Category Archives: After Effects

2D Puppets for Disney XD!

Recently Disney XD tasked me with creating a series of noses and animating them for two 30 second spots for the show Crash and Bernstein. They had concepts of the noses and wanted them in 3D, fully animated. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. There were six noses in total, and they wanted them done in 2 weeks. I knew 3D was out of the question and I had to figure out a solution. As panic was about to go plaid, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to experiment with a tutorial by Daniel Gies I’d stumbled upon for creating a puppet in After Effects that does a pretty good job of faking 3D.

First I had to create the noses in photoshop. They had given us a couple of great sketches to start with, but they wanted them to be heavily textured, like an extreme close up shot from Ren & Stimpy or SpongeBob.

Original Sketches

Final Trunk

The next step was breaking them apart into puppet pieces, like a paper doll, and building the rig in After Effects.

With a little puppet tool scripting and DuDuF’s inverse kinematics script you get a working rig.

Now, the trick to getting the rig to have a fake 3D look is Mettle Free Form Pro, a 3D mesh warp plug-in. There are other plug-ins that will warp your art using a mesh, but what makes Free Form stand head and shoulders above the rest is the ability to use a displacement map… like the one below

After a few tweaks, and more math than I’ve used since I was 16, I got this bad boy animated. I’ve also included a couple of the other noses too



Here’s the first of two final spots

The intro and overhead race were mostly done in Cinema 4D –  the intro nose icons, running noses, and lower third icons were done in After Effects. The end race was a bit of trickery – the Camera, color bars and race track were 3D, while the Noses, grass, fence and the rest of the background were all After Effects. Unfortunately, I never received the actual end tag, that was done somewhere else, so I had to grab the one you see off youtube. Go figure.

New Website and Short Film!

It’s been quite a busy few months since we last spoke. Not much has changed, I’ve just been crazy busy with work, which I’ll start to highlight as the summer goes along.

First off, I updated my website! I realized that the picture I was using was from almost 10 years ago so I shot a new one (well, my wife shot it). One thing led to another and now my site is bigger and better than ever! The main things I updated were adding a section for all the boards I’d been working on, as well as a section highlighting the individual commercials that are scattered throughout my reel.

I’m eventually planning on updating this blog, most likely to a custom WordPress design, however I’m going to need a bit a help with that. Any takers out there??
The second and most cool bit of news is the completion of an animated short film I made for Monkeyhead! This is my first fully animated short I’ve actually completed since college and I must say it looks 100 times better.

I’m working on putting together a “making of” page, but what would you have to look forward to if I had that done already?

Disney Channel Graphics

Well, whadduyaknow, I finally got to work for Disney… kind of. I got to create graphics for Disney Channel’s winter package, and if you’ve watched anything on that channel over the past few months chances are you’ve seen my handiwork. While those snippets are too small to show as a one off here, they’ll most likely find their way into my next reel.

Meanwhile, I also got to do the graphics for two popular Disney Channel shows; Good Luck Charlie, and Wizards of Waverly Place.
These two spots were for the movie Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas! They involved encouraging the viewers to go online, vote for baby names, and play their many movie themed games.

It went on to became the most watched cable movie of 2011, which I’ll take complete credit for!

And here’s a quick look at one of the promos I worked on for the series finale of Wizards of Waverly Place, starring Selena Gomez.

I’m also taking credit for the record-breaking viewership…