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Manic Release Machine · Issue #7 · 2022
Short notes on all animation-related projects I did over the past 2 months. Brace, brace!
This is “The Inspired Animator”, a newsletter about my adventures in animation, illustration & the creative process! The UPs & DOWNs of building a creative business. Discovering new tools, experimenting, talking about failed and proven workflows with occasional tutorials, or behind the scenes of my animations and techniques.
In the last issue, I focused on talking about the production of my animated short film. In this issue, I want to focus on all the other creative projects I have done over the past 2 months.
Do you know these phases when you create so many things so fast, that you even forget to talk about them? And sometimes you even forgot you did them at all until you look back a month later and realize how much you have done?
The past couple of weeks and months were a bit like that. I created a lot. But besides the quick post on social media, I did not communicate a lot about it. This is, by the way, another reason why I started this newsletter — to reflect every 2 weeks on what I have accomplished.
By the way, I am not trying to brag or think it is particularly healthy to have so much going on. That’s why I added the term manic to release machine. I often feel a lack of focus within myself and struggle with this divided attention (see the last issue). Many of these things were hanging in there unfinished for a long time.
I will try to keep every topic to one paragraph, but I might come back to a topic and write a whole article on it at a later stage! You can give me feedback on what sparks your interest:
I will start every topic with an emoji 💃. Post in the comments the emojis of the topics you would like to read more about!
Here’s what I am gonna talk about:
📽️ Learning from Last Client Project: Levity Product Trailer
🎬 New Showreel Released
⏩Creating Product Trailers for my own Products
📚 Resources to learn animation online
⏰I started a TikTok
🥽Weekly VR Animations
🌈An Animated Rainbow
🎓In pre-production: “The 30 Day Animator”
Here we go.
📽️ 1. Learnings from Last Client Project: Levity Product Trailer
I finished up a massive project at the end of March for an #NoCode AI company called “Levity”.
I have experienced massive growth and a wealth of learning in that project on multiple levels.
In the realm of project management I improve in:
working with clients
organizing feedback & revision cycles
working from ideation and storyboard to the final product
…and in the creative realm:
How to cut animation to music?
How to create juicy transitions
Animating physical simulations in Blender (the falling 2D shapes are actually rendered in Blender)
Iteration and refinement cycles — How to iteratively improve your animation
Juicy software interactions (How to make User Interfaces look NICER than in real life for a video)
There are so many things I learned that I could write a whole article on each individual topic above. Or a whole book, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
🎬 2. New Showreel for 2022 Released
I felt the need to update my showreel. The last time it was updated was in 2020. I had enough work for a while and did not feel the need to update it. And I prioritized learning or experimenting over this. Now I finally felt like I had enough new material to include.
The hardest part of the whole process was choosing the music and selecting the clips to include. As I went through my body of work over the last 2 years, I did not find a lot of animation that I perceived as better. That’s why there are still older animations in there. I also restricted myself to not spending more than two days on it.
Below is the result.
I really like the atmosphere in the beginning. It gives that nice “Having to say goodbye, and then rolling off into the chilly late-summer night”-vibe. Then the music picks up, goes on a bit of an adventure, and then we discover a magical place where you want to linger. And then it ends on an unresolved note. It leaves a tension. The question of what is next to come?
I usually get music from EpidemicSound but cut it to my needs accordingly. Make it shorter, or longer to match the video.
⏩ 3. Creating Product Trailers for my own Products
After my experience of cutting my own showreel in a day, I thought: “Why not try to promote my own products with a quick trailer?”
And voilà I created a trailer for “VHS it!” in just a couple of hours, from the promo material I already had created in the past. The hardest part was again choosing the music, and then cutting it to the beat.
Then I posted it on Instagram and Twitter. The video was really admired by crickets and thankfully a handful of humans, too.
I also posted a couple of days later on Reddit, without really planning to. And to my complete surprise, it took off like a rocket 🚀
This, in turn, generated more sales than there were in the entire lifetime of the product since January. This was a pleasant surprise!
That motivated me to do another quick trailer for “VHS it!”, a product that applies VHS effect to your footage in After Effects. A product that did not generate many sales at all.
Again I cut it together in under a day. During that process, I found also a great tool that made it much easier to sync up animations and transitions to the beat of a song!
It’s a free plugin by BattleAxe called BeatGrid! This will create nice markers for you if you know the BPM of a song, and it’s enough to make your life much easier for general cutting purposes.
Again it performed quite well on Reddit. I even offered it for free, because it’s still in BETA and I want to gather feedback while I fix all the little kinks that people find. If you go via the link on Reddit you can still grab it for free by the way.
📚4. Resources to Learn Animation Online
My artistic talents are pretty much self-taught over the years. But I am standing on the shoulders of giants. The internet has increasingly more tutorials and inspiration to offer on how to learn to draw, animate and improve your art in general.
To keep track of all those tutorials and learning resources created a database for myself. So I can revisit it in the future.
Recently, I thought, why not share all these great resources with animators that are just starting out or people who don’t even know where to start. That’s why I now shared my list of animation software, free tutorials, online schools, and even some job boards for animation!
⏰5. I started a TikTok
My best friend convinced me to try Tickety Tock! That’s what I’m doing.
This is my favorite one I created, yet 👇
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It’s not even my animation but by legendary animator Max Fleischer from the 1930s. It just perfectly fits the music if you are familiar with the Drake video.
I am planning to post smaller educational videos and breakdowns of what I’m working on, on a semi-daily basis. But so far, I’m just having fun with it.
To make anything GOOD™️would take me >1h a day. But if I need to post every day, I want to keep the time it takes to post under 15min.
That’s a conflict of interest right there.
I am averse to releasing sub-par things. But maybe it’s a good therapy to let go, try silly stuff, and see if it resonates.
🥽6. Weekly VR Animations
I am also now consistently participating in the weekly VR animation of the Virtual Animation community for the past 3 weeks. Here is one of the results.
It can be viewed in VR here if you have a Quest. I wanted to create something that can be completed in 1-2h. But it took me three days instead (part-time). I went way overboard. Even recorded some voice-acting with my partner for 5 different characters. And painted this elaborate mock poster for the scene:
I created two more animations since then. To be published soon.
🌈7. An Animated Rainbow
While doing another Quill VR scene I created this nice rainbow animation in VR. And since it is pride month I published it as an asset for free for personal/non-commercial use. Or you can get it cheap for commercial use in up to 4K resolution :)
🎓8. In pre-production: “The 30-Day Animator”
I felt my animation skills were a bit stagnant for the past year. I improved quite a bit in After Effects and the Motion Design realm. But I did not attempt many challenging animations out of my comfort zone, like character animation. Ultimately I still want to improve it.
That’s why I am devising a 30-day email course to either start from ZERO and become an animator OR improve and level up your current animation skills.
Who is it for?
People who are interested in animation, but have never done it before or don’t even know where or how to start.
People who have dabbled in animation. Done an occasional animation, here and there, but had no formal training.
People who have trained their animation skills in some areas, but are not formally trained need some accountability to improve their skills.
Everybody who is interested in practicing animation skills
To be completely honest, I see myself in the Advanced Beginners group. I have some areas that I am good at and some areas that I have to improve a lot. I have a good intuition when it comes to animation, but not enough training to execute some things effectively.
I hope that course will help me improve as much as everybody who will join it.
Each exercise will be short, and achievable within 30 minutes to 1 hour. And there will be easy and advanced variations for some exercises.
And the most important thing is, that I want to build a community around it, that will give feedback on each assignment and provide some accountability. I will offer my own feedback for every submission within the 30 days on a higher tier of the course.
This is the rough outline I leave you with right now. Tell me in the comments if you are interested.
That’s it for now. Phew, that was a lot to write. After all, I could not contain everything in one paragraph. I still had to stop myself from writing even more.
Don’t forget to tell me which topic you would enjoy knowing more about by posting the emoji in the comments! 🗣️💬
In the next issue, I will give another update about the short film that I announced in my last issue!