My animation learning journey with School of Motion

This project was created at the „School of Motion“ workshop „Explainer Camp“. It gave me a deeper look into how to create visual explainer videos using After Effects. I will update this area from time to time, with workshops and my approaches to animation. Attached you can find some insights to my journey. Have fun!

Specwork – A brand anthem video for an imaginative Google competitior

  • Storyboard
  • Character Development
  • Illustration
  • Animation

My tasks:

Imaginative Brand – these graphics are provided by School of Motion

The Challenge:
Creating an engaging visual plot for an image video for a tech company.

Mombi is an imaginative counterpart to Google in an alternate universe. They provide a big portfolio of communication applications like mail, calendar, browser, search engine and several other software systems for the mobile world. This company understands itself as a more playful and engaging alternative compared to the dominant brother Google. Mombi’s motto is “Making the Miraculous Ordinary.” and their voice is friendly, safe, and confident.

This is video was planned to be a brand anthem piece, and was supposed to have a sweeping, epic feeling. They wanted the viewer to have a sense of hope and excitement at the end of the video. Mombi is changing the world, and they are proud to let everyone know. This video would run on TV, web, social media, and potentially at trade-shows. The challenge was to keep it within 30 seconds.

Google’s advertising and image world can be described as simple and
metaphorical due to their complex products. As a result their videos work with simple shapes and a clear reduced visual language. To create an engaging visual language and find Mombi’s „Zig“ in contrast to Google’s „Zag“, this videos language will concentrate on characters versus simple shapes, and an emotional, colorful storytelling versus a simple, reduced and metaphorical language. Understanding the clients goal and aligning this with a visual direction is usually the most essential part.

This process requires a lot of discovery, together with the client, before an actual design or a storyboard is about to start. For the first step there is a phase of research and self education, leading up to a decisive moodboard in order to frame the right visual language.

Mombi Storyboard

The design process

With a confirmed visual direction I started the first storyboard draft. I tried to built an illustrative journey that evokes a feeling of joy and desire to emotionalize Mombi’s goal and leave the viewer with an inspired mood. It establishes Mombi as a provider of several communication tools incorporated into one device – the mobile phone.

The final designs below reflect the moodboard in its color palette and visual language. I settled with a flat and colorful style that shows characters and sceneries in a recognizable way. I used a couple, a family and a young student to pull together the most important target groups of Mombi.

Storyboard – Erwin inside the power plant

Execution and animation

As this video’s goal was to show the connection between humans, I tried to underline this aspect with seamlessly connected scenes and transitions. The more challenging parts of this video were the transitions from a globe in the beginning to 2 separating islands, and a long turn around the couple. To make this 2.5D effect believable, I created a frame by frame animation. (see below)

For the intro itself I combined 4 separate animated scenes that flow together in the final video. To put it all together, I also timed all the scenes to a musical piece that I found at the beginning of the project, making the overall outcome more impactful.

This project was part of the School of Motion Course „Explainer Camp“ but reflects my approach to visual storytelling with motion. Though only a practice project, I learned a lot and enhanced my animation skills.

Learning animation principles

This selection shows a short summary of animation works I did during extensive courses at School of Motion. The goal was to integrate animation principles like anticipation, staging, squash and stretch or follow through.

These principles where created for Walt Disney back in the 1930`s and are still universally applied today. As a former illustrator I love integrating movement into my work to be able to create a story and speak to all senses.

Learning animation principles with different assignments

Applying all principles in one video

This the final assignment of Animation Bootcamp showing the results of a 2 months workshop with After Effects. The following examples show some smaller assignments that got created during this process.

Knowing about After Effects is just one half of the cake - understanding and applying the principles of animation, how forces look natural and appealing was at the center of this workshop.

Character Animation Bootcamp

With Animation Bootcamp I only settled the very foundation of animating graphics. True mastery comes with the real challenge: Walk Cycles Running Movements, Jumps, Dances and much more.

I learned a lot and I am just at the beginning. (more will follow, soon) – All characters designed by Alex Pope

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My learning journey with the School of Motion

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