Thursday, March 8, 2007


From Inside is a blend of 3D, 2D, and 2 1/2D animation. There are also composited practical elements - smoke, fire, liquid, dirt.

The 3D animation is done with Maya, the rest with After Effects. All compositing is done with After Effects.

Most of the motion graphics work I did through the 90's was for music videos, commercials, and special effects. In 2004 I thought I'd try animating a short narrative with After Effects. The idea was to keep the artwork simple and see what I could do with the 3D space in After Effects. My intent was to do something that looked like cut-paper animated with a multiplane camera. It turned out to be even simpler than that. The shots had a little depth, but not much - more like panning & scanning flat artwork than 3D.

The film was called Nesting Grounds. It played at a number of festivals the year I finished it, but I don't think it was ever posted on-line. So here it is. I still like the story, but the animation is looking pretty thin to me now (difficult to resist fixing it up before posting it here). It's not cutting edge, it's not elaborate, but making it showed me that it was possible to tell a story by cutting up paintings and animating them within After Effects. It was also a nice reminder for me that it's possible to tell an engaging story with simple images and simple tools.

After finishing Nesting Grounds, I made a 1 minute 3D short. The Vacant Chair. This short was an excuse to learn some basic 3D modeling and to test using practical elements as textures on 3D models.

I wouldn't say the animation of From Inside bears much of a resemblance to Nesting Grounds and The Vacant Chair, but these two shorts were the first steps towards From Inside. For this reason, I thought it would be interesting to post them here.

Next post, I'll put up some shots illustrating how 2D, 3D and practical elements are blended for From inside.