Well, check me out and chill… Last August I worked on a short motion graphics sequence for Aardman’s latest feature film, Shaun the Sheep Movie. Frequent collaborator and creative badass, one Gavin Strange, got me involved to animate and composite his designs into stop-motion scenes and shots.
Gav & I have done a handful of small-scale side projects for fun over the years, but when people like Aardman come knocking, you make sure you answer the door, invite them in and offer them some of your own personal batch of high-grade salted caramel cookies. Christ, it’s Aardman… When I first moved to Bristol from Dublin back in 2004, doing something like this for a company like this was simply a pipe dream, a distant, unrealistic ambition, so needless to say, I was excited/nervous as all hell to get involved with this. Granted, it’s not the most difficult or visually complex project I’ve done, but sometimes you show off work because it took ages, or because it’s highly complex or it’s a household brand, and sometimes you show off work because genuinely proud to be involved in any small way, particularly when you realise that this will probably end up being broadcast on BBC on Christmas day for the next 20 years or so…
The film is truly funny, in the same sort of vein as Wallace & Gromit, only completely dialogue-free. My son, who’s 2 1/2, sat the through the full thing, giggling his arse off. Check out a review here and a quick behind the scenes article here.
I always love learning about space travel, the formation of stars, planets and the universe – as a kid I’d always spend hours pouring over an “artist’s impression” of a wormhole, space colony or black hole in all the science & space books I had – these days the glut of information about all this is overwhelming, but accessible and everywhere. (continue reading…)
So I was casually farting around with serious purpose on Twitter last month and stumbled up on a tweet by comedian/writer David Schneider about UKIP’s proposed cut to the foreign aid budget. It struck a chord with me and thought it’d be cool to put some visuals to the words. Fun do this, this between-the-jobs personal project to keep me on top of things in AE as most of my work recently has been animating other’s designs, rather than me designing stuff. Sound effects compiled and edited together by me from my fantastic stock library of noises…
These date back aaaages – firstly, it’s autumn 2012,. I was approached about making a showreel for branding/ad/marketing/web agency Five by Five (they do a lot of stuff). With this, I had to animate their static designs for use in their showreel, which meant I pulled apart all the PSDs they’d used to build websites, Facebook pages for TV shows, app walkthoughs and everything else besides. Not easy or quick, but I still managed to some new tricks and gained a couple of long term clients in the process –
A little more recently in October 2013 I took on this big batch of work for a long-standing client of mine, digital agency Mason Zimbler, and this was animating & editing their showreel.
Now, the vast majority of their work consists of websites, infographics & various ad campaigns, rather than “pure” motion graphics &, but right here is where I absolutely smashed it. I took a handful of (well, close to 15) their static web infographics (some 7500px high, with 500+ layers), organised them for animation in After Effects and added the magic sparkly stuff. Granted, most were never meant to be animated in the first place, several didn’t make it in at all, but animating each layer, adding camera moves and then speeding them up somewhat in the edit made for a killer piece.
Along with the infographics are website builds, app walkthroughs and composites with 3D models – again stripped down, organised & renamed before animating them all into shot in AE & C4D. Quite a workload for one man, but it looks well, with plenty of blink-&-you’ll-miss-it details dropped in here, there and everywhere.
Shortly after finishing up that one, I started on MZ’s Christmas video mailout which was based on an infographic they made for 2012. Animating this one didn’t make the final cut for the showreel, so with a little repurposing, I adapted it all for the screen. Again, it was a deliberately quick animation with lots of little throwaway details, all set to the wonderous muzak of the 12 Days Of Christmas…
Shit, almost a full year since an update. Not good.
As it’s happened, the vast majority of my work over the past 18 months has been of that “for internal use only” lark, or done white-label for big ad & digital agencies. Most of what you see here is what I’ve done in my spare time, which these days with a 2-year-old typhoon of the male kind to tend to, is few and far between. Every now and again, I can spend some time between jobs working out how to do cool shit with new plugins and make something all seasonal n’ shit, like this basic fluid test in AE with Newton.
1. Make a ton of small circular shape layers or masked solids to act as your fluids.
2. Tweak an untold amount of settings god knows how many times and watch your dual Xeon workstation slow to a 5fps crawl while it works out the physics calculations on a couple of hundred layers.
3. When you’re done with Newton, make simulation look like liquid – add fast blur (10-15px), then simple choker and tweak to your taste.
It’s not perfect but for 2D mograph, it’s wicked. Newton 2 has huuuuuge potential, gotta use it more.
More shit to come, soon… ha.