week 13

reflections

Here we are! I’m really happy with the end result of this assignment, and with the work this semester as a whole. After the group crit last week, these were my to-dos:

  • Add animations for line exits (fade outs for Joan, slide down for Stan)
    • I added these but eventually felt like they were too distracting. It also diluted the tension of having the fades at some of the lines. In this case, it seemed like less was more, so I went back and left things as they were.
  • Add emphasis on some of Joan’s words
    • For “I can’t wait,” I added a few yellow sparkles that fade in and out very quickly. They had to be individually animated, since I wanted a gradual effect, so it took a little time — but it was exactly what I envisioned. 
    • For the last line, I kept my plan to make “me” and “I never liked you” yellow. I had to separate the text boxes to achieve that, but it wasn’t too long of an adjustment. I played around with the fade out of this line, making “I never liked you” stick around a little longer, but wasn’t very happy with it, so I scrapped that.
  • Make the Vietnam transition a little longer
    • Lots of minor tweaking here, changing the animation range on different elements to get the timing right. I also kept playing around with the speed graphs to get that “yanking” feeling when the line goes across the screen. I also removed the smoothing for the “Vietnam” animation, so it feels harsher. That made a big difference to me, even though it wasn’t something I’d noticed before. This transition was maybe the most important of the scene, so it was really important to get it right. 
  • Add some visual for the “and they’re shooting at you” line
    • This was something I thought of literally as I was playing the video during the crit. It’s so obvious in hindsight! I thought of the bullets popping up to the rhythm of Joan’s words/syllables — drawing a parallel between the physical dangers of war and the psychological harm that her words can do to these men who are terrified of being drafted. I got very excited about this once I found some tutorials on how to morph one shape into another. I made two sets of vectors on Illustrator for the blood splatters, so I could have a slow dripping effect to draw out the tension of the line. 

It’s very exciting to complete this assignment and have some more confidence around After Effects. I was even able to use these skills on my other class project, which I would not have been able to do a month ago. In reflecting about the semester, I also think this class really helped me develop a better eye to both the big picture (thank you grids!) and to the little details. Being able to see other people’s work on a regular basis was also a great experience — being exposed to different techniques and styles always helps expand your own skill set. 

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