HitFilm Express 12 For Absolute Beginners

HitFilm Express 12 is a great FREE tool for video editing, motion graphics and visual effects!

In this video I show you how to create your own film projects from start to finish :)

Click here for part 2 of this HitFilm Express beginner tutorial series!

Download HitFilm Express FOR FREE here!

Get 10% OFF HitFilm Pro or any Add-On packs with Code SURFACEDSTUDIO10

Win a FREE Blender 3D Beginner Course on Udemy

I finally launched my first official Blender Beginner Course on Udemy!
To say thank you for all of your support I am giving away 30 copies of the course for FREE! See the details below :)

Check out the promo video for the course right here!

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Why Udemy?

Honest disclaimer: this course is a re-compilation of training materials from my YouTube channel. So why buy it on Udemy?

  1. On Udemy, this Blender course is yours and yours to keep. Download the videos and watch offline anytime you want!
  2. All videos are organised to give you a clear learning path from beginner to intermediate.
  3. All files you need to follow along with the tutorials are included in the course materials.
  4. You get full support from me! Whenever you have a question or get stuck, just send me a message on Udemy and I will help you out!
    I want you to get the most out of this course and walk away happy!

Course Structure

Let’s quickly talk about what you will learn in my Blender Beginner Course!

Lesson 1 – Blender For Absolute Beginners

In the first lesson we will cover the absolute basics of how to use Blender.
We will cover how the interface works and how to navigate around the 3D space of your scene.
I will show you how to create new objects, set up lights and cameras and render out the final image.

Lesson 2 – The Basics of Modeling

In this lesson you will learn how to create your own 3D models from scratch!
We will cover the basics of Blender, how to use edit mode to modify your objects and create a cool looking treasure chest.
While this lesson does not touch on everything, it will be enough to give you a solid understanding of how to model in Blender.

Lesson 3 – Working with Materials

Once you have created your own 3D objects, you likely want to apply some materials.
Materials define the surface properties of your objects, including colour, reflectivity, transparency and much more.
In this lesson I will explain the basics of how to work with materials in Blender to make your objects look a little more interesting!

Lesson 4 – Creating Animations and Working with Keyframes

It’s time to learn how to create animations in Blender!
In this lesson we will cover how to use keyframes to animate the objects in your 3D scene
I will explain how to work with Keying Sets and how to add, change and delete keyframes.
Finally, we will look at the Graph Editor to fine tune your animations and gain a whole other level of control.

Lesson 5 – Rendering Still Images and Animations

While I covered how to render an image in the first lesson, in this lesson I want to take a closer look at rendering.
I will explain some basic concepts of rendering both still images and animations in Blender.
We will touch on rendering out video files and how to use the command line to speed up the rendering process.

Lesson 6 – Applying Textures and the UV Editor

In this lesson I will explain how to apply image textures to your 3D models in Blender.
We have touched on materials before, but understanding how to texture your models will give you a lot more control over making your 3D objects look the way you want to!
You will learn how to use the UV Editor and UV Unwrap your mesh.
We will then go over how to set up a material that applies an image texture onto the model using the UV map we created.

Lesson 7 – Rigging and Working with Bones

Character animation can be a daunting topic when it comes to using any 3D program, including Blender.
In this lesson I want to explain how to rig, skin and animate a character in Blender.
Rigging refers to the process of creating a virtual skeleton for your character.
Skinning refers to the process of attaching your mesh to this virtual skeleton so that you can move the model by moving the skeleton.
At the end of this lesson you will be comfortable setting up your own (simple) character rigs and animating your 3D objects.

Lesson 8 – Common Beginner Problems

Before we dive into the final project, I want to touch on a few common issues that newcomers to Blender tend to run into.
We will go over how to resolve issues with panels in Blender and different ways to set up your camera with ease.
You will learn how to avoid some common mistakes while modelling in Edit Mode and how to get nice and crisp renders out of Blender.

Lesson 9 – How to Model, Rig and Animate a Tentacle in Blender

It’s time to practice your skills! In the last lesson I want to take you through the end-to-end process of modelling, rigging and animating a tentacle in Blender.
This is a fairly involved tutorial, but I just wanted to give you something a little more meaty to get your teeth into.
After this lesson, hopefully you have a good understanding of what – and how – you can do with Blender!


And finally, what you are really here for: the giveaway for my new Blender Beginner Course!

To celebrate getting the course live on Udemy, I am giving away 30 voucher codes that will get you the course for FREE!
Simply use Coupon Code SURFACED_BLENDER_S3 or visit Udemy via this link: Blender 3D Crash Course for Absolute Beginners.

The voucher will work exactly 30 times so get in quick!
Good luck and I hope you will enjoy the course :D

Get 25% OFF HitFilm Pro, HitFilm Studio, Ignite Pro & HitFilm Express Add-Ons

Do you want want to step up your HitFilm game?
I managed to get an EXCLUSIVE weekend deal for you guys – get 25% OFF the HitFilm range :D

Simply follow this link to the FXHome Online Store and apply the Voucher SURFACEDOCTOBER.

This sale applies to all products in the HitFilm range and will last until the end of the 28th of October.

Once the sale is over, you can still use this link and apply Coupon code SURFACEDSTUDIO10 to get 10% OFF all of their products :)

For full disclosure, yes these are affiliate links. I will get a small commission if you purchase through them and I always greatly appreciate the support :D

If you are looking for a tutorial to get into using HitFilm, check out my HitFilm Express for Absolute Beginners Tutorial.

Mocha Pro 2019 – Overview & New Features

Mocha Pro is an academy award winning planar tracker from Boris FX. The latest version, Mocha Pro 2019 adds a whole list of exciting new features and improvements!

New Features

I have been using Mocha for a long time now for my visual effects and short film projects. It is a great tool for rotoscoping, tracking, 3D camera solves, stabilizing footage or removing objects from moving shots.

Mocha Pro 2019 has a lot of great new features and improvements. Here are just a few:

  • High DPI & Retina display support, now also supporting Windows.
  • New Essentials workspaces to make Mocha Pro more accessible to beginners and focus the work of seasons pros.
  • New Spline Tools to make rotoscoping and tracking easier. These include new Primitive Shapes as well as new Magnetic and Freehand tools.
  • GPU Accelerated Removes. Removing moving objects from a moving shot is one of the most powerful features of Mocha Pro. This process has now been sped up significantly by utilising your GPU. Results may vary depending on your graphics card, but I have noticed significant performance improvements during my tests (30% and more).
  • The Illumination Models for the Remove Module have been improved. The blending models work better and yield nicer results when removing objects from your shots.
  • The Surface tool can now be transformed more easily for rotation and uniform scale.
  • Mocha VR and Mocha Pro have been combined. All of the tools to work with both standard and 360 footage (mono or stereoscopic) are now available within the same software package – or plugin.

Mocha Pro 2019 is available as a standalone application or as a plugin for After Effects, Premiere Pro, Nuke, Fusion and many other hosts.
It costs $295/year on an annual subscription, but there are other options available depending on your needs :)

Finally, don’t forget to use coupon code surfacedstudio during check out to get 15% OFF the final price!

Join the new VFX & Film Making Forums and Win a Free After Effects Course!

Wooo! I am super excited!

The new website is finally LIVE! And with it the new Forums!
This is going to be a space to ask questions, get help, share your work and get feedback!

To celebrate the launch of the new forums, I am giving away 10 copies of my After Effects Complete Beginner Course!
Join the conversation for your chance to win!

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The Forums

I have been wanting to launch forums on my website for a long time.
I get quite a lot of comments and questions on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. However, there are a number of problems with using those social platforms.

  • I get a lot of duplicate questions. People don’t see what others have already asked. I end up answering the same questions over and over.
  • There is no way for me to organise or categorise the comments. People cannot easily find related topics or conversations that are already going on.
  • There is no way for users to share their work. Image and videos are usually considered unsafe and just end up in a big SPAM folder.
  • Users can’t easily talk with each other. Sure you can reply to other people’s comments, but it gets messy when more than 2 people are part of a single conversation.

So this is where my Forums come in!
I hope to create a positive, supportive space where everyone can ask questions, share their work and help each other!
Hopefully the forums will make it easier to have in depth conversations that are cohesive and easy to follow.

Note that I have set up some fairly loose Forum Guidelines. Be sure to read over them before you join.

Let’s all talk about VFX & Film Making together

The Giveaway

To celebrate and say thank you for your support, I am giving away 10 free copies of my After Effects Complete Beginner Course!

Competition closes on the 22nd of July. Entry is really simple:

  • Register for the forums! It’s absolutely free!
  • You will receive an activation email. Be sure to activate your account before you try to log in.
  • Post a reply to this topic: Forum Launch Giveaway – Win an After Effects Beginner Course. In the reply share some of your work and tell me WHY you want to win the course.

And that is all!
Thank you for your continued support and good luck

Modelling in Blender For Absolute Beginners

Blender is an amazing FREE open source 3D tool.
You can use Blender to create, rig and animate 3D models. You can use it to set up complex build particle systems for exciting VFX. You can run fluid, cloth or physics simulations and much, much more. In this tutorial I want to show you how to use the basic modelling capabilities of Blender to create a treasure chest.

The easiest way to model in Blender is to reshape some basic geometry. In order to reshape objects in Blender, you need to enter Edit Mode. Simply select your object and press TAB. In Edit Mode, you can switch between Vertex Select, Edge Select or Face Select modes with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+TAB. You can also select them from the header in the 3D view.

Reshaping Geometry

You can toggle wireframe mode on with the keyboard shortcut Z. If you hold down CTRL and drag with your left mouse button, you can draw a lasso selection around any vertices, edges or faces you want to select.

Wireframe and Lasso select

If you select a face and press I, you will inset the face. Move you mouse and confirm with a left mouse button click to inset the face.

Inset Tool

If you select one face and press E, you will extrude the face. You can also select multiple faces and extrude them simultaneously. Pressing ALT+E with faces selected will bring up different options for extruding Regions, Individual Faces or extruding along the vertex normals.

Extrude Tool

If you have an edge loop selected (ALT + right click on an edge in Edge Select mode), you can press CTRL+B to bevel the edge. You can move the mouse to determine the size of the bevel. Scrolling up/down on the mouse wheel will increase and decrease the number of segments. Click left to confirm.

Bevel Tool

Pressing K will enable the Knife tool. This will allow you to cut faces from one vertex to another. For clean animations it is preferable that all your faces are quads (polygons with 4 vertices). You can use the Knife tool to fix up issues with your topology (the structure of your mesh). You can also select two vertices along the same face and press ‘J’ to join them with a new edge.

Knife Tool

With these basic tools and being able to select and modify as well as delete vertices, edges and faces you can model almost anything you want. Here is a screenshot of me modelling the lid of the treasure chest. I am in vertex mode and using Orthographic (flat) Projection to be able to see the geometry better.

Face Selection and Deletion

Once you are done with your model, it is time to render it out. Check out my Blender For Absolute Beginners tutorial if you do not know how to render in Blender. Here is what the final rendered treasure chest looks like.

Final Render

Please let me know what you think of this tutorial! All comments, questions and feedback welcome