The second of my project’s for the Design Practise 3 module of this year was to think of a futuristic sport and to design an appropriate character or characters to compete within that sport. I also had to think of the location the sport was to be set and the environment that the location would be situated in. However, the software we were to use was one that I had never used before to produce an animation ‘Adobe After Effects.’ The style was to be 2D characters and environment in a 3D world, which took a while for me to get my head around.

At first I found this entire project a bit confusing because of the style but after an example given to us by my lecturer I knew what I was aiming for. It took a while for me to come up with a good futuristic style, which I could creatively pursue. I started with ‘Jet Powered Canoe Lacrosse’ and after a number of trials I alternatively went for ‘Hover Tennis,’ which was to be set in space. I did a number of sketches for different character ideas, including a human, squirrel and beaver. I developed the beaver and squirrel until I was happy with my sketches; I then scanned them into ‘Adobe Photoshop’ and continued developing them. The next stage was the environment where I included a number of planets including the Sun, Saturn and Pluto. There were stands for alien crowds, a clubhouse and commentary box as well as a Referee and scoreboard.

Once I was happy with all the different parts to my animation necessary the next stage was to import it into ‘After Effects’ and position each piece where I wanted them and then to animate. I found the animation side quite difficult as all the keys aren’t on the same timeline but after a few trial runs I started to get the hang of it and was soon able to use the different layers I had created in ‘Photoshop’ for the characters to their full advantage giving them movement in their arms and legs as well as multiple facial expressions giving them a sense of their own personality. I did most this by using the puppet tool and the timeline effectively. I also gave the referee and scoreboard some floating movement making it seem as if they were both hovering just like the characters were. There is tool within the effects panel called ‘Distort’ I used this on the alien crowd and increased the ‘Turbulent Displacement’ so that the crowd waved around also giving them some movement without having to move each one individually.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this project as I have never properly used ‘Adobe After Effects’ before, therefore I was able to explore and learn to effects that I can apply to future animations whether it be of a similar style or even an animation I have produced and then imported from 3DS Max. I feel that learning this software is vital for my future career especially when it comes to compositing, which I am very excited about learning next term. I feel that this project has pushed my skills far beyond what they were before and has therefore has possibly opened a new door for me to consider about my career.

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