Dark Lords Stings

We were required to recreate two stings for ‘Dark Lords’. After analyzing a sample sting, we chose the key elements to take forward into our own videos. The outlines we picked were to use the same shapes, colours, and font. Along with the basics of speed, similarities, and to keep it flat in camera form, yet 3-D in style.

To create my sting, I first set about designing various other stings. The general look is always the first thing to plan. Look, feel, and layout is key in creating something which happens to look aesthetically pleasing and something people won’t tire of easily. Planning a good few of these out on paper first enabled me to pick the best design to take forward for my final stings.

After planning out the layout, I made a general storyboard to design out what my sting was going to do. This was to help me in AfterEffects when I was animating the layers, and also in Illustrator. Knowing what was animating meant that I have to create each separately moving item in it’s own layer.

My next stage happened to be recreating the designs I had done in illustrator. Making sure anything that was to be animated happened to be in a different layer each time so I was able to animate them separately and easily. I created my work onto the canvas size of PAL widescreen square pixel – this were so that we could easily import it onto our AfterEffects.

Once I had the initial design planned out and created on illustrator, I saved the file. Importing it onto AfterEffects in its separate layers so I was more able to manipulate it with given ease.

The next stage was easily dragging each layer into my AfterEffects file. Recreating my layout once more, to its full positions, I then renamed every layer into something more appropriate – which would have been better done in illustrator. This was to save confusion as I was moving them and animating them at a later stage.

I also had to add in special AfterEffects layers. Like a Camera so I knew the positions of each thing easily, and could see how the shadow worked. Along with a light layer which added a shadow onto our layers. As well as a solid black layer for my fade out on the final part of my creation.

The next stage was simply moving everything from the position I had set it up on. Ensuring that the paper background and the crosses were the only things on my stage. I used the cameras position to manipulate my image. This made it seem as though my work was zooming out, without me increasing the scale. Doing so causes a problem that using the camera does not happen to cause. I then quickly began to add in the items bit by bit. Adding a bounce onto each item’s movement. Once all of my shapes were in a solid and final place, I made my green and my pink circles grow wider and then fade away using the key points on AfterEffects.

To move my items in, I animated their positions using the key frames. The growing circles were manipulated using the ‘scale’ feature, and then, when I felt they needed to disappear, I used ‘opacity’ to fade them away.

Next came in my triangles. I move their scale first, making them grow from the blackened circle to form a sun. Then, to make them rotate in an alternative way, I changed the ‘X Rotation’. Making sure to set that item to continuously rotate until the end of the video. I then changed the camera.

Changing it’s point of interest onto the text. You can still see the triangles rotating around the circle somewhat.

With another simple camera motion, I moved it away from the text, making the items look like they were pulling from the screen. Giving it an easy fade to black layer. Adding in a solid layer, transforming its opacity, then rising it to the end of the video, I ended the video whilst zooming back into the first frame image.

The shadow happened to be the trickiest part of the entire process. Adding in a light layer, changing the colour to a soft yellow, and setting the feather and diffusion, I inserted the layer onto my image.

Once I had realigned my stage, because making it 3-D from the shadow, gave a different shadow on different items. Sometimes one was a little too far forward, others too far back, and when the shadow was added, it became harder and more apparent to see this problem. I readjusted it all finally, to look just how I wanted it to do. Turning the ‘cast shadows’ on all of my layers.

Finally turning the motion blur and 3-D features on for all of my layers, I was ready to render it out.

We made our movie and rendered it out so that we could save it in its full form.

When I opened my file up in QuickTime Movie I made sure it were exactly how I wanted it to be before moving onto the next stage. It if were not, I would go back to AfterEffects and change the part I was not pleased with.

Once I had finished it completely, I exported the video. Editing the options to make it just how it needed to be in order to meet our criteria.

Checking that my compression settings were correct, before finally exporting it in order to make it smaller for Vimeo to quickly, simply, and easily, upload my work.

I understand that things ended differently to my initial drawing, but it was only a guideline to keep me on the correct track for my work. Some things became different because of me not being able to do it due to not putting everything that needed to animate into separate layers. Others were just too hard for me to work out in AfterEffects over all, or I found a new way of animating it when messing with the few settings. For example the alternate rotations. They changed because I liked another style better to my planned one.

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