Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Combination of Things

Recently I heard about and explored Amazon's Mechanical Turk program. Because Amazon has tons of money they often experiment with new business ventures such as Amazon Studios. Amazon's MTurk site is a program where all sorts of short random tasks are uploaded. These tasks are things like search something on Google and type in what the first result to come back is. Some other examples are sort a series of photographs by categories or write a short review for an audio clip. These tasks seem strange until you realize why they are being asked of you. The tasks are called HITs (human intelligence tasks) and they are tasks that are too hard too program artificial intelligence to do. It is easy for a human to look at a picture and quickly determine if there is a person in frame or not but not so easy for a computer. For every task completed you earn anywhere from a penny to two or three bucks. Companies will outsource a ton of simple tasks to this site and have them completed by people from all over the world. Alright so... how this relates to Motion Graphics, an artist by the name of Aaron Koblin uploaded a task to Amazon MTurk asking users to draw a sheep facing to the left. The interface he developed for people to do this was created in Processing. He paid each "artist" 2 cents for their drawing and compiled them together into an art piece which has been exhibited in Spain, Japan, The US, Australia, and the Netherlands. You can check it out here. He made a good deal of money for only paying 2 cents a picture too.

Behind the Scenes of Avatar

So for the first ever, I saw Avatar this week and I was immediately amazed at the visual and special effects that were used throughout the entire film. I couldn't help but think of all the long exhausting process that it must have taken to make this idea a reality. Therefore after watching the movie, I went online and started looking for some behind the scenes videos and learning more about the hard work and time that it took to make this. The production of this film went above and beyond the simple use of a green screen and after effects. While I was on my search for videos I did come across this 22min behind the scenes video that covered everything from the casting of the characters to the various types of special cameras and technology that was used in the production process. If you have the time it is definitely a video worth watching, and I personally really enjoyed it and learned alot!!


Harry Potter

Earlier I was thinking about the Harry Potter movies, and how much compositing was done in those films. Because it is a fantasy world, there are so many different elements that needed to be added using special and visual effects. In looking for information about that, I found an article about the compositing process in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It talks about the companies that worked on the effects for the movie, and some of the different steps that went into making the effects. The part about rotoscoping for the room of requirements scene was interesting because it showed the types of challenges that they face in post.

Ipad Magic

This video is showing how the people at Dentsu London choose the iPad as a tool to light paint for a 3D animation. I think this video is very interesting because of what people are coming up with. It makes me think of what may come for the future which could really be anything. The people at Dentsu London have really cleverly made 3D light from the iPad come to life.

Evan Seitz

Below is a short 30 second video made by motionographer Evan Seitz that takes 13 famous lines from movies and incorporated them into short animations. I could only figure out about half of these movies, how many can you guys get?

After watching this unique video, I checked out Seitz's page on Vimeo. There is definitely a very distinct style in his work. It pairs together the act of motion graphics with a storybook feel to it. When watching his reel, you can see that a lot of the projects look like a paper stop motion, or a comic book. Throughout the reel, it is interesting to see how peoples skills can vary and how much your style will change depending on the client and the message you are trying to emit. Especially how it differs from an educational or informative animation to one based off of a television show. Animation allows you to easily access different feelings and reaction from your audience that just videography might not allow you to.

Friday, March 30, 2012

History of the Green Screen

Since this week we're all planning to shoot on a green screen I thought I would look up things about its history. I found this cool video that briefly goes through the developments in special effects technology. It's a pretty interesting history. For example, the very first compositing was done with double exposure techniques back in the 30s.

Another cool piece of information in the video was why the industry switched from using a blue screen to green. It accompanied the switch from film to video. The clip says that blue screens work better with film and green with video. One reason is because in video cameras, there's more information in the green channel than the blue.

For any Star Wars fans, there's a section starting at 3:06 on special effects in the movies. In particular, The Empire Strikes Back used new techniques that made the final film look much more realistic.

Lord of the Rings

Have you ever wondered how Peter Jackson and the crew made the hobbits in The Lord of the Rings smaller than the rest of the characters? Turns out, big budget movies also use compositing to get the desired effect they are looking for. It blows my mind every time I watch the behind the scenes for these movies, just seeing the amount of work that went into it. They had to create 2 of every prop, one hobbit size, and the other normal just to be able to shoot two different characters in the same shot. In another video they show off the electronic dolly that syncs up with the platform that the actors sit on to keep the perspective they had. What impresses me most is that a lot of what they did was not CGI but instead very intuitive thinking and hard work that most likely ended up saving them money. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anchorman! And green screen

So I hope you guys are all as excited as I am for Anchorman 2!

But for something actually pertaining to class, let's talk green screen. Forrest Gump was the example Arturo used in class of putting yourself into old footage. For my project I am inserting myself into an old Three Stooges cartoon so it is similar in the style with black and white footage. The thing that makes the integration realistic in Forrest Gump is the grainy feel. Forrest fits right in the scene, the lighting on him is the same as the other characters and Forrest even casts a shadow on JFK as he shakes his hand. Paying attention to those little details in the scene is what makes the integration look realistic. I hope mine looks this good!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Green Screen

So for our next project we are placing ourselves in a movie or video that we get to choose.  I found this guy on youtube and i thought these videos were pretty cool.  In the first one, most of the images are static and you can see how he cut the picture into layers to place himself inside the city.  The first video also has him waling through a field of butterflies, and you can tell he created all the shadows to look real.

After watching the second video you can tell how much better he has gotten from doing tutorials.  He did an excellent job with the lighting.  Without the lighting, i do not think the meteor scene would look real.
keep watching and reading tutorials and in no time, you'll be a pro.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mocha, mocha...

Here is a Rotoscoping Tutorial that might help clarify what is in the manual. So you don't get frustrated I must mention (if you have not figured it out by now) that some of the options listed in the manual are not available on your version of Mocha (like the stabilize tab) but only on Mocha Pro.

An HERE you can find plenty of Mocha tutorials by different people tackling different problems that you might encounter.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Amazing 3D in the Amazing Spider-man

So this weekend a friend and I went to see, you'll never guess...The Hunger Games :-) And yes the 3D animation used to create the Capitol and other VFX was awesome in this movie too. However, what stood out to me even more was the sneak peek I got for the 3D work that has been done on the new Spider-man movie due to be released this summer. Not surprisingly the storyline and writing appear to be relatively weak but visually the movie looks awesome. Having taken Special Topics in 3D last semester I know exactly how difficult it is to make even a simple character using 3D animation, let alone design an entire city. While, I don't think watching this trailer on a computer screen really does the effects justice, seeing them in the theater was impressive. Not because the effects were flashy and in your face but because the design of the city and especially the shot at the very end where the radio antenna falls look so real. If you're not in the business of animation or movies then you probably wouldn't even know right away that it was computer generated. Keeping in tune with the legendary status of the last few Spider-man movies even  the titles in the trailer are well designed and I'm excited to see what they come up with for the opening sequence!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Music Videos & After Effects

I decided to post some music videos that i found that were made with after effects. 
 This first one is by a man named Luis Aguirre for the song Look after you by The Fray.  The whole world in the music video was created with after effects, which i thought was very impressive.  The only things not created in after effects were the birds and the 3D characters.  its a shame that the project got cut before making it to the air.
This video is pretty cool.  I choose this video because they show you the original footage underneath the edited version.  They tell you the effects that they used in the shots throughout.  This is NOT the actual music video.
This is another music video created and composted completely in after effects.  I really like the sun flares, the smoke, and the sky in this video.  The clouds and smoke look very real.  I also like the camera movement going up and down throughout the shots.


Dripped - Trailer from ChezEddy on Vimeo.

This is a very cool animation that I stumbled upon which I definitely felt a sense of "I can make that!" while watching. It may have really well-drawn graphics and a style inspired by Jason Pollock but the compositing work behind it seems nice and simple. It's almost like a moving painting in style and in execution, more so than your average CG work. I have a Wacom drawing tablet but I feel like I could never produce such awesome looking images for use in AE but i'm trying! I'm trying to look for the full version of this but I can't seem to find it.

the lorax movie

so after not being able to figure out what to write about this week ... i have decided to write about The Lorax.

Dr Suess wrote the book in 1971 and was adapted for TV in '72 and now as a feature film in '12. Below is one of the trailers:

The following video is a behind the scenes "From Page to Screen" about how they designed/redesigned the characters and environment to fit the 3D world. The whole video is great to watch, but the details about specifically animation, is it around 1:04 in the clip. Although the animation and concept art graphics are minimal and simple, it just shows that the audience for this specific video is for the general public and everyone to see. I unfortunately could not find any other videos about the making of / creating these animated features.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pierre Michel

While I was online searching for really interesting videos to green screen myself in, I kind of got distracted when I came across a visual effects artist Pierre Michel. One of my roommates told me about him and suggested I look at some of his work. In each of the different videos he uses after effects, photoshop, and other After Effects plug-ins to create this intense short 3D animations.

On his Vimeo and Youtube channels he has numerous videos to watch and check out. My one favorite would definitely by the one labeled "Polar." I was really impressed by the entire three dimensional world that he created and especially the usage of the rain and how it is used to transition to different angles and scenes within the video itself.

 Also another video of his that you may want to look at would be his piano animation:
and last but not least would be his most recent video "Fireflower." Pierre Michel describes this video as "an abstract vision of sensuality with hints of alchemical mysticism." Like many of the other videos that I have watched from Michel this one focuses on intense texture and color. ENJOY!  

Green Screen Ideas

I'm currently out in Utica NY helping out on a thesis shoot. Luckily the nice Hotel Utica has wireless internet and I'm able to write this post right now. Unfortunately I might miss class Monday but I've been thinking about what I want to do for the green screen project. I keep getting ideas but then wonder about costumes and camera movement and things like that. Originally I thought it would be cool to place someone in Apocolypto during the sacrifice scene on top of the temple but the costumes are way too extreme. Right now I'm leaning more towards Star Wars. there are many examples of star wars fan green screen video on YouTube like this one.

But I may end up scouring archive footage and just doing something with that. I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Color Correction

I thought this video was interesting and wanted to share it with all of you. It is incredible how much has changed in just 10 years when it comes postproduction. The video talks about the color and the look of O Brother Where Art Thou and how they created the image that they were looking for. They took all of the shots and desaturated them to get a dust bowl type of look. All of the original shots were saturated with very rich greens and that was the exact opposite of what they ended up with in the final product. Just 10 years ago, it seems like a big process where you need a specialist in color to get these types of images, where as today you can do this type of editing alone on your laptop.

Friday, March 23, 2012

After Picnic

So, here is a  video about something I mentioned while we were enjoying the beautiful afternoon, remember...? blue skies, white puffy clouds?

I see it as an opportunity to flex your AE chops to do some good.

TED, which as you know streams 18-minute video lectures about big ideas, opened a new YouTube channel designed for teachers and professors, with videos that help visualize concepts, explain processes etc. If you are not familiar with TED please do watch as many as you can, you will not regret it.

The new channel, called TED-Ed, was announced a year ago, but it is only now unveiling the project’s first videos. The goal is to add new ones regularly. Within three months from now, a new video could appear each day, said Chris Anderson, TED’s curator..

To produce the new videos, the group is connecting content experts with animators to create highly illustrated productions. The average length of these videos is about five minutes (according to The Chronicle of Higher Education). Maybe you become one of those animators.

Compositing On TV

While looking for examples of compositing to help inspire me for the next project, I found this virtual backlot reel from Stargate Studios. The video shows how green screens are used in various films and shows. While we all know that they are used much more often than people realize, this video shows just how much can be added to the scene with the use of the green screen. The video also shows just how realistic some of the compositing is. Halfway through the video, I started trying to guess what was real and what was composited later, and at times I was surprised by the effects.


I thought this video was pretty cool since we were learning about processing in class this past week. This video was made with processing which shows you that you can do a lot of different things with the program. I was actually looking up green screen work and this showed up which is cool and weird at the same time. I hope to learn more about processing but I don't think this is the type of stuff I want to be doing very much in the future because of all the coding you have to figure out. It still is interesting to learn about.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Green Screen From Your Phone

If you don't mind a much lower quality version of a green screen, you can get it right from your iphone with the Green Screen Movie FX app. As long as you're standing in front of a solid colored background, the app will be able to transmit a moving background behind you, or a video of your own if you upload it. It is similar to the application on photo booth where you can put yourself in space or on the beach but with the iphone app, you can control the chroma keys to create a more realistic video and then upload it online.

While it is far from perfect, it might be a useful tool if you are working with a green screen and you have uploaded the background in order to determine where to place your actors to get a clean final product when you import the real thing. Or helpful when trying to pick a background to use, to see which one would look best with the lighting you have.

If Only I Were Somewhere...Different

Compositing is the new order of the day! As we will shortly be doing a great deal of compositing I did some looking around for a tutorial full of useful tips. Naturally it is nice and long but gives a lot of tips on changing and shaping your subject and environment to fit each other realistically. Visually matching footage for compositing is like therapy for imagery. You can only push an image with adjustment layers, lights, effects and 3D distortion so far before it can no longer be taken seriously and so you've got to try and find the point where the subject and environment compromise.

In our case the environment is already set and so we must make sure our subject is already visually close enough to the environment that you don't have to push it very far to find that point of agreement. However I didn't post any green screen lighting and shooting tutorials because I imagine you've all seen too many of those already! The Advanced Chroma Keying and Compositing tutorials deal only with compositing while the third video, Danse Dance, is a short and fun piece done by simply compositing looped footage.

DanseDance from Julien Vallée on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Project 1

For my project I made an attempt at a Kinetic Typography video. I found out that in order to make a good one, you need hours and hours and hours. I foolishly picked a song to do that has a very wordy first verse (Talk on Indolence by the Avett Brothers), so after spending several hours on it, I only got through the first 7 lines. It's about 15 seconds. At some point when I have more free time, I'd really like to go nuts with this and do the whole song (or at least the first verse and chorus). I think I've got a pretty solid start so far.

Open Processing

While searching for Processing ideas, I came across this website called It is a website where you can share your processing sketches with the community. By browsing through the collection of sketches you find not only the finished product but the source code that created it. This is a great tool because if you find a sketch that you find interesting you can see the code and try to decipher it. You can also create workshops or classrooms within openprocessing to teach people and share knowledge. There are also collections of work, separated into genres like particles or geometry. The site is very easy to navigate and it's really cool to browse through the projects. Many of them are extremely complicated and I couldn't make any sense of the source code but maybe we will all be able to in the near future!

Monday, March 19, 2012 and Vizrt to be partners

Over the past two years and especially during the current presidential race there has been a growing trend of integrating social media into live television. Viewers can tweet everything from questions for a political debate to comments about a live broadcast with the chance of it showing up on television screens across the nation. I'm sure a few of you, like myself have wondered exactly how this is done. As it turns out the system is much more complex than I first thought. Apparently television channels like the BBC and NBC out source this function to a variety of companies offering various options for creating an interactive environment for viewers by integrating  social media and mobile phone applications with live television. On top of the company who develops the technology to make this happen an entirely separate group of companies are hired to design the real time 3-D graphics you see on the screen. According to two of the leading companies on both ends of this new technology have just announced a partnership that will not only be lucrative for them, but also has potential to make getting access to this technology a lot easier for clients. The website quotes the CEO of (one of the companies involved in the partnership) as saying "Vizrt is the world leader in real-time 3D graphics, and is the world leader in social TV solutions. Together we bring to the market an unmatched end-to-end solution to connect the audience directly to the action on TV." So, will we be seeing more and more social media on our television screens over the next couple of years? My guess it yes. Let's at least hope they come up with some good looking graphics to go with it!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sky Replacement

As I casually celebrate Saint Patrick's day with some friends in Burlington Vermont I still wish that I was somewhere warm and sunny. But soon I will be back under the grey skies of Ithaca. There is a way to get yourself under a bright blue sky anytime you want through video, sky replacement. Generally the sky is just white or grey, this is easy to key out and replace with whatever sky you choose and because clouds usually don't move very fast a still image can be used and motion tracked. Andrew Kramer explains it all very well on this tutorial. I wonder just how often this technique is used professionally.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


hitRECord is a an artist collaboration project started by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The company consists of thousands of professional and amateur contributors who send in anything from a film to a song to a poem to the website, they also have a tumblr where they feature many of the works that have come in to the website. If something does make money (or is featured in a book they put out) they split the commission with the person who sent it in, whoever that may be. It really is a just a huge community of artists working together and getting their creations out there.

Occasionally they will send out requests for a particular field to help them which could be a huge step for someone who is just getting started. The youtube channel shows a lot of these and I noticed that many of them did call for an animator (even though most of them are pretty old, you could keep an eye on it, it seems to update about once a week).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Whoops...Last Week's Blog

So I meant to post this for last week's post but with the packing and traveling for spring break, I just seemed to forget. However, I hope this can still count as last weeks blog, and I will be more than happy to post more over break.

Anyway, after handing in my first project before break, which was an animation for my production company, I continued to think of different way to enhance it and make it better. The original starts out with a silhouetted  figure running out of frame and has the words "Driven Productions" carve out of the wall behind the individual. Here is the actual video, so you may have an idea of what I am talking about:

However, the music ends abruptly and I wanted to add a little something extra. For example, having the entire wall explode afterwards and then have the words "Driven Productions" appear behind the exploding wall that will be shining or glowing, just to give the entire opening a more of a "bang" ending. This is one video I saw that I am going to try and recreate for the wall exploding.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Using a mix of 18th Century Victorian era medium (silhouettes) and Wayang (Indonesian shadow puppets) , Anthony Lucas created this magical world, influenced by the work of authors such as  Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Verne.
This short feature went on to get an Oscar nomination, a BAFTA award, the Grand Prix award at the Annecy Animation Festival, the top honours at the Canadian Film Centre's Worldwide Short Film Festival, Best Animation at Flickerfest 2005 and Best Animation at the Sydney Film Festival among other important awards.

Although this film was made years ago (2004) and it has been posted before in previous semesters you might not be familiar with it and it is really worth taking a look. Anthony is an Australian director who used a combination of traditional animation,, stop-motion and After Effects to create the steam-punk world. He says the film took between 3-4 years to make, not counting a couple of years for marketing it, but the effort paid off. I think it is an inspiring piece of work.

Here is a more recent trailer for the award winning film "Junk", a film by Kirk Hendry from New Zealand that uses a similar style.

Thesis Opening Title

Here is the opening title for the Thesis film I am working on "Wintersmith." I've worked it for the past few weeks, although I haven't yet seen how it plays on the auditorium screen where it will show. Hopefully between now and then I won't find too much more to tweak!
 This is a sample as the final opening will have a different score and my plan, (so that it doesn't end so abruptly) is for the snow to continue and blend with the opening scene, in which it's snowing.

I may be doing some other motion graphics type work for the film too, so I'll see about posting some of that in the future.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I love StumbleUpon, and it's mostly because I can randomly find amazing videos like this. I Stumbled onto this experimental short film this morning, which recently won some awards at Sundance.

At first, I wasn't that impressed by what I was seeing. But once the fabric and string started to grow over the women's faces, I realized that this film was much more complex than I originally thought. And then at the end, when the men's faces start to deteriorate into sand and then explode, I was amazed. The special effects that they did were so complex, and I looks like a lot of work went into creating this film.

One the same page as the film, there was a short video showing some of the behind the scenes of making this movie. They don't explain anything, but I gave me a better idea of what the filmmakers had to do. Watching the sand was particularly interesting.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A History of Title Sequence

I found this video on vimeo and I personally like it because we are learning about making title sequences in class. Since Arturo taught us about the people who started making title sequences, this video captures the history of this subject. It gives this information as part of a title sequence which is pretty cool. With everything that we learned we can probably reproduce this title sequence quite easily now.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Star Wars Green Screen

Below is a short video on the making of Star Wars: Episode 3 and the amount of green screen that they had to use to obtain some of the effects. At one point in the video they say that there was an effect on every scene in the movie and sometimes dozens. You have to appreciate how much work and effort these professionals put in when you are talking about a feature length film. It takes us hours of fine tuning for very short animations and it is hard to image how much time it takes to complete a film like Star Wars. 

I guess I never thought about it before, but I was impressed that basically the whole lava planet was put in through green screen. This means that Lucas had to have the idea in his head of what he wanted for every shot so that the set could be perfect. This just goes to show that you can never overlook preproduction and you can cut down on production times substantially if you have everything mapped out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Interactive Starry Night

So Francine's project reminded me of this cool video I saw where Starry Night gets animated.

The concept is very similar, making the painting move. I think Starry Night really lends itself to being animated because of the brush strokes. The painting already has these swirling, and twirling type patterns that make you think of movement. The main difference in this video is that the whole painting is moving. Not only do they animate the whole painting, they then make it interactive. By touching the screen the animation changes. What really impressed me is how fluid it seems. As the hand drags across the painting the sky follows. A great work of art like Starry Night already has life but animating it gives the painting a whole new feeling.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lord of War

I've been working hard on my animation project and totally forgot to post this weekend.  So here is another great title sequence for the movie Lord of War.  I like how you get to watch the life of a bullet, from start to finish.  It works perfect for the movie because you can figure out what the movie is about, but you get no information at the same time.  The sequence allows you to pay attention to what is going on along with time to read the titles which i think is great.  Many opening sequences you only focus on one or the other.

Range Rover TV spot

Ugh. I can absolutely never get these in on Saturdays, my apologies. Anyways, I saw this Range Rover ad on TV and thought it was a nice use of motion graphics in a sea of bland, boring SUV advertisements. I like being able to note the things I've worked with on big TV ads, like wiggle, particle generators, motion blur, etc. There's no shortage of awesome examples of this stuff everywhere I look, which is great to see because motion graphics jobs seem to be more plentiful and in-demand than standard camera-based production work. I have wanted to learn After Effects and compositing since before college and am sort of pissed at myself that I didn't pick it up earlier, but now's my chance. For my project, I'm working on a production company intro/outro for a weekly CollegeHumor-style video shorts thing I'm doing with a few friends, and the part at 18 seconds in the range rover video was sort of what I was imagining for it, a bunch of floating, glowing orbs that either assemble into the logo or flyby the camera with the logo on them. We'll see what I can and can't figure out how to do...

the simpsons

although i tend to post about a current event or something from class, this week I am deciding to write about the Simpsons. I know that the show is created by designers, drawing out each and every frame of an episode; yet this process of digitally animating and creating the on-screen image is a lengthy process, at least according to Wikipedia (ha)!

i think the most interesting part of the now 23-year, 500+ episode series is that the style of animation -- the characters, storyline, sound FX, props, background layouts, timing, etc -- has stayed the same over the years. the characters never seem to age, never grow older, and never leave the original lifestyle -- obviously, if something drastic were to happen to any of the main characters, the whole premise of the show would change.

this video is, supposedly, the first ever episode of the series

now, this link is the most recent episode (from Feb 19). I could not find it out YouTube, therefore it is only a link -- not embedded. as we can see, there is not TOO MUCH that has changed in the series -- besides the voices (very slightly), opening intro (which includes various past episode clips and changes each week) and the HD-ness (from 1989 through 2009, it was 4:3 SD format), nothing has really changed.

lastly, this clip is of the producers and directors and characters speaking about their surprises, reactions, comments, and thoughts on the show -- from the past 23 years and 500 episodes

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Snow White and the Particle Transformations

Despite what I might think of the film itself, I watched the trailer for Snow White & the Huntsman recently and noticed a theme. Something that features very frequently is people turning into particles of some form or another, whether it be smoke, birds, or shards of metal. Thinking about transforming from subject to particle I did a little research and found quite a lot of tutorials and so many ways to do this sort of transformation. Of course Video Copilot has some top-notch tutorials, but they can be pretty advanced.

Here are two easier, slow paced tutorials from Creative Cow starting with text to particles and moving on to human to particles.
Particle World Transitions 1
Particle World Transitions 2

And of course one of Andrew Kramer's tutorials that looked most applicable. It's quite long (almost an hour), but it is very in-depth and the product is a high caliber.

Vimeo Anime Type Videos

So while I was bored the other day I was looking at various videos on vimeo and came across this video:

TODOR & PETRU from CRCR on Vimeo.

When I first started watching this short video I thought to myself "oh well this is just another stop motion video." However, as I continued to watch I realized it turns into this intense more upbeat anime type of animation. The music takes away from the video, but besides that and a few semi vulgar moments I think the actual animation is pretty interesting. The one aspect of the video that I really enjoyed would be the part when the tattoos on the one guy's body turns into this cartoon type liquid and moves off of his body and floats behind him. I think the overall look gives off a type of "comic book" feel to it, which is pretty cool. I was just interested in what programs or plugins they may have used to generate an animation similar to this. This video was created by a French production company named Wizz Design and by Remi Bastie. If you visit their website you can see a few videos that the company has generated as well.

Here is another short video by the same company, with a similar feel and look to it as the previous video I posted in this blog:

Elle est belle Machette from CRCR on Vimeo.

Overall some pretty interesting videos and I apologize again for the music/visuals that may have bee incorporated in this video! ENJOY!


ZEROING from andrey nepomnyaschev on Vimeo.

I found this animation on Vimeo and thought that it was really amazing. The way they started with the planets around the sun and transformed the concept into a black hole was so cool (but actually a little frightening also). I thought that when the fabric was just hanging, all tattered and blowing was beautiful. That fabric looked so real. As i was watching it I was thinking about how much went into the animation and how great that animator must be.


I went onto vimeo and found this video:

This video is a cool animated video. I think you could use this type of video on after effects. The motion and the color changes are very interesting. The shape change was manipulated in after effects to get the video to look the way that it does. It's all about the key frames which makes this video possible to make. I also liked the way the music was coordinated with the changes in shape of the cube. The technique of making the block go from one dimension to three was also very well done. This short, even though it was so simple, kept my interest and made me smile.

The ZoomQuilt

Through the years of my surfing the internet I have come across many websites like It is a simple concept of continuously zooming through a picture and never stopping. Some of them tell stories as you move from picture to picture and others just give you a lot to look at. They have always fascinated me and now it is really cool to know that I could make my own with a little help from After Effects.

I did a little research on these types of works and it seems that "Gridcosm" was one of the first to introduce a continuous zoom through art. Gridcosm started in 1997 and since then over 300 different artists have contributed to make more than 3400 layers. I recommend that you go to the website and click on "random layer" a couple times just to see what you will find in this behemoth of art work.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tale of Three Brothers Animation

I recently remembered the animation from the second to last Harry Potter movie. It was done to accompany Hermione's narration of the Tale of Three Brothers story. When I first saw it, I was blown away by how cool it was. Watching it again it's even more amazing. The figures are beautiful and the way it moves seamlessly from scene to scene is incredible.

Looking up more about the sequence, I found out that the look was based on Asian shadow puppets and early animator, Lotte Reiniger's style. The programs they used were ZBrush and Maya. The director says that "in terms of the animation it was a pretty standard affair," which I can't believe. It looks so complicated to me as a beginner. Here's a link to an interesting interview with Ben Hibon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tilt Shift

Christopher Schaarschmidt took 12000 pictures with his camera in a national Park in Saxon, Switzerland and created a miniature story of the area and set it to music, manipulating the depth of field.

Small Life in Saxon Switzerland from Christoph Schaarschmidt on Vimeo.

Christopher collected the photos throughout five days and compiled them to make a stop-motion type video that shows scenes from the town. These videos are very popular and I found it here, a site that shows some really amazing examples of this. The tilt-shift technique can be done with a special lens, but it can also be created on your computer. It mostly involves creating a focus point, usually in the center of the footage, and blurring everything around it.

Below is a simple tutorial on one way to create tilt shift (a more simplified version then some of the others I found)

This is another amazing one I found that takes place in London using 25850 images! The site also included instructions from the creator of the video.

The Best Intros

Since I'm doing a production company intro for the first project, I began looking at all the intros for the major production companies for some inspiration. The first one I always think of is Dreamworks. (Sorry it wouldn't let me imbed it) I love how the reflection of the water is disturbed by the bobber and how we move up through the clouds to see the boy on the moon. The sequence is just very fitting with the name Dreamworks.

Another sequence I think is very cool is Lionsgate.
All the moving pieces in the lock in conjunction with the creaking sounds gives such a distinct feel. Then the zoom out at the end to reveal the door and it opening to the logo is pretty epic.

The intro to Miramax is a another one that is very well done.
The color is so key in this intro because it starts out during the day and you can see the colors change as the scene descends into night finally coming to the skyline where the logo appears in the building lights. It's a very distinct intro and gives a really smooth feel.

We are all familiar with the intros to Universal,
20th century fox
and Disney
and they too are great examples. None of these intros do anything too flashy but they are all very unique and memorable. The other thing that I noticed is how important the music is to the feel of the intro. With the exception of the miramax intro, we associate certain songs with certain companies. Within the first few bars of the song and the first image we see, the audience can immediately identify the company. Having a lasting impression on the viewer with your opening is key. I feel like it makes your company have a special air about it.