Cel Animation in Motion Graphics

A screenshot from DD26 Cesar Martinez’s broadcast package incorporating cel animation overlaid on footage.

Cel (or classical) animation has been on the rise in motion graphics and is now becoming ubiquitous. It’s that dripping wet, organic swirl of colour that leaves jaws on the floor and students scouring tutorial sites. That  fluid transition that meshes scenes into stories and engages viewers.  It can mean hundreds of drawings and lakes of coffee but the end result is always worth it. Where motion graphics used to trend towards being structured and clean, the industry has been undergoing an organic face lift. The combination of using traditional frame by frame, hand drawn animation alongside other techniques adds a refreshing fluid style that surpasses the structure and consistencies of key frames and motion paths.

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A Grad Project Odyssey

Banner reads: A Graduate Project Odyssey

So, Term 5 is on, and it’s time for us nearly-graduated-students to modify the course of our lives to make a kickass graduate project, showcasing what great designers we are, with all of our abilities, in an elegant mashup of 2-months worth of work, which will likely take more than 200 hundred hours to develop…


This is exactly how it is: One day you’re waking up to go to the VFS Welcome event and the next thing you know, you’re halfway through your Graduate Project — What is going on here?! It sounds like a joke. But it’s not. It’s reality, and it punches you in the face with the realization of how far you have gone, and how badly you want to prove it.

Way to go champ! Now, you’re on your own. There is nothing more exciting than this. The opportunity to show off all of your learned skills. In my case, having the available help of Mark Busse, a Master in the industry, plus the amazing Digital Design instructors, while also getting valuable input from Jeff Hamada and Carter Gilchristwhat could go wrong?

…EVERYTHING. Because, whether you want it or not, it is a gigantic responsibility. It is you in a race against time with a challenging project, which is perhaps the hardest to manage. I do realize, however, that this is a once-in-a-life-time experience, so I will work non-stop and try to get the best out of all my resources. This is the last step towards a greater beginning.

Every Graduate Project is incredibly different and unique, but in my case, it is all about celebrating the creative process, through challenges that refresh the user’s mind from the corporate dailies, and that will allow the user to experiment while sharing and collaborating with a friendly global community, following the tagline:
Banner reads: Inspiration is in the Making

Want to know more about it? Want me to reveal to you all the secrets about the Grad Project process? Check out my blog! 

And you still have time to join one of my Project Challenges and be showcased in it, if you are interested — just give me a shout on Twitter!

And because reading my long post deserves a reward (thank you very much), I designed The Photoshop Key Trainer, a free, useful and easy-to-make brochure for learning the most common and basic Photoshop CS5 Keyboard Shortcuts, which might come in handy to any designer working with PSD. Let’s be honest, nothing makes you look more pro and efficient than knowing by heart the shortcut keys for the software you use.

Let me know which software you would like for the next time.

photoshop shortcuts brochure

Digital Design Summer Intensive : The Superhero Branding Element

Moustache Man

Day 3 of the Digital Design Summer Intensive started with a tutorial in Photoshop, lead by Senior Instructor Myron Campbell, with help by Teaching Assitant Thomas McKeen. After a brief but comprehensive introduction to the interface, including a rundown of some of the critical tools that would be needed for the excercise, as well as some handy tips for working with a smoother flow (e.g., good keyboard shortcuts for managing your workspace and quick toggling between tools), Myron guided the students in the next phase of their project (Branding a Superhero), which was creating a background using Masking and Blending techniques. Later, the results would be used in the After Effects workshop as backgrounds for their Superhero Motion piece, where they would demonstrate their character’s special pose and super power, as is shown above with the awesome Mustache Man.
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Mike Harrison Photoshop Collage: An Inspiring Surreal World

Lost Continent image by Mike Harrison

Mike Harrison is a great digital artist and illustrator from Plymouth. He enjoys expanding his skills to inspire others. This piece, called Lost Continent was made for Depthcore’s 31st chapter ‘Freestyle III in 2007 and is a collaboration between Mike Harrison, his brother Pete Harrison and Niklas Lundberg. The I first time saw Lost Continent in 2008, I totally fell in love with it and quickly checked out more of his work. Mike Harrison’s work drew me into using a different aspect of Photoshop. I started to cut images out, play with them, move them around, and then paste them together. It was a really fun time for me, sitting there all day playing with Photoshop. It helped me develop a better understanding of blending, layer effects, masking, and of how to use the dodge and burn tools. Guess what, the result is fantastic and it really helped me develop a higher level of Photoshop skill.

Check out this interesting interview with Mike Harrison.


Motion Design : To Achieve Your Goal, Every Step Counts

We recently had our first Motion Design Showcase, and it was very cool to see so many creative motion graphic works from different classes. I decided I would present my own work here on OOMPH. Although, I’m not sure what I should talk about. Ha Ha. But I will try.

I have a background in Graphic Design, but Motion Design is kind of new to me. I’ve never used After Effects a lot before I came to VFS Digital Design — just for keying the green screen and interface knowledge.

Our Term 1 Motion Project was to create a 20-45 second Motion Graphic Video with a story and some graphic animations. When I first got the brief, I struggled with it a lot — for two reasons: First of all, deciding on a story was hard for me; And secondly, I was unsure about what I could do with my limited After Effects knowledge.

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