Semi-Permanent Inspiration in After Effects

Semi-Permanent Inspiration in After Effects

Semi-Permanent is a design conference that works as a creative platform for spreading art and design inspiration. The Semi-Permanent 2015 Opening Titles by Raoul Marks are inspirational in their own right.

One talented and prolific French motion designer, Claude Autret downloaded the Raoul Marks free astronaut model from Semi-Permanent 2015. He created his own environment in After Effects using Mettle SkyBox, Trapcode Particular and Element 3D. The results are great, and we’re sure the creative inspiration from his work will continue to ripple out and influence even more designers.

Helmet without SkyBox.

Helmet with SkyBox.

Spaceman | Claude Autret | SkyBox, Element 3D & Trapcode Particular

Helmet Breakdown | Claude Autret 

Spaceman Breakdown | Claude Autret |

The inspiration: Semi-Permanent 2015 Opening Titles, Raoul Marks.

SkyBox Comp is a duplicate of the Master comp, but in a square format.

Master Comp.

SkyBox Conversion.

SkyBox Output.

Q&A with Claude Autret  

Claude, your Spaceman project obviously draws inspiration from Semi-Permanent 2015. How did you decide what to do with the Raoul Marks astronaut file?

Well, I’ve always been a fan of Semi-Permanent titles, they seem to allow designers a lot of freedom to explore what they have in mind. I already worked on a project last year after seeing MK12’s piece, which you can read about here.

This time I wasn’t actually trying to recreate the titles with another technique, I’m just a space and science-fiction fan who couldn’t resist the free astronaut model! It also fit with some ideas I wanted to try out – blending Element 3D and Particular. I had just downloaded Skybox to give it a try, so it was a lucky coincidence. I used SkyBox for the reflections and lighting. I love a workflow without real compositing, where everything already blends and interacts together. I love having everything in the same software.

How did you bring the astronaut model into your comp?

Importing it into Element 3D was pretty easy. E3D also imports material, so I just had to tweak the reflection/refraction and some of the materials, but it was a matter of minutes.

How does SkyBox fit into your workflow for this project?

Skybox is pivotal for this project, as I really wanted to work on reflections and light from the particles and the environment/stars. The main difference for me is that instead of using the Element 3D basic environment, I was able to make and use a custom environment. It’s not that much work as it just uses a duplicate of my main comp, and it blends everything together for the lighting. And most importantly, it brings reflections of Particular or AE basic 3D layers directly onto Element 3D! No more fake reflections from custom comps!

 What are your favorite plug-ins to work with?

I’ve been in love with Trapcode plugins for at least a year now, as anyone following my work can easily see. I work mainly with Particular and Form, sometimes with Mir, and universe has a lot of useful tools. Element 3D is also a must have. It’s gotten even better with the version 2.2! I like experimenting. Sometimes it results in projects that get widely viewed and shared, like my Trapcode Paint Splatter project on Red Giant.

I’ve just started using Mettle plugins, but right away I saw how to improve my results with Skybox- it’s essential when working with E3D. I’m experimenting with FreeForm Pro and I’m enjoying it. There are so many features and levels of controls. I’m still exploring, but I’ve already got some really nice images from it! Oh, and I don’t know if they really count as plugins, but Motion2, Get sh_t done and Duik are some of the best tools out there!

“Cosmo Sapiens”, a 4hands project by Claude Autret (Master’s in Fine Arts!) and Benjamin Moreau.

You are also an accomplished illustrator, which is a very traditional and tactile process compared to animation. Paper and ink/pencils. How does that affect or shape the way you work on a computer?

I’ve heard this before, and maybe it’s true. I have a Masters in Fine Arts and even if I’m a fan of computer-generated images, I guess my traditional background brings out a certain style. I’m not sure how it might affect my work, perhaps it makes me more detailed oriented.

Also I love working with textures, old paper and so on, you might see more of that in the upcoming months when I make more still images !

Did you start as an illustrator and move into animation?

I started with web design, did some print and illustration. Looking for something more I switched to animation. It’s been about about 3 years now – I hope I’ll keep finding it fun!

I still do some illustration work and I have “Chose Morte” which is a 4hands project. I still draw stuff, take pictures, but the only work I show is my AE work 🙂

Thanks for this! Merci beaucoup et bonne chance with all future endeavors!

Claude on Vimeo
Claude’s website
Claude’s fine art work with Benjamin Moreau:

Claude Autret and Benjamin Moreau working on a 4hands project.

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