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

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August 24, 2018 : Print Problems – Ink Saturation Levels

I don’t often work in the print realm, but I enjoy challenges – which is why I was happy to illustrate a Children’s Book for a client last year. Overall, the project was a fun exercise in illustration. However, it did come with some challenges… specifically, Ink Saturation Levels (the sum of the CMYK Percentage Components).

The printing company my client used has a limit of 240%, a threshold that can vary dependent on the type of project and equipment. While a limit as high as 280% is not uncommon, this was something not on my radar while designing the characters in the book. So when the printing company came back detailing issues with the submitted files, I had to do plenty of research on the topic of Ink Saturation Levels.

It turns out Adobe Acrobat has the ability to highlight colors above a pre-determined limit. Below shows an example of the output:

The next step was determining a course of action to remedy the situation. The more thorough (and tedious) solution would have been going back into Illustrator and change each offending color. However with deadlines and workloads as they are, I ended up importing the pages (in PDF form) into Photoshop. From there I was able to reduce the ink density and re-export the PDF’s. These were than recompiled to form a revised Master PDF file.

Overall, it was an adventure into the Print Realm, and the lessons learned were invaluable for future projects. As for this project, the hope is that the book will begin printing in a few weeks, and I am looking forward to seeing the final product.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:27 pm

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June 15, 2018 : The Freelance Manifesto

A friend recently told me about The Freelance Manifesto, a sort of how-to guide to survey the Freelance MoGraph World. It claims to be applicable to freelancers in other fields, which I suppose can be true since much of the methodology is universal; but the main audience are Motion Designers.

It didn’t take very long to get through, which is always a good thing with non-fiction books of this sort; and Joey Korenman is very personable as an author.

The Manifesto is equal parts motivational and how-to guide. Some of the concepts were common sense (at least in my mind), but there was a fair amount of information I found useful.

All in all, it was a worthwhile read – keeping things informative and entertaining. My hope is to apply some of it to secure more clients.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:21 pm



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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