CoMotion 2021

CoMotion is a student-led motion graphics conference at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Conductor is about the process from death to rebirth. Even if the pandemic affects our lives, it will not affect our enthusiasm. The story begins with many dead musical instruments. The conductor directs them to play a grand symphony in the SCAD museum.

I was the Lead Animator in this project, and led a team of 11 animators to produce the event’s title sequence virtually. I was primarily responsible for technical direction and engineering animation techniques and toolkits using Javascript expression to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. I also performed project management such as building asset list, task assignment, production schedule, and creating a safe environment for team members to do their best work.

Design

Animation

Procedural plant growth

The biggest challenge we faced in this project was trying to cut down on the cel animation to be done as it takes too much time especially for the growing plants elements. My teammate Daee Kim had produced five high quality cel motion tests below but we still needed more for not just the title sequence, but also the title card animations as well.  

To solve this problem, I came up with a procedural way of generating and animating plant shapes using Expressions and Shape Layers in After Effects. Below you can see a sample of the motion test I shown to my team as a proof of concept before implementation, the procedural plant algorithm I written, and a simplified tutorial I made using this technique. 

Cel motion tests by Daee Kim

Animation rig

Algorithm

				
					// Stem path 
l = effect("length")("Slider")/2;
arr = [[0,0],[0,-l]];
createPath(arr,[],[],0)


// Branch path 
var ctrl = thisLayer;
var seed = ctrl.effect("seed")("Slider");
var stem = ctrl.effect("length")("Slider");
var sym = effect("symmetrical")("Checkbox");
var sides = 2;
sym==1? sides=2:sides=1;
// data
var myIndex = thisProperty.propertyGroup(3).propertyIndex-2;
var dir = myIndex%2 // yields 1 - left, 0 - Right
var rowIndex = Math.floor(myIndex/sides)+1; // start at row 1

//User Variables
var base = effect("base")("Slider");
var spacing = base + effect("spacing")("Slider")*rowIndex;
var xRange = effect("xRange")("Point");
var yRange = effect("yRange")("Point");

// Begin expression
seedRandom(seed,true);
var fork_x =random(xRange[0],xRange[1])//rowIndex // rand x gets smaller as rows increase
dir==1? fork_x*=-1:fork_x*=1; // switch direction based on index

var rand_y =random(yRange[0],yRange[1]);
fork_y = spacing+rand_y;

// execute
arr = [[0,0],[0,-spacing],[fork_x,-fork_y]];
createPath(arr,[],[],0)

				
			

Technical development

Aside from the plant generation rig, I created other setups, such as the wave and blobs as seen below, to be deployed for the title sequence and title cards.

I would set up my animation rigs with Master Properties, and would do demonstrations on how to operate them to the Graphic Design team who was responsible for the title card animations. Each of my AEP includes a Read Me file so that artist can reference my instructions in my absence.

Credits

Creative Direction: Yuying Herr

Art Direction: Freya Yeh

Producer: Kagan Marks & Scott Sandifer

Lead Designer: Kathie Yang

Lead Animator: Desmond Du

Lead Graphic Designer: Mel Petzold

 

 

 

Designers: Anna Yang, Auralee Mayfield, Ghia Villasin, Kathie Yang, Obi Nwosisi, Olivia Trotter, Yu Xin King, Yuying Herr

Animators: DaAe Kim, Desmond Du, Freya Yeh, Greg Markman, Kathie Yang, Kagan Marks, Leah Evans, Lirio Ramirez, Olivia Trotter, Pranay Parekh, Wendy Huang, Yuying Herr

Graphic Designers: Alaijah Hampton, Alyssa Kalbus, Anna Yang, Erica Kim, Ghia Villasin, Mel Petzoldt, Yorlieth Avila

Experiential: Alex Campbell, Riley Carson

Sound Design: Tzuying Wang

Web Developers: Andrew Goodridge, Eric Flatt

Special Thanks to: MOME Love, Our Professors, SCAD Motion Media, Kelly Carlton, Duff Yong, Minho Shin, Anna Vallario, Krysta Coates, Carly Johnson