Animating in After Effects

For Animation this week, we created our first animations through After Effect. I worked with Jesal Trivedi on this project. This project was most challenging because of the timing of the project, with Thanksgiving and finals all coinciding with this project.

We first met to brainstorm different possibilities for projects. We had a couple ideas, but the one we liked revolved crazy stories from Uber drivers. We scoured through the UberDrivers Reddit page for funny stories, and we found three that we liked. At first, we wanted to do a DrunkHistory-esque montage, but we decided to animate only one story for the sake of time.

Combining the stories we had, we created a story in which an elderly female driver gets caught up in a sketchy situation but handles her business. Both Jesal and I really liked the book Understanding Comics that was assigned in class, so we decided to illustrate our animation.

In order to compensate for our busy schedules, we decided to divide and conquer our short. I would illustrate the backgrounds, while Jesal illustrated our characters. We quickly found out that animating in After Effects is actually difficult work to split up, as there is zero version control and little collaboration options with Adobe. We had to send files back and forth, and this process was prone to disorganization. However, Jesal and I powered through and chose to share files through Google Drive.

Once we both finished our own parts, we met to combine our assets and begin illustrating. We divided the animations as well, as I animated the first 7 scenes and Jesal animated the last 7. We then met to polish our piece and import our After Effects animations into Premiere.

Since our animations did not have sounds, we had to add music, voiceovers, and sound effects post-production, which actually proved to be difficult. Adobe doesn’t import sound files, so we always have to package our sound assets whenever we shared our files with one another. This was a big PITA.

This project really gave me a new respect for animators. With the combination of stop-motion and After Effects, I don’t know if I’m as detail oriented as these animators need to be, but I could definitely appreciate the potential for great work that these processes and tools held.

Special thanks to DMX, Jesal Trevadi, FreeSounds.org and Siman Li for providing soundtrack to our animation. Tools used: Logic Pro X, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere.