Prepared with love from Chunk
If you have any recommendations, whether it be a tool, community or something else, please do get in touch!
Select a Catgeory Below:
Simply landing on the perfect colour palette doesn’t happen by accident, so getting some outside help from the tools and references below can prove invaluable. We’ve got some tools to help you generate beautiful colour schemes, some gorgeous, photo inspired combinations for reference, and some online tools to help get more from your existing colours.
- The ultimate slot machine simulator for colour palettes.
- Smash space bar to generate limitless colour schemes.
- Lock in the colours you like, or input your own to find suitable matching colours.
- Save and browse other people’s schemes in their library.
- Using the wonders of AI, Khroma uses your colour taste to generate endless colour combinations that are bound to please you.
- Preview the colour combinations in a variety of ways, such as gradients, images and type.
- Easily search by colour with powerful search bar.
- Play around with a colour wheel, refine your colours on the right and see a huge variety of potential applications.
- Unique to Colour Supply is having the chosen colours affect small vector illustrations, perfect for designers.
- Select between multiple colour picking methods such as Complementary, Analogous, Triad and more.
- Created by Procreate god, Gal Shir, Color Hunt is a minimalistic colour palette inspiration website, updated daily with a new colour scheme.
- If you want to use the eyedropper tool in After Effects to source these colours, check out this fantastic tip from Chris Zachary on how to make that happen.
Shutterstock have blessed us with oodles of colour combinations, sourced from their own stock image library. Whether you use the colour combinations exactly, or just browse for some inspiration, it’s all free, so go wild!
- While the interface may scream 1999, this tool is incredibly handy and simple to generate shades of colours between two specified colours.
- Choose the number of colours you wish to have in the middle and the work is done for you.
- An easy and powerful sibling to the tool above.
- Input a colour and in return be offered over 50 shades of that colour as it fades to white and black.
- Perfect for when you have a brand colour and need a slight variant for your design.
- Installs a small eyedropper by your clock, click and drag (or click, depending on your preference) to a colour on your screen and the hex code is instantly on your clipboard.
- Quick and easy, what more could you want?
- Oh, a Mac version? That’s fair. We haven’t come across a free equivalent, but if you have, please let us know!
- This incredibly thorough writeup covers just about everything you’d need to know about colour, the science, theories, principles, techniques and so much more. Clocking in over 10 chapters, it’s almost criminal you don’t have to pay for it.
- If you ever need to understand what Gamma is, what is a linear workflow, or what ACES is all about, then this resource is for you.
- A great introduction on colour management, covering the basics such as colour space, colour modes, gamut and depth.
- Includes handy write ups on how to manage colour in Adobe apps such as After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop and Illustrator.
- Frame.io also has a huge workflow book on video, available entirely for free.
There’s something so odd about fonts, that overwhelming feeling you should download that free font because you might need it, one day. So to fuel that feeling, below are our favourite places to score some free fonts.
Do keep an eye out when it comes to their usage rights. If some font says it’s for “Personal Use Only”, don’t go using it in a commercial project.
- A really simple tool for helping you find nice looking fonts for your project. Sourced from both Google Fonts and Adobe Fonts, you know you can have access to them too.
- Can really make you consider fonts you wouldn’t normally give a second chance.
- A nice overview for the best practices involved in pairing fonts. Super helpful for those who haven’t spent a long time working with type before.
- A huge collection of free fonts available for you to use on the web and in projects. Wields a powerful search function where you can search by type, width, thickness and more.
- Even more fonts you can take advantage of on the web and in your projects. Just sync them with your account and go go go!
- Every Tuesday-ish morning, Creative Market release 6 free goodies for you to snag. Typically this includes 2 free fonts.
- Sent in by Elsa Ferreira, Website Planet has a wonderful and extensive list of fonts that are not only free, but available to use in all of your commercial projects!
Photo and Video Assets
The quality of free photos and video assets that can be used freely has been growing exponentially for the last couple of years.
Below are some of our favourites.
- Our favourite, easily. Nonsense free with solid previewing and easy downloading.
- Lots of high quality footage with clear copyright: The Pexels License means it’s free to use for commercial and non-commercial and attribution is not required.
- You’ll probably find a lot of similar content on Pixabay, but it’s more of the free, good stuff here too.
- Use Pixabay and Pexels in tandem to find the best video for your situation.
- If you’re finding the options above limited, Videoblocks by Storyblocks is the way to go.
- It’s a subscription service, so go nuts if you’re on the unlimited plan.
- More quality content delivered for free by the Pexel team. Same copyright rules apply as their videos.
- Just like Pexels, there’s always more!
- A wonderful resource that is just bursting with incredible images.
- Same copyright rules apply here too: Free forever, commercial or not, not attribution needed.
Music and Sound FX
Nothing quite beats hiring a professional, but when you’re starting out, these can help you greatly. There’s a mix of free and paid resources below and we’ve found the quality jump from free to paid is incredible.
As with anything free, but particularly music and sound effects, please check and double check the copyrights and usage rights.
- Huge library of music with unlimited downloads for an annual subscription of $199USD (~$290AUD)
- Their search functionally leaves a little to be desired, we find that sorting by Newest allows for the best discovery.
- Offers instrumentals for most tracks, though this is dependent on artist.
- Massive library with super robust search system.
- Doesn’t offer a subscription service and instead charges per track.
- Compared to Artlist, this is quite an expensive option but still very reasonable (~$79AUD for a single track to use for a business online)
- Each track has many mixes and cut downs that really allow you to get exactly what you want from your music.
- Using the best of both worlds, Musicbed offers both a subscription service and a one off track purchase.
- Their subscription runs a bit more expensive than Artlist, with their Business tier starting at $89USD a month (~$130AUD)
- They offer a free track if used for your showreel, which can make a world of difference without even costing a dime.
- YouTube offer their own library of music that you can use on their platform.
- Some require attribution which is highlighted by a small person icon.
- When using the music somewhere other than YouTube, they say: “YouTube cannot give you information about legal liability or other issues that can occur off the platform. You may wish to consult a qualified attorney if you have questions about your use of music.”
- If you’re seeking some more rock/acoustic, folk sounding music, Josh Woodward may just be what you’re looking for.
- He has over a dozen albums, all available for free with each song being available with or without vocals.
- All his music is licensed as Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution, which allows you to use his music in your projects as long your credit him.
- Please note, as of writing (07/11/19), Free Music Archive has been acquired by Tribe of Noise and they are currently in the process of transferring ownership.
- We’ve always found Free Music Archive a mixed bag. While there will be some fantastic tracks on their site, they’re hard to find amongst the more average tracks available.
- Again, always check the usage rights, as you may not be able to use some songs for professional media without a paid license.
- Soundsnap has been around for a long, long time, and because of that, their library is huge and diverse.
- Unfortunately, their search function fails to really shine and makes the most of their wonderful collection difficult to discover.
- They offer a decently priced subscription service, the same cost as Artlist, at $199USD (~$290AUD) for a year and unlimited downloads.
- Or you can Pay as You Go and download 20 sound effects for $29USD (~$40AUD)
- This is a service pointed directly at the Motion Design community as they have packs perfect for the more corporate animations.
- They have sound effects for just about everything you’d need covering Digital, Life and the Essentials.
- Each of the three packs cost $179USD (~$260AUD), but they also have a bundle of all three for $379USD (~$550AUD)
- They even off a FREE pack of sounds to sample and try out as well.
- For something a bit more gritty and impactful, you have the Motion Pulse sound effect pack made by Video Copilot available for $149USD (~$215AUD)
- It’s robust, reliable and sounds great when you have multiple layers playing at once.
- Though, as with most things from Video Copilot, you may begin to hear the sound effects everywhere which can cheapen them a touch.
- Dmitry Novozhilov, the teacher behind the Sound Design for Animation course at Motion Design School, has released two free SFX packs.
- These utilise the Creative Commons Attribution license, so make sure you give credit!
- Oh, FreeSound. If you’re starting out and don’t have a budget for paid sound effects, FreeSound will be your best and safest bet.
- Again, always check the licensing and usage rights. Each track will have this listed on the track page for you to confirm.
After Effects Plugins, Scripts & Expressions
We spend every day inside of After Effects, so if there’s a tool or some code that improves and speeds up our workflow, we will hunt it down. It’s fortunate the plugin development community for After Effects is so alive and passionate, because there is an abundance of incredible plugins and scripts, and below is the hall of fame.
- Multiple strokes on the one path made easy. Super powerful. Made by the legendary Sander van Dijk.
- More line goodness, this time from Motion Design School. Huge potential for some some seriously good looking shots.
- Made by local Australia legends, Plugin Everything, this plugin helps make animating lines between two points an absolute breeze. Do please check out everything have on offer, the quality is ridiculous.
- Video Copilot brings 3D into After Effects in this insane plugin. Amazing for both Motion Design and VFX.
- Red Giant’s Trapcode Particular makes animating particles inside of After Effects easy and flexible.
- We recommend waiting for a sale before picking up this (or even better, their suite of effects, we love Trapcode Form too)
- Also look into Stardust, a worthy competitor by Superluminal.
- A wonderful plugin from OtherCubed which makes creating motion trails for objects simple with many customizable options to boot.
- Achieve gorgeous glows instantly thanks to this stellar plugin from our Brisbane boys, Plugin Everything. The default Glow effect in After Effects will never again suffice.
- If the 2004 optical flare that After Effects offers isn’t cutting it anymore, Video Copilot has your back. Incredibly robust, bursting with features.
- Video Copilot brings 3D into After Effects in this insane plugin. Amazing for both Motion Design and VFX.
- A hot, free plugin from Video Copilot that helps you create lightsaber effects and so, so much more.
- Plugin Everything deliver again with a free plugin that easily slaps a chromatic aberration effect on your project in one click.
- A nice alternative to tinting elements in a more vibrant method, thanks to Video Copilot.
- The legend itself, DUIK is no doubt the most ambitious and comprehensive free plugin there is for After Effects. Covering far more than just character rigging, this plugin is a swiss army knife that doesn’t stop.
- Get a cup of tea and browse the website on just what DUIK can offer you, you won’t regret it. Rainbox has done an exceptional job at making one of the best plugins out there.
- We consider this plugin by Mike Overbeck to be utter witchcraft. Even if this only did facial rigging, it’d be a must have, but since it can do so much more, we wouldn’t be caught without it.
- Adam, the man behind BattleAxe, has blessed us with this amazing shape based character rigging tool. It’s quick and super easy to use.
- If we were limited to just one script UI panel, this would be the one. It contains numerous, time saving shortcuts, such as easing, anchor points, sequencing layers, converting shape layers and so much more.
- It’s developed by Motion Design School and you can score it for FREE when you sign up to their amazing FREE Fundamentals on After Effects course. They’re a generous bunch.
- The biggest, smallest time saver you can have for After Effects, made by Video Copilot. Having this installed allows you to apply effects via a search box much like macOS’s Spotlight Search.
- Once you have it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it before, and make you seriously miss when it’s not installed on other machines.
- Also conveniently has a screenshot button for quick image exports of your composition.
- If you use Adobe Illustrator alongside After Effects, then you need Battle Axe’s Overlord plugin. With it, you’re able to send shapes and paths between the two programs instantly. It’s such an incredible timesaver and will slot right into your workflow.
- Another fantastic addon from Mike Overbeck is EaseCopy. You can now copy just the easing from a keyframe and paste it onto another keyframe without pasting the value, or the reverse if your heart desires.
- An incredible tool that saves you from diving into the graph editor more than you need to.
- Quickly change the cap and joint types of your strokes with this plugin, because who wants to comb through the layer to find the right settings every time?
- Makes applying the looping expressions easy as hitting the right button. Worth it especially for the third button which also loops both IN and OUT.
- If you are ever required to export GIF versions of your animations, you need GifGun. It turns the laborious adventure into a simplistic stroll that pays for itself almost instantly.
- In short, this script allows you to assign colours by expressions, so when you change a colour in your master palette, that change ripples to that same colour throughout your entire project. Another gem from Sander van Dijk.
- This is so incredibly helpful when you’re working with brands, or stylisted illustrations with a limited colour palette.
- Hosted on his GitHub is a collection of scripts that make some rather tedious processes far simpler. Do note that this collection is more focused at advanced users for more rare occasions.
- We’ve compiled our own list of our favourite expressions that save us a bunch of time. Go check it out!
- If you’re new to expressions or need a little refresh, let School of Motion help you out.
- School of Motion also have their 5 favourite functions in After Effects on this page with a video featuring them in action.
- Incredibly thorough, covering the basics all the way up to some amazingly advance techniques.
- Totally free to watch and learn, but pay $10USD and you get access to the project files, offline videos and documentation.
- Ben has put together his top 10 expressions in one video, full of great insights and examples. He’s even linked you to a Google Doc for easy copy and pasting.
Education and Inspiration
There’s a lot of content out there, so finding the best creations and teachers can sometimes prove difficult. If you’re starting out, this list will give you all you need to know to start creating whatever it is you like inside of After Effects, whether that be drop dead gorgeous inspiration or some of the best teachers in the world.
- Undoubtedly the current king when it comes to online courses for Motion Design.
- They offer a huge variety of courses that focus on all aspects of Motion Design for all skill levels.
- Whilst majority are paid courses, they do offer a fantastic free course called The Path to Mograph.
- If you’re interested in the life of freelancing, we also highly recommend their book called The Freelance Manifesto.
- School of Motion also have over a hundred podcasts with legends of Motion Design all over the world.
- But it doesn’t stop there, they have a rich blog full of interviews, articles and tutorials, as well as a newsletter covering the week’s highlights.
- A recent, rising online school that’s getting better every passing month.
- Their FREE course on the Fundamentals of After Effects is no joke. This course also includes the fantastic Script UI Panel for After Effects called Motion Tools.
- They also have free courses for Toon Boom, Sound Design and UI Animation so make sure you snap these up and learn something fresh.
- Beyond their free courses, they have an extensive offering of paid courses for After Effects, Cinema 4D, Character Animation, and more.
- They also have a collection of Masterclasses which are shorter, more focused sessions for a reduced cost.
- Now, to start with, we mentioned the word free when Lynda is clearly a paid service. If you’re a student, or you have a library card for your local library, there is a huge chance that either your university or library offer Lynda for free and all you need to do is sign in through their portal.
- While Lynda is really good at covering all the fundamentals for a huge range of programs, we find the way they deliver their content to be quite dry, at least compared to the two websites above.
- If you’re completely new to a program, Lynda is a great place to start. Beyond the basics however, we recommend looking elsewhere for further learning as you’ll find far more engaging content.
- “Hey, what’s up, Andrew Kramer here…” are all the words you need to hear at the start of a video to know you’re about to learn something new inside of After Effects.
- Video Copilot has been around for so many years, their catalog of tutorials is just insane and it’s only been getting better.
- While Video Copilot focuses more on the VFX side of After Effects, they do also offer a playlist for their Motion Design tutorials as well.
- Truly a magnificent resource for those of all skill levels.
YouTube Channels (Free)
YouTube, of course, cannot be ignored. Home to many incredible teachers offering their skills for free. We’ve compiled our favourites below:
- Ben Marriott, local Australian legend, After Effects wizard and texture king. He delivers some of the finest tutorials on YouTube.
- ECAbrams has been uploading quality After Effects tutorials to his channel for over half a dozen years now and his recent podcast, Motion Design Hotline, is wonderful.
- Jake In Motion has a small but fantastic collection of tutorials on his channel. His DUIK introductions videos are stellar.
- Gareso has recently started posting superb tutorials and workflows to his channel which showcase his brilliant use of cel animation.
- Animoplex has a huge and thorough course on expressions in After Effects. It’s crazy that it’s available for free.
- John Eriksson has a wonderful collection of quick tips for After Effects on his Vimeo page.
Here are some of our favourite, more VFX focused channels:
- Workbench host more advanced tutorials, focusing heavily on procedural effects. Incredibly rich with insights and complex techniques.
- Red Giant features numerous, lengthy tutorials which really showcase the potential of their products. It’s a must for those that use their plugins.
- Hugo’s Desk is an absolute gold mine of knowledge when it comes to compositing inside of Nuke. His eye for detail and the wealth of insight he shares make every video he releases a treasure chest of goodies.
We’re always on the hunt for other stellar teachers on YouTube. If you’ve got any favourites that we haven’t mentioned, please let us know!
- Quality over quantity here, Divison05 has incredibly rich videos covering the broader aspects of Motion Design including storyboarding, style and composition.
- Their paid, 7 hour long course, Visual Design Lab, looks like a behemoth of a resource: “Right now, your taste exceeds your core skills, and learning more software tricks ain’t gonna get you there. This will.”
- Skillshare features many shorter classes for Motion Design (and a butt load of other mediums, programs and techniques).
- Jake In Motion, mentioned above, is a rockstar on the website for his amazing Beginner’s Guide to After Effects, and Animating with Ease in After Effects classes.
- You’ve got other stars on there too, such as Fraser Davidson from the studio Cub Studio teaching Character Animation.
- Best of all, you can get a 2 MONTH FREE TRIAL where you can access every single class, so go wild.
- With some super appealing FREE courses available, such as Motion Design 101 and Photoshop & Illustrator 101, MoGraph Mentor is certainly work a look.
- Also sporting some seriously tempting courses that cover the foundations, 2D animation and 3D too that are all quite reasonably priced.
- We’ve got our keen eye on the Ultimate Guide To Stylized 3d Modeling course currently, looks right up our alley.
- This page is so much more than just After Effects, covering other giants such as Cinema 4D, Houdini, Nuke and Maya.
- Lester compiles the best tutorials around the web for each program and links them on his blog, so it’s certainly worth a peek every now and then to see what you might have missed.
- If you live in Melbourne like us, and you’re not quite sure about online courses, then the local animation studio Jumbla may be the perfect fit.
- Currently, they offer 2 courses, Motion Design Fundamentals and Animation in After Effects, both 20 week courses.
- We both took their Cinema 4D Fundamentals Intensive a couple of years ago and it was exceptional.
- Behance is our go to for gorgeous inspiration, and it’s got so much more than just motion design.
- We love how so many projects do breakdowns, showcasing their storyboards, style frames and work in progresses.
- The more your “appreciate” posts, the more curated your For You section becomes until it’s oozing work that is drop dead gorgeous.
- We don’t use Dribbble as much, though when we do pop over to have a look it’s always bursting with lovely work.
- We really enjoy how they also include little colour swatches with each post.
- You won’t see many breakdowns here, if at all, as the website seems to focus on more single frame or short gifs.
- If you’re looking for some of the finest Motion Design around, Motionographer is your go to destination.
- Beyond just jaw-dropping work, they also feature many fantastic articles and interviews to gather more insight.
- There’s some really incredible people on Twitter that are sharing tips and tricks, thoughts on the industry, their work in progress or finished work and also a handful of cat videos.
- The link above is to Chunk’s following list which could prove to be a fantastic starting point (sorry, you have to be signed in to see it). Since very little people actually use hashtags when posting their work, curating a personalised following list will be your safest bet.
- With more content than you could possibly keep up with, Instagram has more than enough on offer.
- The link above takes you to Chunk’s Instagram page, from there you can browse our following list which can give you a head start on some fantastic people and studios to follow.
- Follow hashtags too, that way to you can discover new people to follow and curate a wonderful feed of the best on Instagram.
- Pinterest used to be one of our favourite websites to get inspiration but over the past couple of years we’ve found their algorithm and quality of work there to be lacking.
- While it still does have its gems, it just takes a bit longer to find them.
- Holdframe is a miraculous resource where full projects are posted for you to dig in and reverse engineer, for a small price.
- They also include videos with the artist that sheds more light on the best bits of their piece.
- They also offer a bunch of freebies on their site so snap all those up and start digging!
- The Periodic Table of Motion Design Elements!
- Beyond just enjoying each of the little animations, it can prove useful for when you’re requiring some inspiration for a transition or reveal.
Software and Services
There’s more to a video than just production, so we’ve compiled what we use for each project to make sure the best job gets done. This list will cover what we use to manage projects and to review our renders.
- The ultimate organisation tool for us, for managing projects, clients and our lives. You can have boards dedicated to mood boards for clients, dedicated to keeping track of projects, dedicated to inspiration, just about anything you can want.
- Sharing boards means we can collaborate in real time and be across all clients and projects.
- We use this every single day at Chunk, we’d be lost without it.
- While finances and invoices isn’t exactly thrilling, Wave Apps makes it far smoother and all for free.
- We handle all our accounting through Wave and it’s been exceptional, we highly recommend it.
- For clients reviewing video, it can get painful when every single change ends up across multiple emails and replies. Thankfully Frame.io makes it dead simple to keep it all organised and easy to review.
- There are alternatives such as Wipster, but we find Frame.io the most robust and friendly to use.
- If you’re looking for website hosting, Siteground should be on your radar. By far the best customer service we’ve received and the smoothest hosting we’ve experienced.
- Once your website is live, G Suite allows you to continue using Google’s services and create emails with your new domain name, eg. email@example.com
- Super cheap and comes with 30GB of Google Drive too.
Building a PC
We run on Windows PCs here at Chunk, even though we’re Apple through and through otherwise. We built our current PCs in 2015, though they are a lot beefier nowadays. The reason for that is that building your own PC not only allows your to pack in as much power in your buck as you can, but it also allows you to upgrade slowly over time, never becoming obsolete.
Building a PC does sound daunting at first, but think more of it as expensive lego: you’re just following an instruction booklet where things are designed to fit together. Below covers basically everything you need to build your own PC, with some links for building a PC with After Effects or 3D in mind.
- Your go to place for piecing together your own build to make sure everything is compatible.
- Do take note that majority of the builds on the website are made with gaming in mind, not After Effects or similar.
- This is the ultimate article for understanding everything that goes into a PC, as well as outlining builds of different budgets, different programs and includes a Free Computer Guide as well.
- The video included is also a great watch.
- Whether I linked him or not, you would have stumbled across this man at some point during your research and for good reason: He’s very, very good. His YouTube channel is packed with quality and educational content.
- I linked above an old, but still relevant, video of his explaining how to build a PC. This is a fantastic stepping stone to understanding the process.
- A handy sub-reddit to ask questions or search for people that have already asked similar questions.
- Searching After Effects within the sub-reddit for instance can yield recent builds and conversations relating to our beloved program.
- While Greyscalegorilla focus more on 3D, it’s still great to see what hardware they’re packing.
It’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it. Regardless, this is what we’ve got:
- CPU: Intel i7-4790, 4 core @ 3.6GHz
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti
- RAM: 32GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Motherboard: ASUS H97M-PLUS
- PSU: Corsair RM750x Gold
- SSD: Samsung EVO 850 250GB, Samsung EVO 840 120GB
- HDD: Western Digital Green 2TB, Western Digital Blue 3TB
- Case: Thermaltake Core V21
- Monitors: 2x Dell 24 inch P2418D
- CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1246 V3 @ 3.5GHz
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
- RAM: 32GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Motherboard: Gigabyte H97M-D3H
- PSU: Bitfenix Fury 550G Gold
- SSD: Samsung EVO 850 250GB
- HDD: Western Digital Green 2TB
- Case: Thermaltake Core V21
- Monitors: Dell 24 inch P2418D, Samsung 24 inch
Events and Communities
Even though this has the last spot on our resources page, it’s the one closest to our hearts. The Motion Design community really feels like something special, and being involved is wonderful. Whether online or in person, we highly encourage everyone to seek both out and find new animation friends.
- The biggest Motion Design event for the year for us Australians. James and Kim Cowen, also known as YesCaptain, each year put together a star studded line up where anyone and everyone get together to learn, be inspired and to catch up with one another.
- The link above is for the Melbourne Digital Labourers Federation where a bunch of creatives across multiple mediums and techniques get together to drink and chat about their past month.
- DLF also occasionally holds events where industry professionals deliver a talk, sharing their insights and tips.
- An international animation festival held every two months or so for short, looping animations relating to the current theme.
- These are then all screened across the world, including Melbourne. Fantastic opportunity to find some like minded people and watch hilarious and superb animations.
- For us Melbourne folks that love Motion Design and don’t mind catching up for a beer and a talk.
- The most popular Slack channel for those who do Motion Design in Australia and New Zealand.
- Keep an eye out for us every now and then!
- What started in the UK has spread across the globe incredibly fast, all thanks to Hayley Akins. The Facebook group is buzzing with activity every single day with questions, tips and inspiration.
- She’s hosted over 50 rich podcasts which focus more on the business aspect of Motion Design.
- A wonderful community for women, trans and non-binary individuals that work in Animation and Motion Design.
- Their website has a huge directory and the Facebook group is amazingly supportive.