Archive for the Projects Category

“Pop” Wave

Posted in Blogs, Evan's Blog, Projects with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2010 by EAbrams

I call this little number the pop wave. Looks pretty simple right? Just some things popping on across the frame in a controlled wave, and the off, and then on and ungulate before off again right? Wrong! This is some pretty cool stuff going on back there.

I’ll break it down for you. There’s only one thing changing here, and it’s a linear wipe. That’s right only a handful of key frames for this awesomeness! The rest is expressions. Those little lines of joy/frustration that make magic out of mole hills.

So the linear wipe, which arguably has some severe alterations to it (feather, fractal noise and the like) is the control layer. What it controls is the individual objects on top which are in comps so they can be swapped out with ease. The expressions are on the rotation for a random seed, and the scale to get that sweet pop.

The random rotation is just a random see generator frozen over time and a random number expression. That’s all that needs be said about that. Each copy made will have a unique number associated with it so cmd+d away!

The second is arguably the most complex thing I’ve dissected. It’s called the sampleimage(). Basically it takes a point on a layer and spits out the R,G,B, and Alpha. You can link that up to variables, and I prefer to make lots of variables in this, to make the function relevant. here’s how it looks for me:

targetLayer = thisComp.layer(“Control”);
samplePoint = transform.position;
sampleRadius = [1,1];
t =110* targetLayer.sampleImage(samplePoint, sampleRadius);
[t[1], t[1]]

Break it down!

This is applied to the scale parameter of the individual objects. The first line is a variable, you can call it anything but it will be the layer you want the sampleImage to sample or look at, it’s a “what?” qyestion. The next is the samplePoint, again you can call it x or y, and it’s going to be a place holder for where on layer you want to look it’s displayed as [x,y]. The Next is the sampleRadius or how big the sample point should be. I think it’s a circle that eminates from a point up and down the firs character and left and right the second character, so mine was 1,1 but the size is really 2 by 2. Now we put it together calling up an arbitrary variable t. and making it all come into the sampleImage telling it to:

110 times “on this layer”.sampleImage(“here”, “this big”);

Why 110? because the values this thing will make are from 0 to 1, a percentage basically. The 110 makes a value of 1 or pure white (R=1, B=1, G=1, A=1). The value is actually [1,1,1,1] and you can get something from it however you want really but I wanted to make the t 110 when it’s all the way on and 0 when it’s all the way off.

The final line is putting it all to work in the scale parameter that is displayed as [#, #]. In this case it’s the first part, [0] of the four part output. t[0] is the Red value. So the variable reads [“how much red”, “how much red”]

That’s that, the layer now references what’s at the same spot on the control layer and changes it’s scale from 0 to 110 depending on the colour value. Then that layer animates, which is easy to control and preview before you get hundreds of objects doing the “pop” wave.

Also if you just copy paste my code you won’t be learning so be sure you write it out and understand it best you can to make the most of it later on. Ususally when it would break during my coding it was because I was not giving it the right kind of variable, class 2 versus scalar for example as it can get confusing. If you have any questions, comments, or jeers let me know.


More 3d Projections

Posted in Evan's Blog, Projects with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2010 by EAbrams

So I thought I would just do 3d projection until I tired of it, then consider it added to my tool kit. I’m taking on my after effects training like grinding in WoW. So to become a better after effects guy I’m going to give myself quests like “create X of Y” and bring them to the blog. To that end I’ve created a few more 3d projections to get a handle on the technique and uploaded them to youtube.

The first I wanted to make a transition that would illustrate that I was making it into 3d. So I took the grid I was using to eyeball the placement and anaimated it on to a duplicate set of surfaces. Then a little transparency strobe, some linear wipes, and a little green tint I think give it a little matrix like feel. Like a computer is building the scene, which it is, only not at all that way. I love how so many movies show computers doing things that computers don’t do. Like coding in a 3d program (I’m looking at you swordfish). And though it is possible to code in almost every damn thing these days, it’s not always the best. Also CSI can eat it for their computer lies.

Next up I thought i would map some text to a 3d surface and try another way of scamming some depth from these shots. So for the text I just copy/pasted the orientation and position properties of a surface to a text layer and pushed the text out a few px. Then moved them around and rotated to fit like they could have been painted. In the future I’ll likely have something animated since it’s as easy as repeating the same process with a nested 2d comp. Now for the doors they are recessed into the building and to get that little recess i would have had to make two walls and a roof for each like a little mini hallway, or done some trickery with a little script. By referencing the layer above I set a few copies of a masked surface to offset by 5 on the z and then just hit command D and made a few till it fit the depth I wanted. You can you that to make some quick 3-d text with depth too if you can’t afford a 3d app or CS5.

Lastly I was noticing something intersting when I had textured planes and a small appature on my camera. By jacking up the blur I found it looked like shooting a miniature with the depth of field being so tight. So I thought I would apply that. I checked out some stock images on Stock Exchange ( and broke it down using the regular technique. Then I lined up some text and did a little move from title to title and a little particle action to boot. Everyone likes particles, especially dusty ones. I don’t think theyturned out like I would have hoped but I really havn’t taxed myself to learn more about the cc particle world yet and I likely should. Particles I find look the best when you layer many systems together and blend them, but that takes rendering power that don’thave when I’m already cranking out an extrapolated scene and asking the camera to look cooler.

So that rounds out my 3d projection phase. I think that should be enough to get everyone damn bored with making photos into 3d scenes. I’ve also included the photos below for your reference so you know where they came from if that’s at all interesting to anyone besides other after effects nerds. Also if you would like to have a go at duplicating my stuff let me know and I’ll see if I can guide you along in making this work for you.

GRMedia Logo

Posted in Blogs, Evan's Blog, Projects on April 5, 2010 by EAbrams

So Tim and I have been going back and forth on some logo ideas. It started out something like this:

Many terrible Proofs

But then I had one good one:

It's better than nothing!

It's better than nothing!

And Tim called me up at my other job to exclaim how he thought it looked like an Elephant, and wanted more elephantine qualities about it. I think when I asked him why more elephant he countered with: “Why is Linux a Penguin?”

To that end new proofs were created:

Elephant proof!

I liked the bottom one but Tim did not and wanted the top one but with the MEDIA underneath and the P removed. At this point I balked for a while, became obsorbed in something else and now it’s the easter weekend and I can present to you the logo as I think Tim wanted it… also with some things I’ve always thought a logo needs. But don’t take my word for it.

I think this is what Tim wanted?

I know this is what I wanted.

Making one thing into another thing

Posted in Blogs, Evan's Blog, Projects on March 28, 2010 by EAbrams

For my last trick you saw me make a photo of sexy James Bond into a sexy vector image of maybe James Bond. For my next trick, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll need the assistance of a still photo again. Is there one in the audience?

Thank you! Right this way my dear!

And now I will wave my magic wand…

And presto! It’s 3 dimensional.

One more tool in the Swiss Army knife that is the animation department of GhostRunner Productions.

Posted in Evan's Blog, Projects on November 13, 2009 by EAbrams

In a growing trend of unmediated nerdness I’ve begun work on what is tentatively titled the Zombie Apocalypse CCG. I’m sure I also need more sleep to keep me grounded but a little creative project is good for you.

Research showed that only two Zombie board games made it to the market. Zombies!!! a terrain based lite war-game that pits players against each other to be the last to the chopper. And the more recent and full of complex set pieces and rule The Last Night On Earth. TLNOE has a few draw backs as well, the mechanics being one, one player having to be the zombie for two, and the set up requiring modular terrain again.

I was inspired by Tim’s short film script and watching Zombie Land. Zombies are pretty neat, and look like fun to kick around so long as they don’t bite you. I wish there were a way to capture that in a table top game. I might be wrong but I’m willing to try.

I thought I would take a shot, pun intended, at making a Zombie board game, but I don’t like boards so how about a CCG? Killer Bunnies was a hell of a good time as I recall. The game in the works now has only two objectives. First is survive. You can’t win if you’re dead. And two, accumulate the most victory points by killing the most zombies, saving survivors, discovering a cure for the plague… and still survive. This sets up two forces, cooperation and competition. Also there’s a greed v. survival aspect if you start finding cool loot you can’t take with you because you need your hands free to kill zombies, and some loot is too heavy to outrun them.

One thing I didn’t like about TLNOE was having to play the Zombie team every so many rounds. I’m not a zombie, it’s hard to relate to them. So therefore no one has to be a zombie. Players stock up on weapon and item cards drawn during one phase where they trade, hoard, and barter then venture out into encounters with enemy cards in another phase of play. There they can kill, be killed. get infected, save each other from infection, accumulate victory points, and last however many rounds the game goes to.

I’m trying to keep it light on the math, and so far it’s working out with few variables entering into encounters and dice roles making up the chance elements. The only thing now to do it finalize some rules, draw up prototypes, and test it out. Here are some of what I’ve draw up thus far, and guess which one I didn’t draw?.

On another note in my research into current CCGs one game came up as being quite big right now. Dominion is a CCG all about kingdom management and screwing over your neighbors. I think GR needs to play this game. It looks like a more underhanded Catan and without a modular game board.

The Dating Game

Posted in Evan's Blog, Projects with tags , , on September 12, 2009 by EAbrams

Back in the 60s there must have been a lack of people having sex, because this show was all about making it happen for a lucky gal. If you’ve ever had trouble finding douche bags in your life, come on the show, we’ve got three to chose from. They also have lots of loaded innuendo, tight pants and mustaches to beguile you.

Here is more progress towards our sketch based on that, or some similar premise. It features my poor radio voice and some crude animation. Just looking for some feedback and to inspire a re-write on the script. Maybe seeing animations get made will give the GR staff hope that things are still happening in the animation department. Also that we make more than lobsters.

Mr Tumnus

Posted in Projects on August 27, 2009 by EAbrams
Let's get fabulous

Let's get fabulous

Remember a long long time ago? We were all in Tim’s living room, reading some bazaar script where Mr. Tumnus, a Centaur and a Minotaur were on the Dating game. They were courting some woman from the greater Seattle area who taught retards to swim, or aqua-size or something. Either way, after multiple reads it was discovered we do not have half goat man costumes, nor did we have a minotaur head, also we didn’t have the set of the Dating Game circa 1967. For that reason it will be animated.

Here is a first draft of Mr. Tumnus.

“Bachelor Number 1, I like a man who can cook, how would you make it sizzle in my kitchen.”

“I would prepare a poached mer-trout, simmered in an elder-berry wine reduction, garnished with fennel and lemon grass, paired with braised endive.”

I think he needs a hipster kafia, no?