August 21, 2020 : Hologram Goodness

I just completed a set of sequences, and they required Holograms. I previously discussed the Holographic Timer, which borrowed techniques from Ultra – an older short of mine neither critically nor commercially successful – with some tweaks.

A new graphical element needed for this part was a Holographic projection of a character. I wanted to have some fun with this since had never done the effect before, but I also needed it to stay consistent with the Timer. Below is a screenshot:

I’m very happy with the end result. However to really sell the visuals, I realize the need to have solid accompanying audio effects. I’ve already placed in a lot of SFX for earlier sequences, and as always the case, it makes things so much better. I expect the same to happen with the Hologram sequences.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:55 pm

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August 15, 2020 : After Effects Expressions

This week I finished animating a series of sequences totaling about 20 seconds, and I am pretty stoked about it. The animation itself was standard fare, but it requires some fun accompanying elements in After Effects.

One of these is a timer that is precise down to hundredths of a second. To easily keep consistency between sequences, I used a Slider Control to set the start and end times. Parts of the graphic even changes color based on the time.

To get all this to work (and look good visually), I only used Expressions. I have a base knowledge of them so this required some research. It was a fun challenge, and I’m happy with how robust it turned out. Here’s a screenshot pf the Comp in After Effects:

I still need to add a little more to the design of the timer, but it’s coming together. I also need to create another graphical element for the sequences, and that should be equally fun. That I haven’t started yet, but is next up on the docket

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:38 pm

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January 19, 2020 : After Effects In All Its Glory

The first half minute of the new short is moving along, and several sequences required a good deal of After Effects work. One particular shot that just wrapped up was particularly heavy, and I liked how it came out. As such, I decided to create a quick gif (note you might need to click on it to animate):

Lightwave and After Effects work is done for the first 35 seconds. Before animating new scenes, the plan is to add sound effects and review the overall pacing. I really want to make sure the flow works, particularly since the initial shots set up the rest of the story.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:37 am

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March 1, 2019 : How Animation Gets Done (Video)

Not a lot of people know how Animation gets made. To help enlighten the masses on the process, I created a quick video that shows what is entailed:

This nonsensical bit was made for a quick presentation I had to give. It did have a deadline, which meant I couldn’t tighten up a few of the movements – but I still get a kick out of watching it.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:16 pm



July 25, 2018 : Walking Through A Portal – Animation Testing

Building off an earlier post, I spent some time having a character walk through my cartoon portal. Below is the end result (with sound effects):

You might recognize the character from a previous animated short, which was actually the inspiration for the portal idea. That earlier project is nearly 5 years old (?!). Since then, I have made numerous improvements to my rigs. However, I didn’t feel it prudent spending time creating a new or updated character at this juncture of testing.

Overall, I like how things came out. I might tweak a few things when I actually create the portal for realsies, but I like the After Effects portions used. Plus, I feel the audio really pulls everything together.

posted by Pi Visuals at 3:35 pm

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July 13, 2018 : Cartoon Portal Fun

For a while now, I have wanted to create a Cartoon Portal. I had some time lately so I tested around with some things in After Effects. Below is the final result (with sound effects!):

One piece of line art was made in Illustrator and used as the basis for the various layers.

I still need to send something (or someone) through the portal, but I don’t think it’s ready for that just yet. The technology is still in the beta stages and will require more testing. Just kidding – that is the next step. I intend on using a previously made Lightwave character.

posted by Pi Visuals at 10:10 am

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June 1, 2018 : Long Overdue Reel Update

Many people I know (myself included) often say they need to update their reel. This has been on my To-Do list for quite some time, which is why I’m happy to share the link below:

As with my previous reel, I wanted to do something different with the music. This time around, I used Jazz Chord Progressions and mixed them with non-instrumental synth sounds. It took some time getting it to a place with which I was happy, but I like the end result.

posted by Pi Visuals at 8:41 pm

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May 20, 2018 : Hopping On The ‘Whiteboard Animation’ Train

Whiteboard Animations are quite the craze these days. Actually they have been popular for a while now. I’ve never made one before, but I am currently working on one for a client. I could probably use After Effects, but there are multiple software packages that specialize in the creation of these types of videos – which are more efficient.

Per the client’s request, I am using VideoScribe. It is subscription based software (what isn’t these days?), and a cheap one at that. It cost me $29 for a month of use, and it would have been less than half of that had I purchased the Yearly Plan.

This is the first time using such a program so I can’t really compare to its competitors; and while it isn’t perfect, so far it seems to do the job. I am sure there are more robust packages out there to create really complicated animations, however I have been able to couple the resulting animation with After Effects to add on a few bells and whistles and make things look solid.

I can’t say this genre is my favorite, but the project has been a nice change of pace and a fun challenge.

posted by Pi Visuals at 8:34 pm

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March 14, 2018 : Happy Pi Day!

You know what day it is?¬†Of course you do – it’s the nerdiest day of them all, and this year it has been made extra nerdy special with an animation:

After you re-watch (and share) the video several times, be sure to reflect on the awesomeness that is Pi. Although, if you come to this site, I guess you already do that. Then again, if you regularly visit this site, you are probably fictional. Either way, Happy Pi Day!

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:14 pm

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February 14, 2018 : Animated Sequence Cut But Not Forgotten

A recent project was rather involved and had a lot of different animated sequences. There were plenty of moving pieces during Production, including re-writes to the script and storyboard.

As things progressed, it became evident that some of the sequences no longer fit the video’s overall message and had to get cut. Below is one such sequence that I particularly enjoyed:

All the animation was done in After Effects, while the icons were designed in Illustrator.

It was a bummer the client decided to ax the clip – albeit totally understandable. On the plus side, the animation was already complete so I kept it and plan on putting it on my reel.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:11 pm