tiistai 25. kesäkuuta 2013

An AE Composition

This past week has been basically constructed of me going to work, and editing on my spare time. I'm in a bit of a hurry to finish my PMV for the contest at Bronycon, so I'm working really hard on that. While doing so, I decided to take some screenshots of what my composition in After Effects can look like. This is the more complex stuff with expressions and keyframes, but eh, it's something that I've had to get used to doing. I won't be explaining what's exactly going on in each picture, this is just a quick look at what it looks like when I'm editing.

The scene I'm working on is basically a scene with "light strokes" in 3D space. I wanted them to be symmetrical, so I decided to use expression and linking everything together to make sure they were perfectly symmetrical.

Starting the whole process:

Here I've started writing down some of the expressions. If you don't know, you can use Javascript to code different kinds of stuff in After Effects. When used properly, it's a very effective tool:

I decided to use a path based on a circle for the streaks, so I dug up the mathematical equation for a circle, and utilized it in the code:

Here I've managed to get the basic code written out, and making sure it's working:

Now to duplicate the same effect for each pony, while tweaking them for each one:

Here's what the expression basically enabled me to do, and now that I think about it, there actually would have been a simpler way to do this... but oh well...

Lastly, I've added keyframes to tweak the movement to be exactly what I want:

And that's basically the hard part of the scene. The rest will be animating the different elements (including shapes and the camera), but that's basically a normal routine for me nowadays, so it's nothing that special. That stuff can basically be found on youtube anyways...

But now, back to editing. Or sleep. I haven't decided yet.

torstai 20. kesäkuuta 2013

After browsing Youtube for a while, I stumbled upon the section of youtube that I had once roamed actively: the "simple VFX and editing" section. If you've never happened to wander there even during the small hours of the night, I recommend not to check it out. The overall quality is - to put it blankly - a bit bad. The tutorials have a very limited view of how different stuff is made, they only show how specific effects are made, and don't really discribe why they're made like that. The actual non-tutorial videos do have quite a lot of views as well, which kinda confuses me.

But anyways, I saw a thumbnail which somehow looked very familiar. I clicked on it, and remembered seeing this video from when I had started my journey with all kinds of visual stuff, many years ago. At the time, I only had worked with Sony Vegas, and had not even heard about After Effects, and in general, I had not understood how wide the the film industry actually was. As for the video, the effects seemed really awesome at the time, and I could only dream of making some of them. Those kind of videos were one of the reasons I kept working with videos - to get better and better (insert Pokemon theme).

After all the time that has passed, I feel like the video is quite simple, I could see a lot of room for improvement everywhere. I find it amusing to see how my personal views have changed that much. While viewing it, I felt happy. I realized how much I have actually learned on this path I've decided to take, and at the same time, I still have a lot to learn, even though I do know a bunch of stuff already.

One aspect that I have yet to try, is the world of 3D animation. I'll have to check out what it's all about, I might as well try it out when I get the perfect blend of time and motivation - hopefully pretty soon!

sunnuntai 16. kesäkuuta 2013

Thoughts on "The Dive Game"

So... I finally finished my second "real" PMV, with all kinds of fancy custom animations. It took quite a lot of work, and I feel like I want to get my thoughts about it written out, so this blog thingie is probably the best place to write about it.

If you haven't seen it, you probably should check it out here, since this piece of text will be based on it.

So... It all got started when there was an announcement for another Helsinki meetup over here in Finland. It took place on the 15th of June, and I decided that it would be awesome to showcase a PMV over there. I thought about showing my previous PMV, "Assertive Fluttershy - Boo Hoo (Silva Hound Remix)", but I felt like showing such an old video somehow wasn't "right"... Thus, I began making another PMV, with a deadline so that it would make it to the meetup.

Before I started making it, I was in the process of making a PMV for the contest at Bronycon, but I was already halfway done with it, so there wasn't a real rush to finish it. This meant that I would have time to make another one before finishing that one. The point of that PMV was to make something with precision, so that basically everything was planned out before on paper. This enabled me to create elements which would have been very difficult to create without a plan. I learned  A LOT while making stuff for that project, and used some of the knowledge with this project.

My initial plan for "The Dive Game" was to create a simplistic PMV with elements that would work together as well as possible. I wanted clear colors, contrast, and specific movement. Also, after remembering Feedsy's "Dork" video, I wanted to try to create something that wasn't overly populated by ponies, but instead, use cutie marks. The point with this was that the viewer wouldn't be viewing a 100% pony video, but a motion graphics video, which was inspired and dedicated to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This could also open up the magical world of ponies to non-bronies, since the video is enjoyable even though it does have ponies in it (I did link it to a chat that includes my friends, and they reacted positively, which made me feel even better about the final result).

Choosing the music wasn't as difficult as I had predicted. I wanted to find a song that wasn't too known, because YouTube could have blocked it in one or more countries, which is something I didn't want to happen. As I was working on another video, I stumbled upon Alex S.'s album, and started listening to it. After a while I fell in love with "The Dive Game", and realized that it could work as a PMV. Working with dubstep was quite hard, and looking back at it, I think I'll try to evade dubstep for various reasons - at least for now.

After deciding the music, it was time to decide what the PMV would focus on. I immediately thought of Rainbow Dash, which proved to be a good choice given the style of music. Also, like everyone knows, she's the best pony. No question about it. Since RD is one of the mane 6, I knew that a lot of material straight from the show did exist of her, and thus I decided to only use material from the show, and a cutie mark vector. This way I was sure that no one would be upset with me using their art.

Like I said, I didn't want to fill the video up with ponies, but still be related strongly to them. Most of the colors I used were different shades of blue, and the colors of the rainbow. This also loosely linked the PMV with Rainbow Dash, which was something I was striving towards.

I made the video in Adobe After Effects, sometimes rendering parts of it and putting it together in Sony Vegas so I could see the work I had done come together. The hardest part of making the video was coming up with all the ideas for different scenes. I also did some experimentation with different stuff, some of them worked better than the others. I'll probably be making some adjustments to my workflow in the future, but that'll be something I need to think about.

Overall I do like the final product. It did turn out to be a bit short, and some parts felt like they were out of place, but I didn't have the time to change them. PMVs - and MLP in general - have taught me more than I could have ever imagined. And I'm still learning more and more every day, which is absolutely amazing.

I'm extremely happy with how people have reacted to the video, I can't thank the brony community enough for what they have done to my life. Making videos has always been an interest of mine, but being able to link it with My Little Pony is absolutely amazing. Without the community, nothing like this would have ever happened.

Thank you bronies, and everyone else who support me, you're all amazing.

sunnuntai 9. kesäkuuta 2013

Isn't summer meant for relaxing?

The first week of summer is almost over, I can't believe it's only been one week. As far as videos go, it has probably been the most active week in my entire life.

Besides progressing on my PMV, I have two other projects in the making. The first one is a bollywood flash mob video that we filmed and are now editing. It needs to be completed in less than 12 hours, so I guess I'll be missing out on some sleep tonight... I'm also making a video for my friend's dad's company, all that's left with it is post production, which needs to be completed by Wednesday (or Thursday, I'm not sure). Thankfully it only consists of 4 shots, so it'll be relatively easy.

The bollywood thingie was filmed yesterday (Saturday), and we started editing it as soon as we got to our school, where we have computers with AE and Premiere. I spent the whole of today editing, but it's still not finished... During the week we also had meetings for both of the projects, and shot the non-bollywood one, which took up a couple of days. Also, during nearly every night, I've been working on the PMV, since it has to be finished for Thursday. So all in all, most of my time awake has been somehow related to the magical world of moving images, which - in a way - is pretty awesome.

Looking back at it, this text is really unstructured, but I can't think clearly enough to fix it. At least the stuff I wanted to say is all written down, this gave me a nice time to relax before the next editing session.

I really thought summer would have been really boring, but apparently it's just the opposite.


I'll get back to work now.

sunnuntai 2. kesäkuuta 2013

The section of the year when there's relatively more sunshine when compared to the rest of it

School ended, it's time to concentrate on non-school stuff, like being more creative. Now that there's more time to spare, I can actually make stuff without it taking months to complete. Then again, I do have a summer job this summer, so that'll take up a bit of my time. I'll see how much I'll be able to do alongside with it. I do have deadlines for both of my current PMV projects, and those deadlines can't be postponed, so I'll definitely have motivation to finish them at some point.

The first couple of days of summer have passed really quickly, I've basically just celebrated the end of this school year with my friends. It has been fun, but at the same time, I've lost a bit of faith in humanity again. But then again, I can't really decide what others want to do with their lives, so there's no use in complaining about it.

At the moment I don't really have much to say, I seem to be a bit disorientated, my brain feels as if it's stuffed full of smoke, and concentrated thinking seems impossible. Thankfully I don't have anything to do today, so it won't be a problem.

Now that I think about it, I should probably learn to make good endings for these blog-thingies, they seem to be left somewhat "open"... But oh well, I'll think about it another day.