It's been a long time coming, but The Chicken Song is finally here! Ruth Butler and I have been working on this project for a few months now, and we're both incredibly excited to be able to share it! Ruth, always a treasure trove of ideas, developed the story and song, while I've been busy developing the visuals and animation. The journey has been a fun-filled one, so do please press play, check it out, and subscribe to Ruth's YouTube channel or my Facebook Page or other social accounts to keep up-to-date on our musical adventures! And be sure to have a very happy Easter too!Read More
This year, Ruth Butler has decided to share an original song every month for six months, and she has asked me to create visuals to match. This is the first of plenty, which I'll be sharing on the last Tuesday of every month until June!
For this one; I really wanted to capture the traditional Irish lilt, the warm emotions, and the general feeling that I had when I first heard the song. Be sure to click to play and listen for yourself!
I am incredibly excited about this project, and really couldn't wait to share it! Recently, I was approached by Ruth Butler to animate a music video for a song she had written. I'm about two weeks into this ten week project, and I'm happy to say that things are going very well. Ruth has a brilliant sense of humour and a clever way with words, which all poured into this quirky, entertaining little tale about a chicken and a golden egg.
Because the song is such a fun story, because Ruth wanted the lyrics to appear on screen, and because I needed to animate to a high standard quickly, I thought styling it like a comic book would be the best route to take. So saying, I'm looking forward to seeing the final result, and because I've designed everything according to both US Comic Book Dimensions, and HDTV, the story will look good in print as well as on screen when it's finished.
This is just one page in this little story, but there's a lot more to come that I'm very much looking forward to showing you!
PS: If you think that you, or someone you know, would have a good voice to sing a song like this, get in touch at allie22 (at) gmail.com! :)
Do you ever have those days or weeks or months that you have solid plans in place, and then, for whatever reason, the plans take on entirely new directions? New responsibilities crop up, one thing takes longer than you expect it to, opportunities appear when you didn't expect any. That's what May was like for me, in good ways and bad. I thought I had it all worked out. Then suddenly, I found myself with a fairly intense job, my car had to take a month-long holiday in the garage, and a million other things just sort of filled in the gaps between responsibilities I didn't know I'd have. It never rains, but it pours.
That was the main inspiration for this piece, but there's another reason I felt like rain this week; because it's finally June! And June, in Ireland, is the real beginning of the "I need some sun and all we get here is rain, so I'm getting on a plane as soon as possible and taking a holiday" season. And I am in exactly that mindset. So saying, the grand plans I've been excited to start will have to wait another few weeks, because this Sunday, I will be happily dragging my sleepy self (there's a six o'clock in the morning!?) off to the airport, and from there, I'll be jetting off to the wonderful city of Barcelona. I'll be saying goodbye to sleepy days spent watching rain running down the window, and I'll be saying hello to sunshine and warmth and motorbike racing; A few of my favourite things! It's going to be wonderful to get away for a little while, I'm sure, and when I come back, hopefully I'll be refreshed and ready to tear into those personal projects that I can't wait to get started on!
The first thing I'll do when I come home though, is start pulling together a sketchdump here, to share all the little sketches and tidbits I gather on my trip. Although I won't have internet accessibility worth talking about, I'll still be sketching and drawing while I'm away! I'll also share some character design doodles I've been playing around with (some of which a few of ye might have seen on my Instagram and Twitter feeds). For now, though, I shall did you all adieu! I'll be back here before too long, probably staring out my window at rain again.
It's done! My kinetic text project is officially complete. So here it is!
Please do click through to see the complete process, from start to finish!
This project ran throughout the second semester of my second year in LSAD, Clonmel, studying Digital Animation Production; from January until May 2015. The project was part of the Video I module, taught by Michael Kiely. We were given a brief to produce a piece of kinetic text, together with list of songs which we could choose from. Eventually, I decided to work with God’s Away on Business by Tom Waits. I picked it for a number of reasons; I liked it, it has a good, solid beat, it stood out to me as quirky and interesting immediately, and it had a lot of visual appeal to me.
The first step was planning out my shots and how they would transition from one to the next. I had two major concerns; one was that they viewer wouldn’t have enough time to read the words as they appeared, and the other was that the shots would appear as separate pieces, rather than as one, comprehensive, unified production. The first problem was partially solved with my song choice, whereas the second one was more challenging, especially because I was very unfamiliar, and really lacking confidence with After Effects. For that reason, I was very careful with my planning so that I was completely certain about how I wanted everything to look, and I could focus entirely on learning how to use the software to achieve that.
From there, I moved on to creating style sheets. As soon as I heard the song, I had a very clear image of how I wanted it to look. God’s Away on Business is a dark, gritty, textured kind of sound, with a steady chugging beat, and a slightly old-fashioned feel. So those were the factors that I wanted to try to capture. I used highly graphic visuals, strong colours, and slid text, all wrapped up with a slightly grunge-inspired texture.
With those style sheets in mind, I started drawing up style frames. The opening few lines were the first test shots I created, all the time bearing in mind that I would need to keep certain elements of the designs separate, so that I would be able to animate them as I imagined and planned.
Once I had those files set up and ready to animate, I ran a short proof of concept. I took out a lot of the textures, mostly because I wasn’t sure of my footing in After Effects. And at that stage, I was becoming very, very nervous. That twenty-second proof of concept took three or four complete re-starts until I figured out what I needed to do. I spent long, frustrating days on it, only to close the program without saving because I wasn’t happy with the results. Eventually, something clicked and it all made sense to me. Compositions in compositions in compositions. It was a bit of a eureka moment. And after that, I felt a whole lot more confident.
From that point onwards, I worked shot by shot, verse by verse. I brought back all the textures, and spent the next few weeks playing with the project. It very, very quickly became my favourite project of the semester. Whenever I got too stressed out or frustrated with other assignments, I’d work on a shot or two here and there to relax. It was a lot of fun, and I felt like I knew what I was doing. It felt really, really good to be working on my own, inching closer and closer to completion all the time. It helped that I liked how it was turning out and I really couldn’t wait to see the whole thing finished too.
Because I had worked shot-by-shot, as I got closer to the deadline I reached a happy point of being finished to a level I was happy with, but also having time to go back and add extra details wherever they were appropriate. At this stage in particular, talking to others was incredibly helpful. Conversations, suggestions, and help with software, certainly influenced the overall product for the better. There were some things that I just wouldn’t have thought of, or wouldn’t have known how to do, if I hadn’t talked to friends, family, and my lecturer about the project.
As a lover of graphic design, typography, animation, and sound, kinetic text is something that very much appeals to me, and as a lover of things that are quirky, weird, and a little bit wonky, I am really, really glad that I could use this song to try it out. Overall, I am very, very happy with the end result. I had a lot of fun doing it, and I felt like I learned a lot from the experience.
The deadline for this kinetic text project is fast-approaching, and so are the deadlines for everything else! But it's pretty satisfying to see a big project like this one creep ever-closer to the finish line, so I'm pretty happy with it. There are still a few little bits and pieces about this section that I want to tidy up, but done is better than perfect, so right now, I'm planning to get everything finished to a standard I'm happy enough with, and then I'll go back over to tweak it to the best that it can be.
Anyway, here's a little update on the project so far! I'm having fun with it!
(Sorry for the kinda terrible quality though!)