Adding skills

Animated GIF from behind the scenes work on a Fourth of July project for UITS at Indiana University.

“If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.”

Vincent Van Gogh


I started out as an audio recording engineer, which involves several layers of audio tracks moving concurrently across a timeline. Kick drum, snare drum, overheads, bass guitar, keyboard, vocals, etc. It was very common to use at least twelve tracks to record a simple three-piece band.

When I made the move to video production, I could easily create nine layers while editing more complex projects. I even had a veteran colleague tease me a bit for my many layered sessions versus their session with all assets lined up consecutively on a clean, single layer.

When I began storyboarding some complex projects in Adobe Illustrator, I had a colleague voice concern that my desire to storyboard would add too much time to a project, but I stuck to my process and ate the costs myself, as a way to learn Illustrator in a harmless, yet motivating manner.

Now I’m using these past experiences as I make the move into animation, I see After Effects as combinations of Audition, Premiere and Illustrator, in that you have to manage multiple layers of assets, while adding and editing actions on a timeline.

And contrary to my concerned colleagues, I haven’t lost or wasted anything. If I would have avoided the extra work, I wouldn’t know my way around Illustrator or managing multiple layers of action. I am faster at both simple projects and complex projects, a better communicator with media designers of all skillsets, and a happy guide to colleagues tasked with growing their skills at the needs of their clients. And I’m growing through it all.

Even starting this website is continuing the process of adding skills. I am gaining experience in writing and web design, while beginning in a harmless and motivating manner.

Thanks for reading. Critiques are welcome.

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The real work is invisible.

Animated GIF of the process of keyframing an animated mask of a finger moving over a phone screen graphic.

The work that I am most proud of is invisible to most audiences, and that invisibility is a byproduct of good editing. I want the audience to be immersed in the story, not noticing how much work I put into making it all feel seamless.

The above gif is a behind the scenes look at a recent Stranger Things themed video I made for an IT student orientation promo for Indiana University highlighting two-factor authentication. The phone screen is powered off for the entire shoot, and a graphic of a phone screen is inserted on the timeline on top of the video in the editing.  The challenge was animating a mask into the phone screen graphic as the actor’s finger moved over the phone, but beneath the graphic.  This took about two hours, and is about 32 frames of animation.

Link to the full video:  https://youtu.be/xOKjEtYlXuU