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The Exquisite Ant

By School of Motion

Motion Design is a collaborative process.

The best part about working on an animation with other people is the fact that you often have no clue what they're going to bring to the table. You get to experience a thrill like opening up a wrapped present every time you see the next iteration from your collaborators. 
And working on an "Exquisite Corpse" animation is a way to experience the ultimate version of that uncertainty. You animate something, spending hours tweaking the keys and getting things just right and then... you stop. You're done, and it's out of your hands. You hand the wheel of the car over to the next person, and you get to sit back and watch where they take you. 
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Behold, the Exquisite Ant!

We thought it would be cool to challenge our Bootcamp alumni, and to make a contest out of this concept, so we reached out to some of our buddies (who all happened to have the word ANT in them... strange huh?) and we put together a Motion Design pro-am of sorts.

The premise was fairly simple:

Giant Ant would animate 5-seconds of animation based on the them "Mathematics." Then each week, alumni of ourBootcamp Programs would compete to animate the next 5-seconds. It was always a very close vote, but we chose one winner each week for 4 weeks, and then had Giant Ant finish off the final 5-seconds of animation. In the end, we had :30 of animation that goes all over the place stylistically, but has a quirky way of staying within the realm of "Mathematics."
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Presenting our four winners...

My GAWD, it was a very tough call each week to choose a winner. Everyone brought their A-game, but in the end we had four winners, each of whom had their animation included in the final piece.

Week 1: Nol Honig - Week 2: Zach Youse - Week 3: Josef Atlestam - Week 4: Kevin Snyder -

You can see all of the entries for all four weeks of competition here:

Now, to make this really kick ass, we needed sound.

Enter Antfood, the audio geniuses behind the Blend Opener who came up with a soundtrack that completely complements the abstract visuals. Sound Design is still a bit of a dark art, in my humble opinion, and companies like Antfood make it seem effortless. (Though I'm quite sure it's not)

Sometimes, a little extra motivation helps.

The chance to work on an animation with Giant Ant + Antfood is pretty damn motivating on its own, but to make it even more enticing we enlisted the help of the fine folks at Red Giant, who hooked up the winners of each week with a full license of Trapcode Suite 13, the latest release of the absolutely-must-have plugin package for After Effects.
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Giant Ant and our Bootcamp alums worked their booties off each week to make something special. Competition happens to be a pretty great way to trick yourself into working harder than you normally would, and this can result in some quick growth in your skillset. Everyone involved in this competition learned a lot, and you should too!
If you've ever wanted to see what a Giant Ant After Effects project looks like, download the entire Exquisite Ant package below and find out for yourself. You must be a VIP member to download the project, but it's free and you'll get hooked up with all kinds of members-only content, deals, and news. Thanks so much for checking out this cool piece of work, and we hope to see you around School of Motion again soon!-joey

Download the Exquisite Ant Project File

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GIANT ANT ( (Beginning & End) Directed By: Giant Ant Produced By: Cory Philpott First Part Design: Rafael Mayani First Part Animation: Jorge Canedo Estrada Final Part Design and Animation: Henrique Barone Final Part Compositing: Matt James

SCHOOL OF MOTION (Middle 4 Sections) Nol Honig ( Zach Youse ( Josef Atlestam ( Kevin Snyder (

Sound Design by ANTFOOD ( Sweet Prizes by RED GIANT (