It’s been a long time coming and Peter’s blog tracking comment reminded me that this was part way through completion. I’d meant to finish it over the holidays, but sadly other things were prioritised. However, yesterday concluded this brilliant project – I really enjoyed putting independent practice into what we’ve been learning in class.
In the end, I simplified my idea from the time I posted last. Doing several hundred 3×3 pixel layers was a lengthier process than I’d intended, but I wanted to still get the same effect. Now that I know what I’m doing, I could go back and make the shapes smaller, but I also didn’t want this logo animation to be very long. At the moment, it stands at 4 seconds long, which feels about right and captures the effect I set out to achieve.
Once I managed to place all of the “puzzle pieces” together, keying in the falling was quite simple. These pieces were made in Photoshop using the grid cutting tool, which allows you to chop up your photo into smaller squares (the size is of your choosing, but I went with something a little bigger than initially planned to see if it would work in the first place).
After that, I imported the pieces into Illustrator, put each piece on its own layer, and saved them out as vector art. I discovered Photoshop doesn’t really “talk” nicely with After Effects, while Illustrator certainly does, so this was a necessary middle step before importing all the layers into After Effects.
While I could have renamed all the layers in Illustrator, I didn’t really see the need. They were numerical in the order I’d need to put them together, albeit the names had some extra gumf in them that made them a bit longer. Of course, f I were doing something that wasn’t using numbered squares, this would be an important step not to miss out on. Otherwise, you would just get lost amidst your own layers; especially when they start getting into 100+.
I didn’t really need to do much to the layers themselves before dragging them into the composition, but it did take some time to line everything up. I ended up with 89 layers, which was still more than I’d ever worked with at once. I found that I could select all of the layers at once and key them together so they were off screen. Then it was just a matter of creating the drop effect so they wouldn’t come in too uniformly.
I’m quite happy with the end result, even if it took a little trial and error to get there. I guess that’s the whole point of this project – to see what you learn and what ways work best to get the look you’re after. It feels like a neat effect and I may get to use these skills in a future VFX project, too!