A Life Well Loved
After Effects, Premiere Pro, Maya, Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate
Motion Graphics / University / Spring 2020
After creating a visual identity patterned after the homemade elegance of the Eames Mid-Century Modern style through a series of branded materials, print pieces <link>, and digital experiences<link>, the next step in this project would be to translate this established visual style into a minute long, motion graphics animation told through a script compiled from voice clips of the Eames.
While influential, not everyone knows the story of perseverance and hard work that made the Eames so great. The intention of the animation is to convey to audiences the dedication and commitment the Eames had to their craft and their fearlessness in the face of failure through a semi-fictional, metaphorical take on their process.
The first step was creating the story. After finding inspiration and developing a moodboard, I began sifting and listening through every available interview and sound recording released by the Eames. Once I developed my first draft of the script, I edited the audio in Premiere and Audition, and after a few rounds of revisions, came up with a suitable and powerful storyline. Next I searched for a suitable song that would be jazzy, upbeat and modern, while simultaneously rough and rugged, and decided on Nemesis by Benjamin Clementine <link>, as its tempo, instrumentation and pacing matched by the script and visual style.
Next I made rough pencil and ipad sketches of my initial storyboard to brainstorm ideas and iterate quickly and efficiently. From these sketches, I compiled an animatic<link> to get a first idea of the pacing and timing of scenes and transitions, which helped me trim, condense, and strengthen the overall story and animation. This animatic led to my next round of storyboarding with more polished sketches in Procreate which I used to create my final animatic<link> before developing my animation.
These animatics helped me form my initial visual style frames which were translated into style tests in motion<link>, using 3D models and camera movements in Maya to understand the motion and increase the believability during rotational transitions. Once I had a firm grasp on how the 60 seconds would look stylistically complete with camera movements, transitions, and motion, I began developing the assets using Photoshop and Illustrator that would be used in the final animation. Using these assets, I worked through each scene roughly, then went back in to finalize the details and transitions of each scene in After Effects to create a believable, enjoyable, and educational animation showcasing the remarkable work of the Eames.
Final Key Shots︎︎︎
CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS
Script and Audio︎︎︎
The difficulty in pre-production came with compiling a script, as there was only one instance of the Eames appearing on national television. Through determination and research, I eventually found some a handful of local television clips, commentary, and 2 documentaries that provided plenty of content for the minute of audio that would follow. While the audio was fantastic, it had been recorded on countless different types of equipment, which meant I had to level and edit the audio to transition between clips.
Charles’ Chair Tower︎︎︎
To create an interesting but simplified rendition of Charles Eames, dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of his face were compiled and whittled down into the most accurate facial expressions for the emotions he conveys during the animation. The difficulty in finding photos was primarily due to the sheer amount of time periods and ages the photos stretched. The chair tower scene near the end was challenging as I had initial difficulty solving how to make them sway in unison, but eventually copy pasted pre-comped assets manipulated by the puppet tool to create the effect.
These two scenes posed unique challenges as they had by far the most individual, moving pieces that needed to seem as though they moved or fell uniquely and individually while seamlessly transitioning to the next scene. I solved this problem by copy/pasting, repositioning, and scaling pre-comps after using a jitter expression to move multiples of each piece in mass while retaining the illusion of moving uniquely and individually.