I created this for a client who wanted an animated map to illustrate his complicated journey on the Appalachian Trail. Enjoyed creating map as always but the challenge was to make it simple enough to be consumed passively given that the speaker could be talking while the animation plays.
Now that I feel like I have my footing in After Effects, I want to create a little design series that communicates ideas about identity. I'm attracted to ideas about the impermanence and transitory nature of personality and our beliefs, however misguided or helpful, that it is possible to know others, be know, and be understood. All of these things seem personal and mysterious (and sometimes deeply confusing) to me, so I'm looking forward to translating some of these thoughts to design because visual metaphor will be better than words in this case. Visual metaphors after all, have space in and around them that the viewers can fill up with their own nuanced reactions, memories, details, etc. I guess I can think of writing that works this way too. Maybe I just like Art better :).
I learned a great method for rigging mouths for lip sync animation and applied it to this audio track I had of my 4-year-old recounting one of her crazy dreams :). I think it worked out pretty well, although next time I'll probably make more than the 7 mouth positions I used here (to include some softer/lazier mouth positions like "nuh" and "uh"). This only took a couple of hours to animate, once the illustration were complete. Roughest part was the render, which took over an hour.
I learned a lot--especially regarding my CPU limits--with this one. Drew the astronaut in Draw and imported but all other elements were created in AE. The stars are a simple effect but the colors are blobs with displaced turbulence. All in all, there were about layers that each had at least one effect that included an evolving element. The duration is just a few frames over 4 seconds, the frame rate is low (20) and the size is only 750 pixels wide. Still, my computer could not render this file with crashing After Effects. In the end I had to reduce/delete many effects and tweak the export settings. The resulting render turned to be less than ten megs, which leads me to believe that all of those vector calculations are difficult for the processor for a brief moment and then the rest of the render must be very light work.
I love the way the outer space effects came out and want to do more of these on their own (no character). So next time, I'll probably have to consider knitting elements to gather in Photoshop and/or test-rendering as I add each effect to know when the compass reaching its limit.
It's finally done! After two months of working on this in every bit of free time I have, this little walk cycle animation is finished. This started as a tiny little project for me to learn how to make a proper walk cycle and ended up as a 35 second journey through a complicated landscape. And while I need to disclose my understanding that I'm still terrible, I am kinda proud of this!
The illustration was done in Illustrator and imported as a massive layered file, which knowing what I know now, should have been broken into many little pre-comps. And what I really like about this project in the end is the art direction. I'm really happy with the palette and all of the texture.
By making this animation I learned a lot more about rigging, how to make a simple walk cycle, and a ton of effects and tricks for more polished looking movement. Some of the biggest takeaways were learning how to better use the graph editor and control pre-comps with null objects. Can't wait to do it again and do it right.
Hours to draw. Minutes to animate. And I found a new PSD tool for better optimization which is great because some platforms are really tricky about loading "bigger" gifs (Tumblr).