Motion Design Portfolio

Reel Refresh Challenge Week 4 – Explosion

Category : Motion Graphics Apr 27th, 2015

For the 4th week of the Animation Bootcamp Reel Refresh Challenge, the theme was “explosion.” I experimented with tracking some frame-by-frame animation onto handheld video footage. I used my phone to record the footage, and then animated the volcanic ash using the animation tools in Photoshop.

A few months ago, I completed this frame-by-frame Flash animation assignment for Animation Bootcamp:


The purpose of the Flash assignment was to understand the difference between timing and spacing in traditional animation (as well as how to properly implement squash & stretch). This time around I decided to try animating in Photoshop in order to compare the process between the two programs. I’m more proficient in Photoshop than Flash, and I’ve used Photoshop in the past for rotoscope animation (tracing directly over footage frame by frame):

However, for this “explosion” project I didn’t want to rotoscope actual footage. I wanted it to maintain a rougher, cel-animation feel, and so I decided to use this volcano video as a general reference for timing the eruption.

As for the video footage, I ran into some issues bringing the footage into Mocha AE, and for the sake of time tracked it in After Effects instead. I then played around with compositing the eruption using mattes. I layered the cel animation and adjusted it’s speed to give it a bit more depth. I also played with blurring the ash, however decided to keep it relatively flat to keep a stark contrast between the look of the video and the look of the animation.

Overall this may not be the most polished-looking piece, however it was a lot of fun trying to work through different techniques that I don’t typically use. Compositing cel animation onto video footage is definitely a technique I’d like to keep experimenting with.