Working on this animation was essentially an extended exercise in acclimating to the After Effects interface and getting to know its different features, effects, and functions.
In the course of working on this project, I experimented with track mattes, blending modes, motion graphics effects, a variety of slightly more off-the-beaten-path keyframe manipulations (such as trim paths, pen-tool-aided path creation, and speed graphs), sound design, text animation, masking, and others. With the exception of the video of the ocean and fire from the title scene, I created all visual assets in the piece, either in Photoshop or directly in After Effects. The music, which I looped and distorted, is by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Scott Walker, and Celer.
For my second, extended animation piece, I wanted to do something that doesn’t necessarily rely on a singular character or persona. Given the time constraints for putting this piece together (~two or three weeks), animating, scripting, and modeling a character (and accommodating for its movement, shading, and so on) seems a little cumbersome. I’d prefer instead to focus on a simple avatar and its dynamic interaction with a series of interesting tableau-like backgrounds.
Here is the avatar/character I plan to use for my animation:
I created it in Adobe Photoshop using the brush feature and a palette of different colors I made in the upper left corner. Here’s a screenshot of my work environment:
I simply went back and forth, between dark shades and light, between the lighter yellow to mustard and brownish to black, adding shadow, inserting color, or introducing white, and evening it all out with multiple layers of soft (brush hardness set to 0%) strokes.
I will likely add to this yellow orb avatar and create alternates for a variety of scenarios over the course of the composition of my animation. I plan on creating lighter versions, darker, more shadowy versions, as well as versions with higher reflectivity for brighter light scenes.
I teamed up with Isa Vento and Erin Cooney for this assignment. Together we set out to make an abstract stop-motion short of ~thirty seconds’ length.
We had little sense of what we wanted to make going in; all we decided upon before the actual filming was the elements involved: manipulable clay, a sort of “found object”, and a green screen background.
Over the course of an uninterrupted ~six hour shoot, we improvised, experimented, and compromised, piecing together the short using the Dragonframe software, which made the process of capturing each frame (and later, binding them together into a moving image) a whole lot easier than it would have been manually operating the camera.
Here is the final piece (the music used is from Erin’s work as “Nire”):