Space Oddity

Prompt One: Space Oddity by Izzy Singer  

sketchbook drawing1


Sketchbook drawing 2

  If I thought harder on the project, did some research, or found some good art depicting space I probably could have found a song to animate an exploding star too…or something. I didn’t do that. I went back to my basic interests. Though exclusive, and perhaps lost on some who do not know the Star Wars franchise I justified making this piece of art by making it for myself. And I did. I had fun, I got to listen to a track that brings up a flood of emotions and visualize an abstract to pay homage to a character (and the lady who played her–you can’t really have one without the other, as Ms. Fisher put it herself: “I am Princess Leia and Princess Leia is me. It’s like a Möbius striptease.”).   Okay, I’ll stop now. On to the project.   When made the first sketches I imagined something with far less structure. My initial idea included the use of colors–royal blues and purples for the most part. I was going to play with the size and opacity of the shapes against a black background whilst the colors within turned different shades in a cycle. Then adding lasers once the horns in the track swell to gather our attention. I knew I wanted a silhouette from the beginning and wanted it to capture movement.   Once I was introduced to “Kaleida” however, my “simple color” ideas all got sucked into the nearest black hole. I began to bank on the 2-Dimensional movement by making it as flat as possible so the Kaleida effect would keep our attention. I used a pattern I found online by Eloise Renouf:
"Curves" by Eloise Renouf. 2014. Link:

“Curves” by Eloise Renouf. 2014. Link:

I played with the color with the “Color Offset” effect. Initially, I chose the pattern to play with the possibilities of Kaleida, however, once I got hold of the beautiful gold, blue, white and turquoise version I decided to keep it. I felt that gold and bright blues were more accurate to the character anyhow. Sorry purple.
My Project

My Project

It would also help with the yellow echo and lines later but I’ll get back to that. A too-realistic silhouette would have hurt the project alongside the Kaleida. It would be too adverse, maybe a little too creepy. I do not know if I avoided creepiness, but if the silhouette stands still without any implication of motion I thought it would help to avoid making that part of the piece distracting. Or, less distracting. A figure that did not look as though she were about to walk around.    

Space Oddity

As an homage to a character in a few Bowie songs, I decided to use a throwback song from my own childhood—the cover of Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom” by Shiny Toy Guns. I downloaded a slower and wacky version of it online and edited it in Audacity. There is a loud track of it playing forward and a softer track of it playing backward. The audio sets a slow, relaxed, but hopeless tone to the piece. While I don’t want to prescribe any emotions to the viewer, I wanted this audio to be an expression of the astronaut character in my video. Image 5 I designed a moon in Blender, a 3D modeling software. I also animated the moon in blender inside a cube—with a lamp lighting it around the cube. This created a beam of light across the sphere’s surface, suggesting the moon’s different phases. Furthermore, I 3D modeled a spacecraft in Blender. I didn’t animate this in Blender but if I could go back and edit this project I would. I would render out its rotation in Blender and then remove the backgrounds of each render in Photoshop so that it could remain backgroundless in After Effects. The astronaut is a distorted image—I tried a lot of different filters in After Effects. I played around with Glow and Distortion. I did not include any effects on the spacecraft. But thinking back I think I would have tried to add more. I don’t think that I was extremely successful in maintaining the 3D imaging because it looks 2D in After Effects. I’ll definitely work on this in future projects. Image 4 I had a lot of fun playing with different effects. I added snowflakes, digital glitch, fractal noise, and a mirroring effect. Furthermore, in the background with opacities of 50% or less, there are lots of lines with trim paths, repeaters, loops, and kaleidoscope effects going on. I do think the piece is a bit busy but I like the haziness that was made through all the filters. Image 3 The astronaut character is stuck in outer space. He orbits, rotates, and floats around. His body has no control over the gravitational pull away from his ship back home. At the end of this video, he finds his way back to his spacecraft but we don’t know if he gets home. After his spacecraft leaves the scene of the distorted moon, the scene becomes black and less enchanting than the limbo the astronaut was stuck in. Image 2There are quite a few drafts I made of the prompt. The first couple of movies I rendered out were a little quiet in terms of the action. I wanted the moon to stay in it’s kind of off-center place. But if I could go back I think I’d try to make it pulse a bit to show the kind of gravitational pull towards the astronaut. In the future, I hope to work with more scene changes in After Effects. I don’t have to keep the same objects in every scene. Image 1Overall, I am happy with this project. I was able to characterize the astronaut a bit more in my final draft. This prompt was a great way for me to get into the nitty gritty with After Effects. I feel pretty confident in making 3 minute long videos. For my next project, I definitely want to play around with having different scenes. I also definitely still want to include 3D images imported from Blender. I also still want to use Photoshop to help create scenes in After Effects. Here is a link to the video.

Space Oddity

sunWhen beginning this project, I found John Whitney’s motions graphics that have triangles layered over top of one another. I love simple geometrical patterns. I then created a mood board. It included a lot of geometric triangular and square patterns as well as black and white patterns. When I looked over my mood board, it didn’t feel ‘space-like’. I went back to try and search for more space-oriented images. I was drawn to the magentas, purples, and blues of nebulas, but was worried about trying to re-create these images on After Effects. The combination of a lack of software experience and a prompt made me nervous, but the next day, I was staring at my phone case which has a sun on it. I immediately decided I would start with creating a sun. I wasn’t in love with this idea because I thought it seemed too obviously aligned with the theme of the prompt. However, I saw it as a starting place. sun My process revolved around sketching images that pulled from concepts in images online and then thinking about what tools in After Effects I could use to make my ideas come to life. I found an image online that had vertical black and white striped lines, so I sketched an image of a sun with vertical stripes on top of it. I figured I could use a repeater to do this. This idea later morphed into the kaleidoscope effect with the white strips on top. During the beginning of my process, I focused on using the tools that were required for my prompt such as a repeater, trim paths, a kaleidoscope, and a fractal. I used these as a base that I later built off of.  For example, originally, the sun wasn’t textured, but just solid color. I thought it looked too simplistic, so I added the Scatterize effect. Later on, I found the Starburst effect which was a pivotal moment for me. It looked just like the speckles of a galaxy. I figured this effect could be re-occurring and a sort of back up plan for if I couldn’t figure out to create a space-like feel in other parts of my motion graphic. However, it became something that wasn’t a back-up plan anymore, but something really intentional, and one of my favorite parts of the piece.kk   There are a couple parts of my motion graphic when motion completely stops. I’ve realized this doesn’t work. It seems un-intentional and glitch like rather than purposeful. The parts that work best are when I have a combination of different kinds of motion. There’s a moment when I have the Starburst effects in the background with the Kaleidoscope effect on top. They both move at the same time in different directions, making the images more dynamic. bk Art can be intimidating, especially a 3-6minute assignment after struggling through just 20 seconds, so I found it really helpful to give myself time limits. When my timer went off, I moved on to the next part of my video. I continued in this way until I had 3:00 minutes. I spend a solid few days on the first 30 seconds of the video because I wanted it to be perfect before I moved on. However, I found that it was more productive for me to create a rough draft of sorts the way I do when writing papers and then to go back and focus on specific parts of the video, perfecting that portion. After creating the base and making specific sections as perfect as I could with the time that I had, I worked on the transitions. I had really harsh transitions that I wanted to smooth out. I played around with opacity and scale to do this. I’m still not completely happy with my transitions, but I plan to continue working on them. While making this graphic, I realized that 1) transitions add time and 2) I don’t need a new idea for every second of the video. A good chunk of the video was a merely the kaleidoscope effect, I just altered the size, scale, opacity, and color. I learned that I could use the same shapes and effects repeatedly if I just altered one aspect of it. Like most things, starting to make a piece of art is the hardest part, but I continuously learn that I have to just see what happens, explore the software and click undo if I don’t like how it comes out. I’ve also realized spending less time imagining images in my head and more time actually in the software seems to be more effective.   Screenshot 2018-03-09 19.09.37

Space Oddity

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 10.09.57 AM   When we were first given this assignment, I was going to do the song “Life on Mars” by David Bowie, but upon being given “Space Oddity” as the inspiration for the prompt I decided I should choose a song by a different artist, as a way to respond to Bowie with someone other than himself. My choice ended up being “The Handshake” by MGMT, which I chose because it met the length requirement, but also because its sound world is a bit psychedelic, and the lyrics have a poeticism that in some ways speak to the Bowie perspective on life.   Since the setting of “Space Oddity” is outer space, the obvious starting place for this work was the night sky. Originally, I thought the work would follow a narrative storyline where the viewer would “pass through a star” and move linearly into space, but I realized that this type of work – especially when there are fractals involved — lends itself better to a more abstract type of journey. I started making lists of concepts we learned in class and how I could build them into scenes that would respond to the changing cues in the music. Marking up the timeline with post markings right at the beginning of the project was very helpful; these became cues that I referred to throughout the process, from the very beginning until the end. Photo on 3-8-18 at 9.58 AM #3   My design ideas came easily at first because the music I chose was generative and I was excited to try out my ideas in After Effects. My process began as a dialog between After Effects and my sketchbook, along with some math notes calculating time approximations for scenes and how to make transitions line up with the musical changes. I would come up with a scene that I imagined would fit the music and the narrative, and then try to figure out how I could transition from the previous idea to the new one. Most of what I imagined up front was not difficult to create in After Effects. As the process continued though, ideas became increasingly oriented around what I could make in After Effects, with the sketches being used more as a way to map out technical aspects of what I wanted to build. Sometimes I would end up sketching images, only to realize once I began building them that I would not be able to execute it in the program as easily as I thought.   The black stars were one instance where my vision had to stray from my execution. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to incorporate black stars as a subtle homage to Bowie, so I sketched a few ideas of how I could incorporate stars into some of the scenes I had been building. My sketch helped solidify the concept, but once getting into After Effects, I was faced with difficulty in making many black stars that fell at the rate and motion path that I envisioned. I got them close to how I had pictured, but not quite perfected. The final “downpour” part was where I compromised the most; rather than a downpour of stars falling down at once, I used a repeater and transformed them into a giant chunk. I made the chunk wiggle a bit to decrease its rigidity, but it still took on a character that was much different from my original vision for it, losing its star-ness and becoming more of an abstract shape. While this was a hurdle to overcome, it is also showed me how new artistic ideas can be born in the program. Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 10.06.11 AM     The moon was one of the most satisfying elements for me, and it happened as a result of negotiating with After Effects. I had built the opening scene with the starry sky, introduced the big star that is a main character, and then transitioned into the first scene using fractals, where the rainbow fractals are moving rapidly in contrasting motion across the frame. When there is a change in the music, the fractal is “exited,” and the viewer is dumped back into open space, where the sky is black and the stars from the opening scene are still sitting, but dimmer than before. I thought that the scene needed another grounding character, so I built a moon out of shapes. This took way longer than expected, and when I finished, I was really disappointed in the result. I had been hoping to show some moon exploration here, but I found the moon’s character so embarrassing that I decided I needed to quickly abstract it – so I added a keyframe changing it red, and turning its “craters” blue and purple. From here, a new scene was born, where I added a repeater and turned the moon from a literal moon to a colorful shape that expands and contracts, and finally flattens down into a line. This type of play with dimensionality and representation would not have appeared on its own in my imagination, and came of my attempts to reconcile the difficulties I was facing with building images in After Effects. After this scene finishes, it goes back into a scene that I had built in my imagination and sketchbook, where the moon pops back up, and the viewer “enters” a crater, which is another fractal world. I’d like to think that David Bowie would appreciate the moon scene. Photo on 3-8-18 at 9.59 AM   Because of the trajectory my workflow took, the most challenging part of this project was the editing process, and coming up with an ending. I did the bulk of the project very quickly, and through working so intensely with After Effects, my skillset and workflow actually became more advanced from the start of the project to the near finish. This resulted in part of the editing process being my compensating for elements that may have been constructed inefficiently and trying to figure out how to compensate for it, if I even could. Some parts, like the jerky motion path of the moon when it scales up and “comes toward” the viewer, were difficult to troubleshoot because of the way they had been keyframed, and even after fixing them, they are still a little jerkier than I would prefer. Other parts, like keyframes that lined up with sound cues were just tedious to adjust. I found myself sketching out more technical diagrams and listening to cues in the music repeatedly, trying to parse out the correct timing for each transition. Sometimes this led to rethinking whether the scenes I originally conceptualized actually flowed together after all the changes that they underwent – and that I underwent as a designer — during the building process. I think that now, having spent so much time in the program, I would have some more fluid ways of building a few of the elements that I used. Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 10.07.17 AM

The only other outstanding issue with this work, for me, was the ending, which feels like it ran out of creative ideas. After all the time I spent working, I felt like I developed some “After Effects Fatigue” where I was up against a creative wall. To finish the video, I ended up using the kaleidoscope effect, and letting it take its time to play out. While the effect is visually pleasing, it doesn’t feel like it lives up to the rest of the creative ideas in the piece, and feels too stagnant. In the moment of creation, it felt like a satisfying idea, but in hindsight, I would have preferred to exit the kaleidoscope world much sooner, and pan back out into the night sky where more active ideas could play out, rather than just fading back into the night sky at the end, which is a much flatter visual idea. Still, being relatively new to After Effects, I feel mostly satisfied with the ideas I came up with and how I was able to fill the time and space of this piece. The biggest takeaway was that the more time I spend in After Effects, the more infinite the possibilities become for creating exciting and technically perfected work. The external inspiration of the music and of David Bowie himself were driving forces that pushed me to see how far I could take my creative ideas and expand my skillset.

Space Oddity

As a response to David Bowie’s Space Oddity, I selected another song, Crawler by Paranoid London, which is also space-themed and drifty. I assume David Bowie is trying to convey being comfortable with the state of going off control through his lyrics. To a person who is almost a control freak like me, it is quite impossible to be easy in Major Tom’s situation. Therefore, my music video is more of a panic and anxious expression of my reaction if I get lost in the space.

Before I started making effects for the video, I listened to the sound track for several times and added markers where I noticed transitions in the song. I decided to divide the song in to three main sections: a slower and quieter beginning, a louder, noisier and more dynamic middle part, a monotonic end. To represent my responses visually according to the layers in the song, I assigned more simple geometric shapes for the beginning and the end and used more complex kaleidoscope and fractals for the middle section. As for the color palette, my immediate response is to apply blue, purple, green and black with a hint of yellow and pink to indicate the theme of space. The main motif which connects all three sections is circle and its transformations. I used rotation to create the feeling of getting lost and replicate the motion path of planets. By playing on scale, I was able to introduce depth into the video and to create smooth transitions.

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 12.25.05 AM

Inspired by the common shape of various planets, stars and their tracks, I drew a circle to make the first move. In the beginning section, I used repeater, echo, motion path and twist and adjusted the width, skew, color and scale of the circle. Additionally, I added effects made by rectangles with mirror effect, trim path, pucker and bloat and wiggle path in between. With various scales and effects, all blue rectangles originate from the same regular rectangular pattern occurred first in the video. In this beginning section, I used harmonious motion for most of the time. The only opposing motion occurred was to imitate the closing and opening of curtain in a theatre.

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 12.24.23 AMIMG_2870

Following the first section, I introduced more vibrant palette and complex shape with fractals and kaleidoscopes. To further emphasize the transition in the music, I changed the background color from blue to black. A darker color also indicates that the viewers are entering into a deeper space where aliens reside (I will discuss the storyline later in this post). I made four fractals in total: three Julias in the same function and one Mandelbrot Inverse. The rhythms explored in this section are flowing and random. As the background of the previous section zooms into Mandelbrot Inverse fractal which looks like an alien’s eye, the hue varies in an unnoticeable way. After the “beap” in the song starts, hue continues to change. Meanwhile, x and y key frames in post-inversion offset is introduced to create the flipping effect. Every time when each motion completes, the palette is readjusted in the order of hue wheel, lightness gradient and escape angle. The noises on the colorful circular patterns are created through adding cycle steps and edge highlight force. Following Mandelbrot Inverse fractals are a series of Julias. For Julias, I played on x and y key frames in Mandelbrot and magnification to create the mad external or bacterial creature effect. The main idea behind motions in Julias is for the “tentacles” on the fractals to meet and disconnect repeatedly. It should also be noted that two of the Julias were created on rectangles instead of a solid layer. I decided to do so so that I could continue exploring the effects, for example, twist, I used in the beginning section. Even though this middle section creates a great contrast in texture compared to the beginning section, circles and blue reoccur nevertheless.

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 12.23.44 AM

Before the beginning of the last section, I combined a Julia fractal with kaleidoscope. I kept on changing center, size, rotation, x and y on Julia to get the shape in the kaleidoscope moving in a circular manner. As this layer fades out, I returned to the simple glowing geometric shapes and the same blue background occurred in the first section to emphasize on the consistency of my style in this video. I started out building the motion of galaxies spinning and connecting to a different one through a light beam. Toward the end, I moved two “galaxies” to the center and made them flat so that the video will begin and end in circles all the time.


The storyline behind each section is as following. The beginning section marks an astronaut who just entered the space and was excited to find everything to be pure, simple and fascinating. The second section represents the astronaut was taken by an alien and entered an intimidating extraterrestrial world. The last section shows that everything this astronaut experienced was just a dream. He is safe and so do we.

The video came out really well. I feel proud of myself to make my first 4-minute video out of nothing for one of the songs I enjoyed listening during the winter break. In the beginning, it was really difficult to come up with new ideas/motions for an every-10-sec change, but later I discovered the importance of using motifs so it became easier. When I was making the effects on the kaleidoscope, I accidentally deleted a keyframe and every motion before it went wrong. I had to save the document I had at that moment and save another after effect file to go back to my first step and see what was wrong. Yet, I still enjoy making this video and seeing my classmates’ art works. I appreciate everyone’s comments. I agree that the video would have been better without a space craft and with a smoother transition for the end.

Space Oddity


For this project our class was assigned to create a video response to David Bowie’s music video “Space Oddity”. Our video had to include aspects of futuristic sound and space. I did not really know that much about Bowie at first. I knew some of his songs, but that’s pretty much a given with his popularity. I spent a decent amount of time looking at some of his video for inspiration.

  Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 7.21.47 PM

My original vision for this project was to work solely in black/white and grayscale.  I managed to stick with that idea for the first 45 seconds. I thought that if I kept my color palette simple it would be easier to plan down the road. I also had some black and white fractals already made and thought they could be put to good use in this project. As it turns out, being to limited in my use of color is more troublesome than having too many colors to choose from. As I got deeper into the project I could not help but add bright colors against the black background I ended up with. I always liked color schemes that involved black and another bright color. The way it can be set next to another color and almost absorb it has always been interesting to me.

  I was also planning to use mostly fractals but as I went further along  I realized I did not have much of a narrative with them.  So I had to come up with a new idea and go back to square one. I searched through images  dealing with space in general. This is when I came across a picture of a common science project dealing with displaying our solar system. I then realized that while looking through more detailed representations of space (diagrams, illustrations, etc.), I nearly missed an opportunity to explore something more simple. The simple shapes of the rings and painted stirofoam balls were brimming with possibility. Instead of being confined to the more complicated forms of space I was presented with, I could start with these simple shapes and make them into something new.

  I decided to limit my search solely to solar system displays. I was not planning on copying the display exactly but I did want to understand the general structure. However the graphics I designed did end up looking for the most part like the models minus one or two solar rings.


I did multiple sets of  rough thumbnails and sketches to work out what I wanted to do. The music I chose had many changes in pace and I wanted my video to reflect that. I made sure not to get to detailed so I would be able to make changes as the music dictated. I made somewhat of a small narrative involving my solar system design. I broke up the song into small acts several times to see which option would be the best. Eventually I settled on:

  1. Starting the song off by slowly entering a dark space.
  2. Then when it is pitch black reveal the solar system on a tower-like display.
  3. The climax is light show of some sort
  4. The story ends abruptly with the space going dark again and the planets falling off the display

unnamedSolarSystem Tower 

  One of my graphic designs for the solar system was a display on top of a tower like structure. The idea of for this originally sprung from wanting to do a pan up shot to the planets. “Why not have them towering over?” I thought.

    I started out with black and white graphics, then jumped into slight color with the rings around the solar system. I chose a basic color ranged from red to blue so I could keep it simple. During the planning period I did consider using literally all the basic colors of the rainbow. However, I decided against it since it seemed to make the video too busy.

  I originally planned to implement some actual animated cells in my work but I found that using the basic tools in After Effects fit better with the overall futuristic style of the video.

  Ultimately my video ended up looking a bit more simple design wise. I think the simplicity helps it in a way. The simple shape gave me more room to experiment without worry of over complicating things or making the video too busy. Given how many times I had to rework  a scene or two I’m grateful for that.  

Space Oddity

This piece is an animation I created in After Effects which accompanies a piece of music I created. Inspired by David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” this animation evokes the themes of interstellar exploration and the infinite nature of outer space. My process of creating this animation began with its musical score. The musical track I chose to accompany the visual is a piece of my own. As a composer and producer of electronic music, I found it made sense for me to utilize my skills in the realm of music to accompany this visual project. The song that scores my animation is entitled “Violence and Perfume”. This title holds no significance to the video piece, but comes from a vocal sample from Cecelia Condit’s 1983 horror short “Possibly in Michigan,” which is included in the opening of my track. As elements of the music (such as drums, bass, and synthesizers) are introduced and removed throughout the song’s form, visual elements of my animation are simultaneously introduced and removed. Probably the most essential technical element of this animation is the fractal, which is zoomed in on throughout its duration. The fractal uses a mandelbrot set, with a z=z^5+c equation. With a black and white color palette, the ever expanding fractal represents the depths of space. fractal layer At 0:33, I keyframe the start and end parameters on the trim path of a circle shape layer to create the illusion of the circle slowly drawing itself. I then use the repeater effect to duplicate the circle, creating five interlocking rings. Here are the rings: rings layer glitchscreen I created the above image by editing together sections of my glitch gif project from earlier in the semester. The original photo being glitched is a selfie I took of myself. I saved the photo in photoshop as a .bmp file. After changing the file from a .bmp image to a .txt text file, I adjusted small sections of the file’s text code in textedit. This adjustment results in a glitch effect when reopening the image as a .bmp in photoshop. I cropped the image down to the glitch sections and rearranged them to fit the 1280 x 720 dimensions of the screen. I utilize this image, which I’ve titled glitchscreen.jpg, in two ways in my animation. I use the kaleidoscope effect on an image layer of glitchscreen.jpg to create a pattern reminiscent of stars. At 1:10, I introduce this image through the kaleidoscope and black and white effects. The kaleidoscope uses starlish as its mirroring shape to create the star pattern. I use expressions on various parameters of the kaleidoscope effect to create motion in this layer. I apply the expression random(10,20) on the kaleidoscope effect’s size and random(360) on its rotation. These expressions are random number generators, which cause the kaleidoscope layer to rapidly and unpredictably transform. I use the black and white color effect on the layer to drain the kaleidoscope of its colors. At 30% opacity and with no color, the layer serves as a textural overlay over the zooming fractal, but does not introduce colors of its own. After a beat drop which introduces a new synth sound around 1:40, I introduce a second layer of kaleidoscope, which includes color. My animation addresses the themes of space travel and exploration found in David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.  Throughout the duration of the piece, I use keyframes to adjust the magnification of the black and white fractal layer. This evokes a sense of movement through the vast, infinitely evolving space of the fractal. At the 1:10 mark, coinciding with the beat drop in the music, I introduce a starlish kaleidoscope effect on a layer of a glitch image with a random number command on its rotation and size. This layer is intended to create the effect of stars as the viewer moves through the depths of fractal space. The five interlaced circles created by the repeater effect are the insignia of the imaginary space shuttle in which the viewer is traveling. At 2:24, the space exploration mission falls on unfortunate circumstances. The shuttle reaches a dangerous region of space and begins to experience technical malfunctions, represented by the purple glitch static and yellow transforming shape. These technical malfunctions lead to the tragic demise of the space exploration. In conclusion, I feel that this piece is an accurate reflection of the After Effects skills I’ve learned so far this semester. I definitely feel that I was able to execute my vision for this piece on a technical level. On an artistic level, I am a bit less enthusiastic about my end results. While I do enjoy some aesthetic aspects of what I’ve created, I do wish that I had put more thought into my color and motion choices in the animation. At times in the animation, I feel that I introduce elements (such as the appearing and disappearing rectangles) simply for the sake of introducing new elements rather than for the purpose of furthering the narrative of the piece. That said, I am very happy that I have created an animation to accompany a piece of my music. I also feel satisfied with this piece as a reflection of my abilities in After Effects. This piece demonstrates my proficiency in creating fractals, and .bmp text glitches, using keyframes, expressions, the kaleidoscope effect, trim paths, and the repeater effect.

Space Oddity

  Stars The first song I downloaded for this class, with the goal of using it in an After Effects sequence, was Debussy’s Claire De Lune. I find Claire De Lune to be one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I also have an emotional attachment to the piece, as I once had a professor recommend it to me during a conference. It wasn’t the recommendation that struck me, it was the fact that he recommended a song I had loved all my life but never knew the name of. I chose to use Claire De Lune for my Space Oddity studio prompt as I felt it exemplifies the feeling of movement through time and space. The emotion that runs through the notes of the piano mimics the feeling of wind and evolution, of travel and growth, loss and struggle. The song is booming with inspiration. This was both a gift and a curse, as the song articulates so much emotion and movement, I found it difficult to do the piece justice. I found I wasn’t creating images and articulating movements that could adequately express the emotion that exudes through the piece. I had an idea in my head of what this sequence could look like and unfortunately my final result does not necessarily encompass what I had hoped to achieve. Sketch 02 Sketch 01 I started off with a rough idea of what my sequence would contain. I knew I wanted to have a piece that traveled from the earth towards the sky. I also knew I would use flowers as a kind of guide throughout the journey. I was thinking about the way a lost balloon floats up into the sky, seemingly on an endless journey through space. I wanted to achieve that concept with flowers, earth’s creation, as the balloon, continuously appearing throughout the journey. Flowers I was happy with the environment I created at the start of the piece. I was especially pleased with the end result of the clouds and the sun. I chose to go with a very geometrical look, inspired by the PBS cartoons I watched as a child. This was both influenced by my love of early 2000s children’s shows and the fact that geometrical shapes are very approachable for a relatively new user of After Effects. Clouds Things got bumpy as I added more content to my sequence. I became overwhelmed with the delayed playback. I had never worked with such a dense After Effects composition. This delayed playback made it difficult for me to get a sense of timing and movement. Going back, I should have been more diligent about utilizing my music markers. I used them at the beginning of the project and then started cutting by ear, but once my playback got so delayed it became difficult to cut to the notes of the song. I am satisfied with the way the piece comes to a close. I wanted to create the illusion of an alternate universe mimicking reality with subtle differences. I replaced the sun with my Photoshop illustration of an orange planet. I am also happy with the way the magnified fractal combined with the kaleidoscope, gives the illusion of evolving static, I found this to be a nice reiteration of the space theme.


I struggled to incorporate the loop command. I used it towards the end of the sequence when the flowers bob back up into frame. The challenge I found in the loop tool adequately sums up the struggle I experienced throughout this project. I found myself planning out the piece in accordance to the effects I had to incorporate rather than create with a plan to implement the required effects at the end. For future studio prompts, I will be sure to look at the requirements as elements I need to include in the end result, rather than aspects that dictate the sequence. I wish I could have created something with a little more emotion. I think if I had gone further with my storyboarding and stayed closer to the beats of the music I might have achieved a more emotional piece.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

Above is the first gif that I’ve made. It uses the most basic animation technique, as it simply consists of two alternating images, flashing to an erratic rhythm. I constructed these designs in photoshop using the brush tool. The two images were initially created as separate pieces, but I soon noticed that they shared a similar color palette and shape. I then had the idea to pair them, which created the effect of the asterisk-like emblem (the first image) being distorted intoa messy scribble (the second image). As a result of its minimalist color palette and clean style, I find this to be the most visually appealing of the gifs I’ve made. However, from an animation standpoint it is definitely the most basic of my gifs. With my next gif, I set out to practice my animation skills.


Visually, my second gif is quite simple: an orange rectangle diagonally slides back and forth across a teal background, with an occasional trail resembling the type of glitches found on mid-1990s windows operating systems. My intention with this gif was not to create an artistic masterpiece; rather, I sought to create a sense of movement through animation. While the animation of my first gif relied on two flashing images, this gif was an exercise in creating the illusion of movement by duplicating and moving one image (the orange rectangle) across many layers. Each position of the rectangle is a different layer, the visibility of which is determined by the animation frame. I’m happy with how the glitch trails turned out. One aspect of this gif which I feel unsuccessful with is creating the illusion of smooth movement. I tried using the tween effect, but the rectangle’s movement still appears more choppy than I would like.


For my third gif, I decided to take the concepts of animated movement and flashing slides even further by creating a series of appearing and disappearing geometrical patterns that completely transforms throughout its loop. The goal of this gif was to take the audience on a visual journey as the image transforms entirely. There is no grand concept behind this gif; it is simply the product of me playing around with different combinations of layers I created in photoshop.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

 I decided to use my own brain as a base to make this series. My brain is always a source of contention and release. I chose to really focus on the negative with two of my GIFs hoping the third might make up for it as a small homage to the parts of me I truly love. (I never like anything to be 100% dark–even the most difficult minds aren’t.)


In my first GIF, Evil Self, which was from an earlier assignment. I began to add things halfway through that would make it scary. When I glitched the code it made my first self-portrait (the one in the middle) whited out and electric. It reminded me a bit of why certain aspects of Undertale were terrifying to me. The fights in the game are black and white and due to my sensory deficiency disorder I react very negatively to bright and white light. (Which is unfortunate because everyone in the art and photography communities seem to love it!) I added the static for that reason. To me, static is a fast animation of white and black attacking itself. Or, that’s what my SDD makes it feel like. What this all results in is that my Evil Self Portrait GIF is a combination of my struggles with Depression and Anxiety (namely, all my resentments and frustrations that I highlight with the words “Help Me I’m Sick” and “Mental Illness Hurts”.) But it is created not from my Mental Illness’s point of view but by how my SDD causes me to see the world. Essentially they are two very different things happening in my brain at once, but I used one to compliment the other in hopes that it may get an interesting visual narrative across.


In my second GIF, Truth, I had a lot of fun animating and glitching it. I wanted this one to be a representation of both sides of me meeting in the middle. The good and the evil. I think it stemmed from a bit of teenage angst that I had harbored over the years (don’t we all still have a little?). Well this was going to be VERY angsty, I had a drawing of a humanoid figure caught in the chains of a heart for goodness sake! But glitching saved us all. It also reminded me that simple is sometimes better.




The third was the hardest to come up with. I went back to some old to emulate what I have done in the past because it is difficult to really know who you are in the moment. I added text and color over a pattern I was initially going to use for a brush effect. However the corners and gradients worked with the words well enough that I left it as it was. I was inspired by the gifs that help people who struggle with anxiety breathe at a calming rate. Adding a repeater effect and layering the moving structure on itself was done to further symbolize a heart. To individualize it (hopefully).

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

starbirth When we first started making animated GIFs in Photoshop, I had no idea what direction I wanted to take mine, but I was excited by the possibility of depicting a short and whimsical narrative, as well as playing with color. This GIF, which I’ve come to refer to as “starbirth,” was an experimentation with both of those concepts. It tells the story of a star that falls through the dark blue sky and out of sight, where it crashes to the ground of a planet. The crash knocks up star debris which billows in bright green and rainbow clouds and then shoots up into the sky, lighting it up with the birth of new stars. I had never made any animated art before, so making this forced me to consider color’s relationship with an evolving narrative. When the star fell, it was a semi-transparent bright green with a lavender shadow against the dark blue background which made the whole “sky” appear dimly lit. After the star disappeared, I used the same shade of bright green, but now at full opacity, to build the elements of the aftermath, and the story ends once the whole sky changes to that shade of bright green. I found the juxtaposition between the dark and the bright to be visually appealing and support the narrative, especially at the end when the bright green takes over the sky, signifying the brightness of the new birth and contrasting the dimness of the first set of frames. Most of the frames for this GIF were drawn using the paintbrush tool, but the stars were made using a brush I had created during one of our first lessons in Photoshop. Since the star shape was rough and sketchy looking, I felt that it paired well with the casual hand drawings and made the whole GIF kind of abstract and whimsical, like something from a child’s imagination. One struggle with this one was the hand-drawn illustrations though, because I had initially wanted them to be much neater, and found it difficult to draw using a laptop and the paintbrush tool. In the end however, I grew to like the imperfections in the way it is drawn, and am happy with it as a first exploration in GIF-making. bouncing-cubes-(corrected) As I continued my exploration with GIF-making, I considered ways to work around my problem of illustrating with a computer mouse, and decided I would try different styles that involved more shapes and premade graphics. I began creating lines and playing with how I could animate them. When I was trying to space them evenly, I discovered the grid lines and the ability to snap graphics to these grid lines. This sparked the idea of making a gridded pattern and having shapes pass up and down through the grid. So I created a black background with green gridlines and filled in the corner boxes with blue and white, creating squares that I would move diagonally toward the center, and then back. Inspired by the theme of the class, “club visuals,” I flipped the grid colors in every frame, to create a strobelike effect. I found it really satisfying to make a GIF that appealed to the digital nature of this form of art-making. This GIF also seems like one that I could expand on if I want my work to go in that direction. Part of its appeal is the flashing effect it creates, which makes it almost difficult to look at, and creates subtle color effects as a result of the rapidly changing colors. I could build a series of these GIFs that grow in complexity through modifications to the color palette, grid, and motion of squares, creating different visual effects that affect the way the viewer perceives them. purple-background-ovules-n-stars This GIF could be considered a product of all my experimentations in digital art thus far. Previously, the GIFs I made were building on my skills in Photoshop, but this one came later, after we had begun working in After Effects. As I produced more digital art, an interest in color and the way it can affect perception emerged. When we started with After Effects, we had an assignment to use the LoopOut(); command. In class, we had used it in conjunction with motion paths, to make the motions repeat themselves. I took in interest in applying this to color. Inspired by the work of as well as psychedelic posters designed by Victor Moscoso in the 60s and 70s,I picked a rainbow color palette and assigned each oval a color. Then I created keyframes where the colors would change to the next color in the rainbow order, and applied the LoopOut(“pingpong”); command so that the ovals cycled through the rainbow palette and then cycle back for the duration of the movie. Since the assignment was dealing with motion paths and not color, and also because I wanted to add some more interest, I decided to add some bright yellow stars that would meander from the top of the frame to the bottom as the colors went through their cycle. This was challenging because it was difficult to design the motion paths exactly how I envisioned them in my mind. My goal was to make them whimsical and floaty, but their motion ended up much more quirky than I had intended. When it was finished, it was just existing as an After Effects movie, so when I decided to turn it into a GIF, I dragged it into Photoshop and saved it using Photoshop’s GIF format. While it seems less complex than all the others, this GIF ties together a lot of the skills I have developed in both Photoshop and After Effects, and is starting to solidify the direction that I am going to take my future digital art.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF







My plan with these gifs was to practice my skills with Photoshop. I’ve had experience with gif-making in Photoshop before due to some gifs I made in my 3D Modeling class (shown below).


However, unlike the projects in digital tools, these were made in Blender and the stills were imported into Photoshop. In Digital Tools, I was able to make my art from scratch in Photoshop and also turn them into gifs. I had a lot of fun with them. Atomic Melt and Atomic Melt 2.0 are two variations of each other. I practiced angles and playing around with shapes. I also was able to play around with layering and different filters. With Lakshmi Pujo I played around with Indian/Bengali motifs. I sent it to my mom because at the time she was celebrating Lakshmi Pujo. This is a festival dedicated to the Indian goddess of wealth. Neither of us are particularly religious but we do participate in the cultural aspects of the festival. My goal with this gif was to create one of those “WhatsApp” shareable gifs. My favorite gifs, however, were the good vs. evil ones.




The point of these was to create an evil and good version of yourself. While they’re both pretty peppy, I tried to “meme-ify” them a little. My last conference project was a critical theory study on economic memes. I tried to make “evil_moyna” evil by creating a text containing the word “capitalism” at the bottom. I also played with darker lighting. I do wish that I had inverted or flipped the image so that it would look more distorted. The “good_moyna” gif had lighter colors and a text containing the word “blep” at the bottom. A blep is when an animal sticks out their tongue. In the original image my tongue was out a little bit. I thought to add the text because it was kind of a wholesome meme/image. I really enjoyed playing around with glitching. Especially since we played around with glitch code in System Aesthetics.


I again used a cultural reference for this gif. I modeled this after Ashoka’s chakra which you can find on the Indian flag. It kind of just became a clock with different layering methods. The wheel part also reminds me of Bridget Riley, who we studied in Art from Code. Overall I’m happy with my gifs so far. I can’t wait to make more. I’ll put a few more gifs I made below.  

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

  TWEENED-polka-dot-gif-in-making I had nothing more than a few hours’ worth of Photoshop experience at the beginning of this course. Since creating an animated GIF was one of the first assignments, I had to spend a large chunk of time learning the software, becoming frustrated, and then attempting to learn it again. I am a complete perfectionist, but one thing that art assignments continue to force me to is to let go of my perfectionist nature and to instead explore what the software allows me to create. While making these GIFS, I found a few different brushes that I really liked, ones that if I enlarged, created patterns almost a stamp. This is how I created the Polka Dot GIF. For the Purple & Orange GIF, I used a wallpaper and tile that I made for previous assignments. The wallpaper began with a drawing. My sole goal with this drawing was to practice using the brush tool, but my professor advised me to select one piece of the drawing and create a wallpaper with it. I used this piece to create a pattern overlay which became a wallpaper. I wasn’t a huge fan of this piece of the drawing originally, but I love it when it’s smaller and repeated like it is in the wallpaper and GIF. TWEENED-flower I really did not have a plan for this project. I had a ‘just get it done’ mentality, which probably wasn’t the best thing, but now that I have more experience with the software and am caught up to the level of the rest of my class, I can spend more time with the details of my art. I can create pieces and then go back and revise them, but I think it took just completing a few assignments for me to be able to get to that place. My art-process for this class has been less planned out, which is completely out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learned that it works better for me to have maybe a slight idea of what I want my piece to look like, but then to be flexible and see what I can create digitally. It doesn’t always exactly match my vision but usually, I like the end-product better anyway.TWEENED-purple-and-orange Another part of my process was trial and error. I had to spend time just playing and experimenting in Photoshop and I had to learn what patterns and colors appealed to my eye. I prefer GIFs that don’t have too sharp of a contrast in color or pattern, which I learned by making a GIF that I absolutely hate. One layer of this GIF is blue & orange and the other is a layer from the Polka Dot GIF. The combination of a drawing that doesn’t appeal to me, two vastly different patterns/designs, and a completely different set of colors made this GIF one of my least favorites. On the other hand, I’m proudest of the salmon background GIF and the Flower GIF because the colors change slightly, while the pattern remains very similar. Through making the Polka Dot GIF, I also realized that I often like images that are symmetrical and have a sense of order to them.  

Digital Tools: The Art of The GIF


My plan for the animated GIF assignment, as it has been for all of my assignments thus far in Digital Tools, was to create cohesive content, digital art with an aesthetic that carries from one style of digital media to the next. As I discovered early on this semester, through the wallpaper assignment, I am very much inspired by the Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade aesthetic. This came as quite a surprise to me as I certainly do not adhere to this aesthetic in my own fashion choices or interior design, but I find I am attracted to this colorful, preppy, clean look of playful design mixed with attractive color schemes.

The three GIFs I have chosen to include in this post are pieces I created with an audience in mind. I wanted to create GIFs I could imagine Millennials sending to friends or loved ones via Facebook, Email or text. I made GIFs that contain universal themes, with messages that can be expressed through imagery rather than text. I chose to create a wink, a kiss and a birthday cake.


As I created these GIFs, one by one, I found I grew more confident in my drawing abilities on Photoshop. I had always felt I lacked skill in the drawing department, and with the introduction of the pen tool I’ve found a world of opportunity I didn’t realize existed.

I am most satisfied with the color scheme I have included throughout my GIFs. I’ve had a lot of fun utilizing my favorite pale shade of pink and finding other colors that work well alongside it. I am also very happy with the cohesion of these pieces.   I feel like they work well alongside one another, which has continued to be my hope for all of my work produced in digital tools.

If I were to change anything about these GIFs, I would have utilized a background other than white in my wink.   I also would have created the second frame of the kiss to have a more pursed lip detail. Overall I am very happy with my animated GIFs. I’ve already sent out the birthday cake in a happy birthday message. I have a feeling I will use it again soon.

Birthday Cake

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

!!openmeangelicinfinity This glitch gif started as a cut-out mask of my image from the original photo.  This I layered over a stock photoshop background.  I saved this file in various formats, like png, jpeg, and bmp.  I then experimented by converting the files to txt, opening the text file, and making changes to the text.  I started by typing sentences or phrases, like “hi mom!” into the code because I wanted to find out what these sentiments looked like, and whether an angry sentence produced a different glitch than a happy one.  This process initially produced very subtle changes that were not extremely glitchy enough for my taste.  The alternate image in this gif is a glitched png in which I deleted large blocks of text before I converted it back to a png.  I then opened the two files in photoshop and alternated them with one another in the timeline. After learning to tween the layers, I wanted to play with a subtler shifting.   I played with color overlays of pink (the file behind the pink image is a jpeg glitch) and introduced a peek of city hall behind me in one of the between layers.  So, the portrait can be seen glitching from my original photo to a color shifted, turquoise toned block in the middle of the image. gif5

These two gifs are variations of an animation which shifted the color of the background layer behind graphic tiles.  If I were to make this again, I would start with a suitable base file.  Instead of opening a tile pattern on top of a base layer, I started with the jpeg image I had made as a wallpaper of leaves.  Then, I used the magic wand to select the negative space around the leaves and delete it to show the purple layer beneath.  This resulted in a pattern with small imperfections in the mask – they can be seen in the final gif.  However, what I like most about these two gifs is their style of clunky, neon internet art.  So I’m happy that these look like the myspace background of a clueless 13 year old.   These two gifs show how I developed my animation of the lighter pink square.


Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF


I wish I could say it’s just my art style, but honestly, my work on this project is pretty basic by artistic standards. I’m not an especially experienced or practiced visual artist, and it shows in my work on this project. I didn’t have much of a plan going in, just trying to find the right mindset to create the types of images I saw everyone else creating around me. This was, obviously, not a very concrete plan. Trying to directly find inspiration in the work of other artists wasn’t working for me at this point, so I decided to focus on creating images inspired by things I enjoy seeing in the world around me instead.

As I had previously created a brush that reminded me of a bird’s wing, and the motion of wings flapping is one that I have always found fascinating, I decided to try to mimic that sense of motion in my first gif. I created five layers in photoshop, and used the transform and distort tools to alter each layer, until they looked similar to how I visualized the stages of a bird’s wing flapping. Once animated, the image was much smoother and more convincing than I had expected with only five layers, and I was quite pleased with the result, despite its simplicity.


In creating glitch art, I decided to work from a selfie I took while in cosplay, with a pastel rainbow overlay. I chose this image because I really only like looking at pictures of myself when I am cosplaying in those pictures, but unlike in most such images, I took this picture while out of character. As such, this is the rare picture that captures the uniquely comfortable way I am able to inhabit my body while in cosplay, without the obscuring effect of my being in-character.

As I was unable to glitch my image on my computer itself, as was taught in class, I used an online glitching tool to glitch my initial image. (The tool I used.) In order to avoid my tendency towards using tiny variations on the same image, I did all of my glitching using this tool’s “randomize” feature.

In this first glitch gif, I made the transitions between images crossfade, to create a sense of smooth continuity. My intent was to make this image glitched but not unsettling, and this continuity allowed the image to have the calm sort of flow I imagined.


When glitch gifs were assigned, it was suggested that we try to make our two images representative of our “good” and “evil” selves. While brainstorming how I might convey the idea of my “evil self” through glitching, I was inspired by the glitch art created by Andrew Hussie for his groundbreaking multimedia webcomic, Homestuck. In Homestuck, he uses glitching frequently, as both an artistic tool and a plot device. This work was my first significant exposure to glitch art, and as such, it felt natural to me to derive inspiration from it while attempting to create my own glitch art.

To create this second glitch gif, I selected the most heavily glitched images I had created, alongside those that I found most viscerally unsettling, and tried to juxtapose contrasting images through rapid transitions between frames. By only using rapid glimpses of the more heavily-glitched images, I tried to convey a sense of foreboding in the composition of the gif. While I wish the frames of red and green glitching were shorter, to better convey the effect I was going for, overall, I am satisfied with this result.

Digital Tools: Art of the Gif

I'm Gay

I will admit, I am subject to my own vanity, and to be honest I deserve to be vain.  I was in the closet for the first twenty years of my life.  This was twenty years of being in “forced drag”, going through the wrong puberty, being unable to seek out gay and trans history due to the fear of being outed, twenty years of being ugly because how my head saw me, the mirror and the world refused to reflect.

A year and a half ago I shook off my forced drag persona and went by my true name: Baphomet.  I started to finally use he/him pronouns. Nine months ago I started hormone replacement therapy.  I can say that since coming out as a trans gay man my physical and mental health has improved.  My relationship to others has improved.  However, as I keep saying, I’m finally hot.

Is this vain? Hell yes it is.  However until you have gone home from a hookup and cried over how ugly you are compared to the man that you just were intimate with, you can’t tell me anything. Until you’ve shaved your head in a rage because you got called “she”, you can shut it.

Like the artists before me such as Warhol, Gaugin, van Gogh, Cézanne, and Scheille; the self portrait is a way to introduce myself in a stylized fashion, and in my circumstance a way to reclaim and reassert my identity and space.  For my first gif I did just that: I drew a self portrait of myself as a cartoon character. I am angry and baring my teeth. My big fur coat is standing on end, as it it were my own fur and I’m some kind of angry mammal.  The animated text reads: “I’m Gay.”  I am shouting this at the top of my lungs.  For so long I have been denied my identity as a gay man and been alienated from my own spaces and even currently I have been asked why I even transitioned if I am only attracted to men, as if the only valid way to be trans is to also be straight.

For my next two gifs, I used a selfie I took on my phone of myself in the same coat as seen in the drawn gif.  By using the selfie I am simultaneously conveying my transness, my gayness, and finally my right to claim my attractiveness as both trans and gay.  For both, created a fur pattern for the background and created a wreath of chrysanthemums (for that hedonistic and vain homosexual aesthetic ala Oscar Wilde).  These two layers served as the background for my selfie.

Glitch Gif 1

For the first gif I took the original image i created and made raw copies of it.  Then in photoshop I played around with their settings, creating interesting graphics to be later used as patterns.  In a new photoshop document I overplayed these patterns over my original image, with the opacity for each being between 29-40%.  Finally in the time line I played these overlays randomly, and tweeting them to have 3 frames between each original one.  The result is something sophisticated, dream like, and slightly disorderly.

Glitch Gif 2

My next gif I took my original photo and made several copies of it as a .bmp file.  Then I individually converted each file to a .txt file.  Within the .txt files I cut and pasted random lines of text from the middle and moved them around.  Finally I converted my corrupt .txt files back into .bmp files, and took screenshots of each (photoshop is too smart to open and read corrupted files).  Finally I took my original photo, new corrupted photos, and my texture graphics into photoshop and made a glitch gif.  Within the gif the images are dispersed and played randomly between each other with the texture images (again set at between 29-40%) also being randomly played over.  The result of this gif is something disjointed, distorted, and in all strangely energizing.  If the first selfie gif was akin to me drinking tea in my boudoir then this final gif is akin to me drinking magic mushroom tea in that very room.

Through these gifs my goal was to proclaim my worth.  I am gay, I am trans, I’m finally handsome and worthy to love myself and to be desired by others.  I am reclaiming my image, my voice, and my expression as an artist in a world that wishes it could cast me out a revile me, when it can do either.  I’m finally the handsome and talented Baphomet Nayer, and I have earned my right to be as vain as my cis and heterosexual contemporaries.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF


I am going to be very transparent in this post: learning the ropes of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects was quite a long and perilous journey for me.  It might be important to add, or not so much at all, that I had no plans or ideas going into this project… which brings me to introduce the gif above.  This gif developed from the repeater effect on AE.  Generally, in my art, I tend to use a nice complementary palate.  Lately, I have been enjoying the feeling of pastels.  In this gif I played around with different functions and characteristics, such as opacity, rotation, trim lines, and changing of position.  I would say this composition worked O.K., however, it’s not too much to my liking.

My next gif was more thought through, and much more engaging than my first.  A few years ago I discovered the artist Deth P. Sun.  A great deal of his paintings have dark, grey, night-like backgrounds… usually featuring a cat with a sword at his waist.  This cat is often depicted in a colorful yet seemingly quiet environment, whether it be a tropical forest or his cluttered bedroom.  I love Deth’s scenes and wanted to reciprocate that quiet but brightly colored world he creates.  I created the star shapes with stroke and without fill, as it seemed to be gentler and allowed the atmosphere of the gif to be more inviting.  The stars all rotate at different degrees, and some are rotating at a negative degree to add some diversity.  Once I had completed the stars, I felt as though the gif was too monotonous, so I added some fast moving trim lines throughout.


Recently I discovered a really exciting and magical Japanese artist called Ikegami Yoriyuki.  Her paintings are so inviting with their deep and bright colors, and the characters shown appear to be emotional and sometimes indulgent.  Ikegami’s imagination is full of rabbits that dress and walk like people, small fluffy dogs, serene and dazzling nature.  A painting of hers that I saw not too long ago depicted very small pixie-like persons with wings for hair.  They were hiding inside of bold colored tulips, and flying to them from different angles.  In my final gif I wanted to create a scene of nature, that was also magical and serene.  Yes, it was very difficult to do… but it worked.  I created the flowers with the shape and pen tool, arranged them neatly in a row.  Then I drew a trim line that curves and curls playfully, as to represent the trail of a bumblebee.  I made sure that the line kissed the top of each flower, while it traveled across the image.  When the gif was almost complete, a risky idea came to me.  The thought was to show a tiny ball of yellow above each head of the flowers, and to make it disappear once the trim line came into contact with it.  This worked by way of me meticulously timing keyframes for the opacity of the yellow dot to diminish completely upon meeting the trim line.  This gif I like the most because of its color scheme and seamlessness.  I’m hoping to create sillier images in the near future.


Digital Tools: The Art of The GIF


The inspiration for this gif originated from one of the brushes I created in Photoshop. I designed this brush after the cross hatching drawing technique I learned in my art studies. When I started to stare at the lines where they intersect I could see all the shapes they made. Then I thought it would be more interesting to see the lines move in different directions and see how the shapes in between them change. I decided to make four rows of lines going in different directions. I made the vertical and right diagonal rows go clockwise and the horizontal and left diagonal lines go counter clockwise. Initially, I was going to have the lines rotate all the way around but since I was assigned to work only in photoshop that seemed a bit too tedious. So instead I decided to let each row go in a direction for a few frames then have them rotate back. I also made the frame where the lines rotate the most invert colors to add more interest.


  When I first started this glitch portrait I was not sure what kind of glitches I wanted to use. I decided to take the trial and error approach and stop when I found something I liked. After several tries I finally came across the black screen and the disjointed face glitches as seen above. I achieved the former by first turning the png file into a txt file. Then I copied a small portion of text and pasted it in random places. The first glitch I made only had this glitch at the bottom part of the picture. I decided to copy the first glitch photo and repeat the same process going further up the txt file as I went along. I repeated this task until I had several glitch photos that could serve as animation frames to make the glitch look as if it was creeping up the photo.  I created the disjointed face glitch while messing with a bmp file.  I also erased the eyes out of my normal photo and layered it on top to give the glitch an eerie feeling.


  My original idea for this gif was orange and purple rectangles rotating at different rates on a white background. However I liked the idea of the background alternating between the two colors in time with the squares movements. I eventually settled on the background color changing in accordance with the corresponding rectangle that reaches the bar at the bottom of the screen. It took about 13 frames to animate each rectangle going up or down. Once I got them to go in opposite directions on the vertical axis I copied and flipped the frames around to create a loop effect. I also made the bar at the bottom change its color to a slightly darker version of the color of the background and rectangle.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF


For the first gif, my plan was to be make a gif with alternating patterns based on the brush I created for the first assignment. I intended to create a series of the finger print patterns with enlarging scales. So each new finger print pattern shown on the new frame would be larger than the previous ones. In addition, both the background color and the color of the finger print would reverse compared to the previous frame. Thus, there were alternation of color in both background and foot prints. The pattern in the previous frame would be the same color as the next background, and vice versa.  My plan in the change of scale worked well, so there was the effect of stepping up and leaving finger prints. However, the alternation of color was difficult in workshop because every time when I switch color, Photoshop was not giving me the accurate reversal color I needed. So on the second and forth frame of the gif, the pattern on the right bottom is visible when it is not supposed to be.


For the second gif, my plan was to make a gif of a pimple popping disaster. The gif is supposed to have a random pattern of blood flowing on the person’s face. I drew the image of the nose based on an image searched on google. It took me more time to make this gif than the first one because this one has more frames. I was considering the color of the nose and the nostrils so they would look both natural enough. I chose purple of the lips before the pimple popped out so the face looked more peaceful compared to the later disastrous face. I specifically chose this perspective of the face so it would be more unexpected. It also gives more attention to the nose compared to other parts of the face. It was difficult to draw the needle. I considered the brush tool, but I was not confident of drawing a perfect straight line and giving a sharp end. The line shape tool seemed to be a better option, but it still looked more of a thin rectangle than a needle. I enjoyed drawing the pimple the most. I used a larger brush with a blurred edge to draw a red dot and drew a smaller orange one on top of it. After all, I am happy with this humorous presentation of a disaster in daily life.


Finally, making glitch portraits was one of the most exciting experience in this class since I’ve enjoyed playing around with my self-portraits on some glitch photo making apps on my phone and listening to 8-bit music. I had never expected the theory of making a glitch art could be this simple. I did not really have a plan in my mind when I was glitching my portrait. In the process of glitching, I found some come patterns. Codes that are closer to the beginning of the file is describing the upper parts, and vice versa; longer codes contain more image information so when I edited with longer codes, more areas of the image were changed. I was having a hard time with glitching in jpeg format. I did not give me much effect as other file types. After I finished glitching some images, I selected eight of them for the gif. I arranged images with similar glitch methods separately. The final gifs change glitch from up to down repeatedly. I wished I could have added more glitch or pattern on the background too.