Create a personalpoedia of your techniques 04/06/11
Remember that new technique you pulled off a couple of months ago? You were using a program you don’t use that often like Illustrator or Cinema 4D. You figured out how to create a cool effect or “look” by following a tutorial and it was awesome. Trouble is, you can’t quite remember all the detailed steps or their order for that matter. Well get your head out of the cloud and start putting your techniques there instead.
Examples of things you could store in your personal cloud-based wiki:
- hard to remember keyboard shortcuts
- techniques and step-by-step procedures for apps you don’t use as much (After Effects, Illustrator, Motion, Cinema 4D, etc…)
- a template for your signature techniques
The last one is important so I’ll spend a little more time exploring what that could look like. Overall, your personalpoedia table of contents might look something like this:
(Build a Company Knowledgebase covers the basics of setting up a wiki. So this hack on building a personal wiki focuses more on content).
It’s easy to remember the keyboard shortcuts that you use all the time in Final Cut Pro or Avid. But what about the keyboard shortcuts for programs that you don’t use that often.
For example, you may want to save the keyboard shortcuts for deleting preferences in After Effects:
Or what about on those rare occasions when you need to use special characters:
standard operating procedures in your company knowledgebase. An example of a creative procedure would be:
secret creative formulas. Think of it as the recipe book for your signature techniques.
For example, a common editing device that’s used in almost every genre and
industry is the technique of freezing a frame of video and then applying a
treatment to it. It’s done a lot in film trailers, especially action titles. Every editor that does this technique has their own version of it. The process in a nutshell involves:
1. Creating a still image of the frame you want to apply the treatment
2. Separating the subject(s) from the background into separate layers
3. “Treating” the subject(s) and background with filters or additional video/graphics
4. Animating the layers
Every time I do this technique I want to do a different take on it. No one likes to repeat themselves, right? But over time I lose track of all the interesting variations I’ve come up with to put a twist on this technique. It would be nice to have an easy way to keep track of the iterations. So your personalpoedia folder for the Treated frozen video effect might look something like this:
1_before and after.jpg
Besides being a creative reference guide for you, a carefully documented personalpedia can provide creative instruction for your collaborators.
For example, you could document the step-by-step procedure for typical rotoscoping or chroma keying jobs. This will promote efficiency and consistency in the results of your assistant-editors and roto-artists. It may also be useful to let them give feedback on how these procedures could be further optimized.
(This hack was inspired by an article by Gina Tripani of Lifehacker called Geek to Live: Set up your personal Wikipedia. Actually, this whole site was inspired a lot by Life Hacker and Gina’s and Adam Pash’s book, Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better. Check it out, it’s everywhere).