortcuts right within the program. Right now, this is docked in the same panel as my comp viewer. It’s a nice reference, but real-time searching was slow. Turning that off helped, but you have to click “Search”, you can’t just hit enter after typing.
Overall, it seems there’s not a perfect solution, but Shortcut Key Reference is pretty close.
I posted this on my non-post related blog, but felt it needed to be shared here, too. I have going through stock images, and I can’t even begin to imagine how long it took to compile this. But the result is very well done.