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Using scene strips to help work smoothly between the Node Editor and the VSE: When using Blender for motion graphics, there’s some cool handshaking you can do between the Node Editor and Video Sequence Editor. If a shot requires more involved effects than the VSE can provide, switch to the Compositing screen layout and create a new empty scene (I like to name the scene after the shot). Use the Image input node to bring your clip into the Node Editor, adjusting the start and end frames in the node and the scene as necessary. From this point, you can add whatever cool compositing effects you want. When you switch back to the Video Editing screen (it should still be in your editing scene), replace your shot by adding a scene strip in the VSE for your compositing scene. As a bonus, if you delete all of the screen layouts except for Compositing and Video Editing, you can quickly bounce between your composite scene and your editing session using [Ctrl]+[left arrow] and [Ctrl]+[right arrow].
Setting defaults for the file browser can save you a lot of time in the long run. Go to Edit > Preferences and on the left side choose File Paths. Here you can preset locations for individual data types. There’s another useful tip for file browsing I use all the time and don’t want to withhold from you. Type // in the file path field and it will take you directly to the current directory (folder where the blend file is saved). Have you heard of the Blenderkit or Sketchfab add-on? They both provide an online library with awesome free Blender assets and a plugin to directly search and import them from within the 3d viewport. The Blenderkit add-on is even preinstalled with Blender and just has to be enabled in the user preferences. Sketchfab is also free, but you must first download it from GitHub. In addition to 3d models, Blenderkit also offers materials and brushes. They are really useful to quickly import assets to fill up the scene.
Last, but certainly not least: the simplest possible solution is usually the best one to choose for every part of your hard surface model, especially in the beginning. Small operations, clean meshes, and a principled approach are the best investments that you can make in your model. It’s worth remembering that you can always add another subdivision as you progress—once you’ve made the commitment, however, more geometry means that more of your labor and time will be required to modify what you’ve subdivided later on. This is probably the most compelling reason to follow this last tip—a low-poly foundation makes working in broad strokes much easier. Once you’re happy with what’s in front of you, you’ll be able to really dive in without wasting time.
Setting up libraries of standard facial expressions speeds up your first lip sync pass: Pose Libraries are a great way to rough in animation, particularly for facial animation and lip sync. This is especially useful if your rig uses bones and drivers rather than exclusively relying on shape keys for phoneme shapes. I like to make a bone group for my lip sync controls and use those controls to create my phonemes. Each phoneme gets saved as a pose in my character’s Pose Library ([Shift]+[L]). When animating, select the bones in the lip sync bone group and press [Ctrl]+[L] to enter a library preview mode. You can then use your mouse’s scroll wheel or [Page Up]/[Page Down] to cycle through the poses in your library. Choose your pose and insert your keyframes. This works as your first rough pass on the lip sync to get the timing right. See even more information at https://3darts.org/.