February 10, 2024 : Character Animation Fun

It isn’t anything super glamorous, but I started a new project at work that includes a good amount of character animation. It’s an educational piece that uses a stick figure with accompanying graphics to reinforce the script. That said, stick figures can actually be really fun to animate due to their aesthetic simplicity. I already set up the rig and did a few tests:

A stick man animated in After Effects

The work will be done in After Effects, which is still pretty powerful for character animation. I considered using a plugin (such is DUIK) but decided to keep things simple. I tend to do this type of work only a few times a year so it’s fun when I get a chance to flex these muscles – particularly since it’s been a little while since I’ve done a personal project… sigh.

I also wanted to go for a hand drawn look, which required some testing to get it how I wanted; but I think it’s in a good place. Overall it’s a fun, light-hearted project which is always something to look forward to 🙂

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:37 am

Tags:  ,  , 


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

Tags:  ,  , 


September 17, 2021 : Match Cuts

I’ve always been a fan of match cuts – which is an edit between two scenes that uses elements of one in the transition to the next. These elements can be either audio or visual cues.

Sometimes it’s tough to incorporate match cuts in professional Mograph work, particularly with projects that are ‘dryer’ or clients more conservative.

That said, there’s often an opportunity to help liven a project. I want to identify a few more techniques in the hopes of having more tricks in my bag moving forward.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:47 pm

Tags:  ,  , 


July 16, 2021 : Kurzgesagt = Education + Solid Animation

A few months ago, I stumbled on the YouTube Channel, Kurzgesagt. It releases a wide range of adult-themed educational content, but in the form of animated videos.

The videos employ a minimalistic design – although the video’s subject matters are often complex, thus the overall visuals are deeply involved. Along with the simplistic design is solid animation (and overall production for that matter).

I watch a video now and then. Having launched in 2013, there are a lot – particularly since they still release new material every month or so. Between learning something of interest and getting design inspiration, I am a fan.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:18 pm



June 9, 2021 : The Simpsons’ Animation Style Over the Years

I’ve long since stopped watching the show, but the video below is a cool history of The Simpsons’ animation style – including its visual development and impact of technological advances in the medium.

It was interesting to hear about the challenges that came with each of the changes made to its Production pipeline – particularly, the switch to 16:9. The differences in compositional methodology between SD and HD are often overlooked until they have to stage out scenes in the new format.

posted by Pi Visuals at 8:58 am

Tags:  , 


October 18, 2019 : Tips and Tricks From Showrunners

I came across this article, which highlights lessons learned from three showrunners. They discuss their struggles and give tips on their experiences. I also saw the trailer for Cupcake and Dino: General Services for the first time:

I had not heard of the series, but it looks interesting.
As for the article, there is definitely a lot of advice in it on collaboration, being a leader, and succeeding in a new position – much of which translates to other roles and even industries.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:53 pm

Tags:  , 


August 3, 2019 : Lupin Goes CGI

A new Lupin movie will be released in Japan this coming December. A trailer has recently made the rounds, showing the film will be CGI:

Overall, I’m digging the look. Although to be honest, I’ve never been very high on Lupin. I always liked it – the animation, story, character design, voice acting, etc – but for whatever reason, the series never grabbed me enough to make it a must watch. This past season I didn’t even bother recording, which was mostly due to the prioritization of other shows I wanted to watch more.

That said, I would be more inclined to watch a movie versus a full season, and the CGI look has be genuinely intrigued. A U.S. release date hasn’t been set, but I’m hoping it becomes readily available when it does come stateside.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:26 pm

Tags:  , 


July 19, 2016 : China’s Monkey King: Hero Is Back

China’s highest-grossing domestic animated film, Monkey King: Hero Is Back, is finally getting distribution in the United States, due to a partnership with DirecTV. Below is the English trailer:

While the trailer doesn’t jump out at me, the movie’s success does have potential significance. Having grossed US$153 million during last year’s release in China on a mere $16 million budget has pushed a lot of other animation features into production.

If this movie’s limited American release and On-Demand rentals prove fruitful, it will only kick things into a higher gear. I believe the increased demand will result in higher budgets and better projects coming out of China.

posted by Pi Visuals at 10:50 am



May 27, 2016 : ‘Player Two’ Animated Short

I saw a cool student animation film on Vimeo earlier this week. If you have just under four minutes, it’s worth a view.

There are several reasons why I enjoyed the short: the video game references, the subtle music track, and the overall message. However, I was particularly surprised with how much I liked the design.

I assumed it was rotoscoped, which is confirmed by the creator in the video’s description, and normally I am not a huge fan. I think the jagged edges often come off too jarring. This film didn’t use edges, which reminded me of Samurai Jack, and the softness works by offsetting the fast movements.

To be fair, I never really considered my brother Player One or Two – but he is definitely Player B in my mind.

posted by Pi Visuals at 7:50 pm



December 27, 2012 : Must See Animated Short Films

I’m not one for internet lists. They’re basically somebody’s opinion, followed by countless dissenters whining about it in the comments section. The only times I tend to read these lists is when they offer interesting new info or links. This was the case with Listverse’s 10 Must See Animated Films.

A few of the entries I had previously seen, and I personally would have preferred less Pixar shorts (not because they were bad, but it seemed like the list should have veered away from the mainstream). However, overall the shorts were fun to watch. If you have about an hour to kill, you should check it out. Still, there was one short that I really enjoyed.

I loved the innovative concept, and the meshing of 2D and 3D animation was very well executed. The 2D animation reminded me of the old school Looney Toons, and the 3D work had a tremendous amount of detail devoted to it. And above everything else, the story was interesting. If you have five minutes, give it a look.

posted by Pi Visuals at 2:38 am


0 Comments | Post a comment