Applied Animation Module Part Two


The People’s Kitchen’s Van serves hot meals under the railway arches on Trafalgar Street. To show this location in my video, I used a photograph as reference and traced over the top with the pen tool in Photoshop to get the outline and detail. I then used various other images to sample the colours though sometimes the colours didn’t work well so I made them more brown or grey.

Another location the van visits is Old Eldon Square. I decided to use the monument in my video to show this location as it is a recognisable landmark. For the line work, I traced over a photograph of the monument and used the image to sample the different colours of the monument.

I had to improvise slightly with the van as the Kitchen have a variety of vans and the food vans aren’t pictured in full. By combining several reference images, I was able to create a convincing van asset. Again using the pen tool and shapes for the line work. So I can animate the wheels, I’ve kept the alloys separate from the rest of the wheel so I can rotate them in After Effects. The motto and logo are showcased on many of the Kitchen’s vans so I decided to use them on my van asset as well.

To indicate the days of the week and times of day mentioned in the voice over, I created a calendar asset and a clock. For the calendar, I made separate pages and layered them on top of one another and I can animate the flip in After Effects by changing the anchor point of each page to the corner. For the clock, I’ve kept the minute and second hands on separate layers and will animate this in After Effects by keyframing the rotation.  I made both assets in Photoshop using the pen tool and the geometric shape tools.

The van serves warm breakfasts on Sundays. I had an idea to show a pair of hands moving onto the screen from the bottom, like a birds eye view, to look like someone is handing the plate over. I made elements of a full English breakfast in Photoshop. I used a frame from my animatic as a guide but I used a reference image to get the angle and positions correct.

The volunteers serve a whopping 3,500 cups of tea a week. I want to have a bit of fun with this scene and think animating a tea cup stack will help showcase the massive number of cups of tea they serve. I’ve chosen red cups as this is what the People’s Kitchen depict on their website. I’ve chosen a warm orange/beige colour for the background to contrast against the cold, blue outdoor scenes and symbolise being indoors.

The People’s Kitchen’s van distributes warm clothing, sleeping bags and blankets as well as the hot food.  I want to have these items pop up on the screen in time to the voice over. Using the pen tool in Photoshop, I kept the line work minimal. For the jumper, I originally thought to have a blue colour but realised that this may not give the impression of warmth so I tried green and orange versions. I think I’ll go with the orange one in the final video as I think this works best.

For the volunteer assets, I used images of the volunteers available on the People’s Kitchen’s website so I could recreate their uniforms accurately. Using a screenshot from my animatic as a guide, I made a puppet asset of a volunteer with rotatable arms. I didn’t apply this method to the legs as I didn’t need to animate those. I tested this out in After Effects and altered the anchor point of each layer to correspond with the limb joints.  I copied the original volunteer asset and made small changes for the additional volunteers.

Having created a usable puppet with the volunteer assets, I made a copy of those and edited them for future use, since I know they animate well. I changed the hair colour and the outfit colour to re-use this asset to depict a homeless person receiving their warm jumper from the People’s Kitchen van. I also tweaked the volunteer puppet to use for the shot of a volunteer helping a homeless person to their feet and guiding them into the Alison Centre. I took a screenshot of my animatic to help with this.

The People’s Kitchen help homeless and disadvantaged people in Newcastle by connecting them with professional services such as health care, education, housing authorities and legal services. I wanted to depict this in a pop up fashion. I created each asset using various shape in Photoshop, mostly rounded rectangles. I originally thought to have the pop ups in black to maintain simplicity but opted to do colour versions as I felt these were more clear and you better determine what they represent. Since I created a house shape, I was able to use this as a template for another house asset and simply added some windows and doors and altered the colour slightly.

I also created a test using the black pop up shapes to see how these would work. I made each shape a 3D layer and rotated them on the X-axis and used a layer mask to disguise them until they flipped upwards. I feel the animation works very well but prefer the coloured version.

As I’m talking about the UK specifically, then focusing on Newcastle, I thought using a map of the UK would be a very clear way of doing this. In After Effects, I hope to create a pan and zoom to zone into the Newcastle area on the map. I’ve left a dot on my green map which I will change to red or another vibrant colour and have it flash to guide the view to this area. I traced over the map on the left using the pen tool in Photoshop to get an accurate outline of the country and border lines.  I then filled a layer behind the outline in a green colour. I decided to not include other cities on my map as I didn’t want it to get cluttered and it was important that the focus be on Newcastle.

This reference image was incredibly useful in maintaining accuracy for this asset though all the small islands were rather fiddly to recreate! And here is the final video:

Yahni 🙂