Build a Better Bug

Using Editor's Toolkit's Motion Design Elements in Your Productions

All of the Digital Juice Editor's Toolkits (except Editor's Toolkit 1: Multipurpose Tools) offer a whole mess of animated 2D and 3D objects that we call Motion Design Elements (MDEs).

Because they're delivered at high resolutions with alpha channel transparency, you can pop them into pretty much any project you're working on to immediately add interest and depth to that flat television screen.

You're Buggin'
One way that you might use Editor's Toolkit Motion Design Elements is to create a cool 3D bug. In TV-talk, a "bug" is a small graphic icon that sits in the corner of the screen (often the lower part) while the show plays. Sometimes it identifies the show, but many times it IDs the network. The next time you're watching Survivor, check the lower corner for the CBS eye. Bugs are a mainstay of broadcast TV, stamping a brand on each click of the dial so viewers can tell what they're watching. Whether you produce infomercials, instructional videos, TV talk shows, newscasts, sports shows or corporate videos, an animated bug may be just what you need to add some zing to the thing.

Motion Design Elements in Action
Using a Motion Design Element as a bug is relatively easy. To demonstrate, I'll share an example from a project I recently created to enhance the look of a hospital video. Matching the Regional Medical Center font was easy enough, but without a logo, the production's graphics lacked richness. Turning to Editor's Toolkit 2 (ETK2), I searched for a Motion Design Element that I could use to add color and motion that would set off the text, without distracting from it. I quickly settled on Motion Design Element #45 (Puzzled Sphere) from disc 7 of ETK2. I thought that its blue color projected a medical feel (although it is easy enough to colorize to anything) and its somewhat globe-like spherical style hinted at the universality of the Medical Center's care-giving mission.


                             Figure 1
 
Shrink to Fit
Once I had selected the MDE I liked, I exported it from the Juicer and opened it in my editing app, in this case Adobe® Premiere® Pro. With my footage (clip #4469 from VideoTraxx 2's Fitness & Medicine category) already on the Video 1 track, I dropped my Motion Design Element onto Video 2. Because of the element's native HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080), it is larger than the visible television screen area and falls off the screen when first opened in Premiere® (Figure 1). To scale the MDE down to the desired size, I selected it and opened Premiere Pro®'s Effect Controls ( Figure 2). In the Effect Controls interface, I used the Scale control to shrink the MDE to 38% and then layered my text on top. This worked well for my opening title sequence. The next step was to shrink the MDE to the lower right corner to make my bug.


                          Figure 2 
 
I used Premiere®'s Effect Controls to set a key frame at the point that I wanted to begin shrinking the animated Motion Design Element to its bug position in the corner, and set another key frame at the arrival time. The entire move would take just 13 frames. I scaled and positioned the MDE into its landing spot (positioned at 538 x 387 and scaled to 17%), locked the new bug position to the end keyframe and added the hospitals initials "RMC" as an identifier ( Figure 3).


                                      Figure 3 

You're in Control
Shrinking and positioning the Motion Design Elements in the Editor's Toolkits is easy to do and the impact that animated bugs can create is powerful. Spend a few minutes getting to know your editing applications motion, keyframe and animation controls and you'll find millions of possible uses for Motion Design Elements. 

 

                Final Result: An impressive bug

Chuck Peters is Director of Promotions at Digital Juice and Editor in Chief of Digital Juice Magazine