Adobe After Effects – Primitive Logo

We continued learning about After Effects and the industry of VFX, working with a logo made of primitive shapes and adding some special effects to make them pop.

There was also continued talk about the VFX pipeline, reviewing what we’d gone over in our previous classes before the mid-term break. A few extra bits I didn’t make note of before were:

  • The difference between offline work and online work; the former is what you do on the side while you’re working on the project, which isn’t necessarily publishable quality, versus the online work you’ll be presenting as your final piece.
  • The EDL (edit decision list) is what everyone holds their breath for and is the first thing to come out of the initial commercial shoot. The final decisions are made up by the offline editor and then distributed to the rest of the team.

We also covered content on the different forms of videos – NTSC (30fps), PAL (25fps), and SECAM (also 25fps, but uses a different colour signal from the other two).


It’s important to remember these differences when you’re developing your project for other countries – what sort of colour encoding system is native to the location? While the UK might use PAL, places like North America and France use other broadcasting formats. This can also be true for other industries, like video games.

We started with getting some basic shapes and bringing them into After Effects, then duplicating the layer so we had a template (where we wanted the shapes to end up at the end of the sequence) and a secondary layer we could alter. Taking the secondary layer, we enlarged it so the shapes would end up “falling into place” in the last key frame.

It was important to remember we could group the three primitive shapes into a null object parent. This way, we could manipulate all of the shapes together as one unit, but also still change them on an individual level.


This was the final sequence of layers we ended up with. As you can see, the shapes were all children of the Null object, however the textures we ended up adding we children of one shape layer. We were then taught how to Track Matte – this is an invisible layer that’s used to control the opacity of the layer underneath. In laymen terms, it would replace the alpha channel of the layer it’s applied to, so in this case the shapes.


Overall, I enjoyed making the primitive shape logo and it gave me ideas for what visual effects I could do for the company logo we’ve been asked to make for a future exercise. I didn’t find very much difficult throughout the class, merely because we’re gaining an ever-increasing familiarity with the Adobe suite. The task itself was intuitive and I think the skills we’re learning can be applied to lots of different things, including our portfolios for extra visual pizzazz.

The final result of our lesson.

Pete suggested we look into an artist named Rich Wake, however his name had been mentioned in a previous lesson and I commented about his work in a previous blog (which also included reflection on the work of Saul Bass).

Posted in VFX

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