This is about 9 minutes long - something completely forbidden for a show reel in motion graphics. So I guess I'm bad. I have, however, provided a shorter, altogether speedier version. See Final Show Reel - Short Version (90 seconds).
I persist with a longer version in order to use sound tracks more precisely for each animation. While this may seem slow and pointless to the dedicated special effects professional, looking only for inventive use of particle emitters, say, or those suffering from similar Attention Deficit Disorder, a good part of the course has been about incorporating sound and to some extent eclipsing the role of a film or video editor. A string of brief and ingenious shots is no longer enough. Motion graphics soon needs sequences, development and timing. Generally this seems to be where motion graphics are going. Just as 'graphics' easily assimilates live action video for backgrounds and integral props, leads to more and more elaborate compositing, so too it needs to control and assimilate sound, even in the interests of 'graphics'.
For the moment this is a struggle in After Effects, where sound is only available in RAM preview, and theoretically, invites a project to be transferred to Premiere (also part of Adobe Creative Suite bundles). However, with enormous patience I have managed to edit this lengthy show reel, and even intricate sound tracks like the 30 Cartoon Characters in 20 Seconds in AE, mainly for the challenge.
I've altered some items from the September show reel (see re-edited separate versions of Stage 14 and Alison Wonderland) and revised others like Whitehorse and Recovery.
None of my assignments made the course show reel - see vimeo.com/15243529 for the competition. So I guess that puts me in the lower third of the class, or just not liked.
A class exercise in live-action compositing (green screening) with 3-D modelling (Lightwave backgrounds). The gun is also a Lightwave model, by classmate Kerim Bogarts, who also plays the sniper. I designed the animated telescopic sights view and storyboard.
Okay the animation is pretty weak, but this was actually my 'major specialisation' for the semester, since the college was reluctant to accept a web banner I designed (for the ISSPD congress - a clinical psychology thing - Google).
Anyway this animation started life as a tutorial on using the puppetry tool, based on Chris Jackson's book After Effects & Flash. I thought I would be able to animate a JPG and seamlessly integrate it with live action and compositing. Ha!
It's not so much that I couldn't master a spider walk cycle - there are some great examples using 3D models on You Tube. No, the problem - which I didn't really see until it was too late because I was focused on the intricate walk cycle - was that the overhead view of the spider was never really going to have a perspective to place it above the background of the dance floor. Consequently, the spider just looked flattened or squashed. Although the leg extensions are more or less accurate (slightly exaggerated) they don't have the necessary foreshortening to read as being above the floor. Doh!
I was in two minds whether or not to go ahead and finish the thing or submit it. But in the end there wasn't time to come up with a replacement. So I tried to make it more exaggerated or stylised - it's meant to be funny anyway. But it didn't exactly have them rolling in the aisles at my assessment, so I'm putting this one down to another steep learning curve.
Not entirely a success, but worth posting since I tried combining a number of techniques (and tutorials) with this. Firstly the alley was just a JPG I got off the web, then took it into Photoshop and used the vanishing point tool (a VPE file, I think) to make it into a 3-D object or box. Then took the VPE into After Effects, following a Video Co-Pilot tutorial and animated a camera move from high angle in the background (hence the radically distorted perspective, which I like!) to low angle foreground. I then tried to composite a 3-D object (the mini car) into the scene, animated the car in Lightwave, with a similar camera move (starts high, comes forward and dollies down) and with less success, masked in a shadow for the car. The lighting was never really going to match and keying out the background to the car only taught me to use an RGB sequence as a render from Lightwave. I'll get round to that.
Finally I tried some Trapcode Particular rain effects over the whole thing - inadvertently reversing the rain at the start of the scene, in the background. I don't know how I did that. A negative loading for one of the emitter settings? But anyway I kind of like it. I got the rain idea from a tutorial by Ik0, a French motionographer based in Nantes, who has a cool blog (and tutorials).
I will probably re-do this one and try and get the rain splashing off the roof of the car - the neatest part about Ik0's tutorial - but for now, this is the state of play.
This is another re-edit following criticism from invited professionals. Objections were to the use of a photo of the fob watch, as a clashing 2-D image amongst 3-D models. This was not strictly true, since the Alison figure is just an Illustrator or vector image with animated blink. I did make a 3-D watch in Lightwave, but it just wasn't very good - the watch could not be stylised in the same way as the mushroom - I wanted it to look REALLY realistic, and it just didn't. So at the last moment I resorted to a JPG I found on the web.
I quite liked the way the 2-D image then collapsed into 1-D (a sort of play on time and space that would have amused Lewis Carroll, I like to think). So the clash between the fob watch and the teacup or rabbit was partly desired. But on the other hand, there was this difference between a photograph and the surrounding images, which are all graphics. I think this was actually where there is a clash of style.
To remedy this, I just made an Ai file of the watch, much like I made Alison, animated the dial face in After Effects and then decided to use the Pixelbender Droste Filter to give it a dreamlike bending. This was the equivalent of the 2 to 1-D collapse, and I could have just done that with the vector graphic, but since I had the Pixelbender thing going (see Big Bender animation) I put that in this version, with an eye on my Final Showreel (full version).