Animated Picasso Peace art

This piece of peace art was created by the great artist Picasso. Picasso’s drawing was commissioned by the World Peace Council in 1951 when campaigning against NATO’s drive for German rearmament.

The animation was done by tracing the artwork by hand in After Effects with the pen tool, each line housed in a separate Shape layer. To each line was added a Trim Paths, easy eased and the same keyframed end point from 0 to 100% copy and pasted onto each Trimed Path.

All these were pre-composed into a "reveal" layer, which then became the track matte of the pre-composed artwork itself based on the Alpha channel.

To finish the intro, a 3D camera was added to zoom out and allow space for the animated text. A couple of Light Sweep effects were added just to engage the eye on the text after the Picasso art had been drawn on the screen.

3 Looping Backgrounds

These videos are all exercises in making looping videos using After Effects

Undulating strings were formed using the Line generator emanating from the centre of the composition (x=1920/2). These were repeated through randomised values on the  3 axes values, trying to avoid any clumps. Two Tao repeaters were used, colour applied by colouring a 400x400 precomp with an initial b/w liner Gradient Ramp, and then the Colorama Effect applied and the Sunset preset chosen. Fractal settings were keyframed between 0 and 500, and the loop setting applied. 

This is a version of the blue sphere loop below, but with the component spheres being rendered as n-gons, giving a crystalline form. An adjustment layer with a Hue, Saturation effect was added to shift the hue value to a purple. Loop made by rotating from 0 to 360 degrees in x axis.

The spheres are made from the segments of a circular Tao ring, spread by randomisation through the 3 axes of 3D space. A 400x400 precomp with a 4-colour-gradient was created to shade the spheres and give the illusion of depth - the 4 colours being lighter and darker tones of one hue (blue). A spot light was placed in the centre of the Tao segments by checking the camera view from the Top and Left.

Animation: St George's Tron Church window

A little experimental animation of a main panel in the main stained glass window in St George's Tron Church (SGT), Glasgow.

I had initially considered tracing it in Adobe Illustrator, but instead worked directly with the pen tool in Adobe After Effects. The main effect is created by applying Trim Paths & animating the End point value of each path (from 0 to 100%). Great use was made of pre-comps and reflection in horizontal and vertical axes of symmetry - apply a Tranform effect, uncouple the dimensions and turn the scale value from the default 100 to -100 depending on which axis you wish to reflect in.
(So where you had an element appear in all these - ie 4 times, they would have values of (100,100), (100,-100), (-100, 100), (-100,-100)).

The St Andrew's cross arms have a circle fill - this was replicated using the Repeater function alongside two rectangles, pre-comp'ed and then replicated in rotation.

After the design has been animated, the actual real image in faded in for full effect. To fill the 1080 by 1920 typical video size, the main composition was duplicated left and right and the timing offset for additional interest (with slight colour desaturation and a Gaussian blur to enable the eye to focus on the main design instance in the middle).

Word outlines and inner scribble animation

In this Adobe After Effects example, animated lines form the rough outlines of letters, which are in turn filled by a Scribble effect
Firstly I created a text layer as a reference (the font used was Gotham Bold), which I then traced by hand using the Pen Tool, editing points as needed, but also with some artist licence in over shooting some lines.

To each of these strokes was added a Trim Paths. Once I animated one path to my satisfaction using the Graph Editor, I copy and pasted those keyframes onto the other Trim Path Start and Ends. 

I then duplicated my text reference layer, and converted the text to masks. To this the Scribble Effect could be applied. The keyframes for the start and end of the Scribble Effect were made in reference to using the outline stroke animations for timing.

To make the composition more adaptable, the colour and size of the outline strokes were all controlled by a Controller Null layer with Expression controls - a colour picker and a slider control. A separate Controller Null was made for the scribble colour.

Once pre-composed, this was brought into the main composition and made into a 3d layer, with added camera and a Camera control Null. This was animated in 3D space, with a Glow effect added and some light particles

Looped Sky Animation using a still photograph

This was mostly done using Adobe After Effects, using a photograph by Steve Halama from the Unsplash website.

Initially working in Adobe Photoshop, I separated the main character, the sky and the ground using duplicate layers - each one masked to hold only their key part of the picture.

Using the Context aware fill in Photoshop, I generated the part of the sky obscured by the central figure.

Then in After Effects, I imported this Photoshop layered file and created a composition. I increased the scale of the sky significantly, which gave me room to animate some movement.

Using the CC Slant effect on this enlarged sky, first I grounded the effect on the top of the foreground level. I then keyframed the slant effect as much as I could on the left, then moved forward in time and created another keyframe as far as I could on the right.

Obviously this 20 second composition wouldn't loop. So I created a main 35 second composition, and added my 20 second animation into that. I chose a split point and cut the composition in 2, which then I can use as a looping beginning and end - as these are contiguous frames. The footage to the right of the cut becomes the beginning of the clip, the footage on the left is dragged to the end.

But prior to this split, I duplicated the footage to provide the extra 15 seconds or so in the middle. By carefully keyframing the opacity of these (fading out one and fading in the duplicate - and doing the opposite with the end clip), the eye is not distracted unduly.

A logo and some particles floating in the generated sky movement direction, just add finishing touches along with colour corrections via adjustment layers.

Heads Up Display (HUD) in 2D and 3D

The visual effect known as a "HUD" or Heads Up Display is often used in computer games, sci-fi and action movies. These futuristic graphics seem to communicate vital information to their user, and are a great visual to the movie goer that the protagonist needs that information to guide their actions. Often they glow, they move, graphs or charts appear, voice patterns dart across or even heartbeat monitoring flies across the screen. In sci-fi, a droid like R2D2 can project the map of a galaxy into the air, the planets moving on their axes 

This afternoon I wanted to pull a HUD out of the air. It acts like a compass, but also has sonar and radar scanning capabilities! Of course, it's just geometric elements moving on your screen, but that's what HUDs are. The compass movements are randomised with a wiggle expression, freq=0.9 and amp=50. The radar line is controlled by the equation time*100. The sonar is created with the Radio effect in After Effects. An adjustment layer was added on top, with Glow effect applied. Two solid layers form the background - the bottom one with a radial Gradient Ramp from blue to dark blue, the upper solid has Grid effect applied, lines at 0.5px and grid size controlled by slider. 2 masks helped create the fanning out shape, a small inner circle subtracting from the centre, and a large circle intersecting on the outer edge.

HUD in 2D


Same HUD placed in a 3D environment

Magazine/ Newspaper/ Book animation

This template I constructed will take images of the pages of a book/ magazine/ newspaper, and animate them in 3D space with page turns. The page on the right becomes the back of the new left page when it is being animated in. Once the page hits 90 degrees from the plane, expressions control the visibility of the newly turning page. Use of parenting means that animating one page actually controls the motion of the two.

The publication is then rotated in 3D space to add interest and dynamic movement to the composition.

Looping "Low Poly" Background

I love the "low poly" style for creating subtle modern backgrounds. It's a style quite often seen as smartphone wallpapers. I created this as a looping animation.

Blue Swirling Background Loop (generated via ink drop)

This unusual background was generated via one ink drop rotated in diagonal. Upon this was added a heavy blur and a twirl effect. A continuous loop was then created from the result.

Ink Drop Heart Reveal

I created this animation from one ink drop motion, rotated and reflected. Using levels and grey scale, these were duplicated and coloured, with the coloured versions being revealed by a heart shaped mask.

Animated blue looped background

This subtle shimmering background is a perfect loop. 

Diagonal Symmetry Ink Dot animation

One ink dot is copied, recoloured, re-timed, and rotated to form an interesting animated background

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