DAT 403 – Assignment – Animation Show Reel

Brief: Manufacture an animated show reel that displays the skills you have learnt from this module. This is the format for submitting your animation tests, experiments, graphics designs and After Effect’s exploration in and out of the practical sessions. Each asset implemented must be your own work and individual to you. The show case of animated material should have an overarching theme or narrative. Focus is to be negotiated through discussion with the module leader. Add a description to the film describing and justifying the specific visual choices you have made. Break down the elements included and explain your theme/ narrative.

Title Element

The introductory title sequence consists of a 10 second animation to introduce the show reel. This was designed to be an eyecatching and dramatic opening moment, both visually and aurally.

The background reflects my theme of red, amber and green: the colours used in my ‘Greenlight Design’ corporate identity assets, and provides a subtle background for the main part of the animation.

Layered particle explosions are combined in a double explosion sequence. The first results in the ‘DAT403 Show Reel’ text emerging from the heart of the explosion. The follow-up detonation shatters and disperses the text title.

Camera shake, motion blur and appropriate sound effects are used to provide a high-impact opening to the animation show reel.

Greenlight Identity Spot

This part showcases the ‘Greenlight Design’ logo and the animation plays on the ‘light’ aspects of my corporate identity design.

A dark, moody atmosphere is created with a grunge-style floor element. A gradient ramp used to offset the otherwise unbroken darkness of the environment.

Red, amber and green glowing circluar lights appear from beneath the reflective floor surface, quickly followed by a glowing ‘Greenlight Design’ logo. The logo is pushed up and out of sight by a single green light. The logo re-emerges from above and the green light travels the length of the logo. Before settling in it’s place to the left of the text, the green light bumps into the text, turning the ‘green’ text green and completing the logo.

A dramatic camera move, combined with camera wiggle give a dynamic feel to the animation. A brief camera shake when the green light bumps the logo is underscored by a deep audio thump, providing a satisfying finale to this part of the reel.

Audio Visualisation

A similar environment as the above was used for the audio visualisation sequence. An audio file was sourced and the Bass & Treble effect was used in conjunction with the Convert Audio to Keyframes command to create separate keyframed bass and treble layers. A third layer was created with keyframes from the audio without the Bass & Treble effect. The keyframe information was used to drive three sets of particles produced via Trapcode’s Particular plug-in. Organic waveforms were coloured green, amber and red for conistency with the overall theme of this piece.

Dynamic camera moves were timed to coincide with the dynamics of the audio and to highlight the three dimensional nature of the waveforms.

Character Animation

Fifteen layers created in Illustrator were arranged in 3D space to create the backdrop and foreground for my character animation test. Blur was applied to foreground items to simulate a depth of field effect. The Z space arrangement of the layers created a smooth parallax scrolling effect as the camera moves from the left to right.

Light and camera ‘dolly’ null objects were used allow movement on the X axis only, allowing the character to remain consistently in frame and lit as required.

To bring the animation to life, the background gradient ramp was keyframed to simulate a change from day to night. Changing the light colour from white to blue also effectively created a moonlight scene towards the end of the animation. Glow effects were added to the stars, moon and eyes.

The wizard character was initially sketched then photographed and traced, coloured and detailed in Illustrator. The arms and legs were each separated into two parts to make articulation easier and more realistic. A green light was parented to the head of the wizard’s staff to carry on the theme of the sequence. The green light can be seen lighting the wizard’s face as it moves with his arm.

The transition from night to day is further enhanced with a change of audio from a daytime outdoor feel to a  more eerie night-time atmosphere.

Final Animation Show Reel:

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