Igor Stravinsky said, "Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal."

My brother-in-law Tom Gabriel owns this very cool machine shop in Wyoming, and every time we head up there for a family visit I am always fascinated by the projects that he is working on. For years I have wanted to do some sort of fun video for Tom, I always thought it would be a fun project to do.

I really enjoy working with my hands and even though I don’t do it everyday like Tom does, I thought it would be cool to do, and when I saw Deep Green Sea’s video called The Carpenter last year, I knew exactly the type of video I wanted to do for Tom.

“…great artists steal”

Igor Stravinsky said, “Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal.” Now I am not saying I am a great artist, but their are some ideas used in this video I really want to steal. Don’t worry I am not stealing and video or graphics from their video, but just the idea because I think what they did in After Effects on this video is just so good. And if I can do just a fraction of what they did I would be happy.

I do this often, I find a video I really like, copy some of their ideas, and then the next time I create a similar video, I don’t really copy again but use it as a tool to better tell my story since I already know how to use it effectively.

This is the prefect project for me to really start learning how to use After Effects on. One of the nice things about sharing all the information online is others want to share back, that happened a few weeks ago whenย Ryan Rakowski contracted me to see if I need help with AE, and I told yes, yes I do!

So when he was in town we meet up at a coffee house and he provided me with some one on one training for my project. The audio came out terrible while we were there so I did include it, but I did want to include a screen share he did for me so I can share what he helped me with.

The Carpenter


  • Hey Dave – If you like The Carpenter, you should check out the ‘Stranger than Fiction’ intro sequence by MK12 – I saw it on a plane a few years back and it really encouraged the direction I took into motion graphics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDwTQ57YyzI

    It’s always great to take inspiration from elsewhere, and it’s also great just to chat and bounce ideas around. Have you ever considered adding a forum to your site for chat about this kind of thing?

  • @Steve I really like that movie when it came out and I totally remember that sequence. Very cool stuff.

    I tried doing a forum on one of my other sites years ago but I didn’t have time to maintain it.

  • Hi Dave – I’m a great fan, and just wanted to say thank you for all the great and awesome videos..
    I actually heard almost the same quote “Good artists copy, great artists steal” which Pablo Picasso should have said ๐Ÿ™‚

    Regards Kim from Denmark

  • Great video as usual. I appreciate all your posts and learn a lot. One thing I thought I’d mention regarding the After Effects tutorial is that if you pre-compose the 3D text/label elements prior to parenting it to the null you’d only have to do that once instead of for each individual element. Same goes for the blur / depth of field effect with the gausian blur filter. If the label elements were first pre-composed you would only need to apply one instance of the keyframed blur effect making for a much faster workflow. And if you needed to tweak or adjust the effect you only do it once instead of for each element.

  • Hi Dave – You do great work! Do you know what software was used to do the screen capture video? I am trying to do some video captures at 1080p using SnagIt and I am having some trouble. Whatever was used in this video was great.

  • Great video as ever Dave, I was wondering how you achieve this kind of effect in Motion 5? Does anyone know of a tutorial?

  • Hi Dave,

    Been following you for some time now, excellent blog – Even though I aim for the D800, your videos and and tips are universal.

    Just to let you know, the link to Ryans blog is bad – It links to a wrong URL (on your server), it needs a http:// in front to work properly ๐Ÿ™‚

    (also from Denmark)

  • Hey Dave,

    Great video – even with the bad interview audio. Story telling always trumps technology. Also, where can we find your entire version of The Carpenter?

    Lastly, your link to Ryan’s website is broken. Thought you’d want to know. Thanks again!

  • If you want to learn more about After Effects I suggest you check out Video Copilot ( http://www.videocopilot.net ). They do fantastic, easy to follow, step-by-step tutorials. They also offer “basic training” to introduce people to the software ( http://www.videocopilot.net/basic ).

    The guy who does the tutorials and heads the site – Andrew Kramer – actually does special effects work for a living and has done work for film and tv.