It’s that time again where students in Term 3 at VFS Digital Design get to work on the Animated Typeface project. Recap: It is a collaborative class initiative where each student makes a second long animated sequence for 3 – 4 glyphs. This time League Gothic was used and this typeface was created by Tyler Finck, Micah Rich, and Dannci.
These sequences needed to be 25 frames long using three or fewer of the chosen colours. It has been amazing to see the incredible work.
To view the full project, please check out:
Here is what some students have to share about their experience:
Animated Typeface was one of the assignments I was really excited about in term 4. I didn’t thought that it can really get complicated and of course, demanding. Personally I am very into all aspects of art direction, this was my opportunity to show my skills but also try something new. So there was me facing frame-by-frame animation.
After a long process of sketching and thinking about creative ideas, I came up with the arc that later on turned out to be a C. This was my first experience building a 25 frame animation all in Photoshop and Illustrator.
For the E, I decided to play with some character animation in a very simplistic way. I took the advice from Nida and my classmates about not making the character very difficult. So I did that. I created a simple shape making reference of a girl with a bun as a hairstyle.
I decided to adapt one art direction for C, E and 4, that represents an arrow game. The arrow from the C is directed to hit the E and ending up burning in the 4. Finally, the G is pictured in a gangster mood that I thought it was fun.
Ana Julia Nieto Colina
I was really excited to start working on this project because it was the first time we would collaborate in a project as a class, and also, because we were given a great typeface to work with.
For the letter W, I decided to portray water. This animation was done frame by frame and it was one of my favorites.
For the number 1, I thought of a launching rocket, so I decided to animate the number in After Effects with an explosion and smoke effect created in Photoshop. Following the feedback from my classmates and teachers, I fixed the timing to make it stronger.
The 3 was really hard to conceptualize. I went through a lot of options until I decided to create something fun with a lot of movement. I did frame by frame transition of forms till a 3 was made, and then in After Effects, I added decorative lines with some details. My major challenge for this number was to make everything look polish and sharp, even if I had just used frame by frame animation.
I worked on the letter H, X, and Y.
For the H, I went for a humorous approach. I had the letter A jumping rope, and as the
headband slipped away when landing, it transformed into letter H. The whole process, I used
only After Effect to animate. For the jumping rope part, I simply used the puppet pin tool to move the A (body) up and down; and for the headband slipping away, I simply use path animation.
When I received the letter X, I foresaw it taking off like a rocket, therefore, I went on the Internet and found references of a rocket taking off and creating the dramatic steam. To make the movement look even more dramatic, I animated its body squeezing to the ground before it took off, so that it showed a sense of gravity. This letter is done in frame by frame animation.
I also worked on the letter Y. I have a fine arts background, therefore, as I was brainstorming for this letter, I immediately realized I could use The Scream painted by Edvard Munch as a reference. I used classic frame by frame animation for this letter.
When I was given this project, I was very excited to create my own animated typeface. I really enjoyed this entire project and I am happy with the result which I think it could be interesting portfolio piece.
The “I” was the most exciting piece I created. The metaphor I could think of was ink splatters and drops. I wanted to give a lively feeling and used frame by frame animation in Photoshop and adjusted the timing as “I” hits the ground to create a real look of the ink splatters.
When I started working on the letter, Z, the first thing I had in my mind was zebra. I started off with the circle of lake and added the motion of scratch which creates zebra pattern in the end. Because I created the animation more than 2 second by mistake, it was hardest part for me to cut the frames and reanimate them in one second. I guess I was having fun and kept animating.
For the “0”, I wanted to create something different than those two previous letters. Instead of building shapes or patterns, I decided to use lines that circulates around the circle with different directions. It was a challenging process because I wanted to experiment by adding different path effects which I never used it before.
When designing my letters I wanted to focus on learning animation transitions and clever interpretations of what the letter could turn into.
I printed out all of my letters; 9, V, 7, and J, and placed them on a wall. While looking at them, I started conceptualizing with pen and paper. The “Laughing skull” and “Tuxedo” came to me while considering how the best to transition the animation; A swinging 9 into a Mexican influenced laughing skull and a man breathing into a Tuxedo.
Both of these were all done in illustrator and then animated in After Effects.
The J was a wild idea that I wanted to try as a stretch goal. I thought of a bouncing J on a chain from one of those old iconic 80s Miami Beach movies. You know the ones, with the hair buff guy strutting down the stripe, smiling and wicking at girls.
I tested with C4D’s dynamics for the bouncing chain and was lucky enough that my instructor, Nida Fatima, advised me to render out the 3D chain but then animate it in after effects. The puppet tool turn out to be the right choice and was happy with the outcome.
Now the K was more difficult. I wanted to have an impactful or folding out K but found out that my tests felt over done for a 600×500 pixel space. So I experimented with different shatter effects in after effects and found, with a little tweaking, it was what I desired.
All in all I loved this project. Each letter had its own challenge and taught me a great deal. Many thanks to my fellow classmates, instructors and TA’s for assisting me along the way.
Before we got our letters, I had already prepared a bunch of ideas for each letter in the alphabet so I wouldn’t blank out. Upon choosing our letters and numbers, I already had a pretty good idea of how I wanted them to turn out. Most of my work during the previous terms always had elements of wings, flight, ships and water. I tried to do it again because I found it amusing to have ideas that tied together all my work throughout my year at VFS.
For the D, I already had a boat in my mind, as the League Gothic D was definitely boat-shaped. I added the person on the boat as a reference to the first motion piece I did in VFS.
For the T, I had already envisioned a person with wings, also as a reference to my first VFS motion piece. The idea started off with the word “Take-off” however, I later changed the animation to a person landing on the ground as it looked more beautiful.
Lastly, for the 7, I definitely envisioned it as a slender pair of legs and luckily, I also found a nice animation reference to help me make it happen. As for the techniques I used to create all of these, about 70% of the animations were done frame by frame and the rest were a mix of the puppet tool and basic animations like rotation scale and some camera moves
Gallery of Animations: