Archive for animation

“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.

Particles or Character Animation

Posted in Blogs, Evan's Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by EAbrams

So I was at it again, another two 10sec outputs of some effects work.

The first: an ink spray using expressions, some particles, a little of that fake 3d text and some images of ink splats. The think here is to ramp up the inherited velocity to really throw the ink from a single source when it get going faster by linking the speed to other properties as a controller. It looks kind of like that symbiot suit from Spiderman. I mean the cartoon not the mistake of comic to film adaptations. That was a jewel in the Fox Saturday morning cartoon crown.

Second: I was torn between which I wanted to focus on for the next “do x of y” grinding projects. To that end I made this second video with character animation. If you recall, we made a pretty strange and punchline-less video of a Molar Bear. I might as well embed that here so you know what I mean.

Now this goes under a heading that could either be “Mispronounced Words That Are Still Real Words in Picture Form” or “Rejected Pokemon Names”. However I envision a time when such poorly thought out and non idiomatic phrases like “Made out like bandits” are also give visual form. For those who don’t know, the phrase is supposed to be “made off like bandits” when people get away with something big and are gleeful about it. But I say the other one wherein two thieves make a big score and then score big… with each other… with tongue and hair action. To that end fire up the Laser Bream!

This is about 12 illustrator layers that all come to make the deadliest catch of all. A little key frames, some expressions (mostly time and wiggles) I think the wiggle my be the best expression ever invented. You pair that up with a slide control for both the magnitude and the frequency and you are in business. Both projects used that same technique somewhere can you tell where in each?

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.

more things from Evan’s sketchbook

Posted in Evan's Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2010 by EAbrams

Well I’ve been all about Archer on FX. New episodes Thursdays, or Fridays usually from the torrent sites. Their production blog mentions how they make their style for the show so I thought I would have a crack at a famous spy that we all know and love and want to be. I know I do. Also Sean was a real looker back in the day and makes me more confident about my whole chest hair thing.

There's something I want to get off your chest. (it's your top)

The best part about this image is that it’s all blocked out and ready for animation already, so that’s cool too. Just needs some more phonemes. It was drawn from an original here:

Damn I wish I was that dashing. Maybe if I roll around in Mrs. Dash.

Hopefully we’ll get some scripts I can animate, making assets like this is an easy work-flow, clean lines, and fast as long as I can get reference photos. Problem is I’m still terrible with backgrounds, I suppose that’s what’s up next, or I’ll use some photoshop cheapness and 12 ounce mouse that shit up.

If you don’t know about 12 Ounce Mouse you should. It has inspired my animation because it proves you don’t need to be able to draw, or animate, or write, or voice act to get on TV and entertain people. Actually any Adult Swim program makes me think I’m not making animations because I’m just lazy. These are good, quality programs made on shoestrings and skeleton crews and somehow they also got paid for what they did, so that’s cool too.

To that end I’m writing something now and it’s gone to get done in this type of style here. I’m getting a lot more comfortable going this route so I think it’s time to apply it to a script.

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.

Recent Writing – August 09

Posted in Blogs, Evan's Blog with tags , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by EAbrams

This month has been light on meetings. To that end I’ve taken some time to write on some projects that are not very funny. Though that presupposes that any of my work other is funny by contrast. It’s more accurate to say these recent projects are not intended to be funny. Or perhaps that the bulk of my work is not funny and this will be no exception.

What I’ve been working on:

  • This (new) Website
  • A gritty war series featuring cute animals
  • 15 minute animation series, golden age superheros struggle with issues
  • A semi-autobio movie about Frosh week

This (new) Website

Over a few weeks I looked into many avenues for getting off of the cumbersome Joomla 1.5 site. The media managing was crass. The posting was entangled. The lag time was failing saving throws left right and centre. Are these D&D refrences for anyone but me? There were no analytics to speak of. In short, the Joomla site was holding us back. This is not to knock Joomla, but we are just not a savvy group of techies. We write scrips and articles, not code. After a lengthy trial and error process WordPress beat out Blogger and Movable Type for overall bloggability and now here we are.

Band of Beavers (or Badgers)

I saw a preview for G-Force. If you haven’t seen their ads I’ll fill you in: The US army uses animals as soldiers and has done so since carrier pigeons right through to mine defusing dolphins. This is of course a terrible pretext for a talking gerbil movie full of ethnic stereotypes and an abuse of children’s minds. Seeing it’s success I propose the following: It’s WW2 and the Allies aim to make a beachhead in Hitler’s Fortress Europe, their secret weapon against the German war machine? A  crack team of specially trained beavers (or badgers).

It would come down to a 6 webisode series. Maybe 5 minutes each tops. Really 4 minutes of content with the intro and credits. Four principal beavers in little WW2 uniforms with little guns, killing off Nazis and committing war crimes while they deal with character flaws, interpersonal conflicts, and grow together as a family till most get blown right up. To be animated in flash with a style like a much darker Happy Tree Friends. 

Just Terrific

I re-watched the Watchmen movie. I’m a big fan. It got me thinking on a hypothetical question:

“Could a super hero, who was married and had children, when divorced, retain custody of his children?”

To my best ability it seems he could not, but what a court battle that would be. Bare in mind it’s not the squeaky clean alter ego on trial here, it’s the man who upturns cars to crush villains, has a private arsenal in his garage and masked nemeses gunning for him during the off season. Not to mention the hours away from home fighting crime and the poor example of anti-social behavior as he exacts vigilante justice above and beyond the law.

This series would follow the life of Captain Terrific, a blend of Cap America and Iron man but with depression, living in a military compound and struggling though divorce proceedings, government cutbacks to his world saving operations, his idiot friends living on his couch, and the public scorn visited on super heroes, all as he tries to reconnect with his seven year old son and teen-aged daughter. Needless to say he also has layers of psychological damage from year of battle fatigue and the death of his childhood dreams at his own hands, and a defense mechanism that causes him to make terrible puns in the face of adversity using comedy like a crutch.

Example: When fighting an evil ninja scientist in a solar powered battle suit, he says, “Time to feel the impact of fossil fuels!” before crushing him into paralysis under a fuel tanker. News reporters would later show him as a wise cracking sadist.

Frosh, the Movie

This is really just an autobiographical retelling of what happened to me and my pals during frosh week. Think an Ottawa based Superbad in the first year of university: booze, broads, drugs and dirty jokes. It’ll bring back the childish insult “dick tree”, and it’s superlative, ” Cock Jungle”. Used in context: “You are not just a dick, you’re a cock jungle, you are a jungle made of cocks instead of trees”. This is an excerpt from a real conversation that happened in the real residence of 90 University at a real university. This is where frosh week gets real! Word to your Mom.

So that’s what I do when there are no meetings;  I let the mind manatees push idea balls all over the place.