Recently in my Graphics and Moving Image class at DCAD, we had to do a text animation project. Simply put, we had to animate words! Furthermore, how we animated the word(s) had to represent or show the meaning of the word(s). How we did so was up to us to decide. The programs we could use were adobe Photoshop and After Effects. The only required must-use tool was the puppet pin tool in After Effects. Personally, I love abstract art. So naturally I wanted to try to doing something abstract in my text animation. I started to sketch up some ideas and storyboards right away.
At first, I planned to do a short simple animation of the word “darkness” where once I formed the word in the middle of a moving colorful frame the edges of each letter would spread out and expand to cover the entire frame in complete darkness. Fortunately, my teacher loved my idea! Unfortunately, he thought I should push myself to do more and somehow create a cohesive story with a beginning, middle, and end. I ended up thinking long and hard about this and eventually a light bulb went off.
I extended my idea of darkness by adding two more words into the mix. I decided I would start off with the word “light,” in which it would be fading in and out on a calm delicate white(ish) background for a short period. Next, I would have the word “color” form and spread out onto the frame in a unique and loud abrupt fashion, not to mention different bright colors for each letter. Color would flicker or sparkle for a longer time then light before pinwheeling and blending together. Lastly, the original idea of the word “darkness” would form in the middle of the blurred colorful background before each letter would suddenly start spiking out in many directions until it filled the frame with complete darkness. I was very excited about my idea and my teacher was on board too. My next step was to start drawing up on my frames in Photoshop!
In Photoshop, I prepared most of my frames that I would need before moving onto After Effects. The frames I did in Photoshop were different “sparkles” for the background of light, the letters of color, and the letters of darkness. In addition, I did each frame of the letters for color as they would form on screen. Doing so took an extremely long painful time to do but it would be worth it in the end! Technically speaking, I also did the forming of darkness but it was shorter as I just had dots very quickly condense into the letters. After spending about a week on my Photoshop files, next up was throwing them into After Effects.
Once I had all my files in After Effects, it was somewhat smooth sailing despite being absolutely time consuming. The easy part was simply dragging all my files onto the time line in After Effects and organizing them when and where they would appear; in addition, there was adding the text of the word light and darkness in appropriate fonts. The next step which would be a longer process — the adding of different key-frames for the change of opacity in the word light as well as all the different “sparkles” throughout the animation. Sometimes it was as easy as copying and pasting key-frames I had already done, but other times I had to switch it up and redo the frames for different parts. Following this step, I then tried out different blurring effects for the word color until I found the perfect spinning blur. Afterwards I started to use the puppet pin tool on the word darkness. I put about 8 to 15 pins into the edges of each letter. Then I had After Effects help me in adding automatic key-frames as I dragged the edges of each letter out across the frame in various directions making sure by the end the entire frame would be consumed with darkness. My last step would be editing, cleaning up, and trimming my work area to where I want it to end. When I was done and I played it back I was so relieved and happy to see that it turned out just how I wanted it to and then some. I couldn’t wait for everyone to see it!
On the day of critique, I was astonished to hear all good things with very few, if not any, bad remarks at all! I was tinkled pink with everyone’s praise but so excited to hear that they loved my project just as much as I did. After three to four long hard weeks of work, it was worth it to see the result. Honestly, I couldn’t even believe that I managed to pull it off. However, here it is! Done to near perfection if I do say so myself! I have chosen to share with you my silent version of this project, as my teacher and I both agreed it is the best version with more impact. I hope you enjoy my eight second text animation as it has become one of my favorites so far in my animation journey.