After effects

This week I just started really diving into after effects for the first time in awhile so I started doing a few projects. This was a bit of an adjustment coming from editing strictly with Premiere Pro. I watched quite a few tutorials; some were advanced but most were basic. So I picked the ones I felt I could work on and get some experience with the software. The following information will be me explaining the tutorials that I viewed and attempted to recreate into my own design. Some were a success and others were not but I will show you the failed tutorials anyway. Many of these were done on one attempt, as I was trying to do many different designs and effects within a week’s time.

Motion Graphics Liquid text

This particular tutorial that I attempted was pretty fun to work on.  The process was tedious with a lot of layering and masking. To get the liquid effect you had to use turbulent displace which was pretty cool in my opinion. I would say the difficult part was duplicating the layers and making subtle changes to them to get the right effect. If not done precisely it will throw the entire project off.  Ultimately, my project wasn’t exactly like the video but it was close.

However, this effect was pretty hard to do there a lot of steps that I couldn’t grasp. I attempted to apply the proper effects to my sequence and adjust the presets. I believe I missed a step because when I went for the spark effect my project disappeared when I did a playback.


This warp transition tutorial was very interesting. The instructions were a little fast and hard to keep up with. Everything flowed pretty well and I easily applied the effects where they were needed. I was on the right track up until the “pucker tool” edit. At that point I couldn’t warp the clip at all. Therefore, another edit was botched.


The last tutorial that I attempted was a simple text tutorial. I watched about thirty tutorials throughout the week and most of them were over my head and beyond intermediate levels. I figured this would be a little more basic for me since I struggled mightily with the more advanced tutorials. At first this project was going well with basic text and alignment edits. However, once the tracing aspect came into play that’s when things took a turn and the project wasn’t the same.

Overall this was a frustrating week in after effects. I watched a bunch of tutorials and learned a lot in a week’s time but there is a lot more to learn. I’m still unsure as to why my projects wouldn’t allow me to use certain tools after I clicked on them. Most of the time the project would disappear or the effect would never get activated. Key framing was pretty simple being that its similar to Premiere Pro’s but I struggled with that as well. The biggest adjustment to make was definitely the layers or compositions. It was difficult to navigate through each one so they could connect with the other layers.

I definitely need more practice with it because it’s very much different from Premiere Pro.

my attempts


During Spring of 2017 me and my classmates who were in the Film and Video Production Technology Program at Piedmont Community College filmed a short film titled Relapse. It was my final project for the year and wanted to do something interesting.

The story was about a young guy who is constantly dealing with the troubles from his past. Time and time again he falls into the serious trap of alcoholism. I chose to use my classmate Ricky Rodriguez as the main actor because of our ongoing theme of him being a struggling alcoholic who keeps stressing his roommate (which is me). A lot of people on campus seemed to enjoy the episodic story that we created with other projects and so I decided to make a short film about it. Ultimately, this story shows Ricky going back to a familiar place that caused him and others pain, the life of an addict.


In the opening scene I had Ricky sitting down in the living room with a late afternoon lighting setup. We put the camera on sticks and left the shot as a master wide with no additional angles. Next, he would be accompanied by myself as I overhear him on the phone plotting to attend what seems to be another party. I knew the dangers of going to an alcohol and drug infested event and feared another relapse for Ricky. It would have been his first in six months. Even though Ricky was compliant, I knew the likelihood of him catching a ride and going downtown for the party.relapse2relapse3Relapse 4

The following scene shows Ricky in the midst of his relapse, partying with his friends which were played by my classmates as well as other students. We had to use quite a bit of party gels on the lights to give it a colorful layout. One of my instructors, Johnathan Quade, helped a lot with this particular scene. All of it was shot handheld by my classmate Dustin Harrison, who was my DP.

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Lastly, Ricky comes back home and is disoriented from a wild night of partying. Unbeknownst to him, Trey is waiting patiently in the kitchen like an overly anxious mother waiting for her son. But he was really just concerned about his friend’s health. We used a shaft of light to shine down on him to add some suspense to the scene. Also we had moonlight shining through the kitchen window to give off the late night/ early morning atmosphere.  I decided to have Dustin go handheld with this particular shot and track Ricky as he entered the kitchen.  At first it was a little bit of a struggle to get this particular scene how I wanted but it worked out.

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Ultimately, I liked this project. It was the first short film that I directed and written the script for. There were some things that I liked and disliked but it was an overall good experience. I had my classmates Dylan Rock and Sarah Dudley as my additional crew and they did a good job helping me set everything up. Also my Instructor Jesse Knight helped as well making sure things were in order. Personally, I took a lot from this project and know what I have to do differently as far as editing and shot compositions etc. I look forward to doing more projects like this in the future.