'Ugly Joe' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Getting My Head Around Adobe After Effects

Whilst lamenting the problems I was having recently animating in Flash someone suggested a better program to try would be After Effects. So yesterday I decided to give it a go!

After Effects has been languishing on my PC for quite a while now as, like Adobe Bridge and Soundbooth, it was part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Despite the fact that I had heard great things about the program, I have never been sure quite what to do with After Effects. Part of this dilemma came from being slightly unsure what it did! I had originally been introduced to it as a motion graphics package but quickly discovered that it was equally, if not better, known as a VFX tool. However, since neither VFX or motion graphics were my immediate concern when I got the Suite my attentions strayed to Photoshop and Flash and After Effects was put to one side.

A much more significant part of the problem I had with After Effects was, since I had never had need of it, I had never learnt it and thus hadn’t the foggiest how to use it! But yesterday, with an intimidatingly hefty tome on the subject beside me and a screen full of free video tutorial, I started to find out what dark magic I had to master to master After Effects and today I tried to implement what I had learnt on a completely new project.

Here’s the result…

Ugly Joe himself was created in Photoshop and the sequences were put together and titles added in Premiere Pro, but all the animating was done in After Effects… possibly proving that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ;P

Why Woodland Animation

Britains native broadleaf woodland is disappearing fast. Broadleaf trees, such as oak, ash and birch, have been part of the British landscape for hundreds of years and support a diverse and complex eco-system not found elsewhere. If we let our broadleaf woodland disappear through dereliction, mismanagement or convertion to fast growing non-native conifers then we will also be saying goodbye to the sight of bluebell woods, autumn colours and the home of countless lichens, birds and insects.

I created this 2D animation for Why Woodland, to help raise awareness of the threats to the British broadleaf woods. To find out more and show your support visit them on Facebook.com/whywoodland or on Twitter @whywoodland

This was animated using a combo of Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro CS5 and, after loosing the battle with the CS5 version, Flash CS4. The process has sustained my love for Photoshop, made me begin to appreciate Premiere (despite the complete debacle that was rendering) and, after hours fighting with animation in Flash CS4 and CS5, made me desperate to master animating in After Effects!!

As with all projects I loved and hated this project by turns and in equal measure. There are always little moments that punctuate a project and the fustration  and anxiety that I felt when faced with constantly crashing software, unfathomable formatting errors and render troubles was set in stark contrast against the fun of designing the tree-gobbling-money-machine (every home should have one!), the satisfaction of making the squirrel talk and the thrill of discovering the chromakey function in Premiere.

Enjoy!

Rig Testing

Well, after an epic battle to get the YouTube upload system to upload this without crashing, I am pleased to present my first test of a professional rig. This is my very short animation experiment undertaken as part of my research in to rigging and character animation for a college project. The animation is not perfect but I think it gives the impression of weight and mass to both character and object.

This was great to animate and I absolutely loved working with this character.

The model I used for this was a prerigged model called Whimp that is included for non commercial use with Maxon’s Cinema 4D. The copyright for this character remains with Glenn Frey (Bonewire)