My animation,’Deptford Work and Play Co-op’, outlines the concept behind my proposal for a soon to be developed site at Convoy’s Wharf, Deptford. The proposal is intended to work incrementally over time, driven from the bottom up by local needs and desires, but potentially applicable to other sites as part of a wider strategic vision.
The aesthetic of the animation is intended to be appropriate to the message: that simple, economical gestures when creatively combined, can lead to much bigger, and more complex possibilities.
Storyboards and all drawings were created in Illustrator. I modelled the site first in Rhino, then perspective views were converted to the animation style in Illustrator.
Basic steps taken to create the animation:
- Created a storyboard on separate Artboards in Illustrator and saved as jpeg’s to use later as visual guides for placement of drawn elements.
- Saved groups of drawn elements from storyboards as ‘top layers’ in separate Illustrator documents. Imported elements into After Effects.
- Created a simple narrative using short text layers at intervals throughout animation.
- Used masks to uncover words and keyframed opacity levels to fade out. Also animated text along a path by selecting layer, drawing path with pen tool >Path Options> Mask 1> First Margin and setting start and end keyframes along timeline.
- Used Null Objects to adjust scale and position on large groups of imported layers.
- Manipulated and animated elements using the core Transform tools – Rotation, Position, Scale, Anchor Points and Opacity.
- Used Masks to reveal and hide elements.
- Created Mask Paths and pasted to ‘Position’ in Transform menu of selected layers, to move drawn elements along a path.
- Created Pre-Comp’s at natural transition points between scenes to clean up layers panel and allow fading in/out between.
- Checked Continuously Rasterize switch in all vector drawn layers and associated null objects to ensure clarity of lines when zoomed in.
- Fine tuned movements using easy ease and manipulating bezier curves in the graph editor.
- Animated boats and materials along mask paths, then rotated throughout movement to create slight rocking effect.
- Modelled the site and imagined outline built creations using Rhino, saved perspective views and traced in Illustrator. Animated these views by separating drawn elements, staggering in-points along the time line and using animated masks to create stop-frame effect.
- Created ‘mirrored’ motion effects, eg. when taking off Russian doll tops and replacing again, by cutting/copying animated path keyframes, right-clicking keyframes and choosing key frame assistant to time reverse.
- Animated separate sections of dolls, then later moved them together as one by setting up null objects as controls and nesting them in a complex hierarchy, parenting layers using the pick whip tool.
- Split layers to enable changes in animation of elements using more than one nul object.
- Created shapes using pen tool and animated them using transform tools and paths.
- Adjusted speed by using keyframe interpolation to convert intermediate keyframes into Roving Keyframes, dragging start/end points of action and used Time Stretch to adjust speed of pre-comps within composition.
I also experimented with adjustment layers and effects, in particular for transitions, but in the end chose not to use them as I felt they would take away from the stripped back aesthetic. Given some more time I would have loved to have created a simple sound track, including ambient sounds from the river, adventure playground and local workshops and integrated this with the movement of the animation. I decided to save this for another day rather than do a botched job. In the time available I am very pleased with how my skills have progressed in using After Effects and can’t wait to apply them to my next project, this time with the benefit of experience and hopefully with a little more finesse.