I went to college to learn how to make professional, compelling films. Then I got married, had kids, and found other priorities that crowded out my early desire to tell stories with moving images. I couldn't go back to making films, because I didn't have time or budget to take care of what was more important in my life. Understand that I enjoyed the life that happened instead - - - I didn't think I'd ever be able to go back to making films like I used to.
In the past month, I've found out that there may be a way to make cool movies again. Since I'm now the CEO of a New England high-tech company, I can now experiment with the latest software technologies and equipment. One of these software technologies is the latest release of Adobe's AfterEffects program, a piece of software that comes pretty close to parking Industrial Light & Magic on your desktop. For troglodytes like me, the output from this software is nothing short of breathtaking.
Let me give you a brief idea of the level of coolitude brimming from this software. I ordered a copy of Adobe AfterEffects from Amazon early last week. It arrived Saturday and took about 10 minutes to install on my computer. After looking at a few brief tutorials online, I thought of a test subject to try as a first-go at learning the ins and outs of the program.
Here are the details: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been receiving closeup photo data of the Moon from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbit for more than a year now. Last spring, JPL published a high-resolution Mercator projection photo of the Moon. It looks like this:
One of the cool things Adobe AfterEffects can do is take a flat picture and wrap it around a 3-D sphere, so that the result can be displayed as a virtual globe. So, I took the hi-res LRO picture, told AfterEffects to wrap it around a sphere, and then I spun the virtual sphere and told AfterEffects to move the virtual camera away from the virtual Moon globe. Here's the result:
That's just from an hour or so of playing with the controls and slapping one NASA pic into the photo asset directory.
Now, I really *want* to make a short film with this amazing bit of software. First, though, I think I have to make it through Christmas first.