I have fully rendered, exported and uploaded Creation now for your viewing pleasure!  It’s been a fun project and I think the most complex in terms of the compositions in After Effects.  I’m happy with it though so I hope you enjoy!

As the video description puts it: “My final third year piece for Media Production: Digital Media at the University of Lincoln.  Creation is based on Genesis 1 and 2, telling the story of Creation.  Music is not mine, it is Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, as performed by Nigel Kennedy.”

Planets Test

Whilst waiting for my illustrator to get some exams over with so he can concentrate on Creation, I’ve been creating some simple graphic, comic style planets to make a small solar system.

As explained in the YouTube video and seen from my storyboards, I originally wanted a full solar system shot with all the planets in scale and in orbit.  However, the Sun is immensely huge and makes that a bit impracticle so either it goes the way this test has gone or I down scale the Sun.  Not sure which I will go with yet, what do you think?

ps. the planets are spnning far too fast, I will sort that out!

Finished Product

I’ve now got the animation online for show!  I’m currently just finishing off the project file and the paperwork to hand it in but you can have a look at it here: 1812: Napoleon’s Final Invasion.

Rendering Week and Editing

This week I spent in the digital media labs at uni rendering all the After Effects projects I’d done for 1812.  It didn’t take too long really and, now, after four days, I’ve finished it all, edited it together using Final Cut Pro, made a few tweaks and designed the DVD menus.  I’m just waiting now for the file to be compressed to go on the DVD I need to hand in and I’ll be finished, pretty much, but for the paperwork.

In the end, I’m very happy.  I think it could go a lot quicker, especially in the first third of the animation, but it would mean a lot more content which I don’t have.  However, I’m still happy and I think it gives the viewer more of a chance to listen and reflect on the music.  I’m very happy with the way the cuts go with the music and also the style of it, having the old film and a slightly desaturated look to the whole thing.

Kutuzov Video

Here is a sneak preview of a scene with the Supreme Commander Kutuzov from the 1812 animation.  It’s using the sketches done by a friend, Naomi Allen, and using Adobe Photoshop and After Effects.

The sketches I edited by filling in the spaces with a loose paintbucket tool which gives a nice effect, pretty similar to my animation from last year.  I like the effect and I think it looks really nice.  I’ve also included the film effect I’ll be using in this video; it, along with some desaturaisation, gives the sense of an old film, a documentary film in fact, which should add to the experience of the animation.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy, please do send some comments.

Particle Playground

I have a scene in 1812, which is based on an engraving by Christian Johann Oldendorp, of Moscow as it burns when the Russians left it ablaze.  Of course there is smoke in this picture so I wanted some sort of animation to show that.  Scouring the internet for tips, I found that Particle Playground, a particle plug-in included with After Effects, is the best way around it.

Using Particle playground, you can take away the gravity, causing particles to fly up, and play with the velocity and gravity force to change the speed and behaviour of the smoke (I still haven’t managed to get it slow enough for my liking…).  The colour and size of particles also helps make it look nice and finally stick a Fast Blur effect on to finish the job.  As you can see above, it look not too shabby and moves alright too.  Could be better but for an included plug-in, it works.

Opening Scene

I finished rendering and exporting the first scene last night to show the world.  In the end, I’m very pleased with it and I think it works nicely and smoothly with the music.

As I said in the video description, it is loosely inspired by the opening scene from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas ( where the background to the text is in fact an extreme close up of a flag.