April 23, 2022 : Zoom Blur Transition

I mentioned Match Cuts in a previous post. Another transition I’ve been trying to incorporate more is the Zoom Blur (note: turning these into Gif’s did degrade their quality).

While Match Cuts can be used in animation as well as live action, Zoom Blur is more intended for live footage; but I think they are powerful since there our multiple variations – it’s just a matter of being creative.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:36 am

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July 1, 2021 : Gif Making In Adobe

Over the years, I’ve created plenty of animated gif’s for various clients… and maybe a few for personal enjoyment. However, it wasn’t until recently that I did some research on the various ways of making a Gif in Adobe.

I’m working on long-term project, creating 3-second looped gifs of various icons. Below is a collection of some of the first drafts (click on the image to view the gif in all its glorious motion):

There are over a hundred that need to get done, and I have maybe fifteen. I try to crank one out every week or two… did I mention it’s a long-term project?

In the past, my process of creating a Gif was:

  1. Create the animation in After Effects
  2. Render out an mp4 (via Encoder)
  3. Import the mp4 into Photoshop
  4. Export the mp4 as a Gif

I recently found out Encoder renders Gif’s directly. While this reduced the steps, there were issues with the final render. Below is a version using this process:

Obviously the color bleeding/ artifacting was unacceptable. As such, I reverted back to the Photoshop Export. For good measure, I adjusted some of the export settings (most notably increasing the Dither to 100%). Below is the end result:

Chef’s Kiss! This project not only verified the necessary pipeline for creating an acceptable Gif in Adobe, but it forced me to dive deeper in Photoshop’s Gif export Settings… something I hadn’t done before. It’s not often I get a chance to dig into the nuts and bolts of Adobe so this was a fun (and worthwhile) exercise.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:11 pm

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April 16, 2021 : Dolly Zoom Exploration

I finished up my quick Dolly Zoom Study. Several versions were created for review – using the same character movement but changing the background. I also threw in animated color corrections to better sell it in After Effects. Below is the final compilation (click on the image for the GIF to animate):

From a technical perspective, performing the maneuver digitally was very easy. I had full control of the camera and was able to tweak things to get things how I wanted.

The background composition sold the effect. Having a flat one dimensional BG (upper right) made things very dull and ineffective. Similarly, the upper left version added depth with the workbench, but it moved in parallel to the Character… not in contrast, thus limiting its value.

The lower left version did have two walls in the shot, and I felt it was an improvement; but the lower right had the most dynamic staging. As such, it had the most dramatic. Overall, it was a cool exploration into the Dolly Zoom, and I’m glad I have it in my skillset moving forward.

A footnote: this was done in Lightwave 2015… I still don’t have much of a clue how to use 2020.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:35 pm

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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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