Tips from an Animation Expert

Animations are fun to watch, but have you ever wondered if they’re actually effective forms of content marketing? Tech giants like Dropbox and Facebook have used animated campaigns to successfully market their brands, and the the stats on animation marketing speak for themselves: Consumers are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a video, and adding motion graphics to a social feed has proven to make audience engagement 10 times more likely.

Recently, our web and video expert Vila created multiple animations for a video reel of Native’s work, with the goal of taking projects like websites, collateral, and email blasts and showcasing them in a more dynamic way. Through this process, Vila utilized different techniques and tools worth sharing:


1. User Interface Animation


To showcase the website and animated map we built for EAM Worldwide, Vila created a UI animation that appeared as a scrolling screen, guiding users through the site.

To achieve this user-friendly motion graphic, Vila recreated the website in Adobe After Effects by adding in assets like images, a map, and copy. From there, each individual asset was animated with graphic elements that allowed them to either slide or fade into frame. For example, keyframes were set to assets below the map so that they appeared into frame as the the screen scrolled down.


2. Transitioning a Still Image to 3-D


We used an image of the skeletal-system in Academic CME‘s mobile email blast, but wanted to showcase that in a more interesting way for the reel. So, Vila utilized Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D to transition the still image into a more interactive animation.

He started by creating a model of the skeletal system and adding 3-D textures in Cinema 4D. Then, different combinations of transparencies, luminosities, diffusions, and alpha channels were tested out until the look of an x-ray scan was achieved. However, adding numerous texture options can slow down an animation’s render times, so Vila had to render the skeleton in passes which essentially means rendering out each color, shadow, alpha channel, light, and bump map individually. Finally, the individual renders were combined in After Effects and layered on top of each other to create the above motion graphic. 


3. Bringing a Photo to Life with Perspective Corner Pin


We created a NYC billboard for Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Instead of simply sharing a photo of the billboard in the reel, we animated a still, angled photo.

We wanted the text and images on the billboard to either swipe or fade in, so Vila turned these graphic elements into individual layers in After Effects, and added them inside their own compositionThe big challenge was taking this front-facing composition where the graphic elements lived and changing its flat perspective to match the angled perspective of billboard photo we had.

The key was a plugin called Perspective Corner Pin, which allowed Vila to create a mesh around the composition and manipulate its perspective. Once each graphic matched the perspective, Vila added keyframes to fade in text, change color, or draw in shapes. For a finishing touch, an expression called “wiggle” in After Effects was used to add a subtle camera shake.

These 3 techniques should be in every animator’s arsenal who’s making moves.