Behold, my first animation made entirely in Adobe After Effects. This piece represents a lot of hurdles and accomplishments from me in the perspective department, and in special effects. And shout outs to
for his stellar sound design. If you're an animator who has no knowledge of how to make something sound good, I suggest passing him a note. Or send him an email, at: Jdyoung10@gmail.comSo why don't I start from the beginning, I made this video to be the introduction to a set of walkthroughs on youtube, hosted by Zelda Dungeon. [link]
It is a walkthrough of a popular Zelda mod called, the Lost Isle. A very dark and depressing take on a Zelda adventure, being the equivalent to an entire Zelda game set in the Ikana kingdom. If you're interested, give the mod a run through, it is very enjoyable. [link]
So, getting back to the animation. I asked the webmaster of Zelda dungeon if he could allow me to do an intro animation for him, and he gave me the greenlight almost two weeks ago. Now I just have to give him this final file and we'll see what happens from there. Even if he changes his mind, I still am glad I made this.
Almost immediately from the get go I had an idea in my mind for what I wanted out of this animation. I wanted a piece that focused more on a quiet and eerie environment to match the tone of the game. At the same time, I had wanted something that was a little more dynamic and less flat than the standard animation I make. So I go the idea into my head to make this piece a parallax animation,( or a multiplane animation), to give the piece its more realistic depth. However, in my original storyboards for this piece I had planned for this place to be set on a beach. However, the idea I planned for those storyboards were far too ambitious for someone with my skill level, so I decided to change the location to a forest, to make things simpler for myself.
So after I got the idea in place, I began to plan out my animation for use in Flash, but that did not end well. I was very unsure on how to accomplish such an animated feat in a program like Flash, especially since I was not very adept at using any of the more complicated features of the program. This led me to being in a rut for about a day, until my animation teacher had given me the advice to use Adobe After Effects instead, and boy did that advice work miracles.
I immediately went to work in researching the parallax technique and how it affected the environment. I took multiple notes in attempts to have the technique stick in my mind. I then proceeded to work on animatics for the piece. I designed each layer in photoshop, and arranged them together to make the composition I was aiming for.
Also, at the same time, I had designed a logo for the video, and an idea for how the logo would be presented. I wanted it to be stylish but subtle, engaging enough to contrast with the bleak environments, but subtle enough to not be jarring. So I went with the lens flare, creating the title effect. It was a simple idea, but effective. Actually, scratch that, the Lens Flare certainly wasn't simple, especially not for someone like me. Because I didn't want to buy any plug ins for After Effects, I had decided to use the default one, and boy did that thing look ugly! Thanks to the help of a crafty tutorial, I was able to transform the default Lens Flare into that thing you see in the video there. It's not perfect, but it gets the job done well.
The fire effect was also planned from the animatic stages. I had desired for there to be a sort of background gimmick to the title for this game, much like the other games in the series, and since this game revolves so much around the quiet of the undead, I went for an ethereal greenish flame. I then use a Turbulence effect to get the fire to move realistically for the piece; After Effects pretty much did all the work.
It took multiple experiments with After Effects, but eventually I had gotten everything pretty much correct. I got the timing, the speed, and the logo all pretty much worked out. It was time to move on to the final animation.
I quickly drew up another environment in Photoshop and pasted it into After Effects. From there is was a simple game of replicate the animatic, the only major difference is that I had made was the color scheme, and the fog effect.
I am not particularly good with colors and color theory, so I had a difficult time wrapping my head around the scheme for a dark scene. I eventually went with this dark blue to try and capture the feeling of darkness. And I guess it looks nice enough.
The fog also came next. the final piece was still coming along a little too unrealistic for me to buy as a whole, so I decided to add one more special effect to set the mood of the rest of the piece. The fog was simple enough to implement, and really sets the mood just right in my opinion.
After that, the animation was pretty much done, and I had to get some sound design done. However, I am not a sound designer, and my sound effects were sounding like crap anyways. It was at that point I went on to enlist Joshua's help, and I must say that he did a stellar job in just capturing the mood and feeling of the entire piece. I really implore all you aspiring animators watching this, if you can't make sound for crap, then look no further than Josh, he's got you covered.
Looking back at this piece now, I do wish I had gone with a graveyeard motif to match the setting of the game, but that ship has long sailed off, and this is what I have now. Oh well, I think it looks nice for an early attempt at making good animation.
And that's all I pretty much have to say about this. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed making this animation.