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The Furrow's COVID-19 Collaboration

Ryan Plummer

Be mentored by top-tier motion designers and dig into their COVID19 collaboration project files.

When the quarantine started, The Furrow wanted to share healthy ways to live and raise awareness about the challenges COVID-19 presented for many people. But they also wanted to share information that went a step further than the repetitive artwork already out there, such as “wash your hands”.


So The Furrow gathered information from resources such as the CDC and the World Health Organization and formed short statements that were either based on general guidance or facts.

The Furrow didn’t want to just make a quick project and be done with it. They wanted to lay on all the polish and care professionals could give. This collaborative project attracted top artists in the field, and quickly had the need for a visual identity. With a strong plan and clear creative direction, the project delivered something truly special.

With nearly 40 artists adding their own flair, manipulating the shapes, and applying the fairly broad color palette, this project is a dream. The effort was herculean and the message is strong.

The messaging in this article is not medical advice from School of Motion or any contributor to this content. Please consult a medical professional for advice.

Digging In and Learning

Community, giving back, and collaboration are so very important to us here at School of Motion. We've been working closely with The Furrow to bring a series of videos highlighting some of our favorite pieces and what went into creating such wonderful animation.

Every part of this project is amazing; nothing fell below perfect execution in both design and animation. It was hard to decide just what to share. That's why we decided on three Project Breakdowns.


Each breakdown demonstrates the unique way in which the artist approached animation, whether it was setting up the project well upfront to avoid headaches, relying heavily on expressions, or using multiple programs to achieve the right effect.

If you’re looking for how to become a better animator, this series is definitely going to help. Imagine if you could pull a seat up next to professional motion designers and learn how they work.

Frames from each piece, credits below!

Mentorship like this doesn’t get to happen very often, so open up your brain and soak it in!

Follow Along with Hands-on Learning

What’s a walkthrough without a project file so you can follow along? The Furrow was gracious enough to offer project files for these breakdowns. We highly suggest downloading and opening up these professionals' After Effects projects so you can see how these magical sausages were made.



Alex went beyond just using After Effects by pulling together the use of cel animation in Adobe Animate, some effectors in Cinema 4D, and some wonderful shape layer tricks in After Effects to pull it all together.

At first, a multi-program workflow may sound intimidating. But once you see the breakdown, you'll be surprised at how simple workflow improvements can stack up to make a truly remarkable end product.

Alex covers how he blended these different mediums, building and using references for nailing animations, compositing effects and many sweet little workflow tips.

The Art of Expressions - Victor Silva

The time-lapse animation that Victor produced turned out so great, and we wanted to dive right into how Victor approached this effect.

We’ll get to see how Victor used a combination of layer styles and expressions to rig everything together in a way that made animating more simple than you might think. You’ll find from looking at a project file like this, that in some instances, a clever rig can be all you need.

Pre-Planning and Organization is Key - Steve Savalle

Steve shows us how he used momentum and match cuts to transition scenes, how he planned for varying aspect ratios, as well as a handful of tips & workflow enhancements.

In this breakdown, we get to see how organization and pre-production can streamline the animation process and how beneficial it is when collaborating with other artists.




Time to Go Pro

These motion designers are where they’re at today because they’ve taken time to learn, experiment and join in the motion design community.

Our battle-tested courses are designed to replicate and accelerate that process, but they require work and coffee. If you’re stuck in your career or want to blast through learning a motion design subject, check out our course page.

We can get you up and running using expressions, teach you how to work with clients starting with pre-production all the way to final delivery and even offer training in illustrating your own work in Illustration for Motion.

From day one you’ll join other students traveling the same path, and when you’re finished you get to jump into our alumni network. We see alumni helping, sharing and growing everyday… it’s wonderful.


Tutorial Full Transcript Below 👇:

The Furrow's COVID-19 Project Breakdown - Part 1, with Alex Deaton

Seth Eckert (00:00:00): When the quarantine started. We wondered how we could get some beautiful information out there, focused on sharing healthy ways to live and raise awareness about COVID-19.

Seth Eckert (00:00:18): My name is Seth Eckert and I lead the creative team at the Furrow studio based in Lexington, Kentucky information on how to wash your hands is incredibly important, but we also wanted to supplement that information with taking things a step further. So we gathered information for resources, such as the CDC and the world health organization informed short statements that were either based on general guidance or facts to make this collaboration successful and feel cohesive. We knew we needed a brief to get everyone on the same page. We use the brief to outline the subject matter per shot, outline the deliverable specifications and to build a visual identity for the project. Our hope was that these guardrails would give the artists room to flex their creative muscles. And at the same time, keep us all aligned. We relied on this format and design style to unify everything.

Seth Eckert (00:01:02): So this included the color direction mood and the style frame and building the mood we selected geometric and abstract compositions as the scenes would be grounded by the text per frame, which has a color palette that had enough depth to mold to each concept. And finally, we built out a frame to use as a foundation on how style mood and color could all come together. After we build out all of this, we started to see who might be interested in helping us out. It was really cool to get to hear back from so many artists who genuinely were excited to come onboard and help us out. I'm continually hyped that I get to be a part of this awesome design and animation community. Again, huge shout out to the amazing team that sacrificed their time to come on board and help us with the project in efforts to further impact our community.

Seth Eckert (00:01:45): We wanted to share some insight into how some of this was made. So we're teaming up with the school of motion and the motion designers who built this outstanding work to break down some of what took place and creating these visuals for this video. I've got Alex Deaton joining me and we're going to be digging into his project files. Alex went beyond just using after effects by pulling together the use of cell animation and Adobe animate some effectors and cinema four D in some shape layer tricks and after effects to pull it all together. At first, a multiple program workflow may sound intimidating, but once you see the breakdown, you may be surprised at how simple little workflow improvements like this can stack up to make a truly remarkable end product. Alex covers how he blended these different mediums building and using references for nailing animations, compositing effects, and mini sweet little workflow tips.

Seth Eckert (00:02:33): I highly suggest downloading the project file and following along with Alex and I, you can find the link in the description. So I know Alex with, with us painting all of this stuff off to you, like the mood and, and all of that stuff. I know Marco was the one that designed the piece ultimately, but, uh, I'm curious from my perspective, you know, how all of this landed with you, um, uh, when you receive like the mood and the style frames and the color and all that stuff, and started to see what Marco was putting together. Did that start to spark some, some ideation for some of the emotion that you were going to exhibit in your project?

Alex Deaton (00:03:06): Uh, yes, definitely. When I, when I saw Marco's amazing frames, I was, uh, I was frankly intimidated at first because as most motion designers know any way, the object that you have to animate is, uh, it spells trouble right out of the gate. But, but I knew that this was, uh, this is going to be a great challenge to tackle it. He had designed a couple of really, really good frames. And so my mind immediately started sparking off of what I could do with, with the wings and how we could get them to, to unfurl and, and, and, and do the wave and then eventually how to, how to make the loop happen. So, yeah, I was, I was kind of running wild when I first saw them.

Seth Eckert (00:03:45): Yeah. So as far as, like, I know, like when he, when he built those, um, you know, the, the idea of thinking about how things would loop, um, what were your initial thoughts? Like, I guess, like, as far as your process was concerned, did you just start storyboarding things out or did you just kind of dive in and start animating straight ahead? Uh, what, what was your process there?

Alex Deaton (00:04:06): I think because we were working on a somewhat tight schedule and this is all after hours, I four, I four went, that's a word storyboarding and just kind of, kind of went for it. I saw in my head what I wanted to happen, and it was only about a ten second animation anyway, or seven, seven and a half second animation anyway. So I knew, uh, that, you know, I could, I could sort of plot it out and just, just go straight forward if it were longer, I probably would have storyboarded it. Uh, but yeah, I, I knew that I basically wanted the butterfly's wings to flap off and wipe the screen back to the start from the very get go. And so that's what I ended up building it towards,

Seth Eckert (00:04:42): As far as your, your pipeline for, for execution on that. I know we had, um, uh, I know Marco's original design had, uh, some, like, I think the wings were originally straight and you had like a little bit of a different approach, and then we thought, Hey, what if we added some way to that? Sorry, that was, yeah. That was an additional challenge. Yeah, that was, that was my bad dude, but I think it helped, you know, I mean, it added a little bit of extra excitement to it. Um, and I would kind of like that little, that flowy vibe to it. Um, so yeah. So like what, what was your pipeline like? Cause I know you used, um, when, when we saw the original work come back, we were like, golly, this isn't done just in 2d, you know, you've got kind of multiple layers of programs. It seems like. So what, what software did you use as far as, uh, developing this

Alex Deaton (00:05:25): Yesterday? Just dive into, uh, to how I built the wings.

Seth Eckert (00:05:28): Yeah, let's a Yellowstone.

Alex Deaton (00:05:31): Okay. Yeah. So, so first my obvious, uh, first, uh, idea was I'm just going to use wave for, I don't want to have to go outside after effects. Maybe I could make this work with wave warp and, uh, uh, so that's how I built it at first. And, and, uh, I'm going to jump inside the, the project file here. Give me just one second. So yeah, I, I, uh, I initially just had the, uh, the wings sort of a shape layer open up, um, and had a wave war along the, the shape layer. And then I just mirrored the top and bottom of it. But what I found is that it wasn't, it didn't look the way I wanted it to look. I want it to look like it was unfurling. And then on top of that, uh, you essentially have no control over a wave war.

Alex Deaton (00:06:15): Uh, you, you have to do all sorts of things on top of it to make it work. You have to, you have to put all sorts of effects like corner pinning or, or other things to get the taper, to look right the way that it was designed in Marco's frames. So eventually I decided, you know what, I'm going to do this in cinema. So I had, um, my friend Preston Gibson, who actually happens to live right next door to me, come over and give me a few pointers on how I can build this out in cinema. And he, he, uh, told me that using formula in a linear field would be the smartest way to build that out. So, so what I did is I actually ended up taking a plane. I'm just going to turn off these layers here so you can see the originals, right?

Alex Deaton (00:06:56): So I ended up making a plane in cinema, and then I used a couple of, uh, of effector shield, like a correction effector tip taper, and a main taper to get the original shape back the way that Marco had designed it. And then I added a formula effector on top of that to, to get the wave going, but in order to get the, a formula effector to look the way I wanted, so that, that would be to have no wave at the beginning of the tip and have a wave kind of maximize to the middle of the wing and then taper off at the end. I had to put a linear field on it. And that, uh, that essentially in this mapping section here inside the cinema, that allowed me to control the shape of the wave a lot more finely than I would have been able to, if I had done it inside of after effects using wave war.

Alex Deaton (00:07:44): So props to Preston for, for walking me through that, it was a huge help. And then, uh, just to get the unfurl, I, I, I got the, the wing itself to, uh, scale up and then I just used a bend deformer that's it I've been, deformer just sorta wraps it around and then it sort of unfurls like that. So, uh, yeah, that's, that's how I built it in cinema. And then the trick after that was going to be how to get that into after effects and, and make it work the way I wanted it to. So I, I did sort of a, a fake puzzle mat, which if you don't know, that is a, it's a type of sin, uh, 3d compositing technique that you can export a 3d with different colors, bring it into after effects and sort of key the colors out to separate them and composite them in aftereffects, how you'd like to.

Alex Deaton (00:08:30): So I just, I colored the wing in primary colors here, red, yellow, and blue. And then I imported it into, uh, into aftereffects jump inside the wing layer here and after effects and, uh, pumped a gradient through it. So this is where it's going to get really nitty-gritty I don't know if you want me to walk through this. Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. I'll go. I'll go into it. So once, once I had the 3d layer inside of after effects, like, so, uh, I ended up building a gradient on a shape layer so that I could get the proper colors and also get this effect. I really wanted to see where the gradient is sort of, uh, moving through the wing as it's waving, like, so, and in order to do that, this is an effect that I use all the time when I want this. A ruling gradient effect is using color Rama actually in order to push a gradient through and, and get it to sort of evolve, uh, like you see there.

Alex Deaton (00:09:28): So it's just sort of like, uh, rolling across the shape, uh, how you do that as essentially, let me one sec, you put a ramp, you put a ramp on a shape layer, like, so I'm just using a regular old gradient lamp ramp inside of the shape layer. And then you put color Rama on top of that, and you use, uh, the intensity of the luminance from that layer to map the color Rama effect onto the layer. And so then I build my gradients inside of the output cycle here, and I can just animate the face, shift, this, this little evolving, uh, effect or here, and that'll just push the, push the gradient through the layer and make it roll like that. So it looks nice and smooth and looks like it's evolving with the wave of the wings. So that's essentially how I can posited the 3d layer, uh, into, after effects to, to get that look.

Alex Deaton (00:10:29): The, the next step is where it was really tricky. I knew what I wanted to do to get the wings to, to animate off. Uh, and I knew there's probably no way I could get it done in either after effects or cinema. I wanted the butterfly to sort of flap off screen and then for the wings to sort of wrap in wipe across the screen to end the animation. And so I went back to Preston and I said, Hey, bud, please tell me there's some way to do this in cinema. And he said, uh, no, you're out of luck. Sorry. I decided, okay, I guess it's time to do cell. So this is actually, this whole thing is sort of a wild combination of cinema, uh, after effects, trickery and cell animation. And, and so I'm going to walk through through how I kind of combine these two, uh, at the end here. So, so after I had gotten it composited, it was going through this loop here where the wings were sort of just, uh, undulating and, and the gradients were pushing through it. That all looked nice. I knew I was going to have to fake some of this ending animation here to, uh, get it to look nice and sell. So I exported the loop for the wings, uh, out of aftereffects as a reference, and then I brought it into animate. So I'm going to jump into animate here because there's the,

Seth Eckert (00:11:48): And I mentioned to that at that point. Yeah. It's so important to like, uh, build some of reference when you're going into cell animation. Otherwise it's, you can animate the whole sequence and be like, oh, no, like the timing is off or whatever. So I'm wondering maybe if you want to speak more to even just like building the reference side of things.

Alex Deaton (00:12:06): Uh, yeah, I mean, I, it was essentially that I knew a hand animating these waves was, was going to be far too complicated for what I wanted. I only needed them to undulate for a second before the butterfly sort of pushed off screen. So I, I just, I rendered out a loop of the wings, just undulating and aftereffects, just sort of the, the wave going through itself. And then I used that as a reference to build the beginning of this animation here, where they're still sort of pushing through a little bit, they're still still kind of catching the end of that animation so that it would match. So the movement wouldn't look too jittery. If you actually look closely in my, uh, aftereffects effects, you can see the mistake. There's a, yeah, I might as well show it. Why not? There's a point at the beginning of the animation where, uh, the wings sort of jitter on the top there. And that's just because my, my cell didn't match precisely to the, uh, to the, the, a perfect smooth formula effectors from cinema there. Well, it still looks

Seth Eckert (00:13:03): Good. I would have not caught that unless you brought it up.

Alex Deaton (00:13:07): Yeah. That's one of the tricks I would definitely say to, uh, to people in motion designers, you can hide more than you think, because this is totally Frankenstein. You can really, you can get away with more than you think when you, when you sort of, but different techniques up against each other, you just have to go for it first and, and crap it together. And it'll eventually work if you keep pushing it. So, yeah, I went into to animate and used the cinema, a reference I had rendered out to sort of get the beginning of this, uh, motion down. And then what I basically did is I just, I hand animated, no one likes hearing this, but this is what I did a hand animated, the little butterfly body doing that squish and moving up. And once I felt satisfied with that, that I felt that, uh, looked good enough that the animation was nice.

Alex Deaton (00:13:55): I started to do each wing layer one by one. I just sort of, um, made the match. The movement of the butterfly, tried to get a little bit of a push off there. So it looked like they were kind of rippling down and then pulling up with the butterfly. And then I just, uh, let me turn on the rough so you can see what it looked like initially. I think it, yeah, you can see, this is my later getting the, uh, getting the motion, just the closing, twisting and bubbling motion at the end there, that was me working that out on the outer edges of the wings. Once I got that to a place where I thought that looked good, I just started applying it to the rest of the layers one by one, until eventually I had something that didn't look half bad. And then I had to do the hard part.

Alex Deaton (00:14:42): I had to come back into after effects. And because I didn't want to clean this up in, in animate, which essentially means to make all those rough edges look smooth and vector like, which you'd have to go through and do that with a pin tool layer by layer. Typically that works for character animation. But for this, I knew that I needed, you know, I just needed the wings to be on there. First, second, I needed to push through all the, the same compositing techniques I'd used on the cinema renders, uh, through the, the animate later. So I just did it with shape layers and that's yeah, this is a brutal, it's not fun. You, you just have to move all the path points, uh, piece by piece, but on the backend, if you're, if you're doing this for something this short, it, it really does get the job done.

Alex Deaton (00:15:28): I don't know if you guys know Scott Johnson. Yes. Okay. So if you, if you look at Scott Johnson's stuff on Twitter, you can see him do, uh, doing this all the time. He, he put out this animation recently of a girl playing guitar, and it's all, uh, path animations and aftereffects. So he, he could probably speak more to this method than me, but it just seemed to be the right way to go for this. So, so I got the, the animate, uh, render, pushed out, brought it into after effects as a, as a reference. And then one by one, I took the wings and hand animated them every single path, every single point to follow the animation out of CC animate. And I just, I did this by hand and it took a long time, uh, to get it to follow, but it worked out all right in the end.

Alex Deaton (00:16:22): And you can see at this point right here where the wings sort of, uh, turn from the, the wavy portion to the stripes at the end, I collapsed all my different points together. I just sort of closed the busy handles and drag them into one another, just like that. So that I have fewer points to worry about. Then I can just worry about those four points at this point to, uh, to match my, my cell animation. So, yeah, I just, I basically matched it frame by frame. And then I went into my, uh, all my gradient layers there and I just matched the gradient layers as they, as they animated off. So I moved the ramp, excuse me, let me open this up. Just give me a sec. Yeah, I animated the ramp here so that it followed off with the wing and everything just sort of looks like it swoops right off screen. And it, it worked better than I ex I was expecting. I have to say when I played it back finally with all the pieces together, I was kinda surprised. Uh, but yeah, that's, that's basically my method for, for getting this to work. There's no easy answer. I really wanted wave warp to work. Uh, but that wasn't the case. I just had to, I had to piece it together and cinnamon and, uh, cell animated in the end and, and just composite together that way.

Seth Eckert (00:17:42): So when we set out, I know we had both the, the horizontal and the different vehicle layout. When you did the cell reference, did you do that in like a large square or, um, I'm trying to remember exactly how you did that as well, like tackling that challenge of the two formats.

Alex Deaton (00:17:58): Yes. So my, my method for making sure that I had the format, uh, set for you guys, the vertical format was just, just to just build it wide. So I just built it in a super wide. Yeah. I think it was 4k comp about, uh, 3,413 pixels across 1920 high. So I just built it out wide and I just kept in mind where the crop points were at any given time. I think I had a, a reference layer somewhere in here. I'm not going to be able to find it right now. Of course, that showed me where the, uh, the edges of the vertical comp would be. But otherwise, yeah, I just built it wide so that we could play it wide. And then the end, I have a layer here, just put that up where I just comped the whole thing in a, in a vertical copier. So I could put the text.

Seth Eckert (00:18:43): Yeah. Cause I was going to say, I mean, if you got through the whole thing and then you were like, oh no, I gotta do this for the other version. That would have been an absolute nightmare trying to match that again. So the importance of making sure your canvas was the correct size was huge.

Alex Deaton (00:18:55): Yes, absolutely.

Seth Eckert (00:18:57): So you have Marco's designs. We had the, the wave and the wings and you knew you wanted to have those wrap. Um, so in that moment you knew that there was something that needed to change about the way in which you animated it. What was that?

Alex Deaton (00:19:11): I think, I think I can speak to, I think I can speak to the general principle a little, if you don't mind just going off for a second. Yeah. So when I saw the designs, I knew that, you know, I had, I had a picture in my head of what I wanted the animation to look like, and we all know what that's like to see it perfectly in your mind. And then as soon as you sit down and realize, oh no, how do I build this? I think it's important. At least it is for me when I'm trying to push myself to keep the part in my mind that I, I want to make happen. I want to see that end result and, and just use all the tools at my disposal to make that happen. And in this case, it just so happened that I had to use three different programs to, to get what I wanted to have happen here.

Alex Deaton (00:19:59): Happen. I know if you were better at Sally, probably could have just done this whole thing sell, or if you were really good with aftereffects, you could probably figure out some trick. Uh, for me, I, I went because it was such a short schedule and I had to, I had to do all these sorts of different things. I went to, uh, to cinema to get one part done because it was the easiest and then to sell, to finish it up, just cause I knew that there was no other way to get that, that specific thing I had in my mind onto the screen. So I, I tried not to hold myself back, essentially. I tried not to say, oh, I can't do this in after effects. So, uh, you know, I'm just going to have to stick with wave warper oh, I can't get the rising and rapping a portion of the animation that I see ending it in cinema. So I'm just going to have to figure out some easier way to get it done. I said, no, how could I make this happen? And it so happened that the answer that I had at my disposal was cell animation. So I chose that at the end. So that was the, that was my reasoning behind jumping between all these different programs. It's just that I didn't want to compromise on, on the end result. And so I ended up having to, uh, to juggle different tools.

Seth Eckert (00:21:03): And that makes me think too, like one thing you mentioned about how, you know, the, obviously this was a project we did outside of work hours. So, you know, in a project like this, I mean, even in a client project, you know, time is a, is a factor. Um, so do you feel like, you know, through that lens you were thinking, Hey, I do have kind of infinite time, but I also don't have intimate time on this and not you had a quality level in your mind and he thought, okay, I could, I have the opportunity to expand into these other programs and maybe make something different. And he thought I don't normally do. Was that, was that kind of the trigger that kind of pushed you also into that space? Or were you thinking also through the lens of like, I only have X amount of time. I think this pipeline will get me there quicker.

Alex Deaton (00:21:46): Uh, it was a little bit of both, uh, the, the beauty of, of jumping onto projects like these that are number one for a great cause. And number two are organized by peers that you respect is that you want to push yourself and you have a deadline. So it was really great for me to know that, you know, I had, uh, essentially I think about a week to get through this particular animation. I did one previous to this, uh, and I, and I knew that I wanted to do something excellent. And I thought at the beginning, maybe I could do the wings and sell altogether and I could have done that, but it would have probably taken me twice as long. I'm not a particularly fast sell animator, although I'm pretty competent in it. Uh, I knew that I had to use a tool that would essentially give me the waves for free.

Alex Deaton (00:22:32): And so that, that was part of the reason I jumped into cinema was so balance between wanting to push myself and also making sure that I didn't embarrass myself and not turn in a project when all my peers were, were in the same slack channel and sharing all their awesome work. So yeah, it was, it was, it was trying to have, have, have it both ways, which is obviously super important when you're working on client projects too. And you know, you're not necessarily wanting to work yourself into the, into the ground at 4:00 AM in the morning on, on a Pepsi commercial. Right? Exactly. Yeah. No, those time-saving tools.

Seth Eckert (00:23:04): No, that's well said. I, I feel like that's, uh, something, I feel often as, you know, you want to do the best work possible, but you know, you never want to cut corners, but sometimes you can leverage software to your advantage to cut those corners and ultimately get a result that was probably better than you originally thought. So, cause I know like when we first saw the, um, the designs, I, I kept thinking like, man, like I know he wanted to do something. I think you had mentioned to me about like some kind of rap or something. Um, and, and I didn't, I wasn't aware of the pipeline that you were choosing, but I know like ultimately when I saw the end result, I was like, man, he made the made the right call and he definitely tied it all back together really, really well. So kudos again. It's uh, that scene was super bad-ass.

Alex Deaton (00:23:44): Thank you. Yeah, it was, I was super happy about it and got a bunch of high fives

Seth Eckert (00:23:49): In the slack channel when I posted this made me feel real good. Yeah. We're all freaking out. I think that might've been the only shot that I think had sell off to double-check on that, but yeah, I know like, cause you can always see the lift on, on stuff like that. And especially like, if you, you know, it seems like you built your reference out super solid. I know you shared the, uh, the GIF, um, of, of your, of your reference that you, you spit out of animate, which was really, really cool to see. So I guess like, so as far as execution of the frame, what was, did you have any pain points and recreating what Marco had done as far as like the compositing effects, plus also some of like the direction that we had laid out. Was there anything that you tinkered with or changed or had like pain points with?

Alex Deaton (00:24:28): That's actually a, you know, yeah. I can speak to that a little bit because, uh, I think a lot of people, when they look at these frames, they have the same feeling that all the animators saw when they looked at the frames, which is, oh, no, I'm going to have to rebuild all of this. Exactly. Because of course the designers were using all sorts of lighting effects and that the much more advanced gradient tools of illustrator to build these frames out. And so bringing these into, into a, we, we kind of had to find some workarounds. And so you can see that a little bit in sort of the orbs that are surrounding the butterfly here. I can achieve most of that with, um, just with gradient layers. So, so let me just select it a particle here to illustrate my point. Yeah. So as you can see what these particles here I could, I could achieve most of that with just gradient fills.

Alex Deaton (00:25:18): So, so here on the edge, I have this sort of lighting effect here and that's just a gradient with, uh, um, now with the radial, that's the other one it's a gradient with, oh, it is a radio, nevermind. It's a gradient with a radio, uh, um, shape to it just off the edge. You're given this highlight in another gradient up here, uh, given this little bloom here in the corner and you know, that's just a very simple way to recreate some of the, some of the effects. He had an illustrator on a single shape layer to make it simple to animate with, but in terms of the butterfly body itself, that one was quite a bit trickier. So I'll hop into the pre-camp there and show you exactly how I put that together. Okay. So yeah, this is, this is how I built out the butterfly body to match.

Alex Deaton (00:26:04): Marco's luxurious. Let's just call it luxurious design with all these great glints and shines and stuff like that. I basically had to build a bunch of different layers to get all that stuff in there. I tried to do it as much as I could, uh, procedurally that that is without having to build out, uh, different shapes to replicate the highlight layers. And I'll, I'll show you how I did a couple of those and that's one of them is with layers styles. So I used the inner shadow layer style, which is, uh, an excellent little tool instead of aftereffects, to add some dimension to your shape, layers, to add the base, basically the outer that was, uh, kind of around each of the shapes to give them this look like they have a light wrap on them. And I, I plopped the inner shadow onto, uh, each of the shapes here.

Alex Deaton (00:26:55): And then I adjusted the, the, uh, parameters here to give it a bit of an angle and a bit of distance. So it was showing up a little more on one side than the other. So it kind of looked like there was a directional light. And then I also changed that angle as the butterfly was animating it all and sort of, so it kind of looked like the light was wrapping around the edge of the butterfly's body a little bit. So that's how I added a general, um, uh, highlight layer to it. And then on top of that, inside of the, the actual shapes themselves, I added all sorts of little tricky things like a gradient, just to give it a sort of more dimensional look. And then I, I did a, this trick here, which merges these shapes together to, to add the Stripe itself, this sort of shape that Marco had designed in illustrator so that I could get that to move across the bottom of the body of the butterfly to make it look like it was spinning.

Alex Deaton (00:27:53): Uh, should I try to explain how I did merge shapes there? We think that'll be helpful. Yeah. I mean, go for it. Yeah. Okay. So this, this is something that once I learned how to do it in after effects, I do it all the time now. So this is when you're building out a shape. If you want to mask another shape through a shape, uh, what you would typically do in after effects, you know, is to duplicate the shape layer itself, uh, make it into a mask, maybe parent the path of the mask shape to the original shape and then make a whole new shape layer and just alpha made it through the, the, uh, the mask shape. And that, of course, that clutters up your, your later panel here. That is something I like to avoid if I can. And so what I do instead is that I, I, for instance, here, the main shape is what I call bottom here.

Alex Deaton (00:28:44): That's the shape of the actual butterflies, but I duplicate that shape. And then the shape that I want to mask through it, I put into a whole new group layer inside of the same shape layer here called shape. I dunno why I called it shape. That's a bad naming convention, but I have the Stripe and the bottom mask, which is the path of which is parented to the original shape here at the bottom. I have that in the same shape layer, and I have a merge paths inside of this shape group. So the merge paths is set to intersect. And that basically allows me to create, uh, a mask to shape layer inside of the original shape layer. So it's all contained inside of one thing here. And because the, the bottom mask here is parented or is a, the path is pick whipped to the path of this shape here. I don't have to worry about, uh, you know, matching any of the animation or duplicating any key firms or anything like that. It just sort of works. And then I can animate the strike here inside of the shape, which is what I did. I have it sort of animating across and it just masks straight through the butt. And it's all contained inside of a single AAA, which is really handy, especially because I have the,

Seth Eckert (00:29:54): I was going to say, I was going to say, I think like the real beauty of this kind of stuff. Cause I do a lot of this as well is it's, especially since, um, the fact that you basically made all these layers, 3d layers as well, um, is it's almost like you get the power of alpha matting and masking, but it's contained into the object itself to where then you could do position scale rotation and even additional layers of masking Madding and things like that on top of all of it. Um, so I know that's like one of those huge beneficial powers of, of the merge paths that I, that I love. So it's really cool. So you use

Alex Deaton (00:30:28): Absolutely. And you don't, and you don't have to worry about, you know, if you're going to infinitely rasterize your, your pre-competition to maintain the, uh, resolution inside of a master copy. You don't have to worry about any of the alpha mats braking, which can be a problem. Uh, especially if you're doing 3d, it just gets tricky. So it contains it all in one, in one spot there it's kind of like a shape layer pre-com is kind of a way to think about it. It's just a really handy trick. Yeah. So, so that's something I would definitely recommend you start doing, if you like me work with shape layers all the time. So that's how I can posited the shape in there. And then on top of that, I needed, cause he had too many you, Marco was pretty, but it was a no shiny layers all around the edges of the shape here.

Alex Deaton (00:31:12): I had to build another shape there and mask through, uh, uh, a second, just like I was describing you wouldn't do typically I had to do that with this because I think it's because I had to, uh, it was just easier to manage the animating these shapes around the edges in a separate shape layer. I maybe, maybe my reasoning wasn't great there, but that's what I ended up doing. So I added this little white layer on the bottom to give it a little bloom. Oh, I don't remember why I did it. Yeah, that's right. There's a blur on it. That's why, cause I couldn't blur the main shape layer. I had to blur out these, these highlights here so that they had a nice fall off. Uh, I had to put them on a separate shape layer that couldn't be on the original. So do you have, unfortunately, oh, go ahead.

Seth Eckert (00:31:51): I was going to say so as far as like the mask layer is concerned, I was wondering, even if you want to show us like all of your expressions that you have across this part. Um, but like how many did you link every single path that was supposed to be like the, but um, two like one animated, but player.

Alex Deaton (00:32:09): Yes I did. Yes. We will call it the, but that is what it is. It's called bottom here, but I should have named it, but big mistake on mine. That's I pick whipped the, the path of the, uh, the butt shaped layer to the original one here in, in, in, uh, my main shape here, the, the one named bottom. So this is the, the path here you can see, that's where the animation resides for the sort of the fake, uh, it's sort of a fake, a vertical turn here on the butterfly. That's, what's driving the path animation tape to get the little tip here, to, to pull out and the part here to, to pull out towards the abdomen. I just pick whipped inside of this masculinity. I was describing previously I pick whipped the shape to that there and in this new mask that I had to build for these, these softened and blurred highlights, I pick whipped that as well. And then of course, just parent at the, the full mask shape to the original shape as well.

Seth Eckert (00:33:05): Yeah, that's it, it's a real clean way to like set up your file. And I know I do this too, because it's, especially if you get like complex compositing, like stuff like this, having your animations driven by like one layer is huge that way. Like if, you know, you have no layer selected and you hit like you, you are, you are should just all the innovation properties. You're not going to have multiplied, uh, animations of the same path animation across different layers. Uh, so it just keeps your file like so clean and just so efficient. So kudos again, that's a, it's a smart built man.

Alex Deaton (00:33:37): Yeah, absolutely. That's that is through painfully learning the hard way, doing it the hard way by hand for years, and then finally doing it the right way and being like, oh God, all those hours wasted, but Hey, at least you know how to do it. Right. So yeah. Learn from my mistakes, please.

Seth Eckert (00:33:55): If you have a client, that's going to be changing stuff a lot, which I know we all have those, like, it's funny, like the, those kinds of projects that I have, the files are some of the most organized, clean, because it's like you're expecting things to change. So if you go in with that same mindset, you actually see, I feel like you save yourself hardship later, later, um, you know, with everything. I think it also drives down file size, which I know for a lot of people, isn't a huge deal. But for me, I, I get excited about that.

Alex Deaton (00:34:21): Yeah, me too. Absolutely. And an organization is it's so important, you know, you spend more time setting it up. Uh, you'll notice inside of my project file, hopefully I didn't avoid doing this anywhere, but typically I named everything. I named the layers, I named the shapes inside of the layers. And if I'm getting really tricky, I'll even name the paths depending on whether or not I have multiple paths inside a shape layer. That is just for me, it's so helpful. I feel like I'm such a scatterbrained person that when I'm going back to, to apply client changes to something it's so easy. If everything's named it's all labeled, you know, it's all organized like this. And especially if I do time saving measures, like pick whipping my mask shape layer so that all of my animation is on a single path. That sort of stuff is just really,

Seth Eckert (00:35:05): Yeah, exactly. I feel like I did a horrible job of that on my, my style fame for this project. So I'm glad to see the, at least the, you guys are organized on your end. Uh, cause I think mine are just like shaped layer mask, you know, just the basic names, but yeah, no, that's huge.

Alex Deaton (00:35:21): Yes. It definitely, it definitely takes more time to set up, but it pays off on the back end big time.

Seth Eckert (00:35:27): So did you continuously, rasterize this comp into the main comp and that was that some of the reasoning why everything in that layer is 3d.

Alex Deaton (00:35:35): Yes, it is. That, that is why, so you, you can see this is the butterfly main body here in my, a layer structure in the main comp and is infinitely rest rising in 3d for, for all the other 3d layers that are going on. And that means in inside of the actual pre-camp that contains the body, all those layers have to be 3d as well. But because I, I simplified the bill. That was no problem at all.

Seth Eckert (00:35:58): Yeah, they, yeah, that, that, that's a huge issue. I've discovered the hard way as was well as like, you know, if you have a pre-com you're trying to continuously rasterize and the 3d composition in that sub comp is not 3d, you're going to basically be shooting yourself in the foot. Like, why is this not layered or linking up, like, what is wrong with this? So yeah.

Alex Deaton (00:36:15): Headaches everywhere. Yeah. So that, that, that really helped, um, this, this little piece fit together with the whole thing. It made it, you know, once you stack a little tricks like that on top of each other, it looks like magic. I know that when I see my favorite, uh, motion design pieces, I always wonder how did they do that? The answer is just a bunch of little tricks stacked on top of each other and you know, a bunch of caffeine addled hours sitting by us here and tweaking it forever,

Seth Eckert (00:36:42): Especially if you're going to do sell in after-effects.

Alex Deaton (00:36:46): Yes. Especially if you're gonna do sell in after

Seth Eckert (00:36:49): Effects. Can we see the, uh, the keys on that one again?

Alex Deaton (00:36:52): Yeah, sure. Um, yeah, let me jump inside. My wings, wings animating off. That's what that pre-con is called. So let's see here. Uh, this is the outer wing and uh, yeah. Is that it? I can't be it, I guess it is. Huh?

Seth Eckert (00:37:16): Can you make it look easy? There,

Alex Deaton (00:37:17): There it is. Yeah. Well, that's weird. I did. I actually, oh, no, that's the mask. Nevermind. I, I thought there had to be a key frame for every frame. Yes. I was looking at the wrong layer there. So that, that that's the a mask layer there that you can see is, is separating this from the, uh, the other one. Oh yeah. So here I can talk to that a little bit real quick. So you can see, I have a one layer here that's for, for both of these, uh, the top and the bottom of this wing here. And I needed obviously to push through different gradient colors for that, uh, so that it would match the design. And so in order to, to do that, instead of duplicating the wing layer and, you know, having multiple key frames, I did the same thing that I did with the butterfly body there.

Alex Deaton (00:38:02): I pick whipped the, uh, path animation for the original wing layer where I'm doing all those frame-by-frame moves with the, uh, path animation here to this one. And then I just masked it off that simple so that I could, uh, that I could push through the different gradient colors for the top and bottom of the wing there. That way I saved myself a bunch of time. I don't have, if you know, I have to go back and adjust the animation for the wing for a specific portion. It just copies through. But yeah, you can see in, in the wing animation here, it's a just hold key frames. These, this was done in what's this 24.

Seth Eckert (00:38:37): I think it was,

Alex Deaton (00:38:39): I think I might've intimated this. Oh yeah, it is. That's right. Oh my God. An hour. Now I'm remembering the nightmares are coming back. Yes. This is it's a 24 a FPS and I'm just doing hold key friends. It's not necessary to do hold key friends here because it's, you know, moving at the frame rate of the comp, but I that's how I would do it. If I were doing, let's say 12 FPS cell animation inside of after effects is you just do hold key frames and just do it a frame by frame, or at least every, every time you want the animation to move. And that's essentially how I, I copied the cell animation from Adobe animate here is I just went in and I moved all of these points frame by frame, by frame. And so

Seth Eckert (00:39:19): Did you do the butterfly's body first or did you do the wings first?

Alex Deaton (00:39:24): I did the butterfly's body first and I think I spoke to that inside of, uh, animate. Yeah. So what I did. Yeah. Yeah. So what I did first is I, once I got the ref in here as I'm animated the butterflies Bonnie here, I'll just turn all these off. I just did that to get that nice little squishy squish as he's moving off screen. And once I had that, I could kind of plan out the, uh, the rest of the wing animation to follow. And, and like I said, originally too, I, I have this rough here to get the main outer movement of the wings sort of blocked in. And then once I have that, I could go back in and fill out the rest of the wings to somewhat match it. Although you can see, I just sort of changed my mind a little bit on some of the shapes there whenever we did it.

Seth Eckert (00:40:15): I remember seeing that, that frame and thinking, man, how's he going to get from that frame to the other one with a wipe, but you did a really good job of taking. It was almost like if you look at like frame like seven, you see you've got like that gap, uh, at the top and the gap at the bottom. So it's like the idea of like eliminating those two. So you had it split at the top, come together at the bottom and then this like siloing, swirly twirly effect. Very, very bright.

Alex Deaton (00:40:41): Yeah. Yeah. It was basically, I kind of thought of it like a, like a zipper almost looked at it, it was zipping up. And then I just sort of have the, the tops of the wings there sort of below out and fill out the rest of the frame. And then it was just a matter of moving these last few, uh, color swipes across the screen to get us to the original, dark blue for the background at the beginning.

Seth Eckert (00:41:01): Yeah. Those last couple of frames. That's about my skill and cell animation. So

Alex Deaton (00:41:09): I, yeah, I feel that every time I jumped back in animate, I'm like, why do I, why am I doing this so bad at this? But it, you know, even cause I, I'm not a, I'm not, Henryk Barone by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not necessarily all that skill, that character animation and sell, but it's just that it's helpful to have as a piece of your toolkit to achieve some things that, you know, you just can't, you can't get in the original tools. Like I couldn't get the wipe out of cinema. You know, I couldn't do it now, or I could do it in after effects with path animation, but that it takes a lot longer to block that stuff out and path animation. So knowing how to rough it in cell, even if you're eventually going to do a path animation in after effects is just a really great tool I have.

Seth Eckert (00:41:50): Yeah. I'm telling you that the reference layer stuff is huge. It makes such a huge impact on the project, uh, quality all around. So as far as like, you know, I know you, you had that one moment where the cell didn't line up one for one, which we're all going to see now forever. Um, now that you've brought attention to it, but as far as like maybe changing anything else on this project, do you think there's anything else that you would have done differently?

Alex Deaton (00:42:14): Um, yeah. Yeah, there is. I mean, there's a part of the animation we're not going to talk about because it's so much more underwhelming than the rest of it, but it's this Juul at the beginning. Um, so this, this Juul that Marco had designed, I really wanted to, uh, I didn't end up, I'm not really happy with it and that's okay because I had a lot more to focus on with the wings, but I really wanted it to have dimension to it. And so the setup for that is frankly, a nightmare. So whoever opens up this project file, I'm going to apologize in advance. I used after effects the, the, um, what's it called? Connect paths to,

Seth Eckert (00:42:53): Yes. I love that plugin. I use it all the time. So this is JavaScript

Alex Deaton (00:42:59): Creating those from paths. Yes. So this is new to after effects. I think the version previous to the one we're in now, but I'll just pop this window open to, to show you the UI for it. So this is it's native to after effects now, and it's super handy, essentially what it allows you to, what it allows you to do is create a path, a shape layer, and then drive the points on the shape layer with Knowles. So you can move them all independently. So again, this, this is going to be so slow when I jump into this, I'm just warning you. The, uh, Juul was made up of all these different facets and I wanted to be able to move them all independently and get them to sort of wrap around and have dimension to them. It didn't end up looking the way I wanted to. And I think I probably would have built this differently out either. I would have either spent less time on this so I could spend more time on the wings and just sort of settle with the fact that it wasn't going to look perfect. Uh, uh, the end product wasn't gonna look perfect, or I would have tried to build it in 3d in some way. I think

Seth Eckert (00:43:58): It's counter to counter your points. I mean, I feel like it turned out pretty nice. I remember seeing the spin and I thought, man, that's really dope. Uh, and I think also like if you think about the scene as a whole, the simplicity, if we want to call it that for the open, I think helps offset the contrast of the complexity of the next portion. That's more vibrant. I think that really helped with the story. So like, even if you felt like you didn't add enough, I feel like there was enough to echo what we needed. So again, CUDA,

Alex Deaton (00:44:24): Well that, that's very generous of you. Thank you, Seth. My wounded ego it's it's coming back. Uh, yes. I mean it, more or less, I was able to do what I wanted to do. I built out all the facets, um, the, that were inside of Marco's design and shape layers here. And, uh, then I had to build an extra side of facets because I wanted to do this turn. And then essentially inside of every shape, I just selected the path I was going to be so slow. It does not want me to select this. Yeah. I'm not going to be able to do that. And then I went over here and I just clicked up points, follow NOLs. And what that'll that'll do is it'll put an effect on the Le on the layer that you can see over here, uh, for each point, and then it'll pop out these, uh, NOLs that allow you to control that layer.

Alex Deaton (00:45:09): And so I did that with every single facet and I ended up having to collapse them inside of these little organizing folders I've got here, uh, that allow you to control all the points. And I just moved them independently. So I have, I have animations on pretty much every single one of these. Uh, I, I did parent when, when a facet was, uh, when all the points met at one point I did parent all the other points there to a single Knoll. So I could control that specific intersection with one, one, no. Um, but it was, it was still a bear either way. It, it ended up being quite a, quite a lot to handle. And so then

Seth Eckert (00:45:44): Good. One question before we get too far away, what's the little grouping thing that you just used.

Alex Deaton (00:45:49): Oh yeah. That, yeah. Um, I think I've heard from other people that there's other tools that are better than this have more, uh, flexibility, but this is something I've been using for years now. That's a little plugin called GM fold layers, plugin. I got it way back in the day, uh, I think 2016 or 2017 or something like that. And essentially you just go to the layer here and you click this little thing that pops up once you have the plugin installed that says create group divider and it pops open a, a shape later here, I'm going to scroll to the top to get to it. It says group divider on it. And you can rename that, whatever you want, as long as you don't delete this arrow here. And then when you double-click, it, it will unfold in, uh, refold, the layers beneath it, unless there's another group, uh, layer, folder layer like that below it. So as you can see, it's folding these top two layers of got here and nothing else.

Seth Eckert (00:46:47): And those are like some of the most powerful tools where it's like, they seem so simple, but they do such a, a function like that. That's just great. And I feel like I'm constantly trying to find scripts and plugins like that, but they don't exist. Or they come with like so much extra frill that I don't need or ever use where it's just like, can I just have it do this one thing?

Alex Deaton (00:47:03): Right. That's part of the reason I haven't upgraded to a, I can't remember what the, uh, what the plugin is that I got recommended on Twitter recently by some other animator. Um, but I haven't upgraded simply because this is so simple. It's just one layer. You just double-click, it, it folds double layers beneath it. And, you know, I have so many plugins I've downloaded so many of them and I ended up not using so many of them because they just do complicated. They do too much. So I really liked this for that. Yeah, exactly. I love it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Just to, to wrap up this, this part of the animation, how I, how I built it, um, let me see Juul main. That's probably where it is named it main inside of each of these facets. I've got a gradient fill, uh, and that's allowing me to do this sort of shine trick. When the, when the thing moves, all the gradients you see are spinning independently of every other facet and that gives it sort of this look like they're, all the facets are kind of glinting in the light or something like that. So that, that's how I built that up.

Seth Eckert (00:48:06): So I guess like, and then everything else beside that, um, in the, in the main composition was more or less simplistic, I would say overall, was there anything else you feel like was groundbreaking we should dive into?

Alex Deaton (00:48:18): Yes. So, okay. The last thing I would love to talk about is all these particles here and how they helped sell this sort of swooping and moving thing up the interior. So all these, all these particles were built by hand. They're just little, uh, shape layers moving around. You can see pretty much all of them are here except for a couple others and I just animated them by hand, uh, as the butterflies bursting out. So you can see their path animation there. I have them sort of shooting out from the middle and then sort of slowing down, let me go up to one of them. So you can see the actual key frames and spinning around. So it's real simple stuff. It's just positioned in rotation. But one of the things I was really happy with that I did is at the end here, when they swoop up, I've got them sort of I'm faking the physics is if they're little floaters in the room and they're being affected by the air, moving when the butterfly moves up and swirls around screen.

Alex Deaton (00:49:18): So I've got them moving and I've got them kind of going down and then swooping off to the right or the left there. You can see them kind of moving around with the swirl. So that was all done by hand, after I had the swirl in place and everything was looking nice there, I sorta just animated the particles in a way that looked like they were being moved by the wings as it was swirling off. So you can see the, I've got a lens effect here that kind of distorted me delayed. Let me turn that off briefly. Maybe I shouldn't have done that. Oh God, it's going to slow everything down. Sorry. This is

Seth Eckert (00:49:52): The choice

Alex Deaton (00:49:52): Of Ram preview. Yeah. Joys of Ram preview. No kidding. I'm just going to leave it on. So you can see in this particle here in the bottom left-hand corner, I've got it sort of moving around and behind the swirl. So I did in some of these duplicate the layer and put it behind the wing layer. I think I've got a, a layer here called back particles. So I stuck a couple of them back there when they go around and behind the butterfly layer, you can see it with that, particularly this particle up here in the top corner, sort of swirls around and then goes behind the wings. So, yeah, that was just something that it was pretty simple, you know, basic after effects stuff, position rotation on all these different particle layers that just helped sell this movement as the butterfly was moving off at the end. Just sort of pushing off into the, to the left there. So yeah,

Seth Eckert (00:50:42): It looks great, man. Good call on those. Did you, um, when you duplicated them, did you do the, uh, copy relative property links or did you just duplicate it with all the keys and everything?

Alex Deaton (00:50:52): I think I just, I just a command D duplicated them, deleted the key frames and then, and then parented them to the original layer. I know that copy with relative property links is supposed to do all that for you, but for some reason, reason I've had trouble with it or I'm too stupid to know what I'm doing wrong. I just, I just duplicated manually. Maybe that's something I need to learn and save myself a lot of trouble

Seth Eckert (00:51:16): No, I mean, it's, um, I've had some, some trouble with that myself, but I think it's usually like if I copy and it doesn't have the same parenting system or if like, I don't know, I don't, I don't understand the ins and outs of why that doesn't work sometimes, but I feel you on that,

Alex Deaton (00:51:29): But

Seth Eckert (00:51:31): Yeah, sometimes like the most simplistic way to go about doing is the right way to do it. So I know like you fake the dynamics here and you know, it really sells it. So that was, that was it.

Alex Deaton (00:51:40): Oh, and one more thing. I did the same thing with these particles at the beginning. So that was actually the last thing I added was I sort of have them swoop on like that and that kind of completed the illusion of the loop. So I'll play it so you can see here. Uh, yeah, so it goes burst. And then on the Sioux period, all these particles sort of shoot off and these in the front here move on from the, uh, from the right screen and then the ones in the back move on from the left screen. And that's just sort of make it look like there's, you know, uh, a tornado moving these particles around when the, uh, when the wing swoop happens.

Seth Eckert (00:52:15): So it's like a butterfly tornado. So, so as far as compositing this versus the rest of the work, obviously there's some additional layers that you have with like tilt shift and lens effects. You want to dive into some of that.

Alex Deaton (00:52:29): Yeah, sure. So, uh, yeah, just to, to complete the look here that I think it was present in some of the friends, but not all of them. It was, uh, I decided to add these two layers on top here, sort of these overall adjustment layers to give a bit of a lens effect on the edges of the frame and a blur effect. So I'll walk through those one by one. The first one is real simple. It's just a CC lens. And, uh, I've got the convergence set up a little high in the size set to about one 50. And all that does is you'll see, as soon as after effects decides to catch up here, all that does is sort of pull the edges of the frame out a bit to make them look like the sort of bubbling out, uh, uh, towards, towards the viewer kind of like a fish islands would, and it just gives it, I don't know.

Alex Deaton (00:53:16): I just liked the way that looks. It sort of stretches things at the edges of the frame. You can see, especially in this particle right here in a way that kind of makes it look like it was filmed through cameras or just kind of gives it a cool, cool look. So that was just one, one effect I added. And then the other one is this blur here, a call it a tilt shift blur though, because instead of just putting a, like a gossipy and blur on this layer and then masking it out so that the stuff in the middle is sharp, I actually used a camera lens blur and mapped it to a blur map here at the very bottom of my, my composition. So essentially what a blur map is really simple. It's a layer with black and white on it that tells the effect where to apply the effect and where to leave it alone.

Alex Deaton (00:54:03): So in this case, I think I've got it set. So the, uh, the black part of the frame has no blur and the white part has quite a lot of blur. And you can see, I added this circle here and just a Garcia and blur on that sort of feather it out at the edges. And then, then the main comp I've got that blurry. You can see the specialty in this portion, I've got that blur mapped to that layer. I just showed you. And it sort of, it gives it a nice gradual blur here is sort of, you can see, especially on the tips of the wings, it's sort of feathers out very naturally as if these are closer to the screen or further away, whichever you want to believe. And it looks, it looks really nice. It sort of focuses your eye on the center of the frame and gives it a natural looking blur that doesn't look like it's just simply feather masked off. It looks like it's got real fall off here at the edges. And it's something that I add in, in some of my more complex designs and stuff like that, to just give it a little more interest to make it look a little more,

Seth Eckert (00:55:02): I don't get any of that. Like kind of like realism you bring back in and layer into stuff that's like very geographical or flat, like adds that whole nother layer to it, which is huge. I know when I saw your blur map, moving like flashbacks to watching Andrew Kramer's tutorials,

Alex Deaton (00:55:15): Dude, the

Seth Eckert (00:55:16): Dudes where I learned it. Yeah, dude, he's the, he's the legend, he's the origin for that stuff now,

Alex Deaton (00:55:22): You know, uh, when, when you work on stuff like this and you, you put in the extra time, the extra effort, um, it really pays off, you know, not just for your career, but for, for the community, more broadly, people, people get to learn from each other. Um, you know, you get your message out there, right? It's, it's not, you're not sinking. You know, I can see some people sometimes online in the community being a little cynical about projects like this, that they, they feel that people are being abused when they, they, they give their time to stuff like this. And I, I just think that's a little cynical. I think that it it's beneficial for everyone really.

Seth Eckert (00:55:59): I feel like to that point, I mean, for, for me personally, like my whole career has almost been based on the idea of collaborating with others. Like, cause I know like my biggest issues as I grew early on where my design abilities were, where I wanted them to be. And I knew that, but so I thought, you know, if I could collaborate with others, you know, I could, I could elevate my work and also start to do the kind of work that I want to do that looks like the work I want to do. So there there's that piece of it. And then, you know, beyond that, I think just like getting into this industry in general, or even just at the creative field, in any capacity, I feel like we all kind of have a little bit of that love for show and tell, um, and doing collaborative projects like this, where the, you know, we, we obviously had like design rules in a, in a framework in place, but you know, we're, we're able to just kind of plug and play and just kind of flex those creative muscles in a, in a unique way.

Seth Eckert (00:56:49): That is basically us as the end client has a payoff, just like you were saying, that's, that's different than I think, uh, most client projects out there, you know, obviously if you're, you know, doing the next great thing for, for whomever and it's, it's awesome and you get paid for it, you know, that that's, that's got his own, uh, you know, pay out, but, but just like you were saying, like that, that piece of building the, the bridge between you and someone else and the creative film field and building a relationship is also huge. Um, I know a great example of this is the fact that, um, uh, Marco, uh, you know, he's not a designer that I was aware of and now that I know him and I know of his work, like I'm excited to get to hopefully work with him again, if he's available and we have a project like that.

Seth Eckert (00:57:31): So it's like, if there's trouble with that, he is booked up all the time. Now I know, dude, like I was like, it was funny. You'd send me his work. Um, and I, uh, I was like, oh man, who is this guy? Um, cause I know like a recommendation from you. Like anybody I'd be like, I got to check this guy out. And then I saw his work. I was like, how have I not heard of this guy? Uh, we gotta gotta get, get him in on some work. So, uh, I know Marco, isn't on this call, but mark, I thank you. You're a, you're a legend. Um, but yeah, and even piggybacking off of that, I guess, you know, Alex, thank you for your time. Um, uh, I know like I love working with you in any capacity, so it was definitely, uh, a blessing for me.

Seth Eckert (00:58:07): And then also just the, the, the broader team that worked on this project. I mean, again, we're, we were humbled that so many people said yes to wanting to do something like this for us or not for us, but with us. I mean, we, we were hopeful that, you know, it would elevate, uh, the creatives in a way in which that, you know, they might not be getting publicity as well. I knew with, uh, the COVID stuff that's been going on. Some people have been having, uh, less publicity out there. I know even us in particular, you know, there's just a lot of work that we weren't able to share, um, to get any work. So we thought, Hey, what another great way to, um, you know, give back, uh, to the community, to maybe provide an opportunity for people to just do some work with some people that they wouldn't normally get to work with and maybe hopefully have a project that can actually share so very, very exciting stuff.

Seth Eckert (00:58:53): Um, but I know like if I'm thinking about, um, you know, ways in which, you know, I personally have grown on a project like this, um, I know over the years of, of running a studio, I, I do get to do lots of animation and lots of design, but getting to sit in the driving seat and getting to do, uh, the creative direction in a lot of the setup is something that I love. And I feel like is there's one of my more sweet spots. So getting an opportunity to do that with, uh, you know, not only so many individuals, but also getting to do it with so many individuals have such like crazy talent, um, w was really, really cool. You know, I could sit and send out an idea. Um, I know Marco, he did a great job with us, you know, we, we had the frameworks and out, um, and I was just like, you know, I'm very curious to see like what, what we'll get back and what we'll see back, because the, the end frame wasn't really defined as like, we need it to be this, this and this.

Seth Eckert (00:59:43): I was like, these are some general broad ideas to see what you can do with this. Um, and while, like, I don't think there was, there was not a single person that I got work back from that I was like, that is bad. It was like, everything was like, wow, this is, this is crazy cool. Like, you know, some of them, like we had to like adjust like colors, or maybe some of the compositing effects just for consistency sake, for alignment of the end goal of all of them coming together. But aside from that, I mean, even, especially with your files, uh, Alex, like not really much alignment was needed beyond just like, Hey, look, look, let's do these compositing effects, or maybe let's try this. Um, so, you know, it's, it's really cool just getting to work with talent. That's, that's like, you know, high quality and I would recommend any student listening.

Seth Eckert (01:00:23): Um, you know, if you have people you follow or just want to learn more about processes or things like that, like, I mean, reach out email these people. I mean, I know from my own personal experience, I would say 90, 90% of people that I email asking for advice, or even just wanting to do work like this will come back and usually share something or just say yes, or if, you know, if they're busy, you know, they're usually so nice about it. Um, I know like a lot of the gatherings of, of our community, like whenever we get together, I'm always so excited about it. Cause everybody is so kind. Um, so shout out to all y'all listening as well. And even the school of motion for putting this stuff on. I know like the people they're so kind awesome crew people. So thank all of y'all again.

Seth Eckert (01:01:04): And, uh, yeah, hopefully we get to do some more of this in the future. Thanks again to the school of motion for having us on this video is just one to three motion design. Walk-throughs make sure you check out the others. And if you'd like to check out the entire set of animations produced on this project, head over to the furrow.tv/project/ COVID-19 also head over to the school of motion to find more articles, tutorials, podcasts, and courses built for beginner to advance motion designers. You can learn how to plan and execute projects and explain your camp. Learn how to create an illustrate mood boards and illustration for motion, or learn the fundamentals of animation in animation bootcamp. I hope you all enjoyed the content. Give the school of motion, some love by hitting the like button and subscribe. If you want some more motion design training,


The Furrow's COVID-19 Project Breakdown - Part 2, with Victor Silva

Seth Eckert (00:00):

When the quarantine started, we wondered how we could get some beautiful information out there, focused on sharing healthy ways to live and raise awareness about COVID-19.

Seth Eckert (00:18):

Hey everyone. My name is Seth Eckert and I lead the creative team at the Furrow studio based in Lexington, Kentucky. We just finished up a collaboration focused on raising awareness and sharing healthy ways to live during the COVID 19 pandemic information on how to wash your hands is incredibly important, but we also wanted to supplement that information with taking things a step further. So we gathered information for resources, such as the CDC and the world health organization informed short statements that were either based on general guidance or facts to make this collaboration successful and feel cohesive. We knew we needed a brief to get everyone on the same page. We use the brief to outline the subject matter per shot, outline the deliverable specifications and to build a visual identity for the project. Our hope was that these guardrails would give the artist room to flex their creative muscles.

Seth Eckert (01:03):

And at the same time, keep us all aligned. We relied on this format and design style to unify everything. So this included the color direction mood and the style frame and building the mood we selected geometric and abstract compositions as the scenes would be grounded by the text per frame, which has a color palette that had enough depth to mold to each concept. And finally, we built out a frame to use as a foundation on how style mood and color could all come together. After we build out all of this, we started to see who might be interested in helping us out. It was really cool to get to hear back from so many artists who genuinely were excited to come on board and help us out. I'm continually hyped that I get to be a part of this awesome design and animation community. Again, huge shout out to the amazing team that sacrificed their time to come onboard and help us with the project in efforts to further impact our community.

Seth Eckert (01:53):

We wanted to share some insight into how some of this was made. So we're teaming up with the school of motion and the motion designers who built this outstanding work to break down some of what took place and creating these visuals for this video. I've got Victor Silva from ordinary folk joining me, and we're going to be digging into his project files. The time-lapse effect that Victor produced turned out so great. And we wanted to dive right into how Victor approached this effect. We'll get to see how Victor used a combination of layer, styles, and expressions to rig everything together in a way that made the animation lift more simple than you might think. You'll find from looking at project files like this, that in some instances, a clever rig can be all that you need. I highly suggest downloading the project file and following along with Victor and I, you can find the link in the description.

Seth Eckert (02:38):

So Victor, as you got the frames back, I know, um, Emily, uh, designed, uh, the frame here and she made this really cool scene that had, you know, the central object, uh, you know, the scene in particular was, you know, COVID-19 can remain viable on surfaces for hours to days. Um, so like, I know, like she was kind of thinking about like having this central shape. I know she mentioned, you know, this idea of, uh, a time-lapse or a progression of time, um, and the, the surface itself and the design was kind of like that, that plane that she kind of created under that central shape. What were some of your initial thoughts as you got the frames back from her and thinking about, you know, the framework that we had kind of developed for, you know, things needing to loop, all that kind stuff.

Victor Silva (03:24):

Yeah. So when I first got the file at me, I knew there was like lightning changes. I didn't really read like a brief right, right, right. From the start. So I just like, try it, look at the file and like, try to figure out like what movements would be it, as it always happens in projects. I mean, you just get a frame and you kind of guess what's happening. Sometimes you get more detailed briefs brief. Sometimes you just don't or, you know, you can ask if you don't know, so this time, I don't know why I didn't ask in the beginning, I just went with it. Uh, and she, Emily has

Seth Eckert (04:04):

Emily had made such a great frame. Cause I know like, you know, she was kind of thinking, you know, Hey, like the shape could be progressing through space. Um, you know, so, uh, it was, it was pretty self-explanatory I know, from, from your all's expect perspective, I think Emily really set the file up. Well, um, yeah. Yeah. So I know like, through that perspective of like having that, uh, you know, some of those like compositing effects that she had developed, I'm pretty sure I think that she did some of those and Photoshop. Um, so when you saw the files, were you thinking, let me take, you know, what she's built here and animate it or rethinking when you looked at it, Hey, I'm going to probably have to recreate this in a different way.

Victor Silva (04:43):

Yeah. Since I saw that, like the lightning would change, uh, throughout the piece, uh, it just guessed I would use the, your styles so it could control controlled, light, more lightning, more precisely to do what I wanted, especially for like, cause if it's just like a circle, it's fine. You can just rotate it. So have the light from different angles. But if, if you have like a square or something, you can just rotate it. So that that's where the latest styles would help.

Seth Eckert (05:12):

Yeah. So like, I guess looking at your file, do you want to talk a little bit about, you know, the, the layer styles and how you leverage those to influence the lighting?

Victor Silva (05:21):

Uh, sure. Um, let me get one here. So it's pretty simple actually. So, uh, just look, firstly, look at a file and try to see the different layers that she used and then try to recreate it. Uh, so this is just a gradient overlay. There is a direct expressions here that, uh, links to, to know in the main comp that I can talk probably more about later disposition things just from a early test, it didn't end up using it. So, uh, and this is the, the link to the main content I told you about. So have this, uh, as a base then,

Seth Eckert (06:11):

So what these expressions are controlling. So you've got, I guess the position changes and then global angle changes,

Victor Silva (06:16):

I guess mostly the, so is the, is

Seth Eckert (06:19):

The angle just the, the way in which the gradient ramp runs off?

Victor Silva (06:23):

Yeah. So if I change it, see the grant ramps just like rotates so we can reflect the lightening of the main scene.

Seth Eckert (06:33):

So it does that expression that you have there. Does that kind of point it towards a Knoll or does that just let you control it?

Victor Silva (06:40):

Yeah, it goes up to the, uh, control here, like light source that controls every, uh, the light for like the entire scene. Every object is linked to that, so everything can be cohesive. And also like in the case of this, of this square, it also like if this square is rotating here, I want this rotation to be here to an expression. So it can account for that. So it's always pointing up, uh, the bright tape or pointing to wherever it should be pointing according to the light. Uh, no. And then just like building up the, the layer. So there's the same triple layer on top that doesn't have any effect, but, uh, there's like another like shadow and then have this other shadow here to reflect, uh, what Emily did the design,

Seth Eckert (07:42):

We did like a handful of these. So it's like, you basically kind of take that same effect and then kind of multiply it.

Victor Silva (07:48):

Yeah. So I had like a base ones, so like there's a square, a circle or a sphere. And so, and then it duplicated them and make and change. So like the values of the colors. So we have just a variation and also there's this guy here, which came later on. Um,

Seth Eckert (08:14):

Yeah, I guess you want to talk about the worm guy. Do you, do you want to pull up your, your cinema file? I know originally I think it was just kind of like a shape layer that, you know, we kinda like noodled around. Um, yeah. But then we talked about like kind of making it like a little bit more dynamic. And so then it looks like you, you pulled this into cinema.

Victor Silva (08:32):

Yeah. So like you can see like, uh, what's left from the, the early version. They just dispense that I'd never deleted. Uh that's how it was any meeting before. And then, uh, then a Japanese university issue, you have making it more dynamic, uh, which is pretty basic. It's hard. Even for me to remember exactly what it did because it don't use, you know, for DNA databases, but so it's a cube, basically Eric started with the cube and then extruded it to, I get like this shape and it's a super divided, so we can have something similar to the design, applied some joints in here and then they just animated them.

Seth Eckert (09:19):

So when you built this, did you build the cube out? Like just like a straight cube and then you, you rigged it up and then bent it into its current shape or I see. So I guess like you, you built the joint structure out first and then you were able to rotate it to get that like kind of noodley feel.

Victor Silva (09:37):

So, yeah. So this is where it was the modeling first place. So start with the Cuban, just like started extruding the faces to get this shape that I could, uh, subdivide and get it roughly as the designer was. And then I applied the joints and was able to weave it around

Seth Eckert (10:01):

Because I think you had to like, kinda run into the, the central cube a little bit, like, and it kind of like bounced, it looked like, and then it kind of rotated around. So I guess,

Victor Silva (10:10):

Yeah. Yeah. Cause yeah, cause that, that, yeah, because I hear it's just like the giant intimidating, that's what, that's what it's doing. But then when you get into after effects, uh, there is where the innovation is actually.

Seth Eckert (10:24):

Yeah. Cause I was going to ask, I guess like, so did you just, so you pre animated what you had in cinema and then did you kind of know the timing of when those bumps would happen or did you kind of just like guess, and then just kind of make, do

Victor Silva (10:38):

I know this is all random? Uh, the, the way the joints work, they're just like randomly animated. So it had some kind of movement in there. And then once I copped everything, I kind of had the, this animation, uh, there from the previous version and then adjust it, tweak that it, uh, Twitter better with this square.

Seth Eckert (10:59):

And then you have like the rotation, it looked like it kind of like bumped into it and then it kind of like rotated around.

Victor Silva (11:04):

But yeah. Yeah. That's cool.

Seth Eckert (11:06):

So I guess

Victor Silva (11:07):

The rotation is also an after effects. Yeah. That was what I was

Seth Eckert (11:10):

Going to ask. Cause like, I guess like the rotation happened after effects. Um, yeah. That's like one of the, some of like the true power of, you know, cinema 4d versus after effects.

Victor Silva (11:19):

Yeah. Cause I was talking time remap things here too. Right. So I made it just made it work. Uh,

Seth Eckert (11:26):

Well going back I guess. So you had a little bit of like a blurring effect happening across a lot of this. Um, and then I think you used, uh, was it wide, uh, wide.

Victor Silva (11:38):

Oh, wait time. Yeah. So yeah, that, that is part of, part of the process to figure out how the time lapse would work. And like I know I had had some things in my mind. Um, uh, one of the things that I use as a reference is like one of the old videos of yours, I have, I have to show this app, sorry, this one.

Victor Silva (12:03):

Yeah. It's the first time I saw a time-lapse being done in animation. So I used it as a, as a reference. And so a couple of things I noticed like polarized time being used in some movements in there and something that I noticed from like a time-lapse in general from like, from doing it in the past, like, uh, usually there's some expo exposure figures just because of the nature of it. So, uh, just try to like add those things in here. So exposure and there's like a beagle that is connected to the, this two sliders. So you notice in the beginning, it's not, you don't have this time-lapse effect and then like you filter, then it goes back. That's why there's a, those sliders connected to the wiggle.

Seth Eckert (12:54):

Those that instituted, I guess, is that just kind of like a wiggle

Victor Silva (12:56):

Effect? Yeah. So those that

Seth Eckert (12:59):

Expression and then you just ramp it up. Very nice.

Victor Silva (13:02):

Yeah. Yeah. Uh, and then like on top of it all, uh, as I was showing my coworker is your Greg had the brilliant idea of using this to see why time effect, uh, which basically what it does is it acts kind of as an onion skin from traditional animation, it kinda, uh, it brings the amount of frames that you want, uh, into, uh, in there. So like, you'll see like two frames forward and the Pasadena always going down and two frames backwards this case too. Okay.

Seth Eckert (13:37):

That's it seems like a pretty cool effect. I know I've never used it. This is like one of the first times I've ever seen it. Yeah. So,

Victor Silva (13:43):

And I think like, yeah, just having it on top of polarized times also. Great. Cause you have like this kind of

Seth Eckert (13:56):

Seen as so heavy.

Victor Silva (13:57):

Yeah. It was for render, but you can see here, like, so there's a bigger step, uh, between the, those two framings because of the post race time. So I think it helps give away the effect to,

Seth Eckert (14:10):

Yeah, it looks really cool. I know like when I first saw it, uh, when, when I saw the effect, I was like, my goodness, did he like duplicate this and then offset like time? And I was like, man, I'm like kinda nervous about opening this file. It's going to make my computer explode. So it's very cool that that's like an effect that you can kind of add to stuff. And so it seems like it's kind of fun to play with as well. Um, you know, increasing and turning down those backwards and forward steps is pretty cool.

Victor Silva (14:32):

Yeah. I love, love to use it when I'm doing like whole frame animation, some kind of primary frame here. Cause like I'm using, I'm used like when I do sell, I'm used to use on skin to see like the trajectory that things are going, if the animation is working or not. And I kind of miss that in after effects before knowing about it so that that's usually why I use it for it. But then Greg came up with the idea of using it here too. I think it works really well.

Seth Eckert (14:58):

And I know like you've got that lens effect, uh, on that, that one piece I know you and I were talking about somehow that got turned off in the final render, which is huge bummer. Cause I know seeing it here now, I love it. Um, but yeah, that, that distortion and compositing effect as the shapes like go behind, um, really turned out really, really cool. I mean, I think even with that effect office still looks pretty neat, but um, that was just one extra thing that you did that I thought was really, really cool.

Victor Silva (15:27):

Oh yeah. That like, remember like when I said like it was, I didn't really know what to do in the beginning. So I, I, I w I sought this lens effect and I, I just, I had to make it work. So I spent like a bit of time just trying different combinations of things. Uh, I dunno.

Seth Eckert (15:45):

So taking a step back, taking a step back, did you, did you do any like motion tests or anything early on as you were like, kind of like, cause it seems like you kind of knew this was the way you were wanting to go. Did you have any like trials or tests that didn't turn out? So great.

Victor Silva (16:01):

Yeah. Uh, so, so this one of the first motion tests, so then the motion is really bad, but because I was trying to focus more on the aesthetics first, uh, I know that's usually not what it should do cause it makes the scene very heavy, uh, quickly. But I don't know. I just had, I had to make this, uh, the lens work and I knew I was gonna work a lot with the lightning. So I spend more time recreating the shapes layer styles and making the, the lens before like any movement.

Seth Eckert (16:37):

It seems like, I mean, the animation itself is generally basic. Like, you know, it's pretty simple. It's kind of like, you just have that one central object that rotates everything around. So, you know, getting that like initial vibe, like early on to influence like the thought and ways in which you would approach it later, I think was actually pretty smart. Um, because it's like, you know, Hey, these are kind of like the pieces that I had to play with. They kind of will function in an act in this way. So, you know, I always feel like any kind of motion tests or references, always like a super good idea. Um, just because, you know, you're setting yourself up for success and sometimes you can avoid failures down the line. So, um, very, very cool to see.

Victor Silva (17:15):

Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. So this world rotation thing, it was just something else that I, you know, sometimes it's hard to like to like convince yourself that this is working. So just adding that extra step of like rotating everything, help sell it to me, the time-lapse effect. And I don't know, uh, one of the references I had in my Tara Ragnar rock the vault piracy. So I'm not sure if you remember or not, but

Seth Eckert (17:46):

Yeah. Yeah. The one where it's like the light is kind of like rotating around them as they're like in combat. Yeah. That's pretty cool. So it's like that same kind of like, you know, time passing effect, you know, you kind of have here with the layer style rig. Um, can we, can we look at that know a little bit more in depth as kind of driving everything?

Victor Silva (18:06):

Oh yeah, sure. So this is the, this is the guy. Uh, so basically you have this light source and this is just the control that I use, uh, to reference and see like what was working. Uh, they referenced the results of expert of the expression. It's not really being used, but basically, so like you can, as you can see, like 30 frames here, uh, and also the expression, but th the key frames were just from early tests. So since I wrecked everything to then to this Knoll, I like experimented, like shifting the, uh, shifting it around and see how the light will move. Uh, and then once I got the world rotation done, I linked, uh, this to the rotation of the note too. So everything's connected. So there were, were rotating and the lights rotating at the same time, the same pace. So the, in the end of the key frames are not being used anymore because it's been overwritten.

Victor Silva (19:13):

But, uh, but the expression and, uh, what, what I think is interesting here too, is that I'm music, linear expression, just so it connect. Uh, uh, so I'm using like, so I have the, this rotation going like this much, and then I don't want this, uh, angle go like beyond or above, uh, my negative 10 and nine in positive 29 is because of the way, because like, if it go goes past 29, the light rig would PR would break just because of the way layer styles would work. So if you coming here, I see this going like too much. I wouldn't look well and the end piece. So I didn't want to see it like this happening there, you know? I see.

Seth Eckert (20:09):

So it's like, you wanted that light source always coming from a direction, even though it was moving.

Victor Silva (20:13):

Yeah. So that's why like, and so everything likes strict with this like linear expression here, which is really simple, but I think it helps a lot too in simple things fast too. So you don't have to think a lot.

Seth Eckert (20:28):

Can you walk through, like, you know, when you type out like linear, you know, print the CR comma zero, like, what are, what are those values linked to?

Victor Silva (20:36):

Oh yeah. Uh, so are, is the rotation that I'm grabbing from, uh, the no rotation by rotation here. And there's a, this is a model mandalas. You don't have to say a 360. So, cause I don't want to go past 360. So he goes like kind of loops. So it goes through zero to 360 and it goes back to zero. And then, uh, it's just so zero the minimum. So everything that is zero is, uh, it goes, turns into a negative 29. Everything that is 180 goes, turns into 29 and everything in between in a linear fashion. And then there's this expression here because like, I want it to go one way when it's, uh, from zero to 180. And the other way, if it's 181 to 360,

Seth Eckert (21:30):

I see. So it's like, you're setting your caps for its rotational values when it's below 50% of the rotation or above 50% of the rotation to basically back and forth, right. It's like you're converting these values into basically stay at negative 29 is my max negative value. And then positive 29 is my max value of the other direction. Okay.

Victor Silva (21:51):

Yeah. Got it. Yeah. That's exactly. Yeah, man. Then everything is linked to this. So if you look at the, the particles here too, they're all linked. The, the world is linked to the rotation of the no to everything.

Seth Eckert (22:19):

So even, even in the, was that a particular in that one? One comp

Victor Silva (22:24):

Yeah. Yeah. That's particular. And I have two instances of it, like the one in the back and the one there's a one, the front you, uh, which are basically duplicates, but one has like, no way you can just set up for it to vanish at a point. So have the cap of half of the world showing in the back. And then the other duplicate that is in front showing just like the front of the world.

Seth Eckert (22:52):

Did you link any of the, cause I know you've got like some, it seems like lens effects where things close are super far from Kimba, get blurred a little bit. Did you do that manually or was that like a parameter set? Like, for example, I know like in particular, I think you can do that, but as far as like, even like the big shapes themselves, like how did you deal with that?

Victor Silva (23:11):

Yeah, not for a particular is it's not, it's just, it's on competence, not linked to the camera at all. Uh, but for everything else, uh, there's a camera here with, uh, like, uh, simpler, but yeah.

Seth Eckert (23:31):

What happens when you change your, your view from active camera to like that custom view? I'm interested to see what that looks like.

Victor Silva (23:38):

Uh, I don't remember now. Let's see. Yeah,

Seth Eckert (23:43):

That's cool.

Victor Silva (23:43):

So everything is really rotating around thought it would be easier to do it this way, but like one interesting thing is that like, since I have this, uh, this lens effect, which is an adjustment layer, so what an adjustment layer does to your 3d hierarchy is that it breaks it. So everything that is below the, there is another layer would be like, uh, behind and everything that is above the, just another layer would be, uh, on top of everything, uh, regardless of the 3d space, uh, for the position it is in. So what I had to do here was that I duplicated every single object. Uh, there is rotating around it. And basically when it's, when it's, uh, in front it's, uh, when like it's world position is higher than zero, it's going to be, oh, if it's the front one, it's going to be a hundred percent. And if it's, if the world position is less than zero, it's going to be, the capacity will turn to zero. So we don't have to manually, uh, key frame the opacity

Seth Eckert (25:01):

That's smart. Cause I feel like if I was doing that, I would have totally done that manually. So in building this, what would you say was like probably like the biggest pain points? I mean, it seems like you've got a lot of expressions here. Like w was there any like troubles and, and figuring out like how necessarily to do something or like, did you learn anything new?

Victor Silva (25:22):

Uh, sure. Uh, I guess I was always figuring out how, how to make this, uh, the biggest thing of this was a time lapse effect. And I mean, I had some idea that what things would, could help do the trick, but I didn't really know what would work or not. So it was a lot of trial and errors and just like sharing my progress with the team to have, have feedback and get their D their ideas to, uh, also like I know some expression, but I'm not really an expert in it. So there's a lot of like rewriting and trying to figure out how, like a simple thing would work or not. Um, even like the, the way I wrote this, if statement here, I never remember how to do this. So I always, I'm always Googling expressions. And like, I mean, I kind of know what some, some, because you get used to some things, so I knew I wanted to do somethings and I just like searched and

Seth Eckert (26:29):

It's like one of the best ways to learn, you know, obviously taking classes from school motion is a great way to learn as well. That, uh, B I know Googling, like, if you have like a challenge like that. Cause I know like, cause I see expressions in like a project like this and to personally, like I don't really use lots of expressions. I mean, I have like a handful, but like I see a ton in here that are incredibly useful. Um, it's almost like, I feel like we could do like a crash course on, on, you know, just expression writing itself. Um, but yeah, it's really cool to see how there's like in this program. There's so many different ways to do the same thing, but expressions is such a powerful way to make your life easier. Um, so it seems like, you know, you built this in a very clever way to where it's, you know, you knew it would be heavy, you knew you had the lighting stuff and then it's, you know, threading all those things together to be linked to just a few keys is pretty cool.

Victor Silva (27:22):

Yeah. Well thank you.

Seth Eckert (27:26):

Let's just praising your expression skills, but you know

Victor Silva (27:29):

Yeah. I mean it's yeah. Uh, like I said, I don't really know what I'm doing, they could expressions, so I've just, they, I have a document that I always refer to, uh, when I'm doing some things and I, I know what is there and what I can use and if I don't know something or if, I don't know if this thing can be, can be made or not, I probably ask around probably Greg, because he was the expression, uh, mastermind you're in the office.

Seth Eckert (27:59):

You guys are spoiled to have him. He seems like he knows the program in and out like nobody else does. It's pretty cool. So I know like this was, um, uh, you know, across collaboration project, not only in between, you know, us and you guys, but also, you know, Emily was, it was a part of it. And I think what's cool is that, you know, our, both of our businesses, we do lots of work with lots of freelancers. So I don't know if it was any different for you, but was there anything in this process that felt like new and different or fun as far as collaboration is concerned?

Victor Silva (28:31):

Well, of course, uh, just seeing the work of everybody working, it was just incredible. Uh, everything, everyone was so quick, I think to, uh, and, and also something different too, is that I've been working with the, for so long now that like, it was like different, uh, getting directions from somebody else. So that was kind of cool too. And it's, I know it's also a cool part of the job, just like learning to like here and trying to address others, other people comments. Totally.

Seth Eckert (29:04):

Yeah. That's always something cool too. Cause I know like as on this project, you know, feedback from, from us was more or less just basically aligning back to the brief or just trying to keep the idea maybe simplified or whatever it could be. But I know like even like your, your first passes of work, even everybody on this project was just like, ah, man, it's just, it's really cool to get, to see so many people that are so incredibly talented coming together for a cause and just doing some just cool visuals, if I could do these projects year round, I would. But uh, you know, we gotta gotta make some money sometimes, I guess.

Victor Silva (29:39):

Yeah. Also something you need to see to like, like you said, like the first best you saw was good already that's because like I've been sending like earlier passes to the team here. Right. So, so you only this other one that I, the team liked and then they extended it to you. Yeah, dude. Yeah.

Seth Eckert (29:57):

That's one thing that's really cool about collaboration in general. And I think like that could be, you know, one takeaway for sure is that, you know, as an artist or a freelancer, like if you don't have, you know, say like a team that you're working with on a project, having like a group of peers that you can just share work with and be like, Hey, like what are your thoughts on this? Cause, you know, sometimes your first ideas and always your best idea and also just getting that additional input from others is sometimes huge. Um, because you know, everybody has different cultural influence, different, um, uh, teaching when it comes to direction or artistic style. So having like a handful of different influences can sometimes create a piece that's better than what you would have initially thought on your own. So that's huge. Like, I mean, when you talk about like, you know, passing it around to the team, uh, and then, you know, obviously we, we pass around in the slack with, with all the creatives that we were working with on that project.

Seth Eckert (30:48):

It's really cool. Like when you get any project like that, that could have so much input from so many talented people. So that for me personally, like just getting to work with so many, like highly, uh, talented artists, uh, was, was just incredible. And I wish I could do it every day. So trying to build more and more of those relationships, obviously you got to honor the NDA process if you're doing client work, but if you're ever just doing personal projects or anything like that, and you can bounce ideas off others, um, hugely impactful in not only furthering yourself, but also could challenge you in ways in which you didn't previously think. I know, like even me seeing like, you know, files like this from you, I feel like man, I need to brush up on my expression skills, um, and maybe build my projects a little bit smarter sometimes. So, you know, that's not something that I would have thought of if, if we hadn't done this. So, you know, that's just one example of, of many, I would say so very, very exciting stuff. Yeah.

Victor Silva (31:43):

Uh, I would say like the moment a renewed this at the time that was effective was working. It's like when I shared it in a COVID, uh, channel, cause like if I show it to a handful of people and they all knew what this was supposed to be, so, and then like when I posted somebody lose it, saw it and oh right. This is a time lapse, but okay.

Seth Eckert (32:05):

Yeah, I did it, it turned out so great again, thank you guys so much for your all's time on this project and uh, you know, I'm, I'm, again, I'm, I'm humbled that we get to work with such awesome people doing such, such a cool project. So thanks again for your time. And, um, uh, I know if anybody else that worked on the project is listening. Thanks for your time as well. I know everybody that worked on this was such a rockstar. I would, uh, go back and do it all again. If I could, maybe we can, we can find another project like this. Hopefully not in another pandemic. Maybe we could do something that's a little bit more happy. Um, but you know, maybe just as beautiful if nothing else. So very awesome.

Victor Silva (32:42):

Thank you so much for having me, uh, not only here, but also in the project too. It was a blast working in the, you all.

Seth Eckert (32:48):

Thanks again to the school of motion for having us on this video is just one of three motion design. Walk-throughs make sure you check out the others. And if you'd like to check out the entire set of animations produced on this project, head over to the furrow.tv/project/ COVID-19 also head over to the school of motion to find more articles, tutorials, podcasts, and courses, belt for beginner to advance motion designers. You can learn how to plan and execute projects and explainer camp learn how to create and illustrate mood boards and illustration promotion, or learn the fundamentals of animation in animation bootcamp. Hope you all enjoyed the content. Give the school of motion, some love by hitting the like button and subscribe. If you want some more motion design training.


The Furrow's COVID-19 Project Breakdown - Part 3, with Steve Savalle

Seth Eckert (00:00):

When the quarantine started, we wondered how we could get some beautiful information out there, focused on sharing healthy ways to live and raise awareness about COVID-19.

Seth Eckert (00:18):

My name is Seth Eckert and I lead the creative team at the Furrow, a studio based in Lexington, Kentucky information on how to wash your hands is incredibly important, but we also wanted to supplement that information with taking things a step further. So we gathered information for resources, such as the CDC and the world health organization informed short statements that were either based on general guidance or facts to make this collaboration successful and feel cohesive. We knew we needed a brief to get everyone on the same page. We use the brief to outline the subject matter per shot, outline the deliverable specifications and to build a visual identity for the project. Our hope was that these guardrails would give the artists room to flex their creative muscles. And at the same time, keep us all aligned. We relied on this format and design style to unify everything.

Seth Eckert (01:02):

So this included the color direction mood and the style frame and building the mood we selected geometric and abstract compositions as the scenes would be grounded by the text per frame, which has a color palette that had enough depth to mold to each concept. And finally, we built out a frame to use as a foundation on how style mood and color could all come together. After we build out all of this, we started to see who might be interested in helping us out. It was really cool to get to hear back from so many artists who genuinely were excited to come onboard and help us out. I'm continually hyped that I get to be a part of this awesome design and animation community. Again, huge shout out to the amazing team that sacrificed their time to come on board and help us with the project in efforts to further impact our community.

Seth Eckert (01:45):

We wanted to share some insight into how some of this was made. So we're teaming up with the school of motion and the motion designers who built this outstanding work to break down some of what took place and creating these visuals. In this video, Steve Savale takes me on a tour of his after effects project file. Steve shows us how he used momentum and match cuts to transition scenes, how he planned for varying aspect ratios, as well as a handful of tips and workflow enhancements. In this breakdown, we get to see how organization and pre-production can streamline the animation process and how beneficial it is when collaborating with other artists. I highly suggest downloading the project file and following along with Steve and I, you can find the link in the description. So Steve, I know like out of the gate, um, you know, Alan did some amazing work, um, with his frames. Uh, so what was your approach to setting up your project file? Um, knowing, you know, that we had to loop things, um, and also just trying to echo that, that messaging of being provisionary or being preventative, not reactionary.

Steve Savalle (02:45):

The biggest thing for me was knowing right out of the gate, what the canvas size was going to be. So knowing that we had multiple deliveries at 19 20, 10 80, and then 10 80 by 1920, rather than go through and create everything and then duplicate a comp and re crop stuff, I wanted to make it as seamless as possible. So I made one composition in this right here where it is 1920 by 1920. So knowing that I could crop that in both ways, I'd have one master comp to work out of and then for myself, just so I could kind of see for the people of you who love print the bleed areas. I did the same thing I created to kind of like this safe margin where I made a solid, that was 1920 by 10 80. And then I also made one, uh, the opposite. So that way I can see right here anywhere the, I see the black, I know I'm not going to have motion there. I it'll clip off. And then vice versa as I flip it,

Seth Eckert (03:39):

That's really, really a smart idea with like, having like a guide layer, you know, it's like, you can kind of see where things, you know, blend off offering.

Steve Savalle (03:47):

It made it super simple because you can hide motion.

Seth Eckert (03:49):

Exactly, exactly. Very, very cool. So like in approaching the loop, I guess as well. So I know like we had set the comp uh, format to like seven and a half seconds. Um, and with your scene, you've got, you know, the like kind of like ominous shapes that come in and then we have this like real beautiful, you know, explosion outs. What were your thoughts on like, you know, setting up the timing and things like that.

Steve Savalle (04:12):

Anytime I know I'm in a loop, I always try to create an object in the very beginning, whether it be the circle here or whatever my hero object is. And I make sure that the start and stop point are always the same, that way I'm always animating and working in between. So I'll set a key frame right here for the position. I'll go to the end, make the exact same key frame and then move things around or I'll duplicate a layer that ends up making it pretty smooth for seamless animations.

Seth Eckert (04:37):

Do you ever do anything in your timeline to kind of jump around? I know like one thing that I've done in the past is I'll show, uh, at the very beginning of my timeline, I'll hit shift one and it'll add a, like, I don't really call it like a marker at the very beginning. And then I'll put one at the end and hit shift two. And then when I toggle between hitting the number one and two, I can jump to like the start and end sometimes pretty handy.

Steve Savalle (04:59):

So I love that you bring that up. I use my timeline color coordinated. I use markers all the time. So even in this project file, if those of you following along, have my project file open, as you scroll down, you can see I have some markers up at the top. So that way I know at that point, that's where I'm going to have that big hit. So it's easy for me to see where that is as I start to cut layers. The other thing I like to do is I make markers actually on layer. So as I scroll down, you can see, I have the hero circle in green, like just as bright, vibrant things. So I know that this layer right here as I get lost in the stack is the main character that I need to animate. The other thing I like doing is by shapes, because the way Ellen built this out, it's beautiful, but it's a lot of things layered on top of each other. So I would take something simple like this square and color coded. So all of these would be that shape. So it's just a quick way for me to identify what's going on.

Seth Eckert (05:52):

And some visual like references throughout your composition. That's pretty smart. And I know like, so show us how you, I think you double click on those markers, right? And you can change their colors. I know you can like write notes in there, do all kinds of stuff. Yeah,

Steve Savalle (06:04):

Absolutely. Um, you can double click type it, but if you don't have a marker on there, I'm on a windows, but, or a PC, but if I select the layer and press the, uh, Astro or S

Seth Eckert (06:18):

I think it's like the number of pad subtraction, isn't it? Yeah,

Steve Savalle (06:21):

Possibly. Um, I just pressed the little star on the number pets, and that'll add it. Or if you hit go back here, if you hold alt and then press that same button, you're going to get your layer marker options. And then there, you have the option to write anything that you want comments. So here I had the hero circle, and then you could change your label color. So it just stands out a little bit more also, I think if you go up into your timeline layer, there's markers, and then you can do it the same way. So you get the numeric pad and then that star,

Seth Eckert (06:55):

Right. Who was the star? Not the, not the dash B I know layer organizations, huge man, especially like stuff like this that gets complex with all those layers. And, you know, for like characters and stuff, he can say like, right arm, left arm. But for like some of these, like shapey ones you're like starting to get pretty creative with names, or at least I am starting to call it like, you know, noodle boy or whatever. So

Steve Savalle (07:15):

Very, very, so you have seen Tyler Morgan, he just randomly put like ooga booga and something. And I just started laughing. It was great.

Seth Eckert (07:21):

Then, you know, where that layer is, the rest of the project, you know, where's that ooga booga layer. So it works, you know? So, um, so, so you built out your canvas, you know, I know we had the, uh, 16 by nine, nine by 16 formats during the 1920 helped that lift be like a one-time pass kind of thing. Um, so what did you have any other additional, like personal constraints that you kind of ran into as you were setting up your scene, or like, as you were like kind of processing through the animation itself?

Steve Savalle (07:48):

Yeah, no, that's a great question. Because when you get designed frames like this, especially Allen did a wonderful job kind of setting the standard of our line. It was more of the, be preventative, not reactionary. So you have these moving shapes that are coming in and keeping it super simple. You get this force field that builds it out and kind of expels them away. So when it came to coming up with, how is this going to loop, how am I going to have this all move? And then you look at I'm animating with some of the best people in the industry. Ellen is one of my favorite designers, so I can't mess up his work. All I did was I relied on what I knew that I could do well, and that's just stripping away any type of plugins, any type of facts like that.

Steve Savalle (08:26):

Stuff's just not needed in my opinion. And just relying on good clean animation. So I just focus on position, scale rotation, and then your mask paths or your paths, and that just building that up in layers, seeing how does this work? How does this react with another thing as it's moving? So like to quickly show an example in the beginning here, I have our hero circle kind of moving around. It's supposed to feel a little scared, like things are closing in, and then it tries to fight its way out, but unsuccessfully and I have it kind of fly down and it hits this little octagon shape here can do a quick Ram preview.

Steve Savalle (09:06):

So it flies down and it bounces off of that. So ignoring all the complexities, you see if you know how to animate a ball bounce, you know how to do exactly what I just did. It hits bounces off, but I wanted there to be secondary motion. I wanted there to feel like something happened. I didn't want it just to kind of be stagnant. So I gave a little bit of rotation to that shape. And then I added a little bit of a color shift, just so you're I went there. So it felt like there was something a little bit more purposeful. So again, stripping away, everything, all I did was animate the position, the rotation, and then I gave a little bit of a color hit.

Seth Eckert (09:39):

Yeah. I like how I'm even thinking from like a high level of story perspective, you know, you've, you've got this shape. I know, like, I think Allen's original design was for that one frame was just the darker shapes with the ball, kind of like, you know, seemingly in this ominous space. Um, but, uh, you mentioned just now you said, you know, kind of making it feel fearful. Uh, it's kind of like you have the ball kind of do like a little bit of a movement and you have it pick up pace when one of the other shapes comes close by as if like saying, oh no, I need to get away from that. And then you kind of have to do a little bit of a couple of like frantic movements before it runs into that, as if it's saying like, you know, Hey, it was afraid.

Seth Eckert (10:13):

And then you can kind of echo that idea of how like the, the, the shapes are closing in on it to where, like it can't escape. And it running into that other shape was something that, you know, was just like an extra delightful moment that wasn't a part of the design, but it helped echo the story piece, uh, which I think was, you know, really, really smart, especially it kind of led into, you know, that next transition where it all explodes out as if it's like, you know, I can't get away from all this. I better, you know, push all this stuff away. So very, very cool set up there.

Steve Savalle (10:40):


Seth Eckert (10:43):

I know that there wasn't really a question by the way, it's more like, you know, just hindering the fact is like, you know, your process, you know, how you thought through some of that stuff.

Steve Savalle (10:52):

Well, for example, just to quickly piggyback off of that and like a ten second response, you see the looming shapes, you know, what our line is, so you can kind of get that sense that things should be closing in. But I asked my 13 year old daughter, I was like, Hey, what do you think? Like when you look at this, how do you feel and what would your approach be? And she was like, I wouldn't have to shape the tack this little circle. And I was like, perfect. So if you ever get stuck, ask for a little bit of outside help from somebody who doesn't have an animation mindset.

Seth Eckert (11:17):

Oh, no, absolutely. So like even, uh, you know, in that next transition, um, I know initially you kind of had like the shape reveal and I think you and I had a conversation of how we would get back to that initial frame. So I know like you kind of have the shapes explode out. Do you want to talk through how you got to the, the looping aspect of it where like kind of launched off and then some of the, like the things that we did to enhance that movement to make it work?

Steve Savalle (11:41):

Yeah, absolutely. So the idea was, how do you get from this dark to the slight in this explosion is what felt the most appropriate for this? So as you kind of scrubbed through what I have going on here, I have these shapes popping out, but again, think of a ball bounce when it hits, it flies out and I wanted this to feel powerful. So I don't really have it easing out. I have it easing into its resting point. So I have all of these shapes kind of exploding out in our one big circle, kind of condensing in. And I liked the contrast to those movements. I thought that that amplified it a little bit more. It brought your eyes center rather than make everything feel like it's a shockwave out, but still felt impactful. And then, like I said, I layer things. So that's just a whole bunch of scaling.

Steve Savalle (12:23):

But in my comp at that exact same point of time, I do something with optics compensation, which is almost like a lens distortion. So if I turn this off, you can see it flattens it. And as I turn it on, it opens it up a little bit more by opening it up a little bit more. It just gave that extra little impact and push. So that was kind of my mindset behind the quick little hit blow up. Um, and that for the looping part, looking at all of this, it would have been really easy to collapse everything in, on itself, all of the shapes, but I always try to say, all right, what are the first few things that everybody would want to do? And then I try to push a little bit past that in this case, having everything collapsed in on itself didn't make any sense because why would this force field just kind of disappear and leave you on your own? So slingshotting our hero character away from all of the danger felt like the smoothest way to keep a nice little loop going on.

Seth Eckert (13:19):

I love it. And I know, so like you, you hit on secondary action and it's fun to kind of like, as you step through the frames, you can see, you didn't have any one thing that was like, you know, over the top, it seems like you layered a lot of stuff. So it's like, you know, you've got the, the light shift, you've got the lens effect, you've got the, um, you know, additional like circles that kind of play off the, the design that like, kind of like emit out from that. Um, you know, you have some shape like distortion happening when like the, the ball is hitting the bottom with some little particles that come off. So it's like, eh, you know, as you transition between those two, those are the little things that, you know, the motion designer adds on top of whatever the design work is those in between frames.

Seth Eckert (14:01):

But it's like, whenever I feel like you layer a bunch of those types of effects you end with this, like, you know, beautiful transition that, you know, seemingly was a little bit different than, you know, just a straight like tweening or morphing between the two. Um, so, um, maybe do you want to go into like some of the layering that you kind of built here as far as like the lighting, the adjustment layers, um, and maybe even some of like the, the secondary movements themselves, like the actual keys and stuff like that. I think that might be pretty cool.

Steve Savalle (14:28):

Yeah, absolutely. Let's kind of focus in on some of these shapes as an individual. So let's not look at everything as a whole let's look at just individual shapes. I was very lucky. Ellen built this in after effects as an animator mindset. So when it came to animating, I got to take his file and just get right into it. Like certain times I'll just rebuild things. Cause it's easier than I understand it in this case. I didn't have to do too much. Um, but if I start to go through this and I'm going to turn off some of this stuff to make it a little less busy for you to see if I turn off the noise, now we can start to see that there are soft gradients going on. So it's not like we went into Photoshop and painted all of this stuff with the brush, which it looks great as a still, but makes it tough with animation. So let me go through, we'll turn this off. And then Allen created this layer called glare overlay and he labeled it important. So I knew like, all right, that is going to help kind of drive this look. So if I turn this off, you can see how everything gets a little bit darker. That was to kind of boost everything below it, the colors, that's just a

Seth Eckert (15:26):


Steve Savalle (15:27):

So if I turn that on and if I solo it, so we're only seeing that and you can see it's this kind of ellipse moon shape, and then the blend mode is set to Softlight. So if I turn that from soft light to normalcy, you can see what's going on. It looks great. That's essentially it. And I have that parented to this big round circle base. So as that circles, animated, that glare also moves with it. Then again, it's just quickly, I can look at all of these colors right here, the purple I look over, I know that's the pill highlight and everything going on here. If I was to turn this off, it would all disappear. So we just start with our base, what is our main shape? And then that's kind of, if I go into here hit you so you can see my key frames that is essentially all of my animation. Okay.

Seth Eckert (16:16):

'cause I guess a lot of this stuff is like layer styles and compositing. Right?

Steve Savalle (16:20):

Exactly. And then you'll see that there's a lot of radio shadows that kind of give that long look and we don't use motion blur. Like I use motion blur at the very end of this, even though I'm very much against it, even though I love it too, kind of, as things are slingshotting off to make it feel even faster. So in this case

Seth Eckert (16:37):

I was gonna say, is that pill shape, uh, like a square cause I see you got a radius on there.

Steve Savalle (16:42):

So yes, if you look at this, you'll see if I unhide or if, yeah, if I unhide I've transformed properties, it's a square. And I love doing this stuff with squares rather than circles, because you can easily grab the corner of a square and move it. And then using round corners with that, you can keep it more circular based where if I had Bezier handles, trying to get nice clean stretches, it's just going to get sloppy. So I tend to lean more towards doing stuff that way. And then again, it's just adding on. So if you look at this layer right out the gate, we see ParentLink 38. So anything that's happening on this layer is going to happen to the layer above it. So if I turn it on, it's just a shadow with a kind of garbage mask. So now you can start to see how that's working and then the pill highlight, which has everything on the outside, everything's parented to this base, everything mimics that. So I'm not animating for different things, doing everything I'm animated, one piece, which is our main base and I'm letting everything else kind of build off of that. It's a

Seth Eckert (17:49):

Smart rig. You know, it kind of makes the intermission lift a little bit lighter, especially like if you get into like client ESC work and they have revisions, you know, that would make your life much easier editing one shape versus five, especially if it's multiplied across an entire project. So

Steve Savalle (18:04):

Absolutely. And even when timing changes come in, that's the big one. When people want things to happen a little faster, slower, you want to be able to quickly make those adjustments.

Seth Eckert (18:12):

Yeah. Those ones are always the most challenging feedback or types of feedback. So I know like you, you had some moments where you had, um, some transitional elements and I know you have some layers here that you can see, like are cut at certain times. Did you use any like cell type effects or anything to kind of help bridge the gap?

Steve Savalle (18:32):

So I love doing cuts and hiding cuts. And I learned this actually from working with a bunch of tele animators, Reese Parker. One of my buddies actually is where I really kind of picked up. This is in fast movement when things can move in super quick, that's when you can hide cuts or when things change rather than more early on in my career. And most of my career, especially starting up and for all of you, oh geez. You remember when everything had to be nice, clean more spec when the vector style became popular. So now working with cell animators and things being more 12 frames per second, and that little step, if handheld feel, you can learn a couple of cheats in tricks for them. So for example, I have a quick comp that I have set up for you guys. And I literally have four key frames, that's it position and mating left to, right?

Steve Savalle (19:16):

And if I go into my graph editor and I play this, so you can see it nice, smooth across I work with the speed graph up. And I also open up my reference graph, which lets me know the speed as well. I know if this line smooth, everything else is going to fall into place nicely. So at this point right here at this peak, you know, that this is my fastest point emotion. So at that fastest point, that's when I'm going to cut something or that's when I'm going to have some big impact because the, I won't be able to discern it. Won't keep up with everything. So let's say, I want this circle to turn into a square. I may just a quick square. I set it in place and then I parent it to the circle. So right here, you can see it's following that.

Steve Savalle (19:58):

So it's looking at those key frames and those key frames only. So let's make it this whole time. So if I stretch this out, you can see it just sticks with it again, looking at my graph editor at that fastest point, that's where I'm going to cut the layers. So this circle is still driving the motion of the square, the cuts happening as fast as point. But now if you watch it you're, I can't see that it's a cut. You just see that you have a circle to a square. So it feels smooth if you do this wrong, if you're not lined up at the fastest point and you watch it, then you can kind of tell something hiccups or something doesn't feel right. So I kind of tend to hide cuts in those fastest points of motion, because I think that goes over the smoothest.

Seth Eckert (20:40):

I love doing this as well. I feel like I've always called this, the shuffle swap. I don't know if that's what the technical term is, but it feels now it is now. It always feels like that's kind of what, what happens there. So that's really, really cool. Very, very fun technique. So, so show us, I guess, in the project, where did you do this specifically?

Steve Savalle (20:59):

So the big point where that happens is right at that massive point of impact, I had a lot of different things happening, a lot of different things changing. I had a lot of key frames going on. So sometimes starting with a fresh layer, just a fresh hero circle that you can see right here versus trying to make everything else kind of fit and force. It is the best way to do it. Knowing that everything happens really fast at this point. And this explosion out happens. I was able to just say, this is going to be my point where I can cut things and kind of have everything fly off. And because it all happened so fast because that bright hits you, those colors, and then those shapes go flying off screen. You can literally get away with almost anything at this point.

Seth Eckert (21:42):

Can we see the graph editor for that?

Steve Savalle (21:44):

Yeah. So let's go down to this guy. I'm going to hit you key frames. Let's go to the scale, go over here. I have a reference graph up this blue lines scaling in Z space. There's no scaling in Z space happening right here. Um, but you can see that it's this fast explosion out. So again, think ball bounce, everything kind of stems from that. Um, you get that quick speed out and then ease in, which makes it a little bit more comfortable for the eye.

Seth Eckert (22:26):

I love it. Very cool. So it seems like you really, in this project, you applied a lot of, um, like primitive type, uh, approaches to animating these scenes and transitioning a lot of these shapes. And it seems like, you know, you watch like a video like this and you think, man, that looks like really complex, but it really is just a, uh, a layering application of some of those like, you know, repetitive ideas and concepts of, you know, anticipating action, you know, shuffle swap type transitions, stuff like that. So it's, it's very, very cool to see, especially, you know, you, you got your project file here is so organized. So, you know, kudos again on, on that.

Steve Savalle (23:02):

And this project file is an organized cause it's being released to the world. This is the way that I work. And if you freelance or if you work with anybody, just keep your things organized, man. It's it makes your life easier. You can work quicker. You're not fighting the programs as much.

Seth Eckert (23:16):

Absolutely. Especially like naming layers just makes your life a lot easier. Even if the naming is silly.

Steve Savalle (23:21):

Oh, I couldn't agree more with you. So yeah, if we watch how this looks, even this explosion out, if I strip off all of the blurs, everything else that's going on, all the extra lighting layers, it's just this which looks really boring and simple. But when you combine it with everything, that's what kind of brings it to life. Love it.

Seth Eckert (23:44):

So, Steve, I know that Alan built all of this and after effects, um, do you want to walk us through, uh, you know, the way that he outlined the, uh, illustration and then, you know, also how you layered, um, the project file and named everything, um, as you set it up for animation.

Steve Savalle (23:59):

Yeah, absolutely. If you're following along again, you can see that I have everything built kind of color quoted color coded for what it is. So if you look over at the names, you can see that's the big circle rim light, the highlight shade, uh, more highlights, et cetera. But I'd say to do, if you really interested in kind of seeing how this all came together, just start soloing things, solo your main hero pieces. So the square, the big circle, the triangle, I have this base, I have a background and then I have my hero circle character on that's it. And if you start to do a Ram preview and watch that strip everything away, you still have good clean motion and movement here. You're still looking at those animation principles, getting that squash and stretch, getting some of those smears going that way. You can kind of feel the weight.

Steve Savalle (24:45):

So kind of dive in and see how this is all just being driven by key frames, for example, you know, how did I get everything to happen on an angle, but yet there's the Y position. And then if you look, start backwards engineering it all right. So this is kind of parents that to layer 33. Well, what is layer 33? That's 45. Why did he say 45? Well, if I go in here and I rotate this, any type of distance, if I go negative 45, I'm going to turn this off because the way I was building things way, then it was a little bit different. But essentially what I did was created this going straight up and down and rotated at 45 degrees. So that way I wasn't animating curves or lines on an angle, I could animate them all in one value and then rotate things as a whole.

Seth Eckert (25:36):

Yes. Do you know, this is, this is amazing to see, and I know like it's great that you walk through even like a, a way in which you can kind of break down a file and look at it and try to figure out what the other animator did. I know since everyone animates differently and especially in after effects, there's a thousand ways to do the same thing. So seeing the way that other animators or designers approach this type of work is always huge. So, um, you know, anybody listening, if you ever get an opportunity to step through a file, um, always try to look at it and reverse engineer it in a way in which you can understand and learn like, oh, Hey, that's, that's how they did that. Or, you know, maybe it might even spur on some, you know, additional Googling where it's like, man, how I see they did this and they use these features. How did they do that? And then, you know, sometimes even just through discovery, you can learn some, some additional things that you might have not learned before or known before. And also the teacher might not have even teacher a war, you know, collaborator might have not even been trying to show you. Um, so you know, there's little, little things like that, all over project files like this. So, uh, uh, definitely dive in, see what you can find.

Steve Savalle (26:36):

And if you have any questions, reach out and ask me if you're looking through my project file and you're like, Steve, why did you do this? Or how did you do this? Or any of those questions? You can reach me through email through any form of communication online.

Seth Eckert (26:48):

Thanks again to the school of motion for having us on this video is just one of three motion design. Walk-throughs make sure you check out the others. And if you'd like to check out the entire set of animations produced on this project, head over to the furrow.tv/project/ COVID-19 also head over to the school of motion to find more articles, tutorials, podcasts, and courses, belt for beginner to advance motion designers. You can learn how to plan and execute projects and explainer camp learn how to create and illustrate mood boards and illustration promotion, or learn the fundamentals of animation and animation bootcamp. Hope you all enjoyed the content. Give the school of motion, some love by hitting the like button and subscribe. If you want some more motion design training.

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