This is the first in what I hope will be a series of 10 different animations for the album “Music for Suicides” by Stand Alone Complex, created by Mike lewis.
Last month, I went to see one of Mike’s shows in the exchange. I haven’t seen Mike in a few years, and it was good to see him and his friend Trevor again. Mike has been creating some cool electronic/ambient music, and his girlfriend Kami did a bunch of artwork for all of the tracks. As she was flipping through them on the projector, I could just see how each one of these pieces could be animated, into something really cool.
Mike has a video projector going during his shows, showing an hour or so long video timed to all the tracks. At the moment, the title cards for each track are simple text on black, so hopefully this will add a little more cohesiveness to the video, relating it back into the album.
The original image supplied for this animation looks like this:
This was then painstakingly chopped up into hundreds of layers. Each flower, and petal was individually cut up into it’s own layer for easy animation in After Effects. It took a few days of work just to do that one step, since there was 17 flowers total that needed to be extracted.
I wanted to find an easy way to manipulate all of the flowers rather than trying to animate the rotation on each petal individually, which would have been a royal pain. I decided to link them all using expressions to one master controller comp, which basically controlled the wind direction, speed, and jitter. That one paramater could then be animated and all the petals would react accordingly.
It worked pretty well, and there was only some minor tweaking that needed to happen to each petal to get the rotation reacting to the wind.
The character was created in much the same way, with the puppet tool used to add some wiggle and life into her dress, and a bunch of wiggle parameters linked up to the same adjustment layer controlling the petals.
The particles were created with Trapcode Particular. It’s a pretty simple setup, based on the snow preset, but modified so that the particles were going horizontally instead of vertically.
The clouds took a lot of work to get something that I was happy with. There’s a lot of detail in the clouds, and I really wanted to have some feeling of the puffy clouds going by. I tried extracting them , and animating them individually, but it didn’t feel natural enough, so I separated all the layers based on hue, and placed them on their own layers in 3D space.
Once everything was laid out properly, a small camera move was added, and text dropped in. Once this initial layout was complete, all the post effects, glow, grain, etc were all added, and the whole sequence was rendered as 32bit float EXR’s so I could do some final colour correction in Fusion 5.
Overall, i’m pretty happy with the results. There’s a few tiny thing in there that I’d like to fix eventually, but after spending about a month on and off trying to get this complete, i’m looking forward to moving onto the next one.
Any comments or thoughts would be appreciated!