I've been pretty scrappy with how I've been creating animations, as the only software I've had at my disposal has been Motion 5 by Apple. It is meant to be used for motion graphics, creating templates for Final Cut Pro X, and things of that nature. I was simply making use of the tools I have. I just recently caved and now I have access to the Adobe Creative Cloud, so if I do another one of these, it might be a different process.
Motion Graphics ≈ Animation
The crazy thing is that since this project, I've been leveraging Motion's Replicators & Generators as just more tools at my disposal to create designs that would've otherwise been time consuming using any of the other traditional methods.
It got to the point where the project was so huge that some days I spent more time waiting to reopen it after a crash than actually creating things. I hope that someone at Apple actually read all the comments I left in the crash reports, as I practically wrote a short story about the trials and tribulations of a fictionalized place I called Crash City. I knew I was pushing the app to its limits, but writing the crash reports was my brief moment of zen.
Other people's processes are always an interesting read, so I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring. Also, I'm just a fan of processes in general — they give structure on how to get from Point A to Point B, while allowing the brain to focus and be productively creative.
NOTE: I have taken a total of zero animation classes. I learned some of my Motion knowledge through Lynda, but I'd attribute lots of it to exploring the program, analyzing and breaking down everything that moved, and respecting physics — in that order.
From Storyboard to Story-time
After getting a rough script drafted up, I drew up a storyboard that a kindergardener would be proud of. By copying sections of the script into the corresponding notes section of each slide, the canvas was just a way to show the basic visual ideas of what I was trying to communicate.
Because of the low-fidelity nature of this, it was a great way to flesh out concepts because without a map, it's hard to get to the finish line. While working with others to get the stamp of approval, I read the script while advancing through the slides — much like a prototype.
As I awaited final approval, I decided to also sketch out what it would actually look like (instead of random images from the Internet) with Paper by FiftyThree. What was great is that I did this in a car on a weekend road trip. I'm sorry Indiana, but there are only so many cornfields and flat landscapes a person can stare at before their minds go numb.
The Sound of Music... and Voices
Along with the visuals, I was also the man behind the curtain creating all the sounds that go along with it. Since the project timeline didn't allow me to create everything from scratch — I relied on Logic Pro X's library of loops and samples, tweaking them here and there to fit the song structure. It was was even easier due to Logic X's new Drummer feature.
Lights, Cameras, Motion
This is the meat and potatoes of the operation, yet there isn't much to say. I essentially created everything with the pen and shape tools, used behaviors to do some crazy things, keyframes became the workhorse, and then there were filters, generators, and replicators to "cheat." Add all those things together with patience, respecting physics, and lots of RAM Previews — this is what comes out of it.
- Voice over
- Music production