For my conference project, I will make 3 animated texts in Adobe After Affects, each around 4 minutes long. The text in each animation will convey a short story in a poetry-like and narrative fashion. Each animation will also involve shapes moving across the screen to further convey the story being told. I will play with fonts styles and manipulation of the text to add a bit of texture to the animations. (i.e. play with font size, placement on the screen, and other effects like opacity) Also, I might add audio to each animation where I would sing the poetry as if they were lyrics to a song, but I am dedicated to that idea yet.
My motivation in creating this project is curiosity. I want to mix creative writing and poetry with the shape motion and kinetic text skill set I have gained in class. In the above image taken from one of my animations, simple rectangles are placed vertically and horizontally near one another to convey the illusion of a maze in a dark room. The text itself is bright yellow for visibility and because that is the color depicting the narrator and thus the narrator’s “voice”. The text itself is also placed in a way to movie the viewer’s eye through the maze as they read one word to the next to then form the full sentence.
As some background information, kinetic text is commonly used in the opening credits or end credits of movies. For example, the famous artist, Kyle Cooper, has made several opening titles to popular movies such as Flubber starring Robin Williams, or the first Spiderman movie. In each of those movies, the text reflects the theme of the film–Spiderman focuses on the adventures of a man bitten by a radioactive spider, so when the producers and actors of the film are introduced, there are animations depicting the names of the people being caught in spider webs.
Spiderman’s title sequence can be viewed on Youtube here.
In terms of my process, the above image is an example from my sketchbook on how I storyboard the animations. I jot notes for what I want to happen in each frame, and I sketch where I want the “characters” to be for each line of text. Though the character’s aren’t always on screen, this snippet of a scene does have the two characters present. In these four frames, the purple character narrates while the yellow character, the main narrator and the same speaker from the previous image of walking through the maze, walks along a half circle representing grass. A blue square represents the sky and a gray square that the purple character stands on resembles a dungeon that is mentioned and established earlier in the scene.
Though the shapes are simple, they are still able to convey meaning to the viewer without needing to be realistic. For example, the characters are simply a circle for a head and an upside-down triangle for a body, but the viewer can still infer that the two shapes is a person who can speak, or narrate the story to the viewer themselves.
As for the rationale of the project, in class I would encounter creative blocks. Animated GIFS were too short to fully deliver an impactful story, and shape animations lacked a guiding focus. I found kinetic text to be my strong suit in that I could combine my ability to tell stories (hence the conference title of storyteller, hur hur) and what I learned from the class. GIFs, while short, could give a taste of a story, a snapshot or a flash fiction, but not a longer narrative. Shape motions could give the sensation of movement and texture but lacked any narrative. Kinetic text, however, guides a story arc that is longer than a GIF, and is emphasized with texture from shape motion.
In terms of the content, my stories may be rated PG friendly, but they are often bittersweet. I am usually inspired by antagonists from video games or novels that have a disheartening backstory and I enjoy channeling that sorrow into a story that reflects their perspective…which is often a sad one since they aren’t the heroes of the day, but the villains.